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The Post travels to Mt. McKinley in Alaska

N-Post-travels-Mt-McKinley-DickersonDavid and Loraine Dickerson, of Cedar Springs, went on a two-week vacation in June, with five of Loraine’s six sisters and their spouses. And of course, they took a Post along.

“The first half of our vacation started in Vancouver, on a cruise of the Alaskan Inside Passage,” wrote Loraine. “We enjoyed stops in Ketchikan, Juneau, and Skagway and ended at Seward. We were lucky to see an iceberg break off and fall into Glacier Bay.”

During the second week, they rode the Alaskan Railway and stopped at Anchorage, Talkeetna, and Denali. “Due to bad weather on the mountain, our first flight was cancelled,” explained Loraine. “We rescheduled and flew in a Talkeetna Air Taxi (a ten-seat plane) up to a glacier approximately 1/4 of the way up Mt. McKinley. We had to wear coats, sunglasses, and special boots.”

The photo above is of David and Loraine in front of the McKinley range. “We were able to see the top of McKinley several times while in Talkeetna and Denali, and joined the 30 percent club,” remarked Loraine. “Only 30 percent of the people who visit McKinley ever see the top. Alaska is a must-see destination!”

 

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It’s Only a Barn

The old Stout horse barn, behind Solon Township Hall. Should it be torn down or the roof repaired?

The old Stout horse barn, behind Solon Township Hall. Should it be torn down or the roof repaired?

By Vicky Babcock

There is a controversy brewing—a decision to be made, studies to be done, directions to be given. At the heart is the Stout horse barn. Its fate is in your hands.

Tucked away behind the new Solon Township offices, at 15185 Algoma Avenue, the barn is easily forgotten, hacked away by the needs of progress—neglected for lack of funds.  Yet, this barn has a story to tell.

Is it a historic presence? If time is a factor in writing history, one could argue that it is not. In the scope of time it is a young relic, dating back only some 30-40 years. But if love, ambition, memories, events and dedication play a part, it is pure gold.

It was somewhere around 1971, when Leon and Billie Stout purchased the old Mactavish farm, the land where the stable now stands. They had raised horses before, but traded country life for the city when daughter, Katherine, was conceived. That all changed when Katherine caught the (horse) fever. At age 9, she began taking riding lessons through 4-H and, through her enthusiasm, the bug spread to the rest of the family. Before long, a 23,000 sq. ft. breeding and conditioning facility, Katherine’s design, was constructed; the Stout Barn was the culmination of a dream.

Built by Standard Lumber, the facility became one of the leading breeders of quarter horses in the area, spawning champions such as Smooth Speed, Smooth Splendor, Comet’s Chip and Liberty Jet Line. The stable became a hub of activity in its heyday, for both horses and horse lovers. It hosted pig roasts and music, 4-H and Mountie training and one memorable auction. There were cattle as well, though these were likely not housed in the stable. And there were visitors from around the world.

Leon did not come late to horses; he grew up with them. He owned his first horse at age nine and he bought and sold horses as a boy. At one time, he even built and owned his own race track, through the combined efforts of a group of friends and a bottle of whiskey, the price for grading the track.  The site was the host for the Red Flannel Derby in the late 50’s.

The farm had peacocks at one time, escape artists who wandered to the western edge of the property on a regular basis. The tail of the peacock is another story—ask the barn—it knows. It was there when the prize bull went through two fences to visit the ladies.

That bull, a favorite, was one of the Galloways that the Stouts raised, beginning with 30 head of registered cattle purchased from a neighbor. At auction, that number totaled around 500. The quarter horses, numbering around 65 at one count, were sold off privately for the most part. It was a sad day for the Stout family.

For the barn itself, it was the beginning of an end. No longer in the Stout hands, its new stewards fell behind on its upkeep. Hard times and the economic downturn have taken their toll. For a brief time, it earned its keep as a rental, housing other people’s horses.  But it was not enough. With no funds to put back into its upkeep, the Stout Barn, once young and proud, was losing its battle against the elements. Time and apathy became insurmountable barriers—its fate seemed inevitable.

