How to Have a House

Living with and understanding a home.

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How does the fall season make you feel?

I know it’s a funny question, but I have to ask. How does fall make you feel? I ask this as a craftsman, who works on houses, for a number of reasons. One, for those of us who drive work trucks and own tools, fall includes a bunch of preparation not normally thought of in the summer.

Fall is mixed emotions for me. While I love the smell of the leaves turning, it means my walnut trees, all 13 of them, are dropping a ton of nuts in the yard to deal with. This year I’m going to learn to harvest some. I like the weather cooling off, but dressing for a day of work is tricky. It’s a little cold in the mornings, but long pants could mean a hot workday in the afternoon. Fall reminds me that I have several containers of glue, paint, caulk and other sundries on the truck that I have to prepare for freezing weather. It’s not quite cold enough to make me do these things, but it’s got me thinking. This is the lovely way of nature. We really can’t say we got caught off guard, because nature gives us warning. A subtle hint you might say. A hint like two tons of leaves falling into the yard over several weeks. Hints like mice and bugs moving into the house suddenly, or, the sun moving into a different place in the sky. Fall, year after year, through decades of our lives, allows us to prepare without haste.

Around here my list of fall preparation might go something like this. Clean the gutters, which is a snap on a low slung, one story house like mine. I use an attachment on my leaf blower. Blow the leaves off sidewalks and away from the house. Then mulch them into the lawn with the mower. Some people overseed their lawns. I’ll sort out the firewood pile and get it ready. I’ll blow the water out of the irrigation in the garden, and because I’m lucky enough to have an outdoor shower, I’ll blow it out too. But only after I take that last warm shower, in the cool weather, my own personal dare. The garden hoses must be disconnected from the frost free spigots, or what is known as a freeze problem will occur. I’ll pick up all the silly things on the drive way and patio that could damage the snow blower. The chair cushions will all go in bags and into the garden shed. I could go on and on but you get the idea. You’ll be going on and on at your house.

But most of all, I’ll relax a little. The daylight is going away, which means my time doing chores outdoors after work will shorten. The grass won’t be growing and weeds will take a rest. Fall signals relief.

What does fall bring to your mind? Where does your heart and mind find itself in the waining days of summer? What is your checklist of fall chores around your house?

Oh, here’s one more. What’s that special book you’ll be reading on those cool weekend mornings, knowing how great it feels to sit in a warm house on a cool fall morning? I’ve made a commitment to include more of these this year.

Have fun celebrating this season. Winter is just around the corner.