Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Fall Chores - What You Up To?

 It is that time again, to do all those fall/winter chores before it gets too cold.  Most of us Northern hemisphere folks have many things to do.  Winters get cold and we sure don't need extra problems.   

Just a few things too think about:
  • Empty out those outdoor hoses and shut down all those outdoor faucets. If there is a way to add some think Styrofoam "cages" around your outdoor faucets that would be great added protection
  • If you have rain barrels - get them empty before freeze - you sure don't want them to bust
  • If your furnace still vents through a chimney - make sure your chimney is clear and clean.  My furnace now vents out the side of the house - so no worry about that.  Do you use a fireplace or heat stove - make sure AGAIN that chimneys are clean.  Fires start from chimney build-up
  • Seal any doors and windows that have drafts.  Weather stripping and caulk doesn't cost and lot and it is easy to do.  Have bottom door draft dodgers as well!!!!
  • Some people put plastic or bubble wrap over windows - something to think about
  • Have furnace checked out - make sure it is functioning properly
  • Change that furnace filter!!!!!!  Have extras for the winter
  • Check all your batteries in smoke alarms.
  • Reverse ceiling fans.  Funny note - I have never changed mine.  They run the same 24/7!  I BAD!
Fall in country - pretty
  • Make sure all the shingles on your roof are down and in good shape.  Look for any damage NOW
  • Clean those gutters - your don't want water and snow to form dams because of clogged gutters.  That will damage your gutters and your siding and your home
  • Mulch leaves - many people mulch & leave them on the grass to nourish the lawn over winter.  I like to rake and place them on the garden for added nutrition
  • IF you have a sump pump - makes sure it is working.
  • Clean and take in or cover patio furniture
  • Trim any odd branches from trees or large shrubs
  • Make sure your steps, walks and handrail are in good shape.  You don't need any loose or sharp objects that can cause more concern for falling
  • Have ice melt of some sort on hand and have your shovel or snow blower ready.
  • Have extra hat, gloves, socks in vehicle - maybe a blanket as well.  If you live out a ways, make sure you have some sort of energy snacks.  I like to keep a big bag of kitty litter in the back end - in case of getting stuck some where.  Sand works too - I just do cat litter because it is something I can use.  I also have a small collapsing shovel.  Have a flashlight with you if possible.
  • Make sure you keep your gas tank as FULL as possible when it is cold
  • WOMEN always make sure your cell phone is charged when you go out in the winter!!!!  Can't call for help if it is dead.
  • If you have outdoor pets/animals - make sure they have warm shelter and water bowls that are maybe heated
  • Maybe think about having dusk to dawn lights put up outside - for safety during the long dark hours

Now is definitely the time to inventory those pantries and freezers.  Make lists and organize and know what you have.  Stock up on those items that may be getting low.  Special holiday items will be coming available soon!  Make sure you have cold/flu items on hand.  Lotion for dry skin.  
Make sure you pantries are stocked and your pets pantry as well.  If you have to be in for an extended amount of time - you need to eat.  
Think about everything your use - food, pets, health & beauty, medical, vehicle, wild animal feed, cleaning items, laundry things...................................
Think about gift ideas and holiday foods as well.  You just never know!!!!

Get things done now before the snow flies and temps get below freezing.  It sure is easier to do in a little warmer weather.  Get your home, yard, vehicles and pantries in order NOW!!