When the property—less than half of what it once was—came up for back taxes, Solon Township picked it up with a new township office in mind. Under the township’s stewardship, the stable and arena has heard the laughter of children once again. Horses—Ford and Chevy, enjoyed respite from the sun’s relentless rays in its vast shadowed interior. Solon Market had its birth there, and continues to use the stable for events today. It has seen a wedding, and it has sheltered a camper and a wagonload of hay. It is available for storage now. And still its roof continues to decay. Without some necessary repair, this chapter of history will end.

Only a barn? Some say so. But listen with your heart and you’ll hear a child’s laugh, the call of a new foal, the gentle wicker of its dam, the challenge of its sire. You may see the vibrancy of a young girl with determination and spunk as she graciously speaks of her passion—and of her champion horse, Big Boy—and of her crown. There is joy here and pain, life and laughter, smiles and tears and memories of a lifetime. There is pride and potential and hope. So much hope.

Vicky Babcock is a resident of Solon Township.

 

The Stout Horse Barn awaits the Township’s decision to either repair the roof (which the insurance company has agreed to pay for) or to tear it down. The Township needs your direction. Tear it down? Repair the roof and look into viable uses for it? It’s your call. Please come to the next Township meeting on Tuesday, October 14, at 7:30 p.m. and voice your opinion.

 

 

 

 

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Flu fighters: Busting six sickening flu myths

HEA-Flu-myths(BPT) – Ready for this year’s flu season? You may think you know a lot about flu prevention and treatment – but being wrong about the flu can make you downright ill. Here are six myths about the flu, and the truth behind them.

Myth 1: Cold weather will give you the flu.

Fact: Although flu cases commonly peak in January or February, and the “season” usually lasts from early October to late May, it is possible to get the flu at any time of year. During cold weather, people are inside in confined spaces for greater amounts of time. This, combined with bringing germs home from work or school, creates more opportunities for the flu to spread.

Myth 2: If you’ve had a flu shot, you can’t get sick.

Fact: It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccination to fully protect you, and you could catch the virus during that time, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since the flu vaccine protects against specific strains expected to be prevalent in any given year, it’s also possible for you to be exposed to a strain not covered by the current vaccine. Finally, the vaccine may be less effective in older people or those who are chronically ill, the CDC says.

Myth 3: Once you’ve treated a surface with a disinfectant, it is instantly flu free.

Fact: Disinfectants don’t work instantly to kill germs on surfaces. In fact, some antibacterial cleaners can take as long as 10 minutes to work. And they have to be used correctly. First, clean the surface and then spray it again, leaving it wet for the time specified on package directions. Anything less and you may not kill the flu virus, exposing yourself and others to illness.

If you’re including antibacterial cleaning in your flu-fighting efforts, look for a product that works much faster, like Zep Commercial Quick-Clean Disinfectant. Available at most hardware and home improvement stores like Home Depot, Quick Clean Disinfectant kills 99.9 percent of certain bacteria in just five seconds, and most viruses in 30 seconds to two minutes. To learn more, visit www.zepcommercial.com.

The flu virus can live up to 24 hours on surfaces such as counters, remote controls, video game controllers, door knobs and faucets. Use a household cleaner that disinfects to clean these high-touch surfaces to help prevent your family from spreading the cold and flu.

Myth 4: You got vaccinated last year, so you don’t need a shot this year.

Fact: Like all viruses, flu viruses are highly adaptable and can change from year to year. Also, the strains vary each year, so the vaccination you got last year may not be effective against the flu that’s active this year. In fact, it most likely won’t be effective. The CDC recommends that people who are eligible for the vaccine get a flu shot by early October.

Myth 5: You got the flu shot, wash your hands frequently and disinfect religiously – you’ve eliminated your risk of flu exposure.

Fact: We don’t live or work in sterile environments. Germs are brought home every day on items like messenger bags, cell phones, notebooks, shoes – even on your clothes. If someone in your home gets sick, or is exposed to someone with the flu, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, and discard the tissue in the trash right away. Wash hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Remember that germs spread through touch, so avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Myth 6: Getting the flu isn’t that big of a deal.

