Preparing for Winter

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In the first picture of the slideshow you can see autumn showing off in the “spotlight” across the street, teasing us with falling temperatures. Not to be outdone, several other bold and brassy trees flaunted themselves at us as well.

In light of this wanton display, Len did a “batten down the hatches and prepare to take on water” routine around the garage and yard—changed the furnace filter, cleaned the air ducts, did leaf removal from yard and rain gutters, brought a load of fire wood into the house, had Jiminy Chimney clean our woodburning stove and pipe, lubed the garage door opener tracks against freezing, weather-stripped the back door, sealed the garage windows, put the ice scrapers in the car, took down the wind chimes, and yanked stuff from the garden and put it into the compost bin. By the look of him, you’d think that snow is on its way. And by golly, it is!

What was I doing during all of this, you ask? Why making a huge batch of chili and then freezing it to enjoy in the coming cold winter nights. 

How do you prepare for winter?

Listen with your heart,

Laurie Buchanan

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
               – Laurie Buchanan

Copyright © 2010 Laurie Buchanan — All Rights ReservedNo part of this blog post may be used in part, or in whole, without written permission from Laurie Buchanan.

29 thoughts on “Preparing for Winter

  1. Wow, it looks like you and Len are ready! Lots of seasonal chores happening for sure. We prepare for winter by buying, cutting and splitting our wood. Now we’re raking leaves and/or mulching them into the soil. I pulled leaves out of the small flower garden and carried them to the woods. Cleaned off the hose area, pulled garden produce, rototilled the garden. Battened the hatches. Sure there are lots more chores we’ve been doing that I’m not mentioning. (Oh, Barry was on the roof repairing shingles last weekend.)

    • Kathy – It sounds like a hive of activity is happening at your house too. I can’t even begin to imagine the amount of wood you guys go through with the severe weather you get. We get bad weather and go through a lot, but our weather is child’s play compared to yours. Autumn is my favorite time of year (winter’s my least favorite). Have yourself a grand day!

  2. Oh how I love this time of year, especially when hubby and son are done golfing and spend more time home!

    Chili sounds wonderful…we had a chili cook-off at church a couple weeks ago—it was great to sample diffent recipes. There we’re about we different pots.

    I prepared for winter by cleaning closets and getting those war coats and mittens ready. Mike is also with leaf removal. Fixing the front brick walkway, unhooking the securing outside hoses and faucets, covering the roses etc etc. Humm thinking to get poor Oreoz a sweater!

    • Kim – You listed two things I haven’t thought of. Unhooking the hose (I’ll have to check with Len to see if he did that), and finding gloves, scarves, and ear-muffs. They seem to head for the hills during the off season. It’s time to track ’em down!

      • Just saw the pictures…..Based on your previous post, a tea party by the stove sound heavenly!

        We blew the leaves here and we are glad you caught them on your side of town and put them away….

        I am having no trouble with your site and like the colors very much…..

      • Kim – So that’s where all those leaves came from 🙂 I’m glad you’re not having any trouble loading the colorful page either; thank you for letting me know.

  3. See….we’re back to my melancholiness about this season. The battening down, putting away, pulling up parts of fall make me sad for summer sometimes, but there’s also a satisfaction with another season well-grown, piles of wood ready to burn and a yard ready for winter. Most of my stuff is done – just a few putzy little things to take care of now.

    My husband, Johnny, is in the process of building a new sauna out at deer camp and had to plane stacks of cedar. This left a humungous pile of cedar shavings! What fun to stuff it into bags and over my rose beds – lovely smell and it’ll compost down good for next spring. A good time was had by me!

    • Cindy Lou – I agree that autumn — the handshake between summer and winter — is a bittersweet time of year. I tend to pull in my walls and hunker down a bit (sort of like a bulb beneath the dirt). It may look like I’m sleeping or being lazy, but I’m not. I’m recharging my battery so that come spring, I can pop back up with renewed vigor.

      I’m glad you had a blast with the cedar shavings – they smell like heaven. We have a small cedar-lined closet downstairs in what used to be our son’s bedroom. That wood has been in there at least 16 years and it still smells wonderful!

