Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Top 5 Best Ways To Freshen Up Your Driveway


Everyone knows that people judge a house depending on how it looks from the street - even you do - it's hard not to. If you drive up to a house with a messy driveway full of cracks and weeds growing through them, you're not going to think that it's the most beautiful of houses, are you?

So whether you do plan on selling your home, or you just want to make it look better because it's your place to do with what you will - go for it. Tidy it up and add some color - it really isn't as much of a job as you may think once you get stuck in.
Here's what you can do.

Clean up the edges
If you leave your driveway unkempt, you can expect all different weeds to grow around the sides, so you will want to either pull them all out by hand or get some weed killer and sprinkle it down where you see fit. If you keep on top of this regularly, the weeds will reduce the speed in which they grow, and may even stop growing there altogether, so even though you may find it frustrating to see them all back there after a week's time - keep at it.


Plant some color
Flowers can be used in so many different areas on your driveway, but one place that will never seem to let you down, is along the sides. It's a very pretty way to create a border that flows nicely with the shape of your driveway. Just bear in mind though that if you plan on arranging them there, it's best if you keep them all the same size and width. This will make it look clean rather than overgrown, plus you don't want something too crazy otherwise you will be having more to maintain.

Clean it up
One of the simplest ways to do this (if you haven't got a pressure washer) is with a bucket of hot water and an old hard bristled brush. You could even add some of the weed killer product to the hot water if you needed to. Then empty the bucket and scrub as hard as you can. Keep doing this until all bits of dirt and stains have been removed.


Spruce up the concrete
Now it's time for a bit of concrete restoration. Once have given your driveway a good scrub, you will want to apply a sealer to ensure everything is looking new and fresh. Having said that, if you notice some rather big cracks in your concrete, it would be wise to call in the professionals so they can evaluate the area to make sure it's safe.

Add some solar lights

Solar lights are great because not only do they come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles. But they are also really good for the planet because, in the daytime, the sun charges them up, so when night time comes, they are able to glow brightly without using any sort of electricity or battery. Plus they will look lovely and inviting for when you have guests over.

Improve the Fire Safety Features of Your Home with This Advice

Everyone needs to make sure that the space they live in is prepared for a fire. There are certain steps that can be taken to make sure that you are prepared to deal with a fire in your home if one does break out. Of course, most people will never have to face that situation. But fires can start in all kinds of ways, and sometimes can be hard to predict. To avoid and be prepared for this situation, follow this advice.

Use the Right Doors

The right doors can help you to stay protected. When there is a fire, you want to stop it from spreading. Everything from having the best access doors to good interior doors dividing rooms can help. Strong and fire resistant doors can help to slow down the spread of the fire, and that can be the difference between life and death. It’s not something that you want to take a chance on, so give them some thought as soon as you can.

Avoid Overloading Electrical Sockets

Overloading sockets is one of the most common causes of fires in the home. If you don’t pay attention to the electrical outlets in your home, you are going to pay the price sooner or later. Don’t let that happen. Buy extenders that are surge protected. Electrical fires are all too common. It can be a good idea to have the outlets in your home safety tested as well to avoid the worst.

Have an Escape Route

Every household should have a known escape route that everyone who lives in the home is aware of. That way, everyone will know what to do and where to go. You can create a fire room in your house if you’re not able to escape through the downstairs doors. This is a room that faces the exterior and has a window big enough to get through. You can then wait there for the fire brigade to arrive and help you out of the building. Discuss all of these issues with your family.

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Fire Alarms

Finally, you need to make sure that your home is fitted with the right kind of alarms. If you can do that, you will be able to make sure that you don’t notice there is a problem until it’s too late to get out of the building. Smoke alarms should be located in each floor of your home. Most homes will need at least two. Large homes will need more than that. And you should test them regularly to see if they’re working. Carbon monoxide detectors and alarms should also be fitted in your home because carbon monoxide can be very dangerous too.

Every home needs to be prepared for the worst, and this means preparing for a fire. If you are not prepared for this potential scenario, you and your family will be at risk. Don’t let that remain the case for any longer. Use the advice outlined above.

