Newtown Bee's Fall Home & Garden 2022

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Home&Garden Fall 2022

A SUPPLEMENT TO THE NEWTOWN BEE • SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 Follow These Easy Tips To Keep Your Classic Car Safe This Winter

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Gardening For Mind, Soul And Body … And Plants

Winterizing An RV Can Be Useful For Both Winter Trips And For Living

Spruce Up Your Home With Crystals For The Energy You Desire


2 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

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Home & Garden - 3

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

Follow These Easy Tips To Keep Your Classic Car Safe This Winter

Danbury Auto Spring & Welding owner Ed Leili stands beside his 1934 Dodge pickup during the company’s Cruise Night on Sunday, August 28. —Bee Photos, Silber

A row of antique and classic cars on display at Danbury Auto Spring & Welding’s Cruise Night on August 28 show a variety of makes, models, and colors.

By Alissa Silber Car enthusiasts know that if something is worth buying, it’s worth preserving. And anyone who owns a classic, antique, or vintage vehicle has experienced the excitement that comes with every head turn when they are cruising down the road — or every compliment at a car show. American Collectors Insurance defines the category a vehicle falls into by its age. If it is manufactured between 1919 and 1930, it is considered vintage; if it is manufactured more than 45 years ago, it is an antique; and if it is manufactured more than 20 years ago, it is a classic. When winter in Connecticut looms, many people choose to store their classic, antique, or vintage vehicles away until spring. Ed Leili, owner of Danbury Auto Spring & Welding at 38 Lake Avenue Extension, knows professionally and personally what it takes to care for an older vehicle. His company works on a variety of vehicles, including passenger and heavy-duty styles. “We’re suspension specialists. We take care of anything from the frame down. Our main business is frames, front ends, and anything to do with the frame structure of the vehicle,” Leili said. He owns a 1934 Dodge pickup that he proudly displays at the company’s monthly Cruise Nights for all to enjoy. When the cold season comes, he has a routine to keep his

Ridgefield resident Ed Gabbianelli polishes his red 1932 Ford Victoria, also known as a Vicky, during Danbury Auto Spring & Welding’s Cruise Night on August 28. When asked if he stores his antique vehicle for the winter, he replied, “As long as there is no salt and no snow on the road, I drive it.”

antique Dodge in tip-top condition. The key, he said, is doing preventative maintenance. “I keep all my cars inside in garages. We cover them up and winterize them ... we double check everything before we put them away,” Leili said. He recommends people do the same, and that a heated garage is the most desirable location for them. “I also put them away with fresh oil in the winter,” Leili said. “When I take them back out, I change the oil before running

them again. You don’t have to, but I’m maintenance happy. A little bit of oil and grease saves you a lot down the road.” Another crucial element is making sure that there is no food left in the vehicle. “Mice can come in. Even if you don’t think you have mice, wait until springtime and you’ll find them,” Leili said. In his experience, he has found that putting bags of peppermint throughout the vehicle is an effective and natural deterrent for mice. Some may choose to use mothballs to get the job done, but that can come with a less pleasant scent. “We used to put mothballs, but then the dang thing stunk half the year when you went to drive it,” Leili said. Additionally, people can put their classic, antique, or vintage vehicles on jacks as an extra precaution. “Some people take the time to jack them up, so they are up in the air. I don’t do that, but some do. It’s preference really,” Leili noted. To learn more about how to care for older, or newer, vehicles in the winter, people can visit Danbury Auto Spring & Welding’s upcoming Cruise Night to talk to car owners. The event will be in the shop’s parking lot on Sunday, September 25, from 4 pm to dusk, and includes a fireworks show. Also, be sure to visit danburyautospring.com. Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

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4 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Want A Pet, But Have Allergies? Here’s What You Can Do

Whether you’re choosing a new pet or coming into a situation where a pet is already present, if you have pet allergies, you are going to experience a whole different set of challenges. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, 15-30% of all Americans are affected. Allergies to cats are about twice as common as compared to dogs. Pet allergies can be severe, and cause people to have a constant stuffy nose, itchy eyes or even have trouble breathing. Omar Waqar, MD, an allergist/immunologist with ENT and Allergy Associates, says, “An allergy is a reaction that occurs when the body’s natural defenses (immune system) overreact to a foreign substance called an allergen. Allergens themselves are harmless; it is our body’s extreme response to them that causes the unwanted symptoms.” In the case of pets, the allergy is not just to the fur, as many people believe. Rather, it comes down to animal dander, an otherwise harmless protein found in a pet’s skin, saliva, and urine, according to the Mayo Clinic. “And all animals with fur or feathers have dander — our pets can spread dander all over any home whenever they scratch behind their ears, chase a favorite toy around the room, or just by living a normal, happy life,” says Waqar. Waqar suggests that “the best-case scenario if you have pet allergies is to have non-fur pets — such as reptiles or fish. But that can sometimes be out of your control — or it just may not be what you truly want in a pet.” What’s the best way to manage pet allergies when your exposure to a dog or cat that triggers them increases? There are several strategies you can employ to minimize the effects, according

HERE ARE SEVERAL STRATEGIES TO MINIMIZE PET ALLERGY EFFECTS

to the Humane Society of the US: 1. Create an “allergy free” zone in your home — preferably the allergic person’s bedroom — and strictly prohibit the pet’s access to it. Use a high-efficiency HEPA air cleaner, and consider using impermeable covers for the mattress and pillows. 2. Use HEPA air cleaners throughout the rest of the home, and avoid dust-and-dander-catching furnishings such as cloth curtains and blinds and carpeted floors. Clean frequently and thoroughly to remove dust

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and dander, washing articles such as couch covers and pillows, curtains, and pet beds. 3. Bathe your pet on a weekly basis to reduce the level of allergy-causing dander (shed old skin cells). Cats can get used to being bathed, but it’s critical to only use products labeled for them; kittens may need a shampoo safe for kittens. Check with your veterinarian’s staff or a good book on pet care for directions about safe bathing, It’s a good idea to use a shampoo recommended by your veterinarian or

other animal care professional. 4. Don’t be quick to blame the family pet for allergies. Ask your allergist to specifically test for allergies to pet dander. Many allergy sufferers are sensitive to more than one allergen. Reduce the overall allergen level in your environment by concentrating on all of the causes, not just the pet allergy. 5. Try treatments. Additional treatments for allergies to pets include immunotherapy (allergy shots), steroidal and antihistamine nose sprays and antihistamine pills. It is important to find an allergist who understands your commitment to living with your pet. A combination of approaches — medical control of symptoms, good housecleaning methods, and immunotherapy — is most likely to succeed in allowing an allergic person to live with pets. Waqar adds, “But pets can be like family. Allergists understand that, which is why we’re very willing to work with you to manage your symptoms in order to keep your beloved pet in your life.” Allergy testing is the best way to find out if you are allergic to a specific animal or type of dander. Your allergist can use either a blood test or skin test to determine a diagnosis, and plan the proper course of treatment.

