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Stay Safe this Hunting Season

Hunting is a thrilling hobby for millions of people across the globe. In fact, non-hunters may be wide-eyed to learn just how popular the sport is. A recent report from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that 11.5 million Americans participated in hunting in 2016. Many hunters spend a lifetime hunting without ever suffering an accident or injury. However, hunting can be a dangerous sport, which only highlights the need for hunters to emphasize safety at all times.

Firearms

It’s essential that hunters exercise caution with their firearms at all times. Firearms should always be considered loaded, even when they’re not. This approach should apply while hunting and while at home. Maintaining such a mindset can help hunters avoid dangerous, potentially deadly mishaps should they mistakenly believe a firearm is not loaded when it is. When hunting, only point the firearm when you plan to shoot, making sure to keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot. Only shoot when a target is clearly identifiable and you’re certain about what is beyond the target.

Weather and Gear

The right attire can protect hunters from Mother Nature and their fellow sportsmen. Weather can be unpredictable during hunting season. Hunters should always check the forecast before leaving home, making sure to dress for the weather. Even if the forecast calls for agreeable weather, hunters could be at the mercy of Mother Nature should the weather unexpectedly change. As a result, it behooves hunters to prepare for cold, wet weather, which could put them at risk of hypothermia if they are not dressed properly. A water-repelling outer layer can protect hunters in wet conditions, and it’s also ideal to dress in layers. To lower your risk of injuries suffered at the hands of other hunters, avoid colors and patterns that blend into natural surroundings. Such colors can include earth tones, blacks and browns. Animal patterns may confuse fellow hunters into thinking you’re an animal, so avoid these as well.

Staying in Touch

Hunters, especially those who plan to go it alone, should always let others know of their plans before going on a hunting excursion. Sharing plans can help rescue teams find you should you suffer an injury on your trip and prove incapable of returning to your campsite or vehicle without assistance. Let others know when you plan to return and indicate your plans to call or text them when you arrive back at your vehicle. This way they can promptly alert the appropriate authorities should you not contact them on time.

Millions of people across the globe enjoy the sport of hunting. Hunting trips are even more enjoyable when hunters prioritize safety.

Trick-or-Treating Tips for Rural Residents

If someone were commissioned to paint a picture of Halloween bliss, it would probably showcase a neighborhood full of children ringing doorbells and gathering treats. Millions of children and adults participate in the annual ritual of trick-or-treating. For urban and suburban children, close-by neighbors make it quite easy to fill up sacks of candy. However, people who live in rural areas — where homes may be miles away from one another — may find that traditional trick-or-treating poses a challenge. For kids who live by farmland or off country roads, trick-or-treating may not be a stroll through a well-lit area with sidewalks and welcoming neighbors with open doors. Such youngsters may have to traverse dark roads and dodge motorists who do not expect people to be walking on the shoulder.

So what is a rural kid, or any child whose resides in an area that is not conducive to trick-or-treating, to do?

Hit the road. Plan a road trip to a neighborhood where trick-or-treating is encouraged in full force and is safe and inviting. Friends or family members may live in such neighborhoods and can host “out-of-town” trick-or-treaters. Others who are choosing a town off a map may want to try an app called Nextdoor. It is a free and private social media site for neighbors that employs a Treat Map. Halloween fans can see exactly which houses are trick-or-treat friendly. In 2014, Zillow issued a list of the 20 best neighborhoods for trick-or-treating as well.

Head to a shopping center. While it may not be the same as going door-to-door, rural residents can trick-or-treat at nearby shopping centers. Many shopping centers and malls host area children and dispense treats.

Organize a trunk-or-treat. Trunk-or-treat events involve various participants parking in a community lot and opening their trunks or truck hatches to crowds of trick-or-treaters. Often these events are hosted by churches, schools or organized clubs.

Trick-or-treating can be challenging for kids growing up in rural areas. But with a little ingenuity, such youngsters can secure their Halloween bounty as well.

Learn How to Carve a Better Pumpkin

Toothy grins and a mesmerizing orange glow help make jack-o’-lanterns captivating sights come Halloween. Pumpkin carving is an autumn tradition and runs the gamut of simple designs to more intricate artwork worthy of any medium. Although anyone can grab a pumpkin and get started, when done correctly, jack-o’-lantern designs can last for several days.

