Nov 5th, 2010 by Kathy
If you put up some nice, just-plain-fall adornments in September, and added a Halloween theme later, at least, you won’t have to spend a lot of time on decorations in the next few weeks. Because Thanksgiving is, of course, an autumn celebration, all you have to do is to de-spookify your landscape.
So, just take the fake spiders and webs off the trellises, pergolas, and arbors, and leave the sparkling, orange miniature lights. After that, simply clear porch gliders, patio chairs, and chaise lounges, of all werewolves, mummies, and pumpkin-headed creatures, and put on the outdoor furniture covers. Then, it’s only a matter of chasing a few ghosts and rubber snakes out of the yard, and you’re back to your beautiful fall outdoor décor, which is appropriate to the holiday at hand.
Leave the Christmas stuff for after Thanksgiving; and don’t let anyone pressure you into putting it up too soon. Heck, you’ll need all of the extra time that you can get, in order to finish preparing your house and garden for the winter. After all, some of those outdoor chores can be demanding, and, in many cases, very unpleasant.
Dealing with all of the fallen leaves, for example, can be a disagreeable job. While, not long ago, they were still on the trees, in all of their brilliant, breath-taking splendor, they are now piling up on lawns, walkways, and roofs, causing all kinds of mischief.
One of their favorite pranks is to clog up gutters, and, thus, prevent the adequate drainage of water from the roofs of houses and other outdoor structures. Although cleaning them out is a detestable duty, it’s something that must be done before winter arrives. Otherwise, ice jams can form, and cause water to back up and, perhaps, seep into the house.
So, get the ladder out of the garden shed, and rise to the task; and don’t forget your heavy-duty work gloves and your scraper. You can also make another helpful tool out of a plastic, gallon jug; just cut off the top half, hold it by the handle, and use it to scoop the leaves from the gutter. Take out as much debris as possible by hand, before using the scraper to remove any built-up dirt and gunk; then rinse the gutter thoroughly with a hose.
While you’re up there, inspect for leaks, dents, and crooked pipes, and see that the gutters and downspouts are fastened securely to the house. Furthermore, make certain that the downspouts are directing the water at least five feet away from the foundation of the house, and that they are not blocked. To ensure that a downspout is operating properly, put a hose into the top, run the water, and check to see if it is running out at the bottom.
If there is a blockage, you may be able to break it loose, by packing rags around the hose at the top of the spout, to seal it off, and then running the water at full power; and if that fails, try using a snake.
Uh, a plumber’s snake, that is. Not one of the rubber specimens that you drove out of your yard.