At this time of year, I listen closely to the weekly weather reports and start to time my final phases of winter prep to keep ahead of the first possible dusting of snow and the onset of frigid weather. Anyone who has been there knows how tough it can be to wrestle with a 50ft semi frozen garden hose…I’d prefer an anaconda! However, that’s exactly what the plan now calls for. I’m spending the time walking my property storing the forgotten remnants of outdoor furniture and tarping it all for a long winter hibernation. Keep your eye out for low hanging and broken branches. It is best to have them taken down now rather than allowing them to fall on your roof. Here is what I recommend, put all garden decorations inside, clean and empty the planter boxes and don’t forget to reorganize your garage so that you can easily pull your vehicle inside before the next storm hits. Here are some other things that can be easily overlooked but worth a second thought. Check out that BBQ and make sure that a chipmunk or squirrel has made a cushy winter home inside and then make sure that you throw a cover over it and push it aside under an eave so that you won’t leave it over exposed to ice and snow. While you’re outside, lean a ladder up against the house and check out the gutters that you can easily reach to make sure that they are clear of leaves and debris. Remember that clogged gutters will eventually lead ice dams and water backup. After cleaning out those gutters head out to the street and make sure your storm drains aren’t totally clogged to avoid puddling that could cause slipping and sliding. Also, make sure that you have an initial stock of ice melt to keep your paths and driveway clean and safe. Stoke a fire in the fireplace and sit back and watch it snow!