• Start with a fresh pumpkin. Look for pumpkins that have a thick, green stem. These usually are fresh and haven’t been handled much. A thick stem also may indicate fleshier pumpkin walls that can be carved more easily. Avoid pumpkins that are soft or full of blemishes, or those that have dried, shriveled stems.

• Cut a hole in the back. Rather than impeding the structural integrity of the pumpkin by cutting off the top and the stem for interior access, cut a hole in the back of the pumpkin. This will still make it easy to reach inside and clean out the pumpkin.

• Scoop out the pulp and seeds. Be sure to thoroughly clean the inside of the pumpkin. Leaving the pulpy, stringy matter and seeds inside can cause the pumpkin to rot that much faster and produce a foul odor. Scoopers, spoons and even hand shovels can help.

• Keep it cool. Heat can adversely affect carved pumpkins, so work in a cool area and store the pumpkin in a cold garage or refrigerator if you need a few extra days before displaying it. Also, carving experts suggest using an electric light inside rather than a candle; by using a candle, you’re essentially cooking the pumpkin from the inside.

• Work in your lap. When carving faces or intricate designs, looking down onto the pumpkin provides more control.

• Don’t cut all the way through. Many pumpkin designers end up shaving or scraping off the outer rind of the pumpkin, but leave a delicate orange film underneath. Light can still shine through, but the design will not collapse on itself as easily if you were to cut straight through the pumpkin wall. Experiment with different tools to achieve the desired look.

• Maintain the freshness. Rubbing exposed areas of the pumpkin flesh with petroleum jelly may help keep the pumpkin moist. Some designs will last for a few days. However, since pumpkins are highly perishable, it’s wise to wait to carve until a day or two before putting a pumpkin on display.

Autumn is a Prime Time to Tend Lawns and Gardens

Autumn is gardening season. That statement may not seem right to those who think of the spring as the peak time to care for lawns and gardens. However, autumn is an ideal time to get into the garden and ensure that flowers, trees and garden beds will over-winter successfully.

A number of things make autumn a prime gardening season. The cooler days of fall enable gardeners to spend ample time outdoors without the threat of blazing heat. In addition, soil harbors a lot of residual warmth in autumn. Also, the colder temperatures haven’t yet arrived in autumn, nor have the leaves completely fallen, making fall a prime time to assess what’s already in the landscape, what needs pruning back and where to address planting for next year. Gardening enthusiasts can focus their attention on these areas this fall.

• Pamper perennials. As annuals and perennials start to fall back, mark the spots where perennials are located so they can be easily identified later on. This way, when planning spots for spring bulbs or other spring layouts for next year, perennials won’t be overlooked or covered over.

• Prune shrubs. Look at shrubs and trees and cut out dead or diseased wood.

• Clean up borders. Weed and tidy up borders and lawn edging.

• Install pavers or rock wall. Embrace the cooler temperatures to work on labor-intensive projects, such as putting in a garden bed, retaining wall or walkway.

• Remove spent summer veggies. Take out vegetable garden plants that have already bloomed and borne fruit. Tidy up vegetable gardens and start to sow cooler weather plants, such as onions, garlic, beans, and sweet peas.

• Rake and compost. Rake the leaves and gather grass clippings to add to the compost pile.

• Plant spring bulbs. Get tulips and other spring bulbs ready for planting so they’ll burst with color next year.

• Dig up herbs. Relocate herbs like parsley or basil to indoor gardens. Otherwise, strip all leaves and freeze for storage during winter.

• Consider mums. Chrysanthemum plants are perennials. While they look beautiful in pots, if planted, maintained and winterized, they can bloom every fall.

• Fertilize the lawn. Fertilizing in autumn helps ensure grass will stay healthy throughout the winter.

• Add mulch and compost to the garden. Replenish spent soil with mulch and compost so garden beds will be revitalized for spring planting.

• Prune hedges. Tidy up hedges, as they won’t be growing much more this year.

• Clean and store equipment. Clean, sharpen and oil all equipment, storing lawn and garden tools properly so they are ready for spring and not lying out all winter.

Autumn may not seem like gardening season, but there are plenty of lawn and garden tasks to tend to during this time of year.

