Surprising Perks of Living Green in Fall
Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons in New Hampshire. In Spring everything is fresh and new and in Fall everything is slowing down and preparing for the Winter. The weather in Fall is wonderful. The food is abundant and delicious and the compost is ripe for spreading... okay, that last one may not be on everyone's list of favorite things about this season, but it should be! Here are some other surprising and wonderful reasons to live green in the fall:
Skipping the Yard Work
All around the town, rakes are scraping, leaf blowers are roaring, and bags of yard "waste" is piling up on the side of the road. Not at our house. We leave our leaves on the ground until mid-Spring for the caterpillars and other nascent insects, who need them for winter cover. In areas where the leaves fall very thick, we collect leaves to add to our compost pile and to lay on top of our gardens to protect the soil over the winter. Otherwise, the rakes stay in the garage!
Saving Money on Heat...
New Englanders have always saved money on their heating using simple tricks like closing off unused rooms and covering drafty doors and windows with quilts, but winterizing your home is one of the best methods for keeping the heat in and the cold out. You can also keep your heat low by building an Eco-hygge kit for you and your family to stay cozy this fall.
... and Halloween Costumes!
It's costume-making time in our house, which does not mean a trip to the pop-up Halloween store or an order from Amazon. Instead, we do a big brainstorming session and then head over to Goodwill for supplies. In recent years, the Concord Goodwill has actually had a huge costume section, which I love, but we also go looking in all the aisles for random items we can transform into what we need.
This year, my kids wanted to be a bumblebee, Lucy from the Chronicles of Narnia, and Wally (the Red Sox mascot). I was able to find a bee costume and a medieval looking dress that were both several sizes too big, but I will take some tucks and hem them a bit, them pull out the stitches and return them to Goodwill. Wally is proving harder, but so far I have a pillow head covered in a green sweatshirt material... wish me luck!
Putting Up Food
There is something incredibly satisfying about "putting up" the food you have grown in your own garden. Whether you are canning, drying, or freezing, there are lots of ways to make your food last well into the winter. And, if you didn't grow food this year, or didn't grow enough to store any, don't give up on putting up food! Your local farmer's markets, farm stands, and coops have plenty of fruits and vegetables for you to buy fresh now and save for the months to come.
Currently, I'm roasting and freezing the pumpkins and butternut squash that aren't able to be stored on the shelf because they have cuts or bruises.
Making New Friends
I have been working really hard over the last couple years to turn my backyard into a haven for wildlife, especially birds and pollinators, who love my gardens. One unexpected benefit has been a host of other animals who come for the fresh clover lawn, the native sunflowers, and other tasty treats. My favorite is a porcupine who comes to munch the clover at dusk when I am bringing the chickens into the coop for the night ( the chickens have been visited by coyotes and foxes in their chicken tractor, so we have to move them at night). The porcupine and I have a pretty good rhythm now and respect each other's personal space, and I love watching him grazing out there like a prickly little cow. I wish I had a photo of him, but it's always dark when he comes around.
What brings you joy and satisfaction in Fall?
PS Don't forget to plant your garlic on Halloween!