Pre-Winter House and Yard Maintenance

December has arrived, but weather-wise, it’s been pretty mild around here, with temperatures as high as seventy degrees on Monday. Doesn’t that seem crazy? Seventy degrees in Chicago in December. During my lunch break from work, I just felt disoriented and kept wondering, where am I? What month is this? What’s going on?

Though I’m happy to announce that as of this writing, temperatures have fallen to a much more December-appropriate thirty and forty degrees, and I think I heard something on TV about snow flurries in the forecast. So all is right with the world.

Backtracking a week or two though, we decided it would be a good idea to clean out the gutters before winter. Especially since most websites seem to recommend doing it twice a year, and we hadn’t cleaned them them at all since we bought the house. Yikes!

We have quite a few tall trees in the neighborhood, including the moderately-sized one right out front, so it seemed possible for them to be completely packed with leaves and gunk… but happily, upon getting on the ladder, that turned out not to be the case. This phone photo was snapped before cleaning anything, and it shows how empty long stretches of the gutters were:

(Because apparently taking pictures is what I like to do while standing up on ladders.)

The leaves that were in there were easy enough to remove, and oddly it turned out to be the back of the house that had the most leaves despite being furthest from any trees.

But in conclusion, the gutters are pristine now, and it was a happy ending to a long period of neglecting them.

Speaking of neglecting things, we kind of let the yard go this past summer, which is too bad — it seemed like we were off to such a good start early on in the year when we pulled out the weeds and grass around the front bushes to create a simple flower bed. But then I started a new job, and there was all the chaos after Dad unexpectedly passed away, and all of a sudden it was late November and we had a backyard full of dead weeds.

Mostly it was the areas against the house, garage, and fence that had gotten badly overgrown, and rather than leaving it all there all winter, I figured I’d try to pull out as much of the unauthorized plant matter as possible. I ended up filling up seven big paper yard waste bags, which seems like an awful lot, and crazy as it may sound that wasn’t even all of it. But, at least things will (hopefully) be that much better off come spring, and then we’ll get a chance to try again at the whole “having a nice yard” thing.

Anyway, that’s the scoop on some of the boring but responsible and necessary work that’s come with the package of homeownership — thank goodness that’s over! The next post will be all about Christmas decorating and other fun happy extracurricular activities!

2 Comments

  1. Seven bags full! Good for you! Have you thought about making a compost pile out near your garden? They’re easy to do with a little wire and some stakes. Or some folks just put the plant matter into a pile. There’s lots of articles on the net about how to do it.

    You’re making great progress on updating and beautifying your home! Congratulations!

    • Thanks! Sometimes it seems like an uphill crawl, but I think we’re slowly getting there. :) Composting sounds like an interesting idea — it would be nice to get that free nutrient-rich soil for gardening, and it would definitely help feel less wasteful when cleaning up overgrown areas like this. Thanks for the comment and suggestion! :)

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