It is officially fall around here, both shown by the calendar AND by what you can see outside — we woke up to a layer of frost on the flower farm this morning, and the huge trees in our front yard are turning gold. The chickens’ egg production seems to be slightly tapering down, and we harvested in the last of the vegetables this week as we knew they wouldn’t survived the 25-degree nights we’ve had in the forecast.
I’ve always particularly loved fall, partly because of my birthday, partly because it signaled the start of a new school year, and partly because the high heat of summer has just never been my favorite temperature to experience. This year I’ve welcomed it even more because it meant that I could close the books on most of the flower farming day-to-day requirements and start preparing the beds for winter.
September ended up being busy but enjoyable as we were able to squeeze in a date to celebrate both mine and Matt’s birthdays, spend some time with family, and go to a u-pick farm. I also was offered a part-time job working as the senior copy editor for our local newspaper, which I started the last half of the month. Since it’s been so long since I’ve worked for anyone else, I didn’t know how it would go, but so far it seems like the job is an excellent fit, especially as it’s almost all from home and is currently only 5-10 hours a week.
Here’s a rundown of how the rest of the goals and plans I made for last month went:
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- The fact that I can now register my cars online without having to get a safety and emissions test done every year is the best. THE BEST!!!
Get oil change in van
- We did end up paying WAY more for this than we’d planned because I procrastinated (which severely limited our options of where we could take it in), but at least it’s done for the next several months.
Getand install new car seat for Hyrum
- We bought this basic car seat with excellent reviews at the beginning of the month, but we still have yet to install it. Rollover goal.
Take family photos
- We met up with some friends in the first week of the month to do a little photo swap in some sunflower fields. The kids were a bit crazy, but we did manage to get a few good ones!
Go to a u-pick farm
- We made this happen near the end of the month, and while we missed the more quaint u-pick place we were used to frequenting that was close to our old house, we still enjoyed the trip to Rowley’s Red Barn in Santaquin (and were rather impressed by their apple cider donuts, as well!).
Size Hyrum up to 18-month clothes
- This really should have been done about a month ago, but at least I finally got around to it. Hyrum’s growing so fast that he’s starting to catch up to Mathias, and people have started asking me whenever we go to the store if the two of them are twins.
Change out the other kids’ clothes for warmer things
- Changing out my kids’ clothes seems to always be one of those things I procrastinate to the end, but I did get it done this month at any rate (even if it was on the 29th). Besides being something I needed to do anyway, it was good to go through the kids’ clothes and see where there are some gaps, especially as I’m starting to order Christmas gifts already (see more below). Old Navy is having their 40% off sale right now, so between that and the rewards points I’m always stacking up, I ended up getting around $80 worth of clothing for the kids’ Christmas gifts for about $3. (You can read more about how exactly I do that in this post.) Actually, if you count the $1.79 cash back I got back by going through Rakuten, I only spent just over $1. Not bad at all!!
Print out a list of what to put in each 72-hour kit and put at least 3 things in each
- Now here’s a line item I’m especially proud of! I’m the worst at putting off emergency preparedness, but I’ve felt really strongly that we need to focus on it hardcore this year. This last month, I not only printed off a few different lists with suggestions of what to put in the kits, but I got a decent amount already stashed in each of the kids’ backpacks, including medicine, toothbrushes/toothpaste, soap, sunscreen, toilet paper, washcloths, and other hygiene products. I also ordered another backpack (bigger than the ones for the kids) for Matt to use (since I already have one that my mom made for me ages ago).
- Do caulking in kitchen
- We didn’t really get much done in the house this month, at least not on the home improvement projects we’ve been working on for nearly a year now. Rollover goal.
- Finish up flooring odds and ends
Hang up at least one thing in the kitchen area
- Using birthday money I got from my mom and stepdad, I ended up getting this wreath, which I’ve already hung up and which I LOVE. My dad and stepmom also gifted me this clock that I’ve been eyeing for awhile, which is actually even prettier in person than it is online. I’m super excited about it! My plan is to hang up the clock on the blank wall in the kitchen along with some framed prints of our family.
- Wash comforter
- I just need to take a night and go to a local laundromat to get this done, but I haven’t gone yet. Rollover goal.
- Clear out the rest of the boxes in master bedroom
- While I’m not done with this, I DID make progress! I started out with 10 boxes at the beginning, and now we have 5 (+ one full of stuff I need to donate).
Ask around about hiring someone to till the new beds or see what machinery we can rent
- Well, we did do this, but unfortunately the guy we found who had originally thought he could do it no longer has the time. After going over our options, we ended up deciding just to purchase this electric hand tiller, which we can use until we have to upgrade to something bigger and more powerful in the future. For as small of a space as we have now, we think an electric hand tiller will be sufficient.
Finish delivering pay-it-forward bouquets
- We not only delivered a bouquet to every person whose name we were given by the community, but we also were able to give away quite a few others to a bunch of people just as we came across them! It was super fun and extremely rewarding to have this as part of our business model. Definitely doing again next year!
Finish up CSA subscriptions
- I had several people who paid upfront at the very beginning of my flower farming season for a certain number of bouquets, and it felt GREAT to finally deliver the last of those in September so that every last subscription was completed. While I plan to do CSA subscriptions next year as well, there’s no denying that there’s a certain amount of pressure that comes with doing them, for sure! Since you’re paid the money upfront, you’re always taking on a bit of a risk that you won’t have the product to deliver to them if you have major crop loss, so I was relieved that this worked out as well as it did this first year.
- Put new load of compost on garden beds
- We put this off so that we can combine it with all the tilling we plan to do in October.