Fact: It could be. Last year was the worst flu season since 2009, the CDC said, and during the week of Jan. 6 to 12, 2013, more than 8 percent of all deaths nationwide were attributable to flu and flu-related pneumonia. In addition to making you miserable, flu can make existing medical conditions worse, lead to sinusitis and bronchitis and even pneumonia.

Bottom line: if you are not feeling well, avoid making yourself and others around you sick by staying home.

 

 

 

 

 

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Beware of poison ivy

Richard Cone, of Sparta, cut down this tree with a large poison ivy vine growing on it.

Richard Cone, of Sparta, cut down this tree with a large poison ivy vine growing on it.

Richard Cone, of Camp Lake, near Sparta, found out the hard way that getting rid of poison ivy can be a tricky business. Cone recently cut down a tree in his yard, and attached to it was a poison ivy vine that he said measured 8 inches in diameter. The woody vine looked like a tree branch on top of the tree. He said he was using a chainsaw, and woodchips were flying everywhere, which meant he got the poison ivy oil on his clothes and hands.

“I used some Dawn dish soap to scrub the oil off, and the rash was gone in a couple of days,” he said.

We sent the photo of the poison ivy vine to Ranger Steve Mueller. He said that if it was poison ivy, then it was larger than he had seen before. He couldn’t positively identify it from the photo. “It looks like it might be ivy covering a woody stem of something else but I can not tell from the picture,” he said.

“I have seen large ivy vines that are about three inches in diameter and climb high into trees. Ivies in southern Michigan grow larger than I typically see in our area. I have seen quite a large one but do not recall if I have seen any 8 inches in diameter.”

This photo from WebMD shows the leaves of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.

This photo from WebMD shows the leaves of poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac.

The Post did, however, find similar photos of poison ivy vines in an online search.

Mueller said that he would cut the ivy vine at the base of the tree with branch pruners and not remove the vine from the tree. It will grow from the ground again. “After cutting the ivy, it is good to wipe the cutting blade with some bleach. Wear disposable protective gloves,” he cautioned.

Mueller said he uses poison ivy herbicide on poison ivy and some other exotic plants. “I do not encourage use of chemicals but there occasions where I do use chemical treatments sparingly,” he explained.

How do you recognize poison ivy? Mueller said most grow as vines, though some can be free standing plants, under two feet tall. “The plant has leaves divided into three leaflets. The leaflet has three lobes and the margin has a few scattered teeth. The leaflets on the common Box Elder Trees look a lot like Poison Ivy so people can compare the two. Box Elder usually has more leaflets. In the fall the ivy may have white berry clusters,” he explained.

If you do come into contact with poison ivy and develop a rash, the American Academy of Dermatologists recommends the following:

Immediately rinse your skin with lukewarm, soapy water. If you can rinse your skin immediately after touching poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, you may be able to rinse off some of the oil. If not washed off, the oil can spread from person to person and to other areas of your body.

Wash your clothing. Thoroughly wash all of the clothes you were wearing when you came into contact with the poisonous plant. The oil can stick to clothing, and if it touches your skin, it can cause another rash.

Wash everything that may have the oil on its surface. Besides clothing, the oil from poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac can stick to many surfaces, including gardening tools, golf clubs, leashes and even a pet’s fur. Be sure to rinse your pet’s fur, and wash tools and other objects with warm, soapy water.

Do not scratch, as scratching can cause an infection.

Leave blisters alone. If blisters open, do not remove the overlying skin, as the skin can protect the raw wound underneath and prevent infection.

Take short, lukewarm baths. To ease the itch, take short, lukewarm baths in a colloidal oatmeal preparation, which you can buy at your local drugstore. You can also draw a bath and add one cup of baking soda to the running water. Taking short, cool showers may also help.

Consider calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream. Apply calamine lotion to skin that itches. If you have a mild case, a hydrocortisone cream or lotion may also help.