  4. Thanks for the encouraging message. That is our job for next weekend. I love your new header. The Color post were fabulous. I enjoyed them on our “Annual Fall Color Motorcycle Trip” to Door County. Sorry, I didn’t write and comment sooner. I was really on vacation, I was just reading!! Cheers, Sheila

    • Sheila – Okay, now I’m GREEN with envy! A fall color motorcycle trip to Door Country — aaahhhhh. I’m glad you enjoyed The Color of Wellness posts. Thank you for stopping by.

  5. Hi, Laurie, it sounds as if y’all have the jump on us by at least a month. Of course we don’t actually experience winter quite the same way that you Northern folks do, It is more like an inconvenience, damp chilly days and long nights that start way too early. Last winter was an eyeopener, eyes poking out on stalks to be more exact. Who knew that single digit nights and below freezing days were going to have us huddling inside for weeks at a time? For me, winter is my favorite gardening time, the heavy work of clearing brush, building and burning brush piles, rejuvenating tired garden beds, and pruning all seem much easier when the Sun is not making a torch of your head. The mosquitoes are gone, the flashy cardinals keep you company in the garden and the weeds are next year’s problem. No dragging of water hoses or a hoe to encumber your hands. Right now I am still watering my flower beds, sowing seed of Sweet Williams and waiting for it to get cold enough to plant bulbs. Oh! And the pansies, got to have pansies! Atlanta and surrounding areas twinkle with pansies and snapdragons all winter long.

    • Sandi – Just reading about your winter gardening activity wore me out, good grief!

      I love the word picture you painted, “Atlanta and surrounding areas twinkle with pansies and snapdragons all winter long.”

      We glisten with snow and ice. That sounds enticing, right?

      I’ll tell ya what … I’ll trade you two weeks of twinkle for two weeks of glisten. That seems fair and reasonable to me.

  6. Good morning!

    Poor Len working so hard out in the yard! I was wondering what you where doing all that time… hey I thought Len did the cooking too? A a big batch of Chile is ok than!

    I am still having trouble with this new page. it take a long time to load, and than I have difficulty getting it to scroll down…

    • Jeff – You’re correct in that Len does 95 percent of the cooking and grocery shopping. On those occasions when he’s showing me up shamefully, I’ve gotta do something! Chili is one of the things that I do stunningly. The “stunningly” part comes about once the recipient of my “Fire in the Kilt” chili kicks in 🙂

      • Readers – Are you experiencing “loading issues” when you open Speaking from the Heart? Jeff shared that loading it is somewhat of an issue. And while it’s fun to look at, if it’s a problem, I need to switch to something that’s fast and easy. Please let me know.

        If anyone else has issues loading Speaking from the Heart, I’ll remove the “chakra banner” that I added from our HolEssence website. That may well be the culprit. If it’s still slow after that, I’ll switch from “Spectrum” to a different theme.

        Jeff – thank you for letting me know.

  7. I deal with winter by denying its existence at least until January. I might start wearing panty hose again sometime in October but don’t pull out the winter coat until the temperature stays at 40 degrees regularly. Here in Maryland, we have a prolonged spring and autumn and our fierce winter and summer months tend to be short — only about two months each.

    By the way, I am not having any trouble loading Speaking from the Heart and I love looking at the colored chakras.

    • Barbara – Panty hose? Someone has to get married or die for me to put those things on! And if I recall correctly, your two months of winter had you nostril-high in snow on a number of occasions. I can remember your power being out and Jonathan having to make meals with camping gear. It may have only been two months, but it was downright fierce.

      Thank you for letting me know that you’re not having any trouble loading the page either. I’m so glad you like the chakra banner!

  8. Laurie I just love that first pictures it’s amazing. And the huge leaf sucker? wow where did you get that? I hate going on the roof to blow out the gutters. I’m doing the same at home. Leaf patrol. But it’s been so incredibly nice outside. All my flowering pots are still going strong. So I can’t bare to yank them yet. I usually freeze my patootie off clearing them out when it gets quite cold. I’m not to happy looking forward to winter although I do like the time spent inside. Hopefully I’ll get some projects done soon.
    Happy Thursday

    • Beth – The “extension tube” that Len has for the leaf blower is cool, isn’t it?! Len got it at Ace Hardware here in town (about a mile from HolEssence). I love it because he doesn’t have to get up on the ladder and it only takes him 5-minutes to blow out a gutter on each side of the house.

      I’d have a hard time pulling out flowers at your house too – it’s a profusion of beautiful color.

