Oct 29, 2013

Outside Instead of the Attic

The blackberry-raspberry-sweet pea bramble, trimmed back and pulled up for winter

This week was supposed to be all about our attic progress, but well… things changed when we threw the insulation curve ball. It’s the right thing to do (for a multitude of reasons I've glossed over), but it’s definitely delayed everything. More planning and research (and getting some professional advice), more shopping, and more prep work before getting started.

I also have to confess that this project is going to take a lot longer than I imagined. After 3 years of home renovation projects, I should know better by now. Working in the attic is just logistically harder than other projects. All of the activity has to take place on the 3rd floor, away from everything and everyone. We can’t do X, Y & Z while Oliver plays with his ball on the driveway, far enough away to be safe but still in our field of vision. We have to wait for naptime or bedtime or split up. And it takes time to even get started up there - lights have to be brought up, extension cords strung up and plugged in, proper protective attire must be worn at all times. Also, moving around up there is slow because one has to balance on the floor joists or risk a big hole in the ceiling. When time is limited to begin with, all these limitations start to feel a bit discouraging and overwhelming.

Pots, hoses and trellises ready to go into the garage. 

So instead of working on the dark-dirty-musty attic, I did yardwork over the weekend outside in the sunshine with Oliver playing close by. We have an annual winter-prep checklist and it’s slowly coming along, so I thought I would share the official list of what we do to get ready for winter around here.
  1. Pull up the plants in the vegetable garden, remove hoses, trellises, stakes, etc.
  2. Cover beds with fresh black plastic for winter
  3. Weed gravel garden paths and along garage
  4. Dig up and store all delicate bulbs for winter in the basement
  5. Weed all of beds in the yard, front and back 
  6. Prune back roses, raspberries, blackberries, pull up sweet pea vines
  7. Blow the leaves out of the garden beds, paths, patio area
  8. Wrap the fig tree with burlap and stuff with leaves for insulation
  9. Mow the lawn one final time to mulch the remaining leaves and do edging for winter
  10. Remove all dead plants that have been nipped by frost in front and back, cleanup pots (ongoing)
  11. Turn the compost heap and add plant matter (except for peonies and anything infected with powdery mildew, black spot mold, etc.)
  12. Store everything in the garage: hoses, pots, trellises, wheelbarrows, patio furniture, deck furniture, blue chairs, toys, etc. (when it’s too cold to enjoy the outdoors anymore)
  13. Take down the pergola lights and bamboo fencing (before it snows)

It’s not every exciting, but it’s all good stuff to get done before winter. And at least I’m making progress outside (if not inside) and hopefully I won’t be stuck out here in December shivering and wondering why I waited so darn long to get the bulk of this done.

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