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Desert Living: A Way of Life

Four Things You Need to Know About Passalora Needle Blight

Posted by on Sep 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Things You Need to Know About Passalora Needle Blight

Passalora needle blight, also called Cercospora needle blight, is a fungal disease that can affect your evergreen trees. Here are four things you need to know about Passalora needle blight. What are the signs of Passalora needle blight? Like other needle-blight diseases, Passalora needle blight manifests itself in a browning of the needles. The needles in the lower crown will turn brown and fall off first, and as time goes on, the disease will move up the tree, and you’ll notice the needles further up the tree are dying. Eventually, the only unaffected needles will be at the very top of the tree. On the dead foliage, you will be able to see small, hairy-looking structures. These structures produce spores that will help spread the fungal infection to other trees in the area. Can Passalora needle blight kill your trees? The risk to your tree depends on its species. Highly-susceptible trees, like Rocky Mountain junipers, can be killed in as little as three years. Trees with greater resistance to the fungi may only lose their lower branches. This will still pose aesthetic problems for your yard, but you won’t lose the trees. How can you treat Passalora needle blight? If you think your trees are infected, contact a tree service. Before any treatment can began, the disease needs to be specifically identified; this is essential because different fungal diseases respond to different treatments. If your trees are diagnosed with Passalora needle blight, they can be treated with appropriate fungicides. The tree should be sprayed with copper-containing fungicides every 10 days. This regimen should begin when the buds break and should continue until the new needle growth has matured. How can you prevent Passalora needle blight? To prevent problems in the future, try to plant evergreen species that are resistant to this disease. Eastern red cedars are an excellent choice, as are Chinese junipers. Your tree service can recommend additional disease-resistant trees that are suitable for your area. To help your trees stay strong and healthy, don’t plant them too close together. Planting trees too close together can impair their air circulation, and this puts them at risk of disease. When you prune your trees, take care to disinfect the shears before moving to the next tree. The fungi can stick to the shears and then be transferred to uninfected trees. If you’re worried that your trees have Passalora needle blight or are at risk of getting it, contact a tree service such as Southbury Tree...

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5 Garden Features To Create For Mindful Meditation

Posted by on Aug 11, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 5 Garden Features To Create For Mindful Meditation

Mindful meditation, or mindfulness, is a simple meditation meant to help the practitioner become aware of the present moment through calm breathing and focus. While mindfulness can be practiced anywhere, a beautiful, calming garden only serves to heighten the experience. There are many features that you can add to your existing garden space to enhance mindful meditation while creating a beautiful space. 1. Wind Chimes: Many people use calming music to guide their meditation, but wind chimes are also a lovely addition. The soothing tones provided as the wind moves through the hanging chimes can be relaxing and the perfect accompaniment to a quiet meditation in the outdoors.  2. Rain Chain: While its original purpose of collecting rain water for household use was utilitarian in nature, rain chains can create a melodic sound during a storm, as the water runs down the length of the chain and into a pot. Both the linked chain and the cup versions provide a cheerful trickle during mindful meditation in the rain and are still enjoyed to this day. For more information, contact Monarch Rain Chains or a similar company. 3. Labyrinth: Simple, circular paths are ideal for walking meditation and are a lovely addition to any garden. A circular labyrinth forces the walker to slow down while winding his or her way to the middle. While many people are familiar with the story in Greek mythology of the Minotaur, this type of labyrinth has been used at Chartres Cathedral by pilgrims since 1220. 4. Karesansui: The literal translation of this Japanese word means ‘dry mountains and water,’ but most Americans would refer to this garden feature by many terms, including a dry landscape garden, Japanese rock garden, or Zen garden. The idea that gravel and sand are raked into undulating patterns that spread out from boulders placed in the landscape, like the ripples in a pond, began in the 1400s and is still appreciated for its calm-inducing qualities today. 5. Koi Pond: If your budget is ample, adding a koi pond is the ultimate way to create a peaceful garden for mindfulness. The sound of bubbling water is relaxing, and watching the colorful fish dart back and forth under the rippling water can be hypnotic. The fact that there are YouTube videos of koi ponds with over 100,000 views each is further testament to the calming nature of koi ponds. Plus, the fish can be trained to eat out of your...

