Summertime drought conditions can cause havoc for your lawn, garden, trees, and other landscaping. Below are a few tips to help beat the heat and keep your green spaces looking vibrant, healthy and strong:
- Plants: An easy way to protect plants in dry conditions is to use mulch around them. Experts suggest using three to four inches of organic mulch around plants to lock in moisture and prevent water loss due to evaporation. Mulch also prevents soil compaction, reduces soil temperature, and prevents weeds that use up valuable water.
- Lawn: The more compact your soil is the more water will be lost from evaporation. It is a good idea to aerate your lawn from time to time and water the lawn slowly with some type of sprinkler system or a simple lawn and garden sprinkler.
- Trees: Your tress should be your top priority. When in good health, they create a shaded canopy over your lawn keeping it cooler and less “thirsty” for water. Experts suggest drilling several holes in the soil around the base of the tree. The holes should be at least 24 inches deep. Fill them with compost. This will help water penetrate the ground more easily and reach the tree’s roots more efficiently.
- Bugs & Pests: Keep an eye on your lawn and other vegetation for bugs and other pests that might find their ways into your lawn, garden, etc., in search of food during drought conditions. Contact a local exterminator or seek professional advice from a lawn and garden center about killing or removing these pests.
- Conserve Water: Water your plants and lawn early in the morning when you’ll lose less water to evaporation. Make your own rain barrel and collect roof water from downspouts. Use this water before you turn on the hose. Also, water your lawn slowly using a sprinkler, allowing the water to soak into the ground. This will prevent water from sitting on top of the soil where it will simply evaporate.
Following these handy tips will help keep your lawn and landscaping healthy, green and strong through summertime drought conditions.
Now that you are an experienced boater, you will most likely enjoy sharing that enthusiasm with your family or friends. Whether taking along children or pets, below are some boating safety tips to protect you and your loved ones, including your furry friends.
- Provide Shade – Both animals and little ones will need refuge from the sun. If your boat has a cabin you’re set. If not, you will have to provide some shade for them. Try a small pop-up tent or umbrella.
- Protect Feet – The surfaces of boats can get very hot in the sun. Dogs absorb that heat through the pads on their feet. Cool down the surface before letting your pet on board or provide something for him to walk on like a piece of carpet. Children can also be more sensitive to that heat than adults, so don’t forget some comfy shoes for them.
- Drinking Water – Of course you will want to keep plenty of fresh water available for all of your guests, but don’t forget to provide it for the pets too. The motion of the boat may make it difficult to keep a water bowl full, so check it often.
- Potty – Before you board, walk your dog so he can relieve himself. Depending on the amenities of your boat, it may be a good idea to get everyone relief before taking off.
- Short Trips – To get both children and pets used to the movement of the boat, make the first few trips short or make frequent stops at shore for short rests.
- Life Jackets – Not all dogs can swim and some dogs tire easily, so you may want to provide them with a life jacket. Let them get used to it by taking them for a test run in the water before boarding the boat. To be effective, life jackets need to fit correctly. They should fit snugly and for children, have a crotch strap and also a collar to keep them face up in the water. Choose bright colors for visibility. You may want to attach a whistle and instruct them on sounding it in emergency situations.
- Learn to Swim – Knowing how to swim is important for water safety, but it is not a substitute for wearing life jackets in the boat. Teach your children that swimming in open water is different than in a pool. There are underwater hazards and there can be undertows even in still water. No diving, as you cannot be sure of the depth. Most recreational areas have designated areas for swimming for safety purposes.
- Rules – Specify the rules like no running and keeping hands and feet in the boat before embarking. Older children can benefit from a boating safety course.
- First Aid – For peace of mind in protecting your family, take a first aid course that includes CPR training. Don’t forget that the effects of hypothermia can occur more quickly for the young ones.
- Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Just like in your home, this can be a life saver on a motorized vessel.
- Alcohol – Coping with the pets and kids in the enclosed environment of a boat all day may drive you to drink, but be smart and wait until you are on dry ground.
Hurricane season begins in June and lasts to the end of November. If you live in a coastal area, of course you will want to prepare ahead of time. Below are eight hints and tips to help you prepare:
- Plan – Create a plan for your household and review it with all of its members. Include a place away from home where everyone can meet if they cannot get home. Also, designate a contact away from your immediate area that everyone can call in case of emergency. Keep hard copies of emergency numbers in case cell phone batteries fail.
- Emergency Kit – Put together an emergency kit in a waterproof container and keep it in a handy place. Include items like a battery operated radio, first aid kit, water, non-perishable foods and flashlights.
- Utilities – Know the procedures for shutting down electric, gas, water, etc. Prevent damage from sewers and septic systems with a backflow device.
