May 23, 2018
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The Ides of August


Check the calendar, and you may be surprised to find that August is about half over and that those occasional chilly breezes mean that another fall will soon be here.

What has happened to August, anyhow? It is the month of seemingly endless picnics, hikes in the woods, swims in the lakes or in the always-cold ocean, end-to-end festivals and outdoor concerts — and increasingly heavy automobile traffic. It is a month of fun and excitement, along with sometimes frantic tension. It would be awful if it lasted forever.

And of course it won’t. The rest of August will end with a whoop and quickly lead into September and Labor Day, that long weekend that marks the end of summer and the beginning of winter’s work. There will be some more warm and sunny days, naturally, the usual Indian summer bonus, but fall will be getting under way.

What to do with the rest of August and the rest of summer? Lots of things that were planned in the spring were put off in favor of summer fun.

Firewood for the winter is one of them. It should already have been stacked and drying in the side yard. Instead, the supplier may be out of seasoned wood, having accommodated other, more farsighted, customers. The thing to do is order a cord or more right now, get it stacked and covered with a tarp, and hope that it will do by the time the cold weather sets in.

Another is sweaters. Shorts and T-shirts have been fine for summer, but a good sweater is essential when the days go chilly. Now is the time to get the old one washed or cleaned and maybe darned or patched at the elbows.

And now is the time to start closing down vegetable or flower gardens, turning over the soil, maybe spading in some nutrients and getting them ready for new plantings in the spring. Spading some raw unsalted fish into a rhubarb bed is said to help it flourish next spring.

Take a look at the roof. Get any missing shingles replaced and ready for winter storms. Check the windows to be sure that they can be closed tightly against bad weather.

By no means let all this planning for winter interfere with enjoyment of what’s left of summer. Get out on a hike, take a dip, have some fun. But keep in mind that we soon will be heading into another winter. Changing seasons keeps us on our toes and is fun in itself. Have a good one.

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