Monday, October 29, 2018

Autumn chores

It was warm enough to swim a few weeks ago, but suddenly fall came and brought winter with it. Now it’s time for autumn chores. 
This afternoon we plan to bring in all the plants that have been summering on our deck in the back
and in front of our great-room windows. Some of these are smaller plants that I can carry two at a time. There are others so big that using a forklift to move them would be helpful.
We used to put the 30 or so plants in our great-room turning it into a terrarium complete with lizards and frogs. They live in the plants and tend to assume the color of their surroundings for survival. A green chameleon looks like a green lemon leaf until it jumps for a mosquito. They freaked Jilda out the first few times we noticed them, but we have a “live and let live policy.” If they can survive inside, we let them live in the citrus trees.
One year, just after we’d brought the trees in Jilda was sitting in the kitchen with our niece Samantha who was about five at the time. Samantha kept hearing a squeaking sound. While investigating, Jilda took a closer look at one of the trees. When she bent over to look at the roots, a chipmunk launched out from a small hole he’d dug in the pot. Soon Jilda, Samantha, and the chipmunk were ricocheting off the walls of the living room. The two finally managed to herd the critter out the door with brooms. My only regret is that we didn’t film that chase. It would have been priceless on YouTube.
Last year, I came up with the idea of using plastic sheeting to turn the screen porch into a temporary greenhouse. We put the smaller plants out there along with an electric heater that we used on cold nights, and the plants thrived.
I feared that my new knee would keep me from climbing a ladder, but I’m getting around better now than I was before my surgery. I did a few test climbs on the ladder, and I feel comfortable climbing.
Hopefully, by day’s end, all the plants will be safe from the frosty weather that’s coming later this week.
Toward the bottom of my to-do list is cleaning out the firepit and collecting kindling. Soon, we’ll start having gatherings of friends and family. Usually, everyone ends up outside sitting around the crackling firepit. If there are kids in the crowd, we roast marshmallows and make s’mores. Both are kid pleasers.
This year should be even more pleasant because I saved the wood I trimmed off the apple trees in the garden. Few things have a better aroma than apple wood in a firepit.
Looking back, I’ve always had autumn chores. When I was a kid my areas of responsibility had two main areas of focus. Each evening I had to have heaping scuttles of coal on the fireplace hearth.
Since we didn’t have an indoor bathroom back then, I was responsible for carrying out the slop jar first thing each morning. 
I can’t tell you how thrilled I was when my dad sprung for a furnace and an indoor bathroom. 

This much I know for sure ‑ When it comes to chores, I’d much rather be collecting apple wood to burn in our firepit than taking a slop jar to the outside facility.


  1. That is a chore I am happy to have never experienced. Be careful on that ladder! We had a squirrel come down the chimney once and shooing him outside was much like you described with the chipmunk.

  2. No question on the preferred chore. None. Nada. Zip.
    I am so glad to hear your new knee is treating you well.

  3. Yuck to the slop jar and I, too, have used an outhouse but, thankfully, never at my home growing up. I can just imagine the 3 running from each other but I bet the chipmunk was the most scared. I’d be tempted to make a little home for him out there. I didn’t know you have chameleons in your area.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Having all the plants on the porch has to make a difference. At least you don't have to worry about having critters in the house. Apple wood fires are very fragrant. Sounds like a great way to spend autumn evenings.

  6. This reminds me of the time my cat once brought a chipmunk in the house through the little cat door my husband installed while I was away as he didn't like to have to put the cat in and out.
    That morning I was in my shop downstairs and I heard the chasing going on on the wooden floor. I had to open the door wide and joined in the chase with the broom just like Jilda did, haha.

    Hugs, Julia

  7. Anonymous3:57 PM

    I would have loved to see a video of the Great Chipmunk Chase!!

  8. Your place sounds like the perfect Autumn stop! Enjoy that firepit and I too had chores in the up the window screens, raking the leaves, and other outdoor things. My favorite was watching Dad burn all those leaves...nothing better that than smell too! Have a Happy Halloween!

  9. Glad the new knee is working very good. HA, yep I bet the varmit herding was a pistol.
    Enjoyed the read. Good one.


Please consider sharing

Email Signup Form

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required