Sunday, November 11, 2007

Winterizing the ol' homestead

It's time to truly say good-bye to our gentle autumn weather and prepare for the winter wind and snow. As much as I love all the color and texture of the plants on the deck, sometimes I wonder if I made a bad decision, having so many plants that can't survive a winter, even in a dormant state, outside. Every year, we try to figure out how to house them over the winter, and this year, I think we've come up with the best idea so far.

We brought in the two hibiscus, the two brugmansias, the geraniums, the jasmine, and several other plants. The biggest brug was loaded with blooms, and I couldn't bear to lose them, so the whole pot got hauled in. The hibiscus, which had been touched by frost early in spring, had just begun blooming, and I couldn't bear to lose those buds, either. So, my Oldtimer went to Home Depot and got some of those waterproof bathroom panels, and cut them to size to fit the tabletops in the family room, as well as cutting a few floor panels. Then we went to the dollar store, and bought large plastic plates to fit under the smaller pots, and a dozen $1 laundry baskets. When you cut the gridwork off the laundry basket, you have a nice, large, round saucer with high sides. Isn't that Oldtimer of mine clever?

Fortunately, the window end of the family room has very high ceilings and the loft where we have our computers and the rest of the stuff for a home office, looks down on the jungle. Here's a shot, over the railing, of my indoor jungle:

That brugmansia sure is glad to be inside (and the fragrance is wonderful)!

Now, the tougher job was bringing the fountain in from the pond. We can't take the chance that the winter weather will freeze and crack the float which supports the lights and the fountain, so we got an inflatable boat and today, in the 47 degrees and cloudy weather, my Oldtimer launched the "HMS Rufus" and we pulled in the float. Of course, I captured it in photos, mostly anticipating the tumble from the boat. No such luck...but as you can see below, it did look like it *could* happen. (I think all of these photos are clickable so you can see them larger.)

At first, Oldtimer was relaxed and smiling:

See that smile? That doesn't happen often:

My job was to catch the (slimy) anchor ropes as he tossed them to me. Note the look of determination here:

Now, in this shot, I'm thinking he looks a little too relaxed. In truth, however, he couldn't situate himself to avoid leaning back too far, and the float kept moving away (both anchor ropes had already been unattached and staked at the shore).
OK, now things get interesting. This leaning back business, while playing gondolier, isn't working. Oldtimer decides to get on his knees...out in the middle of the the 47 degree weather...and one knee has been wonky of late:

I was prepared for some real action shots:
No such luck. I threw him the spare rope and hauled him and the float in. I think for next year, we'll buy some paddles.


Judi Wellnitz said...

Next year a regatta! Let me know if you brought a house load of bugs in with the plants, LOL.

Linda Fleming said...

I love your indoor jungle! You and the old timer are so clever at thinking up ways to set the plants up.

I was so sure at the end of this post there would be a picture of your husband falling into the water-LOL! He must be pretty agile for an old timer-LOL!