Autumn as a season of hope and projects to come

Fall is certainly here. The need to cover the remainder of my little salad garden with old sheets at night has become part of my evening ritual.

Very soon, I will have to pull the carrots and beets and bring in whatever is left for tomatoes. The garlic needs to be planted, and the apples cleaned up from under the apple trees on my front lawns.

No sense in encouraging the porcupines to be in my yard again this year.


I am looking at what absolutely has to be done to the buildings and grounds, thinking about digging out the driveway markers and ordering wood pellets, enjoying bird hunting with my four Brittany dogs, loving the crisp mornings and cool evenings.

Our flyball team’s (it’s dog relay racing) annual tournament is coming up shortly — the first weekend in November at the Y in Boothbay Harbor. I’m starting to get requests to take shifts in the various booths in my church’s annual bazaar, which is on Nov. 19 at All Souls.

The lighthouse my late husband Jim built to cover the standpipe to our well needs painting  and minor repairs before winter.

The lighthouse my late husband Jim built to cover the standpipe to our well needs painting and minor repairs before winter.

Then the holidays will be upon us and maybe a dog show or two. Quincy only needs one point for his championship.

But with the joys of fall comes the knowledge of what is going to follow — winter. Usually that prospect makes me a little sad and causes trepidation, but this year, I feel like I’m taking it more in stride.

Maybe I’m delusional. Or maybe I am feeling less jarred by life as a widow and perhaps am learning to go with its flow a little better, actually embracing life and its possibilities.

Or it could be because I have a long list of winter projects I want to tackle. There is always painting that needs to be done. Cleaning out and sorting through that needs to happen, especially in the kitchen cupboards.

Who knew I had a George Foreman grill for example? I found that awhile back when I was looking for something else.

The attic is a disaster area that really needs some attention. There are lots of empty electronics boxes my late husband Jim insisted we hang onto “just in case,” in addition to broken suitcases, old financial records that need to be destroyed and just stuff that was stuck up there for lack of a better place to put it until I had time to deal with it. Old houses are not big on having much storage space. The result is a mess that needs to have a day of reckoning.

And soon.

Then there are the remaining rugs in the bedrooms I would like to rip up and replace with some other flooring that is easier to clean. It’s amazing how much stuff four dogs can deposit in a house, from outdoor debris to dog hair to heavens knows what THAT is.

But their presence is non-negotiable. It’s their house too.

And when I allow myself to take the time, there are lots of hobbies I enjoy and look forward to renewing, such as scrapbooking, crocheting, crafting and other creative outlets. Of course, there’s reading and writing, the dog sports I participate in, and time with friends and family.

I also enjoy playing in the snow when we have snow — as long as there’s no ice and it isn’t 30 below with the wind chill factor. It would be fun to dig out my cross country skis again, or find a safe place for winter walking with the dogs.

Although we were outdoors together all the time in the spring, summer and fall, Jim and I didn’t do a lot of outdoor recreation together in winter. He wasn’t interested in snowshoeing or cross country skiing or those things. And we did not own a snowmobile, although he kept talking about getting one. He insisted he was allergic to the cold.

I can understand that sentiment, but it meant he was almost always present inside the house during winter. And that is where I shall miss him through the long cold hours of that season.


I have lots of apples to pick up before winter. I’ll be able to use some in applesauce and maybe jelly.


Julie Harris

About Julie Harris

As a longtime employee of Bangor Daily News, I have served many roles over the years, but I now have a dream job as Community Editor. I live in Hermon with my four Brittany dogs: Sassy, Bullet, Thistle and Quincy, who keep me busy in various dog sports. I was widowed at age 51 when my husband, Jim, died of pancreatic cancer.