Prevent outside water sources from freezing
Cold weather is on the way, meaning that water troughs, buckets, emergency water supplies, or outdoor water bowls for pets and feral animals are all at risk of freezing. Keep your animals watered and protect containers and hoses from damage with a few simple strategies.
For garden hoses, run a length of heat cable along your hose and secure it with high-temp tape for a DIY heated hose. Wrap the length of the hose in self-adhesive insulation for extra protection.
For buckets of water, place the bucket inside an old tire for extra insulation and set it in full sun. Keep the bucket as full as possible to slow the freezing process.
Submersible heaters are excellent for warming water in troughs and larger containers, but if you’d rather pass on all the extension cords, try a salt float to slow ice formation. Find an old plastic drink bottle with a lid, add a cup of salt and fill the rest with water. The bottle will float along the surface and keep the water in the trough moving, which can help prevent freezing.
Water bowls for pets can freeze quickly because of their small size. Heated pet bowls are a good option, but make sure that the model you choose is appropriate for your pet — i.e., no loose cords for dogs or cats who love to chew. In a pinch, you can add a little salt, sugar, or oil to water to lower the freezing point, but don’t make this your regular strategy.
4 signs you need to replace your soffit and fascia
Your home’s soffits and fascia boards protect your attic and roof from water infiltration and keep pests out. Here are four signs it’s time to have yours repaired or replaced.
1. The paint is peeling or flaking. Once the paint on your soffits and fascia begins to deteriorate, it creates an opening for moisture to permeate the boards. This can result in water damage to the roof, interior walls, and siding.
2. The gutters are loose. The soffit and fascia boards act as the support system for your gutters. Consequently, if you notice your gutters are wobbly and unsteady, the fascia or soffits likely require repair.
3. Pests are hanging around your home. Your soffits and fascia boards are designed to keep rodents, bugs, and other small critters from entering your home. Therefore, bite marks, nesting materials, or droppings in your attic often indicate that your soffits and fascia must be repaired.
4. There’s little to no ventilation. Soffits provide ventilation and prevent condensation in your attic. If you notice that your home seems stuffy, your soffits are probably blocked or damaged.
Contact a local roofing contractor to inspect your soffits and fascia and make any necessary repairs.
Why you should let your tulips wither
Blooming tulips are a telltale sign that spring has sprung! Although it can be tempting to cut the entire plant back once the blooms fade, it can affect the following year’s performance.
Tulips use their stems and foliage to gather energy for the bulb as they die off. Cutting them back too early robs the bulb of the energy it needs for the next growing season.
Instead, once the blooms wilt, clip off only the flower head. It keeps the tulip from creating a seed head but allows the greenery to remain. After a week or two, the remaining foliage will die back and slowly turn brown. This is a sign that cutting the tulip down to the ground is safe.
Allowing your tulips to wither slowly goes a long way to keeping them healthy and robust for the following spring.
Guidelines for creating a visual impact in your garden
Want to make your flowerbeds the talk of the town? Here are a few tips to make the outside of your home visually stunning.
• Pick a focal point. Draw the eye and create a lasting impression. You can use a small fountain, statue, or bench as a focal point or simply a cluster of eye-catching flowers or shrubs.
• Vary the height of your plants. Combine plants of varying sizes to add dimension to your flowerbed. For example, tall, ornamental grasses near the back of your border will give your garden visual balance and texture.
• Define boundaries. Create distinct borders to demarcate the perimeter of your garden. For example, great features are poured concrete, wooden trellises, and hedges.
• Make paths. Paths and walkways can drastically alter the look of your garden and invite people in. You can use woodchips, pallets, decorative stone, or poured concrete to attain the desired visual effect. Mulch around the paths to give your flowerbeds a clean, crisp look.
Finally, make sure you plant a wide variety of flowers, shrubs, bulbs, and other plants that complement each other for the most striking appeal.
How to choose a day camp for a child with special needs
Do you have a child with special needs and want to find a camp that’ll cater to them? Here’s some information to help guide your search.
Traditional day camp
Are you considering enrolling your kid in a traditional day camp where they can participate in “regular” activities? If so, contact the camp organizers beforehand to determine if they can make specific accommodations. They may be able to make physical adjustments tailored to your child’s needs. Additionally, they may be able to arrange smaller groups or hire additional helpers for increased supervision.
Specialized day camp
If you choose a specialized day camp, you can rest assured knowing your child has adequate supervision in an environment adapted to their needs. The camp will already have measures to ensure your child’s pleasant and enriching experience. It’s best to meet with the camp organizers ahead of time. You can inform the staff of your child’s needs so they can prepare for their arrival.
Before registering your child for day camp, contact the organizers and confirm they can accommodate your child’s specific needs. This’ll ensure your kid has a fantastic summer — and give you peace of mind.
4 eco-friendly apps to help you live more sustainably
Today, technology is integrated into almost every area of daily life. The environment is no exception. Here are four eco-friendly apps to help you live more sustainably.
1. OLIO connects neighbors and local businesses to give away surplus food instead of throwing it away. The app is available in various Canadian and US cities. Reducing food waste prevents excess methane from being released into the atmosphere.
2. Ecosia is a search engine available worldwide. The platform uses the ad revenue from user searches to plant trees where biodiversity is most threatened. Trees help cool the planet by absorbing harmful greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide.
3. HappyCow helps users find healthy, vegetarian, and vegan food options worldwide. Eating less meat and exploring plant-based options is good for the environment.
4. Think Dirty® educates users on the potential toxins in their household, personal care, and beauty products. Users can scan the barcodes of over 350,000 products sold in the US and Canada to learn what they’re made of and discover healthier alternatives.
Using one of these apps is a great way to contribute to a healthier environment.
How to encourage your friends and family to go green
Earth Day is celebrated annually on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. This year’s theme is Invest in Our Planet. It focuses on engaging governments, institutions, businesses, and citizens to do their part for the environment. Here are four ways to encourage your friends and family to live sustainably and join the world’s largest environmental movement.
1. Introduce them to eco-friendly products. Tell the people around you if you love a company that cares about the environment. Gift a friend an eco-friendly product, or let them borrow one of yours to see how they like it. This can help raise awareness for products and services that don’t harm the planet.
2. Share relevant content on social media. Share eco-friendly content you’re passionate about on social media. This could be anything from recycling and upcycling to composting and conservation. You never know; it could inspire others to get involved with saving the planet.
3. Emphasize the benefits of eco-friendly habits. Do you have a family member that always talks about saving money? Tell them how easy it is to find eco-friendly alternatives like energy-efficient light bulbs that can save money. Tell them about the environmental benefits of buying local organic produce if you have a health-conscious friend.
4. Plan a fun, pro-earth activity. Arrange an activity with friends or family to teach them about sustainability. For example, organize a nature walk in a local park to share the importance of protecting the environment. You could also invite someone to volunteer at a local pro-Earth initiative.
Getting your friends and family to care about the environment and change some of their habits is easier than you think!
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