  9. Laurie I thought I had commented here but I guess it was over on Creative Potager about this post rather than here… hum, I was I talking to you or were you talking to me:)

    We have stocked up on non-perishable food goods. We have a new portable butane heater and a butane cooking element and a battery lamp that is good to read by. We don’t get particularly cold but we do get power outages due to high winds. So if my blog post isn’t up as expected before starting to worry – check the Mayne Island weather. If there have been wind warnings or storms… we are likely just find – without the power to connect.

    • Terrill – Living on an island like you do …

      … do you do your big, stock-up type grocery shopping locally, or do you have to leave the island for that? I can remember several incidents in the past where you off-line because the high winds had knocked your power out. And with your home being up high like it is, I imagine you get the brunt of it!

      I’m glad you’ve got the heart, cooking element, and lamp that will work – regardless.

  10. Len is quite the trouper! Unfortunately, I am not all that active (though with a recent diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes I have started to exercise around a local lake with several of my kids) and was never a “handy man.” The transition from fall to winter in the North Jersey/NYC area is rather subtle, and until the area is gripped by plummeting temperatures, it does seem to fluctuate from one season back to the other. Hence there’s little real preparation here outside of simply having the shnow shovels and rock salt ready. This is an area of extremes – intense heat in the summer, and often a brutal winter that pulverizes the regions with several blizzards.

    Blow, blow, thou winter wind.
    Thou art not so unkind
    As man’s ingratitude;
    Thy tooth is not so keen,
    Because thou art not seen,
    Although thy breath be rude.
    Heigh-ho! sing, heigh-ho! unto the green holly:
    Most friendship is feigning, most loving mere folly:
    Then, heigh-ho, the holly!
    This life is most jolly.
    Freeze, freeze, thou bitter sky,
    That dost not bite so nigh
    As benefits forgot:
    Though thou the waters warp,
    Thy sting is not so sharp
    As friend remember’d not.
    Heigh-ho! sing, &c.
    -“As You Like It” Act II, William Shakespeare

    • Sam – I’m sure glad to know that with Type 2 diabetes you’ve started to exercise around your local lake with kids – that’s wonderful! I have several clients who are diabetic — one of the best things you can do for yourself is find a good reflexologist. With pendulum type temperatures — swinging this way, and that — you probably have to dress in layers and have jackets at-the-ready just in case. I think we’re probably “mild” on a compare/contrast basis to your area — although they say that this winter is supposed to be a “doozie” weather-wise.

      I love the Shakespeare that you added in – perfect!

      • Laurie, I am very interested in your comments about Type 2 diabetes and reflexology. Rick deals with this challenge and we’re always looking for new information on the subject.

        We both enjoyed Preparing for Winter along with everyone’s thoughts and comments. It brought back so many nice memories. Could almost smell the woodsmoke and feel the frost in the air!

        Our download is a bit wonky but not sure at this time which end it is coming from.

      • Colleen – I’m so glad that you and Rick enjoyed the “Preparing for Winter” post and comments. Thank you for letting me know that your download is a bit “wonky” (I love that word!). Was Speaking from the Heart “wonky” to load before it got its colorful facelift, or is it loading about the same?

        Here is a LINK to the reflexology page on my HolEssence website. If you type in the words diabetes and reflexology (just as you see it there) into the Google search bar, you’ll learn about the wonderful benefits it provides anyone, but especially someone with diabetes. If you send me an email ( with your zip code, I’ll look through the networks of practitioner groups that I belong to and see if I can find anyone in your area. Bear in mind I won’t know them personally, but I can see where they went to school and make sure that they’re certified and licensed specifically to practice reflexology.

  11. Laurie, thank you so very much. I followed the links and did some reading. Exciting possibilities. For some reason we hadn’t thought about reflexology in relationship to this but it makes such perfect sense. Will e-mail tomorrow with the information and a couple of questions….thank you!!

    I peeked in to look at your reflexology information and ended up spending much longer than intended exploring the rest of your wonderful site. So impressive.

    The downloading has been slow and jerky but I’m still not clear which side it’s coming from. It did start after your facelift and new colors. Sorry that I can’t be more specific.

    • Colleen – I’m glad you stopped by and enjoyed our website. I’ll be on the lookout for your email tomorrow. Hmmmmm, you and Jeff and the two folks who’ve experienced issues when opening Speaking from the Heart since it’s up-do. I’m going to do some thinking on that, and so is Len.

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