C O N T E N T S SPRING/SUMMER 2012 EDITION P R O J E C T D I R E C TO R - R O N F L AV I A N O EDITORIAL DIRECTOR - DORMA J. TOLSON ADVERTISING DIRECTOR - LORI MCINTOSH
All About Home is a special publication of the Morning Journal, The Review and the Salem News. If you are interested in advertising in the next issue, please contact: Morning Journal.............................330-424-9541 Review...........................................330-385-4545 Salem News...................................330-332-4601 Visit these web sites to see to see our online editions. www.morningjournalnews.com www.reviewonline.com www.salemnews.net ©2012 Morning Journal, all rights reserved.
NEW IDEAS FOR YOUR BATHROOM REMODEL. . . . . . . . . . . .4 LOCAL COUPLE BUILDS DREAM HOME.......................6 GETTING STARTED WITH CHICKENS...........................8 HEIRLOOM TOMATOES............................................10 OPEN SEASON ON HOME IMPROVEMENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 MEDICINE CABINET MAKEOVER................................16 HOMEGROWN ON YOUR OWN................................18 HOTTEST NEW PAINT COLORS.................................19 SPRUCE UP ON A SHOESTRING................................20 OUTDOOR CLEANING IS A BREEZE...........................21 DE-JUNK BEFORE SPRING CLEANING........................23 CAVE HOMES - CAN YOU DIG IT?.............................24 DESIGNING YOUR HOME OFFICE.............................26 CHANGING HOME FILTERS......................................27 DO-IT-YOURSELFER TIPS......................... .................28 HOW TO CHOOSE A LOCKSMITH.............................30 SWIMMING POOL SAFETY TIPS.................................32 10 EASY CROPS TO PLANT.......................................33 HOW TO CHOOSE A TREE SERVICE. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 LEARNING HOW TO BUILD A BOX ............................36 PRO-SERVICE DIRECTORY ....................................38-41 MAKE THE MOST OF SPRING VEGGIES. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42 GET YOUR POOL READY FOR SUMMER. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Advertising Directory A-1 Concrete Leveling.................................36 Alliance Appliance........................................35 AM Door & Supply.......................................42 Bear Creek Resort and Ranch..................20 Bernard Daniels Lumber Co......................45 East End Lumber...........................................43 Bauman Custom Woodworking..............29 Broadway Iron and Metal.........................28 Buckeye Firearms.........................................13 Cerimele Custom Construction................36 CF Bank............................................................31 CIO-NAP Builders..........................................33 Coffee Heating..............................................37 Colian’s Stone Pit..........................................21 Consumer National Bank..........................48 D.W. Dickey & Sons......................................23 Diamond Cut..................................................28 D.R.E. Walls.....................................................41
Duncan’s Bath & Kitchen...........................30 East End Lumber and Supply....................43 Ellyson Plumbing & Heating.....................29 Farmers National Bank..............................11 Garage Door Openers & Doors................37 Gause Equipment.........................................22 Green Building Pros.....................................44 Grove Appliance............................................48 Hidden Den.....................................................42 Hummel Gift Shop........................................26 Huntington National Bank..........................5 Janoski’s Greenhouse.................................42 Kitchen and Bath World.............................12 M.E. Supply.....................................................43 McKay & Gould..............................................26 McQuilkin Lumber........................................48 Midwest Manufactured Homes...............23
Millstone Farm & Garden...........................27 Miner’s Tractor & Sales...............................17 NDC Heating & Cooling..............................48 Professional Service Diretory.............38-41 Paranzino Brothers Auction........................9 Phil’s Sales & Service...................................15 Rashid’s Oriental Rugs................................30 Roe Carpet & Vinyl.......................................29 Santa Clara Mobile Homes.......................19 Sears - East Liverpool.................................15 Seamach’s Northside...................................21 Six Recycling...................................................27 Stainless Specialties....................................35 Summer Fun Pools.......................................47 Superior Wallpaper & Paint......................20 Tapco Electric.................................................44 Unkefer Equipment......................................34 Wayne Homes..................................................2
NEW IDEAS for your bathroom remodel
(ARA) - Creating a feeling of luxury in your bathroom doesn’t have to come with a high price tag or a shockingly high water bill. You can create an indulgent spa sanctuary with water-sipping faucets and toilets, as well as other water smart choices, following these simple tips: Saving water with style. Choosing a water conserving faucet, toilet, or showerhead no longer means sacrificing style or performance. When shopping for a new low flow fixture, check the package for the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense certification, which lets you know the manfacturer’s claims about water savings and performance can be trusted. When you see the WaterSense label, you can be sure you’re making an eco-friendly choice. If you’re looking for high style in addition to water conservation, the new Pyke and Stoic Collections by JADO are two new and strikingly elegant examples of beautifully designed faucets that can save the average household 500 gallons of water every year. For toilets, look for WaterSense-labeled toilets that attain top ratings in independent Maximum Performance Testing or MaP toilet tests.
Steam instead of soak. For some, a deep soaking tub is an appealing luxury, which has a place in many bathrooms. Averaging about 75 gallons of water per bath, however, a more sustainable option is a home steam shower, which uses only two gallons of water and negligible electricity for a 20 minute steam experience.
Keep shower systems simple. The “human car wash” style of shower system with lots of additional body sprays was once a big trend in luxury bathrooms. However, as interest in water conservation continues to rise along with the price of water, this style of shower- which can use as much as 160 gallons of water for a 20 minute shower has declined in popularity. Instead, limit your shower system to two outlets: one fixed showerhead and one handheld.
Adding a home steam shower can be a surprisingly easy and affordable indulgence. The Virtual Spa System website makes it easy to figure out the elements of a steam shower to suit your needs and tastes. For those with a smaller bathroom or a smaller budget, the new A rain showerhead is a great option for the Steam@Home generator from Mr. Steam brings fixed showerhead, as it provides a luxurious a home steam shower within reach for nearly all drenching feeling. An accompanying hand held bathroom remodel plans. shower such as Monoglide has the force to rinse shampoo from long hair, and is useful for cleanA steam shower can also promote wellness ing the shower walls, washing pets. and relaxation in ways that a soaking tub can’t. Steam showers can help soothe tired muscles, Its adjustable settings provide a variety of spray promote restful sleep, and can open pores to re- experiences in one showerhead. Most important, veal cleaner, softer skin. During cold and allergy it provides an easily accessible bathing option for season, steam can even improve breathing by older guests and family members with limited helping to clear mucus and allergens from your mobility when used with a secure shower seat. lungs.
Local couple builds their dream home By KATIE SCHWENDEMAN Staff Writer
ROGERS — It has been a long time coming but the end is near. Lou and Jim Hale began building their dream home five years ago on roughly 30 acres in Rogers. The husband and wife team have poured their own sweat into the two-story timber frame home. They are not contractors, just two people with a vision and a passion. Their quest to find the best location for their home began in the late 1990s. Born and raised in Ohio (not far from Columbiana County) the Hales considered moving out West and spent time traveling extensively across the states. “We were in constant search of where home was, because we didn’t know. And we were young ... and we thought that it was far away. We went everywhere that our heart was calling us,” Lou said. The couple took their van and drove along back roads as they followed topographic maps to get the best of nature. They never stayed in hotels, but camped outside, and when they weren’t driving they mountain biked and hiked in places like Montana, New Mexico and everything in between, she said. Their favorite states out west were Colorado and Utah, but even though it was beautiful there, it still wasn’t home. “We realized that home is where your heart is, and our family, our roots, our friends—everything that has made us who we are today—our support system is all here and to leave that would be wrong,” she said. Once they returned to Ohio they decided to find a piece of property that reminded them of a place out West. When they came across the 30 acres in Rogers seven years ago they knew it was special. With the help of friends and fam-
ily they were able to purchase the wooded property with a lake, a ravine and a stream.