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Home & Garden - 5


6 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

What Is An ‘Act Of God’ When It Comes To Your Homeowner’s Insurance If you have heard the term, or seen it as part of the “fine print” buried in the package of documents for your homeowner’s insurance policy, the term “Acts of God” may seem pretty intimidating. But once you understand what it means, you will be more informed in the unlikely event you ever need to make a claim. According to Laura Green, writing for Investopedia, an act of God describes an event outside of human control or activity, such as a natural disaster like a flood or an earthquake. In business, the phrase “act of God” is not associated with any particular religion or belief system. Contractual language referring to acts of God are known as force majeure clauses, which are often used by insurance companies. These clauses typically limit or remove liability for injuries, damages, and losses caused by acts of God. Understanding Acts Of God Events such as floods, earthquakes, or natural catastrophes, trigger acts of God. These are events considered uncontrollable by human intervention. If contracts have force majeure clauses — meaning “superior force”—parties may not be liable if the terms of the contract cannot be carried out. It is important to carefully read how these clauses are written. Some clauses may specifically indicate events, such as a pandemic or flood, that fall under its guidelines. These clauses may also outline if they will offer a 50% or full refund, or any other form of restitution. What is considered an act of God varies across the country. When a contract includes catchall clauses, this may assist in broadening the scope as to which events qualify as acts of God. These clauses may include, “any other event beyond the reasonable control of a party.”

Examples Of Acts Of God Like many other sports and entertainment contracts, the NBA has an act of God clause. Specifically, the contract includes events such as a pandemic. The contract states that a portion of players’ salaries can be withheld for each canceled game caused by the event. However, an act of God clause in a contract does not imply that no one is liable for damages. A natural disaster, such as a flood or an earthquake, usually isn’t foreseeable or preventable. Importantly, though, the insured cannot use the event as an excuse for not taking reasonable care to try to prevent or protect against damages. Say a dilapidated warehouse collapses during an earthquake and injures bystanders. The owner claims an act of

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God caused the building to fall. However, the insurer will likely deny the claim, and there may be no recourse in court because the owner did not take reasonable care to maintain the structural integrity of the building. Likewise, governments also need to take reasonable care to prevent disasters. Say a state failed to maintain a dam that bursts and caused major damage to a community. This is not an act of God. Intense rains may have caused bodies of water to swell, but the flooding was a direct result of the government’s lack of action to maintain water retention systems. Special Considerations Insurance policies often have long lists of exclusions for damages caused by acts of God. Policyholders should thoroughly review their policies to see what types of damages caused by acts of God are covered. Then, they can make informed decisions as to whether to purchase additional insurance to protect them-

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selves and their property from certain risks. For example, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy excludes most acts of God, especially hurricanes. For this reason, coastal homeowners typically purchase separate flood insurance to add additional protection. In the US, flood insurance is offered by the National Flood Insurance Program, which is managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Of note, some homeowner insurance policies cover damage to the home itself related to specific acts of God but not to other buildings or structures owned by the policyholder. Here are some additional frequently asked questions and answers that may be even more informative: *What Are Examples of Acts of God? — Common examples of acts of God include earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes, and storms. *What Is Another Term for Act of God? — Another term for “Act of God” is “Vis Major.” In Latin, vis major describes a “superior force” that causes damage that isn’t caused by nor preventable by humans. *What Kind of Insurance Policy Covers Acts of God? — Comprehensive auto coverage typically covers acts of God including hurricanes, lightning strikes, earthquakes, and more. As for the home, many standard homeowners insurance covers natural disasters and weather events such as wind, hail, and wildfires. However, damage caused by floods and earthquakes typically isn’t covered under standard homeowners policies. For that, homeowners need to purchase separate flood and earthquake coverage. *What Is an Insurance Definition of an Act of God? — In the world of insurance, the definition of an act of God is essentially the same as the standard definition: an act of nature that couldn’t have been predicted, prevented, and for which no human is to blame. *What Does Act of God Mean to Business Property Insurance? — It’s important to know the details of your business property insurance policy. Sometimes specific acts of God are excluded from coverage. For example, you might need to purchase separate coverage for weather-related events such as floods, hail, or earthquakes. *What Is the Difference Between Force Majeure and Act of God? — Generally speaking, an act of God includes acts of nature only. Force majeure, meanwhile, includes both acts of nature and extraordinary circumstances due to human intervention. Examples of force majeure include an outbreak of a contagious disease, government lockdowns, or war.

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Home & Garden - 7

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

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8 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Spruce Up Your Home With Crystals For The Energy You Desire

Rose Quartz is a popular pink crystal that can help bring unconditional love to people.

By Alissa Silber For those looking to decorate their home with timeless accessories that are both aesthetically pleasing and serve a purpose, crystals may be the perfect option. While some may think crystals are just fancy rocks, that could not be further from the truth. The International Gem Society scientifically defines crystals as “a solid whose atoms are arranged in a ‘highly ordered’ repeating pattern. These patterns are called crystal systems. If a mineral has its atoms arranged in one of them, then that mineral is a crystal.” These naturally occurring marvels have been

Crystals can be incorporated into home décor to not only add a beautifying element, but also to help manifest people’s desires. Selenite is a white, slightly translucent mineral that is often found in a tower shape, as seen here on a table in multiple spots. —photo courtesy Sam Bucur

appreciated by people globally for centuries and were even used as inspiration for medieval poetry. New Insights in Sandy Hook is a metaphysical center and boutique that works directly with crystals. It is owned by Sue Bucur and managed by her daughter Sam Bucur. The mother/daughter team have a mission of delivering the discovery and exploration of self through their services. “We offer information and tools that help us explore self-awareness and self-empowerment

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in the form of crystals, sound therapy, aromatherapy, psychic readings, and so much more,” Sam said. In their field, they use crystals to amplify energy and people’s intentions, which can help to either attract or manifest desires. “Today, we understand that all things in this universe are forms [of] energy,” Sam said. “That is, the world is not an assembly of physical parts (as suggested by Newtonian Physics), but immaterial energy waves that work together to create the reality we see before us, according to Albert Einstein’s work.” She continued, “Now, Nikola Tesla discovered that one form of energy can alter the vibrational resonance of another. So when a crystal vibrates within our energy field, it can affect us physically, mentally, and spiritually in what we have found to be many positive, healing ways.” Curating Crystals There are countless types of crystals that people can collect, but when it comes to decorating the home, Sam says some of her favorites are Rose Quartz, Selenite, and Tourmaline. “Rose Quartz brings in unconditional love and heart healing,” she explained. It is beneficial to use Rose Quartz as a centerpiece and place it in a spot where loved ones gather most frequently. People often put it in the family room or, like in Sam’s home, have it in the kitchen. As for Tourmaline, Sam noted that it “is great for protection of the home.” She recommends putting it in all corners of the home.

Tourmaline is a black, chunky crystal that can be used to help protect the home.

