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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

Prepare your home for warm weather Springtime is the best time to get your home and outdoor equipment ready for the approaching warm weather, and the sooner you start the sooner you will be ready to enjoy the spring and summer months. Here are some suggestions to make your home as healthy and as clean as possible.

Barbecue grill cleaner does double duty as a heavy-duty cleaner and a hard surface disinfectant. It easily dissolves grease, fat and burned-on food for quick cleanup with less effort. The cleaner also kills foodborne germs that contaminate food preparation surfaces, including Salmonella and E.coli in just 45 seconds. It can also be used on propane tanks, countertops, stainless steel, painted surfaces, barbecue covers and ceramic and tempered glass. Remember, when cooking food on the grill, do not reuse marinade after it has touched raw meat or poultry. Promptly scrape down the grill surface while the barbecue is still warm to remove most of the drippings and scraps of food for easier clean-up.

Get rid of mould and mildew

When the house is closed up tight for the winter, it’s easy for mould and mildew to take hold and grow, and such growths can adversely affect your respiratory system while potentially causing sinus congestion and eye irritation. Mould and mildew growth also creates unsightly stains, damaging paint and wall finishes as a result. Cleaner/disinfectant is very effective at controlling mould and mildew, addressing not only existing mould and mildew around the house, but also preventing any future problems. Further prevent mildew by venting bathrooms or opening a window to dry out the room after showering. Also check for and remedy any leaks that can contribute to mould and mildew growth. In attics, basements and utility rooms, consider the use of a desiccant, which will remove moisture from the air.

Patio Furniture

viruses and bacteria. Some cleaners/disinfectants takes just 45 seconds to disinfect a surface of harmful bacteria, including those associated with food poisoning, whooping cough and even infections such as MRSA. Hospital grade disinfectant sprays take even less time to disinfect a surface against viruses, doing so in just 30 seconds while protecting a home’s inhabitants from viruses including Influenza A2, Poliovirus Type I, a type of polio, and others that can cause the common cold and respiratory illnesses.

Protect against allergens, viruses and bacteria

Effectively cleaning a home can involve several preventive measures to keep everyone free from

Another way to reduce the spread of illness is to make sure everyone in the household washes their hands when coming in from school, work or from shopping.

Say ‘au revoir’ to odour

Readying a home for fresh, spring days also entails ridding its interior of odor. Certain brands of odour eliminator neutralizes offensive odors on contact by “caging” their molecules so they are no longer detectable to the nose. Homeowners can eliminate odors in their kitchens, carpets and

even their musty basements, ensuring the home is odour-free for the long winter months ahead. In lieu of smoke and pet odours, Odour eliminator can provide a fresh floral scent and can even be added to compatible cleaning solutions to freshen the home as you clean. Think about adding houseplants as well. Plants are natural air filters and can go a long way toward cleaning the air of contaminants and odours.

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Penticton Western News Friday, May 9, 2014

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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

Warning signs on your roof Replacing a roof is a costly venture few homeowners look forward to. According to Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report, the national average price of a roof replacement is a costly endeavour considering the tenuous nature of the economy. What’s more, homeowners who choose more upscale roofing materials can expect to spend almost $40,000 on their roofs. Such costs make it no small wonder that many homeowners fear the dreaded diagnosis that their home needs a new roof. While there’s little homeowners can do to reduce the cost of a roof replacement, there are warning signs homeowners can look for that might indicate a roof replacement is on the horizon. Recognition of these signs can help homeowners be more financially prepared should the day come when the roof needs to be replaced. It may be due to the age of the roof or the result of damage. The key is to determine when a new roof is needed and get it taken care of before addi-

tional damage can happen to other parts of the dwelling.

1. The presence of algae

If the roof has lots of dark streaks and stains clinging to it, that is likely algae, which can grow on the roof for quite awhile. Algae does not necessarily do any damage to a roof, but it does do some damage to a home’s physical appearance, as algae on the roof is not very pleasing to the eye. Algae is most often found on the roofs of homes located in climates that have warm, humid summers. If algae is a problem on your roof, spray washing with a mixture of water and bleach can effectively remove it.

