Get your hands dirty in an heirloom garden

Get your hands dirty in an heirloom garden

Get your hands dirty in an heirloom garden

Now that the weather has taken a turn for the better, it may be time for you to head outside and get your hands dirty by doing a little bit of gardening. If this is the first time you've decided to grow your own fruits and vegetables, you could be unsure as to how to go about this endeavor. While you could head to your local nursery, grab a few plants and place them in the ground, why not make the most of these outdoorsy efforts and cultivate heirloom seeds?

If you haven't heard all the heirloom hype, you may not be aware of all the pros that supposedly come from planting these kinds of seeds as opposed to hybrid varieties. Mother Earth News explained that the reasoning behind building an heirloom garden comes down to two elements: taste and nutrition.

According to the source, many people maintain that genetic modifications made to plants have allowed them to thrive despite being shipped far distances, but they have also led these products to be lacking in flavor. At the same time, these manipulated species of fruits and vegetables are not as rich in terms of nutritional value when compared to heirlooms. Taking these factors into account, you may want to invest in seeds that will yield delicious and nutritious goods for you and your family to enjoy.

Epicurious advised that you evaluate your personal preferences, in addition to external factors presented by your climate when deciding which varieties of heirloom plants you would like to have in your garden. While you could stick with species native to your region, it may be fun to mix things up and incorporate types from all over the world, as long as they will survive the weather in your area. By doing so, you could stock your HMS service plan-protected fridge with items like Spanish peppers and Japanese melons. 

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Fire up the juicer and toast to your health

Fire up the juicer and toast to your health

Fire up the juicer and toast to your health

Does the hearty condition of your lush lawn have you turning green with envy? If you’re looking for a health boost to kickstart the season, then you should head to the kitchen and get your juicer going. We’re not suggesting week-long juice fasts for everyone, but there are great benefits to adding one of these nutritious beverages to your daily regimen.

After sipping this liquid nutrient boost, you’ll probably be so energized that you’ll tackle any do-it-yourself project you have on your springtime docket. All you need to do is run your ingredients through the juicer, chill and sip.

Green Monster Drink:

Ingredients
4 stalks of celery
1 cucumber
2 granny smith apples
4 or 5 kale leaves
A handful of parsley leaves
1/2 lime
1/2 lemon
1 inch of fresh ginger

Red Potion No.9:

Ingredients
2 red beets
1 sweet potato
1 carrot
1 yellow bell pepper
2  Macintosh apples
8 oz. blackberries
1 orange

Island Paradise Libation:

Ingredients
1 ripe papaya, peeled and seeded
1/2 pineapple, peeled and cored
1 cucumber
7 leaves dandelion greens
6 kale leaves
5 clementines

Twisted Apple Juice

Ingredients
5 large apples of your choice
2 inches of fresh ginger
3 carrots
1 lime
A handful of cilantro leaves

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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Stain your deck for a spiffy outdoor space

Stain your deck for a spiffy outdoor space

Stain your deck for a spiffy outdoor space

Now that the spring has come out to thaw the frost and unfurl the foliage, chances are that you are going to be itching to spend some time outside. This means that you have to ensure that everything is in order so that you can enjoy your stints in the sunshine. One task that you'll probably have to tackle is staining your wooden deck, as the winter has probably taken quite the toll on this outdoor area. Here are several pointers you'll want to keep in mind as you embark on this endeavor:

• Never start to stain until the wood is completely clean. Pick up an oxygen bleach wood cleaner, which will remove any material crusted on your deck. If it's really dirty, consider having it pressure washed. Once this is done, sweep off any excess debris. 

• Keeping the wood dry is key to the staining process. Before you get going, make sure your deck is bone dry, or else it won't take the tint. Also, check the forecast to guarantee it won't rain, which would make your project a wash.

• In case the name isn't a dead giveaway, you should know that this stuff stains. Protect the other parts of your home – protect the exterior walls with painter's tape and lay drop clothes where need be.

• After going over your deck with a paint pad, take a brush and cover any crevices that are harder to reach. 

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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Channel spring with a fresh paint color

Channel spring with a fresh paint color

Channel spring with a fresh paint color

When you consider what spring represents, you'll probably associate it with sunshine and new beginnings. If you want to participate in the spirit of the season, then why not channel a share of this energy toward renovating your home? In the domestic realm, nothing says rejuvenation like a fresh coat of paint – keep these tips in mind when choosing a hue:

• Pick a point of reference. By looking around your home – in your wardrobe or china closet – and noticing which colors you already favor, you can gain inspiration for a new paint shade. 

• Don't go overboard with your color combos. If you want to mix tones together, be sure to stick with three at the most. Make one of these a neutral, so as not to assault the eye with too many bold hues.

• Are you color shy? Ease into a bright tint by painting a small area first to see how you really feel about it. By testing a color out on an accent wall, you can determine your true feelings for the shade, then extend it to the rest of the room if the passion is still there weeks or months later. 

• Take into account the activities of a space, then you can pinpoint a mood that you want to create. From there, you'll have a better idea of the kind of color to use on the walls.  

The information in these articles is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.
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Prep your home before going on vacation

Prep your home before going on vacation

Prep your home before going on vacation

Are you and your family a bunch of avid globetrotters? If you tend to take off for extended periods of time, leaving your home and all its appliances unattended could be a risky move – unless you take the proper precautions to prevent potential disasters prior to your departure. It may be worth putting in a little effort and prepare your house before you take off for your next trip so you don't have to deal with any disasters when you return.

As you are making the last rounds right before you leave for vacation, you can reduce the odds of something going awry by shutting off the water supply to your house. Weather-wise, we're in the clear in terms of frozen pipes, but there's always a risk of pipe leaks – and a minor drip can turn into major damage over the course of a long weekend. Rather than coming home to water damage – ranging from buckled floors to mold – you can eliminate the possibility entirely by shutting of the main water valve. 

In colder months, you'll want to keep the heat on to prevent dreaded frozen pipes, but even in warm weather you may want to maintain some kind of climate control while you're away, particularly if you have pets, plants or antique furniture. USA Today recommends keeping temperatures at around 85 degrees to prevent heat or humidity spikes that could damage wood and leather, as well as cause stay-at-home cats discomfort and plants to wilt. 

In addition, you should be certain that all non-essential appliances are unplugged before you leave. Keeping equipment running while you're away is a waste of energy. Not to mention, it poses a risk of an electrical malfunction occurring, which could have a variety of impacts on your home, including causing a fire. 

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