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The Newtown Bee's

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2 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

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Home & Garden - 3

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

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4 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

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Home & Garden - 5

6 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Making Your Property A Bird-Friendly Environment For Feathered Fall And Winter Visitors

BY ALISSA SILBER Birdwatching is an enjoyable activity that does not have to stop just because the summer is over. People can continue to support birds and help them thrive during the colder months by creating bird-friendly environments. Patrick Comins has been working with Audubon Connecticut for 15 years and is the director of bird conservation. He wisely said, “Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can help the birds.” Some birds are primarily insect eaters, while others eat fruits and seeds. The reason people sometimes do not see the same birds in the summertime as they do in the colder months is because many of the insectivores migrate. UConn Master Gardener and Continuing Education’s “Gardening to Attract Birds” instructor Michelle MacKinnon says the best way to try to understand bird migration is to put birds into three groups: those that migrate from farther north to here and back, birds that migrate from the south to here and back, and birds that live here all year round. The junco falls into the first category of migrating birds, because it flies here from Canada. They are affectionately called “snow birds” because of their migration pattern. To identify a junco, look for a small gray bird with a white chest. Another bird that visits during the wintertime is rose breasted grosbeaks, who will often come to bird feeders looking for sunflower seeds. They have black on top, white underneath, then a rosy red-colored spot on their chest. “In terms of some birds that stay all year round,” Ms MacKinnon said “the American cardinal is one.” It is a shy bird that usually skirts the perimeter of a yard or goes from one clump of trees to another. The bright yellow gold finch, purple finch, blue birds, chickadees, sparrows, Carolina wrens, Northern cardinals, tufted titmouse, Northern mockingbirds, and the white-breasted nuthatch are all common birds that stay local in the wintertime. Also, turkeys can be seen during the colder months looking for anything that has dropped on the ground from bird feeders. They enjoy oak and beach tree nuts as well. Ms MacKinnon says sometimes you will even see robins in the wintertime, though they migrate north and south by a state or two, depending on food availability. “If there is a big cold snap or storm coming, it seems like birds can always sense it,” she said. “It is not unusual to see a whole flock of robins descend to trees where there are berries left and strip the shrub.” Feeders and Food Bird expert Margaret Robbins, who owns Wild Birds Unlimited in Brookfield, says it is tougher for birds to find food in the winter compared to warmer months. For the most part, birds will consume about 25 percent of their diet from feeders, but weather is a determining factor. Mild winters offer better conditions for birds, because heavy snow and icy rain can pose a challenge for them getting to food sources. Birds can even lose their entire body fat in one night if not replenished frequently. “They expel a lot of energy finding food,” said Ms Robbins. “A bird feeder can truly make a difference.” She suggests keeping the feeder out of trees to avoid squirrels and out of the “cat zone.” To do so, a pole system with the feeder five to six feet off the ground will be squirrel- and cat-proof. “They need dry, fresh seed,” Ms Robbins added. It will not have nutritional value for the birds if it is stale. So, when purchasing seed at the store, look at the date or ask when it had been packaged to make sure it is not more than six months old. It is also important to check bird feed-

ers after a heavy rain or snow to make sure the seeds are not wet and clumping. Keeping the feeder and food clean will ensure the birds do not get sick. Ideally, if possible, offering a variety of feeders is a good idea too. Having many to choose from means more species of birds will visit and be able to eat. Ms MacKinnon said, “Black striped sunflower seeds are one of the best seeds you can put out, especially for the bigger birds like cardinals.” To attract finches and other small birds, nyjer seeds and safflower seeds are good options. The safflower seed is bird-specific, too, and does not appeal to squirrels. Also, even though we mainly only get the ruby throated hummingbird in our area around October, some have a tendency to fly through here during migration. Mr Comins says rare species like Rufous hummingbirds may show up when they pioneer new wintering ground. That said, it can be beneficial to leave up hummingbird feeders (never with artificial sweeteners) into the fall and winter. Suet is a favorite meal for birds as well, especially in the wintertime. Small downy woodpeckers, blue jays, chickadees, cardinals, and tufted titmice all love suet. Since suet is a source of pure fat from cows, birds can convert it into energy more easily. There are special bird feeders available just for suet that look like a square cage hanging off the ground. To stock up on suet, Ms MacKinnon suggests purchasing it from the meat counter of a store, asking them to chop it into smaller chunks, and then putting the extra pieces in the freezer. Overall, always look for food that will be high in fat and protein. A lot of the lesser-quality seed mixes will have fillers in them like wheat, barley, or corn. Some birds will just brush through them and swipe it on the ground. Popular offerings like crackers and bread are not the most helpful choices for birds, since they have no nutritional value. If having a feeder is not an option, birds can also enjoy cut-up apple slices or natural peanut butter treats covered in bird seed. Planting For The Birds When planting for a bird-friendly environment, native plants are a great resource. Native plants have co-evolved with bird species over centuries and many times produce food exactly when the birds need them. Ms MacKinnon said, “You can create a natural bird feeder by planting native plants.” Some berry-producing native plants include winterberry, whose berries stay on the plant until late winter; poke-

evergreen trees, red pines, and white pines are sturdy shelters. They are an important source, because even if the branches are weighted down with snow, the inside branch structure is open to provide nesting room. Those trees have pine cones that produce seeds that a lot of birds eat too. By planting those specific trees, it gives the birds shelter and the extra benefit of food.

Pictured is a white-breasted nuthatch eating from a bird feeder at Bent of the River in Southbury. These birds remain in Connecticut during fall and winter months. —Bee Photo, Silber weed, which produces dark purple berries that birds love; and the spicebush that produces fruit into the fall. Specific trees birds enjoy are the red osier dogwood and the flowering dogwood, both native to North America. The flowering dogwood produces fruit that bird species such as the cedar waxwings prefer. Despite oak trees being a long-term investment, they provide acorns that are popular with blue birds and turkeys. The staghorn sumacs are commonly seen alongside of roads and have a rusty cone-shaped berry cluster. It can be an emergency food source for birds since the dried fatty fruit stays on the branches all winter long. Birds that fly south for the colder months can use the seeds to fuel them. “It can be a lifesaver for the birds,” said Ms MacKinnon “especially when we have stormy weather.” Mr Comins explained, “Some birds that are very long-distance migrants will fly directly from southern New England to South America without stopping, so the habitats we provide here are very critical to fattening them up to make the flight.” Leaving birdhouses up during the colder months is always a good decision. Blue birds have a tendency to come back a couple of times during the milder periods of winter to scope out lodging possibilities. So, keeping up birdhouses is especially helpful to them. There are also predator guards that can be used for bird houses on poles to ensure they will be safe. Besides birdhouses, trees can offer natural housing for birds. Great big

It is beneficial to leave hummingbird feeders up during the colder months for migrating hummingbirds. No artificial sweeteners should be used.

Providing Shelter And Water In other cases, birds are not so much looking for homes during the colder weather, but temporary refuge. “They need to be able to find shelter from storms and to escape from any predator birds,” Ms MacKinnon explained. “You want to have a variety of sheltering options. Think of it as ground level, eye level, then taller. If you have a variety of heights like that and a bird is at the feeder when a predator comes along, then they can escape close by to something and get cover to protect themselves.” Ms Robbins recommends making a brush pile consisting of branches and leaves. It will generate warmth for birds, attract insects for food, and work as a place to stay during wind/snow/ rain. She proposes placing it on the side of a shed or by a rock wall to act as a “windbreak.” Another version of this can be achieved by taking an old Christmas tree out of the house after the holidays and putting it in the yard. It is an easy and creative option for providing shelter. Mr Comins suggests leaving up dead hollowed-out trees for birds. It can provide all sorts of utilities such as cavities that can be used as roosting areas for bird and/or prey, and they are good foraging areas for woodpeckers. It is crucial, however, to make sure that they are not of risk of falling on homes or pedestrians. Having a clean water source for birds during the fall and winter is imperative, especially during freezing temperatures. Water heaters are an excellent choice for keeping bird baths from icing over. They are a readily available and inexpensive edition in the wintertime that can make a big difference. Birds need thawed water resources, not only to drink from, but to also clean their feathers. Keeping a bird bath shallow is vital to avoiding birds drowning. Ms Robbins suggests a depth of no more than two inches. Also, she advises having the bird bath three feet off the ground and changing out the pan of water daily. It is also a good idea to place the bird bath near shrubs, because when a bird’s wings are wet it makes it more difficult to fly. Having something they can perch in close by, shake off the wet, and then carry on to other shelter is helpful. What To Avoid Ms MacKinnon recommends making sure pest elimination devices are concealed so birds do not ingest the materials. If they do ingest the contents, not only can the bird die, but so can their young if the mother is feeding them. Mr Comins advises removing invasive plants and avoiding using pesticides, which will kill the bad and good insects. Instead, he says managing lawns organically is a better option. Using milky spore will control grubs and treat the grass for years. At the end of the day, “Birds are really not that different from us; they need food, water, and shelter,” said Ms MacKinnon. To help birds thrive, birdfriendly environments during the fall and winter are crucial. To learn more about bird-friendly environments, sign up for Gardening to Attract Birds offered through Newtown Continuing Education or Audubon Connecticut’s Bird-Friendly Communities Program, or search wild birds unlimited.

Home & Garden - 7

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

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8 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

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Home & Garden - 9

10 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Can I Ever Get My Lawn In Golf Course Shape? Ask A ‘Pro’ Who Knows!

