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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Getting rid of house flies

We all know how annoying flies are when eating outdoors. And who wants to spray insect sprays around the food, or hand nasty looking fly strips up. A natural way to do it is with clove seeds. This will work indoors and outdoors.
To start push about twenty cloves into a sweet ripe apple, it doesn't matter what kind of apple you use. Place the apple in the middle of your picnic table or your kitchen counter any where really where you are having a problem. You can also keep flies away by adding a few drops of clove oil to your cleaning supplies. Just don't spray the mixture on any fabric it may stain. You can also place the oil in your mop water and glass cleaner as well. It will not only make your house smell good it keeps the flies away.
You can also make clove bouquets and hang around the home. Your can make your clove bouquets more decorative by adding dried flowers or ribbons. For large areas, such as barns, take a old nylon stocking and fill with 1/4 cup clove powder and hang where needed.
It's as easy as that.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Floribunda Roses

Rosa "Confetti" (Floribunda Rose), Yellow & Pink Edged Flower, Tea Fragrance Photographic Poster Print by Linda Burgess, 24x18

In Latin Floribunda means many flowers. This is quite fitting for the floribunda rose, that grows in clusters on a rose stem. They are a crossbreed of your hybrid tea rose and the polyantha rose, and are very colorful. It is a hearty rose that will grow four feet tall. They have a long growing season and are easy to grow and also maintain. Often the floribunda rose is used in flower arrangements. When you plant them find a nice sunny area with good rich soil and make sure it will have room to spread its roots. Before you plant, fill your rose bucket with water and soak the bare roots for two hours before you plant it. Then you will remove the rose and plant.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Roof types for sheds

You could be using your shed for storage or as a workshop. But what ever the reason is, you can make it fit into your landscaping. Even though it's just a functional structure, why can't it be attractive. That's where the roof type comes in to play. Your traditional shed roof is a match for your shed only. It has features as a single rectangular surface, and the high point is along your sheds wall. It is a effective basic option to your shed, which is usually only for storage. Gable roofs are found on homes, but now they can be applied to shed's. This will give your shed two sloping sections that meet in a ridge in the center of your shed. It will result in a upside down V shape with triangular walls that support each side of your shed. This will give you extra storage space in the shed beneath the roof or headroom. Another variation of a gable is the gambrel roof. If you have a large shed this will give it enough space to add a second floor or a under roof storage area. If that's not what you are looking to do, it will provide you with plenty of headroom. Similar to the gambrel is the mansard roof. This to provides additional space beneath your roof, creating valuable space for headroom or to add a second floor. So when getting a shed think about changing that shed roof style and get more out of your shed by changing the roof type.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Animals that can nest in your walls

There are many species of critters that can nest in your building's walls. Having them there doing this can cause structural damage. You can tell if they are there by the physical signs they leave, or noise you may hear. As a building owner you can get rid of the critters your self or call pest control, but the situation must get resolved.

The most common critters are rodents. Deer and house mice are two species that will invade your walls. The Norway rat will invade your roof. The critters enter via holes or cracks in your homes floors, walls and even your foundation. After building their nest they can give birth to up to 84 offspring just in one year alone. The critters are invading not only to nest but they are looking for food.

The carpenter bee is another invader of your walls. Their name comes from their proneness to develop nests in trees and wood structures. You can tell you have them by the circular holes or brown staining they create. Sealing any existing holes in your walls with a oil based paint will ward off the carpenter bee.

Those birds that sound so pretty in the morning are another wall invader. The common starlings and sparrows are known for this. These birds will nest even in your dryer vent. They build their nests with leaves and dry grass or straw, so look for these materials.

The worst of the lost is termites. Small insects that nest in walls with a wooden infrastructure. Termites cause billions of dollars annually to structures. They love warm temps and are most active in the spring months. You can identify their structures by looking for mud tubes.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Plants for your trellis

There's nothing more beautiful then flowers or plants growing upwards. When you have plants growing on a trellis they decorate, screen or frame your garden. Your annual climbing plants are lighter than your perennial, but both need good support.
There are many climbers to use for your trellis. These climbers provide a variety of landscape solutions. Your trellis will provide support for your climber where ever you will use it. It's your way of growing climbers any where you wish to decorate where ever you wish. They do double duty in hiding objects that are unsightly. Like garbage cans, utility areas, central air units and so forth. They become beautiful screens.
Flowering climbing plants include annuals such as morning Glory's and nasturtiums, hyacinth bean and snapdragon, as well as the black eyed Susan and canary creeper vine. These are fast sprouting climbers, if you plant them in warm rich soil, in a sunny location. They grow very quickly in the spring and summer. Your trellis will be covered in a few months. If you are looking for perennial climbers go for your climbing roses, trumpet vine, clematis, wisteria and bougainvillea. These all product woody growth and require a strong trellis.
Also there are fast growing evergreens, like your English ivy, trailing arbutus, and Japanese honeysuckle, or climbing hydrangea. Your English ivy is very aggressive and needs a tall trellis. Your arbutus will need a trellis and pinning.
Also there is your fruit climbers, grapes, kiwi, passion fruit and raspberries. These climbers need full sun and a rich soil with organic matter in order to produce a full fruit harvest. Some climbers are tropical and will not work in cold climates. Wide trellis's are best for your fruit climbers.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Counter Tops and Kids

