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Alan Bernau Jr

Recent Posts

Pressure Washing: Do's and Don'ts

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jun 29, 2020

pressure-washing-to-clean-your-home

Are there oil or paint stains on your driveway? Or maybe your home's vinyl siding is looking dingy beneath several layers of dirt and dust. If you want to clean your concrete driveway, vinyl siding, front walk, patio, garbage cans, or fence, a pressure washer can make the task a lot easier. Though it's a convenient piece of equipment to have around, there are some things to remember in order to operate one safely. This week, I have some of the do's and don'ts involved in operating a pressure washer.

Do's

  • Do wear goggles to protect your eyes from the spray. Wearing pants (instead of shorts) to do the job is a good idea as well.
  • Do change the spray angle of the nozzle on the pressure washer to suit the cleaning task.
  • Do move the sprayer from side to side in an even way while cleaning a wall, fence, or section of siding.
  • Do adjust the pressure of the water to suit the type of job you want to complete.
  • Do wait until the gas tank of the device has cooled down before trying to refill it.

Don'ts

  • Don't focus the pressure washer in one place for too long. This can cause damage.
  • Don't forget that the force of water coming out of a pressure washer can cut into your skin or cause other injury.
  • Don't move your sprayer upward on a wall or section of siding. Instead, work your way downward so the dirty water slides off of the surface.
  • Don't use your pressure washer while on a ladder. For this job, it's best to stay on solid ground and leave the ladder in your garage.
  • Don't loosen or adjust your grip on the pressure washer when it's in operation.

Things That Should Not Be Pressure-Washed

Avoid using a pressure washer on wood siding. The high-pressure water can seep beneath the wood, damaging insulation and wiring. The water left behind can also lead to mold growth. Stained wood shouldn't be pressure-washed either. The powerful spray of this device can remove stain from wood!

Another item to avoid when using your pressure washer is your outdoor air conditioning unit. The metal fins on an outdoor air conditioning unit are somewhat delicate, and they can be damaged, loosened, or crushed by the fast and strong flow of water. Damaged fins will prevent the unit from working efficiently.

More items not suitable for pressure-washing include:

  • Old, damaged bricks
  • Asphalt roof shingles (the water will remove the grains from the shingles)
  • Electrical meters or panels
  • Windows or window screens
  • Outdoor light fixtures
  • Plants, even large ones

Now that you know the do's and don'ts of pressure-washing, it's time to get out there and wash away that dirt! If you have just one job to tackle, I would think about renting a pressure washer from your local hardware store instead of purchasing one. This handy piece of equipment can give your driveway, siding, or fence a new lease on life. Thanks for reading. - Alan

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Backyard And Keep Them Coming Back

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Jun 11, 2020

bird-hummingbird

Do you want to see a collection of hummingbirds flitting in and out of your yard? Silly question. Of course you do! Today, I have some ideas on how to make your yard a paradise for these unique and mysterious little birds.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Backyard

You've probably seen hummingbird feeders hanging over the patios or from the trees around your neighbors' homes. This is the easiest way to attract hummingbirds. You can purchase basic feeders in the garden section of your local home improvement store and make your own hummingbird nectar. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to the color red, which is why so many feeders are that color. It won't take the birds long to take notice of your feeder, whether you hang it near a window at the front of your house or hang it from an eave of your backyard garden shed.

Roll out the red carpet for hummingbirds by planting flowers they're attracted to. Bee balm is one example of a flower these birds really love. These flowers need to be planted in a spot with full sun and well-draining soil. They can be found in pink, white, and, of course, bright red.

Another good flower to plant is salvia. Salvia is drought-tolerant, fragrant, and attractive to hummingbirds. You can find this flower in many colors, including purple, red, pink, yellow, and orange. The butterflies and bees will appreciate your salvia, too. I love to see these colorful, tubular flowers waving in the breeze!

Other flowers beloved by hummingbirds include:

  • Carpet bugle
  • Cardinal flowers
  • Geraniums
  • Impatiens
  • Petunias

Do's and Don'ts of Feeding Hummingbirds

Do's

  • Do offer hummingbirds a variety of feeding options. This means planting flowers and putting up feeders with homemade nectar.
  • Do hang up your feeder at least five feet away from a window to prevent hummingbirds from flying into the screens or glass.
  • Do get a feeder with an insect guard to reduce the number of flies and bees crowding the area.

