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Prepare for winter, exercise, eat well

This is the time of year to give some last-minute attention to your yard in preparation for the real winter (that is if you haven’t done so already): rake leaves and mulch for use in the future, drain and roll up hoses if they are to be of any use next summer, clean up by putting away tools and deck furniture, pick up trash and if you have a wood pile, cover it up to keep the wood dry.

Speaking of fuel wood, I hope you have cleaned your chimney. A friend recently had his chimney cleaned after years of use and he said it had a thick layer of creosote that reduced the opening by about 40 percent. Yikes!

Recreation center memberships for next year will be available at the recreation center starting Wednesday, Dec. 15.

I encourage you to get one for the family as part of your holiday season gift giving. Memberships for 2011 purchased during the early sale period are effective immediately — which means you can get a jump-start on the new year.

Renters who rent in Pagosa Lakes are eligible for purchase of memberships at property owner rates. A copy of the lease or a utility bill is required at time of purchase.

The recreation center will be closed for Thanksgiving and will reopen on Friday, Nov. 26, so our members can work off the turkey and stuffing.

If you are looking for a fun outdoor activity before sitting down to a huge Thanksgiving meal, consider either running or walking the Thanksgiving morning Turkey Trot. This family-style event starts from the recreation center parking lot at 10 a.m. You can run a five mile loop over paved and graveled rolling terrain or walk two miles on flat pavement and grass. Registration starts at 9 a.m. on race day.

I love Thanksgiving — the family gathering, building memories and the awesome food. However, for me, Thanksgiving is not about turkey and stuffing (stuff the stuffing, I say). It is all about a good apple pie.

We have all heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” and a study conducted by the Department of Food Science and Technology at Cornell University indicates an apple a day really does keep the doctor away — thanks to a strong antioxidant that fights cell damage.

Rat brain cells exposed to the antioxidant — in this case quercetin — resisted damage much better than those not treated or treated with vitamin C.

On the basis of serving size, fresh apples have some of the highest levels of quercetin when compared to other fruits and vegetables. Skins of apples contain the highest levels of quercetin; red apples tend to have more of the antioxidant then green or yellow ones.

Let’s make apple pie the vehicle for increasing quercetin in our diet. Let’s stuff the turkey with apples, have apple pie for dessert and instead of the traditional cranberry sauce, there is a killer-delicious cranberry-apple-walnut sauce (which I am serving over the meat).

I’ve also made a number (let’s just say it is more than two) of apple pies so I can eat apple pie for breakfast and lunch for the rest of the week. And if that doesn’t increase quercetin levels, I’ll likely forget that man shall not live by desserts only. Ignorance is bliss, sometimes.

Have a blessed one with family and friends as you share the time of Thanksgiving. Take a minute to express thankfulness, gratitude and appreciation to your God, family and friends for all that you have been blessed with.