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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Poinsettia's in the Summer

Those beautiful poinsettias are not just for Christmas you can grow them in the summer. They will come to bloom around July in most areas and last until November.
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
To plant, start with a well lit part of your garden, then dig your hole about four inches deep and about six inches wide. Your hole should be two inches bigger all around then your plants root system. You want to sprinkle a layer of soil one inch deep at your hole. A pH of 6 or 7 is perfect. Then place your poinsettia in your hole and add more soil covering the roots. Press the soil around your new plant gently, but packed in enough so that your plant is supported. To much packing will only damage your roots. A sprinkle of water is all your plant needs. Your plant only needs to be damp, never flooded. It will only require water every three days, or if it is dry. They love just having damp soil.
 
 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

small budget Landscaping

You don't have to spend a alot of money to have great landscaping. If you plan, you can make the most our of a few dollars. Splitting the project into phases gives you, time, to do a little bit at a time.

Gravel, or pavers make a inexpensive path or walkway.

If you have a deck furnish with inexpensive seating and tables. You can dress up your patio with a outdoor rug, plants and other garden style decor. Tiki torches are inexpensive and can also be used for lights.

Make a water feature your self. Improvement stores have everything you need.

A nice trellis or arbor is great for making privacy.



   

Friday, May 27, 2011

BBQ and Memorial Day

Everyone knows Memorial Day kicks off summer. The start of camping trips, the beach and all those barbecues. So how about this year kicking off the Holiday with some new recipes, or even a new marinade.











It's not a BBQ with out burgers. So have you ever tyred espresso rubbed burgers. You take one teaspoon of your favorite instant coffee powder or espresso powder, half a teaspoon of black pepper, mix into your ground meat. Then when you serve top your burger with hickory brown sugar BBQ sauce, a slice of Colby jack cheese and taste.

Chicken is another favorite for BBQ grills. So how about marinating some breasts in two tablespoons of lemon juice, with two teaspoons of Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon of pepper, have teaspoon of tarragon, and quarter cup of spicy mustard. Make sure your breasts are covered very well with the marinade. Place in the fridge for fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes are up, you can drain from your marinade and grill.










  • Happy Holidays

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cape Cod DYI Porch

Adding a porch to any home is a wonderful investment, but to a cape cod that's even a bigger one. You can have a screened porch or a full open one, which ever, you will enjoy spending warm days using it with family and friends. Having a porch also adds footage to your existing home. Your goal is to make the new porch blend in with your home, to make it look like it's always been there. The easiest way to do this is with a ready to assemble porch kit, how cool is that.
 
  
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
With just a few tips, let's get started. When you decide to do a porch, first think what do I intend to do with it, how will it be used. Keep the porch simple with the architecture of your home. Always keep in mind the structure of your Cape Cod style. Design your size and if you will have outdoor electrical outlets for any special needs.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Have a plan in mind and put it on paper. What length and depth do you desire. Make sure to balance the visual appearance. And consider the elevation as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Get the porch kit that will work best for you. These kit's come from simple to complicated. Some kits also allow you to turn your porch into a additional room, like a four season room. You kit will of course come with all you will need to build.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Make sure you all understand your town rules before starting your build. Get all the specs and permits you will need. And when your done enjoy your new porch.
 
 
 
 
  
 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Moss on your Shingles

What is that green fuzzy stuff on my shingles? It could be what is called Moss. If you live in a damp warm area, that has alot of tree's and vegetation, you could develop moss. If your home face's the north you could also be susceptible to moss, this is due to the lack of getting sunlight. Therefore, your home retains moisture.

Shingles with moss are more likely to have aesthetic problems, and then you get damage to your home. Moss will obstruct water flow from your roof as well as drainage. It will create dams and then will cause leaks. If you leave the moss on your roof, the roots can then penetrate your shingles and then you will have permanent damage. It is imperative to kill the moss on your shingles to preserve the structure of your home.

  









Following some simple steps can kill the moss problem on your roof. First you want to spray some water from your hose onto all your vegetation that is around the perimeter of your home. Next cover it with plastic sheets for added protection from any chemicals that are going to run off your roof. Protect yourself with the right clothing, rubber gloves and most important safety glasses. Make sure you also are wearing slip resistant shoes.











Now it is time to mix one gallon of chlorine bleach with one gallon of water in a bucket. Then pour this mixture into a clean pump sprayer. You want to spray your bleach solution on the mossy shingles. This mixture will stay on for thirty minutes, making sure the bleach kills the moss. After thirty minutes you want to scrub the shingles with a nylon brush and get the moss removed. Brushing downward will help protect your shingles from damage.