Don'ts

  • Don't use sugar substitutes in your hummingbird nectar recipe.
  • Don't hang up just one hummingbird feeder. It's best to hang up two or more because these little birds are very territorial. Having only one feeder is likely to cause a hummingbird ruckus in your yard!
  • Don't take down your hummingbird feeder too soon. Leave your feeder out through the fall so you can give these birds nourishment for the long migration to their winter home.

Tips on How to Keep Your Feeder Full and Clean

It's best to clean your hummingbird feeder once a week. This keeps bacteria from forming and prevents clogs. If you have humid weather in your area, it's a good idea to clean it twice a week.

First, empty the feeder of all of its nectar. Next, take the feeder apart and soak the parts in a mixture of mild dish soap and warm water for about an hour. Then, thoroughly rinse each part and allow them all to air-dry before you refill the feeder with fresh hummingbird nectar.

Be sure to use real sugar in your homemade nectar. Using sugar substitutes can clog your feeder.

When Should You Put Out Your Feeders?

Hummingbirds migrate north at different times. Many hummingbirds show up in the southern states in February, while states located further north see them later in the spring. Putting a hummingbird feeder out in mid-March is a good idea. That way, you're likely to catch some early arrivals.

Once you get a glimpse of a hummingbird or two at your feeder, you'll be hooked! Thanks for reading. - Alan

The 5 Best Animals For A Beginner Hobby Farm

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Jun 9, 2020

chickens-for-your-hobby-farm

Have you ever heard of a hobby farm? It's a small-scale farm that can be as little as five acres. Most people start them just for fun. However, it does take some planning to make a hobby farm a success. This week, I have some advice on what animals to start with as you create your own hobby farm.

  1. Chickens: Chickens are a low-cost investment and easy to care for. Furthermore, they don't need much space. A group of chickens would be content to wander around the outside of a garden shed in a small backyard. As a general rule, each chicken needs about three square feet of space. Chicken feed is inexpensive and these birds can eat table scraps as well. A free supply of eggs is one of the greatest benefits of having chickens on your hobby farm. In addition, chickens can eat insects and other pests in your garden or yard. If you decide to get some chickens, you'll discover these little birds have their own unique personalities. It's important to note that chickens need secure protection from predators such as coyotes, dogs, cats, etc.
  2. Rabbits: Rabbits are inexpensive to purchase and can live in a pen set up in a small barn. They eat hay, pellets, and vegetables. You can breed the rabbits to sell for their fur or meat. Rabbit meat is in-demand in various parts of the country, so there's the option of earning money by selling it.
  3. Sheep: Sheep are low-maintenance animals that don't require a lot of space. In fact, a small flock (about four or five sheep) can live comfortably on one acre of land. It's best to have a small barn for your sheep where they can go in the cold weather months. Sheep eat grass in the warm weather months but require hay in the wintertime. This makes them relatively inexpensive to feed. Sheep can provide milk, wool, or meat so you have some money-making options with this hobby farm animal. Another benefit to raising sheep is \ the manure, which makes for a great soil fertilizer. Sheep are affectionate animals that can be trained to come when you call them. Next best thing to having a loyal canine!
  4. Goats: Goats are hardy animals that can keep the grass trimmed in your yard in the spring and summer. In the wintertime, they eat two to four pounds of hay each day. A goat needs about 200 to 400 square feet to wander around in. It's important to have strong fencing for goats because they can be escape artists. Goats can give you one to three quarts of milk each day. So, you can enjoy some of it with your family and use the rest to make cheese to sell locally. Goats are curious animals that are sure to entertain you with their barnyard antics.
  5. Pigs: Pigs can be affectionate and loyal animals. When it comes to pig care, each one needs 100 square feet of space to move around in. It can be expensive to feed pigs because they consume so much. You can purchase pig feed at a feed store and supplement your pigs' diet with fresh vegetables such as dark green lettuce, carrots, snow peas, kale, and zucchini. Raising pigs to sell for their meat can make some money for your hobby farm.