There are no walls in the home and air conditioning will not be needed as the sun will warm the home naturally, shining through the large winThere are at least four to five different ecosystems on the property and dows as it rises in the morning. the lake is stocked with blue gill and large and small mouth bass, among others. Wood featured inside the home is red and pin oak brought in from Pulaski, Pa., and the outside siding is Adirondack style hemlock. Before they decided where they would build the home they “tried on the land” by camping out on it for 158 days. “That’s Survivor times four,” Lou joked. The couple camped in their van out near the lake, which they later named “Greenback Lake” because of the large amount of greenback herons it attracts. Every morning they would have coffee and look over the property to get a feel for where the home should be constructed. “It became clear to us where we wanted to build was the high point of the land, which just happened to be the center of the property,” she said. Thankfully, that area was also the area with the least amount of trees, which the couple delicately fell to make room for the foundation. The fallen trees were then set aside to be cut and included in the home. The Hales are extremely environmentally conscious and everything they do is about preservation. “One of our main concerns is to preserve this land. We are caregivers, not caretakers,” Lou said. Building the home has not been easy. Although the walls are up, windows have been installed and the porch frame is coming together, there is much left to do. The Hales are high school graduates and have never taken a homebuilding course of any kind. Jim (who Lou says is the most mathematically inclined of the two) etched out a design for the 24-by-32-foot-home on grid paper after reading books. “What you don’t know you learn as you go,” he said, adding that building the home has been like walking through a hallway in the dark. The only outside help the couple have had with construction is with excavation, laying of the roof’s shingles and consulting an architect for the interior stairbox, which will be constructed using a fallen tree from nearby Taylor Road. Friends and a crane service helped raise the home’s frame, The interior frame was put together using a stud system and bents. Each they said. piece of wood interlocks with the other and nails and screws are not used. The Hales brought in a mixture of mudstone and sandstone rocks and At one point they hired a timber framer but decided to move forward on flatrock to frame the exterior of the home in some places. The rocks were their own after some complications. purchased from a local quarry and Jim and Lou are placing them on their Lou admitted she thought maybe they were dreaming too big at one own. time. “But then I thought, ‘Go for the gold,’” she said. And they haven’t looked The Hales, who have no children of their own, have fittingly named the home “Perseverance.” back. “We’ve had it under our wing, bouncing it on our knee. It’s our baby,” Lou The couple’s inspiration for the wood home are the old covered bridges said. They hope to have the home completed over the next year or two. They so popular in Columbiana County, she said. plan to have it dedicated as a nature preserve and education center upon The couple are renting a place in East Palestine as they work to finish the their passing. home, which does not have electric yet. The first floor will feature a kitchen, “This isn’t just about us. This is for future generations. Hopefully we can bathroom and living room and the stairbox made from the fallen tree will teach others how to live peaceably and comfortably,” Lou said. lead to a one-bedroom loft. email@example.com
Getting started with chickens 8
by Bruce Ingram GRIT magazine
In the January/February 2011 issue of GRIT, I was so inspired by the articles on chickens, I convinced my wife, Elaine, that we should make our initial foray into raising backyard birds on our 38-acre rural parcel in Botetourt County, Virginia. One of the reasons for wanting to do so is because Elaine is a recent breast cancer survivor, and she hired a nutritionist to help her discover a better diet so the odds would lessen that cancer would return. One of the foods that the nutritionist told her to avoid was meat from animals that had been factory farmed. Besides encouraging Elaine to buy free-range or organic chickens for their meat (which we have been doing), the nutritionist also told us that those same chickens produce eggs high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Thus we took the plunge to begin our chicken-raising careers.
placed cinder blocks every two feet or so on top of the horizontal wire. Our next step was to run Like any new venture involving animals, much two electric wires, powered by a solar battery, preparation had to occur before our two-day-old around the entire perimeter. As our final act of security, we positioned netting across the entire chicks were to arrive. top of the chicken run. Our first step was to visit the local Southern Constructing the coop States Cooperative where we met the resident poultry expert, Lynn Sowers. She showed us Elaine and our friend Ken studied plans from copies of Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, by Chicken Coops, and together they came up with Gail Damerow, and Chicken Coops, by Judy a concept that looks something like a doghouse. Pangman. These books greatly broadened our The front of the coop features a door that can knowledge of chickens and gave us ideas on swing down for a gang plank, and the back has how to design a coop that would be just right for a window for aeration that can be opened to acour backyard. cess the three nesting boxes. Running from side Next, it was time to start the run. to side within the house are two wooden roosting rods. Opossums, skunks and coyotes would try to Selecting a breed tunnel under the fence, so we attached several feet of chicken wire extending horizontally from Jennifer Kendall of the American Livestock the bottom of the fence and used 2-by-4s to anBreeds Conservancy (ALBC), which works to conchor that wire. Elaine drilled holes in the 2-by-4s, serve rare breeds and genetic diversity in livewhich I then pounded rebar through to further stock, says that first-time chicken raisers might make it difficult for a predator to tunnel. Then we
want to consider such heritage breeds as Buckeyes, Dominiques, New Hampshires, Javas and Delawares. “Heritage or traditional chicken breeds often retain essential attributes for survival and self-sufficiency such as fertility, foraging ability, longevity, maternal instincts, ability to mate naturally, and resistance to disease and parasites,” Kendall says. “These were the chickens raised by our grandparents and their grandparents on small farms throughout the country.”
May 4 - The chicks arrive “We’ve got chicken nuggets,” beamed Elaine as she lofted a cardboard box (that looked like a Happy Meal container) through the car window. I was working on lesson plans during my planning period at the school where I teach when the office called and said my wife wanted me to meet her in the parking lot. “I’ve got to hurry home and put the chicks in their new home,” she announced, and with that
drove off down the highway. A few hours later, I joined Elaine to observe 10 2-day-old chicks inside a Rubbermaid container, a heat lamp affixed to the side, pine shavings on the bottom, and a chick feeder and waterer within.
But by June 15, the six-week marker had arrived, and we placed our no-longer chicks in their new home. The entire first day went smoothly, but when night came, none of our young chickens knew what to do in terms of entering their coop.
When they were 3 weeks old, I began feeding them stinkbugs that I caught outdoors, and we As darkness descended, Elaine and I decided were constantly entertained by how excited they to pick each one up and place them inside the were to catch and then try to eat a stinkbug - coop. After that night, the process leading to which was quite a mouthful - before another roost time was predictable. chick stole it.
Successes and Failures
It was about this time that we identified our Failure: Buying straight-run chicks. Even though first rooster, Little Jerry, who received his name we could have purchased 10 hen chicks, we from the luckless cock in a Seinfeld episode. wanted the experience of raising hens and roostJune 15 - Moving to the coop ers, and also of having a rooster in the barnyard to protect the hens. However, we ended up with Sowers also told us the chicks would have de- six roosters and two hens. veloped enough feathers to live outside when Success: Electric fencing is great. they were 5 to 6 weeks old. So when our young charges, which we now called “teenage chicks,” Failure: We are not happy with the strength of were 5 weeks old, we began taking them to the run for a few hours at a time. On their initial visit, chicken wire in terms of thwarting a determined any event, you can count on us ordering more they were terrified of their new surroundings and predator. Rhode Island Red chicks come May. spent much of the time sitting on Elaine’s lap. Excerpted from GRIT, Celebrating Rural America Since 1882. To read more Only Little Jerry would venture away from her By the time this article appears, our hens will articles from GRIT, please visit www.Grit.com or call (866) 624-9388 to suband then only a few feet. have been producing eggs for several months. In scribe. Copyright 2011 by Ogden Publications Inc.
