Treating Your Lawn for Summer

Summer is on its way, and it’s time to get your lawn ready for the change of seasons. The soil needs to be prepared to encourage quick, healthy growth, weed seeds have already germinated, and who knows what kinds of bugs are whetting their appetites for the tender shoots of your grass blades And newly formed roots. When it comes to treating your lawn for summer, you can do the work yourself or hire a lawn treatment service. Either way, here are some of the preparations that can get your lawn off to a great start.

Reseeding

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There are undoubtedly sections of your lawn that need reseeding. These areas may be bare because of any number of reasons. Grub worms eat the roots of grass, leaving spots of dead grass scattered throughout the area. Once the roots are gone, the grass dies and is worn off. Other areas are sparse because they do not get enough sunlight during the summer. Heavy traffic areas will need reseeding, too. This is especially true of pet owners whose pets wear trails in the turf. Each of these areas will need reseeding and, in most cases, amendments made to the soil. It’s a good idea to check with a lawn treatment service to see which seeds you need for each of these spaces. Some fescues, for example, are very tolerant of shade, and will fill in nicely under trees and in areas in the shade of your house. There are even ornamental grasses that can turn barren traffic areas into lush green spaces.

Soil Amendments

Ok, what about that section of your lawn that simply will not thrive? It is entirely possible that that the soil in that particular spot is damaged or sub-par in some way. In our case, a barren spot in our lawn was due to clay that had been dredged up when the neighborhood pond was built. Our house was built afterward, and topsoil spread over the clay. The solution was a soil amendment made of ground and powdered oyster shells. It is spread over the soil and watered in. The powder works down into the clay, increasing the quality of the soil and keeping it from packing down.

Fertilization

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By all means, fertilize your lawn for summer. Add a “green maker” rather than root stimulator, because the roots have had all winter to grow. As the fertilizer starts to work, the grass wil spread, covering the ground more quickly with richly colored grass. As you go into the heat of summer, there are fertilizers you can use to help the lawn grasses deal with heat without becoming stressed, but for now, a green maker will feed that lavish underground root system for a great start to the summer.

Preparing your lawn for summer is one of the first outdoor activities for the year. That first glimpse of a green summer carpet makes it all worthwhile.

The Benefits Of Going To A Health Farm

Some studies have shown that by the time a woman in the UK is 45 years old, she has tried 61 diets. In fact, most of the time, at least 25% of people in the UK are on a diet. Weight loss still ranks very high on the lists of priorities in most people’s lives. However, losing weight can be an elusive goal. Cultural patterns, habits, genetics, and busy lifestyles all work together to create an atmosphere in which it is hard to accomplish weight loss. It can be even harder to maintain weight loss. That is why it might be a good idea to go to a health farm. Spa retreats and health farms have come a long way from the exclusive, outrageously expensive resorts of bygone days. Today, a health farm or spa retreat may cost little more than a regular hotel. But, the benefits can far exceed even enthusiastic reviews.

Don’t Worry About Dining

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Perhaps one of the best things about attending a health farm is that every meal is provided. Most of them are all inclusive in their rates, so that 3 meals a day are planned ahead. These meals are based on a healthy menu, often prepared by chefs. Contrary to the stereotype of being restricted to “rabbit food” when at a health farm, these retreats often include whole foods, holistic cooking, vegan cuisine, food for diabetics, menus for people who are lactose intolerant, and just about any other special dietary needs. Not only that, health farms often feature produce grown right on the farm, itself. They also use products from neighboring farms and markets.

Food at health farms is designed to be delicious and filling. Most of these spas offer cooking classes so that you can go home and take skills with you to maintain your new, healthy lifestyle.

Exercise at the Right Rate

As people try to lose weight, they always try to add exercise to their schedule. This is often difficult because when a person is out of shape, it is easier to get muscle strains and harder to get in shape. At a health farm, however, physical activity is carefully planned and supervised. Experts in the field will offer advice in yoga and aerobic exercises, gradually easing each person into a physical regimen that can be maintained at home.

Most health farms offer outdoor activities that add enrichment and variety to the daily routine. Kayaking, hiking, biking, and other activities are fun, and can build a love of the outdoors that encourages a person to seek out fresh, new activities at home.

