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The Newtown Bee’s

FALL

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Home Garden

A SUPPLEMENT TO THE NEWTOWN BEE • SEPTEMBER 13, 2019


2 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

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Home & Garden - 3

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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4 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Robin A.F. Olson’s personal cat, Freya, uses a high-sided storage bin for a litter box, which sits in a larger handcrafted pull-out drawer for easy cleaning. When the drawer is tucked away, a curtain hangs in front to conceal it. —Bee Photo, Silber

Kittens Django, Wyatt Derp, Dainty Dee, and Darling Dolly explore using their new litter box — a paint roller tray filled with non-clumping, plain clay litter. All four kittens have been adopted through Kitten Associates. — Robin A.F. Olson photo

Get The Scoop On Litter Box Tips Your Cat Will Love By Alissa Silber It is time for pet owners to think outside the box when it comes to their cats’ bathroom needs. The American Veterinary Medical Association found in their “US Pet Ownership Statistics� study that one third of all pet owners have a cat, with the average household having at least two felines. While it is evident that cats are a popular furry friend to have, it is safe to say that no one’s favorite part is ever litter box duty. Cat Behavior Counselor Robin A.F. Olson has years of experience caring for cats of all different ages, needs, and abilities through the nonprofit cat rescue she founded, Kitten Associates, based in Sandy Hook. Follow her tips and techniques for litter box maintenance to alleviate even the smelliest of situations. Cleanliness Is Key “A cat’s sense of smell is about 14 times as strong as humans,� Ms Olson said. “Scoop the pan at least once a day. It only takes a moment, and your cat will thank you for it by not using inappropriate locations.� In addition to scooping the litter content regularly, cleaning the container monthly is important to keeping odors at bay. Ms Olson recommends using a diluted bleach solution, with a bleach to water ratio of 1:9, then rinsing it and letting it air dry, preferably in the sun. Every six months, the pan or box should be replaced with a new one, she says, because, “The plastic gets microscopic scratches from repeated scooping. Over time the scratches can encourage bacterial growth.� The More The Merrier How many litter boxes are needed in a home can depend on how many cats will be utilizing them. “General rule of thumb is one pan per cat per floor of the home,� Ms Olson said. “If you have a multi-cat home, you can use a larger pan and fewer of them. Just be thoughtful about your cat’s needs.� For small kittens or cats with mobility difficulty, she advises having a low-sided pan in an easy to reach location to allow the cats to get in and out with greater ease. “We’ve used tiny plastic paint roller tray inserts as the first litter pan for our 3-week-old kittens,� Ms Olson explained. “There are lots of items that work great as litter

for unscented. “Remember, your kitty’s nose is only a few inches off the ground, and whatever scent is in the litter is going to affect your cat much more intensely. Also, those scents are made up of different chemicals,� Ms Olson said. “Does your cat really need to breathe that in?� While some pet owners are inclined to get scented litter to mask the odor of its contents better, there are other alternatives to consider. “If your cat has stinky stool, you don’t need scented litter. Instead, feed a fresh diet. Fresh diets mean no smelly output and your cat will use their litter pan less often, which is great for everyone concerned,� Ms Olson said. As for senior cats or felines with mobility issues, she recommends not using any clumping clay litter, because it can create “concrete booties if your cat steps in a damp area of litter.� Similarly, kittens under 8 weeks old should have nonclumping, plain clay litter, since they tend to nibble on their litter. When changing styles of litter, Ms Olson instructs, “If you want to try something new, incorporate it incrementally, over time. Doing a quick switch can confuse your kitty and she may abandon the pan!� Four-month-old Boom Boom McGillicuddy gazes up Once you find a litter that is suitable for your cat’s needs, to see who is peeking in on him after entering his litter and they use it appropriately, it is important to stick with box that has high sides with a low spot for easy access it and not switch. entering and exiting. He will be adoptable through Kitten Associates mid-September. —Bee Photo, Silber What To Avoid “Do not use a covered litter pan or litter pan liner,� Ms pans, as long as you can clean the surface properly.� Olson said. “Covering the pan traps in odor, and the High-sided pans are ideal for larger cats and those ath- enclosed space could cause your cat to become fearful letic types who tend to kick up more litter. she’ll be attacked while in her most vulnerable position.� To accommodate the acrobatic litter box users, litter pans As for liners, Ms Olson says they can make the pan feel can be placed inside a slightly larger storage bin to collect slippery and cause the cat to slide around. If a cat experistray litter. Be sure to remove the storage bin’s lid and cut ences that unpleasantness, it may look for a more stable one side to ensure the cat can enter and exit the pan. place to go to the bathroom outside the litter box. Also, be sure to avoid placing litter pans in high-traffic Litter Options areas or rooms that can be difficult to access, like the baseGoing to the pet store or shopping online can be an ment. These spots can be discouraging to cats and not endless sea of options when it comes to cat litter. There is desirable to venture to. scented, unscented, clumping, non-clumping, recycled “If it’s too far to travel, your cat may go elsewhere,� she said. paper shred, crushed walnut shells, and corn-based litter For more information about Kitten Associates, visit kitte— just to name a few. nassociates.org or e-mail Robin A.F. Olson at info@kitteFor scented versus non-scented, Ms Olson advocates nassociates.org.

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Home & Garden - 5

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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6 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

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Five Household Cleaning Hacks Using Essential Oils (StatePoint) From cleaners and sprays to air fresheners and more, essential oils are making their way into the mainstream as commonplace, common sense household solutions. It’s no surprise then that the market for essential oils is anticipated to grow significantly (more than nine percent) over the next several years, according to Grand View Research. More households are catching onto the fact that these beneficial plantbased ingredients have a range of cleaning and home care uses. To get in on the trend, consider these cool home care uses for essential oils: • Wipe Surfaces: Creating your own cleaning supplies can make chores a little easier on the eyes, nose, and throat. The good news is that certain essential oils, like tea tree and lemon oil, can help fight dirt and grime as well as kill bacteria and viruses, making them an excellent addition to homemade cleaning solutions and wipes. • Banish Bugs: Most traditional home insecticide products use the same active ingredients initially developed almost 50 years ago. Interestingly, the right mix of essential oils can also be highly lethal to bugs. Familiar ingredients such as lemongrass oil and geraniol in Zevo Instant Action Sprays target nerve receptors active only in insects, not people or pets. “Zevo bug sprays are effective because

they target insects’ unique biology with a blend of effective essential oils, setting them apart from traditional insecticide sprays,” says John Scarchilli of Procter & Gamble Ventures, which sell Zevo online and at select Target and The Home Depot stores. • Bust Fridge Odors: Even if you regularly rid your fridge of old items and wipe down its surfaces, combatting fridge odor can be a losing battle, as the plastic components tend to absorb odors over time. Make that box of baking soda that you have in your refrigerator work a bit harder. To go beyond simply neutralizing odors, add a few drops of essential lemon oil to it for a crisp, fresh scent. • Revive Fabrics: Take a natural approach to fresh-smelling fabrics. Create your own spray by combining baking soda, distilled water, and a touch of your favorite essential oils. Use the formula on linens, upholsteries, window treatments, or any other fabrics around your home in need of a scent boost. • Create Calm: You don’t have to do a full hygge-inspired renovation project to promote a peaceful atmosphere in your home’s spaces. With just a diffuser and such essential oils as lavender and bergamot, you can fill a room with a calming scent. For clean, healthy, bug-free spaces, consider introducing essential oils into your home’s supply kit. A small but mighty dose can go a long way.

