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Drought or Not, Conserving Water Is a Smart Idea

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Pasadena, Calif. — In dry, dusty Southern California, dealing with the worst drought in state history has become the “new normal.” Banners declaring Be Water Wise! stretch above streets. Gov. Jerry Brown recently ordered mandatory restrictions to cut urban water use across California by 25 percent. Other western states, including Oregon, Nevada and Arizona, also have been plunged into extreme drought conditions. For those wondering how to conserve water and …

Studio, Getaway: Backyard Sheds Are Reimagined

Sunday, May 31, 2015

When Morgaine Ford-Workman and Wren Workman bought a house with a backyard shed, they saw the potential for something more than storing garden tools. The couple transformed the 10-by-12-foot building into a bar to use during outdoor parties at their house in Morrisville, Pa. “We’re involved in community theatre and we like to …

Notes From the Garden: A Salute to Garden Clubs

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

I’d like to tip my hat to the unsung heroines of the gardening world, the members of garden clubs around the region. Garden club members have recently been busy planting annual flowers at their local libraries, in the middle of roundabouts and in front of firehouses. And that is just the tip of …

Notes From the Garden: Even Mature Trees Can Be Uprooted and Replanted

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The snow is deep, the temperatures well below freezing. It’s a good time to think about what projects to undertake this year. My friend Evan Schneider, who was in the Peace Corps with me in Cameroon, recently bought …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Your Own Food Can Mean Healthier, and Safer, Eating

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

We’ve come a long way from the day when most families grew their own vegetables and had a few chickens and a cow. From the day when fertilizer was manure of some sort, and when bug control consisted largely of picking them off garden plants by hand. My …

Making the Kitchen More Germ-Free

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Even the tidiest kitchens might be harboring harmful bacteria, and often where they’re least expected. Paying more attention to a few often-overlooked places can help keep your household safer, experts say. For starters, home cooks should have four watchwords, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: …

Notes From the Garden: Flower Shows Offer a Respite From the Cold and Snow

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

This winter, I’ve been a bit spoiled: Spending 10 January days in Maui will do that. You would think that I’d be ready for all the icy roads and driveways, having been given some respite. But I’m not. …

Snow Removal Gets a Lot Easier

Sunday, January 25, 2015

That familiar refrain of winter is back. Do you hear it? Metal shovels scraping snow-covered driveways and sidewalks. The industrious whir of snow blowers. The grating sound of scrapers chiseling cars out from beneath layers of ice. Snow …

Notes From the Garden: Raising the Next Generation of Gardeners

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

My love of gardening comes from my grandfather, John Lenat. He introduced me to his garden and fed me tasty things right from it. He never made me pull weeds, a sure way to discourage young gardeners. In …

Don’t Let Winter Keep You Out Of Your Garage

Sunday, January 18, 2015

January, traditionally, is the month when winter comes knocking at the door. Sometimes (like this year) he just kicks the door in and sets up housekeeping. Still, it’s not too late to marshal every resource your home has to help the cold and dark months pass more smoothly. …

Notes From the Garden: Spending a Day in the Garden While on Vacation

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

When I packed my bags to go to Maui recently I thought about packing my CobraHead weeder. But in the rush of getting ready I neglected to do so. I wish I had. That’s right, I like to garden even when I go on vacation. There are always …

Notes From the Garden: Author Advocates Eating Weeds

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Winter is when I find the time to read gardening books. I recently settled in by the woodstove with The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival by Katrina Blair (Chelsea Green, 2014, $29.95 in …

As You Make Progress on Projects, Reward Yourself

Sunday, January 4, 2015

I like the way Lisa Savoie thinks. Whenever the Kansas homeowner takes a step toward a home-project goal, she rewards herself with a mug of her favorite tea or time with a good book. If you plan to improve yourself or your home in 2015, follow Savoie’s lead …