Add heirloom tomatoes to your garden spring/summer 2012
By DEANNE JOHNSON Staff Writer
LISBON — Whether it is the big red Amish variety Brandywine, the grass green Aunt Ruby’s German Green, the Orange Oxhart , the striped Green Zebra, Chocolate Stripes or the Purple Krim, heirloom tomatoes have as many colorful names as colors. But besides adding variety and color to your garden this summer, the main reason for growing them is taste. While the tomatoes bought in most supermarket chains have been bred to be disease resistant with tough skins able to withstand machine picking, transport and sitting in a bin for several days waiting for the right customer to come along. In order to make those tomatoes more attractive to the customer, tomatoes in the typical store are mostly red and round. All these good qualities have led to the loss of others and in many cases that has been taste. Pam Bennett, master gardener volunteer coordinator for Ohio, said at a recent event to see different varieties, one variety was blackish purple in color, which many people passed on because it did not look like a typical tomato. But once they try it they found it has an amazing taste. Heirloom tomatoes can be red, but they can also be purple, pink, yellow or green, yes even when fully ripe. They come in a variety of flavors, making them not only a treat for the eyes, but also the palette. Unlike their hybrid cousins, heirloom tomatoes have sometimes been passed down from generation to generation. People collect the seeds from their favorite, flavorful tomatoes and saved them for next year’s planting. Some varieties date back to the early Ohio settlers. “Some people have tomatoes growing in the Ohio Heritage Garden, where the seeds were given to them by their grandparents,” Bennett said. “I think that is great.” Planting heirloom gardens then might be considered a form of gardening, which does not just get back to their roots by planting seeds, but also by feeling connected to the past and those who were here before us. Typical heirloom tomatoes are varieties that have survived for 50 years or longer, according to Bennett. But what if your want to try heir-
looms and your grandparents had a black thumb or just didn’t hold onto those seeds? Varieties of heirloom tomatoes can be found in local stores, seed catalogs and online. Bennett said many mom and pop garden centers have adjusted to the demand and are starting to carry more varieties of heirlooms. Online, there are plenty of heirloom seed companies, which ship all types of heirloom plant seeds throughout the country. Most seed catalogs have added heirloom seeds to their offerings. Almost any tomato variety which can grow in the 60 to 120 days can be grown in Ohio. Like other tomato plants, they are started from seeds often indoors early in the season. While some believe heirloom tomatoes may be trickier to grow, Bennett disagrees. “Like any tomato they need sun, water and good drainage,” she said. Not unlike the typical garden variety, some may need to be staked if they have a tendency to grow throughout the season. Others will be happy and productive along the ground. They can be grown in pots or in the vegetable garden. Some have cross pollinated themselves forming lively new tastes and textures. Others were carefully pollinated through the years to get just flavor, color or texture. With so many varieties, there are many different uses for them. Some are meatier for slicing, some more acidic than others and some are small for popping in your mouth warm straight from the garden. Can them, slice them, cook with them and pop them in a salad. Taste descriptions online are as varied as wine descriptions — sweet at the start with a slightly citrusy finish. Try something different in your garden this summer. Your taste buds may thank you. firstname.lastname@example.org
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Open season on home improvement
By LARRY SHIELDS Staff Writer
SALEM — Spring is open season on home upkeep, maintenance, remodeling and exterior work can mean new siding or paint. The Salem Home Depot at 2900 E. State St. can provide the material, advice and support system, according to assistant Manager Jim Mullins. If a homeowner is undecided on whether to repaint or put up siding, Mullins said they walk them through. Contractors know the routine and many buy pallets of siding and one came in and purchased a “couple hundred gallons of paint,” Mullins said. “There’s an awful lot of that.” For individual homeowners scale isn’t important but the color selection and other details are. Marty Airwyke, the pro supervisor, said the choice to side or paint is determined by several variables but if the homeowner wants to do it, it’s labor intensive either way. Once the house is sided, “you’re done with it,” Mullins said. “If you paint, you’ll be doing it again.” Mullins said they first determine the condition of exterior, if the wood is loose and how much maintenance will take up to where it can be painted or sided. Airwyke said the age of the house is important and bringing it up to painting standards can include power-washing and renailing boards. At that point, Mullins said, they can suggest whether it would be better to paint or side it. People are mostly leaning toward siding, Airwyke said. The economics “pretty much goes to the type of siding,” Mullins explained. “The more elaborate materials can have an insulation backing. We discuss it to the point you want to go to the customers choice of color and style and dimensions. We can give a suggestion, based on square footage. We need the length and width and offsets to calculate the corners and give a quote on materials.” If the customer need special tools, “we can assist with that,” Mullins said. Siding costs more initially, but the cost evens out with time, Mullins said. “If they want to put siding on their house, we’ll come out and get you started ... turn key. Siding pretty much uses small hand tools for crimping. The biggest thing is working the house, ladders and walk boards. Even if they don’t have the ability to measure their house, we can come out and do it.” Airwyke said painting isn’t as involved. “If you paint your house chances are you’ll do it again in three to five years. We can assist you with any color you want and with a spray gun.” Airwyke said the spray gun is 10 times faster but detailed preparation is needed for masking areas and guarding against overspray.
“Prep is the key,” Airwyke said and Mullins pointed out it can take as much time as the painting itself. Brushes are used for trim work and Mullins said the formula for the amount of paint is on the cans. The rule of thumb is about 250 to 300 square feet per gallon. Airwyke said scraping is time consuming and hard work and “you have to worry about lead.” Houses built before the 1960s used it for sure. Contractors are licensed to deal with it and homeowners have to arrange for its disposal once it’s scraped off.
Above, Jim Mullins Assistant store manager at The Home Depot in Salem, Ohio
Slate-side homes can be painted, and are usually spraypainted, Mullins said. What’s next? One of the most important aspects is the presentation from the road, Mullins said and that’s means landscaping. “You spend the time and money getting the house fixed up. That appearance is extremely important to show off the painted or newly-sided house.”
Right, Marty Airwyke Pro supervisor at The Home Depot in Salem, Ohio
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Medicine cabinet makeover
(ARA) - Medicine cabinets are one of the most overlooked areas in the bathroom. People often stock them and forget to ever update products, especially as time goes on. As you age, it’s important to reassess the types of products to keep on hand for daily comfort, minor health issues or in the event of an emergency.
Pain specialist Paul J. Christo, M.D., M.B.A. and host of Aches & Gain radio show, offers some easy tips to help overhaul your medicine cabinet as you get older and ensure necessary products are properly stored, easily accessible and on hand at home:
over-the-counter topical solution to relieve pain. Topical medicines for arthritis can also be a good choice if you have had stomach ulcers, bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, or kidney problems. Odorless and fast-acting, Aspercreme(R) is clinically proven to provide temporary relief of minor muscle and joint pain with its targeted, maximum strength formula.
5. Keep a list nearby: Remembering what needs to be replaced, replenished or refilled is a difficult task. Simplify the situation by keeping a piece of paper taped to the inside of the medicine cabinet. When you notice that something is running low, simply jot a reminder on the paper so you’ll see it the next time you open the cabinet.
3. Stock up on seasonal must-haves: Each season poses different health hurdles. During winter, cold and flu medication should be nearby. Spring brings gardening, so have an effective, targeted pain solution in the cabinet to keep you going for hours. Summer brings more sunlight, so protect aging skin by stashing a strong sunscreen on your shelves. And no matter what the season, purchase only as much as you will use to avoid throwing out expired products next year.
6. Create a safe storage system: Make sure the products you use most frequently are easily accessible and within an arm’s reach. Place items that treat similar symptoms on the same shelf to help keep a cabinet organized. For example, store bandages, gauze and medical tape together. Always keep products in their original packaging to avoid losing important information, and store medications in a cool, dry place since heat and moisture can alter their effectiveness.
1. Update first aid kit essentials: Do you have the staples for pain, fevers, stomach aches, allergies, cuts and burns? A first aid kit should always contain items to handle these minor emergencies. And don’t forget other important items such as hearing aid batteries, blood pressure monitor4. Toss expired items: When assessing the ing equipment and extra eyeglasses. items in your medicine cabinet, take note of their expiration date. Properly dispose of outdated 2. Mitigate minor aches and pains: Muscle and over-the-counter pills and prescribed medicajoint pain becomes a bigger problem as you age. tions. If you are unsure of what you should toss, Nearly one in five adults, or 46 million Americans, check with a pharmacist. Purge personal care suffer from arthritis, which is characterized by products that have changed in appearance, smell sudden onsets of pain or swelling in the joints. or texture. Products like toothpaste and deodorConsider an alternative to pills that can take time ant that are beyond their shelf life may lose pobefore relief sets in. Break the grip and try an tency and effectiveness.
“As you age, it’s important to take stock of the supplies in your medicine cabinet since your health can change. Cleaning out your medicine cabinet will help prevent medication mix-ups, ensure your medications are current, and provide peace of mind that you have essential items to tackle life’s little medical emergencies,” said Dr. Christo. For more information about Aspercreme’s targeted pain relief solutions, visit www.aspercreme.com.
Homegrown on your own 18
(ARA) — Who would have thought getting dirt under your fingernails Water relief — Water regularly, but avoid doing so during the heat of the would ever be considered one of the hottest trends going? According to day when evaporation will diminish the effectiveness of irrigation. Water to Doug Jimerson, garden core director for Better Homes and Gardens, “grow- wet the soil about 8 inches deep, but don’t over — water. ing your own fruits, veggies and herbs is something Americans are doing in record numbers this season.” Feed your food — All edible plants draw nutrients from the ground, and can quickly exhaust the soil without the help of a fertilizer. Always follow label directions.
Growing for it Now that you’ve got an idea of the basics, it’s time to pick your plants. Start with transplants — seedlings are way easier to get growing than seeds, so you’ll save loads of time and enjoy improved success. Fortunately, national purveyors like Bonnie Plants make it easy to find hardy, high — quality, regionally appropriate plants at your local garden retailers. Bonnie offers time — tested vegetable and herb favorites, as well as new varieties, in eco — friendly, biodegradable pots that not only reduce plastic waste in landfills, they reduce transplant shock. Simply tear off the bottom of the pot and set the whole thing — plant in pot — directly into the ground. Be sure to pay close attention to plant tags, they’re packed with facts and details to help you successfully grow your plants. “It’s cheaper to grow your own produce than buy it — one $3 tomato plant will yield pounds of produce all season long,” Jimerson says. “Plus, the produce you grow just tastes better than even your grocer’s best. And while it’s healthy to eat and grow your own, gardening is rapidly gaining popularity as a great way to get some exercise, relieve stress and spend healthful family bonding time.” Eating foods grown in your own backyard means you won’t be contributing to the carbon footprint left behind by the “food miles” it takes to bring imported produce to your local grocers — so you’re helping the environment, too. Growing vegetables is easier than you think. Plan it properly, and you can enjoy a healthy, homegrown harvest from the fruits of your labor — without having to spend hours tending it.
