10 Best Kept Secrets for Buying a Home

Are you thinking about buying a home? Have you been watching home prices and interest rates and think now is the time to buy? Before you start read this article from HGTV,  http://www.hgtv.com/real-estate/10-best-kept-secrets-for-buying-a-home/index.html, and afterwards give me a call to see how I can help you buy your home.

The Victory Garden | Live Green | Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate

Budding up behind houses and on rooftops across the country is a blast from the past called the victory garden.

During WWII, victory gardens were promoted by the U.S. government to save fuel and other transportation costs so more supplies were available for the troops. Patriotic citizens were encouraged to live on locally-produced food.

Homeowners planted fruits and vegetables in their ‘victory gardens’ to feed their families and to exchange surpluses with neighbors.  The effort was successful and many people remember with nostalgia the camaraderie of sharing in a common goal.

Today, many homeowners feel there is another war to be won – against high cost, lower quality foods — and they’re reviving the victory garden concept with a few modern twists.

So what’s driving the spade for victory gardens today?

Click the link below to read the entire article.

The Victory Garden | Live Green | Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

With fall just around the corner it is now time to start thinking about getting your home ready for colder weather.

Seal Up Crack and Gaps

Small cracks and gaps can let warm air out and cold air in, increasing your heating bill and decreasing how comfortable you are. Both caulking and weather stripping can be a great help in getting rid of those holes.

Check the following for leaks:

  • Window and door frames
  • Any exterior opening: electrical outlets, phone lines, outside faucets and anywhere cables my come in
  • Around drain pipes in bathrooms and kitchens
  • Around heating and cooling units

 Inspect Your Roof

 Check your roof for minor damage and cracked or broken shingles. Trim back tree limbs that may have grown over the summer and are now rubbing against the roof.

 Clean and Repairs Your Gutters

 Clean debris and leaves out of your gutters, check downspouts to make sure that water is still running freely out of them especially the ones that are buried. If you don’t like ladders or your roof is too high call someone to come and clean the gutters for you.

 Trim Back Bushes and Shrubs

 Trim off any dead branches or excessive growth, leaving some space between the bush and your house. This is a good time to look at the soil around your house to make sure it is still sloping away from the house so water does not run down into your foundation.

Heating System Check-up

Now is a great time to get your heating system checked, if you haven’t done so over the summer, a cold winter’s day is not a great time to have your heat go out. If you heat with or burn wood have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep.

 

Don’t Miss the Madison County Fair!

 

 

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The Madison County Fair starts tonight at 6:30pm. 

There will be safari animals and timber shows, team Tug-of-War, BLM Bull Riding, FAME Motorsports RC car races, and the carnival rides.  the Fair will still include the annual favorites: Home, Farm and Garden exhibits, livestock shows, the demolition derby and lots of delicious food.

For more information visit: http://www.madisoncountyfairva.com/

Spring is coming, are you getting the itch to plant?

Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday March 11th, temperatures are beginning to get warmer, the grass is starting to get green and the daffodils are starting to bloom. I don’t know about you but I am starting to think about planting things in my vegetable and flower gardens.

When is the right time to plant? When is the last frost? When do you plant what vegetables? Here is a great publication by Virginia Tech that will help you answer all those questions.  http://pubs.ext.vt.edu/426/426-331/426-331_pdf.pdf.

Daylight Saving Time is upon us again

This Sunday morning at 2am we will “Spring Forward” into Daylight Saving Time by turning our clocks ahead by 1 hour, of course most of us will do this before we go to bed. Have you ever wondered why we spring forward? Here’s a good site that tells all about it http://www.webexhibits.org/daylightsaving/b2.html.

5 Ways to a “Greener” Lawn and Garden

Just because the gardens in the front and backyard of your home look green doesn’t mean they are environmentally sound. According to experts, typical homeowners are unaware that they usually apply seven times more chemicals per acre to their gardens than those used in agriculture, much of which has the potential to run into local lakes and leach into groundwater. There are ways, however, to make sure you are living green and making your landscaping as environmentally sensitive as possible. Here are the top five “greener” landscaping ideas:

Plan

In order to have environmentally friendly landscaping, it is important to take the appropriate steps. By hiring a landscaping service to conduct a thorough site analysis at the onset, you’ll be better able to use elements like sun exposure, wind, drainage and the impact of different soil types to your advantage. This step will likely lead to a more natural, healthier garden, and reduce your dependency on fungicides to prevent disease and stimulate healthy growth.

Water

Develop your landscaping to use water efficiently. This practice is referred to as “Xeriscape,” and is pronounced “Zera-scape.” Xeriscaping refers to creating a landscape that limits the need for irrigation. This originated in arid regions of the U.S., but is catching on across the country as water use becomes restricted in many areas. One way of limiting water use is to group plants with similar water needs together so water isn’t wasted. Additionally, you can plant shrubs and trees in your yard that require little water. Some annual flowers require substantial water each week.

Proper Planting

In order to be certain your plants are resistant to drought, insects and others issues, soil preparation is essential. Prepare your planting beds by digging to a depth of more than 12 inches and using enriched organic matter, which will result in stronger root structure for all types of plants. Make sure you loosen the root ball of plants from containers to ensure the roots grow outward allowing for proper water penetration.

Appropriate Maintenance

Once you’ve utilized the appropriate soil and properly established your plants, you still have to consider the ongoing water needed to sustain them. Drip irrigation and soakers are most appropriate when trying to conserve water. The Environmental Protection Agency suggests sprinklers can waste up to 50 percent of water used. If you need to use a sprinkler, run it during off peak hours, either late in the evening or first thing in the morning.

Use Organics

Due to their limited impact on the soil, environment and household pets, organic fertilizers are becoming increasingly popular. They are available in many areas, both in dry and liquid form, and have many of the same benefits of harsher chemical fertilizers. Whichever you use, remember that over-fertilizing (especially with chemical fertilizers) is the cause of many problems in lawns and gardens, such as burnt brown lawns. Using organic fertilizers is as simple as sprinkling grass clippings over your lawn—a perfect alternative to chemical fertilizers—as grass clippings contain high nitrogen levels and can supply your lawn with a third of its nitrogen needs.

Feel free to call or email me with any questions!