Getting Ready for Winter

Sharon September 25th, 2009

Note: I’m headed offline for the Sabbath and Yom Kippur today - I’ll be back on Tuesday.  If you’ve inquired about the Garden Design class and not heard back from me, yes there are still spots available, I will reply to you on Tuesday and my apologies.  The same if you are waiting for materials about apprenticeship – I’m sorry, I had a lot of queries and a busy week or so and I’m behind – I’m not ignoring you, though! 

I thought it might be useful for me to go over all the steps we take (over a fairly long period of time) to get ready for winter – some of you probably already do all or most of these things, but there are always those people who have been accustomed to other ways, and who knows, someone might pick up (and I’m sure those who comment will offer some great ones I haven’t thought of) a new idea.  So here goes – I’m dividing it up into categories, since we get ready for winter in a whole host of ways, and this makes it easier for me to remember things.

1. Personal/Physical/Clothing: This is actually the most important category for us – we try and remember that it is always much easier to warm your body than the room or the whole house, and to start at the immediately personal level.  That means shifts in attitude, practice at accustoming ourselves to lower temperatures, and having appropriate tools and clothing.

a. We play heater-chicken, seeing how long we can go before lighting a fire or turning on heat, but also how long we can leave the windows open.  This helps us accustom ourselves to lower temps – so while a night in the 40s feels very chilly in early October, by January, that would feel warm.  

b. I dig out, clean and sort through our winter clothing, and hunt up anything we’re short of.  Standards of our winter outfitting are winter pajamas (fleece footie pjs for the boys, worn with long underwear underneath in the coldest weather; fleece and flannel for the grownups, with big foofy bathrobes over them), lotsa layers and lots of wool.

c. I begin serious mitten and hat knitting – they get lost a lot, so more is better.  The stuff from previous years gets aired out and I dig out the fingerless gloves that allow yours truly to continue blogging in her 50 degree office.

d. I dig out the bricks we put in the cookstove oven to warm the beds at night – we wrap them in flannel and put them between the sheets.

e. Down comforters, flannel sheets and wool blankets are cleaned and aired. 

f. I encourage the kids and adults to spend as much time out in the autumn sun as possible, synthesizing vitamin D.

g. I’m always a tea junkie, but we move to hot beverages on a large scale – hot cider, teas, cocoa (we’re none of us coffee people) or just hot milk with a little molasses and cinnamon. 

h. We try and make sure everyone gets up and moves around plenty – it is tempting when it is cold not to go out, but we try to force ourselves to get outside, because the house always feels a lot warmer after you’ve spent some time in the cold fresh air.

i. I dig out and size boots, snowshoes, yaktrax (ice grippers) and cross country skiis. 

2. The House: This seems obvious, and probably what most people think of as getting ready for winter. 

a. We get the chimneys cleaned, and clear out the porch, which has had gardening things on it – now it will hold self-water containers with cold tolerant plants and root cellared veggies.

b. we keep the windows open for fresh air as long as humanly possible, but eventually we do cover our windows (which are good ones for the most part, the ones that aren’t are being replaced as we can afford it) with bubble wrap or plastic (we staple it to wood frames and use it for multiple years to avoid waste).  I’m fairly slow to do this completely, simply because often into November and some years even early December, we have warm enough days to occasionally throw open the windows.

c. We bank the house with hay bales – it makes a big difference in heat transfer up from our stone basement.  The bales old hay, and used as mulch in the spring.  These also insulate the garden beds around the base of the house.

d. When it gets really cold, we shut off a portion of the house – the guest rooms (we have a large farmhouse) and move mostly into the better-insulated, smaller portion of the house.  If we ever find housemates, this will change, but we will still close a portion of the place off.  When we shut up a room (they will get opened when we have guests) we also cover up the windows entirely to reduce heat loss).

e. We put up the curtains and window quilts to reduce night-time heat loss, hang blankets on some of the less well-insulated walls, invite the cats to sleep on our beds.

f. We make any warmth-saving repairs – we try and do a little more each year that makes the old part of the house better insulated and sturdier.  This year will involve some window replacements and re-doing the porch doors, which are pulling away from their frame.

g.  We bring out the draft dodgers to block off any leaky spots.