Gardening 101 Sunshine is sustenance — Vegetables need at least six hours of full sun per day. The easiest thing to do is to place your garden in full sunlight. Make sure it’s easily accessible for watering; if the garden is too far from your house it could get neglected. Check the last frost date in your region and wait until threat of frost is past before you begin planting. No yard necessary — Gardening doesn’t require a lot of room — although if you have the space and time to go large, go for it!. Many popular vegetables and herbs grow just fine in containers, making them a great option for those with limited space. For smaller yards, raised beds are an easy, low — maintenance option. If your garden is going right into the ground, just turn the earth with a shovel, toss out roots and rocks, mix in a soil amendment for healthy soil, and plant.
Here are some favorites to consider for your garden * Tomatoes — The most popular, most — grown vegetable, tomatoes are always a best bet. Disease — resistant “Bonnie Original” is a hardy, flavorful addition to any backyard garden. For containers or small spots, try “Sweet n’ Neat,” a prolific plant that sets fruit in grape — like clusters. * Basil — The perfect complement to tomatoes, basil works well in gardens and containers. New Greek Columnar Basil is particularly bountiful, as it grows high, leafs out densely and rarely flowers. The flavor blends traditional basil with spicy overtones of cinnamon, allspice and cloves. * Bell peppers — Versatile, flavorful and nutritious, bell peppers are great raw snacks and make an awesome ingredient for a variety of cuisines. Harvest peppers when they’re green or red when the vitamin levels are higher. * Eggplant — “Black Beauty” is the quintessential eggplant with a deep purple, glossy skin and meaty texture, and thrives in hot weather. White — skinned varieties like “Cloud Nine” offer a sweeter, bitter — free flesh. * Mints — Easy-to-grow mints are available in traditional spearmint and peppermint and in more exotic flavors like Bonnie Plant’s new apple mint, orange mint and even chocolate mint, which has a flavor that echoes the classic Girl Scout cookie.
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(ARA) - The 2012 color trends will add beauty and new flair to your home. Enter spring with a bold passion for repainting every room in your house.
Ethereal. Whether it’s the search for enlightenment or just the best cup of organic coffee within 20 miles, the path is about more than the ground covered. The Ethereal collection floats above other color palettes, airy and atmospheric with tea-stained and faded hues evocative of the lightness of the sky under the midday sun. Light colors from this palette include Epidermal, Faded Mint and Feather Lite.
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Primitive. A meandering path through the forest takes us past colors only to be found in nature. Deep barks, shocking citrines and raw earth inspired the natural colors of this palette. The Primitive colors are as mysterious as the shaded canopy of the woods that inspired them. Suffused with energy, they speak to growth, regeneration and life. This natural palette includes Raw Garnet, Symbiotic Green and Indigenous Teal. Fundamental. We’ve walked far away from the beige computer housings of the 1970s, only to find the hues from this budding technological era coming back full force. Retro office meets geek chic for a new take on ‘70s style, as seen in this grouping. The Fundamental color palette makes full use of classic, contrasting neutrals like beige and gray - designed to work as the perfect foil for bold main accents of green, orange and vibrant blue. Basic colors in the Fundamental palette include Ink Blue, Aged Cognac and Rudimentary Beige.
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Pastimes. It’s time for a road trip back in time to motels boasting refrigerated air, a gallon of gas that cost a dime and the game of miniature golf that was every family’s obsession. The Pastimes color palette is filled with exuberant shades reminiscent of lazy summer days at a lake house without a television, or the intensity of the circus coming to town. It’s American culture from the 1940s and ‘50s - a simpler time, an antidote to the fast-paced buzz and hum of modern technology. Bright Pastimes hues include Clown’s Nose, Kiddie Pool and Orangesicle. Compose. A street of dreams with a focus on soft femininity and vintage 1930s floral fashions are at the heart of the Compose color palette. Rich, dark hues are offset by bright pops of color that despite their origin in an earlier era, look fresh and new. This is a collection that worships the creative being in all of us, and encourages self-expression through home decorating. This inspired palette contains shades such as Purple Pencil Skirt, Lip Stain Pink and Theatrical Teal. Choose any path to fit your home, whether it’s a light, shimmery mint from the Ethereal palette, or a natural natural green from the Primitive palette. Using these cues from the color professionals, you can ensure your home enters 2012 in style.
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Spruce up for spring on a shoe string 20
Accessorize. You can change your towels, shower curtain and bath ac(ARA) - Even with a bare-bones decorating budget, you can still give cessories for less than $100. Jar candles are another inexpensive way to creyour home a fresh look for spring. ate an inviting room environment. Seasonal scents like honeysuckle, freesia It just takes a bit of creativity and an open mind, according to Ginny and spring tulip add color, freshness and intoxicating fragrance. Bean, publisher and founder of Ginny’s catalog and Ginnys.com. “One of Go sheer. Replace heavy draperies with bright, light-weight curtains or the easiest and least expensive ways to spruce up your home is to subtract from what’s in it,” says Bean. Removing clutter is just one of Bean’s low- sheers. You won’t believe the difference it can make. Just let them hang and blow in the breeze. cost, high-impact tips for giving your home a seasonal lift. Clear the clutter. In the winter, it’s comforting to have stacks of books and magazines on coffee tables, and throws on couches. In the spring, you want open and airy. Put books on shelves, and magazines in a rack or basket. Tuck the throws in the linen closet, and pack away knick-knacks for a few months.
Remake your bed. Put away that heavy comforter or quilt in favor of a lighter bedspread. Mix and match solid-colored fitted and top sheets with pillowcases in various patterns. Tuck the top sheet tightly all around and fold the edge at the head of the bed over your coverlet or blanket. Fold your bedspread down to rest across the foot of the bed. Add accent pillows to create an inviting, luxurious-looking bed.
Rearrange the furniture. Try floating furniture in the room rather than hugging the walls. It’s a great trick for making the space feel different and Assess your art work. Is your wall decor warm and cozy? Switch out a few less structured. Swap out an item in your living room for one in your bed- pieces for something lighter and brighter. room, or slide something from the kitchen into the dining room. Plant an idea. Put at least one house plant in every room. Fill a low Spring for some color. A few touches of bright, saturated color can refresh planter or kitchen serving dish with potting soil and some grass seed. When any decor, and distract the eye from items that might be a bit dated. No the grass is a few inches high, add Easter eggs or seashells for a converone will notice a worn coffee table if it has a bold, oversized vase sitting sation-starting centerpiece. For more seasonal decorating ideas and prodon it. There’s no need to break the bank. Think about pillows or placemats ucts, visit Ginnys.com or call (800) 487-9024 to order a catalog. to incorporate the colors you want.
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Outdoor cleaning is a breeze
3. Spruce up your view — Clean windows not only brighten the interior (ARA) — Make outdoor spring cleaning a breeze with these four simple of your home, they can make the exterior look fresher, too. Spring is a great tips to ensure that you’re ready for warm weather fun: time to remove screens (if you haven’t stored them for the winter) and 1. Get the grill ready — Barbecues and picnics are as much a part of sum- give them a good cleaning. Hosing them off should do the trick, but if mer as baseball and trips to the beach. Your grill is central to the fun when they’re very dirty try cleaning with a little soapy water and a soft scrub you’re cooking and dining outdoors, so get it ready with a good cleaning. brush. Before you replace the screens, give the windows a good cleaning. If you were diligent about cleaning the grill after every use last year, a good Arm yourself with lots of paper towels and a good glass cleaner. One that cleaning with a wire brush may be all the cooking grates need. If your contains vinegar will be effective and eco—friendly if you’re concerned grates have a lot of build—up and burnt—on food, remove and soak them about exposing your landscaping to harsh chemicals. Be sure to clean the in warm soapy water to loosen the debris. Use a wire brush and a little outside of your windows first. It will make another popular spring cleansoapy water to clean out the inside surfaces of your grill, including the in- ing chore — washing the inside of windows — a bit easier. side of the lid. Check the hose connection for the propane tank and repair 4. Taking care of your tools — Yard work and gardening are realities of or replace it if needed. warm weather. All your landscaping maintenance chores will be easier if 2. Clean outdoor surfaces without scrubbing — Over time, wood and your tools are clean and in good repair. Unload the tool shed or garage of composite decks, concrete, railings, awnings and outdoor furniture can ac- all the equipment you’ll use this summer — from rakes and hoes to lawn cumulate mold, moss, mildew and algae. An environmentally—sensitive mowers and trimmers. While you probably cleaned your garden tools bemold and mildew cleaner like Wet & Forget works over time to gently re- fore you stored them for winter, they’ll still have accumulated dust — and move outdoor stains on virtually any exterior surface without scrubbing. possibly rust — from sitting idle for so many months. Clean rust spots and Perfect for mildew and mold removal, the non—caustic, non—acidic and dirt from metal tools, and use a coating of mineral oil to ensure the rust bleach—free, biodegradable formula can be easily applied with a pump doesn’t return. Clean lawn mower and trimmer blades, and replace the line garden sprayer instead of a more labor—intense power washer. The multi— on string trimmers. Get blades sharpened if necessary, and run through all surface outdoor cleaner reduces water usage and is designed for use the maintenance tasks recommended in the manufacturer’s handbook for around landscaping plants. your power equipment.