Ten NEAT Tips To Transition To Zero Waste By Alexandra Assaiz Newtown Environmental Action Team (NEAT) is a nonpartisan grassroots group of Newtown citizens who work together on smart solutions to environmental challenges. NEAT will be a semiregular contributor to The Newtown Bee, suggesting actions that can be taken to keep the environment healthy. Going “Zero Waste” (a lifestyle where all products are reused, and no trash is sent to landfills, incinerators, or ends up in the ocean) is simpler than you might think. Here are ten easy first steps: 1. REUSE: Reduce your consumption. See what you already have that can be reused for a different purpose. 2. RECYCLE: Check your local recycling facility (newtown-ct.gov or hrra.org) so you know what items are accepted. 3. BRING YOUR REUSABLE BAGS: Keep them in the front seat of your car or put a note on your dashboard or shopping list. 4. REDUCE THE USE OF DISPOSABLE PAPER PRODUCTS: Use cloth rags or microfiber towels instead of paper towels, and handkerchiefs instead of tissues. Use cotton cloths for drying dishes, cloth napkins, and reusable plates, cups, and utensils. Switch parchment paper for a reusable baking mat. 5. SAY NO TO SINGLE-USE PLASTIC: Bring your own reusable cup to coffee shops and skip the plastic lid if you are staying. Do you really need a straw? Use real cutlery in your kids’ lunch boxes. Ditch the plastic wrap and use aluminum foil which can be recycled when clean. You can also reuse cleaned plastic storage bags.

6. THINK BEFORE YOU BUY: Do I really need it? Do I already have something at home that can do the same job? Could I borrow one? Is there more than one use for this item? Can it be recycled? Look for items that come in recyclable containers like glass, cans, or cardboard. Buy loose produce using reusable produce bags or try a local farmer’s market. Buy in bulk. 7. REDUCE FOOD WASTE: Buy what you need, eat what you buy, and eat those leftovers. Plan meals in advance; make a shopping list and stick to it. Be careful with sales offers. (See more on page 17) 8. COMPOST: Almost 80 percent of what we throw away is compostable. Newtown has a free municipal composting service. Call the Transfer Station (203-270-4307, Tuesday through Saturday, from 7 am to 3 pm) to get started or use a personal compost bin. 9. USE REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES, JUICE BOTTLES, AND COFFEE/TEA CUPS: Any liquid can go into a reusable bottle. 10. JUST BEGIN: Implement steps at your own pace. Think about other ways to go green by buying local and/or handmade, replacing harsh cleaning products for natural options or making your own and buying second hand. Goodwill and Savers have treasures for peanuts. When entertaining, send out e-vites and e-thankyous and borrow instead of buying anything extra you may need for one evening. Most importantly, get your kids involved in your planning to teach them how to live more sustainable lives. To learn more about NEAT or to get involved, visit byonewtown.org.


Home & Garden - 7

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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8 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Alice Byrd Hutchinson, the proprietor of Byrd’s Books in downtown Bethel, has some book recommendations on gardening and the use of natural substances for home cleaning. The authors offer expert advice to make gardening and cleaning projects successful. —Bee Photo, Gorosko

Byrd’s Books Unearths Guides About Gardening, Green Cleaning By Andrew Gorosko BETHEL — Alice Byrd Hutchinson, the proprietor of Byrd’s Books in downtown Bethel, is stocking some helpful guides for gardeners as well as folks who want to clean their homes with environmentally safe agents. Ms Hutchinson’s bookshop on Greenwood Avenue offers a range of titles that will prove helpful for gardeners and “green thinking” homeowners. Ms Hutchinson recommends an age-old hardcover full of nuggets of agricultural lore — The Old Farmer’s Almanac Engagement Calendar 2020. The large book, whose cover bears a delicate watercolor painting depicting a variety of flowers, is laden with helpful hints toward the goal of successful gardening. The new book marks the title’s 25th anniversary edition. The publisher states: This popular week-at-a-glance desk calendar provides plenty of space to jot down appointments, events, reminders, observations, and inspirations. Each day offers wit, wisdom, a quote, a proverb, or a bit of folklore. Each month’s opener features a month-at-aglance planning calendar, a full moon name, some fun facts, and quotes, according to Old Farmer’s Almanac, the publisher. Another valuable book for gardeners is Edible Paradise — How To Grow Herbs, Flowers, And Vegetables In Any Space by author Vera Greutink. The paperback volume explains how edibles can be successfully grown in tight spaces, the backyard, and even on rooftops, Ms Hutchinson said.

According to publisher Permanent Publications, the volume shows gardeners how to create a no-dig, organic garden with permaculture, or sustainable, design and techniques. The book contains much information on growing fruit, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. The volume is divided into two sections — container gardening and permaculture kitchen gardening, according to the publisher. Part One provides information useful to urban gardeners and those with little space. Part Two advises on starting and maintaining a garden. Recipes are provided for fresh harvests. There are chapters on making compost and on constructing raised gardening beds, according to the publisher. Examples of some gardens are intended to help people create ‘edible paradises’ everywhere, like patios, balconies, windowsills, gardening allotments, community gardens, school gardens, front yard gardens, and back yard gardens, Permanent Publications states. Ms Hutchinson also recommends another gardening book: Ground Rules—100 Easy Lessons For Growing A More Glorious Garden. The hardcover book by Kate Frey is “a lovely gift book for any gardener,” Ms Hutchinson said. According to publisher Timber Press, gardening does not have to be difficult, and the author makes it easier than ever. The book distills the vital lessons of gardening into 100 simple rules that will yield a gorgeous, healthy, and thriving home garden, the publisher adds.

