It makes no difference how warm or cool the fall is up here; sometime before the start of Advent we freeze up. This is nature's path to winter, just as mud season is her path to spring and summer. When the "lock up" starts everything changes. The barn animals can no longer forage in the pasture--they make the final transition to hay. They hang around the barn to get out of the cold west wind.
The pasture water freezes up and I have to haul water in buckets from the outdoor spigot next to the kitchen door.
I make sure everything is out of the yard so when we do get our first big snowfall these things aren't buried and frozen solid for the rest of the winter.
I put my plow blade on the tractor.
I pay much more attention to the wood pile. When the cold comes it can come fast and for good. Two weeks ago today we had a low of 51ºF and a high of 63ºF. I was in a light shirt cleaning up the old shingles removed from the back roof. Last Wednesday the low was 7ºF and the high was 21ºF. The fuel line in my pickup froze, and I had to stomp the ice out of the barn's rubber water buckets.