If you have children and they love helping out in the kitchen, you are going to have messes and spills. Although there are no child proof counter tops, there are one's that are rough enough to handle a child's mess. If you are remodeling and have children there are pros and cons to the counter top material you will order. You may want to choose one that will stand up to the wear and tear the kids will give it.

If you want a counter top that is waterproof and easy to clean, Laminate is a good choice. Laminate can be purchased to imitate other types of materials such as wood and granite. Your lighter laminates don't show any scratches or cracks as much as other counter tops would. Your darker laminates hide any stains. The down side of this choice, is because the laminate is thin you can chip the edges, but they can be patched. Also you can not place hot pans on the laminate, but if you do it is inexpensive to replace.

Durable and easy to clean counter tops would be your granite. It can with stand the heat of hot pans on them. It is durable, but can be chipped if hit extremely hard, and also must be sealed to keep from staining. Also granite can be pricey. But it is worth it, because it can with stand wear and tear. Very rarely does it need to be replaced. If it does that can be expensive and labor intense.

Like in a commercial kitchen, stainless steel is another counter top choice. Very easy to clean and can with stand hot pans and pots. This type of counter top is also water proof, and will not form mold or bacteria.
Any spills easily wipe away. You do however get fingerprints, but these easily wipe away. Stainless steel can get scratches, but over time will fade. On the down side they are expensive and do require a special installation.

Wood when treated properly is durable for a family counter top. Not to expensive, but do require a mineral oil treatment to keep them looking good. They can stain however, and show any cutting marks, and will also burn from hot pans. But any of these problems can be sanded out and resealed. Properly sealed will also help your wood counter top not retain moisture. If not sealed properly you will get moisture, and odors and bacteria will start to grow. You will then have a negative counter top for your family.


Thursday, June 09, 2011

Cut Your Lawn the Right Way

     To have a healthy lawn it must be cut the right way, not just by adding chemicals and fertilizers. If you cut your lawn the proper way it will be green and healthy, and without crab grass or weeds. Maintaining your lawn cut the right way will be less work.
     Your lawn should be three inches high after you have cut it. Not looking like a golf course. Having your lawn at three inches high will block weeds and crab grass, also it will absorb more sunlight, which makes it greener, and you happy. You basically only want to cut off the top third of your blade of grass.
     Try to mow your lawn on a regular schedule, once a week is fine. This way it will not seem like such a big deal to mow the lawn. You still want to keep to the rule, of only taking off the top third of the blade.
     You want the clippings to fall back in your lawn, the short clippings will compost the lawn and put the nutrients they contain directly right back into your soil.
     If for some reason you get any small piles left behind, those you want to remove. It's those small piles you want to get off the lawn with raking.
     Always mow your lawn dry. Mowing wet grass will only tear it. Torn grass ends up brown, and makes your lawn look like it is unkempt.
     Cool temps is the best time to cut also. Cut late morning or early evening. You don't want to cut when there is dew on the lawn, this is the same rule as cutting it wet.
     Change your mowing pattern every time you mow. This will avoid your lawn from having any paths, and you train your blades to grow in different directions. Different pattern mowing also makes your experience more fun.
     Keep that blade sharp and clean to, get in the habit of shaping and cleaning often. This will make sure you have no uneven ends and will not have a brown lawn. Mow this way will also keep your lawn free from disease and fungus.


Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Finishing the Basement

Basements can often be added space to your homes use. If it is pretty much finished, you don't need to do alot to make it a livable space. Most techniques are often simple and inexpensive.
Getting rid of the Moisture should be your first step. Then you will check for any leaking pipes, and windows that are not sealed. Or look for any other water source that may be getting into the basement. Doing this will prevent any future problems, or health issues. You may want to use a dehumidifier in your basement. A dehumidifier will help avoid mold problems.
The color of your basement is also a key ingredient, color makes it visually interesting and will make it functional. The color will go with the purpose of the basement. Small basements do well with light tones, or pastels. For a modern look, use jewel tones or dark rich tones. Brown or navy will prevent glares if your basement is used for a entertainment area.
Flooring in your basement is also important. Ceramic tile will resistant any moisture or warping. A are rug will keep the room comfortable year round, and add texture. At times some hardwoods can be used.
Your lighting is as important as your color. It will need to be functional for your basement. You can have natural light or light fixtures. Overhead track lighting is often used as a option. Often dimmers are added to the lights for balance.


