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A special section of the Fillmore County Journal

covering all of your Fall Home and Garden needs

Fall Breeze & Autumn Leaves September 25, 2017 • Fillmore County Journal

An oasis out back

New home with old world charm

Jason and Alyssa sitting on top of the retaining wall they built. Photo by Alyssa Aylsworth The former narrow stairway to the backyard is now a more generous width, with the help of Kevin Eickhoff Building and Remodeling. This width adds to a sense of invitation and enhances the flow from indoors to outdoors. All materials are no maintenance and came from Fountain Building Center. Photo by Julie Little By Julie Little

Have you ever visited a place on vacation that felt just right – inviting, comfortable, peaceful? And did you wish you could find a way to pack that place up in your suitcase and take it home with you? Well, that’s what Scott and Sharone Rustad of Fountain did. On a visit to Scott’s aunt in Texas, they discovered both the hotels and the homes there had stone patios that served as open but intimate outdoor gathering spots. The Texas stone masonry, in a soft sand color, was beautiful. Scott and Sharone felt a strong draw to these patios and the germ of an idea travelled home with them. The house the Rustads live in is both the same and different from the one Scott grew up in. His parents, Donna and Duane Rustad bought the land in 1962 and built the original house just past the church in Fountain off Highway 52. At that time it was an open field with a sinkhole across the driveway. Scott remembers, as a boy, he could shoot his BB gun in the yard without worrying about the

neighbors. The elder Rustads built their home and planted trees that now tower majestically, shading the spacious lawn. Scott moved away for 15 years, then, in 1998 he and Sharone moved back to Fountain and began to make the original homestead their own. In 2005 they tackled the interior. Kevin Eickhoff, of Eickhoff Building and Remodeling, worked with them on the design and he and his son did the remodeling work. “Many walls came down,” says Sharone. “Houses used to have separate little rooms. Now they are more open.” Working with Scott and Sharone, Eickhoff not only remodeled the interior, adding square footage and opening up the space, but also adding a garage and creating a welcoming entrance off a covered deck. For about eight years after their time in Texas, the Rustads dreamed about what they would do to create the kind of outdoor space that they found so compelling. Then last year, Scott said, “Let’s do it now.” Their son, Sam, currently in his first year of college at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls, was graduating in

A special section on

the spring of 2017 and they envisioned having his party in that outdoor space. There would also be plenty of time for their daughter, Sierra, a junior at Fillmore Central, to enjoy it. Schroder, the mellow golden retriever, makes himself right at home on the new patio, too. Part of the challenge in getting stone work done was to find someone who could do it. “We’re pretty busy,” Scott says, “and while there are people who can do this work themselves, that’s not us. We do know lots of people with skills, but it would have taken them quite a bit of time.” The Rustads heard that The Treehouse Landscape and Garden Center might be an option. “There was a patio at a house near Good Earth Village that Todd from The Treehouse had done. It looked like quality work,” Sharone notes. “When Todd came out to see us, he brought books of design options with him and he asked good questions. When we learned that he and his crew could get the whole thing done in four or five days it was hard to believe.” Scott See RUSTAD PATIO Page 2 

By K irsten Zoellner

For newlyweds Jason and Alyssa Aylsworth, of Fountain, their dream home is nearing a reality and despite its old-world background, it’s anything other than conventional. The couple is just weeks away from embarking on the raising of their timber frame home. “We enjoy being a bit different/unique so we knew we didn’t want just any old house that you see every day, says the couple. “We also knew we didn’t want the high maintenance of a log home so we found this to be a perfect fit for us. It allowed us to do a completely customer design, get a cozy rustic feel we like and minimal maintenance.” Timber frame homes evoke the feel of ancient barns with spanning arches, mortise-andtenon joinery, and wooden pegs. Strong, and intricate in framework, the homes eliminate the need for the standard boxing of interior walls making the space open and an architectural work of art. “We were stuck between building a timber frame house versus a log house and timber frame won out,” adds Alyssa. “The timber frame house is constructed much like how