BY JOHN VOKET Everybody’s yard and landscape may not have what it takes to resemble the lush greens and fairways of a golf course, but Joe Kocet, superintendent at Newtown Country Club and a member of the Connecticut Golf Course Superintendents Association, can help homeowners get as close as they can with the proper maintenance and care. With a degree in plant and soil science from the University of Massachusetts, Mr Kocet is also a licensed pesticide applicator with more than 40 years of experience in turf grass management in commercial and residential applications. According to Mr Kocet, the basis for a healthy lawn is the soil. “Microorganisms naturally occurring in the soil are critical for plant health,” he said. “The use of pesticides destroys the benefits of these important organisms.” Lush green heavily fertilized and chemically treated lawns are not sustainable because they require more care and water than non-chemically treated lawns. While many lawn treatments “green-up” the grass, he said they do not improve the soil. “Grass roots remain near the surface and require more water. Without irrigation, these carpet lawns cannot survive drought conditions,” Mr Kocet said. “This excessive watering is the perfect storm for disease, requiring even more chemicals and the cycle continues. Also, grubs actually prefer lush carpet lawns over non-chemically treated lawns.” The pH of the soil is very important, he said. “A lawn is happiest when the pH of the soil is between 6.5 and 7.0,” Mr Kocet said. “This is the range in which nutrients are best processed. If the pH is off, nutrients get bound up in the soil and are unusable to the grass.” Lime can increase the soils pH and can be applied any time of the year. Soil sampling instruction pamphlets can be obtained from the UConn Extension office in Stony Hill, Bethel. Compaction of the soil from construction or high-traffic areas also affects your lawn, he said. Aerating is a method to remedi-

Joe Kocet, superintendent at Newtown Country Club and a member of the Connecticut Golf Course Superintendents Association, has a few ideas to help homeowners get their own lawns as close as they can to golf course quality with the proper maintenance and care. ate soil compaction. Weeds like crab grass and plantain are indicators of soil compaction. Mowing Tips For an optimal lawn from spring to fall, Mr Kocet offers these mowing tips *During summer, grass should be mowed at a height of 3-4 inches. This prevents weeds from germinating and conserves water. Cutting your lawn short stresses the grass. *Skip mowing(s) during periods of hot temperatures. In times of drought, cool-season grasses go dormant. They are not dead. Mowing during this time is damaging to the grass. If you must mow your lawn, never do it in the heat of the day. If the temperature is uncomfortable for you, it is also detrimental to your lawn. Best to wait until after the sun goes down in the evening. *Communicate your wishes to your lawn care professional for skipping mowing(s) in times of drought. Many companies will stick to a schedule unless this is communicated.

*Do not bag your grass clippings. They contain nutrients that are beneficial to your lawn, lessening the need for fertilizers and amendments. Today’s mulching mowers do a good job distributing the clippings. *Never mow when the grass is wet. This encourages the spread of fungal disease. Disease and weed seeds can also be spread by a lawn service from one property to another when these materials adhere to mower decks. With fall scant weeks away, Mr Kocet believes it is the best time to renovate your lawn. “Renovating your lawn in fall makes sense because the soil temperature is still warm and air temperatures are not so extreme so grass seeds germinate faster,” he said. “Cooler nights leave morning dew on the grass which provides moisture. Also, less watering is needed and rain events are more promising. Now is the time to aerate your lawn. Many rent-all outlets have aerating machines. Your lawn professional may also provide this service.”

In Connecticut, Mr Kocet suggests seeding with a mix of perennial rye and fescue does best in our hot summers, noting blue grasses are much higher maintenance. “All seeding should be completed by mid-October,” he added. If your lawn has been a chemically treated, dethatching may be necessary because thatch will prevent grass seed from germinating and also prevent absorption of water. Dethatching is never needed with an organic lawn. For spot seeding, simply scratch up the soil with a hard rake to ensure that the seed contacts the soil. Cover the seed with a top dressing of compost. You may apply a thin layer of straw to keep soil moist and prevent birds from snacking on your seed. Water seeded areas as needed. Crab Grass, Grubs & Fertilizer Crab grass is an annual weed, Mr Kocet explained. “It prefers hot temperatures and will die in the fall. Only the

seeds need concern you,” he said. “If you have a lot of crab grass in your lawn, this is the one time — with the exception of your last mowing of the year — that you can cut your grass shorter to about two inches, and bag your clippings to collect the crab grass seeds. Otherwise, you can simply plant your grass seed right over the crabgrass plants or remove them as you see fit. Maintaining healthy grass throughout the year and mowing properly will prevent weeds from creeping in.” By July 4th grubs typically have matured into adult beetles and are out of the soil. But they mate and lay eggs that hatch in late August and can be dealt with at that time if necessary. There are safe alternatives for controlling grubs. Beneficial Nematodes are naturally occurring microorganisms that are effective in controlling a wide range of soil-dwelling pests, including cutworms, weevils, and beetle grubs. Milky spore is a naturally occurring bacterium that preys exclusively on Japanese beetle grubs before they turn into ravenous adults. Another safe organic grub control product is Grub Gone (not to be confused with Grubex which is harmful to bees and a possible water contaminant). Grub Gone is a natural soil microbe, Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (BtG). This is a new product and is safe for bees and beneficial insects. It attacks all types of grubs and chaffers at all stages of their life cycle. Mr Kocet also reminds homeowners looking for the healthiest lawn that chemical fertilizers use synthetic nutrients without providing organic matter necessary for maintaining healthy soil. “These fertilizers generally have higher nitrogen and potassium levels as listed on the packaging,” he said. “Fertilizers from natural sources increase microbial action, release nutrients slowly to maximize nutrient uptake to the plant and reduce nutrient loss through leaching. It is important to note that unnecessary applications of any fertilizer can cause excessive levels to build up in the soil adversely affecting plants and polluting local water sources.”

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Home & Garden - 11

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee



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The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

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Home & Garden - 13

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

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14 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Creating A Stress-Free Home — And BY ELIZA HALLABECK After a day overstuffed with work responsibilities, family commitments, and other demands, arriving home can add even more stress when faced with a living space that is not conducive to relaxation — or represents an unfulfilled punch list of even more chores to do. But don’t give up all hope. Expert in fields from interior decoration to aromatherapy stand ready with advice to help harried homeowners create a stress-free destination, and an environment that inspires inner peace. Stress can be associated with the idea of managing a space in a home ,according to Sandy Hook interior designer Lisa Mason. She said one of the main reasons people call on her is because they feel overwhelmed by projects. Ms Mason said the first thing she does when she arrives at clients’ homes is putting “the big picture into manageable pieces.� Many people are interested in redesigning kitchens right now, Ms Mason said, and that kind of “really big� project can be stressful. A popular trend has been to incorporate the kitchen, living room, and eating area as one space. “People are taking down walls. It’s becoming the hearth — the center of the whole home,� said Ms Mason, adding that the trend can also contribute to relieving stress. Enjoying being together with family and friends in that kind of barrier-free space, she said, can help stress melt away. Ms Mason has plenty of tips for decorating for a stress-free space. “I do find there are ways to make your home stress-free by addressing a couple of things,� Ms Mason said. The first step is to declutter, she said. Homes can become filled with piles or papers or unorganized toys to the point where it starts to feel ordinary for the people living in the space. When she enters a space in need of decluttering, Ms Mason said she begins by reorganizing for her clients. “Decluttering is very important,� said Ms

paying attention to the design of a home, according to Ms Mason.

Essential Oil Medallions made by the ScentsAbility Project, founded by Michelle Brissette, is one of the recommended ways Ronna Brier with CT Counselors suggested using essential oils for aromatherapy. —Bee Photo, Hallabeck Mason. “Then purging would be the next thing.� Ms Mason recommended using bins to separate what to keep, question, and what should be disposed of — maybe to charities or consignment shops. Some social media sites also provide a place for selling used items. Organizing bills and paperwork is also a good idea. “You are always walking by and thinking, ‘I have to do this, I have to do that,’ which is also stressful,� said Ms Mason. Instead of allowing paperwork to pile up, buy baskets from a home organizational store to put it in, Ms Mason said, or create a space in your home to be an office. “A room that you go to, where you know what you have to do there, and you can you close the door and you can attend to matters,� Ms Mason said. Dedicating a room to a hobby is also a good idea, if possible, Ms Mason said, add-

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ing that she has a “zen room� in her home. People can enter the room first thing in the morning to meditate or decompress with morning coffee. “It is a peaceful room,� said Ms Mason. For a zen or mediation room, Ms Mason suggests using soothing or uplifting colors like blue-grays, soft peaches, or bright yellow. Paint work, water fountains, and soft curtains can be used to decorate a room for this type of use. “I call it my zen room, but it really is a peaceful place to go in the morning,� said Ms Mason. Ms Mason also uses the Chinese system of feng shui to design spaces for some of her clients. “It’s the practice of creating harmony in your home by moving things around, arranging things, and it gives positive energy and good fortune,� said Ms Mason. Using feng shui is a long process, but it helps to promote different areas of life by

Be In Balance Newtown-based therapist Cathy Roche — a licensed marriage and family therapist who works with children and adults — also practices feng shui in her own office and home, and she teaches feng shui classes through Newtown Continuing Education. “We need to be in balance as much as possible,� Ms Roche said. Ms Roche also had a number of recommendations. She said, “Clutter actually causes stress.� Making sure a space has what is necessary helps. Like Ms Mason, she also suggested using buckets or bins to prioritize items. “Decluttering helps take stress out of our heads,� said Ms Roche, who is teaching a two-class course through Newtown Continuing Education starting September 20 for $29 on “Relieving Your Inner Critic,� to help attendees learn how to identify and befriend their inner critic, through guided meditation, individual processing, and exercises. “Unfortunately, I think a lot of us are moving at the speed of light, and we don’t take the time to slow down and realize what works for me,� said Ms Roche, a big believer that things in a home can bring joy. The items that fuel joy should be prominent to promote those feelings. Whether perceived or real, Ms Roche said stress is “just a factor of everyday� life, and a home can create an oasis, or sanctuary, from those factors. Some people can create an oasis in one part of their home only, Ms Roche said. For couples that can mean designing a space with items that symbolize the happiest part or parts of their union. It can be a place to be together to let go, release stress, and focus on the relationship. Ms Roche suggests visiting a special oasis spot in the home once a week.