2. Buckling shingles

Like algae, buckling shingles are another unsightly problem on a roof. But buckling shingles are more than just an eyesore, they actually might indicate significant problems. When shingles buckle, that’s typically because hot air from the attic is forcing the shingles away from the home. Buckling shingles also indicate that the roof

3. Granule loss

sional inspection might be in order if mold growth is suspected. If a professional determines mold is, in fact, present, then the mold will need to be removed and all options, including a roof replacement, must be considered to keep mold from coming back.

4. Mould

Perhaps the most discouraging sign a homeowner can see on his or her roof is roof rot. Roof rot appears when a roof is in considerable decay and, if not addressed, its consequences can stretch far beyond the roof, damaging other parts of the home thanks in large part to water getting through the roof. If roof rot is either not noticed or just ignored, it won’t take long for water to get through the roof and blaze a destructive path through the rest of the home. Homeowners might fear a full roof replacement because of the cost associated with such a project. But if ignored, problems with a roof could eventually prove far more costly than the price of replacing the roof.

is poorly ventilated, which can take years off the roof’s life expectancy while driving up home cooling costs along the way. Granule loss is typically a byproduct of normal shingle wear and tear that results from inclement weather, such as hail. Older roofs might experience granule loss, but granule loss can also occur on a new roof if a defective roofing product was used. Any granule loss, even if slight, should be addressed, as the side effects of granule loss include a weakened roof and leaking. If granule loss is not addressed, the consequences could be severe the next time a storm occurs. Unlike the warning signs already discussed, mould is not visible on the outside of the home. Instead, homeowners should look in the attic of a home to see if there is any mould growth. If there is, the roof is likely leaking, and the health risks of mould growth in a home are substantial. Mould is not necessarily easy to detect, so a profes-

5. Roof rot

Pergolas keep growing in popularity Pergolas, or archways in a yard or park made of a framework covered with trained climbing or trailing plants, have become a landscaping style of choice for discerning homeowners. Pergolas can take many shapes. However, the wooden structures of today, with thick crossbeams and massive height, have grown in popularity. There are many advantages to pergolas apart from their aesthetic appeal. One of the most apparent is the shade they lend on hot, sunny days. Open beams allow breezes to penetrate but also dapple the sunlight. The addition of trailing plants on the pergola can provide even more shade. Pergolas can add a cozy atmosphere to outdoor spaces. They can be built over a patio or as an overhang to a home. Some restaurants even use pergolas to create outdoor seating spaces that are somewhat protected from the

elements. Presently, wood is the primary material of choice for building pergolas. However, composite vinyl products are also available. Pergolas, like their cousins the arbors and trellises, can also provide privacy, particularly if they are draped with climbing plants. One way to truly embrace the green history of pergolas is to train grape vines to grow on your pergola. Grape vines produce dense leaves and succulent fruit if they are done the right way. Growing grapes well requires a long-term commitment. Vines require several years from time of planting to first harvested crop, and they normally do not reach full production until the fifth or sixth year. Grape plants can survive for 50 to 100 years, provided you care for them properly. It’s important to consider carefully both site selection and site preparation before you plant.

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Penticton Western News Friday, May 9, 2014

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Spring is the time to assess damage One of the best things about the dawn of spring and the return of warmer weather is the chance to get out of the house and get some fresh air. For homeowners, this is the perfect opportunity to assess any damage the previous months did to yards and develop a plan to restore properties. * Don’t jump the gun. The first warm day of spring might seem like a great time get out in the yard and get your hands dirty. But it’s best to wait until the grass has completely dried out before getting to work. Raking on wet grass increases the risk of tearing out grass, which can cause bald spots and the growth of weeds down the road. In addition, stepping on the grass while the ground is still wet can compact the soil, which can slow drainage and block the lawn’s roots from breathing. Patience should prevail with regard to mowing the lawn as well. A lawn’s roots will not start to grow until the average everyday temperature routinely reaches 4.4 C, so mowing too early is both unnecessary and potentially harmful to the lawn. When the temperatures regularly reach 10 C, then homeowners will likely start to see their lawns growing. * Remove debris that’s piled up. Debris has a tendency to infest a yard over the course of the winter months. Fallen branches, stones and