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De-junk before spring cleaning
2. Plan ahead. Where will you take recycleable items? Donatable items? (NewsUSA) - Spring is rounding the bend — meaning we’re shedding the winter blues and leaping at the chance to glimpse real sunlight. It’s also 3. Take advantage of family and friends. Hold a house spring cleaning, when the age-old practice of spring cleaning comes a’knocking. Some say spring cleaning originated with the Chinese, who roll up their sleeves and and offer to return the favor! Perhaps find a new home for some of your sweep their floors to clean out the bad luck and misfortune of the previ- things? ous year. 4. Focus on one room at a time. The success of finishing one room will Others say it’s just biology. Winter’s lack of sunlight causes us to produce drive you on to the next. hormones that induce sleep, and spring cleaning is our way of waking up from a melatonin lethargy. Regardless, we feel compelled to kick out the 5. Remove unwanted items. Create a staging area, or remove them to dirt and grime and open our windows. To help give you a head start, we preserve clarity. consulted the removal specialists at 1-800-GOT-JUNK? 6. Be ruthless. Anything that you don’t use regularly or has no sentiThe experts say you must first get the junk out in an environmentally mental value should get taken away. friendly way so the real cleaning can begin. “We’re heading into our busy season now, and every spring our customers tell us the same thing: ‘I’m try7. Organize the room. Use existing organizing units, or purchase new ing to spring clean, but I have so much stuff!’” explains 1-800-GOT-JUNK? ones. public relations director Tania Venn. 8. Clean. It’s beyond satisfying. “Over the years, we’ve accumulated the best tips to help people get prepared for spring cleaning.” 9. Reward yourself. If you’re following the list, you deserve it.
Read on for de-junking 101 1. Set goals. Your clear vision will help keep you motivated.
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10. Professionalize. Consider using a professional service to remove junk, organize or clean if you feel overwhelmed. To learn more about de-junking and eliminating clutter the environmental way, go to 1800gotjunk.com.
can you dig it? by Susan Melgren From Natural Home & Garden
For thousands of years, people have been living cozily in underground homes. Homes carved into the earth benefit from its nearly constant temperature, keeping them comfortable year-round. Some cave homes were built out of necessity, others for delight. Discover cave homes’ quirky comfort and charming eccentricity in these visit-worthy spots scattered across the globe.
Kinver Edge: The Original Hobbit Houses On the border of Staffordshire and Worcestershire in England lies Kinver Edge, a sandstone hill where people have lived in cave homes for centuries. The soft sandstone made carving homes out of rock easy — so easy, in fact, that when a family moved out, the neighbors would tunnel through to the adjoining home, doubling their home’s size! The homes are thought to have started as a hermitage for a group living in religious seclusion, and several families lived in Kinver Edge at its peak in the 1800s. Although the homes had no electricity or plumbing, they were warm in winter and cool in summer. Despite their primitive appearance, the homes’ interiors boasted plastered and painted walls and nonessential rooms, including parlors. Smoke from the elaborate fireplaces traveled up sloped chimney flues over the tops of the sandstone cliffs. Brightly colored doors and small gardens lend these homes a cozy cottage feeling that many believe inspired J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. (Tolkien lived in nearby Birmingham.) Although the cave homes aren’t oc-
Coober Pedy, Australia: A Down-Under(ground) Town Situated in the barren Australian desert, the old mining town of Coober Pedy doesn’t look like much at first. That’s because more than half of the town — including churches, restaurants, bars, museums, hotels and even art galleries — is underground. Coober Pedy got its start when opals were discovered in the area in 1915. After Australia’s transcontinental railroad was finished in 1917, many construction workers and soldiers returning from World War I moved to Coober Pedy in search of riches. Desert weather made for harsh living conditions, so the soldiers, accustomed to living in trenches during the war, took up residence in underground dwellings to escape the heat. When summer temperatures soared into the triple digits, the earth’s temperature kept the underground homes consistently cool. Originally known as the Stuart Range Opal Field, the town changed its name in 1920 to Coober Pedy, from the Aboriginal words kupa piti, meaning “white man in a hole.” Today, more than half of Coober Pedy’s residents live comfortably underground, some in former mines. Because the original holes were dug by cupied today — the last residents moved out in the 1950s — Britain’s Na- hand, these homes tend to be small. tional Trust has taken over the deteriorated houses and has restored one As tunneling machines have taken the back-breaking labor out of buildto the Victorian period. ing, newer homes are more spacious. Many of the homes are built into Learn more: nationaltrust.org.uk/main/w-kinveredgerockhouses Coober Pedy’s hillsides, with street-level doors and windows that let in light. The sandstone from which the homes are hewn provides light, roseForestiere Underground Gardens: colored walls.
A Mediterranean Paradise
Visiting Coober Pedy? Try one of the town’s underground hotels such as When Baldassare Forestiere emigrated from Sicily to the United States in the Desert Cave Hotel, with 19 underground suites, or the Underground the early 1900s, he dreamt of starting a citrus empire. Unfortunately, the Bed and Breakfast, a three-bedroom underground home. 70 acres of land he purchased in Fresno, California, contained nothing but Learn more: cooberpedy.sa.gov.au rock-hard, inhospitable dirt that wouldn’t accommodate fruit trees. To escape the summer heat, Forestiere dug himself an underground home — Excerpted from Natural Home & Garden, a national magazine that provides practical ideas, inspiring examples and and during the process discovered that the soil 20 feet below the surface expert opinions about healthy, ecologically sound, beautiful homes. To read more articles from Natural Home & Garden, please visit www.NaturalHomeMagazine.com or call (800) 340-5846 to subscribe. Copyright 2011 by Ogden was fertile enough to grow his dream orchards. Publications Inc. Forestiere spent the next 40 years carving out an underground compound reminiscent of the Roman catacombs. The space spans 10 acres and includes courtyards, bedrooms, a kitchen with modern conveniences for its day, a parlor, a fish pond and even a chapel. The hard topsoil provided the perfect building material for pathways and rooms. Skylights flood the underground rooms with natural light, and open grottos and courtyards admit sunlight to grow pomegranates, strawberries, grapes, jujubes, quince, kumquats, dates, almonds, figs and many citrus fruits. After his death, Forestiere’s family kept the gardens open to the public. As Fresno grew, however, the property became more valuable, and keeping the gardens open became a struggle. Following a series of lawsuits, the gardens closed for several years. Now a California Registered Historical Landmark, the gardens have been restored and reopened for public tours. Learn more: forestiere-historicalcenter.com
Designing your home office 26
(ARA) - There’s no doubt that we’re a connected society - and connected like never before through email, social networks, video conference technology, instant messaging, smart phones, the list goes on. While this influx in connectivity has made it easier to do business, it has also blurred the lines between work and home life, resulting with many of us working in our homes at least a few hours each week.
supplies will occupy. All of these things can quickly swallow space you might need to work comfortably. After you’ve selected the furniture, it’s wise to invest in a high-quality ergonomic chair that can help promote your overall well-being.