Apply cool compresses to the itchy skin. You can make a cool compress by wetting a clean washcloth with cold water and wringing it out so that it does not drip. Then, apply the cool cloth to the itchy skin.

Consider taking antihistamine pills. These pills can help reduce itching, however use with caution. You should not apply an antihistamine to your skin, as doing so can worsen the rash and the itch.

If your rash is not improving after seven to 10 days, or you think your rash may be infected, see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can treat your rash and any infection and help relieve the itch.

 

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Red Hawks triumph over Wolves 

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Improve record to 5 and 1

On Friday, October 3, many faithful Red Hawk fans made the trip to cheer on the hometown team when the Red Hawks traveled to Wyoming to meet the Wolves for a first time conference meeting. The Red Hawks proved to be too much for Wyoming by putting up 60 points to the Wolves 28, which put a damper on Wyoming’s homecoming celebration.

Cloudy skies, steady rain and gusting west winds made their presence known as the Red Hawks began their ground assault on the unwilling Wolves defense. But in the end, Wyoming had no answers for Cedar’s offensive grind, which gained 478 yards on the ground and led to six Red Hawks—Kaden Myers, MavRick Cotton, Zach Wamser, Collin Alvesteffer, Anthony Topolski  and Taylor Van Dyke—all finding the end zone throughout the four quarters of the game.

Wyoming quarterback Brendan Berg was 10 for 16 on pass attempts, for a total of 157 yards through the air. The Wolves answered back three times, with scores from the passing attack, and a total offensive effort of 160 yards, which was not enough as the Red Hawk’s defense held steady through the night.

The Red Hawk defense was led in tackles by Cameron Umphrey with six, Anthony Topolski with five tackles, along with Damarcus Barnett, MavRick Cotton, Collin Alvesteffer, Nate Sorensen, Caden Burrows and Lane Gott all adding four take downs for the Red Hawks.

Next week the Red Hawks will journey back to Forest Hills Northern for a 7:00 p.m. contest with the Forest Hills Northern Huskies. This will be a showdown of the top two teams in the OK Bronze Conference. Please come out and make some noise for your Red Hawk Football team!

 

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A new Red Flannel Queen reigns

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

The 2014 Red Flannel queen and court, from left to right: Kaleigh Keech (court), Melissa Maguire (Queen) and Ellie Ovokaitys (Court).

Excitement was in the air at the 2014 Red Flannel Queen Scholarship Pageant, held Saturday, September 27, at Cedar Springs High School, where six girls competed for the title.

Chosen as this year’s Red Flannel Queen was Melissa Maguire, daughter of Brian and Teresa Maguire. Court members are Kaleigh Keech, daughter of Amanda Keech and niece of Aaron and Melissa Armstrong; and Ellie Ovokaitys, daughter of Thomas and Donna Ovokaitys. Ellie was also chosen as Miss Congeniality.

According to pageant director Kaleigh Rosenberger, this year they focused on celebrating the Diamond Anniversary (75 years) of the Red Flannel Festival, and 70 years of the Red Flannel Queen’s Scholarship Pageant. To open the show each of the six contestants was assigned a decade from the past 75 years. The contestants dressed in decade wear, chose a song from their assigned decade to play behind them as they gave some fun facts about things that happened in their decade around the country, in Cedar Springs, and within the festival.

The pageant emcee was Andy Rent, radio personality for 100.5 The River. He has helped crown over 10 Red Flannel Queens since the 1970s.

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Before the pageant there was a reception for all past royalty to reconnect and reminisce, and during the pageant they were all invited back on stage and were individually introduced. Rosenberger said that there were over 30 past Queens and Court Members in attendance. There was also a video presentation looking back at all 70 years of Red Flannel Pageants, starting with our first Queen Maxine Smith. A highlight of the evening was the presence of Jean Thrall Erickson, our 1941 Red Flannel Queen. She was the third Red Flannel Queen chosen.

See the new Queen and Court this Friday and Saturday at the Red Flannel Festival. Check out the schedule and other information on our Red Flannel Post pages.

 

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Post travels to Dollywood

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Dollywood, here we come! Another graduate in the Dibble family means another trip.

