Rain one day, fleeting sunshine the next; that is how the autumn is going this year. We need the rain for drought-starved trees, rivers and more, but it certainly makes fall cleanup a little more difficult. After all, who likes to rake soggy leaves? Not my wife! It has to get done though (I keep telling her).

So the kids end up heading out to tackle the task.

Joking! But seriously, there are plenty of tasks to accomplish around the house before winter sets in. Odds are that the kids will want to help with some of them too (by jumping in the leaf piles you rake up). Whether you like it or not, that snow is just around the corner, so get on that to-do list soon people!

FALL HOME MAINTENANCE PROJECTS

  • Grab a stack of yard waste bags and dig into that pile of leaves in the backyard. It’s time to rake!
  • Keep watering trees right up until the ground freezes
  • Raise the blade on your mower for one last pass on your lawn, then say goodbye to cutting the grass for a season. Make sure to sharpen the blade on your lawn mower and pull the battery out of your riding lawn tractor, if you’ve got one. Don’t forget to pour in that engine stabilizer while you are at it!
  • Drain your outdoor hoses and turn the water off to the outdoor faucets
  • Clean, sharpen and oil as necessary all your yard tools
  • If you haven’t already, put a cover on your a/c unit to keep the leaves out of it and protect it from winter damage
  • Climb up on your roof to inspect shingles and fix as necessary. While you are up there, scoop any leaves or other debris out of your eaves troughs and gutters as necessary. Finish it off with a few taps to any loose nails holding the eaves troughs on, for added protection once ice and snow are a reality
  • Inspect and clean your chimney, to prevent any potential chimney fires. Birds, squirrels and raccoons might just think that Santa has something on them heading down the chimney, so inspect it before that first fire of the season
  • If you are really on the ball, you could even think about putting up your Christmas decorations. It’ll be November next week and the warmer temperatures won’t last forever! Just a thought

When you come in from all that outdoor work, enjoy the aroma of your delicious Autumn Vegetable Beef Stew simmering in the crock pot. The newest addition to Crock Pot Corner comes from Southern Food and is perfect after a day spent outside in the crisp Autumn weather. Mmm, mmm, mmm. Bon appetit!

AUTUMN VEGETABLE BEEF STEW

Ingredients:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean stewing beef, cut in 1-inch cubes
  • 1 slice bacon, diced
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (about 5 or 6 medium potatoes), diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, thinly sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups diced rutabaga
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes

Directions:

Cook bacon, beef, and onions in a large skillet over medium heat until the beef is browned and the bacon is cooked. Put the beef and onions in the slow cooker with the bacon, beef broth, apple cider, potatoes, carrots, celery, rutabaga, bay leaf, rosemary and pepper. Cover and cook for 7 to 9 hours. Combine flour with cold water to form a smooth mixture. Stir into the beef mixture, turn to HIGH, and continue cooking for 15 minutes longer.

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