To stay organized during seasonal transitions, we follow a schedule of tasks from one year to the next.
So far, this autumn has been quite mild here in the Northeast. The last few weeks have also been pretty dry. This weather has allowed us ample time to ready the farm for the cold season ahead. My outdoor grounds crew has been especially busy with leaf removal and other outdoor gardening chores.
Here's a look at what's happening at the farm - are you ready for winter? Let me know what outdoor chores you're doing in the comments section below. And remember, if you click on each photo, you can see it in a larger, more detailed view.
As colder weather approaches, and sunlight decreases, trees that drop their leaves seal the spots where the leaves are attached, which causes them to change color and fall to the ground.
Leaves are falling everywhere around the farm.
The outdoor grounds crew has been very busy blowing all the leaves from view around my house.
To make fallen leaves easier to transport, the crew first blows or rakes them onto a plastic tarp.
With so many leaves, a large leaf vacuum saves much time and labor.
This area looks so different once the layer of leaves is removed.
Another mound of leaves is being collected behind my Equipment Barn.
This powerful machine removes even the smallest leaf particles. Phurba and Dawa move the debris closer to the hose opening, so the vacuum takes in the leaves and transports them into the bed of the truck.
Phurba can also maneuver the hose head with the attached handles.
This vacuum really speeds up the process.
When the dump truck is full, the leaves are taken to the compost area, where they are piled up for decomposition to form mulch.
Meanwhile, stakes are once again placed every few feet along the four miles of carriage road, so it is very clear where the road ends and the landscape begins. This will protect the lawns when snow covers the ground.
Putting down stakes is easy to do when ground temperatures are still warm. The stakes are milled from felled trees right here at the farm and painted Bedford gray.
The crew also painted the tips of these stakes black marking catch basins – this will make it much easier to find them underneath the snow when they need to be cleared.
Over at the blueberry patch, Chhewang is pruning the tall and overgrown branches.
Chhewang works from the bottom up removing any diseased or broken wood, and crossing branches. The bush should have a narrow base and a wide, open top that allows sunlight and air in.
Chhewang also cuts any soft shoots developing from the base of the bush late in the season, and canes and twigs that have been damaged or unproductive.
Chhewang is half way done – he’s completed this side.
And is working his way down this side.
Wilmer has been busy clearing garden beds. The removal of annual and herbaceous plant debris from the flowerbed is very important. Keeping the beds clean decreases the chance of disease and insect problems in the spring.
All the cuttings are taken to the compost pile.
The beds look so clean after Wilmer is done.
And here is Dawa, blowing leaves in another part of the farm by my grove of weeping willows.
We are right on track, getting everything ready for the cold season ahead.