3. Food Storage and Edible Gardens: in autumn we get ready for winter as though we would live the winter through on our stores.  In the summer we take care of our garden, all winter long, the garden takes care of us.

a. I set up bins and boxes and bushel baskets to hold the porch produce, and bring out old blankets to cover things that are best kept from light. 

b. I take one quick run through the jars of canned and dried food, and make sure everything is in good shape, all seals are solid and there is no mold or any nasty stuff.

c. I set up pop-up greenhouses or other season extension protection over beds of the hardiest crops, to extend my season of fresh greens. 

d. I move the self-watering containers filled with hardy greens into the sun porch to provide us with salads all winter.

e. I take advantage of autumn sales and bulk purchasing to make up for any bad crops or refill depleted portions of our pantry.

f. I gradually put most of the garden beds “to bed” pulling out diseased plants, cutting down (or letting the goats in to eat) the remaining stuff, and mulching plants I want to keep. 

g. I start building new beds for next year, and I dig holes for new trees we intend to plant in spring.

h. I preserve the last flush of eggs for those periods in winter when there are few. 

i. On trips to town, we take leaves on the side of the road for mulch and compost. 

4. Health: A lot of us get sick in the winter – and since my husband goes off to university and my kid to public school, we expect them to come home with a few bugs every year, but try to keep it to a minimum.

a. I strain my summer tinctures and begin digging roots after the first hard frost, but before the ground freezes.

b. I stock up on vitamin D, collect rose hips and elderberries and put up C rich fruits.

c. I restock the first aid and vet kits with all the necessaries after a summer of use.

d. I try and can a few stews and soups that are ready to eat so that if we’re all laid low, we don’t have to rely on take-out pizza.

e. I make plans for emergency Eli pickup at school, if by some chance he gets sick there – since we have only one car, and Eric isn’t always available, I make sure I can barter car use in an emergency with neighbors.

5. Winter Holidays: I should really be like my Mom, and start planning for next year’s holidays on January 1, but I find I’m not that organized – but with three birthdays and Chanukah in a six week period, plus Rosh Hashana and Sukkot in the fall giving us 15 “festival dinner with guests occasions” between September and December, it helps to plan ahead – particularly if you are going to make your own.

a. During the summer I make extra jam and preserves in small jars to give away as holiday gifts, as well as making raspberry, currant and wild grape liqueurs, goat’s milk soap and other odds and ends.

b. As much as I can, year round, I keep an eye out for new gifts being sold used, especially nice books and toys.

c. As soon as it cools off enough to touch wool, I start making mittens and hats for the boys.

d. I stock up on holiday ingredients – making sure we have enough pumpkins to make pumpkin pie, sprinkles and other decorations for birthday cakes, etc…

e. We butcher turkeys close to Thanksgiving and Chanukah.

f. I try and schedule all the events early, so that things don’t get too crazy. 

6. Barn/Livestock:

a. We make any needed barn repairs and begin bedding the animals more thickly as it cools off.

b. We butcher cull livestock and fall poultry before the animals are spending most of their day in the barn – we don’t want them to be overcrowded.

c. We begin tracking heats and planning our breeding schedule. 

d.  We put the winter’s hay and grain under cover in the hay barn, and encourage our cats to keep the rodents out (we also set traps). 

e. We bring sunflowers, oats and amaranth into the barn and hang them from the rafters to dry for winter feed. 

f. When it gets truly cold, we move the rabbits off the porch and into the barn. 

g. I begin kicking hens off nests, as we don’t want any hatches in the cold weather.