Operating a hobby farm can be a fun and rewarding project. Be sure to check with your local government for any ordinances related to hobby farms. I hope this information gives you a good place to start. Thanks for reading.    -Alan

5 Steps To Prepare Your Lawn For Laying Turf

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jun 8, 2020

laying-turf

Are you spending a little more time than you'd like to on your lawn these days? Maybe you have some bare spots on your lawn that you've tried to cover up, but they keep coming back. Or, perhaps your lawn is looking uneven in color or unhealthy in several places. If any of these situations sound familiar, consider turf as an alternative. If you want to enjoy an attractive lawn that's low maintenance, then turf may be right up your alley! Take a look at the steps involved in laying turf.

  1. Measure the Area. Measuring the square footage of the area allows you to be precise about the amount of turf you order for your property. This helps you to avoid ordering too much or too little. Using a turf calculator makes it easy to determine how much turf you'll need regardless of the size or shape of your property.
  2. Clear Away the Debris. Remove weeds by adding weed killer to the area about two weeks before you put down the turf. If you prefer eco-friendly weed killer, vinegar is a great alternative. Grab a shovel from the garage to remove stones, old grass and rocks from the area. A bow rake is another helpful tool for grabbing debris and removing three inches of soil to make space for a fresh layer of topsoil.
  3. Ensure Adequate Drainage. It's important to make sure your turf has adequate drainage. You should have a slope of two percent in the area where you plan to put your turf. This percentage allows for proper drainage, so you don't get pools of water on your turf. Putting down a five-centimeter-deep layer of river sand before adding your topsoil is another way to improve drainage.
  4. Prepare the Soil. Test the soil with a test kit from a home and garden store. This is done to determine if the acidity level in your soil needs to be adjusted before adding your turf. Next, put down a layer of topsoil measuring about four to six inches deep. Use a garden roller to even out the topsoil so you have a uniform layer of ground prepared for your turf. It takes time to clear debris and flatten the topsoil, but these are essential steps if you want the turf to sit evenly on the ground.
  5. Schedule the Installation. With your measurements and calculations in hand, place the order and schedule the delivery of your new turf. Ask some friends over to help if you plan to install it yourself. Or, if you want to avoid the DIY route, you can hire a team to do the work. Many places that sell turf offer installation services as well.

Turf provides a lawn with a uniform look and gives you more control over the appearance of your yard. If you have a specific plan for the landscape, turf can serve as an attractive background for colorful flowers and other vegetation planted in the area.

I hope these steps prove helpful to you in making your yard look its absolute best! Thanks for reading.   -Alan

The 7 Best Things To Do For Your Lawn In The Spring

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, May 26, 2020

things-to-do-for-your-lawn-in-the-spring

Here we are, more than a month into the spring season. Do you hear your lawnmower calling to you from the garden shed? If the answer is yes, you're someone who loves to keep your lawn looking it's very best. Maybe you like to host a lot of barbecues and other gatherings in your yard during the warm weather months. Or, perhaps you just like to keep your lawn in tip-top shape! Either way, I have seven things you can do now to enjoy a beautiful, healthy lawn this spring and summer.