  1. I think you were peeking at my "Before the Snow Flies" to-do list! I've been working through it the past couple of weeks.
    A few things to add to your very thorough list:
    Check fluids in your vehicles. Make sure your wiper fluid reservoir is full, preferable with winter de-icer fluid if you live where it gets very cold.
    Check the air in your tires. My mechanic recommends putting in about 10% more air than the recommendation to account for cold air shrinkage.
    Clean the inside of your windshield if you don't already do so regularly. Driving into the low sun with a smeary windshield is dangerous.
    Winterize your lawn mower after the last mowing of the season. Run off the remaining gas and follow the manufacturer's recommendations for long-term storage. If it uses plain gasoline, pour the remainder of your gas can into your car's tank. Gasoline deteriorates over time, and moisture can accumulate in the gas can.
    Check your heat tape. Having had to crawl under the house in 20-deg weather to replace dead heat tape is no fun, as I have learned the hard way. Frozen pipes are even less fun.
    Put out mouse bait/traps. The varmints will be coming in looking for warmth and food. Make sure everything is stored in mouse-proof containers.
    Wash your house windows. The sun will be dim enough as it is without having to try to shine through dirty windows.

    Making a run to Wally this morning to replenish my various pantries. I think you read my mind!

    1. Great minds think alike!!!!!!

      LOVE all the vehicle reminders - for sure need to check all the fluids and air pressure. I have an air tank here - so I can take care of tire pressure here.

      I have never needed to use heat tape - but a great reminder for those who do. Yes, be prepared for varmints!

      Windows a must - I will be cleaning a couple times before the snow flies.
      Have fun stocking up!!!!!!!!

  2. My October to-do list includes:

    putting up the window insulation for the bedroom windows. They get the worst of the wind and cold and snow. I use plexiglass cut to the measurement of the window. It is thick and fits securely and can be used every year.

    making sure the fireplace chimney is clean. Having wood, newspapers and fireplace matches at the ready.

    checking flashlights with fresh batteries and charging those that need it. Having candles and matches.

    putting fresh batteries in the smoke detectors and testing them.

    making sure the pantry is full with people food as well as pet supplies.

    quilts and blankets laundered.

    outdoor furniture put into the garage for the season. Lawnmower emptied of fuel and put away. Any preseason maintenance on the snowblower. shovels, brooms, covered bucket with ice salt on both decks. outdoor carpet runner tacked down on front deck to avoid slipping in the winter.

    bird feeders hanging up and filled. planters emptied and put away. Bushes and trees trimmed and covered.

    These are just a few of the chores I have been working on as I prepare for my least favorite season.

    Love your blog!

    1. Well - more great minds! Looks like we are all thinking the same things! LOVE IT.

      I like the plexiglass idea.

      Thank you!!!!!!! Glad to have you here!

  3. Yes, my to-do list for outside prep begins this weekend. I'm having a handyman come on Saturday to fix my deck rail, so I'll need to have things cleared for his access. This includes:
    1. Stow all deck cushions in the garage.
    2. Stack deck seating that cannot be moved easily to garage, due to their size.
    3. Move bistro chairs (folding) to the garage.
    4. Stow bistro table (it folds flat, so gets placed against the wall, behind the chairs that get stacked; too clunky to move to garage).
    5. Harvest the last of the herbs for drying. Then, clean out and stack deck rail boxes and larger planters.
    6. Touch up any peeling paint on deck rail.
    7. Replace drip tray in grill. I stow some items inside the grill cabinet for the winter and don't want any overflow of drippings from Fall and Winter grilling.
    8. Move snow shovel, so it is more accessible.
    9. Check supply of ice melt and add to shopping list, if needed (I haven't seen it in the stores yet). NOTE: I live in a townhome community and driveway and walkways are Association maintained. But, it pup needs to go out before walks are done, I will do my own. And if things melt and re-freeze, I'll spread some ice melt to make things easier. I don't maintain a large supply, just enough for "just in case" times.
    10. Check exterior lights and adjust add-on "dusk to dawn" sensor pieces in garage lights.
    11. Wash down garage slab, once bird spikes are installed, to remove accumulation of bird droppings.
    12. Drain and stow garden hose.
    13. Clean exterior garage windows (interior side will be done when I focus on garage clean-up and organization).
    14. Clean out back of SUV and double-check winter emergency supply bin -- blanket, additional windshield fluid, ice scraper and brush, jumper cables, extra gloves, and spare hat and scarf, etc.)
    15. If time allows, clean exterior deck-side windows and patio door. It's literally a wall of windows -- large picture window with sliding side windows (screens would have to be removed), and a patio door. Combined, it covers probably 16' of a 20' wall. Don't want to get in the way of the carpenter, so this may not get done until Spring.
    Lots to do, before the snow flies!