even trash can accumulate in a yard, putting those who spend time in the yard at risk of injury once the warm weather returns. For instance, bits of twigs and pebbles that are blown across the yard during a windy winter can be embedded in the yard, making the yard less of a haven and more

of a hazard. Once the grass is dry enough to walk on, walk around the property and remove any debris that’s piled up over the last few months. * Employ a pre-emergent weed killer. Homeowners who routinely spend their summers agonizing over weeds throughout the yard

should consider applying a preemergent weed killer around the beginning of spring. It’s important to do so around the end of March or early April, when the weeds have not yet had a chance to grow. When applying, follow the dosage instructions provided by the product’s manufacturer. Such in-

structions often recommend a second application right before summer begins. * Remove thatch. Once the grass has dried, you can begin to remove thatch that’s built up over the winter. Thatch is potentially very harmful to soil, blocking sunlight, air and moisture the soil needs to ensure a lawn looks lush and healthy. Thatch removal does not necessarily need to be an annual task. If thatch buildup is insignificant, then it can be done every other year. Just use a dethatching rake to make the job much easier. * Aerate, particularly if the yard is a heavy traffic area once the warm weather arrives. If your yard transforms into a child’s wonderland upon the arrival of spring and summer, you might want to revive the soil by aerating. When the yard gets heavy usage, it’s easy for soil to become compacted, which makes it hard for air and water to reach the lawn’s roots. That can eventually make for a less-than-appealing lawn. So if your yard is the place to be come the warmer months, aerate in the spring to loosen the soil and make it easier for the lawn to withstand the months ahead. No matter how harsh the winter months might have been, spring is a great time for homeowners to restore the property around their homes.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

Pruning guidelines for the spring Homeowners typically spend lots of time caring for their property. Be it a modest ranch house or a mansion on top of a hill, a home’s outside appearance is often a point of pride for homeowners. One commonly overlooked element of an aesthetically appealing home is the role trees can play. Trees can add an element of beauty to a yard while also playing a practical role, such as shading the grass from intense summer sun and acting as great support for hanging a hammock. While trees can add appeal to a homeowner’s property, they can also be an eyesore if not properly pruned. Homeowners hoping to get the most out of their trees should consider some pruning guidelines. * Fruit trees. If the buds on a fruit tree have already started swelling, you’ve waited too long too prune. In general, fruit trees are best pruned in late winter or early spring. When pruning, be sure to remove all branches growing inward as well as limbs growing straight up. * Berry bushes. Berry bushes are typically pruned in late fall or early winter, once you have finished harvesting the berries. When pruning berry bushes, keep in mind the importance of shape with respect to a berry bush’s aesthetic appeal. * Rosebushes. Rosebushes are generally best pruned in late winter, with early spring the latest possible cutoff date.

Remove any older shoots and leave between four and eight canes while removing any that are growing inward. When cutting them down, try to cut them to right around two feet above ground, and cut close to an inch above a bud or strong shoot. * Evergreen shrubs. Evergreen shrubs won’t flower, but they can

be pruned after they have produced cones or shrubs. That typically occurs between late winter and early spring, so this can be done as the weather begins to warm up as part of your early season spring cleanup. * Evergreen trees. In general, evergreen trees do not need to be pruned. It’s generally obvious when an evergreen does need to be

pruned, as the tree will be noticeably larger and in obvious need of pruning. Evergreens that do need to be pruned typically need it in late spring or early summer, and they will likely not grow much after a good pruning. * Deciduous trees. Deciduous trees are generally only pruned for shaping. For those looking to shape,

mid to late winter is the ideal time to do so. * Deciduous shrubs. Mid to late spring is often the best time to prune deciduous shrubs. That’s generally after they have flowered, and it will be obvious when they are in need of pruning, as they will likely have lots of unsightly branches evident to the naked eye.