Greener Home Life and Plant Philosophy: A Trend?

We all long for the fresh outside air, the sound of a river nearby, and the chirping of birds in the morning. Undeniably, living among nature has an intuitive appeal to humans, it’s just as well to admit it and start living the way we want to.

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Image from Pexels

It’s odd how such a natural need is supposed to be a trend these days; bringing the outside in, breathing fresh air, and even using common Scandinavian phrases, such as ‘friluftsliv’ to label it a philosophy. I think we all know, even those who make money off it, that living with as much nature around you as possible is not a philosophy - it’s possibly a lifestyle, but a very natural one, in that case.

Here are a few ways you can feel a bit more like nature and get back to basics, without only keeping succulents or spending all of your savings on building fancy tree houses.

Find Your Plant

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a few plants die on me. It’s sad and makes you feel like a bad plant parent; I even avoided replacing the poor thing altogether, out of fear that I might ruin another one. The truth is that some plants will simply hate it close to your bathroom or right by your window. As they’re plants and not people, they don’t want to move around at all  - so find the one that’s right for a particular spot. These plants are good for your bathroom, for example, while these would prefer it far away from a window.

Find the Light

Soaking up sunlight is wonderful for your mood, and you should do your best to bathe your entire home in it every morning. If your windows are old and frail, it’s a good time to invest in new ones and make sure they make your home as bright and airy as possible. I know it’s a bit of an investment, but replacement windows can make a big difference in how your home feels - especially if they weren’t really much to look at. If you go for the low e-glazed glass to save energy, you don’t need to worry about your plant’s health either, according to this article.

Use Colors

Another thing we do that has been labeled a trend lately; using fruits and vegetables on display to brighten up a home. Although it certainly adds a splash of color in your kitchen and on your living room table, it’s something you do for the sake of the fruit itself. Bananas, for example, would happily stay in your fruit bowl rather than your fridge - the same goes for cucumbers and tomatoes. They will taste a lot better that way, and you don’t have to bite into a cold banana when you want one.

Surrounding yourself with nature is not a philosophy or a trend - it’s the way it should be, and we better teach this to our children. The Norwegian ‘friluftsliv’ does not include communicating with nature or having a calm mind; it is just an umbrella term for camping, walking in the forest, and even hunting. If you’d like more of this in your life, simply go out there and do it - nothing fancy, and no hocus-pocus to it.


Monday, June 26, 2017

What Do You Need To Become A Farmer?

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Working with animals and living off the fat of the land is a dream for many. But like any career, the road into farming isn’t clear and simple. For some farming is a family business that gets passed down through the generations, making it easier to pick up skills from a younger age and get subsequent jobs. For those with no farming experience, it can be harder to get one’s foot in the door but still perfectly achievable. Here are some of the criteria you’ll need to follow your passions.

Getting agricultural training

You don’t need a degree in agriculture to become a farmer, but having some schooling can help. You should start by reading up on farming from books and possibly volunteering on a farm. From here you can consider a college course or other form of training. www.hotcourses.com has lots of classes to choose from. There’s a lot of science and technology know how involved in farming nowadays (e.g. agricultural mechanical engineering, crop science, veterinary medicines, drone technology) and knowing some of these modern skills is important if you hope to eventually turn farming into a profitable business.

Finding experience

Your next step should be to get some paid experience on a farm. You can find vacancies by applying to farms individually or by using job listing sites such as www.indeed.com. The pay as a labourer is generally very low, so bear this is mind. However, this experience will give you the opportunity to learn all the skills of being a farmer hands on. You may be able to take on more responsibilities over time. Be prepared to move somewhere rural as commuting to and from the farm could be costly.

Buying your own farm

After a few years, you may be proficient enough to consider running your own farm. Buying a farm off somewhere else is likely to be much easier than starting your own from scratch – or at the very least less expensive.

Know what your farm’s purpose is. For example, if you’re starting a horse farm, you may need a certain amount of land to keep these animals on, as well as constructing a stable – this site www.jumpintogreenerpastures.com can help you out. If you’re growing crops, you may need to budget for the cost of machinery such as tractors and ploughs, as well as fertiliser.