The last step is to rinse. Just use your garden hose once again to rinse all the bleach mixture from your roof. This is also done in a downward direction. Doing it this way will help prevent water getting trapped underneath your shingles, and allow your shingles to air dry properly.



 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Growing Wisteria

Growing the beautiful Japanese Wisteria can be tricky. If you grow from seeds it can take almost 15 years until you get a bloom. So its best if you can get cuttings or vines. There are two types of this plant, Asian and Chinese. They bloom in different patterns but both are treated the same.
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
For best results you want to select a site where your vine gets six or more hours of direct sun. The soil needs to be moist and a acid pH of 6 or 7. You will need a sturdy trellis, or plant along a solid wall. Plant in a easy access area so you can prune. Pruning regularly is very important.
 
The hole to plant your wisteria should be the size of the root ball, but not deeper. The graft union should be just below your surface. A plant from a cut should be planted at the same level. Pack your plant with dirt around your root ball, and water. If you used a cutting water one inch of water every week.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
You must feed your new plants to encourage them to grow. But the plant will not bloom while being fed. You want the plant to fill the allotted space, after that you will stop feeding. Hold off watering unless you have a drought. Water only if the plant is wilting.
 
You will need a fertilizer of 0 20 0 if you are not getting blooms on your wisteria. Always prune new growth in the spring or early summer months.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Plants and School

Some schools have plants in their school yard for the children. The holders for these plants can be any size or any shape. The students get to plant trees, and flowers, even veggies. They can use gravel or seashells for the plants also. Plants at any school are great projects for art or science class's.

                            












From the senior class to the kindergarten class planting is a great idea. For the senior class, its great to have them write their names in clay. They can plant a tree or bush for their senior year also in their memory.

For kindergarten its a fun idea to decorate a large plant holder with their hand prints. This can be in clay or on large planter also.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Roof Styles then and now

Roof styles from the 70's we're very different then today's updated and modern one's. Your ranch style homes we're a carry over from your split level homes. Back in the 70's you had wood paneling on your walls and your hallways we're mainly ceramic.

Your roofs back then had alot of Spanish style red tiles, and stucco exteriors. This style also carried over into the 80's. With the style the plants usually we're desert like in the front yard as well as the back yard. Alot of arched windows we're used for the living room.

In the 60's the most popular style home was the ranch, with a cross hipped roof. This is a variation of your standard hip roof. The cross hipped roof is a very complicated style. And can also be more expensive.

Then in the 70's you also had your shed style. This home had a long half gable roof, that would slope at extreme angles up different areas of the home. The shed roofs came in many different types of material. Shingles, metal or wood we're often used.

   

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tick Season Upon Us

Tick season will soon be upon us. They can latch on to our pets, and then invade our home. Once ticks are in the yard you should get rid of them at once. Ticks carry disease like Lyme's, so immediate action to rid them should be taken seriously. You can't use chemicals in the yard, these can cause health hazard to your beloved pets and your children. A natural repellent is the way to go. Also keeping your yard clean will prevent infestation.












Keeping your grass short keeps the pests away. Ticks love overgrown grass, and over grown bushes and plants. Keeping your yard clean of debris, like plant waste and grass clippings will help keep the ticks at bay.

Using cedar chips as a border is not only lovely but serves as a natural barrier to ticks. If you place the same chips along your fence it will also serve as a barrier.













You can also grow your own herbal tick repellent. These plants are catnip, lemon grass, basil and lavender. Ticks do not like the smells of these herbs. These plants are also safe for your children and pets. Herbal oils of the same plants can be mixed with water and sprayed around the yard, or put the same oil on you, to repel ticks.

Friday, May 20, 2011

FYI Clean your grout

To any home owner who has tile floors know dirty grout can be a eye sore. What grout is, is a thin line of mortar, or plaster used in masonry joints. And over time accumulates dirt and dust and other unwanted debris. It can also start to be covered up with soap scum, and other mineral deposits. Mold can also grow in your grout. Cleaning it however is not costly or time consuming.


  








You can use a commercial cleaner, or plain old vinegar to clean that grout back to looking new. If you want to do it with vinegar, just spray your grout and wait twenty minutes. If you have mold in your grout always use a respirator dust mask and gloves for protection. Just scrub your grout gently with a small brush like a old toothbrush. Rinse your grout well. If it's grout in your shower use your shower head to rinse the grout dirt away. If it's else where use a spray bottle of carbonated water. After you rinse, check for any stains that may be on your grout. Toothpaste (not gel ) placed on your grout stain will scrub it away. Leave it on for twenty minutes as you did the vinegar, scrub, and than rinse away again.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rid your lawn of white clover

If your lawn is over run with white clover. Here are some tips on how to remove it organically.