Her third choice, Selenite, is a crystal known for keeping energy clear and peaceful. “Selenite is perfect to keep above the doorway to soak up negative energy as it comes in and out,” Sam said. Crystal Maintenance Since crystals harness energy, it is essential to care for them properly. “The most important thing to avoid is bringing home a stone without cleansing it,” Sam said. “I remember a customer of ours explaining that she had just bought a piece of celestite and was suffering from a sudden bout of nightmares for the past few nights. We showed her how to cleanse her stone with a cedar bundle, and when she reported back, she let us know she was good to go!” People can use a smoke cleanser, such as cedar or sage, to clean out any energy attached to a crystal from where it came from. After the stone has initially been purified and brought into the home to be displayed, there is ongoing maintenance. This entails using another stone, including Selenite, to charge your crystal. “As needed, the stones can be placed on Selenite in the sun or under the moonlight on a windowsill to charge for a few hours. Once a month on the full moon is a good time for this!” Sam said. To learn more about crystals and find which are right for your home, go to New Insights at 111 Church Hill Road, visit newinsightsboutique.com, or call/text 203-204-6263. Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

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Home & Garden - 9

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

The State Of Real Estate In Newtown

By Eliza Hallabeck For local home buyers and sellers, the outlook for the real estate market is shifting. “This year is going to be different from last year,” Newtown Realtors Association President Connie Widmann reflected in an interview with The Newtown Bee. “As of this spring the market has shifted.” Widmann shared that the last two years had very low inventory with an increased number of buyers who were willing to pay anything. That, she said, “has come to a stop.” While the inventory market in Newtown is showing signs that it will remain low, Widmann expects a slight increase in inventory. The demand will still be there, but Widmann foresees a more normalized market. In the last year, homes were being scooped up fast, with a market time of roughly seven to ten days. Widmann says homes are now on the market for anywhere between 30 to 100 days. While Widmann said, “we’re at a point that we don’t know,” she also said there was a reduction in the number of units sold compared year over year. Many factors contribute to this, such as an increase in interest rates, life seems to be “normalizing,” and the “pandemic demand” for homes has somewhat deteriorated. There are still people moving to Connecticut from out of state, “just not at the same [level of ] demand.” When the interest rates started to rise, Widmann said that is when local realtors noticed a slow-down in the market. Traditionally, she said, June to August has a seasonal slow-down that occurs throughout New England. That slow-down had not happened in three years, and it returned this year. Widmann says that leads to an anticipation for the fall that the market will pick up significantly. “Over the last year the Newtown market enjoyed about a 10% to 11% increase in value,” Widmann said of homes overall, adding the state’s percent increase was about 6%. At the end of the spring the market shifted. While homes are still receiving multiple buyer offers, Widmann shared that there are not as many offers as homes were receiving in previous months. “The real estate market still continues to be very strong. And there are a lot of buyers still in need of homes,” said Widmann. As of mid-August there were just over 50 homes on the market. Widmann said that is low compared to

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previous years. In fact, in mid-March of 2020 there were 120 homes on the market. In 2018 around the same time there were 200 homes on the market. The cost to build homes is also very high at the moment, so builders are struggling, Widmann shared. “But most importantly, there are still a lot of buyers who are very well qualified who are very interested in purchasing homes that they cannot find on the market at this time,” she said. As of mid-August Widmann estimated the average home sale price in Newtown to be $550,000, and before the pandemic it was $380,000. When asked to describe a typical home on the Newtown real estate market, Widmann shared a $550,000 home in Newtown would normally have between three-four bedrooms; 2,000-2,400 square feet; and roughly 2-and-a-half baths. Given the current market, Widmann offered advice for both home sellers and home buyers. For sellers, she said, “It is going to be critically important to prepare their homes properly for the market, and to position them from a pricing standpoint properly on the market.” Widmann also said people should not anticipate that home prices will go down. “The appreciation that we have enjoyed this year is probably all we will see,” she said, adding that longterm inventory will remain low and prices will continue to increase over the next five years. For buyers, Widmann advised positioning themselves in a strong way to purchase a home, by having strong credit, and, if possible, having nothing to sell.

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10 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Is Your Lawn Ready For Fall? Check These Expert Maintenance Tips It’s time to get prepared for fall lawn care with the colder months ahead. The following list of fall lawn maintenance tips from Sod Solutions’s Sod University will help your lawn prepare for winter so that it comes back full and thriving in the spring. Let’s get started: 1. Reduce Mowing for Deeper Roots — It’s actually recommended that you mow your lawn a lot less during the fall months. This is an important tip for fall grass care in warm season lawns such as zoysia, Bermuda grass, St Augustine and centipede grass. Keeping your warm season lawn slightly higher will encourage deeper root growth during the fall so that the grass will survive through winter dormancy. For cool season lawns such as bluegrass and fescue, a mowing height between 2.53.5 inches during the fall is ideal. This mowing height will also help prevent snow mold in snow-prone regions. However, if it gets too long, it’ll create a mat layer, which is ideal for disease breakouts. 2. Water Less as Temperatures Drop — It’s important to water your lawn less as temperatures drop as too much water can lead to disease. Temperatures change around this time of year so as temperatures drop, soil conditions also change. Fall is one of the most optimum times of the year for disease to start appearing — especially when overwatering and shade from fall leaves combine. Disease can be caused by a number of things, but it’s usually caused by overwatering, changing temperatures and shade. Regardless of disease outbreaks, you’ll still want to water your lawn to prevent drought stress while the grass is actively growing. Even though your warm season lawn will begin to enter stages of dormancy, light watering will prevent dehydration. Warm season grass typically requires one

For cool season lawns such as bluegrass and fescue, Sod University recommends a mowing height between 2.5-3.5 inches during the fall. This mowing height will also help prevent snow mold in snow-prone regions.

inch of water per week including rainfall. In comparison, cool season lawns require about 1-1.25 inches of water per week including rainfall. Watering both types of grasses in the early morning will decrease the risk of certain turfgrass disease. 3. Fertilize Your Lawn with the Right Nutrients — Fertilization differs this time of the year compared to the other active growing seasons (spring and summer). As previously stated, outdoor temperatures are starting to change — so are soil conditions. Your grass is a living thing that needs specific nutrients at this time. Warm season grass will likely enter a state of dormancy and cool season grass will still endure cold temperatures. What is the best fertilizer for grass in the fall?