  1. Cut Your Grass to a Specific Length. Do some research on the most suitable length for your grass. You want to avoid cutting it too short because this can prompt weed growth on your lawn.
  2. Fertilize. Hold on. Isn't fertilizing done in the fall season? Yes, the rule of thumb is to fertilize your lawn in the fall. However, giving it some fertilizer in the springtime spurs on healthy growth while reducing weeds.
  3. Dethatch the Turf. Do you see any yellowish-brown masses of grass in your yard? This is called thatch. Leaving thatch on your lawn can lead to fungus and prevents the grass beneath it from being nourished by the sun and rain. Furthermore, there are some pests that love to make homes in thatch such as billbugs and chinch bugs. So, dethatch your lawn by raking up these masses of dried-out grass and removing them.
  4. Aerate. During the winter, the soil in your yard can become compacted under the weight of snow and ice which doesn't allow for easy growth of grass in the spring. Aerating your lawn is essentially poking holes in the ground to break up the soil. These holes allow rain, air, and sunlight easy access to the grass roots so they can provide nourishment and really bring your lawn to life! Aerating can be done with a simple pitchfork or you can purchase a tool designed especially for this task. There are some aerators you can roll across the grass that are especially helpful if you have a large lawn.
  5. Overseed. Take a walk around your lawn and sprinkle seed on any bare patches you see. Be sure to give these areas plenty of water on the hot days of summer so the grass roots will grow stronger.
  6. Weed. When you weed your lawn in the springtime, you're cutting down on the amount of weeds you'll see in the summer. That sounds like a good deal to me. How about you? If you don't want to go with a chemical weed killer, there are natural methods to remove weeds .
  7. Rake. Rake dead leaves, sticks and loose grass off your lawn in the springtime. This clears away any debris that blocks sunlight, air, and water from feeding your lawn. Be sure to rake when the grass is dry, so you don't pull up healthy grass crowns in the process of removing unwanted material.

Taking these steps in the springtime can give you a lawn you'll love to care for well into the summer months. Thanks for reading.-Alan

Businesses That Started In A Garage: Mattel

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, May 26, 2020

maker-of-the-barbie-doll-mattel

Each month, I've written about a famous company that got its start within the walls of a garage. This week's company is known throughout the world as the maker of the Barbie doll. I'm speaking of Mattel, of course! So, let's take a look at how Mattel made its way from a garage to the big time!

The Founders of the Mattel Company

The Mattel company's history starts with Elliot and Ruth Handler along with their friend Harold 'Matt' Matson. Before starting Mattel, Elliot Handler worked as a light fixture designer and artist. He also liked to make dollhouses. His wife, Ruth Handler, contributed her business acumen and creative ideas to develop their company. Harold 'Matt' Matson invested in the young company. In fact, it was Harold's garage in southern California that served as Mattel's first headquarters when the company was founded in 1945. The company's name Mattel is a combination of Matson's and Elliot's names.

Setting Up Operations

The first items sold by the company included picture frames and furniture for dollhouses. A garage was the perfect setting for making these types of items. Elliot, Ruth, and Harold had space for their tools, materials, and other supplies. Plus, a garage gave them the privacy they needed to focus on their work. Soon, Mattel moved on from picture frames and dollhouse furniture to toys that appealed to the musical tastes of kids.

The Uke-A-Doodle Makes History

What was the first Mattel toy that was really popular with the kids? Answer: The Uke-A-Doodle! Introduced in 1947, the Uke-A-Doodle was a musical toy shaped just like a ukulele. A child simply cranked the handle on this colorful toy to make it play a familiar tune such as "London Bridge", "Farmer in the Dell" and "Aloha" along with others. The Uke-A-Doodle was the first in a line of unique musical toys made by Mattel.

Moving Mattel Headquarters to Los Angeles

With the great success of the Uke-A-Doodle, Mattel was incorporated in 1948, moving its headquarters to Los Angeles. This move was the first step toward two decades of tremendous creativity and business success. In 1955, Mattel made a very big splash in the toy industry by placing ads on a popular television show called the Mickey Mouse Club. Just imagine how many kids took notice of Mattel toys after seeing them on their favorite TV show!

Barbie Makes Her Debut

In 1959, Mattel introduced Barbie, a three-dimensional doll. It was Ruth Handler who came up with the idea. She even named the doll after her daughter, Barbara. The Barbie doll had fashionable outfits, beautiful hair, and big dreams for her life. So, it'll come as no surprise that Barbie is the best-selling toy in the history of Mattel. Ken, Barbie's love interest, was introduced in 1961 while Barbie's younger sister, Skipper, came along in 1968.