White Dutch Clover Seed - 10 LB

First off, what is white clover and why does it over run your yard in the first place. The white clover you see actually converts soil into nitrogen, that can be used for other plant types. Most lawns are five percent clover, and with this amount fertilizing your lawn may not be necessary. Especially if your lawn clippings are left on. Clover however should be cut before seeding your lawn.

If your lawn is over run with clover this means your soil is depleted of nitrogen. A healthy and balanced lawn will not have weeds. Test your soil then balance it out with organic nutrients.














To element white clover you can use one of two things. The first is sugar. Four to five pounds applied by hand to 1000 per sq, then watering well. The second is using corn gluten meal. Both should be done in early spring, three to five weeks before seedlings start to sprout.














Also to control white clover, cut your grass high, this prevents the weeds seeds from growing. For large clumps, you may have to get hostile. Pour white vinegar in the affected area. This will make your soil to acidic for the white clover. Then you will have to dip the white clover up, that has died. Filling the bold spot with new top soil and new grass seed.
 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Sickness

Do to helping my wife who has the flu I am going to have to miss blogging today

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

FYI outdoor furniture

Many yards now have outdoor wood furniture. To keep the furniture for as long as possible you must protect it. I wanted to share some tips with you on how to do this.


  









The first step is always cover your outdoor wood furniture with a waterproof cover, if it's not being used. This is most important during the winter months. On hot sunny days you may also want to cover it also, the sun can cause damage to the furniture as well. At least three times a year you should clean your furniture and make sure it dries thoroughly. Leaving dirt on the wood furniture can deteriorate it. All these steps will make your furniture last much longer. Using a wood furniture cleaner is the key element when washing the furniture. Keep the furniture free of debris and cobwebs to. If your wood furniture is getting beat up by the elements, then its time to sand and re stain it. When your furniture gets wet by rain, pull it into the sun to dry it out. Leaving it wet will start to rot the wood. Several times a year you will want to oil your wood furniture. You want to saturate it with oil, then let it soak into the wood. Don't forget to check your wood's hardware every so often. Loose bolts and screws do come loose. Make sure you turn the furniture over to checks for loose hardware also. Also if your wood furniture has slats you will want to check to see if any need replaced. Doing all of this will keep your wood furniture beautiful for years to come.

 

 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Small Kitchen Makeover

Anymore people don't use their kitchen just for meals. Today it is the heart of any home. Where friends and family come together to do many things. If your kitchen is welcoming to a person, you are welcoming them into the very essence of your home. It's a place where memories can be made and shared. There is a old saying that a clean kitchen is a sign of wasted life. And that a messy kitchen is the sign of a happy life. But today let's focus on small kitchens and how to make them seem bigger, and give them some extra space.

Don't be afraid to work with what you have. Even in small kitchens there is extra space that is hiding. You just have to find it. Everyone would love to have a big kitchen, but not all homes have them. But its not the size of your kitchen that matters, it's what you can do with it. In a small kitchen, cabinets actually take up space. Upper cabinets in a small kitchen make the room top heavy. These can be replaced with open shelves, and you can run them to give your self more storage than when you had the cabinets. Now that the kitchen space is open, you still don't want to clutter it. Keep your things organized, on your shelves. Another option to make the room look bigger is to replace your cabinet panels with lattice. This makes you look further instead of stopping at the solid doors. It also creates a softer feel, a more airy feel. The lattice can also be dressed up, to the point you don't even know they are there. A cheap way to update a cabinet is to just change the knob to something fancy.

  









Now let's talk about color. In limited spaces dark and light colors used together creates a illusion of more room. Even a small kitchen painted dark will make it seem bigger. Just make sure to keep the ceiling and the trim white. In a dark kitchen your cabinets and woodwork should also be a light color. If dark is not the way you want to go, just make the back splash dark with color or a mirrored back splash.

  










Counter tops, in a small kitchen, vertical is the way to go. It gives the illusion of more room at your gathering spot. Also make the ceiling above white and bright. The ceiling can also create a more open space look. Hang a pot rack over your gathering space also or over your stove as a aesthetic choice.

  









Don't be afraid to experiment with your small kitchen.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Backsplash decor

Almost every kitchen has a back splash. And if you don't have one, there are so many to choose from to complement your design.

Just a few that I like, I wanted to share with you. The first is mosaic, it is a effective design, and works in just about in any kitchen. There are some mosaics that are stainless steel. These look great in any contemporary kitchen.