old barns were constructed. The frame fits together like a giant puzzle. All of the timbers remain exposed on the interior of the home.” From start to finish, timber frame homes can take anywhere from 10 to 18 months to complete. With the planning process beginning over a year ago, the Aylsworths have planned for a timeframe somewhere between 6-12 months for construction. On average, it takes at least two months just for the timber to be cut and delivered. The framing is already waiting at the Aylsworth site and the couple is anticipating beginning on raising the frame in September and October. “Being it is a completely custom home that we planned out from scratch, it took a significant amount of time to come up with a layout that we liked as well as one that was structurally possible,” says Jason. Getting the site right was part practicality and part sentimentality, as it was also the location of the couple’s September 2015 wedding. Even before the project officially got underway though, the site was presenting challenges. On a hillside overlooking the See AYLSWORTH Page 4 

Fall Home & Garden in the Fillmore County Journal.

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RUSTAD PATIO Continued from Page 1

adds, “They came when they said. They finished when they said. It was a good crew. Each person had his own specialty and they worked well together. They were good about doing the extra things like moving dirt around and the worksite was cleaned up when

Monday, September 25, 2017

they were done.” When you start a project like this, it’s good to be prepared, Sharone and Scott advise. “Have a vision,” says Sharone. “Have a budget,” says Scott, “but also, this is not a place to skimp. It was important to do what we’ll enjoy. We’ll probably have it for the rest of our lives.” The way this patio is designed, with straight lines, will

The Rustads created a perfect place to relax or entertain. Their new space draws you in, promises comfort and calm, and gives a sense of coziness while celebrating the great outdoors. Photo by Julie Little

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make it easy to change things or add on in the future. The couple already has a few ideas percolating in their minds for “Someday” – a wood fired pizza oven or a bar and grill area with a canopy would be among the many desirable options. Sharone recalls that it was cold in November 2016, when The Treehouse crew completed the new patio, but the outdoor fireplace faces the living room. “We’d light a fire outside then enjoy it from the warmth and comfort of the house,” she says. “It was especially beautiful when it was snowing outside.” In April they got furniture. Cushioned and comfortable, it can be reconfigured as desired. Sometimes Scott and Sharone line up the seating in a row and set up a big screen projection TV outside to watch movies. Other times they create a small gathering space for close friends. Still other times the space can be opened up and the low, seat-high stone wall can comfortably accommodate a crowd. Then there are those rare times in summer when nothing calls them away from home, night falls, the Big Dipper appears, and Scott and Sharone sit quietly together enjoying the peace under the stars. The inviting welcome of the patio almost makes them forget the work it took to get to this point. “The hardest part was the preparation,” Sharone confides. A kind neighbor helped them move the shed. It also took a lot of work to remove the existing landscaping – edging, plants, and stones. “Be prepared for things to be muddy and dirty,” Scott shares. There was a lot of followup finish work around the patio that they did themselves. The Rustads planted trees and shrubs, thinking ahead to a time when these new additions will be able to add to a sense of intimacy and replace the giant trees around them as needed. Young trees that will offer privacy and flowers in the future have to be planted on faith that they will grow and serve that function in time. “Summer is so short in Minnesota,” says Sharone, “and although we’re busy, we spend as much time outdoors as possible. The patio draws us outside.” The Rustads enjoy entertaining and memories of summer parties or just “having people over” come easily, accompanied by smiles. They extend the season using the fireplace, a patio heater and, sometimes, a portable fire pit. Scott finds his peace after work on the patio listening to his music, the louder the better. Sharone likes the patio at night best. The light of the fire, a candle, soft lights that flank the stone wall, all call to her with a vision of calm. The Treehouse Landscape and Garden Center, (507) 561-3785, is a full service nursery and landscape operation that also provides custom design and specializes in patios, retaining walls, stone fireplaces, water features, foundation plantings and just about anything to beautify your landscape. They are located one mile north of the Iowa border on Highway 63, where examples of various designs can be seen and experienced.

