Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Have a fruit tree, plants, landscaping and young trees? Frost!

I just watched the latest weather update for central Florida and I hope my plants will be alright tonight. The weather forecast is calling for temperatures in the 20's with cold wind chill values from midnight tonight to 9 tomorrow morning. What does this mean to my plants and fruit trees? Tonight, not really that much because it won't be a killing frost coming through. It's hard for a lot of people to believe that Florida can have a killing frost but we do, at least from central Florida up through the panhandle. Tomorrow evening is another story however. Tomorrow night there will be a killing frost coming through. What this means is I'm probably going to have to break the rules and put my irrigation system on about 3 a.m. to place a layer of ice on my plants and fruit trees to protect them. Breaking the rules is in reference to the watering restrictions we have in place in many parts of Florida mainly due to the fact we didn't get any real hurricanes this year and the ones that passed us by also took the regular summertime rain with them to drop somewhere else, just not here. Getting back to the trees and plants, especially the trees. When you wet the fruit on the trees and some fruit bearing plants, what you are in essence doing is putting an overcoat on them to PROTECT them from the cold. Interesting concept huh? Put water on fruit to freeze over to keep them from getting frozen. It works, just ask the Florida strawberry farmers how they protect their investments every year. Home stores sell burlap and other special fabrics that are supposed to keep the bitter cold away but when nature wants to get through it always will. The one thing I recommend that you DO NOT do is use any form of plastic as this can actually transmit the cold to your plants or trees faster than if they had direct exposure to the cold and probably kill the plant faster. I say what doesn't kill the plants will make them stronger AND healthier next year. It's worked so far!

Another reason to let the cold in is that the fruit on the trees will become sweeter after the cold hits them. I have Marsh and Ruby Red grapefruit, navel, Valencia, and Clementine oranges, Persian lime, Meyer lemon, Guava tree, fig trees, banana trees and a few others I'll remember later I'm sure. It's an amazing transformation when the sweet hits the fruit and enjoyable when doing yard work, get thirsty and grab a fresh orange. Mmmm, good!

I will be posting this story on all of my sites as a reminder for the winter and your plants!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Beware of Rogue Widgets and Gadgets!

This is a copy of a story that I wrote for one of my other websites, FYI!

I have had a few run-ins with PayPopUps taking over my websites. I was going insane trying to lock down the cause to the point where I took ALL my widgets and gadgets off 3 of my sites just so my readers could actually get to the reading material without enduring the painful page sized PayPopUps. When I had my third go round with these I started to think outside the box. I knew that the templates were not the cause since I used 3-4 different ones per site without success. I knew there was something on these sites that was very wrong because my fourth site was pop-up free and had been clean since the beginning. I finally found the answer to my problem and was I 'pissed'!

All I can advise you to do before installing any widget or gadget to your website is to 1. who is the author of the widget, 2. what is it going to do, 3. does it have a relationship to the name on the widget, and 4. what are you agreeing to let it do to your site? I never checked 1-4 when I installed a Google Page Rank widget on my 3 sites. That's the one that I trusted to be a Google product and continuously returned to the sites. The 4th site didn't want widgets because it's a business site. I happened to be looking for a newer style of PR widget and went to where I found the last one when I couldn't find the widget on Google gadgets. Come to find out that the Google PR widget was a third party widget that, when you installed it for your rank to show, I agreed to allow a pop-up to take place when the page was opened and advertise a product or service of their choice. I was livid, not so much at them but at myself, for not reading further when I found the widget. I've found similar widgets on other sites that do the same thing this one did.

I have NO Google Page Rank widgets on any of my websites and have had no further incidents like these happen again. My advertisers were getting quite upset when they couldn't gain access to my site to see their adverts. The adverts help defray the costs of these sites but what do they care. Just beware when you grab that 'cool' widget or gadget. Read the whole page for conditions! Happy Motoring!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Can't Find a Part For Your Land Rover? No Problem!

I happened on a web site that caters to Land Rover/Range Rover parts ONLY! I always thought that when you bought the Rover you need not worry about parts. I guess if you have a hard to find item or maybe it's out of circulation at the factory, you were out of luck. Not so, I'm finding out. This place has over 3500 parts in their inventory and how they get them is a story in itself.

What these guys do is purchase existing Rovers and completely dismantle them to the ground. They only deal in the parts, not the whole. You'd naturally think they would generate a high profit from reselling the vehicle 'fixed up' to good running condition, but no! Reverse engineering is the name of the game here and the game is parts! All kinds of parts! If it was on a Rover machine they, most likely, will have it in their vast inventory. They even have Land Rover Discovery parts in stock here as well. Up until the Hummer came on the scene the Rover machines were king, and as far as I'm concerned still are king. The Hummer is too big for normal use and is a gas pig, the Rovers are not and are street friendly, as well as off road masters!