We stopped first at Camp Nathanael in Kentucky, to visit family and friends and to get some horseback riding in. After the weekend there, off we went—13 of us in all, with Grandma Brace, Uncle Tim and Aunt Beth tagging along.

Upon arriving at the park in Tennessee, there was much to see, much to do, and it was much too hot! In between sights and rides, we people-watched from shady spots, with ice water in hand.

Then it was on to Gatlinburg for a day of fun. Of course, we had to take in the “Dixie Stampede.” After a week, our tired group caravanned back home to Michigan, and of course the Post went with us!

Thanks so much for taking the Post with you to Dollywood!

Are you going on vacation? Take the Post with you and snap some photos. Then send them to us with some info to news@cedarspringspost.com or mail them to Post travels, PO Box 370, Cedar Springs, MI 49319. We will be looking for yours!

 

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Emergency management reminds residents to be prepared 

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As autumn approaches, many people are wondering what this winter will bring. Freezing temperatures and extended, heavy snowfall last winter was dangerous. What if the power goes out? What if your car gets stranded at the side of a road? The Kent County Emergency Management Division and Kent County Health Department Emergency Preparedness team remind residents to be prepared.

“There are incidents where people literally get a few seconds to make life-or-death decisions,” said Jack Stewart, Emergency Management Coordinator for Kent County. “If you have a plan on how you will respond to the conditions of disasters, whether it’s an act of terror or an act of nature, it can make the difference in the outcomes for you and your family.”

Build a basic emergency kit, which should include three-to-fourteen days of water and non-perishable food, a first aid kit, an all-weather radio, a flashlight, extra batteries, a one week supply of medications and personal hygiene items. A good way to prepare is to consider camping at a rustic campground where there is no electricity. “Perhaps you built an emergency kit complete a few years ago,” said Adam London, Health Officer of the Kent County Health Department. “But batteries lose power, food expires, and even personal hygiene items could go bad over time. September is a good time to make sure those items are still usable.” Keep a road emergency kit in your car, including a warm blanket that is within reach of the driver.

Before a disaster, family and friends should arrange a meeting place, in case you’re not together during an emergency. Discuss how you’ll contact each other as well as what to do in a variety of situations. Also remember to check on our special needs populations (elderly, non-ambulatory) during times of emergencies. The Kent County Emergency Management office offers training free of charge through the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This training prepares individuals to help themselves, their families, and the community in general.

Websites for more information on preparedness:

www.getReadyKent.com 

www.AccessKent.com/GETREADY 

www.AccessKent.com/emergencymanagement 

www.BeMittenReady.com 

www.ready.gov

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Red Hawks beat Northview at Home 26 to 3

 Senior Captain Zach Wamser scored one of the Red Hawk touchdowns last Friday in the win against Northview. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

Senior Captain Zach Wamser scored one of the Red Hawk touchdowns last Friday in the win against Northview. Photo by K. Alvesteffer.

This year’s seniors include: (bottom row L to R) Nick Morris, Zach Wamser, MavRick Cotten, Drew Simington, Joe Sherman, Nate Sorensen. Top row (L to R) Caden Burrows, Ted Edwards, Hunter Larsen, Kaden Myers,  Jimmy Tepin, Cody Dunmire. Not pictured: Trevor Ash.

This year’s seniors include: (bottom row L to R) Nick Morris, Zach Wamser, MavRick Cotten, Drew Simington, Joe Sherman, Nate Sorensen. Top row (L to R) Caden Burrows, Ted Edwards, Hunter Larsen, Kaden Myers, Jimmy Tepin, Cody Dunmire. Not pictured: Trevor Ash.

On a beautiful fall evening at impressive Red Hawk Stadium the stage was set for the first conference match of the season. Friday night, September 26, started off by honoring our football, cheer and band seniors and the inspiring voices of the Cedar Springs Middle School choir singing an outstanding rendition of our national anthem. Pride was the theme of the night, as many Cedar Springs community members watched as the Red Hawks took the field.

The first quarter shaped up to be a slugfest. The Northview kicker made a 30-yard field goal that would be the only score in the first quarter and the only score of the entire game for Northview.