Plant out the rest of the seedlings that need to overwinter
- I sowed several trays of hardy annuals that are able to overwinter in our zone and planted them out this month so that they will hopefully be able to set down good roots and then have a significant head start next year. (For more on this lesser-known gardening practice, I highly recommend the book Cool Flowers.)
- Read two books off of my Summer Reading List
- I don’t know, guys—I should have been able to reach this goal easily, but I’ve just had a hard time prioritizing reading as much as I used to with all the other work I have going on. I did finish The Nature of Fragile Things (which I really enjoyed — gotta love Susan Meissner!), but I haven’t even started another one off of my Summer Reading List. When I do get around to reading, I’ve been focusing on finally finishing up all the (many) titles on my “Currently Reading” shelf on Goodreads, many of which I’ve been reading for literally around a year or more.
- Find Buick’s title or send in for a new one
- I’ve at least printed this out and started filling out the paperwork, so…progress.
Other Notable Accomplishments
- Got flu shots
- We usually get these around October, but since we happened to be going to the doctor for one of the kids anyway, we decided to just all get flu shots while we were there. Always such a relief to check little nagging things like this off the list!
- Made significant progress on both our short-term food storage goal AND long-term food storage goal
- For many months now, we’ve been making slow but steady progress on our goal of building up to a year’s worth of food storage for our family of 5. Since we were (and are) constantly eating through what we’re buying, it’s a slow process for sure. This last month Matt and I sat down and talked it over and decided that we were going to pull some money from savings in one big lump sum so that we could basically get the rest of it done (or pretty darn close to done) in one fell swoop. Even though we still have to work on our water storage, it feels pretty amazing that if something were to happen in the upcoming future, we at least have plenty of food on hand to feed our family. (I’ll be doing an upcoming post all about the ins and outs of the whole process, as well as sharing WHY we’re taking on such a goal, so watch for that!)
October feels like it’s going to be one huge month of prepping — prepping the farm for winter, continuing with our emergency prepping, and trying to be as fully prepped for Christmas as early as possible. Seeing as I’m Queen of Procrastination over here, the fact that we’re tackling these things so early on (or at all) is a HUGE step forward for me.
- Finish the majority of the Christmas shopping
- For the past several years I’ve focused on finishing up Christmas shopping by the end of November, but because of all the whisperings about the shipping and transportation troubles around the world, we decided that it would 1) be prudent to get it out of the way early so we don’t have to worry about things possibly not arriving on time, and 2) hopefully help the shipping industry to have one less family adding to their Christmas rush and package load. (For the record, we think our big Christmas gift to the kids this year are going to be these. We’ve been trying to be super conscious about not adding a ton more “stuff” (especially toys with a million small pieces) to our home, so every gift we’re looking at needs to have a high probability of getting used frequently and also not adding to the clutter burden. I think the kids will absolutely love them.)
- Put clothes, food + rest of hygiene products in 72-hour kits
- While our 72-hour kits will also eventually need more “specialized” things in them like an emergency blanket, spare flashlights and batteries, and a manual can opener, I wanted to make sure we at least had them ready to go with all the basics we already have on hand.
- Go through 72-hour kit that my mom gave me and update where needed
- Many years ago (like, 15 years ago) my mom gave us all 72-hour kits for Christmas. Considering I haven’t gone through mine hardly at all in the time since, it’s long overdue. I already started this process a little bit one day last month, and you know it’s been a long time since you opened it when you discover that the spare pair of jeans in there is in a size you haven’t fit in for at least 10 years…
- Purchase or find food-grade buckets with lids, buy oxygen packets and mylar bags, and properly store our long-term food items
- While a lot of the long-term food storage we recently bought is already packaged for us in #10 cans (which will help the food inside to last 20-30+ if unopened), we also bought a lot of other things like rice and oats that aren’t yet properly packaged for long-term storage. In order to do so, we have to get the right kinds of buckets, some oxygen absorbers, and some mylar bags to seal everything in.
- Do third post in Food Storage 101 series on long-term food storage
- Now that we’ve finally made progress (and will hopefully make more this month) on our long-term food storage, I feel ready to put together the next post in the Food Storage 101 series.
- Install new car seat
- Rollover goal.
- Make trip to the donation center
- Even though my Declutter 1,001 Things Challenge is over, we still have a ton of stuff we don’t need in our house. Since we need to really downsize the storage areas due the mouse problem mentioned below, I figure a trip to our closest donation center is in order for this month.
- Get a handle on the mouse problem
- Ugh, we have never dealt with mice before in any of the other places we’ve lived, but we’ve started seeing some here. We saw (and caught) one in our bathroom already, but we’ve seen a couple others and need to for sure get the problem completely under control ASAP, especially because we literally just bought all this food storage and don’t want it destroyed.
- Take advantage of the fall clean-up dumpsters
- We keep missing the spring and fall clean-ups that our town does, but we have a ton of stuff we need to get rid of from when we ripped up our old kitchen floor and from other projects, so we’re determined not to miss it this next time around.
- Till all in-ground garden beds
- This includes all existing garden beds as well as the two new ones we’re in the process of making.
- Put layer of compost over all beds
- Rollover goal.
- Prepare raised beds for overwintering
- Basically this just consists of ripping out all the dying/dead plants, doing some weeding, and putting a fresh layer of compost on top.
- Plant all fall bulbs
- I’ve ordered something like 3,000+ bulbs for the flower farm for next spring, and they all basically have to get in the ground this month. Wish us luck!
- Wash comforter
- Rollover goal.
- Go on a hike as a family
- We once again live right by a canyon but have yet to do any hiking. Time to change that!
- Send in request for new car title for Buick
And that about wraps it up! Looks like we’ll be keeping busy over here, as per the norm 🙂
Any tips on eradicating your house of mice, send ’em my way!