Orderly and organized
It’s easy to let a home office become overrun with paperwork, mail, bills, If your kitchen countertop has become your go-to place for paying bills, responding to emails and conducting business, it may be time to consider etc. Giving thought to smart storage solutions from the get-go will help minimize stress in the long run. The good news is you don’t have to settle adding a dedicated office space in your home. for commercial-looking metal file cabinets to store everything. Cabinets Whether you telecommute for work or just need a work space to or- have long been used to create stylish, orderly kitchens and baths, and can ganize personal documents and files, a well-thought home office can help do the same for a home office. you stay productive, efficient and organized. Before beginning the design process for an office space, think through how the space will be used and QualityCabinets offers a number of affordable cabinetry options that proask yourself these questions: vide smart storage and have the ability to blend in with the decor of the rest of the home. * What activities will take place in the space? “Cabinets shouldn’t be limited to the kitchen and the bath,” says Sarah * Who will be utilizing this area? Reep, director of designer relations and education for QualityCabinets. “A cabinet has the ability to look and function like a high-end furniture-quality desk for the home office, at a fraction of the cost.” * What are the storage needs? * What time of day will you be doing most of your work? * Where in your home will you set up the office? * What type of connectivity/technology will be necessary for this space?
Once you have an idea of your storage needs, check out some of QualityCabinets’ online design and planning resources at www.qualitycabinets.com to get started.
Light and lively
Good lighting in a home office is essential. While overhead light is helpOnce you have a handle on your needs, you’re ready to start the planning and design process. Here are a few important things to consider when ful, your desk and work spaces should also feature a few task lights for reading, writing and computer work. Adding a decorative table lamp can you’re setting up a home office: help maintain a homier feel.
Flexible and functional
A home office should be comfortable, but not too casual that it lacks structure and function at the expense of productivity. Whether you opt for a desk or a table, be sure to evaluate how much work surface is needed before you make the purchase. Consider how much space your computer and phone equipment, wires and cords, files and paperwork and office
The amount and type of lighting really depends on when you’ll be doing the bulk of your work and can vary drastically throughout the day. Installing light dimmer switches and adding window treatments can keep light at optimum levels. Painting a splash of color on the walls, adding colorful textiles or artwork reflective of your personality will make the space feel lively and inspiring.
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7 home filters you should change spring/summer 2012
Most of us eventually remember to change the obvious filters, like those on our stove vents or the PUR filter on our tap. But what about changing filters you don’t even know you have? According to the experts, there are seven filters you probably don’t know you should be changing. 1. Microwave filter. The filter traps grease and odors from the air, thus protecting the appliance and also preventing odors from recirculating and affecting the taste and smell of your food. The microwave filter should be replaced every 6-12 months. 2. Showerhead filter. The filter reduces harmful chemicals that can dry out your hair and skin, leading to other negative effects on the body. It should be replaced every 3-6 months. 3. Humidifier. Most people know humidifiers have a filter that should be changed, but what they don’t realize is that many humidifiers actually have up to three filters. It’s important to change all three filters. 4. Coffee maker filter. A filter is used in most coffee makers, and it should be replaced approximately every 60 brews. “They’re designed to remove the disinfection chemicals from tap water. If the filters aren’t changed, they cause more exposure to ingesting chlorine,” says Hertzog. 5. Furnace filter. To reduce allergens like pollen, dust, pet dander, mold spores and dust mites from leaking into the air, it should be changed every 3-6 months. 6. Dryer lint filter screen. The lint filter screen should be replaced as needed, if it has build-up or tears in the screen. Changing the filter can prevent fire hazards, extend the life of your dryer and reduce energy bills. 7. Refrigerator filter. The filter on a fridge keeps ice fresh and cleans the water dispensed from the refrigerator. Get more filter-related advice at www.filtersfast.com.
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Tips for the do-it-yourselfer spring/summer 2012
By KEVIN HOWELL Staff Writer
attempt to help you solve the problem before making a trip to your home just to flip the power switch.
Other projects, such as those dealing with electricity, need to be apSometimes, a simple home repair can get out of hand, resulting in higher project costs and maybe even an unwanted trip to the emergency proached cautiously, but can also be easily addressed with some preventive maintenance, according to Tom Povenski of Tapco Electric. room. First and foremost, whenever working with electricity, particularly in the Although there are many small projects that can safely be handled without the help of a professional, most require sage advice and a skilled hand. wet weather prevalent during the spring, always make sure ground fault interrupters (GFIs)— which prevent electrocution in water— are working But there are ways to save money by taking steps to prevent major over- properly, Povenski warned. hauls to your home, making those calls to a professional a little more manThe parts inside the switch will freeze if not tested on a regular basis, so ageable and affordable. homeowners should activate the test button on the device periodically, he In most cases, DIY home repairs start with what one knows. Recogniz- said. ing your limits, having a mental picture of what you want and carefully Before tackling a project, homeowners should also be aware of underplanning the process can go a long way in cost cutting. ground wires, Povenski said. Many repairs and renovations fail to get off the ground because someone hits a wire while planting a new tree. But simple preventive maintenance can, too. Homeowners can also look to see if their problem is being caused by When it comes to heating and cooling your house, large projects can be made small by checking the obvious first, says Derek Coffee of Coffee Heat- loose wires or tree limbs that are hanging on overhead wires; or look for for signs of wire corrosion such as rust streaks on breakers or rust at the ing & Cooling. bottom of wall panels, Povenski said. If the thermostat requires batteries, make sure they are fresh and have Poles used for metering equipment, particularly in rural areas, also need a good connection. Also, make sure the gas shut off valve is in the on position and that all doors are in place and properly secured. Many times to be checked for damage caused by wetness in the ground, he said. people mistake these simple problems for larger ones and spend more Ultimately, though, electricity is not something most homeowners money than is necessary, Coffee said. should be attempting to repair on their own. Other maintenance issues that homeowners often overlook, according “Watch for anything out of the ordinary,” Povenski said, offering as an exto Coffee, include properly setting the thermostat and giving the equipment time to start, particularly with older models that have built in time de- ample partial power in which lights will dim sporadically. “When you start lays. Proper and clean filters are also needed to make sure your HV/AC to get into electrical things, the average homeowner doesn’t know what to do. And it’s so dangerous because it can cause a fire so easily; it needs equipment runs efficiently, he noted. to be taken seriously.” When all else fails, check the homeowners manual for additional email@example.com bleshooting techniques or ask for help from a professional before tackling a larger project, Coffee said, explaining that most reputable companies will
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How to choose a locksmith 30
It happens to all of us. We leave the keys locked in the car, or we lock ourselves out of the house. The only solution is to call a locksmith.
But who do you call? Most people in this situation call the first locksmith that is listed in the phone book or on the Internet. That’s all they can really do. When you are locked out of your house or vehicle, you usually want to get the job done as quickly as possible.
censed by the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALA). It’s not enough to just ask them if they are licensed: there are many inferior programs (i.e. correspondence programs) that issue licenses which aren’t recognized by the ALA. You also what to make sure the locksmith you are hiring is insured or bonded. This is in case he does some damage to your home, car or business while he is performing his services. If he isn’t bonded, and he tears up your front door, you might have difficulty collecting any money from him to pay for a new one.
CHECK UP ON THEM
This may seem like a hassle, but it only takes a few minutes, and it can save you a lot of grief later on. Once you’ve identified a locksmith, place a call to the Better Business Bureau, your local chamber of commerce, and your local police station to see if there have been any complaints filed This is why the most important against him. If a lot of complaints have been filed, this is a red flag. rule about choosing a locksmith Even if you identified the locksmith through a recommendation by a is to choose one before you need trusted friend or business, it is a good idea to ask the locksmith for a list of one. references or client list. If you call up a few of his clients and receive glowYou definitely want to find ing recommendations, this can be quite reassuring. someone reputable. The very naTRADE ASSOCIATIONS ture of the job can lend itself to foul play. Below you will find some helpYou may think this is a minor point, but there are a couple reasons that ful tips to help you successfully choose a locksmith. this may be important. If a locksmith regularly attends trade meetings, then GET RECOMMENDATIONS it is likely that he will be educated on the latest technology and possess the A good way to begin looking for a locksmith is to ask people you trust state-of-the-art tools that he needs to give you the best service possible. for recommendations. You might ask your friends, family or neighbors. Unfortunately, they are probably like the rest of us and only call upon a lockAnother reason that it is desirable for your locksmith to belong to a trade smith in emergency situations. association is that it shows he is active in the locksmith community. He has probably built up a reputation amongst his peers, and he will be less A better way to get recommendations is to call around to some of the likely to do anything to damage that reputation. small businesses in your area. Most businesses use locksmith services on a much more regular basis than individuals. If you notice that many of the A locksmith can provide many useful services for us, such as changing businesses in your area use a particular locksmith, it is a good bet that he the locks on your house or installing a safe in your bedroom. Most of the is a good one. time, however, we only call upon them in emergencies. This is why it is of utmost importance to always choose a locksmith before you actually need LICENSED AND INSURED? one. Before hiring a locksmith, you definitely need to make sure they are li-
Swimming pool safety tips 32
(ARA) - As the weather starts to warm, you can’t help but stare at your backyard pool, anxious to begin a new season of memories with friends and family. No matter the season, pool safety should always be top of mind where children are concerned. With safety barriers — or layers of protection — in place between the home and the pool, you can experience the pleasures of backyard swimming pools and feel confident that children, grandchildren and visitors will be safeguarded from pool accidents. It’s impossible to watch your children every second of every day. There are times when a parent or caregiver is distracted by answering the phone or door, household tasks or checking email. Unfortunately, accidents tend to happen very quickly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death in children ages 1 to 14. The CDC reports that in most cases, the children involved were out of their parents’ sight for less than five minutes.