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Penticton Western News Friday, May 9, 2014

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Texture is new trend in flooring Experts in the hardwood flooring industry are seeing a major shift in the way consumers are now choosing their floors, as colour is no longer king. Texture has emerged as the new “color” when it comes to the driving force behind wood flooring selections. “For years, colour was always the top consideration for people looking for a hardwood floor. But over the last few years, texture has overtaken color as the new driver. The reason behind this movement is that texture stimulates our senses with both tactile and visual elements,” explained Michel Collin, marketing director of one of North America’s leading hardwood flooring manufacturers. The latest handscraped and distressed hardwood floors are good examples of how popular textures have become with discerning wood flooring consumers. According to Collin, there’s is a big demand for textured wood floors across North America, where homeowners are looking to feature the distressed look of barn wood, prominent knots or the natural sculptural and undulating lines of boards planed the old fashioned way. “The texture trend is very hot with homeowners today and we have a feeling it’s here to stay,” added designer Marie Francois of Dolce Interieur in Montreal. To keep up with the demand for this growing texture trend in hardwood floors, manufacturers have developed new hardwood series featuring these sought-after tactile and visual elements. This year’s collection of flooring is offering even more textures than in years past.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

Change of season brings change of decor Kelli Ellis is an interior designer for all seasons. But when spring rolls around each year, she is truly in her element. An award-winning celebrity interior designer, textile designer and design psychology expert, Ellis’s work is everywhere, from television (as a featured designer on TLC’s Clean Sweep, HGTV’s Takeover My Makeover, and Bravo’s Real Housewives of Orange County as well as guest spots on NBC, CBS and ABC) and the web (as eHow.com’s interior design expert) to print media (as the monthly design advice columnist for the Orange County Gazette). Known for her love of flowers and floral design, Ellis also serves as a spokesperson for the Society of American Florists. For Ellis, spring offers endless opportunities to update and refresh interior spaces with touches of colour. While she always recommends starting with a neutral foundation that includes walls and major pieces of furniture in shades of white, beige or brown, Ellis loves to add seasonal flourishes by changing up accents and accessories. “With a neutral founda-

tion,” explains Ellis, “you don’t have to invest a lot of time or money to refresh. Once you have the basics — those pieces of furniture that you absolutely love and will stand the test of time — the sky’s the limit in terms of changing accents such as valances, pillows, rugs, can-

dle holders — even the matting on a picture. A neutral foundation opens the door to a new look with minimal changes.” According to Ellis, one of the best, and easiest, ways to add seasonal colour and refresh a living space is with fresh flowers displayed in a

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variety of containers. Fresh flowers not only enliven a room and bring in the sights and scents of the outdoors, they are perfect for playing up color and colour combinations. “A lot of people are afraid of colour in their decor, so a less scary way of introducing colour is with flowers and vases,” Ellis notes. “Fresh flowers can go with any type of decor and generally last as long as your mood, so there are endless opportunities to experiment without making a long-term commitment.” Decorating with flowers begins with choosing a container that is in sync with the season and the style of your home, counsels Ellis. “There are so many container options for every type of decor,” Ellis says. “If your home leans toward country, think about using old decanters, tins or even wooden boxes. For contemporary homes, glass vases

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with clean lines work best. And for traditional homes, go with urns or ornate vases.” The same principal applies to the flowers themselves. Mixed flowers tend to be more traditional; bunches of local flowers lend a homey, just-picked quality to a casual or country home; and monochromatic arrangements ooze modern. The key, notes Ellis, is to pair flowers with both their containers and the indoor environment in which they will be seen. Next comes colour. While Ellis leans toward monochromatic arrangements of white flowers — stargazers, lilies, roses and orchids are among her personal favorites — she nevertheless appreciates the “pop” of colour that can be achieved with bolder blossoms. When choosing flowers for a particular spot or room, Ellis advises looking at

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complementary colours — those that are on the opposite side of the colour wheel. For example, if the walls are a warm shade of yellow or gold, a container filled with blue flowers, such as hydrangeas, delphiniums or sapphire orchids, makes a bold statement. And in the green room? Try flowers in shades of purple and violet. “I think the greatest thing in the world is to bring your own vase or container to the florist and ask for something special that works with it,” she reveals. “Not every florist has a vase that suits your taste or will work in a particular spot, so I take in my containers and say, ‘I want something blue.’ Then I’m both surprised with the result and certain that it will work with the decor.” To learn more about Ellis and her latest projects, visit her online at kelliellis.com.


