We haven’t had the hottest summer down here in Tassie this season. Sure, we have had a few hot days, and there were several nights where I slept with a fan blowing in my face, yet for the most part… not so hot. The colder weather is already starting to make itself known, with the nights seeing us all rugged up. It is time for me to make plans for Winter. I don’t, really, dislike Winter. I used to love it, with my hobby of Snowboarding… yet now I am older it really just means I am going to be cold and going to work in the dark (and sometimes not seeing the sun all day, as I may leave work after dark). Sure, the warm season is gone, yet it isn’t really a time to feel bad. It is time to harvest the last of the rewards of my work, and to start to prepare the homestead for the cold.
From cuttings I made last winter, and the irregular collection of dead wood from my trees, I have amassed an assortment of fuel for my fireplace. The wood has been out in the elements for over six months, slowing curing in the weather, so now a dry wood remains. I have spent the last few days re-discovering my long-overgrown wood piles and moving the fuel to the house so that we can use the wood in the coming winter. In this way I am using something which could be considered a negative (branches falling off trees, pruned wood which would need to be removed from the property) into a positive (warmth for my family). I don’t have the huge number of trees which I once owned (around 15 acres of forest), yet I am making do with what I do have.
For the most part, I am just ensuring that the wood is of a length that would fit into my fireplace and moving it to a stack on my veranda so it is out of the wet and easy to reach. I am also breaking up small twigs which can be used as kindling for starting the fire.
Another pre-winter task is preparing the garden for the coming colder months. I am going to be planting some vegetables and green manure over the Autumn, so now I have to clean out the gardens of the plants that have passed their growing window. I still have some plants producing, such as Tomato, Zucchini, potato, lettuce, and carrots. I also have some Tomatillos that are growing, yet I don’t know if they will produce any fruit. These beds will stay where they are for now, I have completed another garden bed of compost, and I am starting to work on a new one for over the winter. Hopefully by the Spring I will have 2-3 beds of compost ready for the garden.
Speaking of gardening, I am also trying to store as much of my fruit harvest as I can. Each day I am placing half a dozen or more apples into my dehydrator, seeking to preserve some of our own produce for the winter. The only trouble I have in this is that my daughter loves the dried apples so much, that I have to hide them from her, or she would eat them all.