Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Hunkered and Battened

Our first snowfall of the season. Big puffy cotton balls of snow, in Johnson and Johnson size. The beds in the garden where we planted new perennials this year have been mulched to protect the plant's tootsies. All the bulbs -- the double narcissi, the tulips and muscari, numerous Asiatic hybrid as well as naturalizing lilies, random scilla and bluebelled hyacinthoides -- are nestled in the ground. The lawn has been clipped short and fed a bit so it will awaken refreshed and energetic come spring. The three new aspens went into the ground while dormant, slumbering; they will be surprised and pleased to wake up surrounded by such rich compost as I've given them.

The irrigation system has been blown out, and the garden hoses coiled away.

The little garden shed received a small electric heater this year, to protect our garden sprayers from freezing, the  nozzles, valves, and plungers from shattering. A few families of mice may find shelter in that warm space. They are welcome to overwinter but will need to move out in early spring. Humans and wild rodents do not share the same space comfortably or safely.

Speaking of little critters, our hot tub is finally up and running and it appears that a skunk has decided to set up camp under the tub's supporting deck. It's warmer under there than under some tree or in a hole. Skunks are not aggressive, not terribly interested in humans; it takes a bit of riling to get one to release the dreaded stink.

So I figure that if the skunk leaves us well enough alone, he or she is welcome to the underside of the deck. We aren't using it anyway.

We have nearly five cords of wood stacked alongside the house, under a stout Harbor Freight tarpaulin lashed securely so the winds don't carry it away. A kerosene heater and oil lanterns stand by in case power or gas fail.  

Chez Elliott is ready for another winter. Looks like a good night to hop in the tub.


  1. Then you must have a covered deck... I hate sitting in the hot tub in cold rain. Warm rain=good, cold, sleety, miserable stuff=bad.


  2. Nay, our deck is not covered. I am of mixed feelings about this. A covered deck is gonna be more comfortable, sure, but does not present a view of the stars. On the other hand, the side of this spa that we like to sit on is pretty much directly under the drip line of the house's eaves. So that's stupid.

    A long-time friend of mine has a framed sampler hung on his wall with the word "Modify" embroidered on it, a reminder that we don't have to accept the objects around as as they are: many are just fine the way they were made, but most can be improved with a little tinkering, a bit of redesign, a touch of going the extra mile that the builder or manufacturer didn't think of or have in the budget.

    There might be a way to bang up a half-canopy over the tub.

  3. We have a similar motto, "Improvise, adapt and overcome". Learned it in our beloved Corps - today being our 235th birthday. :)

    We also don't want to destroy the gorgeous C.O. nighttime views, so next year we're picking up one of those big umbrellas that can swing out over an area, but then swing outta the way when it's nice.

  4. What kind of big umbrella thing? A retractable awning or something like that? The winds around here could pick up your standard beach umbrella and loft it out to Burns if it had a mind.

  5. http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/175-7867150-8034003?asin=B003HMECHA&AFID=Froogle_df&LNM=|B003HMECHA&CPNG=patio%20garden&ci_src=17588969&ci_sku=B003HMECHA&ref=tgt_adv_XSG10001

    Here's the plan - This thing sits next to the back corner of the hot tub and gets closed up when not in use. We're never out in the hot tub when it's windy, so for us not an issue. Currently we do use a regular patio umbrella to stand under in case it starts raining while we're out there. We just open it before we hop in, turn on the patio heaters ($99 at Lowe's last year) and close the thing up when we're done. Ghetto, but effective. :)

  6. "There might be a way to bang up a half-canopy over the tub."

    A retractable canopy of some sort would seem like the way to go. Retract it when you want to gaze at the stars or it's too windy.

    Another option for hot-tubbing in the rain: Wear a hat.

    I'm glad you're enjoying the hot tub. I knew you would, you old hedonist.

  7. Anonymous: thanks for the link. Something like that would not fit the space here, but it's probably a great option for others.

    Blackdog: wearing a hat in the tub seems a good way to get a sweat-soaked hat. Depends on the hat, I reckon. Raindrops (or eavesdrops) on the head are not real pleasant but not real troubling, either. I'm waiting to tub in the snow to form an option about them.

    I think a retractable awning could be finagled into place here. It would require serious wood-working, a project, alas, best left until spring when the weather is more conducive to standing around outside holding a circular saw in one hand and a 4x6 cut two inches too short in the other. The way I do things.

  8. "I think a retractable awning could be finagled into place here. It would require serious wood-working"

    Yeah, but you could pay somebody else to do it.


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