Mattel's Success in the Toy Industry Continues

Mattel created a lot of other well-known toys including:

  • Hot Wheels in 1968
  • Chatty Cathy in 1960
  • See 'N Say in 1965
  • Masters of the Universe dolls in 1982

Though the company has changed over the years, it has continued to flourish in its different forms. And it all started with a unique vision, persistence, and a garage with plenty of space for creativity. Thanks for reading. -Alan

Surprising Things Around The Home That Will Repel Insects And Other Pests

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, May 19, 2020

lemon-to-repel-insects

Do you have mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches, mice, or other pests hanging around your house? Well, this can turn into a big issue if you don't have any pest repellent left on the shelf in your garden shed. Luckily, the ingredients you need to make pest repellent may already be in your pantry. Check out a few ideas I found for homemade pest repellent.

  1. A Citrus Spray. Fill a small spray bottle with water and squeeze the juice from a lemon into it. Spray this mixture on your kitchen counters, windowsills, or wherever you see spiders in your home. Spiders are repelled by the smell of citrus.
  2. A White Vinegar and Water Mixture. Get a spray bottle and fill it with a mixture of half water and half white vinegar. Use it to clean kitchen countertops where you've seen ants. This mixture removes the scent trails that ants leave behind to map out their territory.
  3. A Fake Wasp Nest. Use your creativity to deter wasps from building nests around your home by making a fake wasp nest. Wasps are territorial insects, so they don't like to build a nest within 20 yards of another wasp's nest.
  4. Basil. If you have a fly issue in your home, put pots of basil on windowsills and kitchen countertops and near doors. Flies are repelled by the smell of basil. As a bonus, you'll have a supply of fresh basil to use in your spaghetti sauce!
  5. Dish Soap and Apple Cider Vinegar. Fill a glass full of apple cider vinegar, add six drops of dish soap, and fill the rest of the glass with warm water. Place the glass on your kitchen counter. This mixture lures and kills fruit flies that may be hanging around your kitchen.
  6. Steel Wool. Chances are decent that you have some old pieces of steel wool lying around. Use a ball of it to fill a crack or hole in your wall where mice or moles like to enter your home. Rodents aren't able to chew through steel wool.
  7. Catnip Tea. Boil water, drop some fresh catnip into it, and let it boil for several minutes. Allow the mixture to cool, then pour it into a spray bottle. Spray it into cracks, holes and other areas where cockroaches enter your home. These pests are repelled by the fragrance.
  8. Salt. This sounds like a strange thing to do, but if you have fleas in your home, you're likely to try practically anything to get them out. Get a container of table salt, and sprinkle it on your carpet every day for nine days. Vacuum your carpet every three days, and empty the vacuum cannister after you're finished. Giving your carpeting the salt treatment is one way to kill flea eggs.
  9. Mint Spray. Make a mint spray using peppermint oil and rubbing alcohol to spray on your skin. This mixture repels mosquitoes and spiders. It can also be sprayed around your home.
  10. Cinnamon. Put cinnamon on windowsills, near the base of your walls, and in doorways. The fragrance of cinnamon is a repellent to silverfish and mosquitoes.
  11. Old Coffee Grounds. Put your old coffee grounds to good use by lining them up near a wall where ants like to enter. The smell of the grounds deters ants. Be sure to replace the coffee grounds when they dry out.
  12. An Onion in a Bowl of Water. Put half an onion in a shallow bowl of water. The aroma of the onion will help to keep mosquitoes away as you sit on your patio to enjoy the evening sky.

I hope these natural pest repellents/deterrents are helpful to you and your family. Thanks for reading. - Alan

15 Houseplants That Are Safe For Pets

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, May 7, 2020

house-plants-safe-for-pets

If you have dogs, cats, or other animals in your household, you may be hesitant to get a new houseplant. After all, you don't want your pets nibbling on poisonous plants and getting sick. But having pets doesn't mean that you can't liven up your home with a little greenery. Before you back your car out of your garage and head for the garden store, check out this list of houseplants safe for pets.

