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Organize Before the Holidays

Sunday, November 22, 2015

‘Tis the season for guests, parties, shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking and entertaining. Keeping your home a peaceful haven during the crush of holiday stress can sometimes seem too big to tackle. Yet taking time to declutter and organize items around the home can help calm the chaos that oftentimes accompanies the holidays. “Be kind and patient with yourself, and accept that we can’t be superheroes despite the notion that everything …

Notes From the Garden: A Gift From the Trees — The Best Compost

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Even if you raked your leaves in October, you probably have more to clean up now. Of course I was off gallivanting for much of October and hadn’t done any raking until recently. And some trees, oaks and apples in particular, are still dropping leaves. When I was a boy in Connecticut, my gardening Grampy would take the train or a bus from …

Notes From the Garden: Pulling Up Invasive Plants Calls for New Devices

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Going for a walk the other day along a public trail I was struck by the number of invasive shrubs I saw. Most trees and shrubs have shed their leaves, but burning bush (Euonymus alatus), Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii) and honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.) still have leaves on their branches. Holding leaves and producing …

Notes From the Garden: High Summer and Growing Carrots

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Certainly the weather is, year after year, a source of much consternation for gardeners. It’s too dry! (May). It’s too wet! (June). It’s too hot! (today) Too cold! (yesterday). People seem to be delighted to complain about the …

The Ins and Outs Of Driveway Alarms

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Just like a security light attached to a motion sensor, a driveway alarm uses a wired or wireless sensor to inform you when someone has walked or driven onto your driveway. A few Angie’s List experts weigh in …

Notes From the Garden: Patriotic Blooms Outlast the Booms of July 4th

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Among my earliest memories is one from a Fourth of July celebration back when I was just a tadpole — in 1949, perhaps. My sister and I sat on the hood of our parents’ 1938 Buick, a big …

Some Plants Need a Pinch to Grow On Each Year

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I was presenting at an outdoor gardening event recently when a woman walked by wearing a T-shirt that said, “No Pinching!” Maybe she had young kids, or was a kindergarten teacher. Clearly she was not an experienced gardener. Pinching plants is good, and now is the time to …

Tips to Extend Life Of Home Appliances

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Show your workhorse appliances a little TLC, and they may stick around a bit longer. Replacing a refrigerator or oven range can take a bite out of your budget, as can buying a new washer or dryer. To make sure your appliances stand the test of time and …

Weeding With Iron And Fire

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

I love weeding. It creates order out of chaos, something I have come to appreciate. An un-weeded flower bed is full of distractions. My brain is constantly instant messaging me: “See that dandelion? You should pull it.” The weeds distract me from the beauty of the flowers and …

Five Signs Your Roof Is on the Way Down

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Up on the roof: Here are five signs you may need to replace your roof, offered by the Metal Roofing Alliance: ∎ High winds have removed shingles from your roof, creating an invitation for leaks. Use binoculars to inspect your roof without a ladder. ∎ Shingles that are …

Notes From the Garden: June Heats Up as the Year’s Planting Begins in Earnest

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

I know gardeners who rush to get their veggies in the ground, starting spinach and peas in April, carrots, potatoes and more by mid-May and then tomatoes and all the rest by Memorial Day weekend. Not me. I’m just planting many things. Sure, my peas, planted in May, …

As Economy Improves, Home Projects Increase

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The nation’s remodelers say that kitchen and bathroom redos remain the most popular, and that homeowners’ top motivation for renovating is to upgrade with newer, better features in their homes. “As the country’s financial footing improves, clients are better able to realize their home-design dreams,” said Robert Criner, …

Notes for the Garden: Helping Plants Survive Dry Weather

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Thank heavens we finally got some rain. I had less than half an inch in the first 29 days of May. If my plants were puppies, they’d have done a lot of whimpering during that last hot week of the month. They’d have been begging for water, complaining …