Preparing for fall — and winter
I think it’s time to let go of summer.
We experienced below-freezing temperatures last week. Plus, Sunday, Sept. 22, was the autumnal equinox.
I have to face the facts — it’s fall.
My husband has this week off. He is finishing off the last of his “use or lose” leave before the fiscal year ends and he loses it.
We, who are naively not yet accustomed to September in Alaska after two years, thought we could go camping while he was off. We wanted to use our newly purchased camper.
Even though we found all recommended camping sites were closed by this time, we were undaunted, sure we could figure something out. However, Jackie Purcell did in our plans with a forecast that included a frost warning. The cold necessitated winterization of the camper. With antifreeze running through the pipes, camping will have to wait.
After getting the camper ready for winter, we determined it was time to get the house ready for upcoming cooler temperatures. Covers were put on outdoor spigots. I bought batteries for our sun room’s gas stove’s thermostat. It gets cold out there in the winter, and I learned the hard way that without extra heat the water lines will freeze.
I am grateful there was no permanent damage, and I will not be repeating that mistake again. After getting the thermostat set up, I got to remember how to light the pilot light.
Our next project is to put winter tires on the vehicles before that white stuff that is currently on top of the mountains makes its way to the streets. I have had many discussions with people who believe that since they have four-wheel drive they do not need winter tires.
My former van, which was rear ended by two four-wheel drive vehicles, begs to differ. My personal experience driving with all-weather tires on ice also convinced me that they allow for much safer stopping.
Along with preparation for the cold, the onset of fall brings glad tidings.
The PFD has been announced and is on its way. I know there is controversy for my family to receive our check. I have seen the yearly complaints that the PFD would be larger per person if only we military folks didn’t horn our way in. However, I live here, I vote here, and I pay ever-increasing property taxes here. I will not be apologizing as I cash my check next month.
Stores are happy to remind patrons that Halloween is just around the corner. My children are enticed by the costumes and are having fun planning what they will be.
Knowing they will change their minds at least a half dozen times before trick-or-treating, I haven’t spent any money yet. Personally, I am exerting much self-control not to decorate my house with pumpkins and ghosts after seeing the store displays.
While I am loathe to say good-bye to warm sunny days and camping dreams, I am happy to say hello to cozy sweatshirts, warm fires and comforting mugs of hot chocolate.
Summer will return at its usual time next year. So, I will now welcome fall and enjoy it while it lasts. I will also remember that it leads quickly to winter here in Alaska, and I will use the time to prepare for the snow and cold.
Eagle River’s Lori Spears is the wife of a captain in the U.S. Army.