The first ever Oktoberfest was held in Munich in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of the crown prince of Bavaria. Since then, this annual German event has evolved into the best known folk festival, or volksfest, in the world. Every year, millions of tourists and locals alike convene to eat, drink and dance at Oktoberfest.
The festival, which takes place over two weeks every fall, is held in a meadow near Munich. It’s spawned similar celebrations all over the world, notably in Cincinnati, Ohio, which holds the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the United States.
But if you can’t make it to Cincinnati or Munich, many towns throw smaller celebrations to mark the occasion. Similarly, your local bar, microbrewery or restaurant may host Oktoberfest events.
If you prefer to stay home, consider hosting your own Oktoberfest party. It’s as easy as throwing some sausages on the grill and stocking up on beer. Go for German varieties if you want to create an authentic experience.
At Oktoberfest in Munich, beer is a big deal. Only those that meet strict criteria and are made by one of Munich’s top six breweries are allowed to be sold on site. Local pubs and festivals may not follow the same rules, however, and you definitely don’t have to at home. You can decide to only serve German beers or opt for local beers instead.
The perfect recipe for a great Oktoberfest is good food, beer and company. So how will you celebrate this year?
5 benefits of hiring landscaping professionals
Do you want to freshen up your yard or completely redesign the look of your property? If so, here are five advantages to working with a team of lawn care and landscaping professionals.
1. Your plants and trees will thrive. While all species require sunlight to grow, some need much more of it than others. Plus, certain plants prefer direct light, while others do well in the shade. A landscaper will ensure each plant is in an ideal location to get what it needs.
2. Your planting times will be perfect. Some species need to be planted at a specific time of the year to grow and survive the change of seasons. Leaving this work to a professional will ensure you don’t make any mistakes.
3. Your landscaping will be cohesive. The style of your home, the size of your property, and the layout of your driveway and yard can affect the look of your landscaping. A specialist will take these elements into account before proposing a beautiful and practical design for your front and backyard.
4. Your lawn will be expertly installed. If you want to lay sod, the ground must first be properly prepared using specialized equipment. A landscaper will have the right tools and experience to quickly and efficiently complete this task. If you already have a lawn, a professional will make sure it stays lush, healthy, and free of pests.
5. Your hardscape will be stronger. Walkways, stairs, walls, and patios can be installed using a variety of materials. A landscaper will consider factors such as the frequency of use and weather conditions when designing every detail.
If you want to boost your home’s curb appeal and wow your guests, be sure to hire a team of landscaping professionals this spring.
8 essential rules for beautiful landscaping
Do you dream of having a healthy green lawn and gardens filled with bright blooms? If so, follow these tried and tested tips.
1. Consider plant placement
Make sure each plant is in a spot where it’ll get the sunlight and nutrients it needs to thrive. Additionally, think about how the plant will look in terms of its appearance and size.
2. Water at the right time
On hot days, water your plants early in the morning or late in the evening. This way the roots will have time to absorb the moisture before it evaporates.
3. Fertilize as needed
Test the soil, then select a fertilizer or soil amendment that’ll provide the right balance of nutrients for your grass and plants to thrive. Avoid nitrogen-rich fertilizers after mid-July.
4. Apply mulch
Cover the ground with a generous layer of mulch to enrich the soil, improve drainage and suppress weeds.
5. Attract pollinators
Opt for nectar-rich plants and choose species with varied bloom times, so your garden will flower from spring until fall.
6. Avoid pesticides
Cultivate your garden without using pesticides by creating a diversified habitat and choosing insect and disease-resistant plants, among other things.
7. Recycle grass clippings
Leave grass clippings on the ground after you mow the lawn, so they can serve as a natural fertilizer.
8. Collect rainwater
Set up a few rain barrels on your property to conserve water. This will ensure you can continue to water your garden in times of drought.
Is your lawn mower ready for summer?
Cutting the grass is a crucial part of maintaining your lawn. If you want to simplify this task, make sure your lawnmower is in good condition at the beginning of the season. Here’s a checklist so you don’t forget anything.
Since damaged blades can’t be sharpened, you’ll need to replace them if they’re cracked or dented. Blades that are in good shape should be sharpened to ensure a clean cut. To help your mower perform efficiently, do this at least twice every summer.