There are tips on garden design, care and maintenance, healthy soil, and the best ways to water plants. Creating a garden that attracts birds and butterflies is explained. How to choose healthy plants at the garden center and how and when to re-pot a container are described. Cleaning Up Besides books on gardening, Ms Hutchinson recommends a book on home improvement in the broadest sense, The Naturally Clean Home — 150 Super-Easy Herbal Formulas For Green Cleaning, by Karyn Siegel-Maier. According to Storey Publishing LLC, readers can learn how easy it is to make safe, nontoxic, effective alternatives to commercial cleaning products by combining the antibacterial and antiseptic properties of herbs and essential oils with other natural ingredients, such as baking soda, vinegar, borax, and lemon juice. The paperback book contains information on washing the dishes with eucalyptus, restoring the rug with rosemary, softening fabrics with lemons, cleaning the oven with oranges, scrubbing the sink with lavender, polishing wood with raspberry leaves, flushing the toilet clean with tea tree oil, and waxing the car with beeswax. Byrd’s Books at 178 Greenwood Avenue in Bethel, which sells the books recommended by Ms Hutchinson, is a member of the New England Independent Booksellers Association. The shop’s new website is byrdsbooks. indielite.org.


Home & Garden - 9

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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10 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Before Replacing Home Windows, Check This Handy Advice quality product. A recent Remodeling magazine survey of remodeling contractors ranked ProVia vinyl windows as number one in window quality, citing its unique ability to customize as needed, its personalized customer service, strong warranties, and mix of state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment and human craftsmanship. Lastly, the brand was recognized for strong attention to detail, as it follows an 80-plus-item checklist for quality control. More information can be found at provia.com/windows.

(StatePoint) As with any home upgrade, a little research can help ensure a top-quality installation with the best materials on the market. Here are the most important factors to consider before purchasing replacement windows: Test Specifications All windows on the market are tested for their structural integrity as well as their resistance to air and water. Investigating these ratings is important, particularly in regions that see wicked weather. Insulation For maximum energy efficiency and comfort, look for new technologies such as Neopor insulation and Innergy thermal reinforcements that deliver high-performance and meet Energy Star certification standards. Windows offered by ProVia, for example, include these features and are tested against the most stringent requirements for air and water infiltration, wind load resistance, ease of operation, forced entry, and more.

your investment by opting for windows that come with a comprehensive lifetime warranty that’s transferrable to the next homeowner. This can potentially increase your home’s value should you put it on the market.

Material Windows are available in such materials as vinyl, wood, aluminum, and fiberglass. Understanding the benefits of each can help you arrive at the right decision for your home, priorities, and budget — new options even mix materials, combining different advantages into one product.

Style The style of your new windows can complement the architectural features of your home, provide visual interest, and boost curb appeal. Using online design resources and visualizer tools can help you see how particular hardware finishes, colors, add-ons, finishing options, and accessories will look on your home.

Warranty Availability Replacement Windows can cost thousands of dollars and should last a long time, so consider protecting

Recognition Third-party recognition for a particular brand or product is a strong indicator that you’re investing in a

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Energy Efficiency Energy-efficient windows can keep utility bills incheck while helping manage climate control. Seek out the Energy Star label, which indicates a product is energy efficient according to standards from the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. Numbers don’t lie, so be sure to also check the National Fenestration Rating Council Label to compare performance between energy-efficient windows in the following categories: U-Factor (how well the window retains heat), Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (how well it resists unwanted heat gain), Visible Transmittance (how well it lets in natural light), Air Infiltration (how drafty the window is), and Condensation Resistance (how well it resists inside surface condensation). Before upgrading, get savvy. Doing so can help you make a decision that will improve your home’s beauty, keep your family comfortable and safe, and save you money.

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Home & Garden - 11

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

Keeping you warm and safe EBR L E C

Working From Home? — Create The Perfect Home Office (StatePoint) With more people nationwide opting to create their own businesses or work for their employer remotely, the home office has become one of the most used spaces of the house, with many people spending more than eight hours a day in this room. If you’re one of these people, the kitchen table just won’t cut it if you’re looking to get serious and organized. To create a dedicated workspace that is beautiful, smart, and functional, consider the following tips: Tip 1: Design a space where you’ll enjoy spending time. Simple touches like lighting, a bright touch of paint, or a wide-open window can help create an inviting ambiance, and so can the addition of certain accessories. Instead of opting for a simple ceiling light fixture, dare to add a pop of style and color with a new ceiling fan. Not only can this addition make your space more comfortable, it can elevate your décor, with the ceiling as the centerpiece. Options from Hunter Fan Company like the Norden or Hepburn can bring the Satin Copper trend from the kitchen to the office, while new finishes in some of the brand’s fan favorites, such as the Cranbrook in Dove Grey or Blush Pink, will fit seamlessly into a bright and inviting space. Tip 2: Add life. Add color and vitality to your home office with some plant life. Not only will you be improving indoor air quality, you’ll be adding beauty to the space. To save precious desk-space, consider a few hanging planters, opting for plants that

(StatePoint) While we all know that Minimalism is “in” right now, thanks to Japanese cleaning guru Marie Kondo and her Tidying Up show on Netflix, decluttering your whole house can feel daunting. Instead, start small with these tips for tackling the areas that tend to collect the most dirt and clutter. 1. Purge your refrigerator weekly. The day prior to garbage collection, clean out your fridge of all leftovers and expired foods and wipe down the shelves to prevent stickiness and mold from leaking containers. Pro Tip: Line refrigerator trays and drawers with a protective, dishwasher safe layer, such as Clear Classic EasyLiner Brand Shelf Liner, to make it easy to wipe spills clean. 2. Add order to kitchen cupboards. When organizing cabinets, place everyday items such as cups and dishes in easily accessible cupboards and store things that you use less frequently, like fine china, on the harder-toreach shelves. When it comes to the pile of cookie sheets and cupcake pans shoved in that hard-to-reach cabinet, use a basic file organizer to create a neatly organized bakeware zone. 3. Categorize your pantry. Store your food by category, such as breakfast or baking, with the items that are most used placed front and center. If you have kids, set up a snack zone, so they don’t rifle through other shelves. Pro Tip: Ensure small items don’t fall through the spaces in wire racks by lay-

ing down a base on the shelves, such as Solid Grip EasyLiner Brand Shelf Liner. 4. Organize the junk drawer. Eighty percent of Americans report that they have at least one junk drawer in their home, but the average household actually has three of these catch-all drawers, according to Duck brand research. To wrangle this chaotic space, install bins or trays to keep similar contents together and make it easy to see what’s actually in there. For larger pieces, shelf liners with a grip surface and grip bottom provide cushioning, hold items in place, and protect the drawer bottom. Plus, they’re removable for easy cleaning. 5. Declutter your linen closet. To make the linen closet as functional as possible, utilize adjustable dividers to sort textiles and fold sheets into pillow cases to ensure bedding sets stay together. Additionally, ensure your linens are protected from potential damage by installing shelf liners. Melamine or veneer shelves can cause fabric to yellow, and textiles that are laid directly onto wire shelves inevitably form crease lines, but a layer of multi-purpose liner can preserve linens and even add a pop of color or style to your closet. For additional organizational tips, visit duckbrand.com. Whether you tackle it as part of a purging effort or to simplify your life, the best way to handle decluttering is in stages.

