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Notes From the Garden: For Subtle Fall Colors, Look to the Oaks and Beeches

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I took a walk this week along a country road and was delighted by the colors of the fall leaves. The reds — maples, largely — have fallen, but the yellows and brown are still on some trees and lovely. And once you develop an appetite for the less flashy leaves, you may want to plant a tree that will do ”the late show” in years to come. The oaks …

Before You Have a Plumbing Crisis ...

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Plumbing has always been one of the most frequently searched categories on Angie’s List. Naturally, if the sink is stopped up or the commode’s kaput, you want it fixed, and fast. That’s why I advise homeowners to establish — before an emergency — a connection with a highly rated local plumber. I also urge you to find your home’s main water shutoff valve …

Tips to Cut Risk of Fire

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Here are some tips from Leviton, manufacturer of electrical devices and lighting controls (dimmers, switches), to help reduce the number of electrical fires. ∎ Extension cords are intended only for temporary use. Each year 3,330 residential fires originate near extension cords, the Electrical Safety Foundation International says, often because homeowners are using them incorrectly. ∎ The average light fixture can accommodate only a …

Quechee Man Resurrects an Orchard

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Terry Dorman stands in his orchard at the top of a steep, south-facing hillside in Quechee. The morning’s showers have tapered off and the mountains to the south look azure in the patchy afternoon sunlight as the rain …

Notes From the Garden: Fall Is the Right Time for Planting Trees

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall is hard upon us in Cornish Flat. I know I should “toughen up” and ignore the cold, but I admit it here: I had my first fire in the woodstove recently. It felt great on a raw, …

When Selling Your Home, Give Every Room a Role

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Many of us have one room in the house that doesn’t really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we’re not …

When Contractors Give an Estimate, Do They Charge?

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How much should you expect to pay, if anything, for an estimate, inspection or other kind of contractor consultation? The answer depends on the nature of your project and the policies of the companies from which you solicit bids. But a few rules of thumb apply: If you …

Fall Is Coming, And So Are Its Many Chores

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The fall equinox arrives on Sept. 23 this year. On that date, day and night are of equal length, but with each subsequent day the dark time gets a little bit longer and we begin our descent into winter. For many gardeners, the shortening days are not welcome. …

Hangout House: Why Some Homes Are ‘Teen Central’

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Start with amenities like a monster TV or fire pit, add a never-ending supply of munchies and a relaxed attitude toward your kids bringing home a friend — or five — and you may just find that your …

Fall Brings an Array of Cool Weather Plants to the Front Porch

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

We New Englanders have a long tradition of doing something to brighten the approach to our front door. In winter it’s a nice green wreath; my grandmother liked red geraniums in a pot by the door all summer; in fall, pumpkins and chrysanthemums are traditional decorations. At farm …

Stop Inviting Insect Invaders Into Home

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The waning days of summer are a good time to make sure your home isn’t putting out a welcome mat for insect invaders. If you’re like me, you’d rather not share your space with wasps, spiders, stink bugs and other pests that often become more visible in the …

Prepare for Storms Before They Arrive

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Three years ago, my family and I drove overnight from Maine to New Jersey, trying to get home ahead of Hurricane Irene. That memory from late August 2011 prompts hurricane-preparation thoughts today. Here are some tips from Ready.gov — some things to do well in advance of landfall: …

Before Winter, Get Vegetables Into the Freezer

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Summer is nearly over. Those big yellow school buses are beginning their morning ambles and cool nights call for blankets on the bed. It’s time for me to get serious about putting up veggies for the winter. With the exception of lettuce, most vegetables can be saved for …