If you have a gas-powered lawnmower, change the oil in the spring or after about 50 hours of use, whichever comes first. Be sure to disconnect the spark plug before you begin. Place a container near the drainpipe, gently tilt the mower toward it and remove the oil cap or plug. Once you’ve drained the old oil, replace it. If your mower has a fuel filter, change that as well.
The spark plug
To ensure your lawnmower starts easily and runs smoothly, replace the spark plug once a year. All you need is a spark plug socket and wrench to remove the old plug and install the new one.
The air filter
Like the spark plug, your lawn mower’s air filter should be changed annually. In some cases, however, simply cleaning this component will do the trick.
In addition to these steps, remember to inspect the wheels, lubricate all moving parts and clean the underside of your lawnmower. If you have an electric model, charge or replace the battery as needed. Don’t forget to fill up the tank if you have a gas-powered mower.
7 books to reflect on
Are you looking to expand your reading list? Here’s a selection of literary works that’ll encourage you to contemplate a variety of social issues and what it means to be human.
1. 1984 by George Orwell
This seminal dystopian social science fiction novel depicts a future characterized by totalitarian rule, mass surveillance and the persecution of independent thinking.
2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
In a dystopian society where books are outlawed, a fireman tasked with burning any volume he finds begins to question his role in censoring literature and destroying knowledge.
3. King Kong Theory by Virginie Despentes
Originally published in French, this book is a series of essays that combine the stylings of a memoir and a feminist manifesto to denounce the subjugation of women.
4. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
Set in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, this novella recounts the year-long friendship of a struggling writer and a young woman who rejects social conventions.
5. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
With the help of simple yet elegant illustrations, this beloved classic explores friendship, love, and the things that are lost when children grow up.
6. Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley
The author explores themes of vanity and technological advancement in a story about the creation of a monster that’s rejected by society due to its grotesque appearance.
7. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
This absurdist tale, in which a man struggles to adjust after he inexplicably transforms into a giant insect, alludes to the alienation experienced by those who are different.
Look for these and other intriguing titles at the Royal Oak bookstore.
What you need for a butterfly garden
Many plants rely on butterflies to pollinate them. Here’s what you’ll need to create a habitat for these beautiful insects in your backyard.
• Sunshine. Choose a site that gets plenty of sunlight and is sheltered from the wind. Add a few flat rocks, so butterflies can warm up.
• Host plants. Adult butterflies need to lay their eggs on plants that caterpillars can eat such as dill, fennel, milkweed, and parsley.
• Mud puddles. Some butterflies get their nutrients from the water in damp soil and sand, so leave a few areas free of mulch and keep them moist.
• Nectar plants. Asters, coneflowers, milkweed, phlox, and zinnias are just some of the flowering plants that attract butterflies. Choose species native to your region.
• Varied blooms. To provide butterflies with a viable home, you’ll need a variety of plants, so there are flowers in your garden from spring until fall.
In the fall, let leaves accumulate in your garden so that caterpillars, chrysalises, and dormant adults have a warm place to overwinter.
7 tips to make spring cleaning more
Are you ready to freshen up your home after a long winter cooped up inside? Here are seven ways to give your house the deep clean it needs while also helping to protect the environment.
1. Air-dry your laundry
Since dryers use a massive amount of energy, take advantage of nice weather by hanging your clothes and linens outside or use a drying rack.
2. Opt for natural cleaners
Choose biodegradable products rather than harsh chemicals that harm the environment. You can also use white vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice to get the job done.
3. Use water sparingly
Fill a bucket rather than repeatedly opening the tap to rinse your cloth. When possible, use a broom instead of a mop.
4. Switch to reusable rags
Give up paper towels for good. Buy washable cloths, or better yet, use cut-up towels and old T-shirts that would otherwise be thrown out.
5. Donate unwanted clothes
If they’re in good condition, you can give old clothes to a local charity. Items that can’t be worn anymore should be recycled. Look for a garment collection program in your area.
6. Reduce paper waste
If an accumulation of bank statements and other mail is creating clutter in your home, switch over to receiving notifications by email instead.
7. Choose a natural scent
Rather than rely on aerosol air fresheners, fill your home with the natural fragrances of cut flowers, essential oils, reed diffusers, or stovetop potpourri.
Lastly, make sure to schedule maintenance calls for all your appliances. This will ensure they continue to run optimally and are as energy-efficient as possible.