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Self-Storage: Your Answer To Photo Studio Space On A Budget

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Self-Storage: Your Answer To Photo Studio Space On A Budget

If you’ve been struggling to get your new photography business off the ground, one of the best things you can do is to secure studio space. For new photographers, studio space can be costly, so it’s in your best interest to consider some less-common alternatives. One unique option for creating studio space for product or portrait photography is to rent a storage unit. Here are a few of the benefits of using self-storage space for a photography studio. You Can Control Your Commute When you rent a self-storage unit for your studio space, you can control how far your commute is. If you want to stay close to your home, you can choose a storage facility that’s near your neighborhood. This makes it easier to maintain the balance between your scheduled photo shoots and your home life. You Can Control The Light One of the great things about storage units is the height of the ceiling. In many storage units, the ceiling is taller than a typical building. That means that any lights you hang from the ceiling will disperse the light further. In addition, the rolling door on the storage unit makes it easier for you to control the lighting in the unit. After all, if you’re looking for widespread light, you can just roll the door up and let the outside natural light in. If you’re shooting film and you need dark space to develop, you can close the door. Just make sure that you confirm with the property managers that  it’s okay to keep those chemicals in the unit before you try to use the space for a darkroom. You Can Maintain Your Setup When you’re shooting with a studio setup that you have to put up and break down between shoots, it’s hard to get everything positioned right every time. Since so much of photography is dependent on lighting, this can have a significant effect on your picture quality. In addition, it can lead to a lot of wear and tear on the gear. When you have a space where you can leave your gear set up, it means you won’t have to worry about losing that tiny adjustment that gave you the perfect lighting for those product pictures. You won’t need to be concerned with additional wear on your lighting covers or other equipment, either. As you can see, storage units make a great place for various types of photography. If you’re looking to set up studio space without investing in a commercial structure, consider a unit from your local self-storage...

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3 Substances That Keep Little Black Ants Coming Into Your Home

Posted by on Jun 23, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Substances That Keep Little Black Ants Coming Into Your Home

Little black ants live outdoors in small mounds of dirt, but that does not stop them from breaching the perimeter of residences in search of food and water. If the ants find a source of their favorite substances inside your home, you will frequently discover a line of ants crawling through your kitchen or bathroom. At that point, you are likely stuck with the infestation until you call a pest control expert to handle the situation. You have the best chance at avoiding the problem in the first place by actively keeping the following elements contained as much as possible. Kibble Dry kibble for dogs and cats has a powerful scent that attracts little black ants into your home. If you let your pets free feed by leaving the kibble out all day, you will eventually end up with an ant infestation if any are living in close proximity to your home. Skip this hazard by establishing two to three set meal periods for your pets and put up the kibble after they eat. Make sure to sweep the floor for pieces of pet food your dogs or cats may have knocked out of the bowl while eating.   Medicine Liquid medication is often filled with sweeteners that the ants love to eat. Unfortunately, most over-the-counter medications will attract ants, but not kill them. You can keep the ants from gorging themselves on this sugary substance by immediately washing out the cup or spoon used to administer the medication. Also remember to wipe off the outside of the medication bottle to keep drips from feeding the ants’ sweet tooth. Water During the dry season, little black ants may come inside in a desperate attempt to find water. If ants find any moisture inside your home, they will continually come into your home to get their fill. Even a wet washcloth left on the counter or floor has enough water to sustain the ant colony for the day. Pet water bowls are not usually a risk since many of the ants will drown attempting to drink from that source. Eliminating Your Ant Infestation Unfortunately, once little black ants make way into your home, it is extremely difficult to eradicate the infestation on your own. You will likely need to call an exterminator to fully eliminate the ants. Your pest control professional will help you prevent future infestations by sealing up common entry points with caulk. You can also avoid leaving out the above substances to make sure the bugs do not have a reason to return to your living space. Contact a company like Ace Walco & Sons Termite & Pest Control for more...

