Sunday, September 16, 2007

Strange Times!

Something strange happens to me each fall. Just the first warning, the first cold night and I go into overdrive!!!

I was talking to my friend Warren, who's a sociology professor at Rutgers U. He told me that women, in ancient times, were the foraging and gathering part of the human race. We gathered roots, berries, wood, all the things we needed to make it thu the winter.... while the men hunted meat.

In this modern day and age, that isn't really necessary anymore. All we have to do is drive to the grocery store. So we make up for it in other ways.

We stock up on non-perishables. Like mac and cheese boxes, and tuna fish, and all that other stuff that can sit on a shelf. Now you can even buy milk and orange juice that is in containers that can sit in your pantry.... un- refrigerated, till you need it. We buy candles, and we say it's for the scent, but it's also great emergency lighting.

And we clean and prepare our homes for winters on coming.

First thing I always do is, on a sunny day, close my doors, back up, and look at the doors.

If I can see sunlight coming thru the sides of the doors............ off I go to home depot.

I buy foam rope weather stripping. It's peel and stick. I put it anywhere around the inside of the door, over the doors weather stripping, where sunlight is peaking in. On till no light shines thru!

Now it's also time to put up the glass in your screen doors. But I know that there are nice days in the winter, so I like to keep the screens in. The weather stripping should keep the cold air out, and on nice days I can open the door and air the house out.

Then I check the windows, see if when closed and locked, I can feel any air coming thru the sides. If I do feel a breeze, there is weather stripping for them also.

I also clean the windows, including the tracks and sill, and outside screens. Making sure no dirt is causing the windows to leak.

I dust and clean my furnace. (now I have a gas one, so all you need to do is dust it, oil furnaces need someone called to do a good cleaning of it. Just look in the phone book.) Then I replace all the filters in it. So that winter air is nice and clean. Just talk out the filter, and write down the size on the border, and go to home depot and get a new one.

I even put the long hose on my vacuum, and vacuum out the air registers on the floors of all the rooms. Just to remove the dust and such that have fallen in them over the winter.

I buy insulating covers for all my outside water spickets. They cost just Penny's, and you hook them on and screw the cover on. This way your water won't freeze and cost you hundreds in repairs!!!!! If you can, shut the water off to the outside, it's a valve usually in the basement. But if you can't, just make sure it's not dripping and put the cover on it.

Buy covers for your air conditioning units. They have them that fit the outside and inside your window units, or like me, I buy a huge cover for my Central air conditioning unit. It keeps dirt, water and leaves off it during the winter. Again, a cover as large as mine, costs less then $10.

If I have a shed or garage, I clean that out also.

While the weather is warmer and I can do it without freezing. I bring all the winter stuff up front...... including the decorations for Christmas and thanksgiving. Snow shovels, snow blowers, and rock salt, and all those goodies go up front where I can find it in a jiffy!!!!!

I also bring in all the boxes of winter clothing that I've stored there over the winter. I may not unpack them yet, but I put them in my closet. Then when it's time to bring them out, I unpack, fill with the summer stuff, and put them back in the shed or garage.

Now if you have a yard, I've never been one for raking leaves, I like to go over them again and again with the lawn mower...... this cuts up the leaves real small, and left on the lawn.... fantastic mulch and fertilizer for next spring. If you don't cut them up, rake them up!

And don't forget your summer gardening tools. Clean them off, oil them and put them back in the shed or garage. Also any plant pots you empty out, wash out with a strong cleaner with bleach, and store them also. Wash your lawnmower, underneath too, and store that too.

Basements...... If we have heavy snows, even the driest basement can get wet. So make sure all the stuff you store down there is UP OFF THE FLOOR!!! Buy shelving units for storage, and check your sump pump to make sure it working! You don't need to be mopping freezing water off your basement floors!!!

There are also little things you can do.

Wash your stored blankets for the bed, get out and wash your warm sheets.

Find that electric blanket and be sure it's working. Clean, clean, clean!!!!

Our mothers were right!!!! Get rid of all the summer dust and dirt and pet hair that is all over your house, behind the furniture, and under it!!!!! Once your heater kicks on you don't want that flying all over the house, and making you sick!

Check and clean your gutters. Make sure they are all fastened right, and tight. Winter winds will pick them up and rip them off if your not careful. And clean all the gunk out of them!

Have someone come and clean your fireplace, and buy and stock up on some wood. Make sure you stack it in a dry covered place. Don't forget to buy the matches and such you need to make a fire. And save your newspapers to use as starting kindling!

Just look around and think....... cold and windy, what needs to be put away! And do it before the cold weather hits!!!!!