Sod University likes to recommend two different fertilizer options for the fall; how-

ever, you will only need to use one of the two options for fall fertilization. The Fall Fertilizer Box, in particular, has three separate bottles of liquid fertilizer in it that help your lawn recover from the hot summer temperatures it just endured as well as prepare for the colder temperatures ahead. This product is a great fall fertilizer for lawns and gardens. When to Fertilize Lawns in the Fall

In the early fall, start off with applying a product like Boost to revitalize the green leaf blade color after the heat of summer. The summer heat can really stress your grass out and may even leave hot spots or drought damage. With Boost’s time-release formula, the rapid green-up of your lawn will last from the time of application through the remainder of the growing sea-

son. In the mid-fall, make an application of the second bottle in the box, Maintain, for well-balanced nutrition. Maintain serves to help with color retention late into the cooler months ahead and fortifies the root system to help it survive throughout dormancy or snow. In the late fall, you should apply Recover to prepare your lawn for environmental stressors of this colder weather. Another product, Lawnifi Foundation, is a slow-release granular fertilizer option that comes in a 25-pound bag and lasts for three months. With a 29-0-5 NPK formulation, Lawnifi Foundation is the perfect granular fertilizer for lawns and gardens. The two percent iron included in Lawnifi Foundation’s mixture helps plants carry oxygen throughout the leaves, roots and other parts of the plants to promote a green, healthy lawn. Featuring slow-release nitrogen, Foundation gradually feeds your lawn over an extended period of time without overwhelming your lawn with nitrogen during the fall. Both Lawnifi Foundation and the Fall Fertilizer Box cover 5,000 sq ft. 4. Control Weeds with a Pre- or PostEmergent Herbicide — Your warm or cool season lawn has just made it through the summer months when herbicide applications damage grass due to hot temperatures. Now that it’s starting to cool down, you are free to apply both post-emergent and preemergent herbicides for fall weed control without risking any damage to your lawn if applied properly. You may even notice that the weeds from summertime are starting to die off. Unfortunately, there are winter weeds that will start to pop up when the months are colder too. We recommend applying a pre-emergent during the fall to prevent winter weeds. There’s a difference between pre- and

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Home & Garden - 11

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

TOM SAINT PAINTING & REMODELING, LLC Proudly Serving Fairfield, Litchfield & New Haven Counties According to Sod University, with the changing of the seasons also comes the changing of temperatures, weather and soil conditions. It’s important you make these changes in maintenance so that your grass is prepared for the cooler months ahead.

post-emergent herbicide control for weeds. A post-emergent herbicide controls any current weeds you are experiencing whereas a pre-emergent herbicide, as its name suggests, serves to prevent weeds from appearing. Some hard-to-control weeds that may appear around this time include Poa annua, sedge, crabgrass, goosegrass, chickweed or henbit. Fall is actually the best time to apply a preemergent — especially if winter weeds have been a big problem in the past years. You can also do this in the springtime around March or April. 5. Keep an Eye Out for Insect Invasions — Although there could be a variety of insects that may be invading your lawn at this time, the main ones to look out for include grub worms for both warm season and cool season lawns, as well as chinch bugs. Chinch bugs are usually the most active in the months of June to early September but may still be present in some lawns such as St Augustine. Other insects that may appear in the fall are sod webworms, fall armyworms and mole crickets. Details for identification and fall lawn treatment are below. If you have insect activity, treat with a broad-spectrum insecticide labeled to treat the insect you are seeing. Be sure to read product labels thoroughly before application. If you use a granular variety of insecticide, water the lawn immediately after application to help with absorption. 6. Prevent Disease Outbreaks as Temperatures Change — Sod University recommends applying a systemic fungicide at preventative rates around the beginning of the fall season or right beforehand. This helps the grass enter colder months in a healthier condition by keeping disease outbreaks at bay. If you’ve had a problem with disease

around this time before, you may need to make multiple applications of the systemic fungicide in affected areas. If spring dead spot was a problem during the spring, apply a fungicide at high rates to the problem area(s). Spring dead spot is caused by a disease that damages grass during the winter — you just can’t see the damage because the grass is brown and dormant until the spring when everything greens up again. Applying a fungicide at a preventive rate will keep it from coming back. Consider mapping those areas because fungicide treatment can be expensive. With that said, large patch may also be an issue. If you use a granular disease control product, water the lawn immediately after application to help soil absorption. Above all, read product label instructions thoroughly before application for detailed instructions. Tip: Remove any dead leaves. As dead leaves accumulate on the ground during the fall, they create shady, darker spots on the lawn. Light cannot reach these areas and moisture becomes trapped. This quickly damages the grass underneath these spots. When warm season grass goes dormant, it can be difficult to notice any discoloration after the leaves are removed. Come springtime, you will notice the damaged areas while the rest of the grass turns green again. Depending on how many trees are nearby, consider raking once a week. Fall lawn maintenance differs from that of spring and summer maintenance. With the changing of the seasons also comes the changing of temperatures, weather and soil conditions. It’s important you make these changes in maintenance so that your grass is prepared for the cooler months ahead. This article was written by Sod Solutions Content Strategist, Valerie Smith.

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12 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Gardening For Mind, Soul And Body … And Plants

Fresh tomatoes are easy to find this time of year. Planting, growing, harvesting, and maintaining plants can create a direct emotional boost. —Bee Photo, Hicks

Sydney Eddison calls daffodils “foolproof and virtually indestructible,” which makes them perfect for beginners. —Bee file photo

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By Shannon Hicks Gardening is not only a way to beautify outdoor spaces and grow food, it can also support one’s well-being. Gardening is good for the mind, the soul, and the body. Gardening exercises the body and clears the mind. Studies show that increased outdoor exposure leads to fewer long-term health problems, helping improve cardiovascular fitness, flexibility, strength and dexterity, all leading to better mental health. Sydney Eddison, who lives on a beautiful expanse of property along part of the Upper Paugussett State Forest, has been gardening for nearly 60 years. She still loves the basics. “For me, gardening is all about playing outside and digging in the dirt. I love the smell of damp earth and the feeling of the sun on my back,” the Newtown resident said this month. “Getting up and down is good for my old body,” she added. “I’m 90 and can still garden. I think this is because I’ve never stopped. If you have always gardened, you can just keep going. And if you create something beautiful in the bargain, all the better.” Planting, growing, harvesting, and maintaining plants can create a direct emotional boost. Gardening helps foster nurturing instincts and restores a sense of hope and purpose, ultimately improving self-esteem. Ryan Brunelle and Travis Tietjen are the co-founders of Gardenfolk, LLC. The young business, based in Monroe and Newtown, designs, builds, and maintains organic vegetable gardens for residential and commercial clients. “We really feel gardening is a lost art,” Brunelle said in August. “We’re trying to teach people how to garden again.” They too agree that gardening’s benefits include fresh food as well as a soothing effect. “There’s something to being outside, and being surrounded by plants, that’s very calming,” Tietjen said.