Get On the Right Track

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Going through detox routines means purging toxins out of the body. This can be difficult when a person has to maintain his or her regular schedule. At a health farm, however, this can be done more naturally and successfully, helping a person get on the right track to lose weight when he returns home.

 

How Plants Can Affect Your Mood

Some people consider plants to be the planet’s way of reaching out the life living on the surface. These cultures reverence nature, in some cases elevating it to god-like stature. That may be a bit extreme for other people, but the facts remain that plants can affect not only your mood, but your health as well. Here are some ways in which plants can affect your mood and your health.

Personalize Your Space

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Your office, your rental, or your home office can all be personalized with plants. Do you get tire of the sterile atmosphere in an office? Or maybe you rent your home, and can’t hang pictures the way you would like. You need something to make the spaces feel more homey, more like you. Plants can do all of this, and more.

What is your favorite color? Get some flowers that bloom that color, and place them where you’ll see them every day. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. If you can’t find any indoor plants in your color, select a planter that will do, and put some pretty flowers or greenery in the planter. Simply having something else around you that is alive will make you feel much better. You could even buy a stone plantpot or something stylized that will give your office environment a personalized look.

Noise Control

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Offices can be especially nerve-wracking, with noise coming from other cubicles. People sniffing, drumming their fingers, clicking their keyboards, talking on the phone – all can drive a person crazy! But, a few plants in your cubicle can deaden the noise and give you some relief. Try a dracaena or a fig tree. The more leaf surface the plant has, the more sound it will deflect, giving you a little more privacy.

Purify the Air

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Plants have a well-known ability to purify the air around them. In fact, a leafy plant can purify the air in an entire room. Different plants will absorb and disperse different chemicals. For example, some plants will “feed” on formaldehyde found in carpets and other fabrics, releasing oxygen back into the room. There are many VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, in the air, especially indoors, and house plants can filter most of them out. Not only do plants improve the quality of and the amount of oxygen in the room, they also help to humidify the spaces.

Plants Outdoors Affect Your Mood

Even plants outdoors can improve your mood. A planter with your favorite flowers, placed right out of your bedroom window, can greet you every morning with cheery blooms, getting your day off to a great start. Well-maintained gardens are a balm to the hurried soul, and specimen plants remind us that life transcends the day-to-day drudgery we often face.

Turn your garden into a welcoming retreat with some plants carefully placed in colorful pots. If you can, cultivate a planter bed with ground covers and a specimen plant. Making something grow is good medicine, and you’ll make your surroundings prettier, too.

Plants can make you feel rooted – pun intended. Add the symmetry, texture, and color of a plant to your surroundings, and you’ll see for yourself.

The Best Business Startup Ideas

With the United States economy beginning to show some signs of recovery, many entrepreneurs are considering making their move. Starting up a business at any time is risky, but in an economy is barely moving, it can be more difficult to grow. With that consideration, here are some businesses that make great startups, and offer services or goods that people need, regardless of the economy.

Pets

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Even in an economy in which people lost their homes and had to surrender their pets, the bet business in the U.S. was over $40 BILLION each year. People who kept jobs often added more hours to keep ahead, and couldn’t care for their pets as they wished.

If you love animals, then pet care may be a profitable business for you. A pet sitter, for instance, can make $50 an hour. Dog walkers make plenty of money, too. Many people just need someone to go by their apartment and take their dog out for “walkies” while the owner is at work. Or, they need someone to stop by and administer medicine while they are away at work.

Other clever entrepreneurs have developed mobile dog grooming businesses that come to the person’s house. This saves the pet owner travel time, and reduces stress on the pet.
There are also generic labeled pet care products that can sport your own logo. Many people have developed nation-wide business ventures with such products, selling supplements and food with their own brand. Most of these products are produced without chemicals and considered to be organic in nature, which is always a good selling point.

Online Marketing

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When ordering via internet was first introduced, people were very wary of it. However, it is not commonplace. People have become accustomed to having their credit card information stored away on various ordering sites such as Amazon and EBay. The market is already in existence, and just right for you to begin an online marketing business. Many companies do not know how to go about marketing their goods and services online, and you can step into the void. I’ve seen people create brilliant startup ideas for instance, online personal training, and not have a clue how to market and get their brand out there.

While most companies, these days, do have a website, they do not know what to do with the internet beyond that. If you have any skill with social media, and understand how PPC and PPV advertising works, you can move those companies into the 21st century with your online marketing skills.

