All week we had been conscious of the season's closing window and all that remained to be done. There were still trenches to clear of the vestiges of harvest.
There were fence panels to separate from their posts and organize for winter.
There were leaves to rake for the compost pile.
There was garlic to plant.
The tractor's snow blower attachment needed to supplant the mowing deck.
And there was rain water to store as best we were able, and the barrels -- eleven in all -- that had collected it to store.
And a winter storm forecasted by the week's end.
Early in the week I devoted my energies and what time I had to the garlic. Readying the trenches. Amending the soil. Mixing and sprinkling in some fertilizer. Nestling and then covering the cloves. Spreading straw across the top. Lori amplified the efforts one of the days. Eventually 10 rows were planted:
- Georgian fire
- Oregon Blue
- German Extra Hardy
- Inchelium Red
- Spanish Roja
Friends could converge on the tractor project this morning, and Lori planned a half-day of vacation to help with the rain barrels. We hit the ground in the dim light of emerging morning and were well under way by the time the friends arrived for the manly work. In a fog of diesel we backed, unbolted, disconnected and maneuvered into place. With the snow blower in place and demonstrated in less time than we anticipated, we expanded our efforts to securing tire chains for extra traction. The coffee pot empty and the mechanics completed, I waved them goodbye and returned to Lori and the barrels and their water.
The temperature, chilly from the start of the morning, was conspicuously dropping, and it is tedious work filling and relocating jugs for pouring into storage tanks out of the weather. By the time that A.M. was slipping toward P.M., however, we had accomplished our intention. Well over 200 gallons of rainwater had found safekeeping for the winter months' nourishment of houseplants and greenhouse greens and seedlings.
Breath was fogging as we closed the barn door, and fingers were numbing. A little water on ourselves and a fresh change of clothes, we headed our separate ways into town and work of a different kind...
...when the rain shortly commenced, freezing onto the windows and pavement.
So much for the chores of autumn.
Snow is predicted tomorrow.