Match Food to Your Favorite Brews

The rise of craft and home brewing has created more beer flavor profiles than ever before. In fact, there’s likely a beer for everyone, whether you’re a novice or connoisseur. The Brewer’s Association, a trade association that represents small and independent American craft brewers, reports that, in 2018, small and independent brewers collectively produced 25.9 million barrels and experienced a 4 percent total market growth. The BA also states that these small brewers achieved a collective retail dollar take-in of $27.6 billion.

While wine will always have its enthusiasts, beer is fast on its heels as a popular mealtime beverage. Much in the way wines are paired with certain foods, it has become the natural course of action to pair certain foods with particular styles of beer.

“Beer is a great match for food because of the complexity of its flavors, its ability to provide refreshment and to interact with many food flavors,” says Marc Stroobandt, a master beer sommelier for the Food and Beer Consultancy, UK. Although each person has his or her preferences, here is a brief listing of generalized pairings, courtesy of the Brewer’s Association and CraftBeer.com.

• American Amber Lager: Creamy risotto, wild rice, polenta

• American Pale Ale: Game birds, such as duck and quail

• Belgian-style Dubbel: Pork chops, sausage, tenderloin

• Belgian-style Flanders: Grilled ribeye, root vegetables

• Blonde Ale: Chicken, salads, salmon, nutty cheese

• Dark Lager: Barbecue, sausage, roasted meat

• Hefeweizen: Weisswurst, seafood, sushi

• Imperial Stout: Smoked goose, foie gras, strong cheeses

• IPA: Spicy foods, curries

• Porter: Roasted or smoked foods, blackened fish

The Brewer’s Association recommends matching delicate dishes with delicate beers and strong dishes with assertive beers. Commonalities, like aromas and sub-flavors, also work together. A beer with roasted notes may pair well with chocolate, for example. Opposites also attract, in that a spicy food may taste best when paired with a sweet beer. Pairing might once have been limited to matching wines with certain foods. But the booming craft beer business has popularized pairing flavorful beers with foods to make meals even tastier.

A Spiced Dessert for Halloween Parties

Halloween party hosts may want to have a variety of treats on hand to satisfy the assortment of sweet tooths in attendance. Candy might be the first thing people think of on Halloween, but cakes and cookies can make for delicious treats as well. Borrowing from the flavors of the season, including pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg, “Spiced Pumpkin Cake” from “Real Simple: Easy, Delicious Home Cooking (Time Home Entertainment)” from the editors of Real Simple can be a welcome addition to any Halloween spread.

Spice Pumpkin Cake (Serves 12)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the pan

3 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, plus more for the pan

5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

11⁄2 teaspoons baking powder

3⁄4 teaspoon baking soda

1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

11⁄2 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs

1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree

1⁄2 cup whole milk

1⁄4 cup molasses

11⁄4 cups confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Heat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium-high heat until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes. One at a time, beat in the eggs. Beat in the pumpkin puree, milk, and molasses (the mixture may appear curdled). Reduce the mixer speed to low; gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just combined (do not overmix). Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely. In a small bowl, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Drizzle over the cake. Let set before serving.

Tip: This cake can be baked and glazed up to one day in advance. Store, covered at room temperature.

Interesting Facts About Fall

Weather is often the first indicator that the seasons are changing. For many people across the globe, the hot days of summer will soon be giving way to the more crisp days of fall. For those who live in regions where summer only subtly gives way to fall or is seemingly gone before the end of August, the 2019 autumnal equinox occurs on September 23. That marks the official beginning of fall, also known as autumn. In fact, that the season the follows summer seemingly goes by two different names is just one of many interesting facts about fall.

• A season by any other name … Fall is the term most often used to reference the season succeeding summer in the United States. But the season is referred to as “autumn” in other parts of the world, including Great Britain. Fall was once even known as “harvest” because of the harvest moon, which appears close to the autumnal equinox.

• The colors of fall foliage are actually present year-round. Fall is known for its colorful foliage. But the pigments responsible for those colors are actually present year-round. According to the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, green, yellow and orange pigments are present year-round. However, during spring and summer, the leaves serve as factories where many foods necessary to help the tree grow are manufactured. That process takes place in the leaf in cells containing chlorophyll, which gives the leaves their green color. This process ceases as hours of daylight decrease and temperatures drop. As a result, chlorophyll breaks down, the green color disappears and the vivid colors of fall foliage begin to appear.

