Facebook reminded me of a post from two years ago yesterday when a frantic harvesting was undertaken as we were expecting three consecutive nights of frost. Tonight we are forecast for our first potential frost. Right on time, mid October. A few years we have gotten an extra couple of weeks, and a few years, it has come a week or so earlier, but our average is mid October.
The weekend was busy. Daughter and family went overnight camping with their Taekwondo group and one from a near city for their belting ceremony and fun. Eldest son and eldest grandson came in Saturday to tackle some needed work. While son did some set up, I headed to the garden and harvested 2 peck of hot peppers for him to take home. His garden, though productive with some vegetables, did not produce many peppers. The 7 old chickens and the rooster were sent to freezer camp Saturday afternoon. It is going to take an extra slow cook to be able to chew those old birds, they were tough as shoes. With early sunsets, that was all that we got done Saturday afternoon, but took a post dinner trip to Lowes to price out deck rebuilding materials. I actually missed hearing Mr. Croak the past two mornings.
When we built our house, we built a huge deck on the south side, using a new borate treated wood. Decks have a 10-20 year life expectancy and that one only made the lower end of that.
Many of my blog photos have been take of or from that deck. A couple of years ago, when it was stained, the spindles that had all be hand cut had to be replaced. They were replaced with pre routed boards top and bottom and new spindles that were pre cut at a top and bottom angle. Last autumn, someone (maybe our 200 lb dog) put a foot through one of the boards on the decking, and we ended up replacing three boards with new pressure treated. In the past year, more and more of the deck boards deteriorated until it just wasn’t safe to go on it.
You can see the three replaced boards and two places where we stepped through it yesterday in preparation to resurface it and put on new railing. Unfortunately, as son and I worked to remove the old railing, getting the nails and bolts out of the logs holding the balusters and spindles and assessing what would be necessary, it appears that most of the joists under the large part of the deck are rotting too and we just can’t rebuild the whole thing. The 7.5 foot wide section coming out of the french doors of the dining room has sound joists, so it will be re decked with one of the composite decking materials, that will eliminate the need for the every other year re staining of this south facing deck, and wide steps will come off the side of it to the ground. Over time, we will try to gather enough flat field stone from the piles on our property to make a ground level patio in the spot where the large part of the deck now stands. It is disappointing, but because it is south facing and unprotected, it didn’t get the use we had planned for it to get over the years.
In anticipation of the next two very cold nights, the rest of the peppers will be harvested or if the wind dies down today, perhaps just covered with row cover or a tarp. If the asparagus ferns burn, they will be cut back along with the raspberry canes and the sweet potatoes dug and put in storage for a couple of weeks curing time before we begin to enjoy them. The garden is shutting down for the winter and the chickens will be given access to it for the winter. If I can get some seed garlic, it will be planted in a couple of weeks and covered so the chickens don’t dig it up. Until next spring, the garden is going to bed. Bye bye sunflowers.