As cool breezes cut summer heat and the leaves fade into sunset hues, Pin Oak Farms celebrates autumn with pumpkin picking, bonfires, and other activities. Tractors full of hay bales and visitors rumble out toward vegetable fields, happy shouts spiraling back toward areas for face painting and petting farm animals. A 5-acre corn maze or smaller straw-bale maze test one’s sense of direction or ability to crack open a compass and eat the good parts. Kids plop themselves down in a giant tub of corn, clamber around in bounce houses, or putt games of pumpkin-themed mini golf. At dusk, bonfires warm hands and bring to life dancing shadows behind groups and scout troops.
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.
Greenside's lawncare professionals prune and nurture lackluster yards back into lush landscapes of verdant, springy grass. Core lawn aeration helps build thicker, healthier turf that can fend for itself against weeds, diseases, bugs, and ornery lawn gnomes. Aeration helps break up headlocked lawns held fast by soil compaction and thatch layers by creating holes in the soil for oxygen and water to trickle through. The treatment encourages deeper root growth and better water retention, which makes for lower sprinkler bills and extra ammunition to spray at the neighborhood watch. Post-aeration, lawns are covered with the detritus of a successful extraction session, leaving coils of soil that are easily mowed over or broken up. Although recently aerated lawns may look rough and in poor condition, if aerated during active grass growth (late spring or fall), they quickly recover, yielding a plush outdoor carpet for Lilliputian blockbuster-movie premieres.
Almost 100 years ago, Peter J. Oberweis found himself with a surplus of milk. Rather than throw it out or freeze it into popsicles, Peter began selling it to his neighbors, an endeavor that was so popular that he began a milk-delivery service in 1927. Fast-forward to today, and Oberweis Dairy still delivers glass bottles of creamy milk to doorsteps. The small family-owned dairies that produce milk exclusively for Oberweis pledge never to use artificial growth hormones, therefore imbuing craft cheeses, super-premium ice cream, and yogurt with fresh, unobstructed taste. Oberweis partners with other like-minded companies to deliver such items as certified-humane Phil’s Fresh Eggs, Chuckanut Bay Foods cheesecake, and Connie’s Pizza to homes or to sell them at the company’s various retail locations.
Though most people hate the feeling of getting lost, that’s the point behind spending a day at the maze at Brookdale Farms. Not because the staff wants guests to wander aimlessly, but because the maze makes for a great way to enjoy the autumn sunshine at a relaxed pace and escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Open as a family-friendly jaunt during the day and as a haunted attraction at night, the maze tests navigators’ skills and affords a rare view into how scarecrows live when they think no one is looking. Outside the maze, the farm offers other autumnal activities such as pumpkin slingshots, pony rides, adrenaline-pumping ziplines, and a hay jump, inviting families to spend a full day disconnected from their televisions, computers, and employer-mandated tracking devices. The farm also has its very own pumpkin patch, where children and adults can pick their own pumpkins, especially after a nice hayride.
Lawn Doctor's roots lead back to the mid 1960s, when friends Bob Magda and Tony Giordano took on the endeavor of reviving uncared-for lawns in their hometown of Matawan, New Jersey. Their local business has since blossomed into a national franchise with more than 500 locations across the United States, each adhering to the mission of enhancing lawns' allure with time-tested techniques, dedicated customer service, and dabs of foundation makeup.
Before Lawn Doctor's assiduous staffers unleash expertise on swards, they arrive at the client's home for a complimentary consultation to gauge each lawn's specific needs. Grass gurus can thicken turf with their patented Turf Tamer power seeder and foster healthy growth for grass, trees, and shrubs with fertilizer. Uninvited lawn assailants—such as crickets, ants, and grazing neighbors—shudder at the sight of Lawn Doctor's pest-control experts. The company also helps to preserve Mother Nature's receding hairline with organic lawn treatments and natural, eco-friendly products.