    1. More great ideas for the vehicles that I forgot to mention - jumper cables, scraper, fluid... I always have those - but some may not.
      Always lots to do. Our work is never done!

    2. WalMart had ice melt this morning, but it was stocked in the garden/seasonal area outside.

    3. Well good to know - at least it is available.

  4. Well now I am tired just reading that!

  5. Quite the list you've provided, along with comments. I must admit I'm not quite ready to start but will need to this week as we're getting cooler temps starting the end of this week.

    First up will be clearing out the containers of the flowers I just hate to give up!

    1. I know - I can't give up flowers as yet either. We are still having lovely temps and should for at least another week or two. I still have another mow or two at least.
      I get a lot done ahead of time.

  6. Snow means slow but until then, there's all the winter prep to do. I always say that we go hard in NE Alberta for three seasons, so winter can be a time to kick back & relax beside the wood stove with a good book. The garden is in with tomatoes left to preserve and make into salsa (batch #3). The carrots were brought in this past w/e so some of those will be blanched for the freezer. All the summer decor will be put away. Besides the to-do lists above, he firewood has been ordered and there will be 2 days of wood stacking once that arrives. The chickens have been ordered for the freezer. I just spent 2 days helping a neighbor build a wire fence before the ground freezes. I've started a Christmas gift list. I can get tired just thinking about the to-do list so I try to focus on the next thing.

    1. It can be overwhelming! You have gotten a lots done and not just for yourself!
      I have jelly to make yet - but I froze the grapes. I am still picking tomatoes.
      Wood would be a hard job.
      Winter is the season of rest it seems. AT least more than the rest of the year.
      Hope you get it all done.

  7. Thanks for the lists! We live in PNW (15 mins from Seattle), we normally have a mild winter but I still prepare things just in case:)

    1. Mild would be nice. But you never know! Sure as you didn't prepare - BOOM!

  8. This is a great check list for colder weather, Cheryl. I have been cleaning inside. I took apart my refrigerator this week and washed it inside and out. A job I don’t love, but needed it.

    1. I don't envy you that job! Yuck.
      So much to be done - I guess we just go slow and steady and we will win the race!

  9. Gotten quite a few of the tasks completed. We are waiting for the last of the leaves to fall from our big maples and will be doing a cleaning under the decks, and cleaning out the eavestroughs. Still need to replace some weather stripping on the doors, but that will be done very soon.

    I need to inventory (well really add) items in the freezers.

    God bless.

    1. Good for you. I haven't had many fall leaves yet - but they will come!
      Make sure you do that freezer - so important!

  10. Very good ideas Cheryl, especially the safety warnings for women, but men should heed them too.

    1. Absolutely - everyone needs to be safe. It is just dark so early and we all have to beware!

  11. All excellent, common sense ideas! The Urban Farmer has changed the furnace filter and we will check gutters for leaves and debris. Folks don't realize how important that is. The rain barrels will be emptied soon. I save gallon jugs and we store them in the greenhouse. He will leave the backyard hose as long as possible so he can use it to change the chickens' water. Still have gardens to put to bed. I've had trouble getting the wet dog food my boys like so I've been making dog food for them. About time to put the storm windows down too.

    1. Amazingly we are still so warm here and the forecast looks good as well. Makes one want to wait!
      I am sure glad I don't have to do windows any more. Such a job.
      I don't blame him on the hose - that would be a job.

  12. We've been in CA for years, but have lived in places with true, snowy winters before... and will again before too long. Great tips!

    1. Snow is pretty to look at - but I don't like living in it! I guess as I get older, it seems like less fun! You aren't missing nothing.