Call the FCJ at 507-765-2151 to advertise or offer news tips! Kevin Eickhoff Building and Remodeling, (507) 273-3858, is based in Fountain and provides custom design service. There isn’t much they can’t do, from two-

hour installations to two-year whole house remodels. They also source most of their supplies locally through Fountain Building Center.

The walls of the patio are designed to offer seating when entertaining a large group and are flanked on either side by a low column with lights set behind glass block. This provides the kind of soft diffused illumination that is gentle on the eyes and doesn’t compete with firelight or starlight. Photo by Julie Little


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Continued from Page 1

Root River, the site was wooded and the couple spent a good deal of time selectively clearing trees and adding retaining walls to the sloped lot. Large, two by four-foot decorative concrete blocks, weighing about 2,200 pounds each, make up the bulk of the retaining wall. Additionally, another wall was built out of the rock that was dug out in order to get the basement started. Water and electricity also had to be brought to the site. Once the prep work was done, the couple set to the

Monday, September 25, 2017

task of putting the foundation in place. Structural Insulated Panels make up the perimeter of the foundation and basement, enclosing and insulating the home. The panels can be customized to the size of the project specs and are extremely “green” due to their energy and labor savings, not the mention their structural strength, equivalent to a steel “I” beam. The couple opted to use Superior Walls, a company specializing in the prefabricated SIPs. For this project, precast sections fit together to form the foundation wall. Atop the foundation layer, the timber frame will be built.

Digging of the basement. Jason’s dad Steve is in the backhoe and Jason is in the skid loader. Photo by Alyssa Aylsworth

Alyssa and her dogs on the main level after the floor framing was complete. Photo by Alyssa Aylsworth

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“Due to the way they are constructed and the use of SIPS panels versus a typically “stick” or stud wall framed house, they are much more energy efficient,” adds Jason. “They are also very customizable and can be made to be virtually maintenance free.” That appealed to the busy couple who is serving as their own general contractor for the build. “Much of the work we are completing ourselves with the help of family and friends. We also have several local subcontractors we are working with for things such as the timber frame, well, septic, plumbing, heating, and cabinetry,” says Jason. At this time, the basement walls and basic framing are complete. While the couple hasn’t done a project of this scale before, the amount of time, energy, and decision making hasn’t deterred them. “There’s lots of decision making,” says Alyssa. “All the big things; roofing, siding, down to every little handle and hinge. Some of the bigger decisions they’ve made include use steel siding, exterior brackets on the gable ends of the home to support the roof overhangs, and a walkout basement design. The variables to any home project are immense, but add a custom build and non-traditional home and the variables multiply. “As a whole the projects would be considered unusual,” adds Alyssa. “There are additional costs that need to be considered, but luckily we have done very well with finding good deals and shopping sales that we have been able to save significantly in certain areas. It’s all a give and take and deciding which aspects are most important to you.” “We were originally hoping to be completed before the end of the year, but unfortunately due to circumstances out of our control, we have fallen behind so it may take us into late winter or the early months of next year,” notes Jason. “When working full time, it is a big time commitment. You give up most or all of your free to time work on it; every night when you get home from work

The FCJ reaches over 13,000 households each week. and every weekend, plus having to take additional time off work during certain critical stages.” Still, the couple wouldn’t change the process and is looking forward to moving in and enjoying their spare time in the area. “We ride and race dirt bikes and enjoy tubing and paddle boarding down the Root

River; camping, hunting, hiking, skiing and snowboarding, and of course spend time with our two coon hounds Zula and Charlie,” enthuses Alyssa. “We’re most looking forward to seeing our hard work pay off and to have a beautiful home for many years to come,” they add.