Penticton Western News Friday, May 9, 2014

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Keep a pristine lawn as a pet owner Over time a pet who is routinely using a patch of grass as his personal potty will damage that stretch of lawn. The behaviour of canines plus the chemical components of the urine contribute to the brown, dead patches synonymous with dog waste. But there are ways to mitigate the problem. Dog urine and feces can often be a frustrating problem, even to pet-lovers. The war between wanting a pristine lawn and a healthy pet can drive pet owners to investigate ways to prevent or reduce marring of the lawn. Do those urban legends like tomato juice or baking soda work? In most cases, no. However, there are ways to reduce the amount of lawn damage with other methods.

ate brown spots, particularly if they visit the same spot over and over.

Fixing the problem

Dog waste chemistry

Understanding why urine and feces can affect the lawn requires understanding the makeup of these waste products. The fundamental problem involves the concentration of nitrogen in the solid and liquid waste. Primarily in dogs, the kidneys serve to remove excess nitrogen from the dog’s high-protein, meatbased diet. In small concentrations, nitrogen applied to a lawn can actually serve as a fertilizer, helping the lawn to be green and bright. But it’s the higher concentrations that do the most

damage. These essentially burn out the grass and cause brown, bare patches that can be rather unsightly. A few decades ago, Dr. A.W. Allard, a Colorado veterinarian, examined numerous variations in dog urine and the effects on several common lawn grasses. He found fescue to be the most nitrogen-resistant. Yet, even that grass has its saturation point and can brown.

Dog owners sometimes think female dogs have different urine chemistry because they tend to do the most damage to the lawn. The fact is, both male and female dogs can do damage, it just comes down to the way urine is applied. Male dogs oftentimes mark their territories or spray a small amount of urine to different parts of the

landscape. These small concentrations may not damage the lawn much. However, a female dog tends to squat and apply the urine in one spot at a high concentration. That liquid seeps into the lawn and can do damage. Male dogs who do not lift their legs and prefer to squat can do the same level of damage as females. Cats that use the outdoors instead of a litter box may also cre-

 

 

    

Who is the biggest offender?

Apart from diluting the urine, which can cause its own issues, the best way to alleviate brown spots is to walk the dog around the neighborhood to other appropriate spots. Otherwise, a dog-only area can be set up in the yard. Then pet owners must train their dogs to use that specific area. Laying down pea gravel or mulch can be a way to absorb the urine without having it damage the lawn. Camouflage, like bushes or a fence, can set the dog area apart from the rest of the backyard as well. It can take up to two weeks or more to train an older dog to take to the new potty area. Puppies may adapt a little faster. Collecting urine and feces and placing it in the dog’s area can help set up a scent mark that may make it easier for dogs to learn that’s where they’re supposed to go. For the training period, pet owners should accompany their dogs to the new area on a leash; do not leave the pet unattended in the yard. He or she may revert back to the normal spot being used for relief. With time and patience, petlovers can cohabitate with their pooches and still enjoy a nice lawn. It just takes a little creative thinking and training.

