- hay supply
- plenty of straw for bedding
- wood supply
- clean wood stoves
- clean out stovepipes
- clean out gutters
- storm windows or heavier curtains
- dig out the sweaters, jackets, and longjohns
- finish the harvest: cowpeas, corn, amaranth, winter squash, sweet potatoes, etc.
We always clean out the stoves and stove pipes, but this year we also replaced the catalytic combustor in our wood heat stove. When the interior of the stove gets to about 500° F (260° C), the combustor is engaged and begins to burn the gases released in the burning of the wood. The result is cleaner, pollutant-free white smoke, and more heat!
|Our old ceramic combustor was damaged|
A combustor needs to be cleaned regularly for top efficiency, but also it has a lifespan and must eventually be replaced. Ours is about six years old and the ceramic has become chipped. We decided to with a steel one, because steel will be sturdier and last longer than ceramic.
|New steel catalytic combustor installed|
Since this is our first year with honeybees, I had one new autumn chore: add a mouse guard to the entrance of the hive. In winter a beehive offers mice warmth and food. The bees are much less active in cold temperatures, so mice will dare to enter. During warmer weather, the bees will defend against their entrance and sting them to death.
|The bees have taken this new obstacle in stride.|
I used two pieces of half-inch hardware cloth. I doubled it in a slightly offset fashion because I wasn't sure if a mouse could squeeze through a half inch opening. Some say they can't, some say the can.
I've been keeping an eye on the bottom hive box,
but so far no comb is being built even though the bees are still very busy. I thought that if they filled the bottom of the four hive boxes, I might be able to harvest the top and leave them two honey boxes for the winter plus a nest box. I got a late start with this hive, so I'd rather they have good winter stores than an early honey harvest. There's always next year for that.
And here's something that's useful for winterizing - a door draft stopper.
I need one for each of our exterior doors.
Our temperatures have turned mild again and the leaves on the trees are changing. I'm glad to have most of those seasonal chores behind us. What about you? Are you preparing for the change of seasons?