Doesn't seem like much does it? And, when you've got the prospect of a long, hard winter bearing down on you, it seems even less.
Yes, the days are getting shorter, green is turning to gold, orange and fiery red. The smell of fresh-cut grass is giving way to an aroma of crunched up leaves and wood-burning fireplaces being used for the first time in months.
|Pictured: a potential law suit.|
I welcome these developments but, behind all of the beauty is the "tick, tick, ticking" of the clock, a constant reminder that there is much to do before we batten down the hatches for another icy winter.
The garage needs to be cleaned out — I'm pretty sure it's still got a coat of dust and road salt from last winter.
Leaves need to be raked.
Brush needs to be removed.
I've got a rabbit's nest on my front lawn and the last time I looked inside, a little creature that'd never before opened its eyes greeted me. I'm praying they've moved out.
The previous owners of our house installed their own lights on either side of the garage and one of them has a short, so it flickers all the time. Sounds safe, right? So, that's got to be fixed.
Water lines need to be shut off and the hose taken inside and stored. Much like stuffing your suit case for a long trip, the arrival of even the smallest item into our garage means a complete overhaul of how and where things are stored.
For Mrs. Blackwell and myself, it always comes down to this.
A thousand little tasks that, on their own, amount to minor inconveniences, have slowly mounted as we whimsically partied and aimlessly celebrated our way through the summer months.
Now, our carefree indulgences have us staring down the proverbial mountain that could have been a mole hill.
|Housework, you say?|
There is no greater manifestation of our abject failure than the playground set standing in my backyard. Like the dysfunctional coach lights on either side of my garage, we inherited the playground from the previous owners.
Upon first glance, it looks fine. It's got a pole to slide down, a rope to climb and a yellow slide. But the closer one wanders toward it, the more the sad reality reveals itself.
The happy, striped tarp, which serves as a roof, has a gaping hole. The wood frame is buckling and nails are poking out. The bright, curved yellow slide is hanging on by a thread.
Also, a squadron of squirrels must have got the memo from the rabbits in the front lawn that it's open season on my property and has commandeered the upper level.
It's dangerous equipment, but it's not an eyesore from afar, which means it is — essentially — a gigantic tease to every kid in our neighborhood, including our own son.
So, there's plenty of work to be done at the old homestead and this past Sunday offered the perfect day to do it. Clear skies and brisk temperatures meant conditions were ideal to get outside and be productive.
|Disappointed at being deprived his much-loved yard work|
the boy lashed out and attempted to steal a banjo.
Rakes were hung neatly in the garage. Garbage cans were empty and ready to accommodate whatever byproducts our work yielded.
It was the perfect day to "get out there and get at it!"
Naturally all of that meant nothing as Mrs. Blackwell and I packed up the boy and a close friend of the family and headed off to a nearby pumpkin patch.
Yes, why be productive when you can saunter through a bucolic rural estate drinking fresh, piping-hot apple cider, with a wool sweater knotted about your shoulders like you've just wandered out of the J Crew catalogue?
Who needs a rake when you can brush shoulders with farm animals, pick pumpkins and, in general, soak up as much of the season as possible?
Meh, maybe it'll snow soon and no one will be able to see the all the leaves we haven't raked.