Autumn is my favorite season in Reno – the heat and crowds are gone, and Mother Nature graces us with a combination of perfect, crisp-clean weather and fall colors that seem impossibly sublime. For the best fall colors, head for the hills, but even a two-wheeled tour of the downtown river corridor is delightful! Newlands Park, on California at Newlands Circle, has dynamite views of the foothills.
Fall is also the BEST time to enjoy our local northern-Nevada bounty! There are lots of fresh, locally-grown produce at the Great Basin Community Food Co-op, but we’ve also seen some local goodies at Scolari’s, Raley’s and Whole Foods. Check out all the great spots to eat and drink that source from local producers here.
Pumpkin patches and corn mazes: Check out a local farm and pick up a pumpkin or tackle the corn mazes while having some great, old-fashioned family fun! With farms in Smith Valley, Fallon, Winnemucca, Sparks and Gardnerville opening their gates, there are plenty to choose from. Many have fun activities like hay rides, games, bounce-houses, petting zoos. They are a great way to show the kids where their food comes from, while enjoying our beautiful state.
Speaking of Nevada, October 31 marks our 150th year anniversary! Check out all the events happening in Carson City to celebrate. In addition to the parade, there are free concerts, a pancake feed, chili contest, ghost walk, cemetery tour, treasure hunt, and a Steampunk ball, among many other things.
While Autumn may be the best time to get outdoors, it is also time to prepare for our cold winters!
· Clean and repair gutters and downspouts – leaves and litter can mostly be removed by hand and composted but more extensive suggestions can be found on this DIY Network website.
· Turn your ceiling fans to reverse (clockwise direction) to move warm air down and allow you to save on heating especially if you have high ceilings.
· Caulk and weather strip around leaky windows and doors. Some more insulating tricks and ideas from HouseLogic are here.
· In the garden – leave leaves on your beds, use a mulching mower on grass and mulch leaves into a wonderful mix that can be packed around your shrubs and perennials to protect them in the winter. Leaves are full of everything good so let them do what nature intended, protect the soil and provide nutrients for next spring. Cut back herbaceous perennials unless they have seedheads that provide winter food for birds, etc. Wait to cut trees and summer-blooming bushes until the plants are dormant – late winter or early spring. Spring bloomers shouldn’t be pruned until after they bloom in the spring. This link is a good pruning guide from Better Homes and Gardens for different types of plants.
· Drain and winterize your irrigation system
· Unhook hoses from bibs to avoid cracking.
· Have your HVAC system serviced and change filters. I like to run my furnace for a day or two and then change the filters as the dust builds up during the summer when I don’t use the system.
· If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, have the flue and chimney cleaned now to prevent fires.