Scabos 1 X 1 Tumbled Travertine Mosaic Tile - 6 X 6 Sample Piece


Also tumbled marble mosaic is great to, it comes in many different shades. The tile gives your kitchen a earthy Tuscan feel. Also polished stone mosaic or glass mosaic works in a kitchen that doesn't get much sunlight. This type of tile will reflect any light the kitchen does get.


Mosaic Square Mirror Tiles - Assorted, Mosaic Square Mirror Tiles, Pkg of 100

If you want to create interest on your wall with the back splash
use two vastly different sizes of tile. You can try a extended subway tile with a mosaic border as one example. Or you can use two different color tiles. Example would be earth tones with green tile. The idea of it all is to draw attention to the back splash.


Mosaicmaxusa: Mother of Pearl Mosaic Tile, 1x1 Aqua Blue

Another way to draw attention is to use two different materials. And example of that is rustic stone with hand cut glass tiles. Any way you wish to go, just make sure your back splash will stand out.
   

 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Home Shutters

Drive by any home and they almost all have shutters. But does the homeowner know if the shutters are the right size for their windows. There's only one proper placement for shutters, for functioning and non functioning.

                          












Your shutters should match your window shape and your window size. If you have shutters you close, both of those panels should be fitting snugly inside of your window casing. A common mistake is to hang ornamental shutters longer or even wider than narrower or shorter than your window. If your shutters are just for decorative purposes the same rules apply, they must fit to the inside of your window casing.

You want to make sure your shutters inside edge is 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inch back from your inside edge. This is called off setting space, this gives the shutter room to swing in full range motion. You should also choose your hinge type according to your window casing dimensions, this will be dictating how much of a offset space you need.

Take your uninstalled shutters and fit them inside your window frame and then mark where you will place your hinge. Then hook them and position them on your window casing. Always mark the hinges before installing your shutters.












Using a tie back will keep your shutters in a open position. This is usually a acorn clip or bullet shutter catch. It attach's to the shutter than to your home. It will be on the backside of your shutter panel. Another type is a shutter dog, this is usually a decorative holder and is seen from the front side of the shutter. To close your shutters all you will do is undo your tie backs.


  

Friday, May 13, 2011

Birdfeeders and Your Garden

There's nothing more relaxing than a good cup of coffee and sitting in the backyard. The sights and sounds of birds are very relaxing. The singing of the birds, and their bright colors turn any backyard into a oasis. If you have bird feeders in your yard or garden I want to share some tips on how to attract birds to them.

                         











The best place to start, is to find out what birds are common in your area. These of course are the ones that you will attract to your feeder.













Then it's time to figure out what they love to eat. If you offer them their favorite food they will likely visit your feeder regularly. Red Cardinals love black oil sunflower seeds, so put some out if you live on the Eastern coast.

Position of your feeder should be off the ground high enough to keep predators away. Feeders that are near trees or a bush are nice, it gives other birds a place to wait until it's their turn to eat.












The nice thing about bird feeders is you can fill them all year round and see different species. Some birds don't migrate and will come to your feeder on a regular basis. Winter birds love their berries and other wild bird foods. Plants will also help you attract birds. The beauty berry and sunflowers serve as a natural food source. Hummingbirds love color, and that color is red, so any bushes or feeders of this color will attract them.













Don't forget to offer your feathered friends water, for drinking and their baths. Placing a fresh water source in your yard will attract birds also.

  

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Strawberry Salsa

One of my favorite pass times, is cooking. So I wanted to share with my readers my Strawberry Salsa. This salsa is flavorful and very light. It goes so good with salty tortilla chips. So you taste salt and sweet at the same time. The vinegar in the recipe adds some sour to it. The batch of this salsa will serve sixteen, so it's great for parties, just double the recipe if you need more.

Everbearing Picnic Strawberry 40 Seeds/Seed


The ingredient list:
  
  • 1 pint fresh sliced strawberries
  • ½ cup chopped kiwi
  • ½ cup chopped seeded cucumber
  • ¼ cup finely shredded cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. lime juice
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
You will first mix your strawberries with your kiwi and cucumber, cilantro and your green onion. Do this in a med size bowl. Do this in the bowl you will serve your salsa in and save yourself some time and clean up.


Strawberry Seeds - Alpine Mignonette Heirloom


Next it is time to whisk your red wine vinegar with your salt and pepper, and lime juice. Do this in a smaller bowl and keep it on the side.

Then pour your vinegar mix into your strawberry mix and lightly toss, you don't want bruised strawberries. Do not toss and create a mashed mixture either.


Everbearing Picnic Strawberry 40 Seeds/Seed


Now it's time to serve, how easy was this. Serve when your done, or allow the strawberries to marinade for two hours, its your choice. Serve with salty chips, or pretzels even some crusty bread.