It's a forgone conclusion that the Rover products will be around for a very long time which makes parts all the more necessary to have available. Until now, if the dealer didn't have a part you needed your last choice was to contact Rover clubs. After-market sellers often have lesser quality replacements that just about fit. I went through this with my brake rotor that was after-market. Two split rotors later I went to the dealer and bought perfect fit rotors. I can't stress enough the need for exact fit parts and the only ones that are exact came from the Rover factory. If you would like to see this cutting edge parts facility to see the range of Land Rover, Range Rover,Discovery, and LR3 parts just visit their website! All their parts are guaranteed and are part of their online catalog. Parts are low mileage and this company has over 30 years in the parts business.

Audio Bone Reinvents the Ear Bud!

It goes without fail, every few years a company puts out a revolutionary product that makes us take pause and say “Damn, that’s awesome!”. Well, Audio Bone has done just that with their unique, waterproof Audio Bone 1.0 headphones.

So what makes these headphones so unique and different? Well, you don’t use them like conventional headphones or ear buds. They don’t go in your ear. You wear it outside your ears. Audio Bone transmits audio through your bones directly to your inner ear, so you can still hear everything around you.

I’m sure we’ve all seen people not paying attention to their surroundings, or being completely oblivious to traffic. The Audio Bone makes that a non issue. You can now hear quality audio, while being safe and alert. Your salvaged eardrums will thank you.

This article is courtesy of J&R Music. I saw the product and it reminded my of the Bone Phone from many years ago that vibrated the sound through your collar bone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cold Weather Posts

I'll try to update this site with the cold weather advisories I put up on my other site. I can glean out the regular issues from the winter issues more easily on here for you to reference.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What To Do About Pricey Home Repairs? Easy!

When you have a nail sticking out of the wall and it may catch on someone, what do you do? Why, grab a hammer and nail it flush, of course! The knob on the kitchen drawer is getting wobbly, now what? Why, grab a screwdriver and tighten the screw, of course! See, you thought you weren't a home repair-person, but you really are. Most people don't give themselves enough, if any, credit for what they can accomplish in their home or apartment when they want or need to. There is one boldly stated situation that most of us currently face, and that's a very poor economy. We are required to either put off or completely do without things we wanted or needed to do. Maybe you wanted to put in a new ceiling fan but now you don't have the extra money for an electrician. Could be you wanted an new light switch, or a new faucet in the kitchen sink, or even to replace a couple of rotten boards on your porch! No money for a contractor? So What!

The name of this site is DIY (Do It Yourself) Environmental (your home office, etc.) and that's what I preach here. If you can hammer a nail or screw in a knob, ever drilled a hole for a screw or spray painted a chair then you can D I Y! The only thing you may need to do is get stocked on the basic necessity power tools for the proper performance of your 'space'! I prefer to do this on-line when I buy power equipment. Why is that you say? It's because I'm an impulse buyer when I go into big box home stores. I go in for screws and come out with a fountain for the yard. I can no longer afford to do this kind of shopping. Times are tighter than before so I needed to find a better way and that was the internet.

Let me give you an example of a situation I was recently in. I looked at my stucco house and it looked wrong to me. After looking at different angles I finally put my finger on what was wrong, the paint was fading. The problem was it was fading in blotches and was stucco! That was a double problem because I never painted stucco before and I found out there was a series of steps that were required to make a decent job a great one. The first advice I was given was to get a paint sprayer that could handle various thicknesses of paint and sealers. Sounds kind of easy I thought, but even if I found one I had no idea how to use it! I learned from a good reference and was one my way. Fortunately, Florida temperatures are relatively good all year long for drying, except during hurricane season, and the procedure went better than expected. I did end up with a couple of funny colored bushes however!

I didn't mind the expense of purchasing a power spray painter because the way the sun bleaches out things in Florida I knew they were going to be other things like lawn chairs, trim, garage and shed issues that were going to come up later. Speaking of shed issues, I have to pick out a circular saw, another big question, to replace the floor of the shed. A carpenter quoted me $450 to do the job and I know I can trim at least $350 off the cost doing it myself! Saving money and gaining the personal satisfaction of doing it yourself. It is a spirit booster we can all use right now!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

rssHugger Offers Blog Exposure

I was trying to find an appropriate way to bring my web site to the web public and I found many poor sites that promised the world, so long as you could pay that much for the world. I happened to come across one web site that stated that I could get my web site exposure with minimal effort and a simple, easy to use, interface. rssHugger was a winner for me. I had no issues understanding what I needed to do as well as what they would do for me. Now I know your probably saying to yourself that it must have a price tag involved. Your right there is a price tag. You can review their site and make an honest, no holds barred review and post it like I'm doing here, or make a small donation and skip the review. The free by review listing lasts for 10 years. How can you go wrong with that? You can't, unless your that skeptical and if you were you wouldn't have read this far. Give them a look see and decide for yourself. What do you have to lose? Nothing! What do you have to gain? You know the answer!

