Bob is ready to welcome old man winter

Bob is ready to welcome old man winter by Bob Karolevitz October is the Great In-Between Month.

We don�t know whether the sun is going to shine or snow will be falling. Should we wear shirtsleeves or sweaters?

It is the month of cool, crisp football weather, when leaves change from green to gold and grass no longer needs mowing.

The chilled air means that mosquitoes are dead or dying, and we have put the dreaded West Nile virus behind us for another year. Phyllis breathes a sigh of relief because, while she vaccinated her miniature horses, she didn�t treat the Shetland or the burro � but they survived.

Unfortunately, while one malady is gone, another raises its ugly head. The publicity says senior citizens (Good grief, that�s us!) should get their flu shots, so off to the clinic we go.

The tumbling temperatures cause boxelder bugs to seek the warmth of the house. How they get in, no one knows. The same goes for the lady bugs.

Sticky flies and field mice find a way to get inside our farm home, too. But, thank goodness, there are no ants around the kitchen sink now.

There are chores to do, of course. It�s time to put the floating heater in the stock tank, and once again I forget how to turn on the electricity. We use more power as it gets colder, but on Oct. 1 the dual fuel rebate kicks in, and we get a little help from the REA for the kilowatts used.

Phyllis gets after me to roll up the hoses which we used to water the garden. She probably remembers when I let them go one winter, and they froze up.

They broke into little pieces, that�s what they did!

The garden has disappeared. Phyllis picked the last of the tomatoes the other day. They were small, but they still have the special South Dakota taste.

The geraniums and the shamrocks have been carried in; however, we cover most of the rest of the flowers to protect them from the frosty night air. We know they�ll eventually be gone, but something impels us to keep the petunias and impatiens alive as long as we can.

The marigolds, on the other hand, are survivors, and they�ll last until snowfall without any help from us.

Changing the subject, I can still remember the smell of burning leaves as people raked them in piles and set them on fire. We don�t do that any more as we heed the dictates of the Environmental Protection Agency.

I don�t smoke, but there�s something about the smell of burning leaves that appeals to my sense of nostalgia. It�s too bad that youngsters of today will not get that special olfactory experience. (The pungent odor of a smoldering joint is not the same.)

October means World Series time when even non-baseball fans tune-in. It also means that winter is just around the corner. The birds are flocking, and squirrels are stocking up for snacks in their cozy nests.

Phyllis takes a hint from the squirrels and says that I�d better get busy with my seasonal preparations, too.

Now what did I do with her showshovel?

� 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz

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