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Home & Garden - 15

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

Inner Peace — Through Design With the 2016-17 school year just starting, Ms Roche said local families may feel the yearly chaos of school work, baths, dinner, and sports colliding again. “Life is not going to stop and make space for you,” she said. “You have to stop and make the space for you.” Families can make choices that make life easier for them. Like a student who may need to do homework after releasing energy instead of doing it the moment they get home, Ms Roche said people can learn to create a space that will make them less stressed. Creating a space that is less stressful can contribute to a calm and peaceful household. Conscientiously Breathing Jean Plowman also teaches through Newtown Continuing Education, offering classes on reiki and feng shui. People can look around their home and ask themselves what makes them feel imbalanced, Ms Plowman said. If an item that causes stress cannot be moved, Ms Plowman suggested finding a way to reconcile themselves with the object, especially if it is beloved by someone else in the household. Messy rooms, like a child or teenager’s room, may also cause stress. Instead of screaming, Ms Plowman suggested conscientiously breathing. “Conscious breathing is a form of listening to your breath,” said Ms Plowman. Breathing until the irritation is past, Ms Plowman said, helps alleviate the feeling of stress. A stress-free home involves everything in a person’s life that they encounter during the day, and all of those things should be considered when thinking about creating a stress-free home, Ms Plowman said. “It all begins with us, and when we can calm ourselves, we can go ahead and give the energy feeling, which is reiki,” said Ms Plowman. Ronna Brier offers both aromatherapy and hypnosis meditation out of her Church Hill Road office. She is part of the CT Counselors and Associates group, and she

Local experts offer Home & Garden readers many ideas on how to make your home a stress- and clutter-free destination. teaches psychology at Naugatuck Valley Community College. Most of her clients incorporate aromatherapy with hypnosis sessions, she said, sharing that she uses doTerra essential oil products only, as “they are certified pure therapeutic grade.” Aromatherapy can be used to help address a range of things, like supporting those coping with addiction or those looking to destress. “There are many that can be used just to bring calm,” said Ms Brier. There are also a number of ways people can use essential oils to help promote the sense of calm, motivation, or focus they are searching for. Ms Brier recommended using doTerra products specifically, because of the quality of the products and the company’s established support in the area. Essential oils can be placed on medallions handcrafted through the ScentsAbility Project, a nonprofit organization based

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out of Sandy Hook. The medallions are distributed through Ms Brier at her office and through ScentsAbility Project founder Michelle Brissette. Ms Brier also suggested using doTerra essential oils topically, in a diffuser, or by ingestion, when supplement information is available on the bottle. Lavender is very calming, both emotionally and physically, and ceder wood and sandalwood can also be used. Ms Brier said doTerra offers blends, like ones to promote “uplifting” feelings or a sense of “balance.” She suggested placing a diffuser by the bedside to help fall asleep and stay asleep. Hypnosis To Destress Mr Brier also addressed ways hypnosis can help a person destress in general. “Hypnosis has been shown to be extremely powerful in helping to reduce stress and anxiety,” Ms Brier said. “Hypnosis is a very natural state that most of us get into

almost daily. If you’ve ever been totally engrossed in a movie or sporting event and you could hear the sounds going on around you, but they didn’t distract you from your focus, then you’ve experienced hypnosis. Unfortunately, many people view hypnosis as brainwashing, which it is not. Because of this, they may be afraid to try this natural and drug-free way of reducing stress, anxiety and improving sleep habits.” She described hypnosis as a state of heightened focus and concentration. “When in this heightened state, your mind is open to change,” she said. “This is why it is so effective in changing behaviors such as smoking, overeating, and phobias. Relaxation can also occur when in this state. When we are stressed due to life circumstances such as health, work, financial, or relationship issues, to name a few, our body creates a stress response which can present in our physical body in ways such as increased blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, anger, frustration, unhappiness, etc. When in hypnosis, one is in a deep state of relaxation. This deep state reduces stress in and of itself. With the help of a hypnotist, stress reduction can be longlasting.” Ms Brier said she teacher all of her clients self-hypnosis skills so they can use them anytime, including at home. “Many prestigious medical institutions are using hypnosis as a means of helping to reduce stress and anxiety for those diagnosed with cancer as well as dealing with issues of pain relief. I believe this mainstream medical acceptance of hypnosis for stress reduction speaks to the power of this natural and effective way to help our bodies physically and mentally,” she said. Ms Brier said she practices hypnosis in conjunction with aromatherapy, reiki, and muscle testing to help her clients achieve lasting success in dealing with stress. “Stress is becoming more common and, unfortunately, when left unchecked has been shown to have a connection to a depressed immune system, which can lead to illness,” said Ms Brier.

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Home & Garden - 17

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

New Survey Shows Many Homeowners Lack Financial Protections To Withstand Unexpected Disasters ALEXANDRIA, VA. — As disaster season peaks, a new national consumer survey commissioned by Trusted Choice and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA), reveals that many homeowners lack adequate insurance coverage, do not fully understand their homeowners policies, and do not have enough savings to support their households in the event of a disaster. The August 2016 homeowner survey found: *At least 73 percent of respondents do not have a flood insurance policy that is separate from their homeowners coverage; *More than 40 percent of those surveyed do not have or do not know if they have coverage that will fully replace their belongings and home in the event of a disaster; *At least 28 percent of homeowners polled do not have enough savings to support their households for even one month after a disaster if they had to leave their home. Only one-third said they could support their household for more than three months in this circumstance. *Less than one-third of respondents have an up-to-date and complete home inventory stored away from their premises. “Most people think that a basic homeowners policy will cover them in the event of a disaster; however, these new findings highlight that a startling number of homeowners have not taken some of the most basic steps to adequately prepare for a disaster such as a hurricane, flood or fire,” says Robert Rus-

buldt, Trusted Choice president and IIABA president and CEO. “This is disturbing as hurricane and wildfire seasons are about to peak, affecting many parts of the country.” With almost three-quarters of respondents lacking proper flood insurance coverage, they are completely vulnerable and have no protection from damage caused by rising water or flooding, including common problems such as seepage of underground water into a home, leaky roofs, and toppled trees from saturated soil. According to FEMA, floods

are the leading disaster in the United States, and people outside high-risk flood areas file more than one-fifth of all National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance claims. “It is very troubling — with flooding being so pervasive and hurricane season in full swing — that this large majority of homeowners is risking everything,” says Madelyn Flannagan, IIABA vice president of agent development, research and education. “A little planning and knowledge can go a long way. Homeowners should consult with their inde-

pendent insurance agent to find out more about flood coverage and other gaps in their insurance.” The survey also showed a lack of basic understanding regarding standard homeowners insurance coverage. More than one-fifth of survey respondents did not know whether they have replacement cost coverage for their belongings and home (which allows them to replace lost possessions with new items) or if they have actual cash value coverage (which takes depreciation of the structure and per-

After Superstorm Sandy flooded his Fairfield home, The Connecticut Mirror followed the story of Dick Dmochowski, who purchased flood insurance when he bought his home in 2000 because he had a mortgage. But when he paid it off a few years later, he canceled the insurance leaving him unprotected. A new national survey revealed that many homeowners lack adequate insurance coverage, and do not fully understand their homeowners policies and do not have enough savings to support their households in the event of a disaster. —Courtesy CT Mirror

sonal items into consideration). In most standard homeowners policies actual cash value is the default coverage. “The risk of financial ruin in the event of a major disaster is significantly higher for those homeowners who have only actual cash value coverage because they cannot fully recoup their losses,” continues Ms Flannagan. “Sadly, this survey shows that only 58 percent have replacement cost coverage. Trusted Choice recommends homeowners purchase replacement cost coverage and take a hard look at their finances to ensure they are prepared.” Unfortunately, this new research shows that more than half of those surveyed (56 percent) have just enough savings to support their households for three months or less if they had to temporarily move away as a result of a disaster to their property. Notably, 28 percent said they could not sustain for even a month. Most alarming, 14 percent of those surveyed reported that their savings would be drained in less than a week. For off-premises living expenses in these cases, a standard homeowners policy provides only limited protection (usually 10 percent of the coverage on a home) and a flood policy provides no coverage. Trusted Choice educates consumers about the benefits of using independent agents and brokers for their insurance needs: choice of companies, customized policies, and advocacy support. For more information, go to

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18 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Southeast Kitchen & Bath Delivers State-Of-The-Art Products, Seasoned Craftsmanship BY JOHN VOKET Anthony Palladino of Southeast Kitchen & Bath, LLC (SKB) has been applying his personal touch building, renovating, and improving homes in southeastern New York and western Connecticut for more than 40 years. But like a handful of other regional business owners over the years — from Crazy Eddie hawking home appliances and electronics to Bob Kaufman whose retail furniture ads seem to be everywhere — Mr Palladino is sometimes more recognized from his own commercials and crafty catch phrase. “I was on a trip to Florida recently, and as I was walking through a restaurant a group of people yelled out — ‘So, who’s doing your kitchen?’ — and I realized that I had been doing that catch phrase on my commercials for so long that I guess I’ve become something of a recognizable personality,” he said laughing. But Mr Palladino’s acting talent appears to be far outpaced by his ability to meld old-world craftsmanship, diplomatic customer relations, and an astute eye for recommending kitchen and bathroom trends that have both extreme practicality and staying power. “I started building houses in 1973, and started this kitchen and bath business in ‘79,” he said during a visit to Mr Palladino’s downtown Bethel shop. “Back then I found there was no place to send my customers for cabinets, countertops, and other design features once I built their house.” But over the past 43 years, Mr Palladino has seen kitchen and bath industries evolve to global proportions. “Back when I opened my first shop, you had three choices of wood for cabinets — dark, medium, and light,” he recalled. “And the hardware that came on the cabinet was what you got — take it or leave it. Today, the choices and options for everything from the wood or facing materials to the hardware are endless.” While Mr Palladino, who learned the basics from his father, and his workforce, which includes his son, are fully capable of delivering a customer a finished house from the foundation on up,the predominant work he continues to do in Newtown, Southbury, and Bethel involves remodeling or installing kitchens and bathrooms. “A lot of the homes built in the 1980s and 90s were put up so fast and sold so quickly, that the finishing touches were not the best in the world. They were not the cheapest, but they weren’t the best, either,” he said. That is not to say, however, that the majority of Mr Palladino’s customer come to him looking for an ultramodern rehab. “Most of the styles we continue to do today involve more of a timeless look. That is to say that the kitchens we do today will still look good 20 years from now,” he said. “And a lot of our customers’ appreciation for that I think comes from them watching all kinds of home improvement and DIY television programs. They’re actually staying away from trendy stuff unless you’re working down close to or in New York City.” A Timeless Envelope Although the envelope that Southeast Kitchen & Bath teams create in homes may embody classic, timeless features, Mr Palladino still keeps his clients

According to owner Anthony Palladino, most Southeast Kitchen & Bath clients are looking for quality materials and timeless designs that will last and look as good as new 20 years or more down the road.

said most clients are sticking to more simple and traditional milling and surfacing. “White cabinets, raised or flat panel doors, and the Shaker look with complimentary wood floors is just dominating the market right now,” he said. Southeast installs these natural flooring materials with a triple-coat polyurethane sealant to keep them performing in top condition for many years. “The water-soluble finishes can wear off in a matter of a few years, but a triple coat polyurethane finish can last 20, 25, 30 years depending on traffic and animals,” he said. “If you have a dog dish in the same spot for eight or ten years and you start getting a dark spot, you can resand and refinish just the spot. With tile, if that water gets under it into the wood, it’s all going to buckle and you have a much more costly repair.”