The morning they spoke for this feature, they were calling from a YMCA location in lower Fairfield County, where they were in the process of installing one of their designs, four three-foot long by three-feet wide raised beds within a 15-25-foot garden, they said. The project that week had two beds that were double the regular height of their garden beds, they said, to accommodate wheelchair access. “Everyone should have access to gardens,” they said. Passive Benefits Don’t have a green thumb? Don’t worry. Scientific evidence proves that just being in nature has positive impacts on stress levels and brain chemistry. It can lower blood pressure, increase concentration, and improve mood. Being outdoors offers a deeper sense of belonging and a new sense of purpose outside the daily grind. Eddison has suggestions for those who want to cultivate their green thumbs. “With autumn approaching, it will soon be time to plant bulbs for spring bloom,” she said. “Daffodils are foolproof and virtually indestructible. There is a strip of weedy ground along my driveway that looks unkempt most of the time, but in the spring, masses of daffodils turn it into a bright yellow ribbon, and it is magical! “It is also easy to do: dig a hole, pop in a bulb, cover it up, and wait for spring!” Brunelle and Tietjen agree with starting simple for beginners. They have two vegetables they suggest for burgeoning gardeners. “We plant our garlic and shallots right around Halloween, and those actually grow all through the winter. We harvest those in early to mid summer, the following season,” Brunelle said. “Both are very easy vegetables to grow,” he said. “They just require fertilizer, which is very low maintenance.”

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Home & Garden - 13

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

A harvest of potatoes and garlic is healthy for the diet and the soul. Gardenfolk co-founders Ryan Brunell and Travis Tietjen say garlic, one of the easiest plants to grow, is perfect for beginners. —Bee Photo, Hicks

Designing A Garden Some people design gardens to reflect how they want to live outside. Creating “rooms” connected by meandering paths can create a restful, unwinding, restorative environment. Outdoor spaces don’t need to be quiet, however. They can encourage activity as well. For those who enjoy company, consider a gathering space. If a hobby can be done outdoors — such as exercising, painting, or writing — set aside areas for them. Eddison prefers perennials for their ease once established. “They have a shorter blooming season than annuals but they return every year,” she said. “Among the easiest to grow are daylilies with showy trumpet-shaped flowers in a myriad of colors, running the gamut from bright red to every tint and tone of pink and fruit flavors like peach and cantaloupe. “Daylilies are not a bit fussy but they do like full sun, which means sun from midmorning to mid-afternoon.”

Awaken The Senses Gardens can be designed to awaken the five senses. Sight: Choose calming colors, or those that bring joy. The simple sight of a breathtaking plant or an arrangement of favorite flowers is bound to give mental health a boost. Taste: Growing food provides an incredibly rewarding harvest. Not only will those fruits and vegetables enhance meals, gardeners will get the personal satisfaction of a job well done. Hearing: Among plants and flowers, add fixtures such as wind chimes and water features, which will produce soothing ‘A Fact Of Gardening Life’ All three people who spoke with The Newtown Bee acknowledged there are challenges to gardening. “There are things you can’t control, like the weather, and pets and bugs,” said Brunelle.

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sounds. With the new habitat, expect to create bird song as well. Touch: From the light, feathery textures of petals to the rough surfaces of bark or brush stems, touch offers a deeper sense of connection to nature. Smell: While aromatherapy is traditionally used indoors, think about the concept in the exterior sense through the growth of fragrant flowers and herbs. Mental health can truly improve through gardening efforts. Just be sure to start small, simple, and stress-free. Managing Editor Shannon Hicks can be reached at shannon@thebee.com. “Every year is a little different,” he continued. “Each year, take what you learn, change what wasn’t successful, and see how you can do it better for next year.” Working around stress points, they said, includes a process of identifying the problem, “and just slowing down and taking the

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ reaches full bloom around early October. The foolproof, long-lived perennial is among the favorites of Sydney Eddison, who has been gardening — and writing and lecturing about that work — for nearly 60 years. —Bee Photo, Hicks

time to figure out how to solve that,” said Tietjen. Their approach to gardening is immersive. “A large part of organic gardening is being in the garden, and monitoring the plants,” said Brunelle. “It’s not just once a week. We recommend you get in there at least once a day, to get ahead of anything that presents itself.” Those daily visits may sound like a chore at first, but they should be approached. Even weeding can be good. Eddison calls the task “a fact of gardening life.” Like many other gardeners, she finds it a pleasant occupation. “Some weeds are easy to tweak out; others have to be yanked,” she said. “Either way, it isn’t hard to do, and it is calming. You don’t have to think, you can just let your mind wander.”

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14 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Leaf And Snow Cleanup Seasons Are Coming — Are You Prepared? By Andy Hutchison From rakes to powerful backpack blowers, and shovels to snow throwers, area power equipment and hardware stores have you covered — like the leaves and snow that will fall in the months to come. The overall consensus among those business owners in Newtown and neighboring Monroe and Bethel is that a piece of equipment not long ago only seen used by commercial yard crews will be the hottest item to come off the shelves for fall cleanup. “The most popular thing now is backpack blowers. Walk-behind blowers have kind of died out in terms of popularity because the backpack blowers have gotten more powerful,” said Ron Reho, owner of Monroe’s L&R Power Equipment at 122 Main Street (Route 25). Backpack blowers are more versatile than walk-behind options in that they allow home owners to go up on their roof to clean out gutters, or walk through flower beds to clear leaves, Reho said. These blowers range in price from about $350 to $700, he said. Hand-held blowers, which are less powerful, are good for smaller yards, he added. Chainsaws tend to get a lot of fall use as people clean up fallen branches and trees, in some instances for firewood, Reho said. Bag attachments for lawn tractors are an option for leaf cleanup. “The problem with them is you really need to stay on top of the leaves,” said Reho, explaining that if the leaves are too deep cleanup will require emptying the bag numerous times as it fills. Mark Guss, owner of Bethel Power Equipment, 6 Francis J Clarke Circle in Bethel, said his company’s backpack blowers range in price from $300 up to $650 for top-of-the line equipment. Guss said the Stihl brand has a powerful blower that weighs less than others, gets good gas mileage, and is very comfortable to wear due to a harness system. The Echo 9010 is a more popular seller because of its blowing power,

Ron Reho, owner at L&R Power Equipment in Monroe, is wearing one of the backpack leaf blowers for sale, a popular item for fall cleanup. L&R Power Equipment in Monroe has backpack leaf blowers, chainsaws, snow throwers, and other equipment needed for the fall and winter.

