Written by Del Johnson, M.S., P.A.S. Certified Equine Nutritionist, CEO - Equine Nutrition Inc.
Horses evolved grazing over large areas eating a wide variety of plants from the mountains to the valleys. During the last 50 years their environment has changed. The typical horse is confined, eating 2 or 3 species of plants.These plants have been produced by intensive farming methods. This creates a situation prone to nutritional deficiencies. Here is why:
1. Horses eat only a few species of plants. This lack of variety increases the likelihood of deficiency. Different feeds contain varying levels of nutrients. For example, humans have hundreds of food sources from all over the world (including meats which are full of necessary vitamins and minerals.) Horses are strict vegetarians eating only a few types of plants from a limited geographical area. This lack of variety increases the probability that horses will be deficient.
2. Plant products that are farmed using high production methods are increasingly deficient.
3. For example, in many areas, five cuttings of alfalfa are produced off the same ground year after year. This decreases the trace minerals available to the plants. Crops are fertilized with sulfur containing fertilizers which greatly decreases the availability of trace minerals like selenium.
4. Storage decreases the vitamins in feeds. Typically hay is cut in the summer and stored until the winter, often nearly a year, sometimes longer. Hay loses 50 percent of its vitamin A content after six months of storage.
You may not want to think about it, but winter will be here again before you know it. Of course, winter means it’s time to turn the heat back on, which can be a strain on your home energy budget.
“Older windows are a common culprit of air leakage in the home, but today’s replacement options have insulating values that are moving closer and closer to the insulating value of a wall,” says Chris Pickering, vice president of marketing, Ply Gem Windows. “If your home has original windows, having new energy efficient ones installed can make a significant difference in comfort, while also saving energy.”
For instance, installing highly insulating R-5 windows in a replacement project previously would have been cost prohibitive to most consumers. With new glass technologies now available, windows that achieve R-5 performance (U-value of 0.22 or lower) have become much more affordable. Ply Gem Windows offers an R-5 option on many product styles at multiple price points.
“Air leakage through holes, gaps and cracks is another one of the biggest causes of home heating and cooling loss,” says Mike Kontranowski, strategic marketing manager, Dow Building Solutions. “It accounts for a significant amount of the energy used in most homes, with older homes being especially vulnerable to air leaks.”
Even in a tricky economy, more and more households are getting outside help. What precious free time people have they don’t want to spend scrubbing the toilet.
“People want more balance in their lives and the free time that they do have they want to spend with their families or friends,” said Randall Shear, owner of The Maids of Seattle. “Knowing that the house will get a good scrubbing not only frees up time but reduces stress for many of our hard-working customers.”
The Maids International, an Omaha-based franchisor, reports use of home cleaning services is on the rise in many markets across the U.S. Customers include dual-income families, single-parent households, members of the military and retired couples.
In more than 100 U.S metropolitan areas with franchises of The Maids, people such as Karleen Dell’Ova say regular service from their local team is the last thing they will give up.
“I would give up my iPad, my iPhone, whatever to have The Maids,” Dell’Ova said. “I told my husband that when he retires, The Maids will be the last thing to go.”
Dell’Ova has used The Maids of North Hampton, N.H., since 2003. With their two children grown and out of the house, she and her husband Vin moved to a retirement community in nearby Durham.
She wanted some help and a neighbor recommended her cleaning woman. Dell’Ova gave her a try. “It did not work for me,” she said. “I wanted a company.” She uses The Maids once a month and the schedule keeps her on track with routine upkeep but spares her the heavy-duty stuff. She appreciates how fast the team works and loves returning home to a spotless house.
“They know the house,” she said.
“Personal attention and outstanding customer service are hallmarks of The Maids,” said Shear. “We treat every house like it is our own.”
Want to be greeted in early spring by brilliant blooms? Then it’s time to pull on the garden gloves and get busy planting bulbs for spring color and inspiration.
