I received the following e-mail from my brother in Wisconsin:

Just a quick note to check in with you all…

I think I have most of my fall projects done—the garden is put away (both at home and the community garden), leaves are raked, freezers are full of organic produce, the pond is stocked with trout and minnows, the ski trails are cleared and ready for more snow, and I put the boat away and my workshop is done…….let winter come any time!!

His note made me think about all that I plan on doing in November, hopefully before cold weather and snow set in.

At the top of my list is to have my septic system pumped by a certified pumper. After we had been in our country home for a year, I had a certified pumper come and check the system for me. He told me that considering the size of my tank (1,000 gallons) and the number of people in our home (2), our water use (very conservative), and that we didn’t use a garbage disposal much to speak of, we could wait 5 years to have our tank pumped. Since he was there, he did pump the tank for me as well. We haven’t changed our lifestyle, so this will be year number 5. I want to have the tank pumped before cold weather sets in, which makes life a lot easier for the pumper, and to have everything set for holiday guests. There’s a link to a listing of state certified onsite professionals at http://water.unl.edu/sewage

Look in the Resources box at the right. They are sorted by name as well as city.

Also on my list is to check my pantry to make sure there are enough canned and packaged food and beverages in case we are snowed in for any length of time. I still remember Lincoln’s October 27, 1997 snowstorm that left parts of the city without electricity for days to weeks, and roads drifted with snow. Maybe that’s why I like to be prepared. I try to keep about 2 to 3 weeks’ supply of food on hand – that way we use some and still have a stash for an emergency. Bottled juices and beverages that don’t require refrigeration are handy. Extension has information regarding emergency drinking water at http://water.unl.edu/emergencysupply

Other than that, my list consists of checking our foundation for cracks to prevent entry of cold air and unwanted mice. Both always seem to find a way in!