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4 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing New Rain Gutters Yourself

Posted by on May 27, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Mistakes To Avoid When Installing New Rain Gutters Yourself

If you are someone who likes to take on home improvement projects on your own, then you are probably considering replacing the rain gutters that surround the roof of your home on your own. Doing this on your own can definitely be effective, but you will want to avoid these four mistakes when you take on the task:  Buying the Wrong Gutters: The first thing you are going to have to do when you install new rain gutters is to actually purchase the new rain gutters. Many homeowners make the mistake of simply picking out the cheapest rain gutters available to them. The problem with this is that homes require a different size of gutters depending on the style of roof and size of the roof, as well. Be sure to talk to a contractor you are purchasing the rain gutters from to determine the standard. Also, if you reside in a rainy area, you are going to need to install more durable rain gutters since they will work harder.  Incorrectly Spacing the Mounting: When you install new rain gutters, the gutters are going to attach to the roof by being mounted. You need to be sure that you are mounting the gutters properly. This will ensure that the gutters have the correct amount of support. This means the mounting should only be 3 feet apart or less. This is going to prevent the gutters from sagging in the future.  Putting the Gutters in the Wrong Place: Many people assume that the gutters need to be installed right at the edge of the roof. The problem with this is that rain water often drips a couple inches underneath the roof’s edge because it’s drawn back slightly by the roofing material. This means that the gutters need to be installed slightly underneath the roof’s edge. If not, the gutters will be ineffective at drawing water away from your home. Not Hiring Professionals When You Need Them: Finally, if you find that the task of installing the rain gutters yourself is too dangerous or difficult, you should not hesitate to call in the professionals (click here for more info). They will be able to install the gutters safely and efficiently and correct any mistakes you may have made when you started the task on your own. When you avoid these four mistakes, installing new rain gutters yourself is definitely going to be more effective in the end....

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Using Bug-Repelling Plants

Posted by on May 4, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Using Bug-Repelling Plants

When the weather is warm and the sun is shining, you just want to be outdoors enjoying nature. Of course, nature has a few unwanted elements for you in addition to all its bounty. Bugs are everywhere, often feasting on your delicate skin. Like many people, you may hate to use toxic chemicals to combat this problem. You can help your cause by planting certain bug-repelling plants.   Herbs In addition to providing you fresh ingredients for your cooking, planting the right herbs can help keep the insect population away from you and your family. Basil is delicious in salads and soups, but it also makes an effective fly and mosquito repellent. Lavender adds beauty to your yard or patio while helping to keep fleas, mosquitoes, moths, and flies out of your hair and off of your skin. Instead of using citronella to discourage the mosquito population, try planting lemongrass. In addition to being a decorative addition to your landscaping, It’s often used in with chicken and pork dishes as well. Flowers Chrysanthemums are a staple of flower gardens and borders. Certain chrysanthemums can help control Japanese beetles and nematodes. You can also use these flowers to make your own natural pesticide.  Another lovely flower, dahlias, are also quite effective at discouraging nematodes. Various varieties of marigolds are offensive to whiteflies and deadly for nematodes. If you have a rabbit problem in your yard or garden, planting this variety of flower may help reduce this plague. Sunflowers, in addition to being a striking addition to your yard, also attracts aphids, helping to protect your other plants from this menace. They also attract the ants in the area. Sunflowers are able to thrive even while they are infected with these pests. Other Plants Although catnip is known for its intoxicating effect on felines, it repels a number of other creatures, including aphids, Japanese beetles, weevils, ants, and more. You can also use dried catnip in your house to drive off an ant invasion. Borage discourages cabbage worms and hornworms. You can do your own research in finding even more helpful pest-repellent plants. The beauty of using plants to fight off pests is that you add beauty to your yard and garden at the same time. You can plan a diverse and aesthetically pleasing landscape uniquely able to drive away the pests that can take away some of the joy of spring and summer. Consult with a local landscaper (such as one from Mr Green Thumb) for help in creating your bug-repelling backyard....

