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ANN BAILEY: Fall is a time for chores and some fun, too

Life on our farmstead, like on the working farm where I grew up, follows seasonal cycles. There's a list of chores we do each spring and another that we do in the fall.

Ann Bailey

Life on our farmstead, like on the working farm where I grew up, follows seasonal cycles. There's a list of chores we do each spring and another that we do in the fall.

Many of the same chores are on both lists, but there are a few different ones, too. For example, in the spring, we plant the garden and remove the mulch from the flower beds. In the fall, harvesting the garden and cleaning out the eaves spouts are tasks that we strive to complete before the snow flies.

Busy days

The warm, dry weather this fall has left us with no excuses to delay our chores, and we've gotten most of them accomplished. My husband, Brian, cleaned out the horse barn on a day off from work, our three children helped the two of us clean my mom's chicken house and harvest the vegetable garden and I cut the tops of the peonies and some of the other perennials in our flower beds.

I also mowed one last time and chopped up a lot of the leaves that were lying on the lawn. We don't spend much time raking because we have three large yards and we know, that besides, the leaves are a good source of mulch.

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We still have a few chores, such as putting the lawn furniture away, cleaning the eaves spouts, cutting the dead raspberry canes and pruning the grapes. We plan to put the furniture away now that the weather has turned colder, but we'll wait to do the other chores until November.

Despite the strong winds we've had during the past, there are quite a few leaves still hanging on the trees. Meanwhile, the grapes and raspberries are green. By next month, the trees, bushes and vines should be bare and we will tackle the final chores on the fall list.

Fall frolicking

In between the chores, our children have been having a lot of fun outdoors playing Frisbee, running, bike riding and jumping in the leaves. On a recent Saturday, our sons, Brendan and Thomas, together with their friend, Reece, raked up a humongous pile of leaves. The boys and our daughter, Ellen, then took turns jumping off of the loader bucket of our tractor into the pile. They also buried themselves in the pile and came into the house afterwards with leaves clinging to their clothes and big smiles on their faces.

On another Saturday, when we cleaned the chicken house, Brendan decided to run the 2ยฝ miles to my mom's farm and Ellen and Thomas rode their bikes. It was a good way to combine aerobic exercise with the muscle-building exercise they got when they were helping clean the chicken house.

Enjoying the sights

I'm the lone hold-out in the family when it comes to running, but I do like going for walks and I've continued going for a two-mile one nearly every day. It's great, not only for exercise, but to get a close look at the changing countryside. All of the fields by our house are now harvested and farmers are working up the fields. Now that the water finally has dried up, they can till under the weeds that they couldn't get to during the summer.

My nephew, Stephen, who works for our neighbor, Bill, who rents my mom's land, has been doing a lot of chisel plowing in the fields that surround our house. It's fun to see him in the cab of the tractor working my family's land.

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In fall, like all seasons, the farm is a good place for me and my family to be working and playing.

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