• Squirrels have a (sophisticated) plan out there. Squirrels hiding food in autumn for the upcoming winter is a familiar sight. And squirrels are more organized than many people may know. Groundbreaking research released in 1991 found that, even when squirrels bury that stash of nuts closely to one another, they will each return to the precise location of their personal cache. Recent research also has shown that squirrels bury their stash based on certain traits, such as the type of nut being buried.

• Babies born in fall are more likely to see the century mark. Researchers at the University of Chicago studied more than 1,500 centenarians born in the United States between 1880 and 1895. They then compared birth and death information with those centenarians’ siblings and spouses so they could compare their early environment and genetic background and their adult environment. Their research found that most centenarians were born between September and November.

Bring Your A-Game With this Tailgating Recipe for the Grill

Want to bring your A-game to tailgating season? For a winning strategy, you’re going to need the right grill and great recipes.

Choosing the Grill

Ninety-five percent of all tailgaters prepare their food at the stadium, according to a Tailgating Institute research study, which also found that 46 percent of respondents tailgate at least six to 10 times a season. That’s a lot of set-up and breakdown, so check out grill options built for tailgating.

“A lot of tailgating rookies and even some old-timers make the mistake of bringing a flimsy grill that can’t handle the load, or one that requires too much set-up,” says Robert Hawkins, product manager for Char-Broil. “The right tailgating grill should be both portable and durable, and have features that make cooking on game day hassle-free.”

One such grill to consider is the Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Portable X200 Gas Grill. The Char-Broil TRU-Infrared cooking technology prevents flare ups, so you won’t have to worry about fumbling the game day spread, and its push button ignition and lid-mounted temperature gauge will help you win every tailgate, while still getting to enjoy the party.

Winning Over the Crowd

While standbys like burgers and dogs will always hit the spot with a crowd, why not try some new twists on old classics? This recipe for Cherry Cola Sliders straight from the Char-Broil playbook will help you kick your tailgate up a notch:

Ingredients:

For the sliders

• 1 pound ground beef

• 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

• 8 slices American cheese

• 8 slider buns

• 8 slices of bacon

For the sauce

• 1 tablespoon butter

• 1/2 cup sliced onions

• 2 tablespoons cherry cola

• 1 tablespoon brown sugar

• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

• 1/4 teaspoon salt

• 1 1/2 tablespoons white vinegar

• l tablespoon ketchup

Directions:

1. Preheat one side of your grill to 450 degrees F, leaving the other side off for indirect grilling.

Place bacon slices on the cooler side of the grill for indirect heat and cook for 20 minutes at 300 degrees F.

2. While the bacon cooks, caramelize the onions with butter in a saucepan until golden brown. Then, add cherry cola, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, vinegar and ketchup. Simmer for 10 minutes on the side burner.

3. Combine ground beef with Worcestershire sauce and form 8 slider patties.

4. Place beef patties on the hotter side of the grill for direct heat. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes per side. When the sliders are almost done, place a cheese slice on each one. Set the slider buns on the warming rack. Close the lid and grill for another 30 seconds to melt the cheese and toast the buns.

5. Remove the patties and bacon slices from the grill. Top each slider with caramelized onions in cherry cola BBQ sauce, a slice of bacon and serve.

More tailgating recipe ideas can be found at: https://www.charbroil.com/collections/tailgating-favorites.

How to Store Fresh Apples

Apples are a popular fruit that are grown in different places around the world. Come autumn, apples can be seen filling farm stands and supermarkets all over North America. Apples are available year-round, but many apple lovers insist there’s nothing better than plucking an apple directly off the tree in the fall. Apple orchards and pick-your-own farms are visited each autumn by apple lovers anxious for apples’ tart and juicy taste. Many people pick more apples than they can eat in a few days, so it pays to learn how to store apples properly so none of them go to waste.

Start by picking a variety of apple that won’t go bad too quickly. Apple growers can make suggestions, but Jonathan, Rome, Fuji, and Granny Smith varieties tend to last longer than other varieties. Choose apples that are free of blemishes or soft spots. The adage that “one bad apple can spoil the whole bunch” bears some truth. Apples give off ethylene gas as they decay, and a rotting apple can quickly affect nearby apples.