8. Pasture/Garden/Woodlot:

a. We have a neighbor with a tractor mow the pasture, to cut back any plants the sheep have left. 

b. We begin hauling our wood in from the woodlot, and the kids start taking kindling walks, to collect the winter’s starter fuel.

c. We stack and chop wood.

d. I order seed so that in February or March, I can frost seed the pasture for improvement purposes.

e. I put ribbons around the sugar maples so that I can find them all in February, when they have no leaves.

f. I plant bulbs, garlic, walking onions, potato onions and jerusalem artichokes.   Some years I also plant winter rye or wheat as well to be grazed by the chickens.

g. I dig out the sled for bringing wood in from the woodlot in winter.

h. I plot trees to coppice and some standing dead trees to be left for wildlife.   

Then I put soup on to simmer and a pumpkin pie to bake and enjoy winter!

There’s probably more, but I can’t think of any now.  How about you?  What are you doing to get ready for winter?

 Sharon

29 Responses to “Getting Ready for Winter”

  1. DEEon 25 Sep 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Reading your list made me tired until I realize we do all this stuff….just don’t write it down! Will print this off so I can show DH why we are so pooped at nite…..DEE

  2. Chileon 25 Sep 2009 at 1:33 pm

    Gee whiz, Sharon, you make staying in the warm Southwest sound like heaven! Our winter is chilly but not anything like yours so we do not have to do 90% (or more!) of what you must do.

    Personal/Physical/Clothing – we don’t turn on the heater until absolutely necessary and keep the thermostat turned low. Lots of layers in the house, snuggling under a blanket in the evening while reading or watching a movie, and comforters on the bed at night. I make sure our tea and cocoa supply is stocked, and generally make a few flavored cocoas for variation.

    House – this rental is as insulated as we can do, but our own home will have seasonal window-quilts like yours.

    Food/Garden – we keep the plants going as long as possible and cover any hardy ones with sheets when we get a hard frost warning. Moving container plants onto the brick patio by a large window helps keep them warmer. I harvest olives in fall and brine them for year-round use. We continue to get a full CSA share year-round.

    Health – we continue to stay active and enjoy the cooler temperatures after a hot summer. Better awareness of hand-washing to avoid getting sick.

    Winter Holidays – we don’t do much for the holidays, but this year I’m giving homemade vinegar. Visiting with family if possible.

    No barn, no livestock, no pasture, and no woodlot.

  3. Teganon 25 Sep 2009 at 2:08 pm

    As my roommates and I are merely renting a house in the city (Boston area), there’s a lot that you have to do that we don’t. However, there are still a lot of things to do.

    Clothing: one of my roommate’s and I are spinning, and knitting and crocheting warm fuzzy things to wear; i.e., hats, slippers, etc. But as we don’t have sheep, most of our yarn is recycled from old sweaters.

    House: We will tape up all the windows (might do plastic), and I have draft blockers that I made last winter out of muslin and rice. As we pay for our own heat, we will also be keeping the thermostat quite low, and just piling on the blankets. We have quite a few heavy curtains that will be going up to help trap heat as well.

    Food Storage: We have a large pantry that is filled will stores, and we’ll try to supplement as we go along with fresh veggies/fruits. Having a cat helps encourage rodents to stay away (had a couple — Erik killed one, and terrorized the other. They won’t be back).

    Planning for the future: I think this winter we will try to plan out having more home-grown food and eco-friendly solutions for the next year.

    Hope your winter plans go well!

  4. Mikeon 25 Sep 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Wow Sharon, this is really handy and comprehensive. Here are a few things I still want to do:

    Window Quilts — this is on the list for next winter, as I just don’t have the cash to handle it this year, as I ended up spending it all on mason jars (which I won’t need to buy again next year!)

    Food — I’ve canned like a fiend this year for the first time ever and filled the pantry with a mix of plain veggies and ready-to-serve soups and such. I’ve joined a local apple CSA for the winter with a co-worker, so that’s a box checked off.

    Garden — On the “If there’s money next year” list is some temporary greenhouse structure to attach to the south-facing patio of my condo so that I can use it as a) overwintering hardier plants and getting an early start on spring b) root cellar and c) additional insulation for the adjacent bedroom.
    I just potted a lemon tree for my summer patio and winter living room, so we’ll see how that goes. If it thrives, I’ll add limes and satsumas.