The basement walls placed. They are large precast panels that fit together. The panels are already insulated and furred out and ready to finish on the inside. Photo by Alyssa Aylsworth 0%0%for up toFor 48 months INtereSt 54 MoNtHS

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Monday, September 25, 2017 even if the warm temperatures of summer linger into autumn. Homeowners who want their lawns to thrive year-round can take advantage of the welcoming weather of fall to address any existing or potential issues. • Keep mowing, but adjust how you mow. It's important that homeowners continue to mow their lawns so long as grass is growing. But as fall transitions into winter, lower the blades so the grass is cut shorter while remaining mindful that no blade of grass should ever be trimmed by more than one-third. Lowering the blades will allow more sunlight to reach the grass in the months ahead. • Remove leaves as they fall. Much like apple-picking and foliage, raking leaves is synonymous with fall. Some homeowners may wait to pick up a rake until all of the trees on their properties are bare. However, allowing fallen leaves to sit on the ground for extended periods of time can have an adverse effect on grass. Leaves left to sit on the lawn may ultimately suffocate the grass by forming an impenetrable wall that deprives the lawn of sunlight and oxygen. The result is dead grass and possibly even fungal disease. Leaves may not need to be raked every day, but homeowners should periodically rake and remove leaves from their grass, even if there are plenty left to fall still hanging on the trees. • Repair bald spots. Summer exacts a toll on lawns in various ways, and even homeowners with green thumbs may end up with a lawn filled with bald spots come September. Autumn is a great time to repair these bald spots. Lawn repair mixes like Scotts® PatchMaster contain mulch, seed and fertilizer to repair bald spots, which can begin to recover in as little as seven days. Before applying such products, remove dead grass and loosen the top few inches of soil. Follow any additional manufacturer instructions as well. • Aerate the turf. Aerating reduces soil compacting, facilitating the delivery of fertilizer and water to a lawn's roots. While many homeowners, and particularly those who take pride in tending to their own lawns, can successfully aerate their own turf, it's best to first have soil tested so you know which amendments to add after the ground has been aerated. Gardening centers and home improvement stores sell soil testing kits that measure the pH of soil, but homeowners who want to test for nutrients or heavy metals in their soil may need to send their samples to a lab for further testing. Fall lawn care provides a great reason to spend some time in the yard before the arrival of winter.

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Monday, September 25, 2017

Three pre-winter lawn care pointers Winter weather can be harsh, especially on lawns. Homeowners who spend much of spring and summer tending to their lawns may fear the impact that winter will have on their oncelush landscapes, making the fall a great time to fortify lawns against any harsh conditions to come. Homeowners must take grass type into consideration before taking steps to prepare their lawns for the winter. Some grasses are best fertilized in late-summer, while others should be fertilized in autumn. Cool-season grasses,

including fescue and bluegrass, are best fertilized sometime between the months of September and November. Warm-season grasses, such as Bermuda or zoysia, should be fertilized between July and September. Once homeowners have gained a greater understanding of their lawns, they can begin exploring the various ways to prepare their lawns for whatever winter has in store. Explore winterizing fertilizers Homeowners who want to make their grasses more win-

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ter hardy can consult landscaping professionals to determine if winterizing fertilizers will work for their lawns. These specially formulated fertilizers, many of which are made exclusively for cool-season grasses, contain higher levels of potassium and lower levels of nitrogen than early-season fertilizers. Potassium helps strengthen and harden plants, and cool-season grasses may need extra potassium as winter settles in. Homeowners who are not sure if they should apply winterizing fertilizer can conduct soil tests to determine the potassium levels in their soil. If the test indicates the soil has sufficient potassium, then applying a winterizing fertilizer is likely unnecessary. In addition, homeowners who have fed their lawn a balance of nutrients throughout spring and summer likely will not need to apply winterizing fertilizer. Get rid of fallen leaves While fallen leaves may be integral components of idyllic autumn landscapes, leaves left on the lawn throughout the winter may lead to disease in the grass. Leaves trap moisture and block sunlight and air from reaching grass, and that can encourage the development of disease. In addition, leaves can harbor insects that also may contribute to disease. While it might seem like common sense to delay leaf removal until the end of autumn when all the leaves have fallen, that, too, can prove harmful to lawns. Leaves left laying on lawns for long periods of time can contribute to the same types of damage as leaves left on the lawn throughout winter, so do your best to remove leaves as they fall. Take steps to fight snow mold Homeowners who live in regions where snow falls into spring or where spring tends to be cold and damp may want to take steps to prevent snow mold. Gray snow mold typically looks fuzzy and gray, and lawns infested with snow mold may develop unsightly gray or brown spots indicative of dead grass. Pink snow mold may be even worse than gray snow mold because pink mold attacks the roots as well as the leaves. To prevent snow mold, continue mowing into the fall, even as lawns grow dormant, clearing the lawn of grass clippings and leaves after each mow. Thick lawns may provide a breeding ground for snow mold, so homeowners whose lawns have a history of developing snow mold may benefit from mowing their lawns into the fall. Winter is rarely easy on lawns, but homeowners can take several steps to prepare their lawns for potentially harsh winter weather.

