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Fall Yard and Garden Cleanup

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Fall Yard and Garden Cleanup

 

Fall Yard and Garden Cleanup. Think about how you clean your house?  “Top” to bottom, right?  Let gravity help you!

  • Whether it’s you or you hire a local tree service, get some of those dead and broken branches trimmed off. No pruning!  Just the dead stuff. This could spare you some roof damage in the winter and early spring from heavy snow.
  • Be sure to save a few of the smaller twigs and branches for composting.  The strength of the branches can help aerate new compost piles.
  • While you’re up there….get those gutters hosed out too.

Rake, Rake, Rake…

We know…raking isn’t a fun thing to do, but it’s fun making big piles to jump in!  After you’ve done this, don’t throw them all out!  Unless you have a fair number of trees, let nature insulate and nourish your gardens, and here’s how:

  • Adding a thick layer around the base of rose bushes and other tender flowers will protect the root crowns from extreme temperatures and also give natural nutrients to the soil.
  • Mulching the flower and garden beds will help conserve moisture to save on winter watering.
  • If you have a lot of leaves, bag them up and get the kids to “smoosh” them.  This helps break the leaves down, save space and bags, and gets the kids outside for some fun!  Set aside a couple for replenishing mulch during the cold season.
  • Nobody can rake ALL of it up, but leaves are also good mulch for lawns…as long as it’s not covering the grass.  Once raking is done, mow the lawn on the “mulch” setting one last time to chop it up and get it down in between grass blades.

 Vegetable and Flower Gardens

When the last of the harvest has been taken in, it’s time to put the bed…to bed.  After the first hard frost, pull out any diseased plants and weeds and trash them.  Everything else can be tilled under to help provide nutrients and fertilize the earth.

  • If you have it now, add a nice layer of compost over the top.
  • Use the raked-up leaves to make a deep covering over the whole bed….like a foot deep.
  • Cover the leaf layer with old pallets, chicken wire, or larger dead branches to keep the leaves and topsoil from blowing away in the winter winds.
  • This cover also insulates the earthworms and other beneficial insects so they can do their work.

 Clean Up with Compost!

Composting is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to have gorgeous flowers and abundant fruit and vegetable harvests and should be part of everyone’s fall yard and garden clean-up!  Safer than chemicals, building a compost pile is really easy!  Non-meat kitchen scraps, some dirt and dead leaves (which you now have an abundance of), and twigs are the ideal living space for a microbiome. Hint: earthworms L.O.V.E. coffee grounds!  Make sure you keep those (non-flavored varieties) in your pile as well.

Lastly, be sure to tidy up the yard.  Clear out corners and areas that could become a home for some unwanted critters.  Be careful restocking firewood as black widow spiders love these undisturbed areas.  Plant any bulbs at this time for a beautiful spring showing!  Gather up the tools and summer yard decorations and get them cleaned up and put away for the season.

While you’re in the yard be sure to call for a deep Fall cleaning so that everything is done inside and out and you’re ready for winter. Now that’s a job well done!

Think about how you clean your house?  “Top” to bottom, right?  Let gravity help you!

Whether it’s you or you hire a local tree service, get some of those dead and broken branches trimmed off. No pruning!  Just the dead stuff. This could spare you some roof damage in the winter and early spring from heavy snow.

Be sure to save a few of the smaller twigs and branches for composting.  The strength of the branches can help aerate new compost piles.

While you’re up there….get those gutters hosed out too.

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Fall Hikes with Your Family

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Fall Hikes with Your Family

Fall Hikes with Your Family. Ah, September!  The softest of all months…not too hot and not too cold.  Life is (hopefully) back to a routine with kids in school, homework, and weekend activities.  Why not plan some fall hikes with your family?

Of course, Michigan has some of the most brilliant fall foliage in the country, but have you really gone out there to explore our beautiful state this time of year?  So, plan a weekend of fall hikes with your family with leaf-peeping and some bird watching? After spending the better part of the summer cooped up, it’s time to get some fresh air!  The hikes can be as educational as they are fun, and everyone can learn about the great state of Michigan.

 When is the Best Time?

The best time for full-color is from mid-September to the end of October, so if you miss a weekend because of weather or other obligations, no worries.  Going somewhere right in the middle of that time frame should be the most vibrant.

Need some ideas to choose from?  Michigan is such a diverse state that surely everyone in the family will be satisfied.  Apples and fishing and hikes, oh my!

For some family fun, how about something like a Scavenger Hunt? Or Bird Bingo? You have time to plan it.  For a scavenger hunt, try collecting leaves from native trees on your hike!  With the whole family involved, you’ll have a beautiful collection for crafting some fall-season home decorations.  You can learn about individual trees from the Arbor Day Foundation so you can identify the leaves!  First, one to collect a leaf from each tree wins a prize!

Your fall hike with your family wouldn’t be complete without the birdsong in the background!  Be sure to pack the binoculars and watch for these sweet creatures out on your hikes!  Make a Bird Bingo card and see how many you can find!

Where Should We Go?

How do you want to spend the weekend? Or do you want to go for day hikes with your family?  Near and far, opportunities abound to see the colors, from neighborhood walking paths to state parks.  If there is somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, maybe now would be a good time to go!  Winter will be here soon and there’s no time like the present, right?

Put together a fabulous picnic with foods your family loves and be sure to visit some roadside or Farmer’s Markets along the way to add to it.  Some fresh-pressed apple cider and local cheese would be a great way to expand your family’s food repertoire! Yum! Maybe you’ll find a new secret getaway or fishing spot. Make notes so you know where to go back!

The silver lining that Covid has brought to us is the value of family and how precious and short our time is with them.  Now that things are resuming a more familiar pattern, make sure to include more quality family time. 

 

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Baby Safety Month

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Baby Safety Month

 

Baby Safety Month is September. Tiny humans are so cute! Those toes, right? Did you know that September is dedicated to ‘baby safety? We didn’t either and when we ran across this little gem, we thought it would be a good thing to share!

Whether you have one baby or a few children, keeping the little ones protected is the number one goal. We found some interesting history that you may not know.

  • The baby gate was invented in 1906.
  • The first car seat appeared in 1962, but it wasn’t until 1985 that the US required children to be strapped into one for car travel. Incidentally, car seat belts were not made standard equipment until 1968 and didn’t become mandatory to use until 1986.
  • Former President Nixon signed into law the Toy Safety Act which gave the government the authority to test and ban children’s toys for hazards.

If you consider those dates, you might also figure out that your grandparents, or even your parents, were kids before some of these laws were on the books. We’ve learned a lot over the years and some of us “older” folks look back and wonder that we made it through unscathed! At your next family gathering, ask them about their adventures as children without is now considered normal safety measures! It could make for some good conversation.

Education

So, where does one go to learn the latest developments on child safety? Baby safety month was started by The Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Use the “Parents” drop-down menu for a number of topics like baby monitors, best practices for disinfection (including Covid-19 protocols), and things to keep in mind when buying second-hand.

To stay on top of safety alerts, we like the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. As a government agency, they are tasked with monitoring all manner of consumer goods from elevators to cars to cookware. This is where recall information can be found. For child and baby products, look to this page.

Child safety doesn’t have to be dire and serious either. Reality Works is a great place to find a ton of links to other organizations to help keep your children healthy and happy. Kids are kids. They’re curious about everything and can get into stuff you had no idea about! Educate yourself and do the best you can.

 

baby-safety-month

Baby Safety Month. Did You Know That September Is Dedicated To “Baby Safety”? Read About Read About Ways You Can Protect Your Family.

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