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Pennsylvania preparations

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With daylight fading, fiberglass floating in the air, a foot holding up insulation and a stapler in my hand, I crawled around in the dirt beneath my home’s addition, trying to get ready for this coming winter. Anyone else rushing to complete their honey-do list? I jest, but keeping the wife and son warm is important; I’m not as worried about our dog who seems to shed enough to make her own parka each week. If you have an Australian Shepard, you know what I’m talking about. As I lay stuffing insulation in between the floor joists, I imagined using my dog’s tumble-weave sheddings from around the house to supplement the insulation.

The nights have been getting colder. One night, it even dropped to 38 degrees, driving our chickens to squish themselves in a feathery heap below the heat lamp. Before I even thought to look, the leaves have begun to change and fall has made its appearance in force. I even saw a Christmas commercial the other day.

Unfortunately, with the beauty of the changing seasons also come the chores. Yes, I am beginning to get a reprieve from mowing the lawn, but in its place are tasks like finishing the insulation and fixing the flashing from last winter’s wind storms. I can’t help but feel like I’m barely catching up to things that made it onto the honey-do list a year ago. There’s still firewood to be cut, some leaks in the roof to be covered, the garden to close up and plenty of other odds and ends.

I’m reminded of these preppers who store up food and supplies for apocalyptic events. We’ve got the canning done for our applesauce and apple butter, so in that aspect we’ve begun our prepping. Deer season starts next week in Pennsylvania, so the freezer will soon be replenished as well. We recently lost our meat chickens prematurely, so in breaking the prepping theme we will be purchasing our poultry throughout the winter until we can attempt to raise more in the spring. Our turkeys are doing well though, so come Thanksgiving we will be prepared once more!

As I think of Thanksgiving, my mind can’t help but continue to prepare for December and the snow that will ensue. In anticipation of this, I took the time today to go into the shed and break out our manual snow-removal apparatus. I was careful to check it over for any mechanical or structural defects that may have occurred during storage. I then dusted it off and moved it to where I could easily access it once the snow flies. It never hurts to be prepared after all. Even if that just means putting your shovel out by the front door.

In all seriousness, the cold is the biggest thing I’ve been trying to fight. Our addition has been drafty in years past, enough so that we sealed off the room during our last winter to conserve the heat. Hopefully the floor stays sealed and my preparations haven’t been in vain. But if it doesn’t seem warm enough, you may just read a column one of these weeks about how to shave your dog. If she barks and wakes up the baby again, you may read that column anyway. Don’t worry readers—my dog is safe from the shears. That’s just the way it is out here, a bit of humor to take the edge off of the winter doldrums, even if they are a few months off. In the meantime, I have a few more things to check off that honey-do list.

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