Southeast Kitchen & Bath clients visiting the Bethel showroom at 101 Greenwood Avenue can peruse hundreds of samples of countertops, floor covering, fixtures, accessories, and design ideas. up to speed on the latest, best appliances and smart appliance technologies that are exploding onto the scene. “Many of the hottest new appliances, and even the cabinet accessories, have brand-new technology — but they still come in standard sizes that fit most of the envelopes we create with counters and cabinets,” he said. “The newer ranges may involve a need to put in new electrical wiring to accommodate increased power consumption, they draw more current. And if things like cooktops need to be replaced, and the newer models are not exactly the same size or shape, we can refit it into an existing surface, even granite.” One of the popular lines of cooktops Mr Palladino is recommending to clients offers instant induction heat. “It’s electric, but it operates just like a gas stove. As soon as you turn it on it’s hot. It can boil water almost immediately, and once you turn it off, it’s cold to the touch in a matter of seconds. But you need special pots that transfer that energy,” he said. “Other people prefer to keep their gas for cooking appliances because they’re used to the feel and the control of live fire.” Spreading out beyond the countertop, Mr Palladino

Good-bye Microwave? Commercial-grade ranges have dominated the purview of many of Mr Palladino’s clients for years, along with the split or French door and lower freezer unit refrigerators, he said. And stainless fronts carry the day when it comes to easy-to-clean and maintain surfaces. “Microwaves are actually not as prevalent as they once were,” he said. “People aren’t cooking meals anymore in the microwave. They have turned into an accessory appliance for heating up coffee, making popcorn, or reheating leftovers. It’s a warming device.” Instead, more of his clients are going for warming drawers that sit below single or double oven configurations. And small second refrigerators are getting more popular — especially for beverages like sodas and beer that people want to keep separate from the food in their main fridge, he said. Countertops and back splashes made of understated and highly durable quartz are another product Mr Palladino is installing more and more lately. “It’s quartz ground up and mixed with colors, resins, and then molded. It doesn’t stain and if you didn’t know it wasn’t granite, you couldn’t tell the difference. It’s a little more pricey than granite, but the granite we sell is also pretty durable. It has a 15-year guaranteed sealer,” he said. “The quartz you never have to seal, and it does have a slightly different look than granite. Right now I’m installing the quartz surfaces in about 50 percent of my jobs.” Opening The Flow Southeast Kitchen & Bath clients are also incorporating another trend in interior design — opening up spaces to create a single gathering space that may have previously been separate kitchens, dining and living rooms. “They’re taking walls down and opening the flow,” he said. “I call it a party area. “And since we also build houses, we know how to create one gigantic room without compromising the structural integrity. There are structural products that have come on the market to make that easier, but when I go into a house, people get leery. But if we were building the house from scratch, the envelope would still be the same. But those walls just wouldn’t be there. And when we do have to involve a bearing wall, we put in structural beams that still work with that open design, but they carry the load.”

Southeast Kitchen & Bath owner and founder Anthony Palladino and Bethel showroom manager Robin Wolf stand in the company’s showroom at 101 Greenwood Avenue. —Bee Photos, Voket

Home & Garden - 19

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

From simple pedestal sinks for small bathrooms to ambitious double vanities for his and her, Southeast Kitchen & Bath offers a huge variety of styles and fixtures.

Since 1973, Southeast Kitchen & Bath founder Anthony Palladino has been advising and outfitting clients’ homes from metro New York, to southern Litchfield County. His local showroom is located in Bethel at 101 Greenwood Avenue.

One recent project in Brewster took three separate rooms and converted them into a single 1,200-squarefoot gathering space with the new kitchen at its center. “As far as cabinets go, I think we’ve hit the mark with hardware,” he said. “There’s all kinds of innovative interiors — lazy Susans, extended depth drawers, and soft closures are pretty much part of all our new kitchens. They just keep coming up with new finishes and stains. We even have one supplier that will deliver the cabinets prepainted with virtually any color you can find.” Moving to the bathroom, Mr Palladino said the biggest trend is “throwing out the whirlpool tubs as fast as you can,” and replacing them with huge, zero-entry

or walk in “open showers.” “The day of the whirlpool tub is pretty much gone,” he said. “Today very few people have time to take a bath. So they opt for a shower they can walk into and out of quickly.” For clients with wells or low pressure public water supplies who demand heavy-drawing surround shower fixtures, Mr Palladino can install a separate pressure tank that will keep water flowing strong through those multihead fixtures. Big vanities and double sinks are also popular with Southeast clients, especially when they scrap the tub and reconfigure baths that formerly had both tubs and showers. “You already have that extra water piping and

drain, so we’re doing his and hers vanities. It’s not like you have to replumb the whole building,” he said. “Comfort height toilets, along with chrome and white accents are very big; people are coming in looking to go back to chrome because it’s easy to keep clean. You just wipe it and you’re done.” To learn more about the products and services offered by Palladino Building, Inc and Southeast Kitchen & Bath in Bethel, reach office manager Robin Wolf at 203-748-9000. Or visit company locations at 101 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel or in Brewster, Pawling, or Mahopac, N.Y. To schedule an appointment or consultation, call 845-278-0070, or visit or check out the company’s Facebook page.

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20 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Local Mulch Suppliers Can Help Homeowners With Low Maintenance Landscaping BY JOHN VOKET According to the UConn Home and Garden Education Center (ladybug.uconn. edu), mulches are one of a gardener’s most valuable tools — and an essential component of low-maintenance landscapes. And when it comes to accessing a variety of mulch products, Newtown is a virtual wood chip gold mine, with more than a half-dozen suppliers doing business within just a few minutes drive from anywhere in town. Abigail A. Maynard, PhD, with the Department of Forestry and Horticulture at New Haven’s Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, offers some basic information to residents who may be new to the concept of mulching around their property. Dr Maynard identifies mulch as “any material used to cover the surface of the soil to protect plant roots from heat, cold, or drought, to keep fruit clean, or to control weeds.” She says mulch will improve plant growth and produce higher yields. By reducing the loss of soil moisture, mulches reduce the frequency of watering, and prevent the splattering of soil on lower vegetable leaves and fruit during rains, thus reducing losses to soil-borne diseases. Therefore, when applying any mulch, Dr Maynard advises that your soil surface should be weed-free and contain abundant moisture. There are two types of mulching materials: organic and synthetic. Organic mulches include partially decomposed hay, straw, leaves, compost, and grass clippings. Organic mulches are summer mulches, since most of their advantages are realized in hot weather. Organic mulches cool the soil and should be applied to warm-season vegetables after the soil has warmed and when plants are well established. The mulch should be applied 4-6 inches deep after the plants are at least 8 inches tall. These organic mulches also benefit coolseason vegetables, such as broccoli and cabbage. Applied in the early spring, they can extend the growing and harvest period by delaying warming of the soil, Dr Maynard says. Most organic mulches have some fertilizer value and are good soil conditioners when worked into the soil. They improve both the physical and chemical properties of soil, as well as its water-holding capacity, nutrient availability, and aeration of the soil. Organic Vs Inorganic The Home and Garden Education Center’s Labybug blog helps newbies to mulching understand the different types of materials available. Organic mulches are derived from natural materials that decompose over time. As organic mulches decompose, they add nutrients and organic matter to the soil and beneficial microorganisms like nitrifying bacteria and mycorrhizal fungi are

