Forget those commercial pest control products. They are expensive, often dangerous to the user, and environmentally unfriendly. Our forefathers used natural products and methods to control pests effectively, which are kind to the environment. Try these.
Tired of ants invading your kitchen? Well first of all, don’t send them an open invitation! Put sugar, honey, jam and other sweet things in sealed containers. Clean up counters and tables so no sticky surfaces lure ants. Don’t let your kids carry snacks around where crumbs and jam can drop inviting ants.
Next leave out things ants don’t like.
Ants don’t like cucumber and they have an aversion to mint. Leave out cucumber peel or slices, fresh mint, cotton balls soaked in pure peppermint or mint teabags. Ants will feel unwelcome.
If you leave small hills of cornmeal where you saw ants, they will carry it home. Since ants cannot digest the cornmeal, so it will kill them.
You can also make your own ant bait by using a teaspoon of boric acid and six tablespoons of sugar. Dissolve these solids on two cups of water. Soak cotton balls in this liquid and leave out where you saw the ants. Be sure to keep your ant bait away from the kids and dogs as it can irritate their eyes.
No one likes to have those blood sucking disease-causing mosquitoes around. Here are some ways to get rid of these insect pests:
Make mosquitoes unwelcome by cleaning up stagnant and still water. These are mosquito breeding grounds. Don’t provide inviting breezy areas for mosquitoes. Close windows and doors on the breezy side of your house—particularly in early morning and early evening.
Plant some plants that are uninviting to mosquitoes. Good ones include catnip, rosemary, citronella, lemon balm, nasturtiums, and marigolds.
Make your own insect repellant by mixing 1 tablespoon of garlic juice with five tablespoons of water in a spray bottle. Spray on exposed skin before going outside. Dip cloth strips in this mixture and hang in your patio. Mosquitoes will stay away for at least five hours.
Throw some rosemary or sage on BBQ coals to keep mosquitoes away from your BBQ party—and make the patio smell nice to boot!
If you are into discovering new pets put up purple marten houses or build bat houses. Both of these creatures catch thousands of mosquitoes each day. They are entertaining to watch swooping around too.
Add a few drops of Neem Oil (a product of India) to lotion for a natural insecticide.
If you are sitting outside, give your patio ambience and chase away insects by lighting scented candles you made yourself. Simply add an ounce of essential oil to a pound of melted wax. Good choices are cedar, citronella, lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, lavender, cloves, or peppermint.
Do you hate flies buzzing around your backyard BBQ? Create sachets of mint, bay leaf, clove, or eucalyptus in your house or patio to deter these visitors. Make your own anti-fly planter filled with basil. If you leave bunches of basil around the patio or picnic area flies will stay away.
Moving can be hard on everyone in the family, but can be especially stressful if changing schools is involved. Luckily, a summer move gives children the chance to start fresh for the new school year. The following are ways that families can help their students adjust after a summer move.
2. Go to summer school
Many schools offer summer enrichment programs or day camps on campus. Signing up for these programs not only helps your child be more familiar with their new school building, but it can also help them meet new children who will be attending school with them in the fall.
3. Sign up for sports
Signing up for a local sports team is another great way to make connections with other students and families. As sports teams are grouped by area and age, there is a good chance your child will be on a team with students from their new school - if not their new class.
4. Get involved at the new school
Joining parent groups such as the PTO can be an additional support as children acclimate to a new school. This benefits both parents and children; as parents meet other adults with similarly-aged children, playdates and other outings can be easily arranged. Likewise, joining a parent group will show your child you are also interested in learning about their new teachers and school.
5. Take a trial run
The days leading up to the start of a new school year are stressful for everyone, but doubly so for those starting a new school. To make the first day more enjoyable, try taking a trial run; about a week before school starts, practice everything you are going to do the first morning. Set your alarm and wake up at the new time, get ready and practicing walking to school or the bus stop. If time permits, drive to the school so they can get more familiar with the route and any landmarks along the way. Likewise, take advantage of any open houses or meet the teacher nights the school hosts as a way to explore and get familiar with their new school and classroom.
An herb garden is a handy way to have fresh herbs ready for use in your favorite recipes. Moreover, an herb garden adds a cheery touch to your kitchen décor and is great for the air in your house.
Herb gardens are not hard to plant or maintain. Here are some tips:
Many herbs grow well in a windowsill garden. The window should get lots of natural or artificial light. Otherwise, your plants will be spindly and not flavorful. Turn pots regularly so they get even amounts of sun.
Buy herbs in small pots or start them from seed. Good choices are: basil, rosemary, chives, thyme, parsley, peppermint, cilantro, or lavender. You want plants that don’t grow too high or require more space than your windowsill offers.
Plant herbs in a long tray or in individual pots. The containers should be two to four inches tall. Fill with two to three inches of potting soil. Keep soil damp but not moist. Watering from the bottom up avoids overwatering and water regularly.
Fertilize with fertilizer for edibles every other month. Start with half strength and gradually increase.
Once plants are thriving, start to use them. Snip them and store herbs in fridge or air dry for future use. Never snip until the herb is six inches tall and cut only a third of its height.
If plants look ill, they may need more water or more sun.
You can use interesting “repurposed” container as pots for your windowsill herb garden. Be creative. Mason jars are great containers. Use those old bowls or coffee mugs or just make sure containers are large enough and allow for proper drainage.
Most herbs respond to any container as long as they have room to drain and to grow.