* Ensure that pet doors are secured or open into an area that is isolated from the pool.
The good news: Drowning can be prevented. Barriers help buy those few minutes needed to see where children are after you’ve momentarily * If the house forms one side of the barrier, doors leading into the pool lost sight of them. area should be protected with alarms that produce a loud sound when the door is unexpectedly opened. Numerous studies have shown that an isolation fence separating the home from the pool can prevent 50 to 90 percent of all toddler drownings. * Power safety covers that meet American Society for Testing and MateOnly an isolation fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate in proper work- rials (ASTM) standards can be very effective if closed whenever the pool is ing order will prevent children from getting into the water without your not in use. Manually operated covers tend to be left open; closing them knowledge. frequently requires two adults. Liability can become an issue if a visitor is injured. Homeowners can im* Ensure children in the home learn how to swim, and that adults know prove the safety and security of their pools or spas with isolation fencing CPR. CPR can make the difference between full recovery and brain damwith self-closing, self-latching gate hardware by D&D Technologies age or death. If anyone else will be supervising kids in the pool, make sure (www.ddtechglobal.com). they learn it, too. Impress upon babysitters that they must follow your safety rules. Magnetically triggered latches like D&D’s self-latching MagnaLatch have been shown to offer safe, reliable operation, latching even when locked in * When children are in the pool, designate a “water watcher” to mainthe open position. Pool gates must also be self-closing, and D&D’s Tru- tain uninterrupted supervision of children in the pool at all times. Close hinges feature a tension adjustable enclosed spring so gates need no hazardous external spring. * When not in use, keep toys and other objects out of the pool area, and don’t use chlorine dispensers that look like animals or toys that will attract Rust-free gate hardware by D&D Technologies is available under the children. Stanley or National Hardware brand through select Lowe’s stores or online at www.lowes.com and other hardware retailers. With layers of protection between your home and your pool, you can give your family years of safer relaxation and enjoyment, and build some If you have a pool, you have a responsibility to safeguard it. There is no great family memories. substitute for vigilant supervision. But there are additional steps you can and should take to keep everyone safe - including these. For drowning prevention tips, visit www.ndpa.org or poolsafely.org. Take the pledge and tell others about the Simple Steps that Save Lives at * Never prop a gate open for convenience or during pool parties. It’s www.ddtechglobal.com/pledge. simply not worth the risk. * Always ensure that doors from the home are locked, alarmed, or fitted with child-safety latching devices.
10 easy crops to plant this year by Craig Idlebrook From GRIT magazine
Whatever you do, don’t fertilize nasturtiums. These edible flowers put out their best blooms in nutrient-poor soil. The blooms do look better if you remember to water them. Otherwise, plant them and forget them.
You needn’t worry about growing mint, just containing it. This hardy herb likes to spread, and it’ll take over your garden as soon as you turn your back. It’s smart to plant mint in its own corner of the garden Nasturtiums grow quickly and can or in containers. handle partial shade. Aphids are drawn to them, but they rarely beat Buy mint as a seedling and plant the flowers back. In fact, some garin early spring. Mint prefers partial deners use nasturtiums to draw off shade and rich soil, but don’t let that aphids from other crops. worry you. Plunk it into poor soil and The flowers can add color and direct sunlight, and it still will take zest to any salad and are perfect for over the neighborhood. Just plant making vinaigrette. During World mint seedlings 12 inches apart and War II, the seeds were used as a water until established. substitute for pepper. Mint is handy for iced tea and Garlic homemade ice cream. Many people While garlic’s an easy crop to also use mint oil to ward off deer grow, growing perfect garlic can beand mice. come a lifetime obsession. Getting started is simple: In the fall, plant
peeled cloves, pointing upward. of the growing season left. Green Cover. Wait. Harvest heads in the beans are an excellent candidate for a replacement crop in late spring or spring or summer. midsummer. These hardy plants basically grow Gently harvest the beans, and the themselves. If you plant them in rich soil and regularly water them, the plants will produce all summer. If cloves will produce bigger bulbs. Er- you get tired of green, try purple or ratic watering and poor soil leads to yellow varieties. smaller cloves, but smaller cloves Peas usually have a stronger taste. You Another nitrogen-fixer, peas are can’t lose. great for gardeners who can’t wait Green beans until the frost is gone to start plantThere’s a lot to love about a plant ing. As soon as the soil can be that feeds itself. worked, you can pop peas into the ground. Green beans are nitrogen fixers; they process nitrogen from the air Peas prefer some shade, but rather than pulling it from the soil. In they’ll do fine with full sun, if planted other words, growing green beans early. Plant peas in loose soil about is a tasty way to fertilize your garden. a knuckle-deep. Give them something for climbing to avoid fungus They’re also quick growers. You problems. Water regularly. can wait until all danger of frost has passed to plant and still have plenty Continued on page 44.
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How to choose a tree service
Choosing a tree service company involves a little research and a good plan for what you expect from them before you start calling. There are companies that specialize in tree trimming and removal, while others are experts in keeping trees alive and healthy. Trees take a long time to grow, but they can come down quickly — sometimes too quickly. If you have a large old tree that is hanging directly over your home, you may get nervous every time the wind blows. The traditional tree removal company can come in with specialized equipment such as bucket trucks and cranes to trim dead branches or even completely remove old trees with little risk of damage to your property. Other common jobs for these companies is trimming trees that have grown through power lines or those that hang over a neighbor’s property. Trees can also get sick or become infested with a variety of pests. Tree doctors can help keep trees alive and healthy and solve problems related to insects, disease and other causes of early death. If you have an old tree that is dear to your heart, give a tree doctor a call to see what they can offer to help keep it around a while longer. They can recommend a variety of treatments and spot problems that you didn’t even know existed, often keeping trees alive for many more years. When shopping for a company, take the time to talk to them about what your goals are, and find out what they would recommend. A site inspection is usually a good idea, and it will give you a chance to ask them lots of questions. That lets you learn a little bit about your trees and about the potential contractors. You can take the opportunity to find out how long a company has been in business, what they specialize in, and how big they are. Make sure the company you decide to use has adequate insurance. This is usually documented by the insurance company mailing you a certificate of insurance with your name and the contractor’s name on it, showing specific coverage for liability, property damage, worker’s compensation and vehicle coverage.
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If the contractor wants to give you a copy of his insurance paperwork, that may be OK, but give the insurance company a call to make sure the policy is still active, paid up and will cover the type of work you are seeking from them. Most contractors will have references from other local clients who have had a similar need in the past. Call at least one or two of these and ask them if they would use the contractor again, and if they were happy with the results of their work. You may even be able to get permission to drive to a former client’s location to inspect the work yourself, if that is of interest.
The contractor may also have a portfolio of pictures of their work, or even some video footage of a particularly difficult job they performed flawlessly. This can be a source of pride for them, and can show you that they take their job seriously and are capable of performing difficult tasks. Often a company Web site will have this sort of information online, as well as other relevant information about the business. Get a written estimate before contract begins, along with a clear description of the work to be performed. When a company meets all of these expectations, it’s likely that they can take care of your needs in a professional manner. And it all starts with a little planning.
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Learning how to build a box 36
by Steve Maxwell
From MOTHER EARTH NEWS
Boxes form the heart of many types of furniture, cabinets and shelves, bins, storage crates, raised garden beds, and even buildings and large timber frames. After you’ve mastered the basics of how to build a box, you’ll be ready to successfully tackle many DIY projects, large and small.
Guaranteed Square When you build a box, you must make perfect 90-degree corners, and a tape measure is the best tool to use. The trick to knowing you have it right has to do with geometry. When opposite sides of a box are equal in length, and measurements taken across diagonally opposite corners are equal, then the corners form 90-degree angles, and are “square.” You can bet your life on it.