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Live On A Property With Lots Of Trees? Consider Investing In Gutter Guards

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Live On A Property With Lots Of Trees? Consider Investing In Gutter Guards

As a homeowner, you should constantly try to find ways to make it easier to enjoy time at home. Having to take care of extensive cleaning, maintenance, and repairs will keep you from accomplishing this goal. It is best to strive for features that not only save you money in the long run, but give you peace of mind. Investing in gutter guards is a smart decision, especially when you live on a property with lots of trees. Keep Leaves from Getting Stuck Inside the Gutter The most important reason to add these guards is to protect leaves from getting inside the gutter. It is not uncommon for these leaves to harbor insects, which can begin to reside in the gutter and on your roof. Unfortunately, certain insects can cause damage to your property, which you should aim to avoid. Gutter guards will prevent leaves from getting stuck and concentrated in a single area. Reduce the Chance of Blockages When enough leaves are able to gather up, you will likely experience some blockages. If you are not adamant with checking up on the gutters, especially after heavy storms, you could run into major issues. For instance, excessive buildup could lead to water overflow directly on and around the foundation. Since one of the primary reasons for foundation cracking is excessive moisture, you do not want this problem. Minimize the Need for Professional Gutter Cleaning It may not seem like a big deal to get gutter cleaning services every once in a while, but why bother with continuous service when you can enjoy a solution that minimizes the need for such a frequent service? Gutter cleaning can cost anywhere from $70 to $200 for a single cleaning, but it depends on the home’s size. Having several trees on your property will shorten the intervals in which you need to get your gutters cleaned, so finding a long-term solution is perfect for saving money in the long run. Contact a company like Conifer Gutter Service to have your gutters cleaned professionally. Although it is certainly easier to let a professional take care of gutter cleaning, you can have plenty of success by doing it on your own, especially with gutter guards installed. These guards will prevent your gutters from experiencing so much wear and tear, which is perfect for the longevity of your home. Professional gutter cleaning costs can add up quickly and cleaning on your own can be a time-consuming task, so it makes sense to drastically reduce the cleaning requirement by getting gutter...

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3 Tips For Preparing For A Hurricane

Posted by on Mar 7, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 3 Tips For Preparing For A Hurricane

The North American hurricane season is from June 1st through November 30th, but it is impossible know when a big storm will make landfall. If you have recently moved to an area that has historically been affected by hurricanes, it is important to be prepared during the hurricane season to help ensure the safety and comfort of your family. Use the following hurricane readiness tips to prepare for any storm that hits your area: Food Supply In the days before a big hurricane is expected to make landfall, there is often a run on food and water at local grocery stores. You can avoid panicking and trying to get the proper supplies by creating an emergency food supply prior to the start of hurricane season. You can opt for canned food and other non-perishable items such as peanut butter, crackers or other snacks that you can buy at the grocery store. If you want to have an emergency food supply that will last longer, consider purchasing dehydrated meals that are designed to last for many years. When preparing an emergency food supply, don’t forget to buy ample amounts of water for each person in your family. Buy an Emergency Generator A strong hurricane can wreak havoc on the electrical grid, and it is not uncommon for homes to be without power for an extended amount of time in the aftermath of the storm. One of the best ways to ensure that your family stays comfortable while waiting for power to be restored is to purchase an emergency generator. Having an emergency generator will give you the ability to charge electrical devices such as cell phones, cool areas of your home with a portable air conditioning unit, and prepare meals with your stove, oven, and microwave. After buying an emergency generator, don’t forget to also purchase an adequate supply of gas to keep on hand to power it. Install Storm Shutters Much of the damage done to homes and other buildings during a hurricane is due to high winds and flying debris. You can help protect your home during a hurricane by having heavy-duty storm shutters installed on all of your windows. Doing so can help minimize damage so you don’t have a huge mess to clean up after the storm has passed–you may also qualify for a discount on your homeowners insurance premiums if you have storm shutters in...

