Winter in Mississippi is not a pretty picture, at least not to me. Since moving here eleven years ago I have become incredibly intolerant to cold, or even cool temperatures. I do own a Mississippi winter coat, which would be classified as a very light jacket anywhere that actually has a winter. And I am also now reminded that when I moved here I was told that it snowed in Clinton only every ten or fifteen years, which does not correlate to my personal experience of having seen it snow eleven out of my twelve winters here. But there is a good side to winter in Mississippi. I am thinking.
Oh, everything does stop growing faster than I can cut it down, including the kudzu, poison ivy and random trees in the yard. Winter is the time to reclaim the corners and parts of the yard that have become overgrown with green stuff that I do not want. Trying to reduce this onslaught during the eleven months of summer is an exercise in futility, not to mention dicey with the poison ivy that apparently I am unable to detect in time to avoid.
I bought a chipper a few years ago to help with this slash and churn project. The chipper is great, another one of my favorite tools. It will quickly chew up the hundreds of small trees that sprout up every year around the yard and neatly deposit them into a bag for efficient disposal. It takes a little bit of time to set up the chipper and plug it into a circuit that will not blow after two seconds, but once it is going it is really neat and scary to watch. I have not yet chipped anything this year, but I plan to as soon as it warms up a bit.
I resumed my project to put foam pipe insulation on the hot water pipes under the house. Winter reminds me every year that we have to run the hot water for a while before there is actually hot water coming out of the faucet. I bought the foam pipe noodles which is always a good place to start, but I have not yet crawled under the house to snap them over the hot water pipes, but I plan to as soon as it dries out a bit more under the house.
As noted in December, the very scary red wasps are not flying around during the winter. I do not know, or care if they hibernate, fly even farther south for the winter or die, as long as they are not staring at me when I am standing on a ladder. It is still too cold to resume my never-ending outside house painting projects, although I am really looking forward to finishing the peak of the roof triangle on the front of the house. I intend to resume this project as soon as it is warm enough outside to paint.
And lest we forget, I need to trim the foam I sprayed into the hole where the wasps were going in and out of the attic behind the gutter. I learned that the foam expands, a lot, hence the need to trim the embarrassing excess foam that did not fit into the hole, and I learned surprisingly that the wasps found another hole through which to enter and exit the attic. I will trim the foam as soon as I resume painting outside.
And winter is an excellent time to paint inside the house since it is much too cold to paint outside. I have the paint and brushes ready to go, and more importantly I have a supply of rags to wipe up any paint spilled from any paint cans I happen to kick over or step in while making the house beautiful. I cannot decide if I should clean the walls with a brush or with the vacuum, so I have not yet started to paint anything, but I plan to as soon as the walls are clean.
There are not any leaves left on our pin oaks, pecans or black walnut trees so this would be a good time to clear all of the remaining leaves off of the roof and out of the gutters. Our roof is very steep so not too many leaves are stuck up there except in the roof valleys. A trip up the ladder and onto the roof with a broom will make quick work of these remaining leaves, and all without making too big of a mess on the ground after I sweep them off. I have not yet gone up on the roof to sweep off the leaves, but I intend to as soon as I find the right broom for the job.
The azalea hedge in the front yard that I cut down still has the stumps in the ground, which I left because I thought there was poison ivy mixed in with the non-itchy ground cover. Now any poison ivy will not have any leaves and I will be able to use my line trimmer to thin out the ground cover so I can see/find the stumps. I put new line in the trimmer so I am ready, but I have not yet cleared out the ground cover or the stumps, but I plan to as soon as the ground dries out again.
Actually winter really is a nice time of the year. It is a break from the heat and humidity, it gives the air conditioner a one month vacation, and it allows the yard to relax a little without trying to make everything grow another foot each day. It is also a time to revisit some other projects that were put on hold for one reason or another, and have some qualify time to reflect and plan for the longer term, the future appearance of Our Olde House and yard. Yes, this is the time to act, to be bold, and to stop making flimsy excuses for task avoidance; a time to get up early and work until the sun goes down. I know I intend to, maybe tomorrow.