Private Security

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Believe it or not, private security can be a great startup business. If you like the idea of something a little more dramatic, private security may be for you. You can get security training in many places, and do anything from being a night guard to close personal protection, depending on your physical abilities and taste for risk. The private security industry is booming right now, with the high unemployment rates presenting more of the population willing to steal and loot. You can learn to protect people, and their properties, too.

Learning Another Language’s Culture

Cultural diversity training is a commonly requested topic, but not often sought after by someone simply learning a new language. However, training in the culture in which you are learning a language can be crucial to truly understanding the language itself. This is especially true if you are intending on translation as a form of employment or public service.

Cultural Taboos

Each culture, even in the most “advanced” countries, have certain taboos. While most of the leading nations attempt to eradicate taboos, sometimes they simply cannot be avoided. As you learn the language of a certain country or culture, learn about their customs, religions, and taboos, as well.

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For example, in certain parts of the Middle East, a woman must keep her head covered at all times. This may be as simple as wearing a scarf in public. However, in other countries in the Middle East, women must cover every inch of their bodies. You also should not ever offer to shake hands with a member of the opposite sex if you are in the Middle East. Women should also walk behind the man who is accompanying them. By understanding these customs, you will be able to understand the language better because of references that are made throughout a conversation. It will also help you if you are translating this is one purpose for cultural diversity training.

“Turns of Phrase”

Regional speech patterns can create “turns of phrase” can wreak havoc with communication, especially with the person for whom the language is not a first language. For example, in the USA, one foreign car executive had its car company name its small, economical car the “Probe”. This was seen by women in the U.S. as obscene, and the car was a very poor seller, considering that it was intended for the female market.

Traveling Abroad

Some people are so enamored of a country that they learn the language just so they can travel there. The dream is to spend time with the natives, absorbing the culture, food, and scenery for weeks at a time. However, without an understanding of the culture itself, you can make your trip more difficult. You can inadvertently offend an innkeeper, and find yourself with no reservation. You may find yourself dropped off by the cabbie before you reach your destination.

Even the volume at which you speak may be offensive in some cultures. Americans are often accused of being very loud in their speech. Study the customs of the different areas you plan to visit. While some cultures are naturally loud and boisterous, then a big-voiced American may get along just fine. However, find out what the culture prefers, and try to fit in. Simply the volume of your voice can make a difference in how you get along in a culture.

Proximity, or personal space, varies from country to country, too. Some people feel offended if you are too close, while others feel snubbed if you are not close enough.

Learning another language’s culture can make your holiday more enjoyable, and may make your efforts to serve as a translator more useful and profitable.

Maintaining Your Property: Companies You Should Know About

A lawn treatment company, a painting contractor, a roofing company, all different kinds of companies may be useful in maintaining your property while you are absent. Rental property and seasonal holiday property requires care whether it is being used or not. Here are some suggestions for maintaining your property, and companies you should know about.

Lawn Treatment Company

You can hire a lawn treatment company to take care of your lawn, garden, shrubbery, and trees. Caring for the lawn may require more than simply having the lawn mown. It may need watering, as well, and will certainly need weed and pest control. A good lawn treatment company will put your property on their schedule for maintenance so that you do not have to worry about keeping up with seasonal treatments.

The company will also take care of shrubbery and hedges, and make sure they are trimmed properly so that they do no encroach on the neighbor’s garden or in public access areas such as the sidewalk.

Trees also require attention to keep parasites from weakening the wood. Most lawn companies have a specialist who will keep an eye on your trees, keeping them trimmed out of power lines and neighbors’ properties, if necessary.

Roofing Contractors

You can actually get on the schedule of a trustworthy roofing contractor for the maintenance of your rental property. This can extend the life of your roof by several years.

The roofing contractor will come inspect your roof about once a year, or after severe storms. He will also make sure the gutters and scuppers are free of debris so that water will not back up and cause damage to the soffits. The troughs between eaves can also accumulate debris, which can cause moisture to soak into the roof deck, compromising the integrity of your roof. A roofing contractor will make sure those areas are cleaned out, and will inspect for any damage that may have been caused by weather or wild animals. Raccoons, opossum, and squirrels will take advantage of the smallest void in the roofing materials, and burrow into your roof, nesting in your attic.