    Health – As a government worker, I have lots of people come and sneeze on me, so I’m taking some precautions this year. I’ve gotten some recipes for herbal immune boosting and will be making some reishi and astralagus soup to kick off the season and I’m getting some shots next week.

    Winter Holidays – Please don’t remind me that this is coming up.

  5. Karinon 25 Sep 2009 at 2:45 pm

    I’ve joined Crunchy Chicken’s Buy Hand Christmas challenge with the goal of making most of my gifts.

    We are in the process of moving off grid, so many of the things we will be doing to the our existing structure will be winter preparation.
    This will include, wood stacking, woodstove installment, research on living without a fridge, garden prepped for next spring, grey water management for the winter. Outhouse construction. And ..sigh…moving and storing vast amounts of food in a 786 square foot home. Should be quite an adventure!

  6. Lori Scotton 25 Sep 2009 at 3:13 pm

    We are just packing out winter things away here – jumpers, blankets, scarves etc. Has anyone noticed there that you can’t buy camphor? I used to be able to buy it in bulk but can’t get it anymore. Apparently, it is used for explosive manufacture.

    Am now working on using some herbs to try and keep the moths out but as most of these are traditional northern hemishpere herbs, I didn’t have much luck there. Some experimentation to come, I’d say.

    I moved into a house once where the kitchen cupboards and pantries had been overrun by mice. We got the cat’s attention, shoved him in the pantry and bam, crash – mice gone. To the day he died, he believed that pantries were for keeping mice in and if the door was ajar, would jump in and give it a once over, looking for the stored mice.

  7. Tamaraon 25 Sep 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Just a question for the other mommies. I have a recently potty trained three year old. How do reconcile night time warmth needs with nighttime pottying needs? I am looking at the blanket sleepers I have with dismay.

    And since plumbing might be relevant, Rosalie is a little girl.

    Tamara

  8. deweyon 25 Sep 2009 at 3:33 pm

    I’m a skinny, cold-sensitive person who always used to keep our apartment at 68 or 70 (which we could do for $75 a month, since it was small and second-floor) and still think it was too cold. Since we moved to a house I decided to bite the bullet and learn to adapt – and it really works. Last winter our daytime temps ranged from 62 to down in the 50s, and most of the time I was relatively comfortable. If I can adjust to those temperatures, I promise, so can any able-bodied person – try it and save! My essential aids to adaptation: 1. big blankie to sit under in the evening; 2. hot water bottle filled with hot tap water at night; 3. programmable thermostat so we never forget the daily adjustments; 4. lap kitteh. (Your cat is not as cuddly? Turn down the thermostat 10 degrees and she might learn to be.)

  9. Debon 25 Sep 2009 at 3:53 pm

    Tamara,
    I made my kids long heavy robes that they wore to bed over long underwear and sweatshirts and wool socks. The robes worked alot like sleepers but gave access to nether regions in the middle of the night. They were simple boxy things with long sleeves with elastic cuffs, no collar and ties in front to keep them closed. When I found kid sized long underwear, I stocked up and they were passed down from brother to sister. Now that I think of it, the bed socks got passed down too.

    Deb in WI

  10. Sharonon 25 Sep 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Wow, Chile, you warm weather climate people are whiners ;-) .

    Sharon

  11. Crunchyon 25 Sep 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Sharon,

    Where do you buy your bulk items such as grains, rice, flour, etc.?

    Also how do you use your rosehips?

  12. Mark Non 25 Sep 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Nice list. Very sound advice for the most part. I would not be digging holes for trees in Fall for Spring planting. Besides sticks, leaves, and stuff getting in there’s always the chance of an animal falling in and getting trapped (unless you cover with plywood or something). Plenty of time to dig in Spring. If you just want to remember where to plant, mark planting spot with a wood stake.

