Zoot, when I sow seeds I usually wait until spring time to do it. Seeds can be sown in the fall, they will germinate when they are good and ready in the spring. The reason why I wait until spring is because I have fear that the birds will eat the seeds that I sow. If I am sowing seed outside, I don't have the chance to rake it in usually, I just sow on top of the soil. Many seeds require light for germination and others require darkness, raking in the seed is good because it provides a little of light and dark.
Many seeds require a "cold" period prior to germination, this allow them to germinate better, like Ann was talking about. Some seeds, like snapdragons, require being frozen for at least 48 hours, helps aid germination. So a fall sowing is a good thing too, just depends on personal preference.
When I store my seed, I do as Ann says, in a cool, dark place, no exposure to light, a box with a lid is perfect. Also when I store my seed I store them in ziploc bags, I put in a little bit of dessicant to keep the seeds bone dry. I have done this for years and seeds store very well. Sometimes with my "purchased" seeds, if I have any left over, I store those in the refrigerator in a special spot. All of my seeds I gather, I don't refrigerate though. YOu have received lots of good comments on your thread you started, yeah!!! Have a wonderful day, beautiful life. Cindi