Huge piles of wood mulch chips are visible on the property of Lenahan Landclearing & Grinding in Sandy Hook. The company is one of more than eight suppliers of mulch products in, or within a short drive from Newtown. —Bee Photo, Bobowick enhanced while undesirable pathogens — those that cause plant diseases — are inhibited. Increased amounts of organic matter will improve soil tilth and drainage, increase soil moisture retention, reduce soil compaction, and attract earthworms, the blog states. Because organic mulches decompose, they need to be replaced, and, depending on the type of mulch used, replacement intervals vary from one to four years. Inorganic mulches include stones, geotextile mats and landscape fabrics, and plastic mulches. Landscape fabrics and plastic mulches deteriorate with time and eventually require replacement. Inorganic mulches usually are more tedious to install and may require irrigation because water penetration may be limited, the blog states. Some inorganic mulches are designed to reflect the sky to confuse and keep insects from landing on plants, but many do not have a natural appearance and are often covered by an organic mulch for decorative purposes. When shopping for mulch products, the UConn blog advises consumers to be vigilant about two specific things: Sour mulch: If a mulch smells like alcohol, vinegar, ammonia, or sulfur it is probably “sour.” The smell is created when a wood-derived mulch is piled high and the inside portion of the pile is deprived of oxy-

gen. This causes anaerobic activity, which creates a build-up of acetic acid in the mulch. The acid build-up is toxic to plants, and if the mulch is spread on the landscape without treatment, the volatile acid will quickly cause plants to wilt and subsequently die. Sour mulch can be treated by spreading it out thinly, soaking it with water, and allowing it to dry. After a few days of airing out, the smell should be gone and the mulch is safe to spread around plants. Recycled wood product mulches: Some companies recycle discarded wood and wood-based products by shredding them and adding a coloring agent to make them appear suitable for use in the landscape. These commercially produced mulches may decompose faster than natural bark mulches and may contain undesirable substances for use in vegetable gardens and children’s play areas. How-To Tips When applying mulch, the Ladybug blog advises the following: *Do not place mulch directly against plant crowns or tree bases. Mulch placed directly in contact with stems or tree trunks may retain excess moisture around the base of the plant that can favor the development of diseases like crown rot. Mulch piled around plants may also serve as lodging for bark- and stem-eating rodents. *Mulch applied too thickly can cause problems. A wood-derived mulch may undergo high temperature decomposition causing it to dry out. The mulch may then be colonized by fungi that create waterrepellent conditions throughout the mulch. Water is unable to penetrate the mulch and reach the soil and plants fail to receive adequate moisture. Mulching too deeply can also cause the soil to remain continu-

ously wet, contributing to root and stem rot problems in addition to depriving plants of needed oxygen. Apply a mulch layer no more than 1 to 3 inches thick. *Thoroughly water newly installed wood or bark mulches. Many good quality mulches are stored in large piles that reach high temperatures. When the mulch is spread or bagged, the high-temperature tolerant microorganisms that inhabit the mulch die as the mulch cools. If the mulch is allowed to dry out or remain dry, nuisance fungi can colonize the mulch and create a water-repellent surface. *Add a source of nitrogen to garden soils before applying wood-derived mulches. Soil microorganisms that decompose organic materials such as wood-based mulches are effective competitors for limited soil nitrogen. This may cause temporary nitrogen deficiencies especially in annual and perennial plants. Yellowing of leaves often indicates a nitrogen deficiency. Lightly incorporate a source of nitrogen such as bloodmeal, urea, or a high nitrogen lawn fertilizer before applying mulch. See the list below to find a local supplier: Newtown Mulch 144 Mt Pleasant Road, Newtown Contact: Jeremy Kasterlein at 203-525 4042 Ferris Mulch / Total Landscape & Tree Service 6 Plumtrees Road, Danbury Contact: Becky Ferris at 203-790 1155 Hollandia Nurseries Old Hawleyville Road, Bethel Contact: Kathy Krizian at 203-743-6636 Benedict’s Home & Garden 480 Purdy Hill Road, Monroe Contact: Bruce Benedict at 203-268-2537 Newtown Hardware 61 Church Hill Road, Newtown Contact: Mike Sorrentino at 203-426-4076 Southbury Stone 55 Bullet Hill Road, Southbury Contact: Jen Stone or Mike Casper at 203-264-1118

From simple accents to extravagant applications, wood mulch can be used to both beautify and enhance the environmental health of one’s property.

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Home & Garden - 21

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee



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22 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Are You Protecting Your Pets From Poisonous Indoor And Outdoor Plants?

BY A LISSA SILBER Whether decorating the interior of a home with potted plants and cut flowers, or building a blooming garden full of flora, pet owners should be aware of what may be poisonous to their animals. There are many common plants that may be beautiful to people, but can come at a devastating price to curious cats and dogs that may be drawn to chewing or ingesting these seemingly harmless greens. These hidden hazards come in a variety of forms from petals to leaves to bulbs to bark, and stores selling them do not legally need to specify if a plant is toxic to animals. With customers unable to detect if a plant is poisonous based on its label, it is that much more important that responsible pet owners educate themselves on what they are bringing into their home or yard. Critical care veterinarian Adam Porter, DMV, from Newtown Veterinary Specialists (NVS) said the number one toxicity issue that vets face for cats is lilies. If a cat chews on the leaves and ingests a “true lily,” which come in the form of Easter lilies, day lilies, tiger lilies, Japanese lilies, and stargazer lilies, they can be poisoned and sustain a serious, sometimes lifelong injury. Even the smallest exposure, such as cats sniffing the plant, getting the pollen on their nose, and then cleaning themselves, can cause the toxicity to get into their system. Dr Porter said the reason feline lily ingestion is a primary plant concern is, “Because of the toxic principle, exposure to any of the components of the flower can cause severe damage to the kidneys and near death, especially if left untreated.” Unfortunately, not every cat survives after being poisoned by lilies. “Of the ones that I have treated, we have gotten a number of those animals through it, whether it was through basic supportive care or all the way to dialysis, but certainly we have also lost a number of them to it.” Meanwhile, peace lilies are not considered a classic lily and are not fatal. It does, however, cause irritation in the mouth and gastrointestinal (GI) signs, but are not renal toxic to cats. Another highly toxic plant is the sago palm. It is an ornamental plant that can cause pets to have significant liver injury/failure, jaundice, coagulation deficits, or even death. According to the ASPCA, other poisonous plants include, but are not limited to, aloe vera, baby’s breath, carnations, chrysanthemum, daffodils, hyacinth, laurels, morning glory, poinsettias, rhododendron, rhubarb leaves, shamrocks, and tulips. Food items grown in gardens, including orange, onion, and tomato plants, can be toxic to animals, as can wild fungi like mushrooms. Also, marijuana is significantly toxic to dogs and cats, whether it is ingested as the raw plant or cooked in food. When ingested, animals will show neurological problems and will urinate on themselves. Fortunately, it is not a deadly toxin and most animals will get better as time goes on. Some trees can also be poisonous, especially to dogs who chew on sticks and twigs. Two in particular are the black locus and the yew. The black locus has robin and robitin toxins that cause GI signs, depression, ataxia (loss of full control of body movements), organ failure, and possible death. The ornamental yew tree, has small red berries that are nontoxic; however, the seeds inside them are toxic. The tree contains the taxine toxin that causes acute cardiac failure, tremors or seizures, and death. The bark, leaves, and seeds of the yew are all highly toxic.

Plant-Based Hazards Dr Jarek Guzy and his wife/manager Kasia Guzy of Berkshire Veterinary Hospital have seen cases where pets have been poisoned by products around the home that contain elements from living plants. “Sometimes plants that are in the form of pills, like supplements, that people might take [are toxic],” Mrs Guzy said. Dr Guzy explained that the chemical Xylitol, which is a sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, is toxic and can be fatal to dogs. Xylitol can naturally be found in low quantities in the fibers of fruits, vegetables, and birch trees, but in its granule form that consumers can purchase, “It’s dangerous, because it is concentrated,” said Mrs Guzy. Also, essential oils can be toxic to cats because of their sensitive noses and thin skin. Cats also cannot metabolize the compounds in essential oils, which allow the toxins to build within their bodies. Essential oils such as peppermint, sage, citrus, lavender, wintergreen, and pine are poisonous to cats. Dr Porter explained, “There are a couple different toxic principles that we really worry about. One of the big ones are things that contain digitalis-type

The morning glory is toxic to both cats and dogs. According to the ASPCA, it causes gastrointestinal upset, agitation, disorientation, ataxia, anorexia, and tremors. The seeds may cause hallucinations and diarrhea. —Bee Photos, Silber toxins.” Cardiac medications with digoxin are used for people and animals as a therapeutic medication, and are derived from plants with digitalis. “It helps to control arrhythmias at the correct doses,” Dr Porter elaborated, “but because some of these plants have very high doses in them, the drug is also arrhythmagenic, meaning it actually generates issues too. So, if given in high concentrations, you can take a healthy heart and make it a very sick heart and actually put them into cardiac failure and death.” Dr Porter continued, “Foxglove and oleander are the two common ones that have cardiac glycosides in them.” Foxglove is a wildflower and also a garden flower

Rhododendrons are toxic to dogs, cats, and even horses. Ingesting just a couple leaves can cause devastating problems. The ASPCA lists clinical signs as vomiting, diarrhea, and hypersalivation, as well as severe cases like coma, cardiovascular collapse, and death.

whose scientific name is actually “digitalis.” When pets ingest foxglove, the toxin first shows its effects with GI signs, but can lead to cardiac arrhythmia and death. Oleander has an element called nerium that is similar to digoxin. When consumed, animals exhibit GI signs, difficulty breathing, tremoring, cardiac failure, and death. Another plant that has a particularly devastating toxin is the castor bean. It is not native to the area, but people still sometimes use it as an ornamental plant. The toxic principle in castor beans is called ricin, and it is an element used in chemical warfare. It is one of the most highly toxic plants someone can come across. “One of the big overall categories of toxic plants,” Dr Porter added, “are ones that have calcium oxalate crystals in them.” Calcium oxalate crystals can be found in caladium, sometimes better known as elephant ears or the mother-in-law plant. Oral irritation can occur if cats, dogs, or even people eat the leaves. The house plant dumb cane is similar to caladium. Despite not being deadly, it causes dramatic symptoms when an animal chews on its leaves, including hypersalivation, swelling, burning sensation, and vomiting. Dr Porter said, “The standard abnormalities for any toxin are going to be if you see: hypersalivation, vomiting, sudden onset of anorexium [not wanting to eat anything], depression, or if they are drinking water excessively and urinating excessively.” Drinking and urinating more than normal is usually an indication that there has been injury to the kidney. An animal’s body will naturally try to reject the poison and results in outward gastrointestinal signs. “Generally the toxicities are going to manifest between 12 and 24 hours,” Dr Porter explained. “The duration of effect is dependent on the toxicity; something like lilies can cause a lifetime effect.” Treatment Rakesh Vali, DVM, from Mt Pleasant Animal Hospital sees about three to five cases a year of animals ingesting toxic plants. He explained that the survival rate is “mostly [a] very good prognosis” and “depends on the type of ingestion and how soon the treatment is done.” The best thing to do once a pet owner sees their pet ingest something is to assess if it is potentially hazardous. If unsure or there is a concern, call the animal’s regular veterinarian or a poison helpline. The helpline can be utilized if poisoning occurs out of a vet’s regular hours. Dr Vali, Dr Guzy, and Dr Porter all recommend using the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) in case of emergencies. The APCC is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and its number is 888-426-4435. Despite there being a moderate consultation fee of $65 associated with calling, immediate call centers will provide the educated advice of recommending veterinary care or saying it is going to be okay. If an animal does, in fact, need veterinary care, time is crucial for helping them get better. If the owner knows the source of the problem, taking a clipping of the plant or referring to the plant’s identifier label is ideal. Dr Porter said, “If it is something transient, we can make them feel better faster or if it is something potentially fatal the sooner we can get to them the better we can get them through it.” Once the animal has come into the care of their regular vet or an emergency specialist, the first priority will be decontamination where the vet will try to get the toxin out. If the dog or cat is not already throwing up, the vet can induce vomiting with certain IV medications. Then, based off of recommendations by poison control, if a case has a toxin that can be absorbed by charcoal, after the vet induces vomiting to clear the stomach (evacuating remaining toxins), the vomiting can be halted andan activated charcoal administered to bind the toxins in the system. This particular method only works for certain toxins so that it does not go into the bloodstream. Then the animal can defecate out any more that remains. Depending on what the toxin is, the steps after may include IV fluid diuresis. This process flushes out the system and is especially helpful if the toxin is water soluble, dissolves in blood, and can be peed out. Then if the plant was toxic to the heart, the vet may use an anti-arrhythmics or if the toxin is distressing the liver, vets can use liver supportive medication. With that in mind, pets being poisoned by indoor and outdoor plants can be a preventable issue. When shopping for a plant to add some life to a house or garden, make sure it does not negatively affect the life of the animals nearby.

