Messing with the Clocks and Other Stuff

Ugh. The time changed after midnight Saturday. Fall back, as they say, so that means we lose an hour. Thanks a lot.

Just so you know, my writing time is at 5:30 a.m. Except for much of the summer, it’s pretty dark when I grab a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer. First, I quickly check the news, and then I get into my work in progress — no. five in the Isabel Long Mystery Series. So my 5:30 is really 4:30 now. I’ll be driving home in the dark from my job as editor-in-chief of a daily newspaper. It’ll take a coupla weeks to get used to that.

Of course, daylight will be diminished over the next few months. Blah.

This is the time of year for change where I live in rural Western Massachusetts.

Most of our deciduous trees have shed their leaves after putting on a spectacular display of color. Certainly, that’s true of the trees surrounding our property. Now, that means raking and hauling leaves that are in our way, like the driveway, on a tarp to dump on a hill. The rest I leave in place to protect my plants and let nature compost them.


About two-thirds of the hill I cleared of Japanese knotweed and other nasty weeds.

During the late summer, I began my biggest outdoor project — cutting down the Japanese knotweed that previous owners let take over a large slope in our yard. It’s an invasive species and this year I couldn’t use my blade cutter, so I chopped each one down with a sharp lopper I bought. I did it in large sections. I’ve been doing this since we moved into this house three years ago. It won’t kill the knotweed miraculously, but my hope is they give up at some point if I keep it up. The hill also had briars and vines to clear.

Yeah, it was a bit nuts doing it this way, but I liken it to writing a novel: one word at a time, one knotweed at a time. It took me over a month of weekends. My next novel, Working the Beat, will take longer.

Then, I got the flower garden ready for winter, moving plants and bushes around, taking care of the compost piles.

We got out first snow the other day, not much really. But the drop in temps usually comes just after a warm period in the fall, so you think the kids don’t have to wear a coat with their costume, but it is always cold on Halloween. Always, although this year Halloween is different because of the pandemic.

Then, we have the presidential election. I opted for early voting. I don’t want to give up my voice and choice. I hope you don’t either.

I am also driven by the change to do old-fashioned fall cleaning. I used half of my vacation to clean cabinets, my desk, wash and wax the kitchen floor … oh, the list goes on. All I have l left are waxing the floors in the two front rooms. Piece of cake.

Yeah, I am almost ready for winter.

ABOUT THE PHOTO ABOVE: Frost on my neighbor’s holly bush.