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Notes From the Garden: Finding ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ in the Dead of Winter

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Winter trudges along, bringing us snow and sub-zero temperatures, seemingly ignoring the calendar that tells us spring is officially less than a month away. In between shoveling and carrying firewood I’ve spent considerable time reading this winter. My favorite gardening book this winter is The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Cultivating Tomatoes, Greens, Peas, Beans, Squash, Joy and Serenity by Carol Deppe (Chelsea Green, $24.95 in paper). It is rare that a good technical book also deals with joy and serenity, which is part of what distinguishes this book from others. I called Deppe at her home in Oregon and she is as enthusiastic in life …

How to Sell that ‘Unsellable’ Home

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Do you think your house is unsellable due to its location? Highly rated real estate agents on Angie’s List explain how to sell a house, even in the most undesirable spot. If the most important thing in real estate is location, location, location, how do you sell your house if it’s in a bad one? Whether there’s a freeway running overhead or a …

Notes From the Garden: Growing Mushrooms at Home

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

About 20 years ago, I started growing mushrooms outdoors on logs. It’s a simple process that involves drilling holes in freshly cut logs and inserting little wooden plugs that I buy called plug spawn. Then I let them develop in the shade of a hemlock tree where they generally produce mushrooms in a …

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 …

Brassicas From the Garden Go Straight to the Table

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

At this time of year I eat one of the “three B’s” from my garden every day: broccoli, Brussels sprouts or kale. All right, don’t get on my case. I know kale doesn’t start with a B. But …

Pop Art Can Pack Big Design Punch

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home decor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, is cultivating a 21st century following. Eye-catching, graphic, often tongue-in-cheek or sassily whimsical, pop art decor plays well off …

As Winter Gets Closer, Time to Organize the Garage

Sunday, October 19, 2014

With fall here and winter on its way, it might be time to straighten out the garage, so you can at least find the snow shovels when you need them. “Will it be another bad winter, Al?” you ask. I’ll tell you when it’s over. In the meantime, …

Notes From the Garden: Now Is the Time to Plant Garlic

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Garlic is one of those magical ingredients that give foods depth of flavor and the richness of another world. Italian food, French food, Indian food, these all include liberal use of garlic. Why the English decided on fish and chips and boiled dinners as their staples is a …

Outdoor Decorating for Fall

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Homes in the northern U.S. are treated to a measure of effortless outdoor decorating for fall: Nature does most of the work by turning the trees a vivid palette of reds, oranges and golds. Add a pumpkin or …

Notes From the Garden: Plant Daffodil Bulbs Now for a Pop of Color Next Spring

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

This is one of my favorite times of the year. Trees are turning brilliant colors, food from the garden is in the larder and it’s bulb planting time. Some bulbs have a bad reputation: Tulip bulbs, for example, are often food for squirrels, and their blossoms are often …

Additions to Make Yard a Comfortable Hangout for Winter

Sunday, October 5, 2014

As fun as summer at the lake is, Sue Vanderwiel and family also make the most of their Apple River, Ill., vacation home in the winter. That’s when “it is much quieter, and we can just hang out, …

Traveling Gardeners Discover New Plants

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I’m not much of a country music fan, but do love Willie Nelson’s On the Road Again — probably because I love to travel. Recently I’ve been on the road again, visiting friends and family in Pennsylvania and …

Decorating Mistakes Cramp Small Spaces

Sunday, September 28, 2014

In a small space, every inch counts — and every mistake can have big consequences. Five designers offer their go-to remedies: The mistake: Heavy window treatments. “I’ve walked into countless small spaces and discovered heavy, dark drapery that devours the space and makes it smaller,” said Trystin Kier …