Winter Whitewashing

A friend gave us apples from their apple trees, and I think I can safely say that I am done with apples for 2015.  I’ve made 22 pints of applesauce, 6 pints of apple pie filling, 9 pints of apple butter, 10 pints of apples in cinnamon syrup,  and at least 2 apple crisps.  I think I  can finally put away the canning supplies.  They just go in the back of the cupboard, and it’s not that hard; but I have to take a out a few other pots and fight the Jasmanian Devil –  who wants to check the cupboard for critters (I do let her do this from time to time; she is a terrier, so even in her old age, she’s a great mouser).  So currently there are pots, cookbooks, spices, sugar bins, and jars on every available surface in the kitchen.

The little evergreen that was in the large pot on our stoop was not doing so well.  I fear the past 10 years or so in a pot that freezes and thaws a few times every Winter, has been too much for it.  So I dug up the little shrub, trimmed it’s roots and it’s greenery and re-potted it in smaller pot, indoors – I “topiaried” it.  I don’t know if it will survive, but I’m hopeful.  I’ve placed it in our front entryway, the room is bright and sunny, but gets freakin’ cold in the winter, due to lack of insulation and heat.  I figure, the little shrub’s been out in the elements all these years, if it survived the re-potting, a winter in a cold, but sunny, indoor space should be a bit like a vacation for the little plant.  Plus it looks darn cool in the entryway on the old black steamer trunk.  It’s a little bit of nature, inside.  Which is probably why topiaries seem so calming and relaxing to me.

Last Thursday I had a busy day at the shop.  I changed all the light bulbs in the ceiling lights to daylight bulbs, switched the direction of the fans, and dusted the fans.  The shop’s ceilings are a good 12′ or so, so a step ladder is required and it takes longer than it should;  it can be difficult to maneuver a step ladder through and around my shop and one of the fixtures is above the counter, so that fixture requires special climbing skills.  I also did some touch-up painting, switched out a few curtains, added some plants to the window display, and strung rope lighting around the shelving display.

All of these tasks may seem disjointed, but they are connected.  I seem to find myself doing a lot of tidying, cleaning, and resorting these days.  I think I was up on the ladder changing the last of the light bulbs, when I realized that I tend to do my Spring cleaning in the Fall.  And that makes sense to me; why bother cleaning and tidying everything up in the Spring?  It’s nice out, the sun is shinning.  Go outside.  There’s no reason to stay indoors any longer.  But  Fall?  Fall definitely brings a change with it – the air is crisp, car windows need cleared in the morning, the leaves are changing colors, the days are getting shorter, crops are coming in, apples are ready, pumpkins are everywhere (including your beer!).  And all of these changes signal one thing – Winter is coming.

Winter, for me, is the hardest of the four seasons to cope with, so this year I’m trying to move into the season with some positive energy.  So just like all the critters preparing for hibernation, I am attempting to prepare for the long dreary days of winter too; by making sure the space that I’ll be confined to is pleasant, bright, and welcoming.  I’ll do all that I can to ensure that the inside is a nice place to be – even if that means rearranging things so the sunlight hits the floor a little bit differently, changing all the light bulbs, canning fruit for consumption in the winter, or even trying my hand (again) at keeping houseplants.

With all these seemingly mismatched projects happening at once, our house is in quite a state of disarray; much to the chagrin of The Goat, I’m sure, since he has no idea what my next project might be and the ones I’m currently working on are only half finished (need to sort those, find a home for that, toss that, re-shelve those, etc.).  But as the weather turns crisp and Autumn wanes into Winter, I’ll keep Spring cleaning in the Fall – even if it’s just Winter Whitewashing to make the next season seem just a little less gloomy.