Outside in Fall
Warm pleasant weather lures families into their yards for gardening, barbecue cooking, and simply enjoying the weather or quiet conversation.
Unfortunately, most people retreat inside as soon as the weather turns cool and don’t enjoy their yards until spring’s gentle sunshine warms the earth. Fascinating happenings occur all fall and winter, and we enjoy going outside no matter what the weather is.
Often Rich quietly sits on the back deck with his binoculars. There’s
plenty to see as nuthatches, woodpeckers, and chickadees flit around bare branches and wing to feeders while juncos seek tiny seeds on the ground. Squirrels come and go, often chasing one another, and each morning a flock of wild turkeys troops up to our yard from nearby Faulke’s Woods. It’s all fun to watch.
There’s only one downside. It’s cold. Fortunately, manufacturers have made great strides in recent years developing clothing and other products that make being outside comfortable on even the coldest days. Deer hunters and ice fishermen can sit for hours in frosty places and have learned how to stay warm. Rich follows their example with layers of clothes and a warm jacket. Toes, fingers, and ears are the most likely body parts to feel the cold, so he dons a stocking cap, warm pair of mittens or gloves, and felt lined boots when sitting on the deck.
*He augments these with hand and toe warmers. The best brands we have found are HotHands and Grabbers. A simple air tight packet keeps the natural ingredients stable. Cut open the outer seal and air activates the process with resulting heat that lasts six to 12 hours depending on the brand and type of warmer – hand, toe or body. These light-weight, disposable packs are great for late season outdoor sports, yard work, emergency crews, and just being outside. When the elements are cool, we cut open the packet and sprinkle the iron-vermiculite mixture on the ground then recycle the packaging.
*Milwaukee Tool Company, best known for its quality drills and saws, has recently brought out battery heated jackets, vests and coats, and these sound ideal for enjoying the yard in winter. We’ll be testing them soon and will let visitors to Winding Pathways know how well they work to keep wearers toasty on cold days.
Don’t let the cold keep you from enjoying your yard. It’s fascinating in winter, and with leaves off trees visibility is often better than during the summer. Here’s one more tip:
Many animals visit the yard after dark in winter. Step outside with a flashlight and shine it on the bird feeder. You might discover a raccoon, opossum, deer, or even flying squirrel enjoying seeds intended for birds!
*(Note: These are independent, unpaid reviews of products.)