Thursday, October 31, 2019

Long days turning into nights

I never realized it, but Halloween's Samhain origins are all about the change of seasons, namely autumn turning into winter. The change is very real up here in the Pacific Northwest, autumn leaves have peaked already and we've had a cold snap this week with nights down into the 20s. 

Autumn color and some new paint!

With the longer nights coming, the last month was a last-minute rush to finish projects before working outside became an unattractive prospect, and we got most things on our project list done. The rest will wait until spring.

Hen Mail. This will hold garden tools and chicken treats in the back pasture.
They certainly aren't camera shy.

With the cold temperatures Ella and Esme are coming in at night, since they are only eight weeks old and it's well below freezing for about 10 hours a night -- quite unusual for our part of Oregon. I'm probably being overprotective, but if being a helicopter chicken mama is a crime, convict me. There's nothing more emotionally expensive than regret, especially if your livestock dies because you assumed everything would be OK...and it wasn't. 

But while I've managed to save the chicks from having issues due to the cold weather, the paint on our brand new shutters has not been so lucky. (although the newly-painted house itself looks amazing!) We discovered the latex paint the painter used did not adhere to the vinyl shutters, so when the temperatures dropped and then rose rapidly the paint blistered, bubbled and peeled.

Frostbite? Sunburn? Either way, ugly.

That lovely green paint peeled off using only my fingers, in one fell swoop. Yikes.

That's disappointing, because now we're stuck with $300 worth of shutters we can't paint (although I'm thinking after I peel the paint off I can donate them to Habitat for Humanity and take a nice tax write-off, since they are good as new, just the wrong color.) And on the bright side, we CAN replace them with green vinyl shutters that are close to the trim paint. For those keeping score, cha-ching, another $300. Since we picked the shutters ourselves I don't blame the painter. I blame us. 

Even at our age, this kind of thing happens sometimes; we face home improvement challenges, and we either complete them handily or mess up and learn from them. At the rate we are going, by the time we are 80 years old we will literally know everything there is to possibly know about house maintenance -- at which point no doubt we will promptly move into a retirement facility.

And on the homestead front, I finally hauled all 12 quarts of tomatoes out of the damn freezer and just canned them instead of keeping them frozen. They were taking up way too much space in the chest freezer, while empty shelves stood unused in the pantry. I got a fair amount of "tomato water" in my cans due to freezing the tomatoes first, but since most of the recipes I use them for call for a cup of water to be added anyway, I've got that. And I can see what I have in my freezer once again -- always a good thing.

Tomatoes...and water. 

This weekend when the clocks go back it will be a time of drawing in next to the fire and enjoying inside activities. Everything we didn't get done outside will now have to wait until spring. And since I don't drive much in the dark anymore, any evening event or party not close to home will be something we take a pass on. We're heading into the long nights now. Time to slow down and settle in. 

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