Tuesday, June 07, 2011


RoseFeather Handmade Feather Roses - 6pc Gift Box Yesterday, our daughter Danielle Villari passed seven years ago. I will be taking a few days off from blogging to spend my time with all my memories of her.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Share a sandwich with me

I wanted to share with you, and hope you try it, one of my favorite summer sandwich's. The Caprese salad sandwich, a great veggie sandwich you will love. It is so good you can serve it at a luncheon you are having. And I make it with all fresh ingredients.

A few things you need to start building your sandwich is:
  • 12 ounces of fresh salted mozzarella cheese
  • salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 8 slices of good sourdough bread
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 stove top grill pan
I am a construction man by trade, but I love to cook from the heart. So let's get started. You want to first get your grill nice and hot, or your pan on top of your stove. Then cut your cheese 1/3 inch thick and salt and pepper your cheese to taste. You want your tomato slices the same thickness as your cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste to them also. I use sourdough bread, you can use your favorite. Take some smashed garlic and rub both sides of your bread with it. After that drizzle olive oil on your bread. Take and tear some fresh basil, and begin to layer. First layer the cheese, than place the basil, and then tomatoes on your bread.

After everything is together grill your sandwich on both sides.


Saturday, June 04, 2011

Windowsill Herb Garden

Did you know growing fresh herbs on your windowsill will give you fresh herbs all year round. Not only are they great for cooking but they are lovely plants. They will add a nice touch to your kitchen decor, and also add some great aroma. Fresh herbs in your recipes add more flavor also then using dried ones. Herbs that are good for growing indoors are chives, mint, thyme, parsley, basil, rosemary, marjoram and oregano.
Buy your herbs small at any garden center. Your plants should be compact with even colors. You don't want long spindly plants.
Get your pot ready, for each herb you will plant. Don't mix your herbs, they have different growing requirements. Your containers should have good drainage holes, and should be 6 inches deep. You should also have a drainage saucer under your pot.
Use well drained commercial potting soil in your pots. Then you want to add a handful of perlite or sand, to help with drainage.
Place your herb plants in your pots. Plant each plant the same depth, and water. Place your herbs on your windowsill, where they will get five to six hours of sunlight per day.
You want to water when your soil feels completely dry. Allow the water to drain, than empty your saucer, never allow the pot to stand in water as they will rot.
You will want to fertilize your herbs every two to three weeks in the spring and summer months, with a water soluble, organic fertilizer for your indoor plants.
Do not withhold your fertilizer during the fall and winter months. Do not over fertilize either, this will decrease your flavor of the herbs.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Quick Deck Decor Idea's

If you have a deck on your home, you want to make this space feel inviting not only to family but to friends. Make it your outdoor living space, a place where you want to relax and entertain.

You can start with some bistro lights. You can use a string of Christmas lights with large bulbs. They can be hung on rails or above your deck in dramatic hanging ways. It creates a warm atmosphere, changing your deck into a glowing environment, similar to a out door eatery.

Add some colored chairs around your deck. Or cover your chairs with different colored chair pads. Using two colors gives you a rainbow effect. Paint the chairs if you use new cushions, so they match. It will create a inviting feel to your seating area.

  • Old wood tables, or plastic out door tables can come in handy. If you have wood, try some crackle paint after you repaint them. You will create a shabby chic effect to the table.      

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Siding Up Keep

The most common siding on a home is vinyl. It's affordable, and durable, and comes in a wide variety of style's. It does require some maintenance though. This siding is not impervious to airborne dust and dirt. Any dirty siding mars your home's appearance, and will eventually attract mold. You should get into the habit of cleaning your vinyl siding twice a year to maintain its color and aesthetic appeal. With the proper cleaning your siding will last for years. Just by mixing one tbs of liquid dish detergent and one gallon of warm water will clean your siding. You will want to cover your grass and bushes or plants with drop cloths before cleaning.
To begin, spray your siding with your hose to rinse off any debris, insects or grime. Then you can scrub section by section with your mixture, using a handled nylon brush. Always start from the bottom up. Rinse after each section as you go. This will get the scrubbed gunk off. Refill your bucket with clean soapy water as needed. The siding will air dry and be dirt free.