Guss said. He added that both are twocycle gas engine powered machines. “Bigger models get wet leaves and can be used for a full cleanup,” Guss said. The electric blowers are becoming more popular. “But they’re not there yet for fall cleanup. They’ll get there in the next year,” said Guss, adding that a few brands should be releasing powerful electric blowers some-

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time during 2023. Still, the electric or battery-powered blowers are good for light use and they have improved in the power category. “There’s more oomph with the battery,” Carolyn Dufner, owner at Stony Hill Hardware, 34 Stony Hill Road in Bethel, said of upgrades to these models. There does not necessarily need to be a lot

of machine-powered work to get yards looking good. Dufner noted that paper bags are an option for raking up and getting rid of leaves. “Some people compost. Other people drag it off, depending on what their situation is, or they mulch it in,” said Dufner, alluding to the use of tarps to drag leaves and branches out of the yard. Newtown Hardware, 61 Church Hill Road, carries a wide range of yard cleanup items from wheel barrows to clippers to rakes and shovels. “We carry everything you need for cleanup even after a storm,” Newtown Hardware Manager Dan Sorrentino said. Lawn and leaf rakes range in price from about $10 to $30 at Newtown Hardware. The long-established hardware store also carries a wide range of tree pruners, bush pruners, hedge/shrub trimmers, hand trowels. The list goes on. “We special order stuff for people, too,” said Ed Sullivan, an assistant manager at Newtown Hardware. Newtown Power Equipment, 151 Mount Pleasant Road, along with Bethel Power Equipment, and L&R Power Equipment, carry zero turn mowers. They range in price from approximately $3,000 to $12,000 at Newtown Power Equipment. Bag attachments for the mowers are also available. Backpack blowers range from $400 to $650 at Newtown Power Equipment. Sorrentino notes that whatever equipment is needed, it will come in handy sooner in the season than usual. “This year’s going to be different obviously because it’s so dry because of the drought. They’re definitely going to fall earlier than seasons past,” Sorrentino said. Sorrentino anticipates a lot of people having to plant new lawns due to dried-out/ burnt spots in the grass. “After a while you need some water,” he said. Dufner recommends putting in seeds in the fall if Mother Nature helps with enough rain.

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Home & Garden - 15

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

Newtown Power Equipment carries fall and winter cleanup devices including leaf blowers, zero turn mowers, and snow throwers.

Newtown Hardware carries a variety of yard cleanup tools.

“Right now the ground’s so hard the poor seed’s just going to sit there,” Dufner said in late August.

Ed Sullivan puts a shovel on the wall at Newtown Hardware. The shovels, rakes, and other yard tools pictured will come in handy for homeowners this fall and winter. —Bee Photos, Hutchison

Winter Weather Ahead With winter just around the corner, there are some snow removal options ranging from a regular muscle-building (and perhaps back-breaking) shovel to power shovels to a range of snow blowers/ throwers. Power shovels, gas, battery, or electric, which can be used for decks or sidewalks, start at $150 or so, at L&R Power Equipment, Reho said. Snow throwers at the store cost between $400 and $3,500. Reho said the single-stage snow throwers are in the $400 to $800 range. They feature rubber paddles for throwing snow. The two-stage throwers cost anywhere from around $800 to $3,500. These selfpropelled snow cleaner-uppers chop up and then throw snow and are best for

either deep snow accumulation or larger driveways, Reho said. Bethel Power Equipment carries a variety of two-stage snow throwers ranging in price from about $1,000 to $3,600. “I can’t imagine living here without a snow thrower or plow,” Guss said. “It depends on how much you want to spend digging snow. The equipment definitely makes the job go quicker and smoother,” said Greg Oliger, owner at Newtown Power Equipment, which carries snow throwers that start at $1,350. “If you have the proper equipment it definitely makes the job go faster.” When the snow is light or the driveway is small or deck needs clearing a shovel can do just the trick. Stony Hill offers a wide range of shovels, nearly 30 in fact, ranging in price from about $9 to $70. “Because everybody has a favorite. People have preferences,” Dufner said.

A popular option is a $45 wide blade shovel that is 36 inches. “You literally push it like a plow,” Dufner said. “It sold out last season because it’s one of the most popular shovels we sell.” Dufner warns that wider shovels that push snow well are not ideal for icy snow and also need to be dumped as you go before too much white powdery stuff builds up. Whatever your fall and winter cleanup needs, area shops have a wide range of tools and equipment for the job. Bring on the leaves. But don’t forget, the snow will be here before we know it — so

when you go out for that rake or leaf blower, keep in mind shovels and snow throwers. Andy Hutchison can be reached at andyh@thebee.com.

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16 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Winterizing An RV Can Be Useful For Both Winter Trips And For Living By Jim Taylor Owning an RV can provide amazing flexibility. Not only can they be used for weekend trips and long getaways, a growing number of owners are opting to live in their RVs full time. While some RV enthusiasts prefer to travel following the seasons, sticking to regions with mild weather to avoid the cold, others, either through preference or necessity, call their RV home — not just their “home away from home. Ben Smith of RV One in Newtown emphasized the necessity of changing the antifreeze during winter. One part of winterizing your RV is adding antifreeze to all of the inner pipes, along with the grey, black, and water tanks if the RV is to be left stationary. However, those who are actively using an RV in the winter may be more comfortable with adding antifreeze to the grey and black tanks only. This will prevent any wastewater from freezing and bursting any pipes. It is important to note that an RV should not stay hooked up to a sewer connection during freezing temperatures. Stay disconnected and dump whenever necessary, Smith related. Obviously, keeping an RV stationary during winter months is a significantly different experience than actively traveling because stationary RVs will likely have access to hookups offering more protection from the winter cold. Protecting exposed parts is important. RVs are built to be as compact as possible to allow them to negotiate roadways. This means that many parts and important systems are located outside the RV, in storage bays, or even under the vehicle.

Whether planning extended trips into colder regions, or utilizing the cozier living space an RV can provide through the winter right here in Connecticut, it is important for owners to take every precaution to protect their pricey “home away from home” from extensive damage that freezing temperatures can cause.

These areas need to be protected from the elements in the event of a hard freeze. A best practice is to utilize several of these methods for best results. Smith said much of an RV is plastic, including fittings, so protecting those connections from the cold is important. One accessory long-term RV owners use are skirts.

An RV skirt wraps around the base of the vehicle to keep snow out, protect the bottom of the RV, and assist in keeping the RV warm by preventing cold air from getting underneath the vehicle. Skirts are often made of foam or other hardy materials to help insulate the RV. A heater or two can also be used under

the RV’s skirt. When placing a heater underneath the RV, be sure they are suitable for use outdoors and that they do not draw more power than 30 amps so that there’s no risk of an electrical short. “Skirts are a big thing,” said Smith. “In winter, you are absolutely going to want a skirt.” Heated hoses are also important things for an RV owner to have during winter operation. They can either be purchased or made as a do-it-yourself project by using heat cable and insulated foam. Another best practice for winter RVing is to fill water tanks using a heated hose and then pack up the hose to protect it from the cold. Leaving a hose connected to the spigot can be too risky and parts of it can still freeze, even when using a heated hose. If you plan on using fresh water tanks during the winter, be sure to utilize tank heaters, which work and look similar to heating pads. Smith said something many people overlook is winterizing one system and not another; for instance, winterizing the city water connection but not the water pump, or vice versa. “Lots of people do one system and then miss the other,” said Smith. Smith also warned of “missing the hot water heater” by installing cutoff valves but leaving water in the heater to freeze. He also suggested taping various pipes, which is a time-consuming but worthwhile endeavor. To accomplish this, locate all the water pipes outside of the RV and wrap them in heat tape. Just follow the directions on the heat tape to make sure it is done correctly.

