Month: May 2018

A good strategy for a clean sweep

I don’t think there is a greater natural high than seeing my house in the immediate moments after I have cleaned it from top to bottom. It has become an increasingly rare occurrence in recent years, as I have focused my attention on spending my spare time with my children — but as I have focused my own self growth on finding ways to live a more simple life, learning ways to live more efficiently and more effectively have made those sparkly clean house moments much more frequent. I’ll confess, when I first got married, I had a cleaning service that came to my house weekly. Looking back to that time — pre-children — I kind of chuckle, thinking at how easy I had it compared to my ccurent housekeeping chores, which now include cleaning up after two kids, four pets and a slightly messy (but completely lovable) spouse! Now that I have learned some good life hacks when it comes to house cleaning, I actually enjoy doing it — and really enjoy how lovely my house is to be in when my chores are complete! Whether you were born with a mop and bucket in your hand or are a slow learner like me, I have dedicated this month’s musings to helping share ways to make cleaning your home sweet home a little more of a treat! •...

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Is your lawn ready for dethatching?

Grass clippings left on the lawn are returned to an elemental state by microorganisms in the soil and recycled as nutrients. A quarter-inch layer of clippings is good; more is not. Clippings build when overdoses of pesticides kill the soil microorganisms, and when soluble high-nitrogen fertilizers and excess watering push grass growth. Your lawn could need dethatching if it feels spongy to walk on. To test your lawn, cut a wedge-shaped plug of turf that includes dirt with the roots. If the spongy layer between the grass and the soil measures more than a half-inch, dethatch. The best time to dethatch a cool-season grass is in early fall. A convex rake with short knife-like blades in place of tines can be used to dethatch a small lawn. For a big dethatching job, a gas-powered vertical mower and power rake attachment is needed. If the thatch is thick, make two passes at right angles to each other. To avoid thatch buildup do the following: • Remove less than one inch of grass blade when you mow. Use a mulching mower to double-cut the clippings, which makes it easier for the microorganisms in the soil to break them down. • Avoid excessive dosing with pesticides that kill the soil microorganisms. • Avoid soluble high-nitrogen fertilizers and excessive watering. • Aerate every two or three years. Aeration helps avoid a big thatch...

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