Understanding the costs and commitment

Starting up a farm is very expensive. You have the cost of the land to consider, as well as any equipment. On top of this, you may want to buy livestock which will also come with high maintenance costs. On top of this you have the physical demands of being a farmer. You’ll often be working more than 8 hour days and getting up before dawn, carrying out a lot of manual labour throughout the day. Eventually you will make your money back and the drain of getting up early will dissipate as your body gets used to it, however it’s important to understand what you’re getting yourself into first.

Spot Pests With These Tell-Tale Signs

So, you think you’ve got pests in your home?

No one ever wants to uncover a pest infestation but, unfortunately, they can’t be completely prevented. Thankfully, they are very easy to deal with once you have found the infestation. But that’s the tricky bit! Some homeowners go for years without noticing all of the pests that share their home!

Are you worried that you might be living with some unwanted house guests? Here are some useful signs that you should look out for.

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You Hear Scratching In Your Home

Have you or anyone else in your family heard any scratching or other sounds in your home? If so, then it sounds like you might have an infestation of rats or mice on your hands! The usual sounds to listen for include scratching, squeaking, and gnawing. You will probably hear these noises coming out of your attic or other upstairs areas that don’t get a lot of foot traffic. If you have a basement, you might also hear noises from down there.

You Could See Droppings

As well as hearing noises, you might spot some animal droppings. Of course, these are a sign of mice and rats, and you might find both fecal matter and urine. Unfortunately, the waste matter from smaller pests, especially insects, can be a lot harder to spot. It is necessary to check in your spare bedrooms and other rooms that are rarely used regularly so that you can find any droppings in these areas.

There Could Be Damage To Furniture

If you notice any damage to your furniture and belongings, there is a chance that this could be from pests. Rats and mice might gnaw wooden furniture while other insects and pests might try to burrow in to find a place to breed and lay their eggs. Termites are commonly found in wooden furniture, and if you think that you have them in your home, you should arrange a termite inspection to get the issue sorted as soon as possible. Termites can breed very quickly and what is originally a small pest problem could quickly turn into a major issue!

You Might Find Evidence of Nesting

After they move into your home, rodents will make nests for themselves out of anything they can find. And you might find evidence of this around your home. For example, you could find shredded paper, scrunched up leaves, and grass around your home. If you do find this evidence of nesting, you will need to look for the nest so you can then rid your home of rodents. Most of the time, rats and mice will create their nests in discreet places, such as under the floorboards and in between the gaps in walls.

Make sure you keep your eyes peeled so that you spot these tell-tale signs. Once you realize you have pests or rodents, you can then contact a pest control company to come and solve the problem for you.

So, why not take a look around your home today to see if you spot any evidence of pests!?

Household Appliances And How To Make Them Safe

Homes are supposed to be a safe haven, but that isn’t always the case. Sometimes, things go wrong leaving you vulnerable and defenseless on your own property. What’s even worse is that it doesn’t have to be an outside source like a burglar. Even though it seems farfetched, your appliances can sometimes cause danger. Yep, some of them if not properly cared for create all kinds of chaos from time to time. So, the question is: which ones are they and how do you stop it from happening?

The answers to that question are underneath.


Space Heater

Sure, it is summer and the weather is usually warm enough to keep the house toasty and warm. Still, there are times when the sun drops and the temperature follows suit. When this happens, it isn’t rare for people to turn to a space heater. After all, they are very effective. Sadly, they are also a fire hazard as a space heater gives off a large amount of heat. So, anything that is near to it that is flammable could possibly catch fire. Be sure to keep things away from your space heater. Also, the inefficient ones can emit toxic fumes. To prevent these hazards be sure that your space heater is up to date and does not have any defects.


Tumble Dryer

There is no doubt that a dryer is an essential appliance. However, they have also been known to catch on fire. In fact, sometimes the results are catastrophic. If you don’t believe that, take a look at the Grenfell Tower incident in London. Thankfully, a dryer duct cleaning service is a simple solution. Be sure to keep the area surrounding your dryer clean and free from clutter. Clean the lint filter regularly. Also, try and cut back on the usage when you can and hang your laundry outside.