RS

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thrive indoors, such as spider plants or jade. Tip 3: Don’t forget function! As the wheels turn and your creative juices start flowing, nothing can be more distracting than a creaking ceiling fan or a light that just doesn’t do the trick. A simple switch can make all the difference. While a desk lamp might solve your lighting problem, why not opt for a fixture that can solve both of those issues at the same time? Tech-savvy ceiling fan options from Hunter Fan Company like the Tunable White LED Dempsey, allow you to adjust the temperature of the light, ensuring your fan will operate quietly, keep you cool, and work as hard — and as late — as you do. With its dimmable remote, you can adjust the light temperature for your eyes, using warm white lighting for nighttime work and cool white lighting to perk you up in the morning. Such details will help any entrepreneur avoid distraction and create a more productive work environment. Tip 4: Get personal. You may be doing business, but when it comes to decorating, it’s time to mix in the personal. Items such as photographs of friends and family or reminders of previous accomplishments will bring you joy and help you stay motivated. Whatever you do, don’t settle for completely bare walls! Gone are the days of dark wood-paneling, moody lighting, and rolodexes. Today’s most effective home offices are brighter, more welcoming, and unite function with your personal style.

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12 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Local Gardening Experts Cultivate By Eliza Hallabeck Fall is a great time to renew landscaping and plant seeds for the following year’s enjoyment, according to local experts. Hollandia Nurseries of Bethel owner Eugene Reelick and Shakespeare’s Garden in Brookfield grower and Newtown resident Garry Ober both offered insight ahead of the season. Both said the industry can be busier in the fall than in the spring. “Fall planting is in some ways a lot easier than a spring planting, because you have three cool seasons ahead for the plant to become established, and the water stress isn’t often what it can be with a spring planting,” Mr Ober said. From trees to lawns and containers, fall is the perfect time to ready the garden for the upcoming seasons.

From ornamental peppers to “spiller” options, there is a wide range of fall color selections to choose from at Shakespeare’s Garden.

Lawns A great time to “get lawns going” is between the start to mid-September, Mr Reelick said, adding that the cooler nights and better source of water are

good for seed germination. Crab grass diminishes after the first frost. He said a “heavy nitrogen feeding is best.” “The fall is the best time to install a lawn or recondition a lawn due to the cool weather, more rain, and less weed competition,” Mr Reelick said. Fall is a “big” time for people to lineup lawn care, planting, and landscaping designs, he added. Trees And Shrubs “I like planting in the fall better than the spring due to the longer acclimation period,” Mr Reelick shared, explaining that when trees are planted in the fall, they can become more accustomed to the weather, rather than if they were planted in a typically drier season. A heavy freeze tends to not come until January, and the higher water content in the fall helps shrubs and trees planted in the fall. Flowering ornamentals, evergreens, screening plants, and perennial beds can flourish better in the spring if planted in the fall, Mr Reelick explained. Any hardy woody shrub or perennial is coming into a time, Mr Ober said, “when they can be planted, taken care of, and become acclimated and do very well coming through the winter. So, we do a lot of fall planting.” Shakespeare’s Garden, which is located on Obtuse Road South, continues to do a lot of planting installations in the fall, Mr Ober added. For all the designs he does, Mr Ober said he keeps all seasons in mind, to keep colorful interest throughout multiple seasons. Container Gardens Container gardens can be a nice way to “dress up” a property, patio, or entrance, Mr Reelick observed. As

Hollandia Nurseries mums come in a variety of colors, pictured are purple, red, and yellow options.

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Home & Garden - 13

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

Wise Advice For Fall Planting spring and summer annuals deteriorate, planting mums, ornamental cabbage, kale, millet, and ornamental peppers can liven up containers. Mr Reelick suggested using corn stalks or other holiday decor alongside container gardens, and he said hanging baskets look “fabulous in the fall.” Hollandia Nurseries grows its own mums, cabbage, and kale, which are available at both of its locations, Hollandia Nurseries is located on Old Hawleyville Road and Hollandia Gift & Garden is located on Stony Hill Road. Shakespeare’s Garden, Mr Ober said, puts a good number of container gardens — filled with a combination of hardy annuals and perennials — together for the fall. Containers can be packed with different colors and textures for added interest. Once winter comes, Mr Ober said plants from containers can be put in the ground to hopefully come back in the spring. Bulbs Planting bulbs for a range of plants — like daffodils, tulips, and alliums — is another perfect fall endeavor. Bulbs add color in the spring, and they do not need full sun. Most of the fall bulbs begin being sold around Labor Day at nurseries, Mr Ober said. The flowers bulbs produce add sparkle and interest in any landscape. Mr Ober said $15 worth of bulbs “are always appreciated” in any landscape. “Fall is the best time to plant your spring blooming bulbs,” Mr Reelick said. He added later, “You have something to wait for in the spring, which is really nice.”

One mistake people can make when planting bulbs is not watering them enough, Mr Reelick commented. The plants need a good amount of moisture, even in the fall. “Hollandia has a huge import of Dutch tulip bulbs every year,” Mr Reelick said, adding that deer keep away from daffodils and alliums while tulips offer the “biggest color.” When visiting the Hollandia Nurseries’s locations, Mr Reelick said people should not be afraid to ask questions. “We encourage people to ask questions,” Mr Reelick stated. “Don’t be afraid to come and talk to us... We would be glad to advice you.” For The Bees There is still roughly two months left to offer sustenance in local gardens for bees. Mr Ober said perennials can be planted in the fall, even if they are done flowering. Cone flower perennials can be planted in the fall. The best plant for bees in his garden is butterfly weed. “It’s kind of nice to tell a client you are going to see some pollinators in your landscape,” Mr Ober said. “It’s more than just a trend; It is extremely important. It would be a shame to overlook that class of perennials just because they might not have the pristine look all season long in a landscape.” With warm August and Septembers, people tend to wonder about their landscapes and the fall. Fall planting is a big part of Shakespeare’s Garden’s business. Mr Ober said it is “bigger and bigger each year.”

Two container gardens at Shakespeare’s Garden are situated near other autumnal selections.

Tulips from Hollandia Nurseries offer a pop of yellow and red when blooming.

