Winter Play and Chores

After the fun and trimming.
After the fun and trimming.

Being a rare beautiful, warmish winter day, I kicked the kids outside after lunch. There was no wind, so the snow was still clinging to some of the trees, though the sun had by then melted some of it off. The deal was that they had to be outside for a good amount of time, by my discretion, if they wanted to get some video game time. We need to take advantage of the good days in the winter around here.

Since I had a full bucket of kitchen cuttings I went out to dump that in the compost too. In the winter when the cuttings just freeze and sit on top it really shows how much food my family goes through.

I have two bins for compost. One was mostly full by the middle of November as it was already mostly full from the time before we moved to New Brunswick and then back in our whirlwind manner. The second is only about half full, which I will remedy by the end of winter. I can foresee building another one by spring. Besides the bins there are two cold piles for leaves, grass cuttings, straw, and the plants and weeds we pull from the garden. We have ¾ of an acre, so it all adds up quickly.

I decided to stay outside and give the crab apples a hair cut. I’ve found that if one of either Rebecca or I are out with the kids, they stay outside longer. It’s probably a “lead by example type of thing”, and when our two year old is out there, we are. The yard is fenced, but animals and creepers aren’t the only things that can happen to a two year old.

So now the crab apples are trimmed way back, I like the aggressive approach. I took the chain saw to them in a past winter as they were quite overgrown when we first bought the place. I can’t remember if it was last winter or the winter before. This time I was able to use just the loppers. I have no formal training in horticulture or arbor-whatever-the-fancy-name-is, but I’ve watched YouTube so I’m alright, right? I just know that I want fewer branches, and I want them lower down so we can reach them easier.

The kids helped me by carrying away the cut pieces and putting them on our branch/stick pile. By the time I’m done with bringing down a bunch of dead and dying poplars this winter, I should have enough sticks and branches to build a dead hedge, something I’ve been wanting to do for years. I don’t like that the fence we inherited is mostly a six foot thing we can’t see through, which also blocks the sun from getting to part of the garden area for much of the morning in the summer. I might be able to start replacing it with a low dead hedge.

The reasons I do this sort of work in the winter is that the leaves are off the tree, so I can see the structure, there`s no sap to deal with, and I have more time to do it. In the spring there`s garden prep and planting. Summer has too much weeding, harvesting, and cutting grass, not to mention vacations and trips to the splash park. Autumn is all garden tear down and raking leaves.

The kids lasted a good forty-five minutes, which for them is good in the winter. We all trooped inside then, and Mathias insisted on playing Boggle. Rebecca and I have been playing it in the evenings, and he’s started being able to recognize words.

All in all I`d say it`s been a good day to this point. I predict lots of fights for the rest of the day. I`ve had it too good.

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Published by jrdobbin

I am a father of four, married for eight years. I live and play in Alberta, Canada.

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