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Earth-friendly tips for autumn Autumn is upon us, and with the change of seasons comes the fall to-do list that must be completed before the arrival of winter weather. Many outdoor jobs are best completed before temperatures drop, while others can be tackled indoors to help save energy and prepare for increased time spent inside the home. Outdoor cleanup Autumn means leaves are falling from trees and littering landscapes. Cleaning up leaves can be a time-consuming task, but it's necessary to promote the health of lawns and other plants. Grass

that is completely matted down with leaves can become starved for light and moisture, and lawns may even rot when forced to spend winter beneath fallen leaves. One eco-friendly timesaver is to shred leaves with a mower (a manual mower is preferable) and leave them as topdressing for the lawn. As long as the grass blades can be seen within the leaves, the lawn should be fine. Shredded leaves will decompose and add necessary nutrients and organic matter to the soil naturally. Leaves also can be used in annual flower and vegetable gar-

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Monday, September 25, 2017 dens to improve the soil. Mulch made from shredded leaves can be placed on the soil around trees and shrubs. This helps to reduce weed problems and protects root systems from harsh temperature fluctuations. Clothing donations It's time to pack away summer clothing and once again fill closets and drawers with sweaters and jeans. Before packing away your summer wardrobe, conduct an inventory to determine if there are any items you no longer use. Donate these items or use them as rags when cleaning. Keep some short-sleeved shirts accessible so you can layer them under sweatshirts and sweaters. The heat from layering will be trapped against your body and keep you cozier, reducing your reliance on HVAC systems to stay warm. Home repairs Check the roof for any missing shingles. In addition, look for spots where animals or insects may be able to gain entry into your home. Seal these areas and repair any leaks. This will make your home more efficient later on when winter hits its stride. Remove window air conditioners for the winter. If they can't be removed, seal them with caulking or tape and cover them with an airtight, insulated jacket. If you have forced-air systems, move furniture away from the vents so that air can flow better around the home and keep it comfortable. Check weatherstripping around windows and doors and make the necessary adjustments. Installing additional insulation also can help reduce energy consumption. A few tips can help homeowners prepare for autumn in ecofriendly ways.


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FAX # 507-346-7848

Real WaterFurnace owners

THOUSANDS of happy geothermal


MILLIONS of dollars saved. Thousands of happy homeowners have saved millions of dollars on heating, cooling, and hot water thanks to the groundbreaking 7 Series geothermal heat pump. To celebrate, we’re offering instant savings on one of the most efficient units on the planet—the 7 Series. And that’s not all—we’re also giving away a FREE Symphony Home Comfort Platform with each purchase of a 7 Series and installation accessories. But hurry, this deal ends December 15th1, 2017, so contact Johnson Comfort Systems today to join the SEVENbration! Your Local WaterFurnace Dealer

Lime Springs, Iowa

(563) 566-2346





$600 VALUE



Learn more at

1. Promotion ends on December 15th, 2017. Promotion available only to residential customers through participating dealers. WaterFurnace is a registered trademark of WaterFurnace International, Inc. ©2017 WaterFurnace International Inc.

Fall Home & Garden - 9.25.17  
Fall Home & Garden - 9.25.17