has gone by quickly ó again. Time to start thinking
about getting the house ready for winter.
is tradition for my male readers, on the day this column
appears each year, to bury the Real Estate section at
the bottom of the recycling pile so their wives canít
say, "But Al Heavens said you should clean the
gutters." (Itís too expensive to just recycle a
computer or smartphone, so you might as well grin and
I have to admit that I have fallen behind on my spring
and summer chores.
bought a gallon of exterior paint in early March to
begin repainting the house for what I say is the last
time. As a result of a rainy spring, with painting
limited to weekends, and a hot and humid summer, with
thunderstorms threatening constantly, I still have
one-quarter of that first gallon of paint left.
yard work, I have had some notable successes, however.
built a fourth raised bed in late May, and it has
produced a magnificent supply of yellow beans.
three other beds gave us nearly eight weeks of
butter-crunch lettuce before the heat caused it to bolt,
but the fall lettuce is doing nicely now.
herb garden near the kitchen is thriving, we have had
more raspberries than we can consume, and the rain
barrels I installed at the garage downspout are usually
overflowing, saving, I hope, some money on the water
bill. I donít believe in watering lawns, just gardens.
downside to backyard gardening? The pests: rabbits;
chipmunks; squirrels; and mosquitoes.
rodents took 59 of the 60 apples on the two trees I
planted two years ago. I ate the 60th, just to see how
it would have tasted. It needed another month.
ripening our abundant tomato crop by wrapping them in
newspapers and keeping them in the garage.
what I found in the pages of the Sunday Inquirer,"
I said to my wife as I showed her three nicely ripened
and chipmunks will take a bite out of them on the vine,
then leave the rest of the tomato open to bugs.
the year for you ó tomatoes ripened in the hothouse,
then in the field and finally in the garage.
rabbits have taken out the zucchini in the garden, as
well as the hosta on the north side of the house.
mosquitoes seem to find me even when Iím just thinking
about going outdoors ó and find me and find me and,
major completed project involved gravel ó
three-eighths of an inch pea shingles, to be precise,
which I had delivered in a two-ton load in June.
shovel and borrowed wheelbarrow, I moved the two tons
from the driveway to the backyard patio, then used it to
create paths and other landscaped spaces.
with everything house-related, I will need more, so
another ton will be ordered next month.
the two other houses I have owned over the last 35
years, this one has offered me a chance to create rather
than just fix ó including a window seat with bookcases
beneath it in the kitchen, a workshop in the garage, an
office in the basement, and a wall in the master bedroom
with a fireplace, bookcases, and storage for suitcases
I donít feel like doing something ó too hot to
paint, too tired to weed ó this house doesnít seem
to care, if you know what I mean.
other houses wouldnít let me alone. A problem
unattended always grew worse.
may be asking where that promised list of winter prep
chores is. I have decided to take a page from my house
and give you a break.
the rest of the summer. Winter can wait.