  13. NMon 25 Sep 2009 at 8:22 pm

    Lori’s comment about storing mice in the pantry made me laugh. Picturing tall jars of stacked up mice …
    I managed to get at about half the winter crops I’d planned on planted more or less on time this year, so we should have a few winter crops. CSA will run through mid-December. Still haven’t quite decided to do about next year.
    But some things can be planted as early as January here, since the Pacific Northwest has relatively mild winters, usually.
    Now it’s time to plant shallots, garlic and cover crops, also fruit trees, which over here are actually better when fall planted. Also to clean up the garden, sometime in the next few weeks, although I often don’t until January.
    I preserve like mad all summer long and halfway through the fall; eventually hit the wall sometime in October and simply cannot make myself do any more. I tend to give a lot of gifts of home preserves or baked goods.
    Made elderberry cordial, for flu season, also stocked up on Sambucol, dried elderberries, canned some honey lemon syrup, dried lemon balm and mint for tea, have plenty of dried stinging nettle, bought bottled fresh lemon juice, stocked up on local honey, for tea and sipping honey-lemon mixture if we get sick (for sore throats), stocked up on dried ginger and ginger aid tea. Still need to can some soup, harvest this year’s crop of elderberries, make some throat drops, harvest rose hips …
    And get around to storing some emergency dog and cat food, in case of unexpected quarantine. They’re the only livestock I need to worry about.
    Since last winter, when we were snowed in for a week and I ran out of dish soap, I’ve made a point of keeping plenty on hand. Also trying not to let us run too low on other essentials; the exercise was a good reminder. But I need to do better on the pet food front. You can punt some, in an emergency, but better if you don’t have to…
    No children in the household, so we tend to be fine for clothes for long periods of time, and can always layer. I do need to pay some attention to the sock and blanket supply every now and then.
    Also need to make some draft dodgers, and get DH to replace the weather strip on the front door, and the molding on the back door.

  14. Chileon 25 Sep 2009 at 9:43 pm

    Yeah, Sharon, we’re just wimpy that way. ;-)

    Let’s see you try to bike in 114 degree temperatures…

  15. Laurie in MNon 25 Sep 2009 at 11:18 pm

    Tegan:
    A suggestion that you *might* want to replace the rice in your draft dodgers with something like sand. Rice will mold if it gets wet. Of course, I don’t know how wet your winter is where you are. :) And I still have to MAKE mine! :D (Recycling some old jeans; picked up the sand last year and never got around to doing it. Booo!)

  16. TLEon 25 Sep 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Hi Lori,

    I’m another southern hemisphere person. If you can scrounge scrap blocks of camphor laurel or cedar, they can repel moths in stored clothes.

  17. Eliseon 26 Sep 2009 at 7:10 am

    Here in northern WV at elevation of 600 feet it does get cold in winter. I’m hearing the long-time residents saying they think it’s going to be a cold winter this year, and if the extraordinarily cool nights we’ve had this spring and summer are any indication, they are probably right.

    I bought 2 cords of wood (had 1 cord left from last year) and cut up the large stems of an old, overgrown privet hedge into kindling-size pieces.

    Trying to keep my strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and fruit trees watered enough that they will survive the winter – no appreciable amount of rain since the end of July here, but we expect a lot tonight. Just found out that there is a type of pump that can be connected to my rain barrels to pump the water uphill, so I ordered one.

    Planted winter greens and set up low tunnels with wire and row covers. The challenge will be to keep the covers on when the wind blows. We had 70 mph winds last winter.

    Planning to get a new outside door to the basement made (old house with cellar door). I use part of the basement as cool storage for root crops, onions and squash. It stays about 45 to 50 degrees, once the weather gets cold.

    Found some ice grippers at the Master Gardeners yard sale. I fell on the ice last winter and don’t want a repeat of that!

    My wood stove heats the entire house, sometimes too much.

    Still have to buy apples and can applesauce. Have been canning, freezing and drying fruit and veggies all summer.

    Bought a new super-warm parka at the local LL Bean outlet store for only $30 last spring.

    Still need a cast-iron dutch oven for cooking on the woodstove Have been looking all summer in thrift stores and antique malls for one. The antique malls are all having 20 to 25% off sales, but vendors seem to not be willing to let the cast iron pots go at a discount.