After that, the Red Hawks took over on both sides of the ball and special teams. Senior running back MavRick Cotton rushed for two second quarter touchdowns, with the longest run going for 60 yards. MavRick later added another score, making him the offensive top gun for the Red Hawks. Senior Captain Zach Wamser added a fourth touchdown run to the Red Hawks game tally accounting for 26 total points for the night.

Northview attempted to rally throughout the contest but the Red Hawk defense proved to be too much for the Wildcats, with Cameron Umphrey leading the defense in tackles with 12.

The Northview passing attack tested the Red Hawk secondary throughout the game. But the defensive secondary, driven by Kaden Myers, and coupled with pressure from the defensive line, led by Senior Captain Caden Burrows, Nate Sorensen and Ted Edwards, proved to be too much for Northview.

The icing on the cake for the Red Hawks was two blocked field goals provided by special teams, which sealed the fate for Northview.

This Friday the Red Hawks travel to Wyoming to take on the Wolves at 7:00 p.m. Please come out and support your team.

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Lawn care tips for Fall

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(Family Features) Taking time in the fall to prepare your lawn for the colder months ahead will pay dividends come spring and allow you to enjoy lusher, greener grass when temperatures rise again.

Fertilizing

Providing nutrients to your lawn before cold weather strikes is good for strengthening roots and increasing the nutrients stored for an earlier spring green. While the top growth of grass stops, grass plants are storing nutrients and energy for the following season.

To determine the best ratio of fertilizer for the soil in your yard, you should utilize a soil test. Otherwise, look for fertilizer with a nitrogen-phosphate-potassium (NPK) ratio of 3:1:2 or 4:1:2.

When applying the fertilizer, make sure that you follow the application instructions and rate information on the package and use a calibrated spreader to apply the correct amount. It is also a good rule to apply the fertilizer in the fall about 2-3 weeks before the ground freezes so the plant can start to take up some of the nutrients.

Instead of pacing the yard with a push spreader, consider a tow-behind spreader attached to your riding lawn mower or garden tractor. An attachment, such as a pull-type spin spreader from John Deere, can quickly distribute fertilizer evenly across your yard.

Aerating

Aerating, the process of removing plugs of soil and thatch from the lawn, is ideal in cooler months. It encourages deep rooting, improves water and nutrient penetration, and promotes growth of beneficial soil microorganisms. There are a variety of techniques you can use to penetrate the soil such as spiked shoes or spray-on liquids, but to most effectively aerate soil, attach a dethatcher, or a plug aerator behind a riding mower or tractor to remove plugs of soil from two to three inches deep.

Mulching

If you prefer not to rake or bag grass or leaves, mulching with a mower is an ideal alternative. Be sure to mulch leaves only when they are dry to avoid damp and wet leaves clumping or building up under mower decks.

Remember that grass needs sunlight in the fall to help store food for winter, so don’t wait until your lawn is completely matted down with leaves to mulch. A thin layer of mulched leaves is ideal and helps add nutrients to the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer.

Selecting the right mower with mulching attachments or features can save a great deal of time and help ensure a consistent layer of mulch across the yard. For example, John Deere 100-Series lawn tractors have three-in-one mowing decks, which allow you to choose to mulch, bag or allow side-discharge.

Composting

Creating a compost pile allows you to turn organic material into rich soil. The fall season is a good time to create a compost pile with decaying yard matter, such as vegetables, grass clippings and leaves, which can provide nutrient-rich soil for spring planting. For best results, alternate layers of “brown,” or high carbon materials, with grass clippings.

Using a rear bagger with your lawn mower or tractor will help make collecting grass clippings a breeze, and adding to your compost pile is as simple as backing up to the spot and unloading. Another optional mower attachment, the lawn sweeper, brushes leaves into a hamper, much like a broom and dustpan.

 

Taking these steps will prepare your lawn for the winter and help it come back strong, healthy and beautiful in the spring. Learn more about the tools you need to care for your lawn at JohnDeere.com/Residential.

 

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