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Three Reasons Your Lawn Isn’t Plush And Healthy

Posted by on Feb 5, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Reasons Your Lawn Isn’t Plush And Healthy

If you’re anything like the average homeowner, you want a plush and healthy lawn. You’re watering your lawn and you’ve even banned your children from playing on the lawn as to not damage the grass; however, you’re still falling short of this goal. Don’t automatically assume you aren’t doing something right. There are a number of different factors that could be preventing your grass from growing; here are just some of them. Poor Mowing If you cut your grass on your own, it could be that you’re cutting it too short. Some homeowners think that by cutting their grass shorter, they won’t have to cut it as often. While it might be a great way to cut down on your work, you’re killing your grass in the process. When you cut grass too short, this sends its roots into a state of shock. While in this state, the roots will provide little, if any, nutrients to the grass until it has grown back to an appropriate height. Grass without nutrients will be more prone to disease and weeds.  Incorrect Phosphorus Or Nitrogen Levels Phosphorus and nitrogen are two important nutrients that must be present within soil in order for your lawn to be healthy. Too little of these nutrients will lead to very slow growth. If you’re concerned about this problem, don’t run out to your local home improvement store and purchase a fertilizer that contains these ingredients and saturate your lawn. You may end up doing more harm than good as high levels of these nutrients can cause thatch and other diseases. Your best bet is to have a landscaping professional test your soil so that you can find the right balance. Poor Seeding It could also be that you didn’t choose a seed that was best suited for your local climate. Take a homeowner in Buffalo, NY who has seeded their lawn with Bermuda grass, for instance. Bermuda grass is best suited for warmer climates, the frequent and prolonged periods of low temperatures will kill the grass and lead to disease. In addition to climate, sun exposure is also important. Using Bermuda as an example again, this option wouldn’t be good for a homeowner whose lawn has a lot of trees as this grass is not very tolerant of shade. Before you choose any seed, consider asking a professional. All of these problems can be avoided with a landscaping professional (such as one from http://www.lawnscapeshydroseed.com). From choosing the right height at which to cut your grass to choosing the right seed, a professional can assist...

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4 Ways To Use Floating Shelves All Around Your House

Posted by on Jan 12, 2016 in Uncategorized | Comments Off on 4 Ways To Use Floating Shelves All Around Your House

Floating shelves have been making their way around various social media and interior design blogs for months as a cool, trendy way to showcase your book collection in all its raw, naked glory. However, what these websites often overlook is just how versatile this storage style can be. In fact, floating shelves can be used to store a huge number of light items that can look even cooler than books with some creativity. Here are four places in your home that welcome floating shelves with open arms.  Kitchen While magnetic, wall-mounted knife blocks are all the rage, floating shelves can be used in addition to these modern storage options for an out-of-this-world look. Cookbooks can be stored using this method as it was designed in order to save some cabinet or counter space. If you really want to maximize your wall storage, then hanging spoons and utensils underneath your floating shelves can look centralized and stylish.  Kid’s Rooms Instead of bulky, ugly home improvement store shelving systems, floating shelves deliver the same carrying capability with much better aesthetics. Some cool ideas to try include sports trophies and model planes or cars, all of which look breathtaking on a minimalist shelf. Floating shelves are also perfect to work into a more complex room decor, like if you wanted to put one of your child’s dolls on the wall, standing at the door to a castle, or if you wanted to build a timeline on the wall full of memorable items from recent years.  Basement/Garage Perhaps the place in your home where space is tightest is in the basement or garage. Being able to keep tools and buckets of various fasteners or materials on a floating shelf frees up bench space, floor space, and reduces the chance of a stray wire bringing down a tall rack of traditional shelves.  Home Bar While there are tons of different ways to save space in a home bar like a compact bar cart or stackable bar stools, floating shelves provides perhaps the most breathtaking of these storage options. A particularly nice bottle or two up on a floating shelf gives it some special significance as well as separating it from more mundane bottles of liquor or wine. If your bar has a theme, like baseball, for example, an autographed ball that seems to float on the wall is a cool way to add some chic design to your home bar.  This contemporary furniture is sure to turn some...

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