Home & Garden - 23

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

Is Your A/C Uncool? BBB Has Tips On Selecting A New One CROMWELL — Is your air conditioning system no longer as cool as it used to be? Did your HVAC system struggled during this summer’s heat wave but didn’t deliver? Connecticut Better Business Bureau recommends following a checklist to determine whether it is time to replace it. Start with the unit’s age. The average lifespan of a central air conditioning system is between 15 and 20 years. Air conditioners, like furnaces and cars, have a limited lifespan. Some consumers can extend the useful life of central air conditioning by performing annual maintenance and repairing the unit when needed. When repair bills start adding up over a short period, it may be time to pull the plug on the old unit. Other signs that you may need a new air conditioner include: *Thermostat problems *Poor air flow *Substandard performance *Strange sounds *Strange odors According to BBB, you can find out the extent of the problems and the estimated remaining life by consulting an expert contractor. It may be a simple problems

like a bad part, but if there are major difficulties with the compressor system, it would likely be better to begin shopping around for a replacement. Homeowners may choose an expert HVAC contractor from the Accredited Business Directory at BBB recommends that consumers pricing new A/C units or systems obtain estimates from three companies to make sure you fully understand what may be needed and to compare estimated costs. New technology over the past several years allow a number of substantial cost savings, such as improved indoor air quality and significant improvements in efficiency. New air conditioners reduce carbon emissions, and most important, they require an impressive 30 to 50 percent less energy to operate, resulting in lower summer electricity bills. They are also quieter than older central air systems. Price is always a major consideration. A central air conditioner can cost between $3,000 and $10,000, BBB says. The price will depend to on, among other criteria, the size of your home and quality of the system you want to buy. Estimates from 2014 reveal the cost for cooling a typical home with a new central air unit is $5,200. The actual cost may vary.

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Connecticut Better Business Bureau offers the following tips on replacing your air conditioning system: *Don’t go for the lowest price — A low price does not always equal the best value. A higher efficiency system might cost an extra $800 up front, but could save you $300 per year in energy costs. Don’t forget to ask whether there are any available manufacturer’s rebates. *Consider a maintenance contract — This can come in handy when a system needs repairs at the worst times — like during the recent heat wave. *Get a programmable thermostat — Most consumers who have them don’t use them. A programmable thermostat can help you save even more money than having the unit on all day long. *Temporary fix with window units — This may buy you some time until it is convenient to have the major work done. If health and safety are an immediate concern, buy a few window units *Check your furnace too — The AC and furnace may have been installed together. Have it evaluated by the expert, and obtain several estimates before signing a contract. For additional tips and advice you can trust, or to select a trustworthy BBB Accredited Business, visit

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24 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Newtown Homeowners Can Recycle Paint, Mattresses Locally BY JOHN VOKET Does your fall checklist includes replacing that too lumpy mattress? Or maybe your basement, garage, or storage shed is stacked with partially empty paint cans. Newtown residents who are looking to get rid of old mattresses or leftover quantities of partially used paints do not have to travel far for a solution. The Newtown landfill should be your destination if residents are looking for the closest and easiest place to recycle old and used mattresses. And locally, both Newtown Hardware at 61 Church Hill Road and the Sherwin Williams retail store in Botsford at 255 South Main Street are now participating in Connecticut’s paint recycling initiative. Newtown hardware owner Michael Sorrentino said the program has been very successful and well-received among his customers. “We just have to ask people to try and limit the amount of cans brought during each visit to ten,” he said during a recent visit to the store. “You wouldn’t believe how many of these old cans some people have stored away.” PaintCare, a Washington, DC-based product stewardship organization for the paint industry, launched the program responsible for the recycling of unused and leftover paint in 2013. Legislation for the plan was signed into law by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. “With programs like PaintCare Connecticut, we are moving the state toward a safer and more efficient 21st Century method of handling recyclables and waste disposal,” said Gov Malloy. “Paint recycling now joins our electronic waste and mattress recycling programs as another example of a common sense, money-saving solution. We are taking the lead on transforming and modernizing our recycling system while gaining greater value from waste materials, reducing waste through improved materials management, protecting our environment, and lowering costs for municipalities, businesses, and consumers.” Created by the American Coatings Association (ACA), a membership organization of paint manufacturers, PaintCare is a nonprofit organization tasked with working with state and local government to develop paint product stewardship legislation; secure permanent, year-round drop-off and collection sites; conduct public outreach/education; and operate ongoing programs in each state for the recycling of postconsumer paint. Paint Recycling Guidelines PaintCare sites accept house paint and primers, stains, sealers, and clear coatings (e.g., shellac and varnish), but not aerosols (spray cans), solvents, and products intended for industrial or non-architectural use. The products accepted are referred to as “PaintCare Products” or “architectural paint” and they must be in containers that are no larger than five gallons in size. Paint must be in its original container and the container must have a label and a secured lid. Drop-off locations cannot accept open or leaking cans. A new law mandates paint manufacturers create and fund an easy-to-use, cost-effective and environmentally responsible program to manage postconsumer paint (unused or leftover). The programs are funded by a minimal “recovery fee” added to the purchase price of paint at retailers throughout participating states. These fees are based on the size of paint container, and range from 35 cents for between a half-pint and one gallon to $1.60 for between one and five gallons. PaintCare drop-off sites are permanent and open year-round making it much more convenient for people to recycle their paint — including latex paint. This will reduce the need for homeowners and paint contractors to wait for Newtown’s annual household hazardous waste events to recycle paint. PaintCare’s initial goal was to estab-

Newtown Hardware owner Michael Sorrentino stands beside the receptical used at his store for residents and others who wish to recycle their old or leftover house paint. Both the local hardware store and the Sherwin Williams retail location in Botsford are drop-off locations for the Connecticut PaintCare program. —Bee Photo, Voket lish approximately 100 drop-off sites throughout Connecticut. PaintCare also pays for transportation and recycling of paint dropped off at some participating household hazardous waste collection programs. Former DEEP Commissioner Daniel Esty said, “We estimate that a staggering five million containers with more than one million gallons of paint are stored in garages and basements across Connecticut. This recycling program means that this leftover paint will be turned into useful new products instead of eventually going into the waste stream. This helps lower the cost and reduce the environmental impact of trash disposal.” As the third program in the nation when it was initiated, PaintCare was eager to begin operations in the Nutmeg State. PaintCare Executive Director Marjaneh Zarrehparvar said at the statewide launch, “It is our goal to ensure that leftover paint is being disposed of in environmentally conscious way on an ongoing basis, and we look forward to working together with retailers and municipalities across Connecticut for years to come. The Product Stewardship Institute, a national nonprofit whose mission is to bring all those involved in the lifecycle of a product to share responsibility for its end-of-life management, helped design the program and legislation implemented at the state level.

Due to the program’s success, other states have worked to introduce similar legislation. Today, PaintCare maintains similar programs in Rhode Island, Vermont, California, Colorado, Minnesota, Maine, Oregon, and the District of Columbia. The following items can be accepted at PaintCare recycling drop-off locations: *Interior and exterior architectural paints: latex, acrylic, water-based, alkyd, oil-based, enamel (including textured coatings) *Deck coatings, floor paints (including elastomeric) *Primers, sealers, undercoaters *Stains *Shellacs, lacquers, varnishes, urethanes (single component) *Waterproofing concrete/masonry/ wood sealers and repellents (not tar or bitumen-based) *Metal coatings, rust preventatives *Field and lawn paints Mattress Recycling Trendsetter For some time, Connecticut was the only state in the nation that had adopted a mattress recycling program. But according to, California and Rhode Island now also have adopted the practice. In May 2015, the statewide program launched to great success. Known as Bye Bye Mattress, this initiative much like the paint program is administered by an industry trade group.

This graphic, courtesy of Second Chance Recycling, illustrates how virtually every entire mattress can be reused. Newtown residents can recycle their old mattresses at the town landfill, or transport them to a regional recycling facility in Bridgeport for a small refund.

