Around your house 1/23/08

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

GARDEN

Avoid foot traffic on frozen lawns as this may injure turf grasses. Make a resolution to keep records of your garden this year. Store wood ashes in sealed, fireproof containers. Apply a dusting around lilacs, baby's breath, asters, lilies and roses in spring. Do not apply to acid-loving plants. Excess ashes may be composted. Check all fruit trees for evidence of rodent injury to bark. Use baits or traps where necessary. Cakes of suet hung in trees will attract insect-hunting woodpeckers to your garden. Brightly colored paints applied to the handles of tools will make them easier to locate in the garden.

-- mobot.org

KITCHEN

If whisking your loved one off to an exotic locale isn't in the budget this Valentine's Day, bring a taste of it to them. San Francisco-based Destination Dinners makes it easy to whip up foreign feasts with recipe kits that span the globe, from Jamaica to Japan and Thailand to Lebanon. The kits cost $24.50 and include all the dry ingredients and recipes needed to prepare the meal. You provide the labor and fresh meats or fish (as needed) and produce. From Dhaka, Bangladesh, dine on chicken garam masala. From Beirut, Lebanon, enjoy kibbeh bil-saneeyeh, or baked spiced lamb. And for vegetarians, there is the falafel with "Hellfire Harissa Sauce" kit from Israel. Each kits also has cultural information about the destination and dish, as well as tips for table settings and beverages. Special Valentine's Day versions of the kits include candles for setting the mood.

New Tastes: Destination Dinners sell for $24.50 at http://www.destinationdinners.com

-- AP

HOME

Q: I'm thinking of using an ionic filter system in my home, but I have a dog that sheds a lot. Will the hair clog up the filter too much?

A: Yes -- portable ionic filters that are designed to work in only one room at a time can become clogged very quickly. They can and should be regularly cleaned, so check the owner's manual. Your pet hair problem sounds pretty major. If you'd like to do your entire house a favor, look into whole-house electronic air cleaners. This type of air filtration system is normally installed as part of your home's HVAC system. The collection surface area of such a system is much larger and therefore requires less frequent cleaning than smaller, portable units.

-- AP

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