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Home & Garden - 17

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

Values That Will Blow You Away …YOUR LEAVES TOO! PB-9010H

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Most RVs are equipped with two types of heat: furnace (propane) and heat pump (HVAC). While it may sound expensive, using the furnace is better for your RV in the frigid cold, Smith said. An RV’s HVAC system is not meant to heat the RV during winter weather and can even break if doing so. “Most RVs are 450 square feet, maximum,” said Smith. “The propane heat runs very well and is very efficient.” Propane should be the primary source of onboard heat, and it is essential to keep the onboard propane tank full. For a larger RV, this involves having a truck come and fill the tank, or using an extended stay attachment. Having propane refilled on-site is often expensive. An extended stay attachment allows for a small 20-pound tank to be hooked up to the RV’s propane regulator and

bypass the onboard tank. The 20-pound tanks can then be taken to be refilled. Smaller RVs are usually equipped with a 20-pound tank that can be removed and/or swapped out. Insulating windows will not only keep it warmer in your RV but will also reduce energy usage and expense. RV windows are really not meant to insulate well, as their primary purpose is just to stay intact while driving. Window insulation usually comes in thin plastic sheets to help keep the warmth in. There are also other insulating materials that can be made to fit into an RV’s windows specifically. In addition to winterizing an RV as a do-it-yourself project, local RV sellers such as Dave’s RV Center in Danbury and RV One in Newtown can winterize an RV by appointment. Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at jim@thebee.com.

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18 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Need A New Driveway? Look Out For Asphalt Paving Scams

CROMWELL — If your driveway needs paving or repairs, don’t trust just anyone to do the job. Newington Police say they recently stopped an elderly woman from losing $7,600 to a suspected California con artist after he came to her home offering to seal her driveway. BBB Scam Tracker has numerous reports of unscrupulous contractors across the country who trick homeowners with supposedly good deals. Homeowners end up with shoddy pavement — or nothing at all — to show for what they paid and, in some cases, have lost over $8,000 in the process. How the scam works: A contractor leaves a pamphlet or shows up at the door. They claim they’ve been doing work in the area and just happened to notice the condition of your driveway or sidewalk. Since they’re already working nearby, they can give you a discount. If the price is agreeable, they will then ask for a large percentage of the fee upfront. There is some hesitancy if there is a question on the price or details about the business and its location. Once the transaction is complete, the scam contractor may disappear altogether. The contact number or email may not work, quickly helping you realize that the

contractor has multiple negative reviews and complaints, don’t hire them. Often, a simple internet search will reveal companies or individuals who have been involved in fraudulent activities or provided unsatisfactory work to previous clients. *Get everything in writing. Ask for an estimate in writing before payment is even discussed. Don’t let a contractor start working on a project until a written, signed contract outlining start and completion dates, a detailed description of the work to be provided, material costs, payment arrangements, and warranty information is provided. *Stagger payments. Most contractors will require a percentage of the total price upfront, but it should never be the full price before the work has begun. Instead, agree to stagger payments so that work can be inspected at various stages of the project. *Use safe payment methods. Paying with a credit card provides some peace of mind since the credit card company will help you Construction workers loading paving machine with asphalt and paving if the company is fraudulent. If you use a driveway check, write it to a company, not an indiIn any of these scenarios, the chances of vidual. Paying cash or using an electronic contact information was a sham. If you protest, the contractor may use getting a refund or the work fixed are slim. wallet app is risky since there is no way to stop the payment or get some money back How to avoid contractor scams: intimidation tactics, such as threatening a *Be wary of unsolicited offers. Most if anything goes wrong. lawsuit, to convince you to pay up. For more information, search BBB.org In other cases, once complete, the con- scams involving contractors begin when a tractor’s work is shoddy and unprofessional, random contractor makes an effort to go for local paving companies. And those who suspect they’ve fallen for a but the full payment has been made. Reach- out of their way to offer an estimate that contractor scam should report it to BBB. ing the company the contractor allegedly was never requested. *Research companies and contractors org/ScamTracker to help alert others to represented is impossible, or another combefore you hire. Start with BBB.org. If the similar scams. pany was copied in the process.

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Home & Garden - 19

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

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20 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Transform Your Rental From Drab To Fab

(StatePoint) When living in a rental, it can be challenging to make the space feel like home. While you may not be there long term, that doesn’t mean you can’t make it your own with some creative, nonpermanent updates. Here are a few tips to make your rental feel more customized to you. Prepare and Plan: With any rental property, it’s a good practice to check in with your landlord before you make changes to the space. If you’re given approval to customize your rental, be sure to store anything you remove and keep a list of any other physical changes you make in order to ensure your security deposit is returned when your lease concludes. It’s also best to research and purchase items that don’t cause damage to the wall. Enhance Lighting: Brightening a space in a rental can be tricky if you have limited windows or ceiling fixtures that can’t be upgraded. Enhance your area by adding new table lamps and installing lighting in sections that might need more illumination, like under cabinets or in closets. Secure push lights or rope lighting with a removable adhesive like Duck Max Strength Nano-Grab Gel Tape, which provides easy mounting with extreme holding

power. Nano-Grab’s double-sided gel adhesion creates a clean look, with a removable grip so you can clean the space after you move. Create Eye-Catching Walls in Bathrooms and Kitchens: Investing in high-end upgrades like new tile or flooring isn’t an option when renting, but reinventing the space with quality removable items is abso-

lutely possible. Enhance your bathroom walls or kitchen backsplash using a product such as Duck Brand EasyLiner Brand Removable Adhesive Shelf Liners. The sheets adhere directly over existing tile or paint and can be removed easily, which means you can choose from the wide variety of fashionable designs and trendy patterns as often as you’d like.

Add Some Shower Power: A quick, straightforward way to make an ordinary bathroom feel a bit more spa-like is to swap out your showerhead. There are simple-toinstall options that include everything from a large, flat rainfall experience to a handheld nozzle for ease of use. Best of all, they can be installed manually without the help of a plumber and are simple to change, meaning you can uninstall your new fixture and take your upgraded experience with you wherever you go. Showcase Your Personality: Infusing a bland space with a touch of personality is the best way to transform it into a cozy, sophisticated living area. Add fresh pops of color with lush plants in bright pots or vases. Wall décor like artwork, macrame hangings or photo collages can add hues to empty walls and enhance the mood of a room. If your landlord is a little more flexible, painting an accent wall, hallway or even adding a stripe or paint pattern into a bare space can bring your rented space to the next level. Upgrading a rental location doesn’t have to be daunting or complicated to complete. With the right products to help brighten up your temporary space, it’s easy to create a unique (and removable) look.

