PHOTO: Daniel Johnson
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October 15, 2019

It’s hard to believe, but we’re already halfway through October. I’ve been so busy on so many projects this summer, I can hardly imagine where the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday I was cleaning up fallen tree branches after a hard winter of snow and ice … but that was April, and half a year has gone by quickly.

Yet the year is not done. No snow is on the ground, and the first frost has not arrived—a real oddity up here in northern Wisconsin. This means we still have time to accomplish outdoor farm maintenance and improvement projects before winter weather sets in.

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Truth be told, autumn is my favorite time of year for working outdoors. For a few reasons, I find the weather conditions perfect for maximum productivity.

Need examples? Here are four reasons why autumn in the north is a great time of year for getting things done:


1. Temperatures Are Cooler

This is a big advantage for me because I sweat easily when working. Temperatures hovering around 50 degrees F might be too cold for some folks, but I find myself most productive when the thermometer hits this general range. I can work for hours and stay perfectly comfortable. As a result, autumn is a great time of year for projects such as pruning trees and taking down barbed wire fences—I can wear a jacket to protect my arms from scratches without feeling like I’m melting.

2. There Are Fewer Bugs

If you can tolerate 50-degree temperatures, you’re tougher than most bugs. Pests such as mosquitoes and horseflies can’t handle the cooler conditions, so in autumn you can work relatively bug-free. This is particularly beneficial if you plan to work in shady or wooded areas of your farm, where bugs are most prevalent and aggressive during the summer. I plan my year with an emphasis on conducting forestland projects during the autumn.

3. The Ground Freezes

Autumn mornings can be quite chilly up here in northern Wisconsin, so for a brief window of time before significant snow falls, it’s common for the ground to freeze overnight and thaw by the afternoon. When the ground is hard and frozen,you can drive machinery and heavy loads of supplies in areas that are typically too soft and squishy to access. You know that boggy lowland that never seems to dry out, even during the summer? On a cold autumn morning, the lowland is probably frozen, so you can drive a tractor and hay wagon down (just for example) and harvest some firewood. No ruts, and no risk of getting stuck.

4. Plants Slow Down

After growing like crazy during the spring and summer, plants such as grass, weeds and encroaching trees slow down as the growing season winds down and cooler temperatures set in. This lets farmers catch up and essentially put the farm to bed for the winter, taming overgrown areas and getting everything cleaned up for the following year. It might not look super in autumn, when virtually everything green is fading away, but come spring, your hard work will be rewarded.

Enjoy the autumn weather!

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