The Butt-Joined Plywood Box This is the basic design for building planter boxes, storage boxes, kitchen cabinets, benches and more. Four pieces of wood create the sides of the box, with a fifth piece forming the optional back. All are constructed in the same way. “Butt joint” is a woodworking term that describes a 90-degree connection between two pieces of wood, in which the edge of one piece is joined, or “butted,” to the face of a neighboring piece. When they involve plywood or most other kinds of sheet materials, joints completed with glue and finishing nails are more than strong enough for most situations. Butt-joined boxes are most often made with one-half- or three-quarter-inch-thick sheet materials. Cut parts to width with your table saw or track-guided saw. If some of the edges of the completed box will remain visible, you may want to hide the edges for appearance’s sake. Continue by trimming opposite sides of the box to identical lengths, and then bring the corners together after spreading glue on both corner surfaces. You’ll find 1 1/2- to 2-inch-long hand-driven finishing nails or 18-gauge power-driven brads work best to secure glued and butt-joined corners for three-quarter-inch-thick stock used for large cabinets; 1- to 1 1/4-inch nails or brads are best for the half-inch thick materials typically used to make drawers and smaller cabinets. Either way, you’ll find it much easier and less likely to cause splitting if you pre-drill holes that are slightly smaller than the diameter of nails you’re using. There are three ways to add a simple back or bottom to your box. The easiest is to cut a piece of quarter-inch- or half-inch-thick sheet material and then fasten it to your box with glue and small finishing nails. If you prefer to hide the edges of your bottom or back panel, one option is to
create a two-sided notch along the inside edges of the sides that matches the thickness of your back panel. A router spinning a rabbeting bit with a bearing is the easiest way to create it. A third option is to create a three-sided groove, called a dado, that contains the back or bottom panel. A table-mounted router or table saw are ideal tools for creating this groove.
The Shelf Box: Bookcases and More This design has a top, bottom and two sides connected with butt joints, and additional horizontal pieces create shelves. Using glue with either nails or screws is the simplest option for anchoring these shelves, but there’s a trick to getting shelf spacing and orientation correct. By cutting your top, bottom and shelves all the same length, the sides simply straddle the ends during assembly. Cut scrap plywood spacers to fit between the shelves as you’re joining them, first to one side of the shelf, then another. The spacers ensure correct placement and shelves oriented square to the sides.
The Timber Box Outdoor projects often involve large timbers or logs, and though most of these structures are more like frames than boxes, the principles of box construction apply. Square timbers make a great sandbox enclosure or raised bed. Beam boxes are often part of the floor frame of small buildings. Because timber structures are so large, even a 24-inch framing square won’t offer an accurate reference for assembling corners. In these cases, equalizing diagonals is the best way to ensure square corners. Eight-inch and 12-inch long galvanized spikes offer an excellent way to join parts in corners, and a 6 or 8 pound sledgehammer is perfect for driving them. Don’t try to use anything lighter, and always wear safety glasses - bits of metal often break off spike heads when they’re pounded. Create lap joints using a hand-held circular saw to make multiple cuts across the ends of your timbers every quarter-inch, then remove the waste with a mallet and chisel.
This bookshelf uses several tips and tricks for an excellent result. It looks hand-crafted, not homemade.
Excerpted from MOTHER EARTH NEWS, the Original Guide to Living Wisely. To read more articles from MOTHER EARTH NEWS, please visit www.MotherEarthNews.com or call (800) 234-3368 to subscribe. Copyright 2011 by Ogden Publications Inc.
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Make the most of spring veggies 42
For The Associated Press
To make the most of tender spring vegetables, it’s important to use a gentle touch at the stove. This not only results in a more delicious dish, it’s also usually much less work. This simple braise of chicken legs and spring vegetables is a great example. Though the chicken cooks for 30 minutes in chicken stock, the vegetables steam in the same pot for just a few minutes. For maximum flavor, we brown the chicken in a heavy pan before deglazing with a bit of white wine. This adds all the flavorful browned bits to the sauce. If you prefer chicken breasts over dark meat, you could certainly substitute them for the legs. For best flavor, opt for bone-in. For the sauce, we use chicken stock rather than broth. Stocks are made with the flavorful bones, so they often have a deeper flavor than broths. You also can get stocks completely unsalted, unlike broths. This allows you to control the sodium you add to your dish. You should be able to find stocks alongside the broths and soups at the grocer. Broccolini looks like baby broccoli on long, thin stalks. It’s actually a hybrid of broccoli and Chinese kale, but with a mild, slightly peppery flavor. Check out the delicious recipe on the next page!
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BRAISED CHICKEN LEGS WITH SPRING VEGETABLES
In a small bowl, mix together the butter and flour until completely smooth. Set aside.
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, room temperature
In a heavy bottomed pot over medium-high, heat the oil. Season the chicken legs with salt and pepper. Working in batches, cook the chicken legs until well browned, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
Add the onions to the pot and brown for 8 minutes. Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Return the • 4 chicken legs, skin and excess fat removed (can also substitute a mix chicken legs to the pan along with the stock and thyme. Bring to a low simof drumsticks and thighs) mer, then cover. Reduce heat to low and simmer until the chicken legs are tender, about 30 minutes. • Salt and ground black pepper When the chicken is cooked, place the asparagus and Broccolini over the chicken and cover. Allow the vegetables to steam for 4 to 5 minutes, or until just tender and bright green.
• 2 large sweet onions, quartered • 1/4 cup white wine
Transfer the chicken legs and vegetables to a platter. Increase the heat to medium-high and whisk in the flour and butter mixture. Continue whisking until the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the vinegar, then season with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.
• 2 cups no-salt chicken stock • 2 teaspoons dried thyme • 1 bunch asparagus
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 minutes active) Servings: 4
• 1 bunch Broccolini • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 360 calories; 120 calories from fat (33 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (4 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 115 mg cholesterol; 24 g carbohydrate; 35 g protein; 5 g fiber; 310 mg sodium. Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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Continued from page 33. Peas are the perfect garden-grazing food. Children love being able to pick peas for munching while their parents are working in the garden. Also, pea shoots are a delicacy.
The biggest problem with cilantro is keeping up with it. Cilantro plants grow quick and bolt in the blink of an eye. If that happens, you’ll find cilantro volunteers in your garden for years, and wouldn’t that be a shame? Stagger plantings of cilantro for a continual harvest. Plant in containers or in the ground an inch apart and a half-inch deep. Keep in full sun and water regularly. Everyone has a strong opinion about the taste of cilantro.
Tempting as it is to use a shriveled water it until it gets established. potato in the back of the fridge for Plant early, as it tastes best if harPlant seeds in sun or partial shade seed, buy seed potatoes from the vested before the heat of the sumafter danger of frost has passed. garden center. They’re cheap and, mer. Water regularly until established. perhaps, disease-free. Cut up bigger Watch’em grow. Wait until well-esseeds so that each chunk has two or Use this spicy green to jazz up tablished to harvest, and then eat three eyes. Plant a foot apart in or steam it up to eat your salads regularly. Cut stalks 2 inches from rows, closer in hills. plain. It also works great in stir-fries. base for continuous growth, but don’t worry about measuring. Potatoes Dandelions Chives are hardy. Potatoes are the king crop in If you can’t beat them, eat them. northern Maine, a growing area Dandelions are nearly impossible to Use chives in any dish you would plagued with rocky, acidic soil and a keep out of your garden, but they otherwise use onions. They are a terribly short growing season. That’s also are a great crop to eat. Every beautiful addition to eggs, and their all you need to know about a part of the plant is edible and exflowers are great for salads. potato’s hardiness. tremely nutritious. And talk about a no-maintenance crop. Mustard greens Like garlic, you can tinker endIn general, most greens are easy The leaves are tastiest young, but to grow, but critters find mustard lessly with growing the perfect potato, but you can grow good you can eat them anytime if you boil greens unappetizing. Mustard tolerpotatoes easily. They even grow well them long enough. Add young ates cold and can be planted in the with dirt, acto a salad or saute to add to in plastic bags filled leaves spring and early fall. If you let muscording to one potato blogger. Potaany dish. The yellow flowers are vertard bolt, it’ll reseed itself and pop toes can be planted as soon as the satile and tasty. The roots can be up in your garden next year, saving soil is worked, but you might want brewed for tea, roasted or added to you the trouble of planting. to cover them if it’s a soggy spring. soups. Mustard likes full sun and enjoys Excerpted from GRIT, Celebrating Rural America Since regular watering and fertilizer, but Plant again in June for a second 1882. To read more articles from GRIT, please visit it’ll come up no matter what. Just crop. www.Grit.com or call (866) 624-9388 to subscribe. Copyright 2012 by Ogden Publications Inc.
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