How to Get Your Outdoors Ready for Winter

img_1982

It always feels like the official end of summer when the time comes to dismantle the outdoor living space I’ve created on my porch for the season. It’s a bittersweet time; on the one hand, I’m sad to watch the days grow shorter and colder but on the other hand it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how much I’ve enjoyed my time out there this past summer.

Autumn is usually the time when I update my garden notes, paying attention to what worked for me during the growing season and what didn’t. I start brainstorming improvements too so that I can continue to develop these plans over the winter when I’m stuck indoors.

It’s also a good opportunity to do a little research on how to best care for your garden and/or outdoor space over the winter. Don’t limit yourself to just plants. Patio furniture, planters, pots, urns and other outdoor décor and accessories all need to be properly cleaned and stored for the winter as well. You may wish to clean and take inventory of all of your gardening tools at this time of year as well, and make any repairs or replacements accordingly.

Additionally, there are certain house maintenance issues that may require attention. Gutters and eaves should be cleaned and inspected, as should the screens and windows of your house. (Some people have storm windows that should be installed at this time of year as well.)

Getting my outdoors ready for winter is a unique experience for me because I live in an apartment building. Many potted plants will not last the winter; those I can save I bring inside or winterize in their pots. This I do by spreading mulch over the soil, wrapping them with burlap and twine, and stashing them in a sheltered area that will protect them from windy and damp conditions. Plants that find their homes inside often get cut back and repotted in order to stay strong and healthy during the period of hibernation.

In a way, I’m preparing to hibernate as well. Winter is a gloomy time for me (I’m a fresh air and sunshine kind of gal) and I like to get ready for the season indoors as well by giving my house a good clean to clear out all of the dirt and grit that the summer brought in. I usually take a look through my pantry to reorganize and purge unwanted or expired food. All that extra room gives me the opportunity to stock up on ingredients for homemade soups and stews.

You better my quest for cozy doesn’t stop there either. This is the perfect time of year to wash all of your quilts, blankets and pillows in preparation for some serious snuggle time, or at least a lot of hours catching up on Netflix. I do a ton of reading over the winter as well, so fall is the perfect time for me to dust and re-organize my ever-evolving bookshelf (more about that here) and amass my reading material for the season. (I know you wouldn’t expect any less of me.)

Yes, the end of summer is a sad time for summer babies and garden lovers like myself, but for those of you who feel the same way, take heart: there are still other outdoor holiday decorating opportunities coming our way.

KBwB-BFlower-50It feels like yesterday I was just telling you guys about how I get ready for spring. How has all of that time flown by? I want to know how your gardens did over the summer. What do you include as part of your autumn cleaning ritual? Comment below or email your suggestions to keepingbusyb@gmail.com. Pictures of fall colors are definitely encouraged.

Looking for other autumn-type stuff to celebrate the season? Click here to read why fall is still an opportunity to make a fresh start, get advice on how to store your summer shoes, or bake something seasonal here.

 

Advertisements

Fall 2016 Reading List

KBB_fall_2016_reading_list.jpgI love hearing about the books that people read and what they like to recommend to me (whether it’s because I’ve snooped their bookshelves, because they’ve been saving books for us to trade back and forth, or because they were looking to unload one of their bookshelves).

I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a little bit of a reading rut lately, so I decided for my fall reading list I would let one of my fellow book-ish friends dictate what I read. I asked my friend and photographer for the blog, D, to pick out things that were unusual, shocking or out of character for me. And of course when I heard that I hadn’t read one of his personal favorites (Watership Down by Richard Adams) he was shocked and disappointed, and demanded that I read it, like, yesterday.

Here are the other books he chose:

  1. Automated Alice by Jeff Noon
  2. Blindness by José Saramago
  3. The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett
  4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

What are some of the books that you’ve read at other people’s suggestion?

KBwB-BFlower-50

I love to read and I love sharing my favourite books with you. (For more reading inspiration, click here.) These lists are totally my own creation and I was not paid or perked to share my opinions with you by any author or publishing company. Full disclosure: I do receive a small commission from Amazon when you choose to buy a book from my site. It keeps this blog running and food in my dog’s bowl, but rest assured I’d never suggest you buy something I wouldn’t buy for myself. Enjoy!

Baking with B: Homemade Applesauce

KBB_baking_homemade_applesauceWhat is it about apples that make it seem like autumn has arrived? I know for most people the all of quintessential fall foods have something to do with pumpkin spice, but for me it’s the smell of apples baking in the oven in a pie, or simmering on a stovetop that brings me back to my childhood when my parents used to drive my sister and I out of the city to pick our own apples.

And nothing says childhood more than making your own homemade applesauce which is (somewhat) nutritious, delicious and easy as pie…except that it’s applesauce.

Homemade Applesauce (makes 6 cups)

4 lbs. apples (my favorite is Gala)

¼ c. lemon juice

3 tbsp dark brown sugar

This recipe is so simple you’re not even going to think it’s real but it is: just peel, core and slice your apples. Pop them in a large pot with lemon juice and 1 ½ c. water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until apples are very soft and falling apart. Mash with a potato masher or pulse in a food processor. Add sugar. If you’re feeling super fancy, you may want to add a pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg, or both! Let cool and transfer to an airtight container. It keeps for 5 days in the fridge or you can freeze the leftovers for later, up to 2 months.

Happy baking!

B

KBwB-Flower-50

Baking with B appears every other Monday on the Keeping Busy with B Blog. Find out why I like baking so much here. For more of my baking, click here. And for even more recipe inspiration, check out my Pinterest full of food eye candy that will have you licking your computer. Promise.