That organization, the Mattress Recycling Council (MRC) is a nonprofit organization created by the mattress industry to develop and manage the state mattress recycling program mandated by law in 2013. Each year, 35 to 40 million new mattresses and box springs are sold in the United States, and at least 15 to 20 million used mattresses and box springs are discarded. But recycling provides a number of important benefits: *Conserves resources by making used steel, foam, and other materials available for use in new products *Reduces reliance on incinerators and landfills by diverting mattresses from the waste stream *Reduces the number of illegally dumped mattresses *Creates recycling jobs Consumers are often surprised to learn that more than 80 percent of a used mattress’s components can be recycled — the metal springs, foam, wood, and fibers — and made into new useful products. For example: *The steel springs are recycled as metal scrap and can be melted and used to make new appliances, building materials, and other steel products. *The foam can be turned into carpet underlayment or animal bed padding. *The wooden frames can be shredded to produce landscaping mulch. *The cotton and other fiber can be used in industrial oil filters and other textile applications. “The implementation of this first-inthe-nation mattress stewardship program means previously discarded mattresses will be recycled in an environmentally sound manner, sustaining jobs in Connecticut and resulting in cost savings for municipalities,” said DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee. “This program mirrors similar stewardship programs the state has enacted for electronics, paint, and thermostats. We recognize the Mattress Recycling Council for its commitment to the success of this program and the City of Hartford for its leadership in getting this law passed.” Bye Bye Mattress allows Connecticut residents to drop off used mattresses at participating collection sites and recycling facilities for free. Residents who opt to take their used mattresses to one of the state’s select recycling facilities located in East Hartford or Bridgeport — instead of Newtown’s transfer station — will receive $2 per mattress from the recycler (limit four per person per day/eight per person per year). The Bridgeport site is at 459 Iranistan Avenue. MRC also works with mattress retailers, hotels, military facilities, universities, health care facilities, and other public and private entities in Connecticut to divert mattresses from the solid waste stream. “Working with all stakeholders, the industry has taken a major step toward creating a cost-effective solution to a long-term problem,” said Ryan Trainer, president of MRC. “We designed Connecticut’s program to increase the recycling of used mattress materials by leveraging the existing waste collection infrastructure. MRC is working with many types of businesses and industries to recycle their used mattresses through the program. The Connecticut resident benefits from the no-cost dropoff opportunities. This will both encourage more mattress recycling as well as discourage illegal dumping.” The program is funded through a $9 recycling fee that is collected when a mattress or box spring is sold to Connecticut consumers. Consumers will notice this fee as a separate line item on their receipt. The fee is used to pay for transporting and recycling the discarded mattresses. Learn more by contacting the Newtown Public Works Department at 203-2704300, or visit For more information on PaintCare, paint recycling, and to find local drop-off sites in Connecticut

Home & Garden - 25

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

Fall Gardening Projects Can Include Building A Pollinator-Friendly Environment BY KENDRA BOBOWICK The bees and butterflies would appreciate it “if you suppress that urge to cut everything down” as the gardens fade in the fall and yard cleanups begin, said Mary Gaudet Wilson, with Newtown’s Protect Our Pollinators. The grassroots group, with a growing number of members from Newtown and neighboring communities, suggested leaving some perennials and grasses until spring. Pollinators are the agents (bees, butterflies, and other insects) that move pollen from the male plant to the female to accomplish fertilization. So why leave plants standing after their season ends? Ms Gaudet Wilson says “many beneficial insects will use your garden for overwintering sites in leaf litter, on twigs, even in the top layer of soil.” Clearing out plants could mean the loss of a black swallowtail chrysalis or destroying a native bee nesting site in the hollow of a stem, she said. “Birds find free food in seed heads, pods, and berries, she said “Do not cut down purple coneflowers, black-eyed Susans, sunflowers and other plants with seeds and berries.” Birds will feed from them during the winter. Native plants should also remain standing “since they are most likely to be edible

for local wildlife,” Ms Gaudet Wilson said. And perennials left standing “will help them gather snow, which will insulate the roots when it gets really cold and also add moisture to the soil. Strong perennials in the spring make for better pollinator habitat later on.” Leave the leaves, Ms Gaudet Wilson advised. Those leaves provide wildlife habitat. “Critters from turtles and toads to mammals, birds, beneficial insects and invertebrates rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material. Many moth and butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in the spring,” she said. She suggested allowing fallen leaves to “stay where they fall, chopping them with a mulching mower if needed.” Raked leaves can be used as mulch in garden beds to protect plants and provide shelter for wildlife, she said. Some things can be planted in the fall for a more fragrant and colorful spring. Plant spring bulbs at this time of year, she suggested. “Pollinators particularly appreciate crocus blooms early in the season when other sources of nectar and pollen are not available,” Ms Gaudet Wilson said. Consider reducing lawn area and increasing pollinator habitat by plant-

ing a new garden with pollinatorfriendly perennials, shrubs, and trees. “Fall is a great time to plant as time and snow melt give the roots an opportunity to become established before summer’s heat and draught.” Winter landscapes can be beautiful “where snow and frost will create sparkling landscapes while winter birds appreciate the seeds and berries you left there for them,” Ms Gaudet Wilson said. Another Protect Our Pollinators member, Holly Kocet also sees autumn opportunities to benefit pollinators. In a recent e-mail, she noted that native bees are special pollinators. “Bumble bees and other native bees are active for longer periods of time than their European honeybee cousins,” she said. “They tolerate cooler temperatures, so they are out in the morning and continue pollinating until late in the day. They also appear earlier in spring and remain longer at the end of summer/fall season.” Ms Kocet added, “I think it is important around harvest time for everyone to realize that there is a connection between our pollinators and the bounty of fruits and vegetables we enjoy. Apples, tomatoes, squash, and pumpkins to name a few, all benefit from pollination by honeybees (kept by bee-

keepers) and also our many native bees. Fall is also a great time for planting shrubs, trees, and perennials to benefit important pollinators and enhance our gardens.” Survival of the bumble bee is tenuous, she said. The queen is the only one to survive the winter and must start a new colony every year. “Providing flowers in late summer and early fall is critical in preparing the queen for the long winter ahead,” Ms Kocet said. Naming several plants that “are especially important as nectar sources” include goldenrod, asters, anise hyssop, verbena, cosmos, and zinnia. Homeowners are also encouraged to plant early bloomers such as blueberry, maples, willows, dogwood, and apple trees, and to tolerate dandelions and clovers in their lawn areas which are so beneficial to bumble bees. Continuous bloom of flowers during summer for nectar and pollen is important to sustain the colony to raise young to replace aging bees. “It is critical” for the queen to find food early in spring, not only for herself but to lay eggs and start her new colony. To learn more, or to join the Protect Our Pollinators efforts locally, visit the group’s Facebook page at facebook. com/protectourpollinators/

This huge monarch butterfly spent time feeding on some blossoms in Sandy Hook recently. The Newtown grassroots group Protect Our Pollinators is working to inform residents about ways they can turn their properties into life-sustaining destinations for butterflies, bees, and other critical pollinators. —Bee Photo, Voket Protect Our Pollinators members Mary Gaudet Wilson, left, and Holy Kocet marched this year in the annual Labor Day Parade on September 5.

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26 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Stone Farm Provides Earthy Landscaping Accessories, Reclaimed Stone, Outdoor Kitchens

BY ANDREW GOROSKO A Newtown firm is providing customers a most earthy way to enjoy outdoor living with products including reclaimed landscaping stone that is both functional and decorative, and customized outdoor kitchens — which can be clad with stone veneers. Stephen Singlak, owner of Stone Farm LLC, of Simm Lane, said his firm focuses on how to improve the outdoor living experience for customers. Mr Singlak said he learned recently that Stone Farm LLC has made the “Inc. 5,000 List” of the 5,000 fastest growing fastest-growing private companies in America for the third straight year. Besides its Simm Lane main office/distribution center, Stone Farm operates a Manhattan Studio and Show Garden in New York City, a distribution center in

Uxbridge, Mass, and an office in Newburyport, Mass. Stone Farm is a licensed manufacturer of Stone Age Manufacturing, Inc, products, which use modular masonry technology to build a range of devices fabricated from reinforced concrete. Those outdoor devices include fireplaces, kitchen cabinets, fire pits, and pizza ovens. After the concrete components are assembled, the devices may be clad in various stone veneers that are sold by Stone Farm. The company has a network of about 90 dealers for its products from Maine to Virginia, Mr Singlak said. Stone Farm designs the outdoor kitchens, which are installed by other firms. Stone Farm sells Summerset professional grills, which are fabricated of stainless steel.

Mr Singlak said that a relatively new product that the firm now carries is the “fire boulder.” Fire boulders are large boulders that have a flat side into which a basin is drilled. The fire boulder has a gas line inserted into it through which propane flows to fuel a fire which burns within the stone basin. Stone Farm LLC, has a storage yard at its Simm Lane site where the firm has amassed a large amount of reclaimed stone from different parts of the world for resale to architects, designers, and homeowners for their landscaping projects. According to the firm, “We scour the world to find, harvest, quarry, and repurpose distinctive stone and brick — from one-of-a-kind finds to unique stone we transform into new uses like pavers or pillars, or reclaimed old stone and brick

[that] we cut thin for beautiful veneers.” A Niche Market Mr Singlak said that providing reclaimed stone and brick is a niche market. But he said using such building materials can add greatly to the attractiveness of a property, both indoors and outdoors. The firm is always on the lookout to acquire curbstone, cobblestone, and paving bricks that become available when demolition projects occur. A Stone Farm specialty is creating brick veneers to be used as cladding on interior walls, he said. Such veneer brick is affixed to walls with mortar. “We buy truckloads and truckloads” of used stone items, including brick, that become available through demolition projects, he noted.

