Changing Seasons

12 Oct

Fall has truly arrived once more. Each season comes with its own rituals indicated by either the weather or the calendar. The location influences the weather and holidays reflect the calendar so we don’t miss those changes. For some Fall starts with the beginning of school, the first spiraling leaf or Labor Day. In Alaska Fall moves quickly into Winter with the first snowfall that sticks.

Here in the South Fall mingles with Summer for days after the calendar says that Fall has officially arrived. The leaves on the Hackberry trees  start to fall in mid August but Labor Day is clearly a Summer day even if it rains. September ends with day temperatures still in the 90’s but finally the night temperatures dip to the upper 70’s rather than the upper 80’s. October begins and the warm weather continues but doesn’t reach its high until late afternoon. We only need the air conditioner on for an hour or so just about dinner time. Our work days are more manageable but they start much later waiting for the sun to come up. Still it doesn’t feel like Fall.

This weekend the night temps dropped to the mid 50’s and the mornings have been cool and damp. Fall has arrived because my husband Harry asked when I was going to turn on the heat after our post dinner walk. He isn’t quite willing to change from sleeveless tee shirts to a sweatshirt but he noticed the cool. It doesn’t help that one wall of the family room is covered with plastic awaiting an actual outside wall to the new utility closet. He has decided it is time for heat.

This is when I miss each and every one of our prior Washington homes. When I wanted heat, I turned the thermostat on the wall from off to on and instantly we had heat.  Although we had electric wall heaters in Wenatchee with a separate thermostat in each room, the process was the same. Once a year I did take the time to vacuum out the dust bunnies from each register but that was usually quick and easy.

Here we have a gas jet system which means that the gas line comes up from the floor with a shut off valve attached to a gas appliance in that room just like the gas stove in our kitchen. In the living room we installed a vent-less gas fireplace for heat and appearance. In the family room space is more limited and we have a wall hung 5 brick space heater. It isn’t pretty but it puts out a lot of heat. The ceiling fans in both rooms will be reversed to disperse the heat around the rooms.  Before each of them can be turned on for the start of the season, the pilot light valves must be cleaned out with compressed air and the dust bunnies removed from the burners. For the fireplace the controller and remote need new batteries and this year a new battery for the igniter.  Then with instructions in hand I turn control knobs to pilot, depress the knob while pushing the igniter button and hopefully get a pilot light. The fireplace remote actually lets me set a desired room temp but the space heater uses a 1 to 5 system on the control knob. I can expect that two or three times throughout the season, Harry will turn the control knob all the way to pilot off so I’ll soon have the relight procedure down pat.

So this Fall day starts with the heaters cleaned and the heat on. We should probably get the outside projects done but I really want to go camping. When does Winter actually start?

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