- Stormproof – Consider reinforcing roof trusses, garage door openings and other vulnerable areas. You may want to install storm shutters. If you board up windows and other openings, have your supplies ready to go. Secure outdoor items. Keep the trees near the house trimmed and consider replacing landscaping gravel and rocks with softer items like bark or mulch.
- Evacuation Route – Review the safest and most direct route to your community shelter should you have to evacuate. Plan to avoid dangerous areas like dams or levees and know alternate routes should yours be blocked.
- Pets – Collars and chips should include your current contact information. Have leashes and carrying cases ready in case of evacuation.
- Check Information – You may be able to sign up with your local government for emergency alerts via phone or email. Make a record of important phone numbers to call for assistance. Don’t forget to have your insurance information handy just in case.
- Cash – When disasters hit and power is out for prolonged periods, cash is king. ATMs don’t work, businesses may not be able to process credit cards for a while and banks may be damaged or closed. Plan ahead and have a reasonable amount of cash available.
This is a fun way to eat fruit, and it is quite a crowd pleaser. This fruity salsa can be served as an appetizer, a light dessert, or as a refreshing accompaniment to barbeque. Don’t be limited by the ingredients, choose your favorite seasonal fruits and enjoy.
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
3 kiwis peeled and diced
1 medium orange peeled and diced
1 cup of blueberries, blackberries, or raspberries
2 cups of strawberries diced
2-3 tbs of sugar
1-2 tbs of lemon juice
Mix fruit together with sugar and lemon juice. Cover and refrigerate.
10 8” flour tortillas
¼ cup of melted butter
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/3 cup of sugar
Cut tortillas into pie shaped wedges and arrange on a cookie sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 5-10 minutes until crispy. Let cool and serve with the fruit salsa. If you want to get fancy, whip up a bowl of whipped cream to go with it.
With the holiday weekend just days away, many people are planning their first weekend road trip of the summer. And while a spur of the moment road trip might seem like a great idea, a little advanced planning will get you to your destination on time and in a safe manner. Below are eight driving safety tips to help you plan a successful road trip.
- Find cheap gas – Gas money can take up a significant amount of your road trip budget so plan ahead. With today’s technology, there are plenty of smart phone apps that can tell you where gas is least expensive. Download an app like GasBuddy to help you find the least expensive gas. If you don’t have a smart phone, figure out your gas budget ahead of time by using one of the many online fuel cost calculators to help you find the cheapest gas stations along your route.
- Pack a basic repair kit – Create your own basic repair kit by packing a few basics in a small box or duffle bag. Include items like a flashlight, roll of duct tape, pliers, and a variety of screwdrivers. Check online for roadside survival guides for other suggestions.
- Choose companions wisely – When you’re cramped in a car for a long amount of time, you can get to know someone really well. And if you and your companions know each other really well, time and distance will fly by you and you arrive at your destination in what seems like no time. But if you make poor choice in your travel companion(s), a long rind may have you wishing your traveled by yourself. Think carefully about the people you take with you. Make sure you can get along with them for however long the distance you’ll be traveling. Nothing can ruin a good friendship like a bad road trip.
- Break up the drive – If you’ll be on the road for many hours, don’t try to be a super hero and drive straight through. You won’t be as alert at 9:00pm as you were at 6:30am. Plan several restroom, stretch and snack breaks along your route. A 15-20 minute break every few hours will be good for your mind and body. If you have multiple licensed drivers traveling with you, take turns driving every couple hours.
- Know the law – While you may be excited to get to your destination, a hefty speeding fine or another moving violation can drain your travel budget in a hurry. Additionally, speeding can be a danger to you and to other motorists on the road. Obey the speed limit and use that cruise control to keep a steady pace on the interstate. Also, if you are passing through multiple states, be aware of cell phone and texting laws. It is best to avoid distracted driving all together, but if you must use your phone, know the laws. Some states do not allow the use of phones in construction zones, school zones, etc. Use your stretch breaks for non-emergency phone calls and texting. Do not text while behind the wheel.
- Pay attention to the dash – Besides minding the speed limit, your dash can alert you to any potential problems with your vehicle. If something goes wrong, a warning light on your dash may tip you off before it is too late.
- Bring a paper map – With today’s technology, it might seem silly to bring a paper road map on your trip. But what will you do if your GPS malfunctions where you’re in the middle of nowhere? A paper map makes the perfect backup and you can use it as a travel log too. Write notes about your trip on the map and make it personal. You’ll enjoy looking at it when you dig it out of a box 10 years from now.
- Bring your mother-in-law – Even though we warned you to choose your travel companions wisely, what can we say? If you bring your mother-in-law, you’re trip is sure to be one to remember for one reasons or another!