The Beauty of Winter Preparations & Chilly Weather

When you live in a climate that can get as cold as Maine, and you live in the countryside, I’ve found a “winter preparation all year long” mentality sets in. We got pretty lucky this year because the fall weather has lingered an abnormally long time, allowing us a little more time to get things done we normally couldn’t, like the retaining wall. It was only today that the first real chill set in. Even yesterday I was running outside barefoot in 45 degree weather to grab things I needed.

Winter preparations sort of go like this:

Come spring, you get the garden in as soon as you can for three reasons. First, you’re sick of root vegetables and tomatoes from the grocery store that don’t actually taste like a fresh tomato. Second, your crop needs to be ready to harvest and get canned before fall. Third, all this needs to be done before you do your second planting of fall crops that can take a little winter.

Then you start assessing your firewood situation – especially if you are like us and use a woodstove to heat your house 99% of the time. No oil. No electric baseboards. If you need it, you start cutting and splitting in March if possible.  In August you preserve as much harvest as you can, or as everything ripens. Vegetables and fruit wait for no man or woman – you need to be there when they need you.

Then, come Fall, you give the cars a complete overhaul because the last thing you want is to break down in a snowstorm. There are other little items here and there that need to be taken care of but in my mind, as of immediate, these are the biggest.

This year however brought on another one, which I hadn’t even thought of. The foundation to our addition. This is a birds eye view photo before it was complete, but you get the idea. Our current stairs are below the wall level. It hasn’t been an issue as the dogs can jump over it, and we can step over it. Come winter though, this won’t be possible.

So on my way to let the dogs out for a run in the back field, I saw the boys putting boards from the stairs to the foundation wall, I had no idea what they were doing.

Almost immediately Andy asked me to come over from the yard and stand on something. He was installing some temporary granite steps and a plankway to actually have access to the front door in the winter.

On a side note: I don’t know why I call it the front door. Both of our doors are on the sides of our house, and our main door is on the other side.

On another side note: I’ve contemplated calling this house the Old Granite House, or The Granite House, or Granite Farm. Primarily because we dug up so much of it in our yard. It was the foundation for the old farm house which sat on our property. This is why we have temporary granite steps. We’ll be utilizing this granite in other ways (and maybe as steps too) down the line. We have quite a bit of it.

On another other side note: The original farmhouse and barn burnt down in a fire, and this house was built in its place. Our house was built on the old foundation for the house so it’s super weird dimensions – nothing like classic building measurements. This is because back then, you built a house to the size of the material you had. Sometimes I like to sit here and think about how beautiful it must have been. I smile when I think we’re bringing some use back to the property.

Anyway, these are the things my husband thinks of, which I never would have until I had to go out the door in a foot of snow and scale the wall to take the trash out. He doesn’t really tell you it’s happening, he does it. He thinks in his head, and then does it (introvert thinker) – I think by talking, and then I talk about it more and then I do it (extrovert thinker).

While he did this, I took the ladies in the back field for a run. There’s something incredibly invigorating to both the dogs and I about chilly weather. It’s entirely shocking to your system, but once that pasts it wakes you up like never before.

It amazes me when even after all of the beautiful flowers and foliage has died off, how gorgeous winter really is. I find if you just look a little harder, it’s just as breathtaking in it’s own way.

I also smiled when I saw these last few pieces of foliage holding onto their gorgeous bright colors. These were about 1/2 an inch big each.

Then there were the girls. It’s been hunting season so it’s been hard to get them outside for huge runs. It’s been making all of us a little stir crazy. Even with all the orange in the world, the closer it gets to the end of hunting season the more hesitant I am to go for a walk in the woods. Since the season ended yesterday (and hunting isn’t Sundays anyway) we let them out and let them run nuts for a few hours.

Rosie promptly did her favorite thing ever – rolling. Rolling in the grass. Rolling in things she shouldn’t be. Rolling when I tell her to lay down so I can try to get a photo of her. Rolling into my camera while I was laying on my stomach taking a photo. Oh wait, that last one was Winnie. They both like to roll. A lot.

These two dogs crack me up. Winnie instigates Primrose, and then runs like hell from her, and if she doesn’t think she’s being chased she turns around to stare Primrose down. That doesn’t mean Rosie doesn’t pounce unprovoked, she does. These two are absolute best friends, I’ve never seen two dogs like it.

This last photo above cracks me up. It’s a head to head battle royal over the stick and so quintessential to them. They act tough with each other but in reality are the biggest sweethearts. They sleep together, and run to each other if they’ve been apart for more than 5 minutes. They whine if the other one is gone with a human for too long. There is no denying the love they have for each other.

So with winter only a week or two out, the official start at least, we’re pretty well set. With hunting season over we’ll be outside a lot more, including in the mornings for runs in the field (and hopefully a human run or two as well).

I hope you’ve been enjoying the cooler weather yourself, or at least making the best of it if you live in a cool climate too. Here’s to hopefully snowy days starting soon, motivation to do some morning runs or at least just get outside with no more than the dogs, the animals and God, and enjoying our winter bounty for a few more months until next years preparations start.

Keep Warm,

Heather

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