Category Archives: Home and Garden

Creating a focal point in a room

Creating a focal point in a room

A home’s fireplace is a hot spot. A natural focal point of any room, a fireplace is a space around which families can chill out, especially during the holidays. “A roaring fire in a room draws people together,” says Chris Muller, senior “fire buyer” of the Omaha, Nebraska-based Hayneedle Inc., an online home store started… Continue Reading

First impressions

What does the entry way into your home say about you? A cliche it may be, but first impressions do count. A welcoming entry for friends and family is a delightful surprise at any time of the year. But around the holidays it takes just a little more thought to make it a special surprise.… Continue Reading

Gardening and the gridiron

Gardening and the gridiron

Put football and flowers together, and what you get is “sporticulture” — a new twist on gardening that pairs team-spirited pots with mums, pansies and other colorful blooms perfect for the season. Sporticulture is the brainchild of Cortland Smith, an unabashed Washington Redskins fan who walked into a greenhouse full of red and yellow pansies… Continue Reading

Column: Savvy with suet

I set out the first block of suet a few weeks ago as the weather chilled in the hopes of catching the eyes of those birds who regularly eat bugs. As the season changes suet can become a mainstay of these birds. The bonus in all of this is that I simply enjoy watching and attracting… Continue Reading

Column: What to do for November

Inside: With the holidays approaching, ready your refrigerator with a good cleaning. Wash interior walls with 2 tablespoons of baking soda mixed with 1 quart of hot water. Clean your oven in preparation of holiday baking. Organize your pots and pans. Nest them to save space and to make it easy to see which one… Continue Reading

Tips to survive a Wyoming winter

I recently took two weeks to do winterizing chores around my home before I was called back by a death in the family. My two long lists of chores were done the day before the call came. Taking the time to close foundation vents, clean air conditioning units, clear the gutters, move plants into more suitable… Continue Reading

Dyeing to try

Most of us have drawers full of colorful napkins that we use often. Colored napkins add a hit of balance to a table and are always cheerful. But what about those occasions where a crisp white napkin is in order. If yours are like mine, over time, stains and vague outlines start to appear and… Continue Reading

Claim home court advantage and bring a-game home

Claim home court advantage and bring a-game home

More homeowners are claiming the home court advantage. For some, getting court time for a soccer match or pickup basketball game is as easy as stepping into the backyard or basement. Americans have had a love-love affair playing tennis and other outdoor sports at home since the early 20th century, but today’s residential courts aren’t… Continue Reading

Column: Planting a tree

Planting a tree is one of the surest signs of hope I know of. A tree not only provides a little shade on sunny afternoons, but allows the world to breath a little easier. I remember going to a tree planting at Ryann’s grade school after 9-11. Students and a few parents stood as the… Continue Reading

Waking up to fall gardens

Waking up to fall gardens

You’ll find lots of advice these days about putting your garden to bed in the fall, but this is a season of life and color. Don’t let your garden sleep through it! Great gardens, in fact, practically never sleep. If you choose plants carefully, design for year-round interest and use your imagination, your garden will… Continue Reading

Column: Winterizing the garden

Putting the garden to bed is the final work that we all must do to close out the season. It begins with various cleaning jobs and ends with protecting plants from the temperatures of winter weather. Cleanup is a matter of basic garden hygiene and common sense. The goal is to allow your soil to… Continue Reading

A little style on the side

A little style on the side

 They’ve been around for centuries, but over the course of a couple hundred years, they’ve been called different things — petite salon tables, urn stands, telephone stands, cigarette tables and martini tables. The latter stuck as a popular label in the 1930s, the era when Dashiell Hammett’s Nick and Nora were swigging martinis in and… Continue Reading

Step into fall

Things to do for October: Inside: Continue to move outdoor plants indoors. Put plants in a spot where they will get as much sun as possible. Check insulation on pipes and check doors and windows for drafts. Patch now, and you’ll be thankful when you get your winter heating bills. Change beddings, removing and storing… Continue Reading

Honey bees and squash bees

Western honey bees are in the news regularly these days and for good reason. Disease, mites, environmental change, colony collapse and pesticides are resulting in dwindling numbers of bees, which is significantly affecting the honey industry and the horticultural industries that depend on honey bees for pollination. The problems affecting honey bees are not improving,… Continue Reading

Short-term rentals as long-term investments

Short-term rentals as long-term investments

Investing in short-term rental properties is proving profitable for some homeowners’ long-term financial goals. Websites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO make it easier than ever to market short-term rental properties to travelers seeking a home-away-from-home, says Fred Miller, president of Consumer Specialists and a consultant for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, based outside… Continue Reading

Garage politics

Have you ever noticed that some people’s garages are crammed to the gills with stuff while others have this palatial quality that seems other worldly? Used to be that a garage was a sign of success. Owners wouldn’t think of leaving new or well cared for cars outside in the elements. Now, all you have… Continue Reading

Welcoming autumn jar by jar in your home

With summer behind us and fall not quite here, this time of year calls to us to set aside a few good things for the harsh months ahead. Of course you could purchase an item or two from those who have done this work for you at the farmers market, and I hope you do.… Continue Reading

First-class mailbox gardens

First-class mailbox gardens

Even if the daily mail doesn’t amount to much, a cheerful mailbox garden stamps you as First Class in the neighborhood. It’s also a fun gardening opportunity. Mailboxes perched on posts at the curb give you a chance to create a postage-stamp garden design. Think of the mailbox as a piece of functional sculpture that… Continue Reading

Backyard mini orchards: Smaller apple trees a popular option

Backyard mini orchards: Smaller apple trees a popular option

By DEAN FOSDICK The Associated Press Miniature trees have become a popular way to grow apples in backyards. Dwarf and semi-dwarf trees are smaller than standard varieties, yet faster to mature and produce. “Smaller trees are more efficient for labor. They’re also more efficient for space,” said Michael Parker, an extension horticulture specialist and associate… Continue Reading

Column: Ode to a blind dog

A few weeks ago we became aware that our dog, Sophie, was having some difficulty. I had noticed that she was drinking a lot of water and asked Stephen to help me keep the dog bowls full. It was hot and I didn’t think too much of it. Then she stopped eating much, and again… Continue Reading

Things to do for September

Inside: Dust ceilings, walls, baseboards, and woodwork. This is especially important now, because dust that collects during summer is often laden with allergy-inducing pollen. A vacuum cleaner’s brush attachment is a good tool to use for this job. Clean ceilings first, then work your way down. Have the chimney cleaned for fire-lit nights to come.… Continue Reading

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