November 2012

James A. Baggett

Do You Know Someone Suffering From Nature-Deficit Disorder?

Too often we think of nature as something we have to seek out, a remote place far from the city limits. But nature is, in fact, much closer than we realize. Check out these recently published titles that encourage us to pause for a moment and recognize the natural world that is truly teeming all around us, even in our most urban spaces. And by doing so, perhaps we’ll all realize that ecology is not just the domain of scientists but something we can all practice and enjoy.

A Nature Lover’s Almanac: Kinky Bugs, Stealthy Critters, Prosperous Plants & Celestial Wonders by Diane Olson (Gibbs Smith, $12.99)

Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England by Kenn Kaufman and Kimberly Kaufman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20)

Nature’s Notes: Bite-Sized Learning & Projects for All Ages by Judy Burris and Wayne Richards (Willow Creek Press, $$19.95)

Nature All Around Us: A Guide to Urban Ecology edited by Beatrix Beisner, Christian Messier, and Luc-Alain Giraldeau (The University of Chicago Press, $18)

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms by Clare Walker Leslie (Storey, $14.95)

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Katie Ketelsen

Treat Yourself This Holiday Season — Let the Pros Do the Decor

I happened across this festive infographic from the folks at Neave Decor and thought it was absolutely genius. Number one is me in a nutshell. But seriously….sometimes decorating for the holidays just doesn’t sound all that appealing. Especially when Iowa’s winter is knocking at the door. (Too bad these folks aren’t in my neck of the woods!) And frankly, neither I or my husband (whom I fear will definitely fall off the roof someday, much like number ten alludes to)  have the skills to pull of  holiday lighting like this….

By the way….I’d live in this in a heartbeat! Isn’t this house gorgeous!?! Here’s a quick link to see more holiday lighting ideas from Neave.

Some awesome companies will even decorate the INSIDE of your house too! Double bonus!

Now…if you’re questioning why you should even think about hiring a professional to do all that tough, tedious, light-busting grunt work – read this – overwhelming reasons why you should consult the pros. Plus, I’d add, it might just allow you to spend more time with your family and keep the old man’s back in tact.

If you’ve got a professional holiday decorating company in your area you’d like to recommend give them a shout-out in the comments below! Share the holiday goodness people!

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Justin W. Hancock

Fall Garden Checklist

 Here in Iowa we had a terribly hot, dry summer. Autumn wasn’t much better; it was still very dry. If your area is like ours, one of the most important things you can do for your fall garden is to water your plants in well, especially those evergreens. Keeping evergreens well-hydrated going into winter is one of the best things you can do to prevent them from browning.

Another perfect thing to do is wrap the trunk of young trees in tree wrap. This protects them from critters — such as rabbits — that may gnaw the tender bark.

Now is the perfect time to combat clay soil, too. In my last garden, which had the worst clay soil I’ve ever seen, I would cover my garden beds in an inch of compost every spring and every autumn. I started to see improvement after just a couple of years. If your lawn is struggling, you can do the same thing to your turf. Compost has the same beneficial effects on the soil, meaning your grass will grow thicker, hold its own better against weeds, and stay greener longer during periods of drought.

Get more ideas on what you can be doing now from our Fall Garden Checklist!

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