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It’s That Time of the Year

OK, folks — we have a window of opportunity here; let’s not waste it. Right now, in a lot of the US, it feels like the picture at the top. Even at Chez Siberia today in Upstate New York, it feels like this. We had taken the awnings (curtains, deck drapes?) down for hurricane Irene and I figured that it would cool down enough so that we would not have to put them back up.

No such luck. Today is breathtakingly hot here, so out came the step ladder and the drapes and up they went…again.

It isn’t that way for everyone – for a lot of people on the East Coast, it looks like this: And no matter how hot it is there (and for folks in the Catskills, I’m sure it is just as hot as it is here, since the worst flooding is about an hour and a half away from me), it’s a mess and horrible and a lot of people need a lot of help.

But I’m not bringing THAT up today. What I want to discuss is this:
And we all know THAT is coming as well, though it is really easy to sort of push that toward the back of our minds because a) it’s early September, b) it’s hot, and c) it looks as if cold weather is so far into the future that we can ignore it for a while.

Except, we can’t. Even with the rest of hurricane season in front of us, there are certain activities that need to get taken care of before winter shows up. Here at Chez Siberia, we have more than a few things to putter with before the temperatures get too cold to do it.
So, what is this?

Or, better, what are THESE? This is one of two doorways on the south side of our garage, which was put up a couple of years ago. Aunt Toby was absolutely sure that what was spec’d was ‘primed and painted’ but it’s obvious that what we got was primed woodwork only. So now, after two winters, two summers, one almost-hurricane, numerous thunderstorms, and so on and so forth, the primer was not enough to do the job of protecting the wood. So the primer is peeling off, moisture has gotten to the wood and it looks as if we have some mildew doing a dance there. Now, I have to admit – the south side of any building takes a whupping from the sun, which is very hard on coatings of all sorts. But paint does a pretty good job – if the wood has been primed correctly and then given a couple of coats of good quality paint. But the woodwork on these two doorways were not, so what I need to do is:
Take a wire brush and scraper and get off all the primer.
Let the woodwork air over a day of dry weather
Prime again, let dry.
Paint, let dry and paint and let dry again.

And as a reminder – paint is not happy in temperatures under 55 degrees F. So, I have a window here of about 6 weeks to find a couple of dry days to get this done.

Paint: It’s what’s happening.

And this, my friends is exactly what it looks like: A snow shovel. An aluminum snow shovel to be exact which, for some unfathomable reason, is out in the greenhouse (the other collection of snow shovels is out in the barn). And this picture is to remind me (and you, especially those of you who live in places which usually don’t have snow or don’t get much snow at all) to take a look at every piece of snow removal equipment in our collection to make sure nothing needs a handle replaced, or screws tightened or rust removed or anything untoward like that.

Because winter is going to come. And as a reminder, there was snow and ice (and a good bit of it, actually) in places last year which never see this – and people did not have snow shovels. Now, I’m not necessarily a big fan of gas powered snow removal equipment (unless we’re talking major sidewalk and parking lot removal) – but a good metal bladed shovel is worth its weight out there when you need to shovel out. If you don’t have one, go to your hardware store or home center and get one. Don’t waste your money on shovels with plastic blades – yes, they are light weight, but they are done after one season and you’ve wasted your money. Spend a bit more and get an aluminum or steel bladed shovel. They last for years. You can actually find ones that are made in the US – worth it to look for that.

Another thing that you can do (we don’t need to do it this year but it’s worth it to check) at this time of the year is caulk around windows and doors, any outside electrical or water taps. As a matter of fact, this is the time of the year when you can still do it because silicone caulk is another thing that requires temperatures higher than 55 degrees F. If you wait too long, it will be too cold to get that stuff to come out of a caulking gun. So, put that on your list of ‘to do’ now.

(the sun, the flood and the snow plow photos are courtesy of:)
Marshall Space Flight Center
Washington State DOT

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  1. Susan Van Sant says:

    A good reminder to get prepared for winter! I just had a kitchen window put in … the previous owners had sided over the window without taking out the frame and putting in sheetrock on the inside, so dark and gloomy to look out a window onto insulation! I have to get the exterior of the window reprimed (it came primed, the carpenter rec’d a 2nd coat of good primer) and painted. And you get what you pay for when it comes to paint … this farmgrrrlll is gonna pay for the good stuff.

    I got the garage mostly cleaned out several weeks ago and the electricity to the garage repaired so now we can put one of the cars in the garage, means a lot when it’s snowing if you only need to scrape off one car instead of two.

    Now, off to pick some tomatoes to put in the freezer.

  2. htwollin says:

    Before we took down the old garage (before it fell down…), we found that the electrical to the garage consisted of (wait for it…) an extension cord (and not one of those big honkin’ orange ones with the three-pronged plugs, either), buried under the asphalt in the driveway. mmmhmmm. Real good. Went right along with the concrete blocks under the back porch which had been all glassed in and fancified. The former owners of this house had one rule: spend the money on the cosmetic stuff. If they couldn’t actually SEE it, they did not spend any money on it. The amount of ‘gut and rebuild’ that we’ve had to do on this house over the years because of that is unbelievable.

  3. jill says:

    I don’t know- I want to be sympathetic, but 3 flats that needed to be changed on the side of the road on a 300 mile trip at 111 degrees make me decidely unempathetic. No, it was not a trip that we had a choice about. Oh and a/c was out. Count your blessings.

  4. Toby Wollin says:

    Jill — oh, that’s just awful. You’ve got me beat for sure.

  5. Duchesse says:

    I’ve always figured, when you’re done with winter, you’re done. it’s a matter of attitude. Grew up n the far edge of No. Michigan, then lived in Northern Ontario, now live in Montreal. I dress for it-and I admit, I avoid driving.

    And for now, strip it off and enjoy!

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