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14 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Don’t Go Buggy When Dealing With Home Insect Invasions (StatePoint) As summer days begin give way to fall chills, are you spotting more bugs than usual around the house? While a pest problem can cause embarrassment and concern, this fall, you can take comfort in the fact that not only are you not alone, there are new ways of dealing with insects that can help you manage the problem without harsh chemicals. “A warm winter and a humid, wet spring set the stage for insect populations to thrive, and that is what people are experiencing,” says Dr Josh Benoit, an entomologist at the University of Cincinnati Department of Biological Sciences. Seconding this sentiment is the National Pest Management Association, which early on, projected that termites, cockroaches, ants, mosquitoes, and other insects would thrive in regions nationwide this year. Finding a roach in the home ranked number one in terms of “Grossness,” beating out cleaning the toilet, cleaning the gutters, and removing hair from the shower drain, in a recent survey conducted by Zevo, a maker of bug killer sprays and traps that are safe for use around

people and pets when used as directed. But beyond the “ew” factor, households will want to manage pest problems for health and safety reasons. “Cockroaches and filth flies can serve as mechanical vectors for diseases,” points out Dr. Benoit. “And ticks, mosquitoes, and kissing bugs can transmit pathogens that cause diseases.” So, what are some smart, safe ways to prevent bug infestations and manage existing ones? Consider these tips to keep bugs in check this summer and beyond: • Keep food sealed and stored properly. Get rid of crumbs around the kitchen or anywhere else you eat around the house. Regularly sweeping and wiping down counters can help; • Prevent buildup of moisture on surfaces and remove standing water to prevent mosquito (and other bug) breeding around the home; • Never bring in unwashed, used furniture and other objects. Before introducing such items into your home, inspect them carefully; • More than 90 percent of people are concerned with

having bugs in their home, but almost an equal amount are concerned with using traditional insecticide products, according to a Zevo survey, making sprays that don’t contain harsh chemicals a household essential. Made from friendly ingredients, Zevo Instant Action Spray, for example, features essential oils that target nerve receptors active only in insects, not people or pets; • Bugs often enter homes through garages and open doors. Set up a line of defense by keeping windows, doors and garages closed as much as possible and by placing chemical-free traps, such as Zevo flying insect traps, in your garage or other areas that get high bug traffic. The traps plug into outlets around the home and use multi-spectrum light technology and a body heat attractant to lure pesky flying bugs to their doom. Though they work 24/7, they are especially effective at night when there are fewer competing light sources. For more information, visit zevoinsect.com. Keeping your home insect-free shouldn’t have to drive you buggy. Arming yourself with information and effective solutions can help prevent and combat infestations.

Bring Comfort And Style To Your Outdoor Space (StatePoint) Whether it’s uncomfortable furniture or utilitarian light fixtures, you’re probably used to making some concessions when it comes to comfort, style, and convenience in your home’s outdoor spaces. What many homeowners are learning is that nearly anything that can be achieved in interior spaces can likewise be achieved in exterior ones. However, there are a few things to keep in mind in order to update these spaces safely and for maximum effect. Here are a few ideas to consider: Create A “Room” One aspect of creating the feel of a room in your home’s outdoor spaces is defining its boundaries. Get creative with the notion of floor, ceiling, and walls. Sometimes, these elements work better when they’re more of a suggestion than an impermeable structure. Whether it’s a latticed trellis that allows you to view the stars, a manicured hedge to create privacy, or a sunken “living room” set off by a retaining wall, there are plenty of charming means for setting an outdoor area apart from the

space around it. If your project requires digging, it’s important to call 811, a free nationwide number, in order to determine where underground utility lines are and avoid them. Air And Light Think the form and function of ceiling fans, chandeliers, and pendant lights are for interior spaces only? Think again. Such stylish fixtures can be added over patios, verandas, or pergolas to add the level of elegance and comfort one could traditionally only enjoy indoors. However, if you do plan to add any such electrical device to an exterior space, you must do so safely by opting for weatherproof installation, as well as fixtures designed specifically for the outdoors. Whether performing this upgrade on your own or hiring a contractor, consider products such as the “Outdoor Comforts” line from the Bell Outdoor brand of Hubbell Incorporated. The line’s new Bell Outdoor Ceiling Fan Box, which provides a safe and secure mounting and weatherproof wiring

junction specifically for outdoor fans, chandeliers, or pendant lights, is designed to enhance outdoor living spaces with the same convenience and comfort you enjoy indoors. To learn more about cost-effective solutions for upgrading outdoor areas with weatherproof fans or luminaires, visit hubbell.com/bell/en. Finishing Touches If it’s been a while since you furnished your backyard, you may be surprised by the scope of weatherproof furnishings, cushions, pillows, and even rugs available on the market today. If you’re overdue for an upgrade, consider padding out your patio to make the time spent in your outdoor space as comfortable as an afternoon curled up on the couch in the family room. To extend the life of certain items, you may want to bring them under cover during extreme weather events, as well as the off-season. To extend your living space and entertain with ease, upgrade your outdoor spaces with safety and comfort in mind.

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Home & Garden - 15

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

How To Nail ‘Farmhouse Style’ In Your Interior Decorating (StatePoint) Farmhouse style is cozy, rustic, charming, and eclectic. While creating the vibe in your own home is easy, according to home decorating experts, it requires some attention to detail. Designer, Instagram personality, blogger, and business owner Liz Marie Galvan, who recently renovated her 1840s farmhouse, is sharing a few key elements to consider: Natural Wood Elements Searching for the perfect table, picture frame, or bookshelf? When in doubt, use natural wood. “Natural wood really evokes that old-time feel. In our home, we have wood flooring in every room, but you can also bring in natural wood kitchen cabinets, dressers, trim, and so much more.” To be eco-conscious while nailing the weathered look, consider sourcing locally reclaimed lumber where possible. You can continue the wood motif by adding shiplap accent walls or even shiplap ceilings to certain rooms. Replacement Windows “Most people don’t think a lot about windows — window treatments, yes, but windows...not so much,” points out Galvan. “But windows themselves can be a gamechanger. One of the key parts of our renovation was allnew windows with a historically accurate grille pattern, which totally changed the look and feel of the house.” This upgrade not only complemented the historical period of the home’s structure to define the look, it also eliminated the draft she was experiencing from the old windows that came with the home — a good reminder that old-school charm does not need to be accompanied by old-school discomfort. While Galvan did hers in white with colonial grilles, other colors, such as black, would also go great in a farmhouse-style home. Keep in mind, there are many elements to consider, and you’ll want the flexibility to customize. This is why Galvan turned to Renewal by Andersen, the full-service custom replacement window division of Andersen. Offering a start-to-finish process, one can select among 49 color combinations, numerous hardware choices, and a wide variety of grille patterns and frames — including a custom-designed option. For customization inspiration, visit renewalbyandersen. com/style.

As for trim, Galvan says you can get instant farmhouse vibes and make a new build look old by using thick, chunky window, door, and floorboard trim throughout the entire home. Extra Touches Decorate with items you’d actually find on a farm as much as possible. Galvan used rustic farmhouse fabrics like grainsack, tobacco baskets, chicken nesters, farmhouse signs, barn wood, and more. And about 80 percent of her home’s furniture is antique or vintage, she says. Antiquing is not only fun, but when you find that perfect treasure, there may be a touch of triumph involved. However, if the treasure hunt starts to feel more like a search for a needle in a haystack, consider going the “faux antique” route. Many stores sell convincing reproductions. For more style inspiration and to learn more about Galvan’s project, visit renewalbyandersen.com/farmhouse. Whether your home was built last year or last century, a farmhouse style will give the space coziness and warmth.

