Thursday, May 11, 2006

Mosquito tips and more... heading for the summer

The Chicago Tribune put together the following list on mosquitos and spring/ summer cleaning. There are a couple great links in the story for green living and every home owners pal... Bob Vila. Why this caught my eye, I don't know... I got sucked in however and now it's your turn.

10 ways to deter mosquitoes:
Tribune news and wire services Published May 5, 2006

Scientists predict that mosquitoes, particularly the species that spread the West Nile virus, will attack in record numbers this summer due to an unusually warm winter. This Old House polled the experts and shares some low-cost and simple solutions for a back yard:
1. To discourage insects from swarming, replace outdoor bulbs with yellow bug lights.
2. Eggs are laid in standing water--repair leaky outdoor faucets to avoid creating puddles.
3. Irrigate grass and garden beds early in the morning so excess water evaporates.
4. Change water in birdbaths at least twice a week.
5. Check boat covers and the plastic tarp slung over your firewood for collected rainwater.
6. Stock ponds with goldfish that feed on mosquito larvae.
7. Mow tall grasses and clear weedy patches where bugs linger.
8. Crush marigold leaves and petals and rub the extract on your skin for a mild repellent.
9. Toss rosemary or sage onto the burning coals on your grill to act as a repellent.
10. Mosquitoes love shade and loathe wind.

This Old House landscape contractor Roger Cook recommends keeping trees and shrubs well pruned for a sunny, breezy yard.
Spring-clean those forgotten corners When the sun comes out and dries your rain-soaked patio and garden, everything outside suddenly feels fresh and clean.
And everything inside probably doesn't. For tips on cleaning items around the house that you may not think about, we turned to Real Simple magazine's home director Michael Cannell, and to,
a Web site promoting eco-friendly living.

Lampshades: Supporting the shade from the inside with your hand, use a lint roller to whisk away dust.

Computer keyboards: Dip a cotton swab in isopropyl alcohol, and clean around the keys for all those times you snacked while surfing the Web.

Marks on walls: Rub away unwanted crayon or pencil marks with a damp sponge sprinkled with baking soda.

Sofa: Use the vacuum's brush attachment to get underneath cushions and behind the sofa. Flip the cushions to even wear and tear.

Blinds: Wipe slats with damp microfiber cloths.

Teak or wicker outdoor furniture: Use a soft scrub brush with a mild, oil-based soap such as Murphy Oil Soap to clean outdoor furniture, then hose it off.

Oven: Sprinkle salt on spills while the oven is still warm. If the spill is dry, wet it lightly, then add salt. Scrape away the spill when the oven is cool, and wash it clean.

Grease clogs: Pour a half-cup each of salt and baking soda down the clogged drain, then six cups of boiling water. Wait several hours before flushing with warm water.

Dishwasher: Run a cup of vinegar through your dishwasher once a month to remove soap buildup.

Install a solar attic fan. Hot, humid days make attic ventilation difficult but you can garner the power of the sun and use it to ventilate your attic with a solar attic fan mounted on the roof. This beat-the-heat fan is passive and runs entirely on free energy, so it's an investment that will pay off for years to come. When mounted at a high point on the roof, you get the most advantage of its power to circulate the air and ventilate attic space.There are several different designs of these fans for different roof profiles. For example, a low-profile design is unobtrusive and ideal for most pitched roof applications. For a house with a flat roof, a pitched raised vent is deigned to improve exposure to the sun. If you live in an area with heavy snowfall or have a tile roof, there's a high-profile design. The fans come with self-flashing kits designed to provide a leak-proof and seamless installation.

Bob Vila gets `On The Level'Real-estate and home-improvement guru Bob Vila has launched a blog --called "On the Level"--offering information on everything from new trends in home renovations to design tips on constructing homes that can withstand storms and hurricanes.The blog, reached via Vila's Web site at
also offers reviews of new home products and gadgets. Vila has a comprehensive list of "bulletin board" forums on the Web site, where do-it-yourselfers can seek help from other DIY types.The site also includes bulletin-board forums for specific questions on appliances, architecture, "basements & attics," "bugs & pests," "design & decor," lighting and modular homes. In the "Buy, Trade, or Sell" forum, one person recently posted a message saying he is looking for some 1950s metal kitchen cabinets. He got a reply from a seller who had some--in pink.

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