Fall maintenance. There’s something remarkably comforting about having it nearly done. Furnace and chimney cleaned. Wood ordered. Garden projects wrapped up. And all before the leaves fall and the marathon raking begins—that all-consuming chore that, at least for this ole’ lady is positively overwhelmifying!
I have to say though, I’m thankful to have had the help of a most capable gardener-chap this summer, who happens to also be a good friend. He’s already proven his abilities several times, and he promises to help with the leaf dilemma to come.
Now don’t get me wrong, even with maintenance chores in check, and help on the way for raking, I know there’s a lot of work ahead. When that load of wood gets dumped off the truck and stands mini-mountain-high in our driveway, it won’t be long before the woe-is-me-willies set in. I’ll be stacking wood in my sleep, or else up-at-all-hours wondering how to get it done before the snow flies.
And then there’s the pantry to stock for winter, the freezer to clean and refill, the windows to wash and winter drapes to freshen and hang up, quilts to air and winter beds to make up. Oh me. What was that about woe-is-me-willies?
MouseHouse Village is all abuzz with winter preparations. And they’ve been at it since mid-summer—like I should complain, huh?
Sir Fivel dragged Walnut Woodstove out on the veranda the other day. Scrubbed it out good with his repurposed brush—the end of a discarded nail brush. He smoothed the broken edges smooth-as-you-please, trimmed the bristles to mouse-size usefulness, and voila—just the handiest of tools!
Later he and Olaf were up on the roof cleaning the stovepipe. They bundled up dried grasses, tied tightly in the center of a hefty piece of twine, and with one of them pulling on the string from the top, the other pulling down from inside the house, that wee stovepipe was clean as a whistle in no time!
Fivelina had a terrible mess of dust and soot to clean after though. Poor dear! I saw her out there sweeping and shaking out rugs, her bandana tied tightly under her chin, and that usually-pristine white apron horribly soiled and dusty. Ever her cheerful self though, she waved heartily when she saw me.
She’s been gathering, sorting and storing for weeks now and the pantry is well-stocked. Of course there are daily meals on-going, so she is constantly replenishing.
The nights have already been cold here in the Hollow, so MouseHouse quilts and comforters are already in use, I’m sure. Fivelina made darling new pink and green ones for the twins this summer—I saw them hanging out on BittersweetVine line when she finished the borders. She used the heart-shaped leaves from the red-bud tree, dyed some of them pink with berry juice—left others green. She oiled and pressed each leaf to keep them soft and pliable, then carefully made them into little puff-pockets stuffed with thistle-down, sewing them expertly together. Oh what a cozy quilt those wee girls will enjoy when the cold winds whistle through the rafters!
I wonder when she sleeps. Seems like an awful lot for one little Mouse Lady, but she never complains.
And I should complain about the woe-is-me-willies? Perish the thought!