  1. African Violet: This plant is safe for cats, dogs, and pet birds. African violets need partial sunlight and moist soil to flourish. Bonus: Besides beautiful blue violet petals, you can find these plants with white, pink, or red petals. Why not get one of each?
  2. Spider Plant: Safe for dogs and cats, this low-maintenance plant's long, delicate leaves make for an interesting addition to any room. A place that receives partial sunlight is best for this plant. Also, it needs plenty of water in the warm-weather months and can benefit from a spray or two from a misting bottle.
  3. Areca Palm: If you want a large houseplant that's safe for dogs and cats, this palm is a good bet. Water this plant only when the soil is completely dry, and put it in a room that receives bright sunlight.
  4. Boston Fern: This traditional favorite is safe for both dogs and cats. It needs partial sunlight and a daily misting with a water bottle to remain healthy.
  5. Polka Dot Plant: This dog- and cat-approved plant has green leaves featuring splotches of pink, white, and red. Give this plant direct sunlight, and make sure its soil remains moist.
  6. Peperomia: This houseplant has charming light green and yellow leaves. It needs partial to direct sunlight as well as water whenever its surface soil becomes dry. Stick your finger about a half-inch down into the soil: If it's dry, add water.
  7. Mosaic Plant: Take one look at the white or pink pattern on its leaves and you know how this canine- and feline-safe houseplant got its name. Be sure to keep it in an area with partial sunlight and water it only when its soil becomes dry.
  8. Haworthia: This dark green succulent looks like a miniature aloe plant. It needs to be watered weekly and live in bright sunlight. Dogs and cats are safe around this succulent.
  9. Prayer Plant: Need a plant to add some pizzazz to a small table? This one would be perfect! It's safe for dogs and cats, and it does best in indirect sunlight. Be sure to keep its soil moist at all times.
  10. Bamboo Palm: If you like large houseplants with tropical flair, this one is for you! It's safe for a household with a dog or cat. Water this plant on a regular basis, and keep it in an area with partial sunlight.
  11. Hens and Chicks: This attention-grabbing succulent is safe for a home with dogs, cats, or pet birds. It grows best in an area with full sunlight. To avoid overwatering, test the soil with your fingers. If the soil is completely dry, this plant needs water.
  12. Bird's Nest Fern: If you want another dog- and cat-friendly fern, this one is an appealing choice. It fares best in a place that receives a low level of sunlight. Also, it needs a drink of water each week.
  13. Money Tree: Yep, there's a real money tree! Though it doesn't give you a supply of cash, it does give you greenery that's safe for your pets. Water this tree only when the top 2 inches of soil are dry. Find a place for your tree where it'll receive indirect sunlight.
  14. Swedish Ivy: This is a dog- and cat-safe houseplant also known as Creeping Charlie. It needs water once per week and flourishes in partial sunlight.
  15. Cast Iron Plant: Consider a deep green, distinctive houseplant that's dog- and cat-friendly. This one requires an extremely low level of sunlight. Also, check this plant's soil to see if it's dry before adding water.

If you're thinking about a houseplant that's not on my list, check out the list of pet-friendly houseplants provided by the ASPCA. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Using Flowers To Attract And Repel Certain Critters

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Apr 28, 2020

flowers-to-attract-and-repel-critters

Flowers That Attract Insects and Animals

Lavender

There's not much of a downside to planting lavender in your garden. It attracts bees and butterflies for one. Also, you get to enjoy its lovely deep purple color and fragrance.

Black-eyed Susan

These are hardy perennial flowers that can endure poor soil and dry conditions. Black-eyed Susan's can have petals of brilliant yellow, bronze and even red. They attract bees, butterflies and other pollinators. Plus, in the fall when the petals fall off of these flowers, finches eat the leftover seeds for nourishment in the cool weather. Praying mantis like to live among these flowers. A praying mantis eats beetles, crickets and other insects that can do harm to your garden.

Zinnias

Zinnias can be found in yellow, red, orange, white, purple and pink. In fact, the only zinnia colors you won't see are blue and brown. These flowers are easy to grow and beloved by hummingbirds and bees.

Marigolds

Planting marigolds is a great way to attract ladybugs to your garden. Why do you want ladybugs in your garden? Of course, they're cute! But, another reason is ladybugs eat mites and aphids that can feed on your flowers making them look like Swiss cheese! Marigolds add splashes of orange, white, yellow or red to your garden.

