How to Protect Potted Plants from the Heat

High temperatures are not only hard on us. They can be tough for our plants as well. Whether you have plants indoors, outdoors, or both, there are some simple things you can do to help your plants weather these hot days.

In general, house plants prefer an environment between 70 and 80 degrees, with nighttime temperatures about 10 degrees cooler. Try to keep your potted plants out of direct sun during the hottest time of the day, especially if they are in a southern facing window. Be aware though that some plants require several hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive.

Water your plants properly. Your potted plants should be watered when the soil begins to feel dry. If you overwater your plants, they are more subject to wilting and disease. Underwatering your plants, of course, is also not good for them. You should plan on watering more often as the weather heats up.

If your outdoor potted plants are not thriving, consider moving them to a more protected location. Outdoor plants tend to lose water more easily, as they are heated up more than indoor plants. Try using plastic pots instead of terra cotta or unglazed ceramic pots. These will hold moisture more readily.

Watch for pests also, as warmer weather brings more bugs. Inspect your plants regularly for any signs of insects and consider using an insecticide if you do find any.

Tips for Summer HEAT

When it’s hot outside, it’s time to take precautions. Here are some tips to protect yourself while in the heat. The CDC recommends:

Drink plenty of fluids regardless of your activity level. Drink two to four glasses of cool fluids each hour. Replace salt and minerals lost through sweating by drinking a sports beverage.

Choose light-colored, loose-fitting clothing. Wear a widebrimmed hat and sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection.

Use sunscreen. Apply a product rated SPF 15 or higher 30 minutes before going out.

Pace yourself. Begin slowly and pick up the pace gradually. If your heart begins to pound and you begin gasping for breath, STOP all activity. Move to a cool area or at least into shade to rest, especially if you feel lightheaded or weak.

Don’t depend on a fan to cool yourself. When the temperature is in the high 90s, fans will not prevent heat-related illness.

Big Summer SAVINGS

Summer is a great time to save money with seasonal sales. Many movie theaters will offer special summer movie prices and discounts on concessions. Prices on fresh produce will likely fall by as much as 50 percent as farmer’s markets drive prices down.

Gym owners know that summer is slow and exercisers may find discounted rates, free months, and even complimentary training sessions.

Hurricane season in the Caribbean runs June through November. If you’re willing to risk it, cruises and resort packages in the area will often be on sale.

Amazon’s popular Prime Day is usually held mid-July. To compete, many places also offer major discounts covering a wide variety of products, technology and memberships.

Furniture and home goods are traditionally on sale around Fourth of July.

Look for online sales and discount codes in July. Many specials are offered only online.

Berry Brain BOOSTERS

Give your brain a boost by adding delicious berries to your regular diet.

Two separate clinical studies show that berries appear to give a boost to brain power.

In one study, healthy men and women ages 60 to 75 were given two cups of strawberries for 90 days. They showed improved scores for word recognition and spatial memory.

In another study, researchers showed that older adults who ate the equivalent of one cup of blueberries for 90 days didn’t repeat themselves as often.

Quoted in Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, Barbara Shukitt-Hale said researchers speculate that the anthocyanins in berries have certain anti-inflammatory properties that have direct effects and benefits on the brain.

Supplements, she said, don’t appear to work. It is the combination of nutrients in berries that seem to have a benefit.

Home Fire SAFETY Guide

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year for house fires. Sure, it’s a celebration and, yes, fireworks are traditional and they can be used safely. Nonetheless, nearly 20,000 fires annually are blamed on fireworks, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Even the most common fireworks, such as a sparkler, can start a fire.

You think it will never happen to you, but it makes sense to be prepared. The most important thing you can do is to have working smoke detectors on every level of your home. An early warning is your best defense against a house fire.

Taking the right steps in the event of a house fire could save your home and even your life. Make sure that all adults and older children understand how to RACE and PASS if there is a fire. This doesn’t mean RACE around the house in a panic and PASS your spouse on your way out the door! RACE and PASS are simply memory aids for what you should do in case of a fire.

R.A.C.E.

R is for Remove. Remove all occupants from the area of the fire. A is for Alert. Alert the authorities; call 911. C is for Contain. Close windows and doors to contain and smother the fire. E is for Extinguish or Evacuate. Which one? That depends on the stage of the fire.

A house fire has 4 stages:

Stage 1: Incipient. The fire is just starting and there is a good chance of extinguishing it. Stage 2: Growth. The fire spreads to other combustible materials. You should evacuate. Stage 3: Developed. The hottest, most deadly stage; evacuation is your primary objective. Stage 4: Decay. The fire is running out of fuel or oxygen but still smolders; a deadly backdraft is possible.

If the fire is beyond the incipient stage and spreading rapidly, you should evacuate and let the fire department handle it. If you are confident that you can safely extinguish the fire, do so only after you have gotten people out of the area, called 911 and contained the fire if possible.

Make sure you have an escape route. Then use a portable fire extinguisher to put out the fire using the PASS method.

P.A.S.S.

P is for Pull. Pull the pin out of the handle. A is for Aim. Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire. S is for Squeeze. Squeeze the handle to discharge the extinguisher. S is for Sweep. Sweep from side to side at the base of the fire.

Keep portable fire extinguishers in strategic locations of your home such as the kitchen, utility areas, garage and storage rooms.

After a home has suffered even a small fire, proper cleanup needs to be done. There may be fire extinguisher residue, charred materials and smoke residue to clean up.

Water-damaged contents, floors, walls and structural materials need to be dried and cleaned.

Strong, lingering odors often require a combination of techniques for successful treatment.

We hope you never have this happen in your home, but if you do, Hansen Steam Way can help or refer you to someone else who can.