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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

Fresh colours for your garden in the spring Few things are anticipated more in spring than the arrival of new leaves on the trees and budding flowers in the garden. A landscape awash with fresh colors can brighten the spirit and make anyone want to head outdoors. There are many different plants that begin to show their colours in the spring. A number of perennials, annuals and trees begin to flower or show new sprouts come the springtime. For the eager green thumb, plant a tub with pansies, bulbs, perennials and primroses to brighten your front door. Most cool-season annuals fade when summer heat arrives; replace them with heatloving varieties, such as petunia, pentas, nasturtium, and lantana, for color all summer long. Here are some plants that can be planted for springtime enjoyment. Annuals Looking for first signs of colour? Look no further than these wonderful annuals. * Alyssum: Starting in April, this cascading bounty of tiny flowers offers a sweet aroma that attracts butterflies. * Dianthus: These vivid flowers also attract butterflies and are often a cottage garden staple. * Gypsophila: Also known as baby’s breath, these delicate flowers can serve as filler in any landscape. Pink and white varieties are available. * Impatiens: One of the best-known plants for the garden, these annuals come in scores of colors and can generally tolerate

full sun to full shade. * Larkspur: Belonging to the buttercup family, these flowers bloom in shades of white to violet. * Pansy: These flowers are some of the earliest spring bloomers, arriving alongside spring bulbs like tulips. * Petunias: Petunias put on a show of color through the entire season, making them a popular bedding flower. Perennials These plants will come back year after year and offer spring shows. * Cherry blossom: The flowers that sprout on cherry trees are some of the first signs of spring. Their pink or white buds are often a spectacle, so much so that towns and cities hold cherry blossom festivals. * Columbine: These beautiful blooms attract butterflies and can be a nice part of a garden bed. * Jacob’s ladder: Variegated foliage that is dappled with violet-colored flowers can add a sweet smell and visual interest to the garden. * Primrose: These flowers come in a variety of shades, making them versatile in any garden. They also tend to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. * Primula: Most species of primula want moist, rich soil and a cool location with light shade. These are also ideal for those eager gardeners as newly purchased plants can be set into the garden in early spring. * Sweet violet: These fragrant flowers are edible as well as attractive. These plants can self-plant, so unless a gardener wants them to spread, they should be kept contained.

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Dig a hole, fill it with water and watch your koi grow. That’s the secret to your koi pond, right? Actually, much like a pool or indoor aquarium, koi require some work. In fact, koi are quite sensitive fish that require a carefully maintained environment for optimal health. Koi are colourful fish that go by the name nishikigoi in Japanese. They are a specially bred form of carp, not oversized goldfish, enjoyed for their vivid coloring. In the 19th century, Japanese farmers began breeding decorative carp, selecting brightly colored specimens to ornament gardens in luxurious fish pools. The Japanese consider koi good luck. There are certain varieties that are preferred over others. Kohaku —the favourite — are whiteskinned koi with a red upper pattern. Tancho are white koi with a red dot on their head. Koi are cool-water fish that prefer a deep pond. In the warmer weather they will swim to the bottom of the pond to avoid the heat. Having a Koi pond at your

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home is undoubtedly the quickest way to reduce stress and anxiety that you have to deal with on a regular basis. This peaceful and quiet place is essentially a man-made paradise. Apart from eliminating stress and tension of your mind, a Koi pond is a perfect way of adding beauty to your backyard or any outdoor space. However, it requires some effort to keep it in its healthiest and most attractive condition. You may have heard that building a Koi pond is a much easier task as compared to maintaining it. If you take proper care of your Koi pond right from the beginning, you can avoid many complications later on. When planning on a koi pond, keep this in mind. You may also want to plan your pond in an area that is shaded from direct sun, to moderate the water temperature even more. Think about installing a koi pond as you would a home aquarium, complete with filtration system. This will help you maintain a clean environment for the fish. Routine skimming

of the water surface can catch debris that falls into the water and contaminates the delicate ecosystem of the pond. Koi should be protected overhead from predators. Therefore, koi ponds generally feature lush foliage for their protection. Rocks or overhangs under which koi can hide are features you should include. An algaecide is also a necessity, to prevent the overgrowth of algae in the pond. Consider special water additives sold at pet stores or online that can enhance the water environment for your koi. Because koi generally like to swim unseen, their type of food is a floating pellet, which encourages the fish to come to the surface. This way you can assess whether the fish look healthy. Koi can even be trained to recognize humans and take food from your hand. Start small with your koi pond. One or two fish is adequate. Experts recommend one small-or medium-sized koi per 500 gallons of water. If you have too many fish, their waste can contaminate the water if not properly filtered.


