Wednesday, September 18, 2013

That Never-Ending Autumn List.....

While most of you out there in blogland are setting pretty tablescapes, decorating homes and gardens, and pulling out all the Autumn stops, September is turning out to be a checklist kind of month for me....checking things off the "before it gets cold and you're sorry you haven't done it kind of list".

Concurrent with the plumbing upgrades completed right after Labor Day, we also contracted to have our riverbank tree legs shaved (limbed up), along with a little pruning of some of the landscape trees.  This was a two-day process once the contractors were here.  It went from looking like this:

To after the maintenance, looking like this:

Our trees had sustained a lot of injury of late, especially during last year's derecho that hit WV hard.  Besides all the [before] furry, wild undergrowth on the main trunks, you can see visible gaps in the high limbs among the trees, as well as dead branches in the foreground, a result of the derecho.  Although you can still see the gap at the highest level (it makes an endearing heart shape :)), the trees look so much better when they're limbed up!  The tiny growth you see below the bank's edge (to the left of center, in front of the pole) is a sassafras sapling, another move in our effort to ensure the one of our better tree's future existence.  We're actually nurturing two, and a neighbor two doors up is nurturing another.  Most of the other trees are indigenous to the area (box elder and silver maples), and keep erosion at bay.

After the plumbing and trees, my focus shifted immediately to getting rid of items sorted for the community yard sale.  That sale occurred this past Saturday, and it was a success for my two sisters and me.  We were up at 4:30 am to be sure to be in line for the unloading, which began at 6 am. We were unloading in the dark and, what I've seen consistently is, dealers start shopping the lot with flashlights at that time.  It's exhilarating and annoying all at the same time - you're trying to get set up before the official 8 am start, and it's just crazy.

Here's what our scene looked like later in the morning (when it was daylight!):
Our space extended from the chairs on the left, to the tables in the background (no clothes!), to the blue tent on the right.  We had already sold quite a few of the bigger items at this point, but I was too busy to snap a photo at the point where we were unloaded.

By 12:45 pm, 45 minutes after it was all over, and the unsold items were loaded onto the donation truck, we were happy campers, and the scene looked like this:

After a much needed two-day rest period of post-sale (although I still have a few items in my car that I brought back, not quite ready to donate), I jumped right back into purge mode with the next items on my checklist. Remember these?
This was the last stop for my displaced houseplant trees after putting my house back together from the plumbing job.  Yesterday, I not only emptied these self-watering containers and bagged the trees for the city's yard waste recycling, I cleaned the pots too (no easy task!).
Remains of trees from front porch!
Clearing the houseplants are part of my plan to get the porch Fall-ready.  So, I look at the porch and notice all the spider cocoons that have used my porch and balcony as party central through the summer nights with landscape lights shining on them.....next thing you know, I'm cleaning the balcony...which I ordinarily do every six months, but hasn't been done for two years (last year was a year of annoying health issues, suffice it to say).

Two hours later, I've got the edge of the balcony looking like this (the photo was taken this morning, looking over the edge, which I can already see black spots that are bugs!!):

I've gone all along the outer edge, with my skinny arms working between the balusters, cleaning disgusting slime and mold that built up over the two years.  Before this job is complete, I will have cleaned every single baluster with a floss-like motion, and then move to the lower porch area and clean all the column crevices, ceiling and lights.  Then I'll use almost an entire can of this stuff just to let the spiders know the partay is over:
I love the spiders' work of eating the pesty bugs in the garden, I just don't like them setting up their buffets on my porch and balcony!  This stuff really works, and keeps the spiders off my porch for weeks, months (no sponsors here, just the facts, ma'am)!

Looking further down the "before it gets cold and you're sorry you haven't done it kind of list", I'm in holiday decor thoughts, and decide it's time to unload the landscape deer that I put out for Christmas.  I have four - two that the lights quit working on four years ago, and two more that have partial lights working - meaning, you can't plug them in because they just look stupid.  So, out of the attic they came, and out to the alley for trash or treasure pickup they went!
About two hours later, this is what was left:
The sign read:
"TRASH OR TREASURE - YOU DECIDE! - 4 DANG DEER - LIGHTS DON'T ALL WORK
Dang deer is a local joke around here - deer are everywhere - city, country, highway, back roads - and our local DJ coined the phrase "How many dang deer?", asking listeners to guess, that he sees on his way to work for the morning shift.
About an hour after the first three deer were gone, here's what the trash pile looked like:
All cleaned up by the taker of the TREASURE!

Today I'm back in porch mode, I've been to the Capital Market to get my natural decor items, and I hope to have the surfaces sprayed and ready for Fall when it officially begins later this week.

As for the seemingly never-ending list?  I'm still hoping to get the sunroom and balcony re-caulked (yep, that stuff just scraped right off as I was cleaning), not to mention the wedding at the end of October!  And,  Mr. P. wants to have the brick porch, walk and courtyard cleaned (which will, inevitably, lead to new mortar repairs); the hot tub needs drained and cleaned; and our neighbors just killed the grass outside our brick fence that butts up to their property and their yard renovation!  We'll see how much of this list gets done before the time runs out.....

What's on your "before it gets cold and you're sorry you haven't done it kind of list"?  Please don't tell me you're completely ready!