Oh, how the fall season can swing from one extreme to the other. It is reminiscent of the spring season when we can have nice days and still encounter brutally cold days at the same time. This past week was extremely welcome given the early cold snap we already lived through with some snow along the way. I have to say that it makes me appreciate these days just a little bit more and it gives me a chance to do more last minute things outdoors.

Already, I have decided to wash the house siding to rid it of spider webs, bug goo and dirt that accumulated along the way. Unfortunately, that is not a one-day process, but the warm days really helped make it happen.

It is also a good time to check in on how to protect items before the snow sets in for the next season. Already I have been battling the beavers in the backyard. Most of the trees have chicken wire around the trunks but you just can’t do them all and cover the shrubs along the way. Every year I try and protect the 12-foot pussy willow by wrapping the outside with a round of chicken wire. Some years it works and other years they have a knack of pulling it down to take a few stems at a time. Already this year there are only two out of the originating 23 stem remaining. They have had their way! Now they are after the 20-year-old lilac bush. Last year the early and heavy snow crushed half of the large stems' this past week the beaver have nearly removed the entire plant already. At this point, I just look at it and feel it is nature’s way of cutting it back and allowing it to rejuvenate for the following year. They may have saved me some work but often it is hard to look at it that way.

After last weekend’s wind storm, plenty of dead branches broke out of the trees, so it was a perfect weekend to pick them all up and have myself a little fire in the firepit. Perfect evening to sit around and enjoy the heat from the flames. Not as enjoyable when the snow is on the ground.

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If you can get your hands on stores clearing out their spring bulbs, this is the time to make those dollars go to good use!! You can usually get them now from 50-80% off, so why not take the chance and grab a few for little or nothing. Get them in the ground and throw a pile of leaves on them as this is a sure way to get them through the coming season for some beauty in spring.

This was also a good week for last-minute raking of leaves. Many of them fell during the last snowfall and we don’t want to leave them on the lawn over the winter as this has a tendency to enhance snow mold in the spring season and cause a little die-back. Clear them out now and get them back in the gardens.

Earlier this year I talked about a few tropical items that I wanted to try this past summer. One was the hardy bamboo and the other was the hardy banana. Well, I could not find the bamboo that is possible for our area but I did get my hands on the zone 4 hardy banana. It got about 3 feet this season, so I will place an 18-inch layer of leaves to cover it for the winter to help it through till spring. Time will tell if this is actually a hardy item for my garden or not. I will keep you posted on that one!

Cleaning out the garage is never a fun process as you always find things you don’t need and many items that you run out of room to store. But it is always easier to organize when the temperatures are nice out. This week of organizing was very beneficial and I was able to place the containers from the garden in an orderly placement and throw the items I no longer need. Once that was completed, a good thorough floor sweeping was in order. Now it is ready for winter with a little extra space for good measure.

If you have wood-burning stoves or fireplaces, this is a good time to restock on your firewood. If you haven’t done it yet, the sooner you get to it the better off you will be. Nobody wants to be outside cutting and loading wood once the winter temperatures and winds set in. Plan ahead so you are not rushing at the last minute.

Although I did not get to it this week, putting up the Christmas lights would have been a great idea! I did get all of the gutters cleaned of leaves though, so that was a little more important to me. Now if it snows again and melts, it will be able to run through the gutters over creating ice dams that can damage things later on in the season. Prevention will save a ton of money in the long run.

Using the good days we have left for all our last-minute outdoor chores is a wise move. We still may have some nice days ahead, but as for the beginning of this week, it looks a bit colder again. Enjoy your weekend!