This October, decorate for fall while preparing for winter

By Tom Phelan - ReminderNews
Featured Article - posted Thu., Oct. 10, 2013
- Contributed Photo

Fall is the only season of the year that has holidays in three consecutive months. Labor Day opens the season in September, and Thanksgiving wraps it up in November. But October has Columbus Day AND Halloween. How you celebrate the rest of the days of October is up to you. Here are my suggestions.

Get ready for Halloween! Have some fun decorating your house and property with seasonal splashes, such as a bunch of cornstalks by the walk and Indian corn adorning the front door. Lay out a welcome mat on your front steps with colorful mums as the greeters. Pumpkins are a good deal this fall, and you can find the right size for carving as well as pie-making. Get creative with some Jack-o-lantern carvings, and light them up in the evenings leading up to the trick-or-treat finale.

Make a point to visit the farmers’ markets that are still operating. You will find the pumpkins and mums you need for decorating, as well as a wide array of fall vegetables - turnips, rutabaga, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, onions and the like. If you cannot find a farmers’ market in your area, there are still a number of roadside stands with some of those vegetables and fruits that peak at this time of year. Many fall vegetables store well under the right conditions. Can or freeze other vegetables and fresh fruits for the coming winter.

Stock your pantry and freezer for protection against storms and power outages. Remember our big late-October snowstorm? Tree limbs and power lines were down. People went scurrying to the stores, only to find vacant shelves. Some of us learned to expand our shelf-stock with food for a few extra days. If you haven't kept that extra stock in your pantry, October is a great month to build it up and sustain it through the winter. Pay special attention to items that will last without refrigeration. Be sure to have a supply of potable water for your family that will cover you for a week.

You gain nothing by removing and storing your window air conditioners earlier rather than later. But set a goal to get this done before the end of the month, or the start of heating season, which ever comes first.

Do you have a snow blower, do you know where it is, and does it run well? If you can respond with positive answers, you are all set for winter snowstorms. If not, you need to get prepared. If you have no snow removal equipment, arrange for someone to do the work for you.

You certainly do not want to be driving out in a snowstorm to buy gas for your snowblower. Keep a few gallons in a container sanctioned for storing gas, treat the fuel with stabilizer, and if we have long stretches of time between storms, use that gas up in your car, and replace it.

Smoke and CO detectors are so important in the heating season, when so many homes use wood and pellet-burning stoves and space heaters to keep the inside climate comfortable. Don't just test the batteries. If your smoke detectors are more than 10 years old, they should be replaced.

Storm doors wear out just like every other part of your house. It is mostly the closer that fails, leaving you with no definite seal against the winter weather. The closer is easy to replace. Take the old one to the home or hardware store to be sure you get a replacement that will fit correctly and operate effectively.

Anytime is a good time to buy some sweet treats for trick-or-treaters. Get a good selection, and don't take a chance on running out. Get plenty for the goblins, ghosts and urchins in the neighborhood and enough left over to snack on for the rest of the season.

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