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16 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

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(StatePoint) Whether you’ve completed an amazing renovation or you are selling your house, you’ll want to take perfect pictures of your home to share. Acclaimed photographer Jeffrey Davis, the photographer of choice for The New American Home and Progress Lighting, is sharing some tips to elevate your residential photography game to a social media-worthy or even magazine-worthy level. Lighting fixtures are a critical focal point in homes, yet photographing lighting in a room is challenging. “Lights always look better when turned on,” says Davis. “Try to pick a time of day when lights can be on, but you can still get outside views that won’t be burned out.” Jennifer Kis, director of marketing communications for Progress Lighting and a veteran of many residential photoshoots, agrees. “Lighting is often the statement piece of a room. Having the chandelier turned on in the great room, for example, adds to the general light of the room and creates a warm and cozy feeling.” Another important tip is to focus on the lighting fixture itself. “Since lighting fixtures are hung high in a room, angle the camera that way. Shooting at eye level is rarely the right angle,” says Davis. Whether or not lighting fixtures are the focus, having the right light at the right time is an essential piece of taking perfect pictures. Spend extra time scouting shoot locations and the design layout of the home. Take notes when planning the shoot to ensure that natural light is shining in the

right space at the right time of day. Next, focus on the composition of the shot. The proper balance elevates the image and makes the design elements of the room stand out. When aiming for a picture of the whole room, try shooting right down its center. Using the room’s architectural framework as a guide, pick angles that feel natural to the space and that casually direct the eye to the subject matter being showcased. The viewer’s eye should wander around the image, finally landing on the intended focal point. Colorful accessories and the right room angles create a visual path through the room, engaging the eye naturally to add depth and interest to the image and taking the ordinary to extraordinary. Clear out the clutter in the room and style the space, remembering that less is more. Try focusing on details and vignettes that create a story of the area and give the room personality. For an ideal finished image, Davis recommends a print file size of 4,000 pixels, 14 by 14 inches at 300 dots per inch in tiff or jpeg format. For online use, he recommends images sized 1,800 pixels, 12 by 12 inches at 150 dots per inch, in jpeg format. For residential photography inspiration, check out progressltg.com/experienceprogress. By adopting the key principles of professionals, you can capture the beauty of your home interiors to create amazing photos of your home.

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Home & Garden - 17

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

Eliminate Food Waste In Your Home And Community (StatePoint) A large amount of food in the US is never eaten. However, there are many easy ways families and communities can eliminate food waste in their daily lives while also protecting the environment. Each year, more than 66 trillion gallons of water is used to produce food that is estimated to be lost or wasted. Wasted food represents about eight percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions, according to Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). More importantly, according to World Wildlife Fund (WWF), food production is the primary contributor to deforestation, forest degradation, and grassland conversion, harming wildlife and the habitats they call home. “Finding harmony between agriculture and nature may be the most important social, economic, and ecological issue of this century,” says Pete Pearson, WWF’s senior director of Food Loss and Waste. Bringing people together from the hotel and kitchen sectors, retail and food service sectors, as well as schools and farms, a report from WWF called “No Food Left Behind,” explores how to measure and reduce waste from field to table. Food waste and loss is a huge environmental issue that everyone can do something about, in their homes and their communities. Use these tips from WWF to get started: Shop Smart The choices you make at the supermarket matter. Monitor what goes in and out of your fridge. Are you buying more than needed and chucking the rest into the garbage? Though great sources of nutrition, about 45 percent of all fruits, vegetables, roots, and tubers are wasted, according to the FAO. Use the freezer! Consider making a weekly meal plan that includes frozen meat, seafood, pro-

duce, and canned products (especially in the off-season) so that you can shop with a realistic sense of what you actually need and not feel pressure from items spoiling. Still left with excess? Compost, but work to reduce what goes in the compost bin! It’s also important to shop for foods grown and raised sustainably. Look for eco-labels on packaging. For example, sustainably caught seafood means the fishery is taking steps to reduce by-catch (fish caught unintentionally), which allows marine wildlife populations to thrive longterm. When it comes to coffee, an eco-label might mean the product was sourced in an environmentally responsible way. Not seeing eco-labels at your store? Ask your grocer to consider stocking shelves with brands working to eliminate wasteful production practices. Get Schools Involved Schools can do their part to teach kids the value of food by introducing strategies for reducing waste. WWF is working with students and teachers, grades 5-12, in cities nationwide to conduct food waste audits and build a connection between food, wildlife, and habitat conservation. The WWF Food Waste Warrior Toolkit is a free resource offering lesson plans integrating math, science, and language arts that can be adjusted by grade level. “Turning the cafeteria into a classroom allows students to immediately understand the impact the food system has on the environment, empowering them to make changes and to be tomorrow’s leaders on food waste reduction,” says Pearson. For resources and information about food waste, visit worldwildlife.org/foodwaste. By doing our part and eliminating food waste, we can help save the land, water, and energy people and wildlife depend on to survive.

UConn Extension Master Gardener Program Apply now for the 2020 UConn Extension Master Gardener Program. Classes will be held in Vernon, New Haven, Norwich, Torrington, and Stamford. The deadline for applications is Friday, October 18. UConn Extension Master Gardeners have an interest in plants, gardening, people, and the environment. Specifically, they are willing to share their knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm with their communities, providing research-based information to homeowners, students, gardening communities, and others. They receive horticultural training from UConn and then share that knowledge with the public through community volunteering and educational outreach efforts. UConn Master Gardeners help with community and museum gardens, school gardens, backyard projects, houseplant questions, and more. The program is presented in a hybrid class format, with three to four hours of

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online work before each of the 16 weekly classes, followed by a half-day classroom session. Classes run from 9 am to 1 pm. New this year is a weekend session that will be held in Vernon on Saturdays. Classes begin the week of January 6, 2020. Subject matter includes basic botany, plant pathology, soils, entomology, and lectures on other aspects of gardening, plant groups, and pest management. Lectures and readings are combined with hands-on classroom experience. After the classroom portion, students complete 60 hours of outreach experience during the summer. The program fee is $450 and includes all needed course materials. Partial scholarships may be available, based on demonstrated financial need. For more information, call the UConn Extension Master Gardener office at 860409-9053 or visit mastergardener.uconn. edu, where both the online and paper application can be found.