Water Faucet

How can a water faucet do any serious damage? Well, a leaky tap is one of the leading causes of household floods. And, water damage often leads to bigger health issues like mold. Check under and around sinks and tubs regularly for leaks. If you have a basement that pipes run through, check there too. To avoid any leaks, the faucet needs tightening so that the water doesn’t drip.


Electricity Outlets

Electricity is by far the most dangerous element in any home because it has the power to kill and yet is necessary to run just about everything. Everything from the TV to the kitchen appliances use significant amounts of electricity, so it is everywhere. As such, it’s important to treat it with respect. Take power outlets as an example. Not only can overused outlets throw out electrical sparks, but they can also lead to a fire. Although an outlet isn’t an appliance per se, they do connect to every single one in the house. So, only plug in one or two at a time and don’t overload.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to stay even safer at home.  

Financial Thinking For The Modern Homeowner: Juggling Happiness With Cost-Efficiency

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We all desire a happy home life, but we cannot ignore the need for financial security too. As a responsible homeowner, finding the right balance between the two should be top of the agenda at all times.
 
So how can you ensure that your property will provide the family with everything it needs without breaking the bank balance? Use these five simple pointers for guidance, and you’ll be sure to stay on the right road to success.
 
Opt for the simple luxuries rather than expensive gestures that won’t offer value for money. This is especially true when thinking about the kids. These garden activities are more affordable than many of the modern tech features and will provide far more fun and development. As for internal upgrades, converting the garage to a gym or a game room is only worthwhile if you will use it. Essentially, as long as you’re honest with yourself at all times, you’ll be just fine.  
 
Add items that will pay for themselves in the long run. Generally speaking, this means choosing eco-friendly upgrade projects. Most people naively jump straight to the prospect of roof solar panels. In truth, water-saving dishwashers and shower facilities will bring far greater upgrades to your life. The fact that they’ll pay for themselves through reduced energy bills provides an even greater incentive to embrace them. Oh, and you’ll be helping the environment too. Not bad, eh?
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Make decisions focused on the long haul. It’s one thing to build a home that looks great today, but you need to consider how it will look tomorrow too. There’s no point in saving 10% on materials if the chosen products will only last half as long. Questions like how long does a shingle roof last should be used as guidance throughout all future ventures. After all, poor decisions over roofing and structural features could lead to long-term damages. For the sake of your budget as well as your sanity, it’s better to get it right at the first attempt.   
 
Avoid overcrowding rooms. We all dream of the big home, but you can at least give your property the winning atmosphere by taking a more minimalist approach. Meanwhile, simple space-saving storage can work wonders for the esthetic of each room. Still, avoiding the temptation to fill the room with unnecessary items will keep the property feeling bigger and better. Moreover, it’ll save you the cost and hassle of sourcing those products. Perfect.
 
Invest in the right tools. Any DIY enthusiast can save vast sums of money by completing various simple jobs. From painting walls to building decks, avoiding the need for professionals where possible will work wonders. Better still, it’ll enable you to invest in the best experts for the serious jobs that genuinely require their support. In addition to DIY, you should think about advanced cleaning machines. After all, floors and products that remain clean will boast a far longer lifespan. Furthermore, a clean home is sure to keep a smile on your face too.

Can Installing A Hot Tub Improve Your Health?

A hot tub can be a relaxing addition to your home. If you suffer from stress and have aching muscles, the heat from the water and massaging effect of the bubbles can loosen your muscles. The body and mind are connected psychologically, and the releasing of hypertension in your joints, ligaments, nerves and muscles can calm your blood pressure and help your blood circulation. It’s right up there in the list of unusual ways to improve your health, but has time and time again been scientifically proven to make a huge difference. However modern hot tubs are in fact compact and have options of sacrificing width for depth. Thus most are self-contained. Some, therefore, don’t even need extra plumbing, even so, installing a large piece of kit such as a hot tub can be stressful, but the planning steps can give you a bigger picture of whether or not it’s right for you.
Building permit
Before any final decision can be made to go ahead with construction, you must get the proper legal requirements. Contact your local authority such as a council to attain information about building in one’s own home or out in the garden. After having received proper clearance than start planning.