Property Maintenance

Some companies specialize in property maintenance. Their employees will routinely inspect property contracted to them, reporting any plumbing leaks, electrical problems, or other maintenance work that needs to be done. If you have already contracted with a lawn maintenance company to take care of the growing garden around your property, you may be able to hire a property maintenance company at a reduced rate to take care of the rest of the property.

In many cases, the maintenance company does its own repairs, with plumbers, painters, electricians, and roofers on staff. Other companies will subcontract the work necessary. It will be important to hire a maintenance company that you trust, so that the money is actually spent on your property, and the work is actually done.

Get references, and go inspect the gardens being maintained by a lawn maintenance company, or any property maintenance company.

Best Places To Hang Your Clothes Drying Rack

The invention of the automatic clothes dryer revolutionized the workday chore of drying clothes. However, having a clothes drying rack is still the chosen method for drying some items. The old-fashioned clothes line outdoors may not be as common as it once was, but the drying rack is quite common. But, where should you hang your clothes drying rack?

Why a Drying Rack?

Many fine washables cannot survive going through a dryer. The higher, steady heat will shrink many materials, ruining the garment. Other items may lose their texture in the dryer. Other items, such as scarves or hosiery, will become tangled in the dryer. In these cases, the items may even be washed by hand, and draped to dry.

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The most obvious place to hang your clothes drying rack is the laundry room. This is because it will be close to the washing machine, and, of course, it’s where you have all of the laundry. There are several ways to hang your drying rack.

In some cases, you will have a drying rack that unfolds like a luggage rack and sits on the floor. Fine washables can be draped across the rack. The open structure allows moisture to evaporate. The rack can be folded and set aside when it is not in use.

Other drying racks can be attached to the wall, and lowered for use. These are often fixed racks, but may also be extendable racks. Either way, they can be tilted back into their place on the wall when not being used. Accordion racks are also usually mounted on the wall, and fold back into place once they are empty.

Some drying racks are actually suspended from the ceiling. Located just above head-height, they are easy to reach for use, but stay out of the way when not in use.

Outdoor Racks

There are also drying racks that can be set up outside. Of course, any free-standing drying rack that you would have in the laundry room can also be placed outdoors. But, there are also clothesline drying racks shaped somewhat like an inverted umbrella. In fact, they are on a pole that can be placed in an umbrella base. The drying rack can be set up when you need it, and folded away when not in use.

This clothesline type rack is also portable while outdoors, so you can either have your items drying in the shade with a breeze blowing across them, or you can hang them in the sunshine. Many people, to this day, enjoy hanging their white items in the sun. It helps the bleach them out, and the fresh air makes the laundry smell wonderful.

Drying racks can make your clothing last much longer, and actually reduce wrinkling. Without being tossed about with heavier fabrics, the finer and more light-weight fabrics will dry without having wrinkles set in. Where you put the drying racks is up to you, but generally, you will want to keep it close to the laundry room, and out of the way.

 

Giving Your Home A Rustic And Homey Feeling

Do you feel like your home is lacking something? Many people wonder how they can make their house feel like a home without cluttering it with all kinds of stuff. There are, actually, several things you can do to make your home feel homey and rustic, without adding clutter or even spending a lot of money.

Dressers

That’s right – dressers. These handy little pieces of furniture can serve as everything from entertainment centers to dining buffets to – well – dressers.

Otherwise known as a “chest of drawers” these furniture items lend a sense of belonging to any space. Place one in your entryway, with a lovely bowl or basket atop to receive mail or car keys, and you automatically have welcomed people into your home without saying a word. Not to mention the great storage you have with all of those drawers! Some people will use a dresser behind a sofa as storage and to display candelabras and family photos. Step outside of the box, and think of unique ways to use your dresser, and you will agree that it is a great way to make your home feel homey.

Area Rugs

A rug can knit spaces together. Even if your house is completely carpeted, you can still use a rug to anchor the furniture in the sitting area. For large spaces, the area rug will pull furniture in, giving a sense of intimacy. For small spaces, the area rug will provide a “reason” for being so close together. Rugs just make people feel at home, and can add a rustic touch if you choose the texture and color correct.