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18 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Between A Rock And A Hard Place—

Solutions For Successful Planting In Stony New England Soil By Kendra Bobowick Few relationships are as rocky as Connecticut gardeners trying to get along with the often hard packed or stony backyard soil. “We can’t do a lot about rocks in New England; we were blessed with those,” said Benedict’s Home & Garden nursery manager Rob Flader. He and owner Bruce Benedict did have a few ideas about changing the otherwise stony view. Regarding rocky soil, Mr Flader offered some options. “You would need to build a small berm if you did not want to excavate out material and replace with good compost,” he said. “The economical option is to cover [rocky areas] with wood chips or mulch,” Mr Flader said. Adding soil in some places could also accommodate certain plants that would need about six inches of “rootscape,” he said. Mr Benedict mentioned several plants — creeping phlox or mountain pinks — “can tolerate dry conditions and have nice color,” he said. Mr Flader said, “A rug-style juniper,” which would also need “a backfill of good soil,” is another idea. Both Mr Benedict and Mr Flader also spoke about a “hardscape,” which is “inanimate features, a birdbath, benches, a gazing ball,” Mr Benedict said. Other items could include planters to place in the rocky part of a backyard. “Some people will get an old whiskey barrel and plant in that,” Mr Flader suggested. Gardeners “could fold a lot of options together,” Mr Benedict said. “Simple pots or ornate planters or a bench,” would provide focal points, he added. Planting containers can hold flowers for summer and a small evergreen in winter, Mr Flader said. Accustomed to helping customers design, trouble shoot landscaping problems, or find the right plants for the right location, “Rob also helps people who come in with a sketch,” of their property and tries to determine what will work, Mr Benedict said. Mr Flader talks with homeowners about plants that are deer-resistant, shade and ornamental plants, as well as edibles. Another landscaping challenge is shade. Mr Flader noted several plants, such as pachysandra, ivy, myrtle, and vinca, as “excellent shady ground covers to prevent erosion,” with a mountain laurel “for height.” Plants that would do well in partial shade include native dogwood, he said. The garden center staff can also help with invasives like bittersweet, emerald

Town and Country Garden Club of Newtown member Barbara O’Connor says Sempervivum (hens and chicks) is an ideal plant to consider for rocky soil. “They seem to grow practically anywhere,” she said. ash borers, and Japanese knot weed, Mr Benedict said. Benedict’s “has been in the family since the 1940s,” he said. The center carries plants, supplies, a greenhouse, tools and power equipment, generators, feed and farm supplies, and more. Benedict’s is located at 480 Purdy Hill Road, Monroe. Visit the website at benedictsgarden. com. Advice From Experts Town and Country Garden Club of Newtown longtime member Barbara O’Connor considered what might take hold in rocky ground. “The first thing that comes to mind is Sempervivum (hens and chicks). They seem to grow practically anywhere,” she said. “The one thing they don’t like is soil that stays wet.” Homeowners can add certain plants to rocky areas by building up a few inches of soil or buying a planter, she said. She advises that, “Everything you plant needs to be watered until it’s established. Once established, you can leave alone.” Junipers are another plant that came to mind. “But again, anything newly planted needs to be babied until it gets a hold on the soil.” Thinking of additional plant varieties, Ms O’Connor said, “Ferns — hay-scented ferns seem able to grow anywhere.” She also said there are grasses that are drought tolerant and do not have deep roots. “There are a lot of grasses that are native, depending on how tall you want them to get,” she commented.

“If you need some color,” she said yarrow “is hearty and not too big.” Columbine is another plant that “seems to grow anywhere. I have seen them coming out of a little crack in a rock.” “Little statues are another idea,” offering one more decorative landscaping feature for inhospitable ground, she said. “Gazebos, bird feeders, etc. are good ideas,” said Ms O’Connor. “Birds like feeders in the open but like protective trees where they can fly nearby for protection.” She suggested plants where those birds might flock. “I love fothergilla, but it needs soil to put roots into. It gets those nice fuzzy flowers in the spring, and in the fall, it’s red, orange, and yellow — beautiful in the fall.” Ms O’Connor said, “Quince is pretty and can tolerate a certain amount of shade and is hearty. In the winter, you can cut limbs for an interesting bare branch flower arrangement, and if you leave it in the water, the leaves will start.” Tips From A Master New Haven County UConn Extension center Master Gardener Program Coordinator Eric Larson offered his thoughts about gardening in New England. “I highly recommend raised beds. You can control your soil, use compost.” He added, “a sad fact about life in Eastern America — there can be a lot of lead in the soil,” and homeowners with young children might take that into consideration.”

For gardeners who are “not worried about vegetables,” but want their property “to look good,” he suggested, “find plants with predilection to rocky soil or ledge. Blueberries or plants you see in areas of New Hampshire or Vermont do well in rocky soil.” The blueberry “is an amazing ornamental plant. Once established, it has fragrant white bell-shaped flowers in the spring, it provides food, and is a wonderful native ornamental.” Thinking about native wildflowers, Mr Larson said, “There are a whole bunch that will do well in rocky soil.” Goldenrod will “absolutely do well.” Aside from wildflowers, some evergreen trees like eastern white cedar, if planted as a sapling, will also grow, he said. “But they won’t be perfect specimens; their roots will look for soil, and the top will be an expression of how well their roots do,” he said. The growing tree might have a “wind-blown look,” he added. “But, some people like that.” Mr Larson also mentioned “hardscaping to augment and shape the stone you can’t move,” favoring pots to add splashes of color. New England earth is not just the stone, Mr Larson said. “If there are established large trees in the area, you will also be dealing with tree roots.” His solution? “So, pots, raised beds.” Learn more by visiting extension. uconn.edu. The Fairfield County Master Gardeners office also provided a series of publications available through its office library: Ferguson, Harrim, ed.: Rock Gardens; Ingwersen, Will: Alpines; Mineo,Baldassare: Rock Garden Plants; Murfitt, Rex: Creating and Planting Alpine Gardens; Reader’s Digest: A-Z Rock Garden and Water Plants; Rolfe, Robert: The Alpine House; Sunset Books: How to Plan, Establish, and Maintain Rock Gardens. The office also suggested several websites: North American Rock Garden Society: nargs.org; Rock Garden Forum: garden.org; Fact Sheet on Rock Gardens: missouribotanicalgarden.org; Fact Sheet on Rock Garden Plants: e x t e n s i o n c o l o s t a t e. e d u / p u b s / g a rden/07401.pdf. The office is open Monday through Friday, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm and from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. Contact the office at fairfieldmastergardeners@gmail.com or call 203-207-3271.

Are You Ready For FALL Cleaning?