Three Great Reasons To Consider A Metal Roof (StatePoint) One of the most important considerations for any major home project is its return on investment. That’s why experts point to metal as a solid choice for roofing. “If you’re looking for that elusive combination of beauty, longevity and energy efficiency, metal roofing is a smart choice,” says James Alpeter, ProVia metal roofing marketing manager. “It offers superior performance and enhanced curb appeal, plus excellent resale value down the road.” As Alpeter points out, your roof plays an important role in safeguarding your home, protecting it from the elements and providing a barrier to temperature extremes. With your roof covering at least 60% of your home’s exterior, consider these advantages that metal has over other roofing materials: Longevity: Roofing takes a beating from all kinds of weather -- rainstorms, high winds, hail, harsh UV rays, and heavy

snow. Materials like asphalt and wood shingles are susceptible to mold and deterioration, and clay or slate tiles can chip and break. Metal roofing is durable, long-lasting, and withstands extreme conditions better than other roofing options. Metal roofs typically last 40 years or more, and their warranties are stronger as well. Curb appeal: Innovations in the metal roofing industry have resulted in beautiful panels and shingles that look identical to traditional materials, but without the associated damage concerns and maintenance issues that can quickly compromise curb appeal. For example, stamped panel metal roofing features an embossed surface that mimics the look and texture of cedar shake and quarried slate, and the horizontal panels resemble shingles rather than the industrial-looking standing seam metal roofs.

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Home & Garden - 21

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

Weather The Unexpected With National Preparedness Month Guidance This year the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is urging home and business owners to think of disaster preparedness to help protect their families and the legacies they have worked so hard to create. FEMA designates each September as National Preparedness Month, a time to prepare or review your family and business emergency plans for surviving and then managing the aftermath of an unexpected disaster. Disaster mitigation specialist Gregory Geaski of SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County points out that his company employs a full-time meteorologist and uses a cutting-edge geographic information system to provide each franchise with real-time, location-based insight on where storms are likely to hit and what kind of damage they could inflict. “Since time is of the essence in limiting or preventing damage to properties after a flood, this advance, predictive intelligence can accelerate response time, making the difference between an inconvenience and a total loss for our customers,” Geaski added. The US Financial and Banking Information Infrastructure Committee (FBIIC) states that flooding is the nation’s most frequent and costly natural disaster, representing 90% of all natural disasters. FBIIC adds that you don’t need to be in a high-risk, flood-prone area to be affected. Nearly 25% of flood insurance claims come from moderate- to low-risk areas. “While you can’t predict when a natural disaster will strike or what shape that disaster will take, you can prepare to minimize its effects on your home, your family, and your life,” says Geaski. FEMA Preparedness Tools FEMA offers a variety of no-cost tools to help you evaluate your risk, create a communication plan, sign up for alerts, put together an emergency kit customized to your family’s needs, protect important

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documents, and more. Among those tools is the agency’s Are You Ready? guide. This comprehensive guide provides detailed information on how best to prepare for disasters within families and communities. Learn general disaster preparedness tips and best practices to inform your planning. FEMA also highly recommends you make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find. As you prepare your plan, tailor your plans and supplies to your specific daily living needs and responsibilities. Discuss your needs and responsibilities and how people in the network can assist each other with communication, care of children, business, pets or specific needs like operating medical equipment.

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ficulty, stress and worry when you need to make a decision during an emergency. Things to include in your plan: *Know what to do with your pet during an evacuation . Many public shelters and hotels do not allow pets inside. Know a safe place where you can take your pets before disasters and emergencies happen. *Develop a buddy system. Plan with neighbors, friends or relatives to make sure that someone is available to care for or evacuate your pets if you are unable to do so. *Have copies of your pet’s vaccination record, and make sure your pet is microchipped. Keep your address and phone number up-to-date and include an emergency contact outside of your immediate area. *Keep contact information for your local emergency management office or animal control office and shelters on hand in case you become separated from your pet. For more information about how to prepare your pets, visit Ready.gov/pets. You can also download the FEMA app at ready.gov/fema-app — to get preparedness strategies, real-time weather and emergency alerts. In addition to following FEMA’s guidelines on disaster readiness, Geaski encourages property owners to consider using the SERVPRO READY app to store essential contact and property information electronically where it can be accessed in seconds with a mobile device. “This is a no-cost tool available to all homeowners,” Geaski said, “but local business owners who designate SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County as their disaster mitigation and restoration provider will also benefit from a no-cost assessment of their facility along with help completing a comprehensive Emergency READY Profile (ERP) to be stored in the READY app.” To reach Geaski at SERVPRO of Newtown and Southern Litchfield County, call 203-743-5362.

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22 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee -September 16, 2022

Steps To Prep Your Room For Clean Paint Lines (StatePoint) A home painting project can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a beginner. However, if you do the right prep work, the painting process doesn’t have to be so intimidating. By following these steps, you’ll set yourself up for clean paint lines and amazing results, no matter your skill level. 1. Purchase Proper Supplies. Before the prep work can even begin, it’s vital to purchase the proper supplies. Create your list by considering the steps you’ll take to complete your project: cleaning the wall surface, taping off edges and then of course, applying paint. As you shop, remember that affordability doesn’t have to mean sacrificing quality tools. Use new sandpaper and sponges so the surface is smooth and clean to start. Fresh brushes and rollers will lead to professionallooking results, and a high-quality, costeffective painter’s tape, like Duck Brand Clean Release, will help with achieving clean paint lines. Despite what many DIYers believe, using a primer is a necessary step, and shouldn’t be considered optional. Primer acts as a barrier and prevents old paint from showing through, so it really can make all the difference. In most cases, you’ll only need one coat of new paint if the surface is properly primed. Once you’ve chosen your primer, don’t forget the paint! Select the color and finish you prefer; then, purchase a sample and paint a small area to ensure it meets your expectations. 2. Declutter the Space. Once you’ve grabbed your supplies and decided on the

paint color and finish, remove as much out of the room as possible to avoid any damage during painting. Small, easy-to-move furniture should be temporarily relocated to another space. Heavy, hard-to-move furniture can at least be pushed away from the wall and protected with covers. Switch plate covers, window treatments and light fixtures can be removed and stored until your paint has dried. 3. Make the Surface Smooth and Clean. For the perfect smooth finish, start by lightly sanding your walls to eliminate any existing imperfections. This will likely cause dust and debris to fall throughout the room, so vacuum and wipe down walls after you’re finished sanding, as the paint will apply more evenly if the surface is clean. The walls can be wiped with a sponge and a mixture of dish soap and warm water. 4. Tape and Protect. The final step to prepare your room for paint is to tape the walls and protect the floors and any other areas you want to keep paint-free. When applying Duck Brand Clean Release or other painter’s tapes, keep the pieces one to two feet in length for the easiest application and securest seal. For an extra-tight hold, use a tool such as a putty knife to smooth down the edges and help prevent paint bleed. As for the floor, cover the surface with an old sheet or protective film to catch any paint drips or spills, taping down the edges if needed to make sure no paint leaks through the edges. Once you’ve followed these steps, you’re set up for success and prepared to begin painting! Time to pick up your brush and start that room transformation.

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Home & Garden - 23

September 16, 2022 - The Newtown Bee

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24 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 16, 2022

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