A View from Our Side: Getting Ready for the “W” Word

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I have to tell you that last Sunday afternoon was an absolute perfect fall day. I was in the back yard checking over the apple tree to see how close we were to harvesting our small apple crop and the sunshine and fall colors reminded me of why I love the four seasons that North Dakota offers.
In October the leaves will finish their transition from green summer foliage to the reds and yellows of fall, and then sadly, they will fall and out will come the rakes. Some of those days spent raking leaves will be in bright sunshine with the temperature topping out around 60. In the morning you grab a light jacket and by Noon you are back to t-shirts, albeit they might be long sleeved t-shirts. And then there will be those days when you head out the door and definitely feel in the air that indeed, fall is almost over, and we are on the threshold of, well there really isn’t any other way of putting it, winter.
I guess when you have lived in North Dakota all of your life you are kind of used to playing Russian Roulette with winter. By the time this article comes out, we might have had a day when the high temperature for the day was in the 40’s. A little heavier jacket needed, yes, but certainly no need to completely change over the closet quite yet. In the back yard there are those fall chores like disconnecting water hoses and cutting down what is left of the rhubarb patch…and we already talked about harvesting apples. Truth be told, you try to wait until you have that first heavy frost as that is what makes the apples really sweet.
You may have heard of natives refer to an Indian Summer, defined as a few days, or a few weeks, of unseasonably warm weather, more like summer than fall. The Old Farmer’s Almanac; What? You didn’t buy and Old Farmer’s Almanac this year? You can’t operate in North Dakota without an Old Farmer’s Almanac! But that story is for another day. Well anyway, the Old Farmer’s Almanac tells you that Indian Summer normally takes place between November 11 and November 24. So, if you have procrastinated on preparing for winter, Indian Summer may be your final chance to get ready for another change in seasons.
Normally by Indian Summer I have a majority of my leaves collected and the garage will be prepared for winter. Replacing the lawn mower will be the snow blower (don’t forget to change oil on the snowblower of course). The summer gardening tools are put away and the snow shovels have taken their place. Let’s see, somewhere is that pail of ice melt that went into storage last spring, and finally I purchase and add winter windshield wiper fluid to my vehicles.
Don’t be fooled by my calm demeanor this year. The above was a plan that when well executed will get me ready to take on winter, whatever it throws at us, short of that snowstorm of the decade that happened last April.
You see Mother Nature; well, she holds the last trump card. There may not be an Indian Summer. I may be watching the Weather Channel and see that an impending snow event is just a few days off, and well I am just not ready for winter. Then we go into crisis mode. Everything needs to get done and get done in a hurry.
Even if I am “from around here”, it doesn’t mean that I have a preparedness mode like the squirrels who have been storing nuts for a couple of months. What it does mean is that when winter arrives, and it will arrive, I can deal with what Mother Nature throws our way. Sometimes not happily, but with an eye on the calendar for May of 2023, and spring.

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