Flowers That Repel Insects and Animals

Petunias

Petunias are sweet flowers found in red, white, yellow, and purple. They are known to repel insects such as mosquitoes, squash bugs, beetles and aphids. Many people plant them near vegetables to keep these pesky bugs away.

Chrysanthemums

Chrysanthemums repel fleas, ants, roaches and Japanese beetles. Gold, red, maroon, purple, and pink are just a few of the many colors you can find if you want some of these blooms for your yard.

Lavender

Lavender is a repellant to moths, fleas, flies, and mosquitoes. You can even put some bouquets of lavender inside your home or even in your garden shed to deter flies.

Marigolds

Planting marigolds in your garden can keep mosquitoes and aphids away due to its fragrance. Also, marigolds have been known to keep rabbits at a distance, so they aren't so quick to start munching on your flowers and vegetables.

Geraniums

If you already love these cheerful flowers you'll be glad to know they repel mosquitoes along with other pests. So, be sure to add some red, white, purple and yellow geraniums to your garden this year.

With a little planning, your garden can serve multiple purposes while providing you with a beautiful view out your window.

Thanks for reading.-Alan

12 Natural Methods To Ease Your Spring Allergies

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Tue, Apr 7, 2020

ease-spring-allergies

For some, the start of Spring brings sneezing, a sore throat, and sniffling right along with it. Spring allergies can take the enjoyment out of watching the flowers and trees waking up all around us. Good news! There are several natural ways that allergy sufferers can get some relief from spring allergies.

  1. Keep Your Windows Closed. Keeping the windows closed at all times can be tough to do if you like to have a light breeze traveling through your home. But, when you keep them closed, you're preventing pollen from blowing in and settling on your furniture and floors. You won't have to deal with pollen circulating throughout your home and aggravating your allergy symptoms.
  2. Taking a Shower After Being Outdoors. Taking a shower and putting on fresh clothes after being outdoors for an extended amount of time can help relieve your allergy symptoms. Pollen on your clothing, skin or hair can irritate your allergies so showering prevents you from spreading this pollen onto your pillows, the couch, etc.
  3. Try a Nasal Rinse. Have you ever heard of a Neti pot? This is a product used for nasal irrigation. It's the process of moving saltwater through your nasal passages in an effort to remove pollen and other irritants from the area. You can use a Neti pot up to twice a day.
  4. Wear a Face Mask While Outdoors. Wearing a face mask whenever you go outdoors can block some of the airborne pollen from entering your nose or mouth. An N95 filter mask is effective at blocking pollen.
  5. Use Natural Cleaning Solutions. Make it a point to purchase natural cleaning solutions to use around your home. Some of the ingredients used in other types of cleaning products can irritate allergy symptoms.
  6. Acupuncture. When you receive acupuncture you're having needles placed beneath the skin at certain points of the body. These needles stimulate nerves sending signals to the brain to produce chemicals that reduce inflammation. This can be done whether your allergy symptoms are mild or severe.
  7. Vacuum Your Home More Often. Pollen can creep into your home when the doors open. So, vacuuming your home once every couple of days can keep those irritants from mixing in with your indoor air. Be sure to empty the filled vacuum canister into a trash can in your garage.
  8. Wear a Hat. Keep a hat with a brim by your door and put it on whenever you go out. Your hat is a barrier preventing pollen from settling on your hair.
  9. Add Some Garlic to Your Meals. Chopping up garlic and putting it in your soup or on a sandwich can help relieve your allergies. Garlic is spicy and serves to thin mucus reducing congestion during allergy season. Bonus: Garlic is delicious!
  10. Drink Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar. Mix two or three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with water and drink it twice a day. This can raise your potassium level to soothe your runny nose.
  11. Avoid Going Outside in the Early Morning. Pollen is especially abundant from about five to ten in the morning. So, if you like to jog or walk in the morning either wear a mask or change your morning walk into an afternoon one.
  12. Practice Stress Relieving Activities. Stress can aggravate spring allergies and decrease the power of your immune system. So, find some stress-relieving activities to do each day. Reading, yoga, scrapbooking and listening to music are just a few easy things to do.

I hope some of these natural allergy-relief options are helpful to you and your family. Take care and thanks for reading.-Alan

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