ROAD Trip Checklist

If vacation-time means a road trip, a few simple preparations can keep you safe and out of trouble.

Check all fluids, including oil, coolant, brake fluid and windshield washer fluid. Check the air filter and battery.

Make sure tires are properly inflated. That goes for the spare, too. Inspect the tires to make sure there is enough tread.

Besides the obvious safety issues, proper lights and signals are just one more reason why you won’t get a ticket.

At an absolute minimum, make sure you have the tools to change a tire. But also consider carrying a battery-powered cell phone charger, drinking water, a gas can, and a working flashlight.

Do you have a spare key accessible from outside the car? What about jumper cables? A bowl so that Fido can have a drink? How about a rain poncho?

Take your license, proof of insurance and registration

Publish YOUR Life Story

Write your life story, then publish it in a beautiful hardcover book to give as gifts. Today, the process is inexpensive and fun with many online websites designed to help you.

Photo books are great family mementos and, when you add names and stories, they can tell a lot about your family’s history.

If you don’t want to scan photos yourself, try one of the many scanning services such as Memories Renewed, Scan Digital, or Dig My Pics. They will turn snapshots and slides into high quality scans.

Once you have your photos ready, the next step is to get your story ready and match photos to text. Then, select a book-making company. There are many online: ubuildabook. com, My Canvas, Blurb, Mixbook and Shutterfly.

Once finished, the company will mail a beautiful full-color book on high quality paper.

The publishing company will typically keep your book project on hand so you can order more.

Pets ENHANCE Life

Your pet loves you and you love your pet back. That single emotional exchange is one of the reasons that pets can encourage a healthy emotional mindset, says psychologist Therese J. Borchard.

Borchard says the presence of a pet gives structure and responsibility to a human life. Pets must be fed and tended to, preferably on a schedule.

If we wish to collapse disgruntled in a chair at the end of the day, there is that friendly wet dog nose, urging us for a pet and to go for a walk.

Just petting your animal reduces stress-related responses in the brain, according to a study by the University of Virginia. This distraction can be an effective therapy that stops a person from obsessively ruminating on problems or issues.

And finally, just the feeling of love given and returned with our pet, is enough to make life a little more meaningful.

Time to Clean the Upholstery?

What’s better than a late afternoon nap on your favorite sofa? What’s more enjoyable than reading a great book while snuggled in an overstuffed chair? Whether you are spending some quiet time alone or watching the big game with the whole gang, soft, comfortable upholstered furniture is usually the seating of choice.

Look under the cushions of a typical piece of upholstered furniture and you will usually find one or more tags. You probably don’t give them much thought, but understanding one of them may save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. As with everything else in your home, upholstered furniture requires proper care and cleaning.

Pollution, allergens, dander, sweat and body oils stick to fabric and spots and spills do happen. It’s best to clean these fabrics before the soil builds up and spots become permanent stains.

Fortunately, most upholstered furniture will have a tag containing cleaning recommendations. As part of this tag you will find a cleaning code. Please note that these tags and codes are a guide to assist you in spot cleaning only. Overall cleaning should be left to the professionals. According to the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), professional cleaning should be done every 12- 24 months.

Many types of fabric are used to upholster furniture. Fabrics are made from a variety of fibers including cotton, polyester, silk, rayon, nylon, polypropylene, acetate, acrylic, wool and blends thereof. Each fiber is different and has its own unique characteristics, which include how they can be safely cleaned.

A cleaning agent that works great on one fabric may produce disastrous damage to another. Damage of this kind is usually not able to be corrected.

The cleaning recommendations tag is designed to help choose the right cleaning and spotting methods to avoid damage. Regardless of what the cleaning label states, test all cleaners in an inconspicuous area first.

Here are the cleaning codes and their meanings:

W – Spot clean only with water-based shampoo or foam upholstery cleaner. Do not over wet. DO NOT USE SOLVENTS.

S – Spot clean only with a water-free dry cleaning solvent. Pretest a small, inconspicuous area before proceeding. Do not saturate. DO NOT USE WATER.

WS or SW – Spot clean with upholstery shampoo, foam from a mild detergent, or dry cleaning solvent.

X – Clean only by vacuuming or light brushing with a non-metallic, bristle brush. DO NOT USE ANY WATER- OR SOLVENT-BASED CLEANER.

When cleaning a spill, blot immediately to remove spilled material. Apply spotters sparingly so as not to over wet the spot. When cleaning spots or stains, work from the outside edge of the spot toward to the middle. This helps prevent spreading the spot.

Professional cleaners will take the time to identify the safest and most effective method to clean your furnishings without risk of changing the color, texture or finish. As a final step, they may also recommend refreshing the fabric protector to help maintain the beauty of your upholstery for many years.

When your upholstery requires a full cleaning, call Hansen Steam Way.

Detect-a-Leak Week

Detect-a-Leak Week is held annually every May. This is the perfect time to give your home a once over, checking for leaks that may be costing you money. Even a small leak can add up to hundreds of dollars a year, and could damage surrounding fixtures, cabinets, or floors.

One of the biggest culprits is the toilet. You often can’t tell if your toilet is leaking simply by examining it. Place a few drops of food coloring, just enough to slightly color the water, in the main tank. Let it sit for several hours, then check the toilet bowl. If you see the color in the bowl, you have a leaky toilet and it needs to be repaired.

Check for dripping faucets, pipes, and connections by examining all plumbing in your home. Use a lightweight cloth to wipe around each connection. If your cloth becomes wet, you have leaky plumbing that needs to be repaired.

Don’t forget to stop those leaks that you can control. Turn faucets off all the way, and don’t let water run when you brush your teeth. Don’t use your toilet as a wastebasket. Instead of throwing items such as tissues in the toilet and flushing, use a small wastebasket in your bathroom instead.

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