Cyclone Rake Blog: September 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Let's Go To The County Fair



Harvest festivals have ancient roots, but the county agricultural fair is the American forerunner of today’s fall celebrations. They’re especially prevalent in New England, where most towns have some sort of fall country fair.

State, regional and county fairs offer all kinds of good family fun (and, of course, plenty of deep fried indulgences). But they also remain one of the best places to connect with the country’s rural roots, as fairs showcase farms and agriculture of all kinds.

Much of the entertainment at the fair is connected to farming in some way – pig scrambles and the like. The 4-H Club farm animal shows give the public a chance to see how there are differences between food animals on the hoof. Spend time talking with those 4-H Club members in the animal barns, and you’ll discover the care and joy that kids take in raising their livestock and poultry.

Other state and county fair events showcase farming traditions. New England’s ox and steer pulls show where horsepower originated. (There’s still time to catch ox pulls at Maine’s largest fair, the Fryeburg Fair, or the Rochester Fair in New Hampshire). Competitive fair rodeos, especially in the South and West, showcase classic cowboy skills still employed on ranches. The fair season is still in full swing across Texas, as the East Texas State Fair celebrates 100 years in Tyler, and the Panhandle South Plains Fair features plenty of entertainment in Lubbock.

Fairs and fall festivals also give attenders the chance to connect with where their food comes from – and we’re not just talking fried pies and funnel cakes. Home arts contests show the best produce from local fields and classic food preservation methods. And many more farms, especially those focused on local foods, or “farm to table,” are using fairs and festivals to showcase their offerings.

Even local farmers markets take on a more festive feel in the fall, as vendor booths come alive with pumpkins, winter squash of all shapes and sizes, mums and other ornamentals – not to mention sweet lettuce and greens, carrots and other cold-season crops.


Big E in Massachusetts
So whether it’s a huge display, like the Big E in Massachusetts, or your hometown’s fall country fair, take your family to the fair. It’s the best place in the fall to connect with the country’s rural roots – and to see how farmers of all ages, all across the country, are still growing the finest and most delicious food.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Invest in Fall for a Beautiful Spring Lawn



When it comes to yard care, spring gets plenty of press – but what you do in the fall can get your yardscape ready for next spring. Use these reminders to invest lovely autumn mornings, evenings and weekends toward a beautiful spring.


Remember to Water

The first week of September is shaping up hotter and drier than normal in many regions. Keep evergreens and other perennials primed for a healthy winter by considering supplemental watering in September. Evaporation can still be an issue in September, so water in the early morning to let moisture soak in.


Sow the Seed

Turfgrass is best seeded in the fall. There’s still time, through mid-September, to prep the soil and sow for new seedings in most regions. Fall overseeding is another yard chore that will pay dividends come next year. Consider overseeding with grass species different from the most prominent in your turf; lawn diversity can guard against some disease pressure.


Watch for Diseases

Speaking of disease pressure, cool and wet fall weather will bring it on. Fungi causing “fairy rings,” powdery mildew, and rusts on grasses are three common fall yard invaders. Mowing to proper heights can help keep grass rusts at bay during fall.


Keep it Clean

Too many leaves and grass clippings on the yard during winter are a liability. Thick organic matter left in a yard can encourage snow molds and patchy lawn growth come spring.
Your Cyclone Rake can help turn your leaves and other organic matter into a yard and garden asset. Deliver leaves to the compost pile or spread them thinly onto gardens or beds, for the winter, to be incorporated into the soil in the spring.


Fertilize, Spray According to Preference

Applying one pound of actual nitrogen, per 1,000 square feet of lawn, can promote healthy grass growth and a thicker lawn. Consider two fall fertilizers applications about six weeks apart at this rate. Both organic and conventional fertilizers are available.
Yard owners using herbicides can get the best control of broadleaf weeds (like dandelions!) through a fall application. Always follow all label requirements, and use an herbicide product that combines “active ingredients” to improve the effect of weed control.