Getting the all clear
After you’ve chosen the correct hot tub pertaining to available space in or out of your house, you need to do the proper checks and balances. One of the most crucial requirement the hot tub will demand is adequate plumbing and heating systems. A home inspection will uncover any discrepancies of an infrastructure that isn’t capable of feeding the hot tub water and being able to fulfill the features such as a water pump that creates bubbles. The inspector can also inform you of ventilation requirements should you plan on building inside the house, as steam can make it hard to breathe if it congregates in small spaces.
How it soothes your troubles

The health benefits are plentiful because when muscles are tense, they are constantly contracting because the electrons are firing endlessly. This is because the muscles are overworked, have an unhealthy amount of lactic acid running through them or you may have developed a twitch which means your muscles are trying to protect from something. Letting go is easier said than done, thus a constant relaxation period can calm your body after a stressful day at work. Hot tubs have features like increasing the bubble creation. Coupled with a bath salt, this combination is like getting a massage. All your joints, cartilage and connective tissues, will slowly let go and with the heat, your blood will rise to the surface, releasing toxins from your skin.

Great for old age

As our bodies age, the lumbar spine becomes fragile as the intervertebral discs near the end of their life span. This mean that your spinal vertebral bodies come into contact; which is bone on bone. Obviously this is a major source of pain in old age. However with a hot tub, the heat travel up and down the spine as the water is circulated around the tub, so is the blood flow around your spine. With heat, the discs can become loose, and shift back into place stopping the pain.

Friday, June 23, 2017

5 Simple Steps To Help Keep Neighborhood Cats Away


You can be the biggest cat lover in the history of the world, but that doesn't mean you want all the neighborhood cats in your yard.

For as long as humans have been keeping pets and living near one another, neighbors have been prone to argue about this very issue. It's one of the reasons some people choose to keep their cats indoors, for fear of their neighbors’ reprisals.

If you have neighbors that do let their cats out to roam, then you’re entitled to feel a sense of invasion if they make their way into your living space. Not only do they have a tendency to make a mess (cats just love to dig up flower beds, it would seem!) but it’s also a potential health threat to your own cat, especially if you occasionally let them out to meander in the yard too.

So, what can you do about it?

1) Protect Your Cat First

First on the list for coping with intrusive neighborhood cats is to make sure your cat is well-protected. That means you need to look for treatments and preventative measures for all the unpleasant things that can result in two cats sharing a space. So you need to focus on flea control for cats, worming, and ensure that your furball has their FeLV vaccination up-to-date.

2) Cat Unfriendly Fences

Now you can be confident that your cat isn’t going to suffer from intrusive neighbors, you can focus on keeping the wrong ones out. The best way to do this is to make your fences difficult to climb, though this won’t entirely solve the problem - cats are geniuses when it comes to finding somewhere they want to go! Nevertheless, install trellis panels onto the top of your fences; this will make them a far less attractive proposition to climb onto.

3) Use Anti-Cat Devices

If you don’t want neighborhood cats even to make the attempt, then anti-cat devices might be of use. These electronic devices emit a noise (undetectable to human ears) that can warn cats away - sadly, the reviews of their efficacy are mixed. It’s also worth querying how your own cat might feel about being regularly exposed to such a sound.

4) Use Pheromones

Pheromones can help to warn any neighborhood cats that the area already has a cat, thank you very much, and their presence isn’t desired. There is no guarantee with this, but it might be effective if they are still trying to get their way over fences.

5) Blocking Measures

If there is a gap in the fence or a part of the wall that you have seen cats using to access your yard, then block it. Potted small ornamental trees - they don’t have to be real - are the best bet for this, especially if you spritz them with a scent (such as citrus) that cats are known to dislike.



What do you do to keep stray cats out of your yard?  Please share anything that works.