I'm a furloughed federal employee and suddenly find myself with free time that could end tomorrow, next week, next month, who knows. On top of that, it's sunny! What are things I could do now that will be a good investment of time (but not a lot of money)? I have a typical city lot with raised beds for vegetables, a lawn that needs help (I'd love to convert much of the grass to flower beds and reseed what remains), some young deciduous trees, flower beds along the house (trying to add more, especially to attract bees and hummingbirds), and a raspberry patch. The info I find says to focus on indoor plants this time of year (not my thing) and let outdoor gardens be until spring. Is there anything you'd recommend I do outdoors with this limited (I hope!) time I have now?
Sorry to hear about your present circumstances but there are lots of things that you can do with this time both inside and outside your home. Check with local nurseries, also the Hardy Plant Society of Oregon, Home Orchard Society, and city garden clubs. Books specifically about gardening in the Pacific Northwest are easy to find online and through the library system that provide winter gardening tips. The Oregon State University Extension Master Gardener program in the Portland area has three county associations, but we also operate as a unit, “Metro Master Gardeners.” You can access our metro MG website here.
This link is to the OSU Extension Gardening web page, and one of my favorite parts is in the center, "Gardening Tips", with a searchable box. These are articles on all sorts of gardening topics, and usually include where to turn for even more specific information. Here is an article about soil preparation some of which can be done this winter in anticipation of the spring planting. Best of luck with your gardening efforts and of course a speedy return to work.