You can bring herbs inside for the winter and use them in a windowsill herb garden. However, be careful what you bring in. These plants may contain diseases or pests they have acquired outdoors.
In the spring, you might move your windowsill herb garden outside to a patio pot or an herb garden.
You can combine herbs in a single pot as long as the herbs you use have the same moisture, light, and fertilizer needs.
Try making your own herb fertilizer. Nettles, comfrey, yellow dock, burdock, horsetail, and chickweed make good fertilizer. Chop them up and add to the soil or dry them for future use.
Try making your own potting soil. Combine peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, sand, and shredded bark or compost for a pure effective potting material.
Think about adding natural substances to enrich your herb garden soil.
If your herb garden gets overcrowded snip off some plants or transplant them.
Consider an indoor window box for your herbs. Herbs that live well together and look attractive include chives, parsley, and tarragon. Add a few nasturtiums for color, variety and to use as edible garnishes for dishes.
A window herb garden will at beauty and practical cooking materials to your kitchen.
A wooden deck adds living space and value to your home. It is a great place for relaxing, entertaining, and outdoor dining.
If this is your first deck or patio project, keep it simple. Later, when you have gained expertise you can enhance your deck by extending its length and/or width, adding multi levels, steps and other features.
There are several wooden patio plans available on line or at building supply stores like Home Depot and Lowe’s. Staff will help you calculate the wood and hardware you need as well as offering advice about choosing materials and building tools for this DIY project.
Don’t forget to use safety equipment including a hard hat, steel-toed work boots, safety glasses, work gloves, and ear protectors.
When choosing the wood for your deck or patio, look at options that were not available a decade ago. There are several manufactured materials and exotic woods now on the market in a wide price range. Consider the appearance, maintenance required for upkeep and the kind of weather your deck will experience.
If this is a first project, consider how costly the materials are and how tricky installation is going to be. Get yourself a good set of plans and follow them faithfully. When you are more experienced at building a wooden patio, you can add your own enhancements.
Your first challenge is installing posts to anchor the deck. Follow building instructions for how to use batter boards and masonry string lines to lay the footings. Use a posthole digger to dig holes at least a foot deep. Use tube forms so footings are level and an inch above the ground. This job will take a DIYer the better part of a day. Of course, the job will go faster and be more fun with a crew of DIYers.
The next step is to cement those posts in place. Don’t forget to leave tops of the posts open for adding the structure. Use ready-mix concrete. Place anchor bolts in the centre of each post before cement hardens and align those anchors with a board, making sure of diagonal measurements so the anchor positions are square. Allow at least four hours for cement work.
Next, you need to attach the beams to the post anchors. Doubled 2 x 6’s make the best beams. When you are attaching them to the post, anchors insert a half-inch shim between the beams at each footing. This job will take two or three hours. Make sure beams are aligned before taking the next step.
Follow deck instructions for adding rim joists and angle brackets. Attach inner joists to beam faces next. Make sure nails are hammered straight and they are flush with the boards.
Fasten decking. Make sure boards are aligned. Fasten twice in the centre of each joist and about an inch from the edge of each board.
Trim deck boards so edges are even.
Add a prefabricated railing or create one of your own.
Realtors are best known for their expertise in helping you presents your house; sell it to best value and for assisting you with house hunting and purchase. However, your realtor has developed priceless contacts. He or she can make informed recommendations about house services you need when you move to a new community.
When you are in the realty business, you rub shoulders with others who can gain from contacts with those who buy and sell houses. Obviously, there are some like moneylenders, mortgage companies, contractors, security companies, and landscapers who have a direct homeowner interest. But, there are others—like retailers, home decorating business, restaurants and personal/healthcare professionals who can gain from realtor referrals too. In the realty business there is plenty of “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours!” swapping of contacts.
Here are some contacts your realtor can provide:
Realtors can provide valuable home maintenance tips and contacts. If you need a landscaper or someone to cut your grass, ask your realtor about his/her experience. These people see numerous homes and they know who does a good job for a fair price.
Good realtors also offer reminders like changing smoke alarm batteries annually and changing furnace and A/C filters twice a year.
Realtors can provide good ideas for design or remodeling ideas and workers who do good renovation work.
Realtors are experts at organizing home paperwork. They can make suggestions about a good real estate lawyer and preparing for tax time. They can help first-time homeowners prepare a home binder that contains your deed, realty details, mortgage, appraisals, inspection reports, warranties, and settlement contracts.
Realtors can make good suggestions regarding institutions that will lend money for home purchase.
You have moved your family so suggestions about services including doctor, dentist, hair stylist, and dry cleaner would be very welcome.
Good schools and daycare centers and babysitters are a priority. Ask your realtor who has relocated clients into this community.
If you are having work done on your home, people to sell and service appliances, cleaning services and caterers are vital contacts.
When you move, it is always convenient to receive suggestions about good, nearby grocery stores, shops, drug stores, the post office, banks and department stores complete with addresses and a local map are a godsend.
Realtors can provide suggestions for money managers and financial advisors.
Realtors have contacts in their community with churches, recreational or sports facilities and personnel. If you are looking for a good chiropractor, masseuse, personal trainer, gym, or running group, your realtor has contacts he/she can suggest.
If you want to take a client to lunch at a nice restaurant, your realtor can make suggestions.
Many people arrive in a new community knowing no one but their realtor. It should come as no surprise that the new homeowner develops a relationship with this person beyond simply buying a house. Surveys indicate that when it comes time to trade up or sell their home nearly 90% use the same realtor again. That’s because of the trust that has grown over time.