Stephen Singlak, president of Stone Farm, LLC, is seen with stacks of Asian A view of Stone Farm LLC’s stockyard where it stores large amounts of planks being stored at the firm’s stockyard. The reclaimed stone was sal- reclaimed stone to be used in various landscaping projects. vaged from a shopping center in China. —Bee Photos, Gorosko


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Home & Garden - 27

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

An outdoor kitchen has a stone veneer fireplace as its centerpiece. Mixed-color brick veneer walls have become a popular item, Mr Singlak said, noting that Stone Farm sells brick veneers of a limited color range, which when assembled provide a visually pleasing color palate on a given wall. Mr Singlak said the firm does not do installation work. Broadly, Stone Farm gathers reclaimed stone from various sources, stores that stone, processes it to some degree, and then distributes it to customers, he said. Among the various reclaimed stone in stock at its storage yard are volumes of curbing stone from Belgium and many Asian planks, which are large paving stones that were used at a shopping center in China. Reclaimed items sold by the company include curbing, cobbles, granite blocks, bricks, building parts, and quarry tailings. The landscaping stone items sold by the firm include Pennsylvania bluestone, giant patio stones, New England fieldstone, ascot gray Vermont slate, and Maine Coast stone.

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28 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

Is Money Going Up the Chimney? How to Make Your Fireplace More Efficient

(StatePoint) — Nothing beats gathering around the fire in winter. Unfortunately, a wood-burning fireplace could be a major source of energy loss in your home, sending utility bills sky high. However, you don’t need to sacrifice the fire to improve your home’s energy efficiency and reduce your heating bills; in fact, it is still possible to convert your wood fireplace into an efficient heat source. Consider a gas fireplace insert. They generate more radiant heat and are cleaner to maintain than traditional masonry-style wood-burning fireplaces, which are a leading source of indoor air loss. “Traditional wood fireplaces add a lot of charm to a home, but they are inefficient — even when they aren’t in use,” says Andy Tesch, brand director of Heat & Glo, the leading manufacturer of innovative gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts. “A gas fireplace insert is a great alternative to maintain the ambiance a fire creates while enhancing efficiency.” A gas fireplace insert is cleaner, too, creating no ash, soot, or smoke. Models like the Escape from Heat & Glo use energy-saving FireBrick technology to increase efficiency and are low maintenance, turning on and off with the flip of a switch. Learn more about the benefits of a gas fireplace insert at If you can’t part with the aroma, crackle, and act of building a real fire, consider pellet and EPA- ertified wood inserts, which can be an easy, clean, and efficient alternative as well. Best Practices If making the upgrade to an insert is not possible, a

There are many styles available to enhance your interior design. This winter, bring together both traditional charm and modern energy efficiency. A few upgrades and habits will allow you to enjoy your fireplace all winter long, while keeping heating bills low.

few simple steps can drastically improve the energy efficiency of your fireplace. Number one, when the fireplace is not in use, close the chimney damper. You’ll prevent warm air and your money from going up and out the chimney. A flue sealer is an affordable, inflatable stopper that fits below the damper to further seal off the chimney and is a worthwhile purchase. Proper maintenance can also go far to improve your fireplace’s efficiency. Have it inspected, maintained, and cleaned annually. Even if you love DIY, you may want to hire a contractor to ensure the job is done safely and thoroughly. Considering adding doors or a cover to the front of your fireplace to help reduce the draft and improve the look.


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Adding A Fireplace And if you are renovating, maybe it is time to consider adding a fireplace. Some fast facts can provide answers to this age-old consideration. Here are three compelling reasons to think fireplace. *A gas fireplace will add between 2,950 to $5,900 to a home’s value, according to the Marshall & Swift Residential Cost Handbook. *New homebuyers rank fireplaces as the number one most desired decorative appearance product in a new home, according to the National Association of Home Builders. *Today, homeowners have an opportunity to differentiate their homes with a fireplace in different ways. Both traditional and modern fireplaces are now offered with innovative technologies that push the boundaries of where fire can go and how it can look. Consider brands that designers, architects, builders, and remodelers trust. More information about how a fireplace can improve home value and differentiate spaces is available at For those looking to renovate, a fireplace presents an attractive choice — whether a sale is in the cards or you simply want to enhance appeal and comfort.

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Home & Garden - 29

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

How To Stay Safe When Digging On Your Property

(StatePoint) — Whether you are a “do-it-yourself ” homeowner or a contracted professional, before starting landscaping or home improvement projects, it is essential to protect yourself and stay safe when digging. Most people are surprised to learn that there are more than 100 billion feet of underground utilities in the United States. This equates to more than one football field’s length of buried utilities for every man, woman and child in the country, according to the Common Ground Alliance, an organization dedicated to protecting the safety of people who dig near underground utility lines. Every six minutes in the United States, an underground utility line is damaged because someone did not call 811, the national “Call Before You Dig” phone number, or in Connecticut, connect online at It’s important to dial 811 or connect online to have the

approximate location of underground utilities and pipelines marked, whether you’re installing a fence, deck, or swimming pool; planting a tree; or beginning any excavation project at home or on your property. Protect yourself and those around you from injury by contacting 811. Not only is it the law, but knowing where pipelines and underground utility lines are buried prevents unintentional damage, service interruptions, potential fines, and costly repairs. You must contact 811 every time, even if you have done so previously for a similar project, as the depth of utilities can vary, and there may be multiple utilities located in the same area. Contacting 811 When you contact 811, information will be collected about your digging plans, and local pipeline and utility companies will be notified about your project. Representatives will

be sent to mark the approximate location of underground utilities using color-coded paint, flags, or stakes. If there are no underground utilities in the area, they will mark “clear.” The advance notice required to have underground utilities marked varies by state, although most require 48 to 72 hours (excluding weekends, holidays, and the day the call was made). You can find statespecific information or place an online request to have utilities marked at Project Planning *Regardless of the depth of your digging or your familiarity with the property, always contact 811 before starting a project that involves digging. *If a contractor has been hired, confirm they have done so. Do not allow work to start until all utilities have been marked. *After you have waited the required time for markings, if utilities have not been

marked, you must contact 811 again to check the status of your request before digging. Also confirm whether the markings have an expiration date and when they will need to be remarked. *If your project is located

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30 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

A Clean Home Begins with a Quality Vacuum

directory of advertisers APPLIANCE REPAIR Advanced Appliances, LLC .....................29 BIRD FOOD/FEEDERS/GARDEN ACCENTS Wild Birds Unlimited ..............................12

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FARM/ORCHARDS Blue Jay Orchards.....................................7

PAINT STORE Newtown Color Center............................12

FENCING Addessi Fencing ......................................16

PAVING & DRIVEWAY SEALING Greg’s Paving .............................................8

FLOORING & CARPET INSTALLATION/CLEANING Alcher Interiors .......................................29 Fine Floors by Mathison ........................16 R. Mathison Floors, LLC .........................26 Red Baron Carpets ..................................17 FLORIST/GIFTS Southbury Country Florist .....................28 FUEL OIL/PROPANE GAS/FIREPLACES/WOODSTOVES ABC Fuel Oil, LLC ..................................28 Kenny’s Oil, LLC .....................................29 Leahy’s Metered Gas.................................8

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TRUCK EQUIPMENT/SALES/SERVICE Hine Brothers, Inc ...................................16

HARDWARE/PAINT Newtown Hardware ...............................14 Stony Hill Hardware ...............................29

UPHOLSTERY Bethel Upholstery ...................................29 Chintz-N-Prints.......................................26

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HOME DÉCOR Alcher Interiors .......................................29

WATER SERVICES Culligan of New England........................11

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Home & Garden - 31

September 16, 2016 - The Newtown Bee

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32 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2016

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Feeds your lawn for up to 12 weeks, preparing for winter while promoting an early spring green-up. Reg. $16.99(86409700)


Value Blend

Attracts juncos, doves, sparrows and more. Ideal for ground feeding birds. Low cost mix. Reg. $12.99 (77585680)

Model ST224P (826961930122)... $899.95

3/$1499 40 Lbs.

Agway Pelletized Limestone

Fall Is The Time To Lime!



.75 Cu. Ft.

Long Island Compost Top Soil



Backpack Leaf Blower

A unique lightweight backpack blower. 50cc mid-size blower features a new powerful X-TORQ engine for increased power, better fuel economy and reduced emissions. (824965877502)



40 Lbs. Deer Corn

Mfd. by Cooperative Milling Whole corn coated with molasses. Reg. $9.99 (16210000)

Corrects soil pH. Fast acting. Boosts nutrients. Reg. $3.99 (86323200)

3/$1199 Reg. $4.49

Reg. $39.99 (86409800)

For filling holes and leveling low areas. Reg. $2.19 (89302200) Limit 10 bags Husqvarna Model 350BT per customer.

Ground Lime


15,000 Sq. Ft. $34.99

We service what we sell and stock parts!

LIME SALE 3/$1099 50 Lbs.

50 Lbs. Granular Lime

5,000 Sq. Ft.

Agway Greenlawn Fall Fertilizer

Assorted 10-Pack Tulip, 6-Pack Hyacinth and 5 to 8-Pack Daffodil Bulbs

99 11 Aspen Song $







Generac 5500W Portable Generator Reg. $799.99

Model 6500W... $799.99 Reg. $899.99 While Supplies Last.

Water-activated pellets will break down into finely pelletized limestone and begin working immediately. Reg. $5.99 (86321100)

50 Lbs. Whole Corn Reg. $10.99 (16200030)

Your Choice



3 Cu. Ft..

Agway Pine Bark Mulches

Choose from Mulch, Nuggets or Mini-Nuggets. Reg. $6.99-$7.29 each (89100100) (89100200) (89100300)



5,000 Sq. Ft.

Agway Fast Acting Lime Goes to work instantly. Helps to fix acidic soils, raise pH level and green up lawns. Reg $13.99 (86324500)

Take your wood pellets by Sept. 30 and Save! Visit our website, call us or stop by the store for details.

Allegheny, Instant Heat, Lignetics, Dry Creek or Barefoot

480 Purdy Hill Road, MONROE, CT 203-268-2537 Fax: 203-261-1224

Sale Ends Fall Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8:00 am - 6:00 pm • Sat. 8:00 am - 5:00 pm • Sunday 9:00 am - 4:00 pm 9/26/16

Home & Garden Fall 2016  

Home & Garden Fall 2016, September 16, 2016.

Home & Garden Fall 2016  

Home & Garden Fall 2016, September 16, 2016.