field on a frosty morning

A frosty start to the day it was. Beautiful in a crisp, stark way, frost glistened like jewels on the grasses as the sun rose over the hills.

Waiting for the car defroster to tackle windshield frost while I sipped my coffee, I pondered our to-do lists and what this steady march from autumn into winter means.

It hasn’t been an easy autumn season. In the middle of cutting eight cords of wood, the tractor broke. Like a child’s overused toy, one of the arms holding the bucket on the tractor snapped. It took Paul the better part of a week to drill out and remove the old broken pins and brackets and weld new ones into place.

After sitting for almost a year, the generator needed some TLC to get into running shape for the winter. Paul tackled this project, and the generator is now happy again.

The 2004 Ford truck, our second vehicle that also serves as a plow truck is in need of more than a little TLC. It’s a rust bucket that has lost its power steering and at highway speeds it loses power until it all but stalls. Paul has noodled through one issue after another, replacing rusted out lines, engineering replacement parts, welding, and testing. After weeks of working on this monstrosity on and off, some of the problems are fixed, others continue to elude my resident gear head. The good news is the truck may get us through the winter as a plow truck. The flip side is we continue as a one-car family.

The eleven-year-old Boss snow plow needs repairs – a few replacement parts and a bit of welding to put it all back together. Paul pledges that he’s going to get it finished and on the truck before the weather man threatens a ‘Noreaster. We have a habit of waiting until the last minute and putting the plow on in the middle of a blizzard.

Then there’s the wood boiler. Why is it when we have six months to address repair issues to this albatross, we always end up racing at the last minute to get it ready to light off? This year the steel “fusion cumbustor” all but melted away due to poor design. And the door liner warped. Paul ordered parts in September, but they just arrived last week, so it’s been a week-long Dirty Job episode here. It’s mid-November, the latest we’ve ever gone before lighting off the wood boiler to heat the house. Thankfully, it’s been a mild November with nothing but a few flurries in the way of snow.

So, those To Do Lists.


  • replace the wood boiler door liner
  • lubricate the blower mower on the boiler
  • clean the smoke stack on the wood boiler
  • fabricate and install one last piece for the plow and put it on the truck
  • finish cutting the remaining four cords of wood
  • build an enclosure out back for the generator to keep it out of the weather – the cement pad is already in place
  • change the engine oil on the wood splitter
  • yard and garage clean-up to prepare for snow
  • fix the chicken coop nesting box that is rotting away


  • finish cleaning out the greenhouse
  • purchase and set up a row cover over the winter-hardy veggies planted in October
  • rake leaves to mulch the garlic that just got planted a week ago
  • clean up and put away all the garden paraphernalia that’s floating around the property
  • clean out the duck house

Then there’re the things that were on my “honey-do” list before the truck, wood boiler, and plow trumped them:

  • paint the chicken coop
  • install a new hugelkulture garden bed
  • build a new duck coop

Where DID the summer go?