Penticton Western News Friday, May 9, 2014

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Solar lights go beyond environmental benefits

during production; * Wood uses 14 times less fossil fuel than wood/plastic composite decking; and * Wood decking production causes significantly less acid rain, smog and overall ecological impact than wood/plastic composite decking. The original and still most common decking choice, wood is natural, strong, easy to install and feels good under bare feet. But it also requires an annual cleaning and can rot, splinter, and warp. Even though all wood naturally weathers to a gray colour, it should be cleaned and re-stained every two to three years to keep it looking its best. Redwood and cedar contain natural defenses against rot and insects, and should last around 20 years, but they are soft and easily damaged by foot traffic. Red cedar and redwood are both lightweight and stiff. Lightercolored Port Orford Cedar is the hardest and most wear-resistant cedar. Like all woods, the sun soon fades their natural colour to gray; only the regular application of sunblocking finishes will stave off this process. Pressure-treated wood is rot-and insectresistant and readily available in both bigbox stores and independent lumber dealers around Canada. Lasting about 15 years, this is the least expensive and most common type of decking. Current tested and approved preservatives are safe for use around children and pets even veggies in your raised garden beds.

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owners admit routinely forgetting to turn on their outdoor lights, reducing their investment value as a result. However, solar lighting doesn’t require the homeowner to remember a thing, as solar lighting is automatically operated, meaning the lights will come on once the sun goes down without so much as the flip of a switch. * Safety. Solar lighting also adds to a home’s safety and security. Because solar

lighting is automatic, it’s easier to see at night when arriving home because the lights will already be on should a homeowner get home after dark. What’s more, because solar lighting automatically comes on, homeowners can feel safe knowing that the lighting is on even when they’re on vacation or away for the weekend, reducing the risk of potential home break-ins.

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So many decking materials in stores today, which one to choose? If a beautiful, usable, long-lasting deck is your goal, and you’d like to do your part to protect the environment, then the choice is obvious: real, natural, authentic wood. Wood has been a part of outdoor living for centuries: the first pine sawmill was at Jamestown about 400 years ago. Look around: so many historic homes and sites feature wood because it’s always been one of the best building products on the market. Wood is ever-present by the seashore (docks, marsh walkways, fishing piers, boardwalks), in the mountains (decks, arbors) and in backyards across the country (decks, gazebos, fences, trellises). Wood has a rustic, naturally attractive look to it that faux paints or artwork merely struggle to replicate, thus offering you the authentic elegance of the real deal. Wood plays a starring role in high-traffic places, such as the Santa Monica Pier, the Destin boardwalk in Florida and the Ocean City boardwalk in Maryland. Look all around you at the beauty of wood then bring that natural beauty home to your backyard. A recent Life Cycle Assessment (cradleto-grave study comparing pressure-treated wood with alternative wood/plastic composite decking) found that wood was, by far, the better product for the environment. A few findings from this study: * Wood releases less greenhouse gases

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As society continues to grow more environmentally conscious, more and more homeowners are looking for ways to do their part outside their home as well as inside it. One increasingly popular option for eco-conscious homeowners is solar lighting. But the benefits of solar lighting go beyond the environmental. * Financial. Solar lighting is quite possibly the most affordable option for outdoor lighting. That’s because once solar lighting is installed, there are no more costs to speak of. Employing solar energy to power its bulbs, solar lighting doesn’t use any electricity, keeping energy bills low as a result. * Aesthetic appeal. Traditional outdoor lighting often requires outdoor outlets and power cords. However, solar lighting utilizes rechargeable batteries that are recharged by the sunlight hitting the solar panels, eliminating the need for unsightly external power outlets and power cords. * Practical. Many home-

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Friday, May 9, 2014 Penticton Western News

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May 09, 2014