Before I get into this week's list, which may or may not be exciting depending on how you feel about compost, I have to point out that I haven't done ANY of the items on this list. Why not? Well Lillian decided it was a good time to get sick and when she does sick, she does it good. Apparently the doctor believes she has viral meningitis, as opposed to bacterial meningitis which is the especially nasty kind, and she's been laid up for going on a week now. High fever, low spirits, highly contagious which means I've been stuck in the sick room nursing my baby and worrying until she shows signs of improvement--what are the chances she'll get better in time for me to go to Bouchercon this week? Two years I've waited to go to that conference and that's the week she decides to get sick.
In an unrelated news item, and to the disillusionment of anyone who might have thought I had any kind of cool going on, here's a story for you: I was getting ready for bed two nights ago and was brushing my teeth. I had the medicine cabinet door open, with the thin edge of the cabinet door pointed at me, when suddenly and completely out of nowhere in the middle of my rinse cycle I let go with an ENORMOUS sneeze.
Now this wouldn't be newsworthy except that my head flew forward at Mach 10 with the force. You remember that cabinet door I mentioned? Well I head butted it straight on that skinny edge with the force of an atomic blast. All Andrew heard was a loud "AAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!" as my forehead made contact with door, which I had hit so completely solid and head-on that it didn't have anywhere to go, it was like head butting a concrete wall.
After picking myself up off the bathroom floor and clearing the stars from my eyes ("Am I dead?" "Is this heaven?") I determined that I had, in fact, survived the ordeal but was now sporting a world-class knot in the middle of my forehead from the encounter.
So if you see this freakishly tall woman at the grocery store with a large purple goose egg on her forehead you'll know it's me. Moral of the story? Make sure you don't brush your teeth while facing an open medicine cabinet door. They should put a warning label on those things for idiots like me.
On with my list, "Things I Should Be Getting Ready for Winter":
1. Time to put the trampoline away. Not that it really needs to get put away, it can handle snow I suppose, but something about stashing it away and bringing it out again in the spring makes it feel new every time. Plus, with my crew, there's aways a patch job to do on the dumb thing so it makes sense to fix it when it's down for the season. Another hole, another $50 trip to Alaska Tent and Tarp. Sigh. Boys are so hard on things. In the dictionary when you look under the term "destruction" it says: "See 'pre-teen males'."
2. Time to get rid of the annuals. I save this for last every year because I hate doing it so much but you want to know a secret? When I clean out the pots of annuals on my back deck I throw the mass of plants and roots and soil under our deck. Heh heh! You can't see them or know they're there, but that's what I do. Makes me feel wicked but it's not like it hurts anything to throw them under there.
3. Time to wash the cars. Yea, better wash them 'cause they won't get another soaping until after the spring thaw.
4. Time for one last mow. I used to rake the fallen leaves up but then I read Jeff Lowenfels (our local gardening guru) say it was better to just mulch them into the grass and that was all it took for me to cut out raking from the agenda. Any excuse to be a little lazier and I'm okay with it. Many thanks Jeff, you're my hero.
5. Time to bring in the herbs. Actually I already did this, I forgot. The last two years I've tried to winter all my herbs in the garage (nothing like fresh rosemary in January to perk you up) but things haven't gone so well. So I've rigged up this space-age-super-cool-oxygen-tent-thingy on the workbench with grow lights above and wrapped all around with those silver space blankets to keep the heat in and reflect the light. I'm so darn proud of the design I'd almost post pictures of it if I didn't think it would drive everyone to insanity with boredom. You won't be thinking it's boring when I've got fresh sage for my turkey at Thanksgiving! No siree Bob.
6. Time to wrap the trees. Okay this is kind of funny, I've had this ongoing war with the local moose who ravage my lilac bush and crabapple tree in the front yard each winter. They strip the bark, bite off the buds and make me want to hire a sniper (I've wondered if I'd get caught if I poisoned the branches). One year I'd heard that there was this product guaranteed to keep the moose away so I bought some. It was this brownish powder that was to be mixed with five gallons of water. Once it was mixed it smelled kind of funny. Nasty actually so I looked at the ingredients and turns out it was deer blood mixed with oil. Oh well, I shrugged and began painting it all over the branches according to the directions but you can imagine how that the tiny branches and remaining leaves might make things rather messy. When I was done I didn't realize it but I was covered head-to-toe in blood splatters. I could have been picked up by a CSI team and I scared my neighbor when she got a look at me. I didn't understand her reaction until I saw myself in the mirror once I was done. Heh, it was pretty bad.
End of the story? After all that work it kept the trees safe until about January, so this year I'm trying bird netting--I'm going to win this battle in the end I'm telling you. Stupid moose.
7. Time to harvest the rhubarb. I need to get it picked before the frost kills it and makes it all schloppy-jiggly. Of course this means I have to chop it once it's picked. And that means I'll need a place to put it once it's chopped and in freezer bags. And that means that I'll have to clean out the freezer to find extra space. And that means I'd have to actually get up off the couch, stop blogging and do some work. I'm not ready for that kind of pressure so it may have to wait.
8. Time to change the tires. I hate this chore because it's a pain to wait for your car to get the snow tires on and then to have to pay $67 on top of that for the job is just irritating. A necessary evil and better than getting in an accident later this winter but irksome none the less.
9. Time to put away the hoses. Oh I'd better get this done soon, or those pipes will be in bad shape.
10. Time to secure the gates. The ground freezing makes it shift up and down so that if I don't unlock the gates to the back yard and secure them they rip right off their hinges. Got to have them closed so those moose don't get my back yard but have to be open so they don't get torn up. Ah! The joys of Alaska. I could write a post on permafrost and frost heaves . . .
11. Time to put away the deck furniture, swings and bikes. Anyone want a bike? Yours for free if you come and get it. Over the years we've collected four extra bikes so now there are ten. TEN BIKES under the deck in the bike wrack. It's like they're proliferating under the deck and there's no way to stop it--like rabbits or gremlins or something.
12. Time to stock up on ice melt, antifreeze. Oh and hot chocolate. Though I'll drink that all year round actually but it's good to have lots of extra stuff for the cold days ahead.
13. Time to wash out the trash cans. What is that smell? Oh, just the garbage cans. You know that Windex outdoor window wash stuff? It's perfect for washing out garbage cans too, but the trick is remembering to do it after the trash has been collected before anyone sticks more trash into the cans. Very tricky timing.
See, I told you the list was exciting. If you're looking for more excitement check out the new Winter Bazaar that's starting next Wednesday. It's gonna be great . . .
Technorati tags: Thursday Thirteen, Anchorage, Alaska, winter, gardening