 

Lighting

Lighting is crucial to making a home feel homey. The harsh glare from overhead can lights can make an area feel industrial, and you will have a hard time relaxing. Look for pole lamps, table lamps, and uplights will bring a cozy ambiance to any room. Uplights are can lights that actually sit on the floor beneath plants or draperies, casting a glow upwards. This can brighten up dark corners. Add picture lights to paintings hanging on the wall. Often, you can run a discreet extension cord with an automatic switch, and turn all of the lights on with one switch. While incandescent lights may not be available in your area, you can find “warm” toned bulbs for most fixtures.

Decorations

Decorations are often a cause of despair among people trying to decorate their homes. How much is too much? What constitutes a decoration vs. clutter?

To answer those questions, think about anything you look at that makes you happy. This can be a decoration in your home. Think of grouping objects that are similar. For example, photographs look better when they are hung near each other on the wall, or grouped on a shelf. When they are scattered around the room, they get lost and look like clutter. To reduce the random look, frame your pictures in similar frames, such as all silver, or all wood.

With a few details, you can turn your house into a home.

 

Work Off Those Calories With Exercise

As winter approaches – sometimes aggressively – we begin to wonder how we can burn off those extra calories. You would think that just staying warm would burn enough calories, but no, it never works that way. For many, personal training is the answer to motivation and variety. Here are some pointers for burning off calories and for exercising during the winter.

Running

Runners seem to be able to run no matter what the season. If you are a runner, congratulations. You can usually maintain your pace regardless of wind and weather. Sometimes, taking your running to an indoor track will make a big difference. This is when gym membership may come in handy, because they often have a track. You can also keep up this form of exercise with a high quality treadmill. The reason I say high quality is that many treadmills are not designed for runners. They are designed for walking, and have a particleboard deck. They also may not have the horsepower to keep up with a runner. Finally, the length of the tread on the treadmill should be sufficient for a jogger. Your running step is much longer than your walking step, and a short deck on a treadmill will change your running stride, causing problems.

Yoga

Yoga has emerged as one of the safest and most efficient forms of inside exercise. It does not require any equipment, unless you consider a mat to be equipment. People of all ages and physical fitness levels can participate in some level of yoga. It increases muscle tone and improves balance. It is good for your circulation, too, often helping to purge the body of impurities. The meditative aspect of yoga is also beneficial to helping people to lower stress levels, improving their overall health.

Cycling

Cycling is another activity that can be maintained through every season. You may enjoy cycling throughout the beautiful countryside, but sometimes, weather just does not cooperate. Gyms have cycling and spinning classes that can give you a thorough workout, working muscles you forgot you have.

Personal Training

Many people will hire a personal trainer to get their exercise levels up. This is a great way to burn calories, just because of the variety to your workout. Many people have turned to online personal trainers so that they can keep up with their personal training routines no matter where they are. A personal trainer will keep you motivated when you are too sore, too tired, or too apathetic to do it on your own. You have someone who is being paid to keep track of your exercise regimen, and he or she will take that seriously. Your personal trainer is also very inventive in ways to keep you working out. This can devious, at times, but never boring. With some inventiveness and a lot of determination, you can make sure that you get plenty of exercise. You can burn off calories and stay in shape, and feel good year round.

Being Social With The Neighbours

I was just reading a story today about one of the best gardens in Yorkshire and a bit of a social problem with the neighbours.

Tucked away in Yorkshire is a lovely garden, with metal garden planters, beautifully maintained trees, and a little gardener who is about to be sentenced to jail.

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Danuta Cross, aged 64, is a past winner of the South Cave Gardening Competition. Her problems arose, she says, when her neighbors, Alexandra Smith aged 65 and David Mayhill aged 59, started stalking her as she gardened. She says that every time she goes out in her garden, they follow her around.

This constant scrutiny has been ongoing for a number of months, and police say they have not been able to collect any evidence. However, Cross said that at one point she was so “upset and shaken” that she began yelling at her neighbors. Mayhill and Smith then pressed charges for harassment.

Neighbors say that there has been an ongoing competition between the two houses to see how could have the most beautiful garden. This, however, has reached a point in which Cross says she wants to sell her house and move to get away from her neighbors’ scrutiny. She does not feel safe, and says she is not typically that angry.

Cross will be sentenced for harassment on October 29.

So let that be a lesson to you, be nice to your neighbours!