Autumn. The best season New England has to offer (in my opinion) and my favorite season by far. Years ago, I would have had to consider spring, since it’s always a nice awakening from a long cold winter. Lately, our winters have seemed a little milder, but the cold wet days have lingered into March and April. May seems like the only bit of true spring we get some years. Autumn, though, well Autumn is a refreshing time to be outside after months of heat and humidity. This year, we had several weeks where we were in the upper 90s (above 35°c) and those were miserable.
It may be age catching up with me, you know the thing where you remember walking to school in knee deep snow and baling hay in the hot summer sun (I did do that a few times). It may be age, but I seem to remember having one long hot spell every summer – usually at the end of July or beginning of August. This year, we had weeks of hot sticky weather in June, July, and August. We had the second highest amount of rain in July than we’ve had since the Puritans started keeping track. They left England to escape the rain, among other things, so they kept track.
Although I’m not a person who enjoys yardwork, it was nice to cut our front yard last week (the Editor cuts the back) without needing an infusion of cold water and electrolytes. I dug some post holes for a handrail we’re installing alongside the deck, and I worked one day in jeans! I’ve still been wearing shorts but working in long jeans is a sure sign that summer is over. That and the condensation on the windshields of our cars. The latter is also a reminder that I need to get my stuff out of the garage soon…before that condensation is frozen to the windshields.
The handrail has been a long time coming. We bought the handrail with the railing system we installed in 2013, but I never got around to installing it. That wasn’t only procrastination. My plan was to install it on the posts supporting the railing going down the ramp. We discovered that those posts, with their fancy-schmancy anchor to the Trex supports, aren’t the kind of thing you want to count on if you’re falling. We decided to put the handrail on the other side, supported by 4x4s buried the requisite 42″(1.1m) deep so as to rest below the frost line. I had planned to install the rail last year, but pressure treated 4x4s were difficult to find. Yes, if you’re doing the math – which very few of my Monday readers are wont to do – that gives me a solid excuse for one out of eight years, but I’ll take it.
In any case, having a solid handrail to grab onto when the ramp is slippery will be nice. The spacing of the poles are close enough to provide more than enough support but far enough apart to let me push snow off the ramp. Lifting a snow shovel over the railing is not an option – my shoulders have said so.
From here until Thanksgiving, outside work will include a few projects, a lot of leaves, collection and storage of some outdoor stuff, cleaning gutters and the installation of stakes to mark the paths for snow-blowing. Once those stakes go in the ground, we know winter is right around the corner.