Last week when I shoveled out the bottom of the chicken coop to put on my garden, I couldn’t help but notice that my tomatoes had the end of season blight. Having given up the bulk of the harvest to the psycho squirrels this summer, I was very grateful for the late season comeback, only to be disappointed by what I called the funk.
So, Saturday I commenced to ripping out my tomato plants, leaving my pole beans, tomatillos and malabar spinach. Along the way I pulled up some volunteer butternut squash plants too. I yielded 6 squash (with a few more left in the garden), a nice size basket of green tomatoes for us, the bulk of which I pickled (of course) and a really nice size bucket of tomatoes with blight for the chickens.
I always like to wait until first frost to rip out my tomatoes – they will produce until then and I hate to think of any tomatoes I won’t get. This year though, it was just too pathetic looking.
Maybe I can put in a little fall crop though.
Sunday morning, I got up and decided it was the day to finally clean out the attic, a task I’d been putting off for some time. Years to be honest.
Cleaning out the attic is actually part of the greater list of projects I have lined up for this fall. Technically, it was the last one on the list, but since it was the one I could do by myself and cleaning the attic meant making space in our room, I decided to jump on that instead.
I have a bad habit of just opening the door to the attic space off our bedroom and shoving stuff in. It had gotten so crammed with stuff, you couldn’t just open the door and shove in. So, sitting outside the door, spilling into our bedroom was a collection of suitcases (from all the roadtrips this summer), as well as Edie’s camp trunk, the cover for her upright bass and countless other items that didn’t fit in there.
As I made my way to the back of the attic, I realized I hadn’t gotten rid of any of Edie’s clothes since about the time she finished up preschool. (She started 5th grade last month.) Worse, there were infant things I had been hanging onto – her crib mobile, a bouncy seat, the toddler bed rail she used for all of about a week before she convinced us she didn’t need it and a baby gate. I’m sure I was saving most of this for when we had visits from friends with younger kids, but the fact is, they were totally inaccessible in the back of the attic and by the time I got them out, I realized they just needed to go elsewhere.
A few freecycle posts, a facebook post, an email or two and a shout to the second grade girl across the street and I had those 17 bags of clothes and miscellaneous baby gear out of here. 5 bags went to a refugee family a neighbor is collecting for, one went to Li across the street (including some pieces that have been passed around this neighborhood from little girl to little girl to little girl, like the purple chenille cardigan with fringe that is most beloved) and when Mo came by to take a bag, she offered to haul it all away. Score! Thanks Mo. Still left are the pieces of plywood, 2x’s and tile grout I pulled out of the attic, left over from when we built it out, when I was pregnant with Edie almost 11 years ago. Pat says he will find a use for them. I’m seriously eyeballing at hauling them to the habitat store, as we have a basement full of things we might use.
It felt great to purge. I kept a few things – mostly dresses I made Edie or some of her favorite pieces I couldn’t bear to part with, like the seersucker skirt she insisted on sledding in a few times and the adored BabyGap faux fur leopard print jumper that is too fabulous for words. A few favorite toys and books. And the rest? Gone. I was able to put her trunk away and find a spot for the suitcases not piled on top of other stuff and still have room for more treasures.
Meanwhile, Pat was outside doing his own fall purging.
He pruned the peach tree.
It’s supposed to help it put out more fruit.
Considering the squirrels get all the fruit, I applaud him for trying.
Although a smaller tree will make it easier to net and keep the rodents out, so maybe we might get a peach off that thing one of these days.
He also trimmed the saucer magnolia back. He removed one of the trunks and trimmed many of the lower branches off, so that you don’t have to duck to walk under the tree.
By the front porch there you can see the piles of plywood and bouncy seat I dragged down from the attic, never to be in there again. And the window we replaced last fall that needs to become a coldbox for my garden.
Clearly, getting things out of our house is my happy place, while cutting things is his.
Up next is the basement cleanout. We need to make room so that the ping pong table can be opened up down there, per Edie’s requests, so she & her friends can hang out down there when the weather is subpar per my request. I also need to get going on refinishing the desk I got for her room, but I need space to work (which is what really is spurring on the basement cleanout, while the things coming out of her room is what spurred the attic purge.) It seems to be a never ending cycle of get rid of stuff to make room for more stuff, with one project leading to another and another…. Does it ever end?