Bulbs perform best in well-drained soil; soggy soil can induce rot and inhibit healthy growth. A rockery, a sloping bank or a raised bed provides good drainage. Bulbs are also great in container gardens. Most bulbs are hardy and easy-to-grow; they make beautiful displays in sun or shade, even ice and snow. Choose bulbs that are big and heavy with skins intact. All bulbs require a period of cool temperatures to grow healthy roots – so fall is the perfect time for planting.
Prepare the planting soil by loosening it down to 6 inches. If the soil is heavy and compacted, add compost. Tulips and daffodils need to be buried 4” deep, small bulbs only an inch or so. Plant bulbs at least 4 inches apart, plant farther apart if you want them to spread and naturalize. To create a longer flowering bulb bed, plant larger late-blooming bulbs first, like tulips, daffodils and hyacinths, add soil up to the top of the bulb then plant small early-blooming bulbs, like snowdrops, crocus and early daffodils, between the big bulbs. Cover them with soil.
Protecting your buried treasures
Do you have bulb-stealing voles or squirrels? (By the way, moles are meat eaters and don’t eat bulbs). After planting a bulb, set a low growing ground cover plant right on top. Choose Lysimachia nummularia (creeping jenny) or Viola odorata (sweet violet) over small bulbs. Vinca minor (periwinkle) looks spectacular under-planted with daffodils. Try topping bulb beds with aromatic woolly and red creeping thyme.
Feed now for brilliant blooms
At time of planting, apply an organic fertilizer with high phosphorus and potash such as Dr. Earth Bulb Food or Espoma Bulb Tone on the soil surface and let fall rains water it in. Or make your own formula; I use 3 parts dolomite lime, 2 parts bone meal and 1 part 5-10-10 fertilizer.
Great plant combinations
Early arriving snowdrops create a graceful effect under a low growing Japanese maple. Scatter colorful Anemone blanda (windflowers) under shrubs to create a blue, pink or white mat of cheerful daisy-like flowers from March to May. Alliums are architectural and modern looking; schubertii and globemaster are eye-catching varieties in garden beds. Plant bulbs around Hellebores, columbine or flowering currant for a brilliant display of early spring color. For the new gardener, “Perfect Partner Bulbs” are bulb packages pre-selected for compatibility and color harmony.
On October 1 from 12:30-1:30 p.m., I will be presenting a free seminar, Year-round Color with Bulbs. Please join me for time-saving tips and creative ideas to brighten your garden with bulbs. I’ll also explain how to force bulbs for holiday blooms.
As the calendar draws closer to Halloween, our thoughts turn to decorating with pumpkins and gourds.
For some, cutting, cleaning out, and carving creative faces on a Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin is a treasured fall tradition.
For others, cutting and cleaning out a pumpkin is just not on their list of fun things to do.
For anyone looking for scary, beautiful and unique fall decorations, gather the family and try your hand at decorating the outside of pumpkins and gourds. No knives and no mess!
The kids here at Dr. Maze’s Farm have been making gourd creatures and have found lots of materials to use for creating their own crazy creatures.
Using your own cleverness and readily-available materials, you can create a porch full of your own ghoulish family. Look through your stash of craft supplies for foam shapes, pipe cleaners, glitter, feathers or fake fur and googly eyes. Use materials such as candy, licorice wheels for eyes, long green licorice for hair, old-fashioned marshmallow peanuts for a nose, and black and white jelly beans for the teeth. Use fall foliage from your yard like leaves, sticks and stems or pine needles for hair. For the larger pumpkins use mini pumpkins and gourds for eyes and noses. Or, paint your gourd or pumpkin all white and spray with glitter. Once, dry you can add eyes and paint on a face for a ghostly effect.
A hot glue gun will work for most projects but could be dangerous for little ones. Kid-friendly craft glue works just fine, allow time to dry. Use small nails or dowels to attach the mini pumpkins or small gourds to your pumpkin.
To show off your masterpieces, place them on a pedestal such as a cake platter, atop a large jar filled with colored marbles and twinkling lights, or on your favorite plant stand. A family of creatures in assorted sizes, shapes and heights will get a lot of attention in your neighborhood.