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2016 Business of the Year Winner Newtown Chamber of Commerce


Home & Garden - 19

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

Powerwashing Interior & Exterior Painting Hardwood Floor Installation/Refinishing

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Readiness Checklist: Five Steps To Prep For Buying A Home (StatePoint) For many Americans, making the jump to buying that first house is a significant achievement that allows them to put their mark on their own space while creating room for family and pets. But how do you know you’re ready? Americans see homeownership as an investment in their future, yet they are concerned about the steps they need to take to put themselves into a position to buy, according to the “How Americans View Homeownership” survey conducted by The Harris Poll April 17-29, 2019, among 1,004 US adults 21 and older on behalf of Wells Fargo. The study showed that 44 percent of non-homeowners identified saving for a down payment as a top barrier to buying, more so than any other obstacle. “Homeownership is very much a part of the American Dream, yet too many firsttime buyers don’t know where to start,” says Liz Bryant, Wells Fargo Home Lending’s national retail sales leader. “We find that a great way to get moving down the path to homeownership is with a conversation. By reaching out to your mortgage lender, your banker, or even a housing counselor, you can start putting together a plan that will help get you on your way.” Here are some steps to consider: *Research lenders and loan options. Identify a lender who has a breadth of home loan options, including low down payment mortgages, and who is willing to provide you with personalized guidance. Then just start the conversation. *Know your goal. Your mortgage con-

sultant can help, and so can a financial health banker or a housing counselor. A discussion about spending, saving, debt, and credit will help you make decisions about what you can afford, how much you need to save, and whether you need to do work to improve your credit score. *Get your down payment ready. If you don’t already have one, create a budget for your monthly spending, so you can identify areas where you can save. Set aside unexpected windfalls, such as tax refunds, to grow savings. *Keep an eye on overall debt. While there’s room for student loans and credit card debt, a good rule of thumb is to keep your overall debt level — including your new mortgage — at or below 36 percent of gross monthly income. *Think beyond the down payment. Consider setting aside one to two percent of the purchase price of your home each year for maintenance projects. If that seems like too much, start with less and work your way up. More readiness tips can be found at wellsfargo.com/financial-education/homeownership/. “Too many first-time buyers get intimidated by the down payment or the work they might need to do around credit,” says Bryant. “Many don’t realize that there are lending options available for homebuyers with a range of credit scores and programs that require buyers to put as little as three percent down. It’s important to explore your options, take it step-by-step, and work toward your homeownership goals.”

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20 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

Lighting Outdoor Spaces For Maximum Curb Appeal

(StatePoint) Many homeowners spend time and money perfecting curb appeal but forget to make it shine at night. Experts say a well-lit home exterior and surrounding landscape is both beautiful and functional. “The addition of outdoor lighting is transformative, making it possible to see beauty that would ordinarily be hidden at night while also extending your living space to the outdoors at all hours of the day,” said Linkoln Dixon, product manager at Progress Lighting. “Additionally, lighting provides safety and security, creating visibility and eliminating hiding spots.” To help you tailor lighting for enhanced beauty, visibility, security, and ambiance, consider these tips from the experts at Progress Lighting: Just like inside the home, layering light outside is essential to create a welcoming atmosphere. Light layering uses three layers of light: ambient, task, and accent lighting. Begin by selecting ambient lighting that provides a comfortable level of brightness. Wash the home’s exterior with light, using a combination of downlights and uplights to cast a warm, gentle glow on outdoor living spaces while providing indirect lighting to entryways. Next, select task lighting to add focused

illumination that makes entrances and pathways visible and shadow-free. A rule of thumb for lighting doorways is to size lighting in proportion to the door itself. Select wall sconces and lanterns that measure anywhere from 1/4 to 1/3 the size of the door. Mount outdoor sconces and lanterns at eye level, with the center of the light source between 5½ to 6 feet off the

ground and 8 to 10 feet apart. Install soft, non-glaring path fixtures about 14 inches high that direct most of the light downward. Define the edges of the path by placing lights about one foot from one or both sides of the walkway, staggering the placement slightly to create a natural flow. For steps, install lights directly into the risers. This soft light provides just

enough brightness to mark each tread and prevent glare. Finally, add accent and decorative lighting that accentuates your home’s architectural features. For entertaining areas, select wall-mounted fixtures such as sconces or lanterns, or overhead lighting that focuses task light on work surfaces. Outdoor chandeliers and pendants are a stylish way to bring the design appeal of indoor lighting outside. For a professional, pulled-together look, choose light fixtures with the same finish as door pulls, fencing and outdoor furniture. Other accent lighting choices that add flair include post lights, spotlights, strip lights, and water-feature lighting. As a finishing touch, use timers, dimmers, or motion sensors to control lights, turning them on or down as desired. Remember, outdoor lighting must be rated for outdoor use to ensure it’s waterproof and that dust and rain won’t interfere with the bulb or circuitry. For more outdoor lighting tips, trends, and inspiration, visit Progress Lighting at bit.ly/lightingoutdoors. In short, if you’re going to spend energy on your home exterior, make sure people can see it. The right outdoor lighting will add beauty to your home and make it safer.

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Home & Garden - 21

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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Update Your Home Lighting To Be Easy On The Eyes (StatePoint) If you ever experience eyestrain; tired, itchy eyes; blurry vision; or headaches, it may be time to give your home a lighting makeover. Problems caused by bad lighting can be intensified by using it for longer, something most households should keep in mind, as 74 percent of Americans in a recent survey, commissioned by lighting manufacturer Signify, say they spend eight hours or more a day under artificial light. The World Health Organization predicts that 50 percent of people will be short sighted by 2050. Unfortunately, there’s a disconnect between people’s concerns about eye health and the steps they are taking to support eye comfort at home. While 80 percent of US consumers in the same Signify survey say they believe good lighting is beneficial for eye health, a 2017 Signify study found only 21 percent take that into account when purchasing light bulbs and only 29 percent consider light quality. For many consumers, the disconnect may stem from overwhelming choice when it comes to home lighting and from not having enough information to make an informed decision. Luckily, manufacturers are taking steps to improve lighting quality and help guide consumers in their search for comfortable light that’s easy on the eyes. For example, Signify has defined specific lighting quality parameters, which take into account factors such as flicker, strobe, glare, and dimming effects that can affect one’s eye comfort. Consumers can look for an EyeComfort label on product packaging to identify the Philips LED light bulbs that meet the standards for quality lighting that’s easy on the eyes. To further protect your eyes and avoid discomfort, try the following: • If you are in front of screens (computers, smartphones, televisions) for extended periods of time, close your eyes for 20 seconds or more, every 20 minutes, to allow them to relax. • If outdoors, wear sunglasses with 100 percent UV protection to help protect your eyes from the sun. It’s helpful to keep a pair in your bag or car so they are always nearby. Also consider spending a bit more time in natural light and less in artificial light. • Exercise and strengthen your eyes by incorporating simple yet effective eye yoga exercises into your daily routine for a few minutes daily. • Schedule regular check-ups with an eye specialist, who will be able to detect the first signs of any eye condition or disease. While certain eye conditions are beyond one’s control, why not do what’s in your power to protect your family from eyestrain and related discomfort? The simple DIY project of upgrading your home lighting can mean happier, healthier eyes and better quality of life.

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22 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

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Home & Garden - 23

September 13, 2019 - The Newtown Bee

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24 - Home & Garden

The Newtown Bee - September 13, 2019

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Profile for Bee Publishing Co

Home & Garden Fall 2019  

Home & Garden Fall 2019