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Holidays are Coming Up Fast - Are You Ready?

The Christmas holidays are, for me at least, the most stressful of the holidays. It seems that no matter what you go out and buy there is always the chance that your thoughtful gift may be ridiculed or outright rejected by the recipient. Why is this? Lack of adequate details on the desired item. Oh yes, I grant you that probably the majority of your purchases will be greatly appreciated but what do you always say as they are opening the gift? "I hope you like it" and "I hope it's what you wanted". Just the words to get you ready for the let down that may never happen, but if it does your ready. That is so stupid!

The internet is loaded with merchants who are ready, willing, and able to provide you with almost anything you may want for your gift giving in any shape, color, size, and style. I use a handful of places every year like Amazon, Buy, and Shop because they have virtually everything on my list to get. I am kind of partial to Shop.com because they have a better and bigger selection of many types of things where Amazon.com and Buy.com are more specialized. The best part of Shop is that I can compare the other sites to them for best price and best 'perks'. One of the perks I look for are the free shipping offers. I know Shop usually has a good offer and I think that's why I tend to order more from them so I can save the extra cash for my present to 'ME'! I really think more people should make the effort to buy and wrap themselves their own present to open at Christmas, kind of like a job well done 'reward' for not losing your mind at Christmas, again!

I also like to be on the lookout for money off or coupon offers. These are so overlooked at the holidays and they should be the first things you look for. I like the Daily Double of coupons and free shipping, ahh sweet nectar! I have a link for a Shop.com coupon offer I'll pass along if you happen to go there to look around. It doesn't cost a thing to look and maybe you'll like them too. I start looking through the site and I feel like I'm at a mall, only smaller and in my house! The last thing you want to look out for are the prizes. With the economy the way it is your going to find merchants are really reaching out to get your business and that means 'Win, Win' for us. I entered a contest for an iPod Touch this week and next week there will be a TomTom GPS giveaway I'll be entering. The Spom.com contests will be running until Dec. 14th. I used to be skeptical until I started winning things from a few sites like a high end Panasonic CD player with megabass headphones, collectible china pieces, collectible marble domino game set, several gift cards and high value coupons. I never used to win anything until I entered internet prize offers and I only enter from reputable sites that I know. If you do a search and can't find anything on a site, don't enter any offers in case it's a spam trick. Good luck and Happy Hunting for the holidays!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

It's That Time Again....

It is that time again and I can't put it off any longer. It's time to trim the holly bushes. I spent 2 days last spring outside with my mother-in-law cutting out the thicker branches of my holly bushes which hurt quite a bit! These are the one that have the sharp spines on them but I feel the pain was well worth the effort. You see these bushes, at 6 feet high and three feet deep, are my security blanket on the lesser used side of my house. The only other planting I have on the property with more stopping power is my Spanish Bayonet plant. This fast growing plant got it's name from a genius because it means exactly what the plant is, a bayonet! If you get too close you will bleed easily, and it will take out an eye without the slightest movement of the plant. I have to go around this plant every 3 months and clip off the needle point tips so I don't end up looking like I came out of a George Romero movie, as a victim. Let me explain one thing about this plant. When I moved in it was 3 feet tall and 4 feet across. The last time I trimmed it the dimensions were 7 feet tall and 8 feet across with at least 2-3 hundred bayonets on it. I use the trimmings in an area where people like to cut throught my yard as a natural fence. It works great for that and actually will start growing there as well. I wouldn't want to walk into that some night. The holly's are a lesser hurt, but a hurt none the less, that make a great deterrent to the criminally idle who may want to gain entrance. There will be lots of DNA all over the place. Holly makes a great property border so long as it is kept trimmed correctly, otherwise you will have some unhappy neighbors. If you buy holly make sure you don't get a dwarf variety or the best height you'll see is probably about 3 feet. I already made that mistake in the backyard, only 2 of them fortunately.

Trimming tip for the holly bushes. Once a year trim out the larger branches without leaving massive holes in the bushes. I find spring the best time since the growing will start sooner. In the fall I just use the hedge trimmer and shape the hedges to the desired height and depth. Hope this helps!

The top picture is the American holly which I have the most of and is what I have along the house. You can see the multiple spines on each leaf. The birds adore the red berries that grow but take warning - they should NEVER be eaten by people! The picture below is the Foster holly of which I have a few along the house, 2 or 3, and they still have a sharp center spine.