  18. ctdaffodilon 26 Sep 2009 at 7:45 am

    feeling like a slacker here…
    I did the winter coat wash/air mend thing. and have ordered winter boots for the oldest kid. restocked the pantry after we ate it down this summer (my goal). Today will be apple picking and garage saleing looking for more canning jars for applesauce.

  19. Darkstaron 26 Sep 2009 at 8:48 am

    We have firewood from a tree we had to cut down stacked in the front yard waiting to be moved onto the piles in the back. We just had torrential rains here, so the wood will have to dry off a bit before we move it.

    I spent part of last weekend organizing the pantry and taking stock of what we have. I’ll be looking for apples at the Farmer’s Market to can. Our rugosa roses are young, so we don’t have many rosehips yet, but I need to gather the ones who are there.

    I haven’t put in our fall garden yet because of all the rain, but I’ve got seedlings ready to go once the ground dries enough. We’re lucky – we can grow something pretty much year round here. Collards, turnips, and kale will hold through the winter. The garlic is ordered and will be here next month, which is when it needs to be planted anyway. I’m going to make an extra bed in the front, where there’s more sun, for extra greens. And I’m going to move a couple of small plum trees to a better spot next month.

    Our woodstove does a good job of heating the entire house. With the wood we have stored, we should have plenty for this winter.

    The house is well insulated, but I need to make draft dodgers. I’ve got old blue jeans saved for just that reason. We need to do better window coverings, too, but that might have to wait. We have a bedroom we can close off.

    We need to repair the door on the chicken coop. Other than that, I need to find something to insulate the window on the north side of the coop, and may bank hay bales against that side of it for extra insulation.

    Winter clothes are in good shape. I got a really warm coat on clearance last spring that won’t show mud from when I work outside. DH has enough, too.

  20. Dianaon 26 Sep 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Agreeing with ctdaffodil…I’m feeling like a slacker! But I have done this:

    1) Gone through clothes and made sure we all have boots, hats and gloves and extras.

    2) Bought firewood every chance I get…the hub doesn’t agree with this prep stuff so I can only get away with so much…no buying a cord at a time, but I have about a half cord stored.

    3) Went through my food inventory (kept online for freezer, basement and other longer-term storage) and updated and looked for holes to fill.

    4) Got the holiday shopping for the family half done. We do also for the family-less in a local nursing home and I’ve tried to light a fire under their social worker to get me names and needs earlier this year so I’m not running amok in December.

    5) Reviewed the car emergency kit and noted what I need to add.

    6) Reviewed the Go Bag and noted what needs to be added.

    Ta-dahhhhh!

  21. ceceliaon 26 Sep 2009 at 1:09 pm

    just a reminder for those who have elders in their homes – the public health recommendation is that the elderly need a temp of about 68′. I keep the thermostat at 62′ but use an electric space heater in the room my 86 yr old mother uses most of the day to be sure she gets the warmth she needs.

    On the rice issue – I would suggest that rice also tends to attract mold – I have used sand and stuffing from old pillows. The pillow stuffing actually stays dryer than even the sand. Look for old throw pillows being sold at garage sales for your cheap stuffing.

    Part of what I love about the fall is the proliferation of garage sales. I have gotten some great stuff dirt cheap – well worth the time spent. Have a food dehydrator that I got for 5$ that has been going great for 4 yrs, even a $15 lawn mower that lasted 17 yrs.

    Don’t forget caulking around those leaky window frames – big energy saver.

  22. Laura in So Calon 26 Sep 2009 at 3:41 pm

    I’m barely thinking about winter yet…our summer doesn’t end until mid-October and Winter doesn’t start until December. It is supposed to be 105F today in Southern California.

    My only current winter prep activities are finding winter pj’s for my 5 year old, getting ready to put in our fall garden (I’m late!), Christmas shopping, and a plan to change the furnace filters in the next few weeks. We play heater chicken so I don’t anticipate using the heater at all until December.

    Laura in So Cal

  23. Darkstaron 26 Sep 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Would buckwheat hulls be a good stuffing for draft dodgers? I have some left over from another project.

