Well, fall is here. That time of the year where each subsequent morning presents us with a sharper breath of air. Fall is the season of that gentle but insistent reminder:
“Get winterizing your place, or deal with the nightmares when it’s 20 below.”
It is the time that shows us how our lifestyle is so much at odds with the urban environment. Do people even winterize in the city, or is that left to the contractors hired by the strata council?
The cooler air warrants the evening outdoor fire. Of course the boys jump at the chance to get a fire going. About 45 minutes after supper out comes the marshmallows, chocolate and graham crackers. The fold up chairs and wienie sticks move from the motorhome to a place of honour by the fire. Kids, grandkids, even sundry neighbours at times gather. They still won’t let me sacrifice the oldest daughter’s boyfriend over an open flame yet. Dad’s never get any fun.
One of the virtues of rural living is that much of what we do is not based on the clock, but on the season. It is a gentler pace, but one that demands a response to the firm insistence of the coming of fall, then winter.
Mind you, those city folk with a vegetable garden know what I mean. I’ve always appreciated how they scratch out that communion with nature. Urban gardening is the last stance for those city heroes who will not stand down to the onslaught of turf and concrete. My favourites are those who put their garden in the front yard. Radical greenies. Probably eat the stuff to boot. Today it’s carrots and rutabagas. Tomorrow it’s chickens in the city yard! Good for them. Now, just think how much fun that would be for the neighbourhood kids. Way better than those infernal electronic games. Should throw rabbits into that struggle while they’re at it. They have my support.
I digress. Anyway, without realizing it, we move more in harmony with the other creatures around us. The dogs and horses’ fur is getting longer. So is my hair. The spiders are moving indoors. That always provides a chuckle with the daughters.
“Eek! Holy cow! Holy cow! It’s so big. It’s gonna eat me! Help!”
This presents the teenage boys with that virtuous rescue opportunity only available in a rural environment. Yes, a blue job!
“Geez, what a sissy. That’s not big. Get out of the way, I’ll deal with it.” is the response as he skulks about his sister’s bedroom armed with a shoe like some hillbilly ninja.
Spider guts fly leaving the clean up for the sister. Seems that’s not men’s work in his mind. I’ll let the wife deal with that attitude.
The mice are checking out the outbuildings. Obviously the compost bin is just the summer home.
Ron versus the rodents.
It’s an epochal battle that would give Steven Spielberg a run for his money. Out come the traps.
There are irrigation lines to drain and wood to split and stack. The grass won’t sustain the horses much longer so hay has to be hauled in. Never did get the water trough insulated from the plans I found in Mother Earth News. Garden will need tilled soon. Still have to make up a new idler pulley for the tractor.
It’s all on the list. But none of these chores represent a crisis. Not like the “get the lawn mowed before the neighbours complain” pressure. Instead the chores become the gateway to that harmony of seasons.
Many become a family outing. Driving out to the woods to fell and buck up deadwood. The wife and I with the kids in the back seat of the diesel truck head out to meet our in-laws up some forestry road. Gus has the chainsaw. Esther and Marie have lunch and a thermos ready. We only harvest the pine beetle kill. This stuff is dry, probably too dry and does burn fast. But it is free and has to be removed. Incredible forest fire hazard otherwise. You feel good about it, and it’s a day in the woods. When the cold settles more we can have a fire out there and do hotdogs and marshmallows. Have it bucked up and split even before it’s loaded on the truck. When we get home Marie and the kids saddle up and go for a trail ride. That’s good day.
It’s the same thing with putting away the summer furniture, hauling and stacking hay, and winterizing the motorhome. Again, the fire pit is lit up and the wienie sticks come out.
Fall is that season of quiet busyness that requires everyone to pitch in. It is also the season when everyone is really together, and for a good reason. We begin to lose this as winter sets and everyone, from the horses to the kids hunker down.
I like fall.