Thankful — for just another day in the garden.
I thought it was over. I believed the gardening year was finished while so many of the final projects were still unfinished. And then, on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, a glorious clear afternoon gave us the opportunity we needed to put everything to bed.
The central activity was to run the lawnmower out of gas. If gasoline is left over winter it turns to a sludge that’s not good for the engine. Sure, we could buy gasoline stabilizer but it’s just as easy to use those last drops around the yard.
The grass has been making hay, so to speak, during all the stray bits of warm days and sunshine and so could use a healthy trimming. There were also enough stray wind blown leaves that had evaded the rakes. The lawn mower also chopped everything up nicely to a mulch.
We were able to put an ample but not necessarily generous blanket of mulch on the large round bed and on the side “tomato” bed– once we finally removed the cages and dry twisted vines from this year’s crop. Janice climbed up the ladder to the second story of the barn, and I handed the cages up to her so they’re safely stowed away ’til next spring.
The last thing we did was to split up a bit of wind fall branches and leftover cedar from the barn. I’ve mentioned elsewhere the fun we’ve had with this cast iron wood stove a buddy of mine got for me. (It was clearance marked at the warehouse style home improvement place where he works.) I’ve gathered up wood haphazardly ever since but I didn’t have a place to keep it dry. Inspiration struck this weekend, so I used a splitting maul and Janice used the bow saw to make the pieces small enough to fit the wood stove. And then we put the wood pieces in plastic trash cans to dry out. Our city recently switched to using large domestic dumpsters that can be emptied semi-automatically – (score one for high-tech gadgetry and zero for wage-earning humans.) We scavenged several of the “old school” trashcans to use as water-tight garden storage. We’ve got one full of compost for instance. And after Saturday, we’ve got two of them full of firewood. Just to be sure that no rainwater gets in, I also put a tarp over the top. The plan now is sometime this winter, perhaps Christmas Eve or Mid-Winter, we’ll fire up the wood stove that sits in the middle of the garden and roast some chestnuts, maybe pop some corn and sip some warm cider.
We’re not fanatics by far about getting everything in its right spot for winter. It would have been fine if we didn’t get the chance to tidy everything up. But this morning, as I was scraping the thick crust of frost off my car, I looked out over the garden. A white dusting of frost crystals outlined the leaf mulch in the beds and the points of the grass in the yard and everything seemed at peace.