  24. Dianeon 26 Sep 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Soon I’ll start getting ready for winter by washing and ironing all the summer shirts! The one thing I usually manage to manage competently is the garment transfer after I learned to have everything put away ready for next year. So all the flannel shirts are hanging in a garment bag in the attic; clean, pressed and ready to wear. Wool moths have been a real problem but I find that if I put everything away clean I don’t need the mothballs. Lavender is a nice scent and maybe repellent but it’s too expensive these days and I can’t seem to keep it alive for long. (I keep trying, though.)
    Other: some canning, but less than last year because we really don’t eat that much jam and pickles and we don’t pressure can. Still need more wood and chimney cleaning. But the storm windows never made it to the basement this spring so they’ll be really easy to install. :-) .

  25. peter in Auston 26 Sep 2009 at 7:02 pm

    We are one month into our spring down here and are now at the very end of our winter wood . With the total uncertainty of weather now in future we shall store more and pray for no fire storms Regards..

  26. Sarahon 27 Sep 2009 at 11:11 am

    I bought a Lot of Sweaters at the thrift store a little while ago, so I’m set for those. I need to dig out the microwavable foot warmers, maybe even make a few more. I might get a new set of footsie pajamas.

    I need to grab more bubble wrap at the post office at some point, since I gave away our window wrap to some folks who were moving — it had been getting ratty and was really better for padding than insulation. I might get that clear sticky stuff and then put up actual curtains. But I kind of like the pink-bubble effect.

    We have new upstairs neighbors, so I’ll be interested to see how warm they keep their apartment. In the past we’ve been able to mooch off the hot water pipes going through our walls pretty effectively.

  27. Oblio13on 28 Sep 2009 at 8:43 am

    We dry and save the best seeds from the best open-pollinated vegetables from the best plants in our garden. Blacktail Mountain watermelons, Red-and-White Fall beans, etc. It saves us money, and we’re selectively breeding produce especially suited to our conditions.

  28. Yvonne Rowseon 30 Sep 2009 at 1:16 am

    I cleaned my windows. When light levels are low the more light you can get into the house during the daytime the better.
    For the rest I’ve done nothing yet. I’ve been browsing for fruit bushes that need to be winter planted & for garlic and autumn sown broad beans but nothing much more than that. I will start in earnest this weekend.
    It’s been a remarkably mild September here in England but the Met Office shows 2 deg C overnight for 1st October so I’d better think about protecting my late sown french beans (planted after reading the fall gardens info – thanks!)
    I’m sooo behind!
    Yvonne

  29. Claireon 01 Oct 2009 at 2:46 pm

    Just starting to think about winter in suburban St. Louis, MO … have had some nighttime lows in the 40s but it doesn’t get really cold here till mid-November.

    I did leave the windows open even when night temps were in the low 50s but have closed them now. Just opened them again to get some afternoon warmth before the next cold front crashes through. House temp is 66F. It feels warmer than that, and I’m only wearing jeans, a long-sleeved cotton T shirt, and an acrylic sweater. In past winters when we’ve kept the house at 66F, I’ve needed much warmer clothing including long underwear. I feel more acclimated to cold than in the past.

    I mentioned wanting some wool blankets to my DH. When he was at his mom’s house, they found a cooler in the basement packed with three wool blankets, which she gave to us. She’s also given us a down comforter she no longer uses!

    I’m starting to bring my houseplants indoors. Just two so far, but the rest will be brought in as the weather cools.

    I’ll be on the lookout for some wool sweaters, for use indoors and for cold-weather bicycling.

    Will be planting garlic, shallots, potato onions, topset onions in October. Will be digging Jerusalem artichokes, putting some into the cold storage area for winter eating, replanting the rest in a new bed in a more out of the way location. Will be harvesting the rest of the garden as weather dictates, and weeding and otherwise preparing it for winter. Will leave some collards in the ground with no protection as an experiment, and put the cold frame windows on the cold frame when lows get into the 20s.

    Still have to get echinacea seedlings planted, once I weed out their new location.

    Claire

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