A good place to store apples in the short-term is in the refrigerator where it is cool. Put the apples in the crisper drawer. Do not store them with vegetables, as the apples may cause the veggies to ripen or rot prematurely. If you plan on long-term storage, a few extra steps are necessary. Apples need to be individually wrapped so they will not come in contact with other apples. Newsprint works great; just be sure to pick the pages that are done in black ink because colored ink may contain heavy metals. Once wrapped, place each apple in a container padded with more newspaper. Store this container in a cool place, such as a garage, root cellar or screened-in porch. Apples can last a couple of months if stored in this manner. Keep apples away from potatoes, as potatoes can cause the fruit to prematurely decay.

Another way to store apples is to turn them into preserves or apple sauce. By boiling the apples and sealing them shut in canning jars, that fresh apple taste can be enjoyed long after the apples are picked. Consult with a canning expert about the right way to begin the process. Fruits are generally canned using a boiling-water canner. However, some fruits, like apples, can be canned with a pressure canner. Because apples tend to discolor when the flesh meets the air, use a little lemon juice to prevent this while canning. Turning apples into candied apples also can help them keep longer. Apples can be dipped into a sugary coating, caramel or toffee to be enjoyed later on. Of course, you always can bake apples into a pie as well, then freeze the pie for another day.

Autumn would be incomplete without apples. Get ready for apple season by developing a storage plan before you visit the orchard.

Tips to Nail the Latest Home Design Trend

Redecorating? Experts say to keep in mind that the days of matching metals used for lighting, cabinet hardware and plumbing are over. Today’s rule: mix it up! When done right, combining colors adds visual interest and depth to a space.

“Mixing metals makes a statement in a room,” says Jennifer Kis, director of marketing communications for Progress Lighting. “It’s not considered unusual anymore, and our customers are comfortable with it and confident about trying it in their homes.”

There’s a simple recipe for success: pick a dominant metal finish for the room and coordinate it with accent metals. Try for a 70/30 ratio.

To easily nail the look, consider starting with a significant fixture that’s already finished in a mixed metal combination. For example, the lighting fixtures from Progress Lighting come finished in mixed metal combinations, such as matte black accented with gold, polished chrome with brushed brass, and even white accented with brushed nickel plus a touch of blue. Then, match cabinet hardware, appliances, plumbing fixtures and accessories to one of the finish colors from the lighting fixture.

When selecting finishes, use contrasting tones. Warm metals such as brushed brass, antique bronze, and gold give a vibrant pop of color when mixed with cool metals like chrome, nickel and silver. And don’t forget black — it is one of the trendiest finishes on the market today, and mixes beautifully with most metal colors.

Take the room’s color palette into consideration. Combine warm metal finishes (like brass, bronze, and copper) with warm hues (like beiges and browns). Use cool metal finishes (such as chrome, nickel and silver) with cool tones (such as blues, greens and grays). For a neutral color palette, add metallic accents to achieve warmth, texture and color. With a white or gray color scheme, for example, add a stunning gold chandelier to make your room come to life.

Kitchens typically contain the most metal in the house, and there are many ways to harmonize elements. Try placing mixed metal pendant lighting over the kitchen island, then match an accent metal finish from the fixture to coordinate with the cabinet and plumbing hardware. For a consistent look, pair finishes on metals that appear within the same line of sight: for example, the sink faucet and cabinet hardware should match.

In bathrooms, blend lighting choices with metallic accessories like a metal-edged mirror, soap dispensers and wall hangings, for seamless style. Lighting finishes don’t have to match hardware, but remember to choose complementary, contrasting metal tones.

Larger spaces, like living and family rooms, are ideal for mixing metal accents. As one of the most significant accessories in the room, start with your lighting fixture. Then add decorative elements — mirrors, wall art, tables — in contrasting metallic tones to make a dramatic statement.

In the bedroom, overhead lighting is often a prominent feature. Choose either a mixed metal fixture or one with a dominant finish color, then select subtle metallic touches for table lamps, sconces, furniture and wall décor to provide a cohesive flow.

For design resources, visit bit.ly/ShopMixedMetals.

Today, metals are meant to be mixed. Keep in mind the 70/30 rule for the perfect mixed, but not mismatched, look.