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December 23rd, 2014 at 10:00 am

Fireplace safety

Few things are quite as cozy as sitting next to a warm fire. Now that cooler weather has arrived and the holidays are almost here, you might be ready to light a fire in your own fireplace. Most Southern California residents probably don’t use their fireplace year round. These tips will help you to stay safe when you’re using your fireplace.

  1. Keep up with your fireplace’s maintenance. Have it checked and cleaned annually. Neglecting to clean your fireplace can result in a chimney fire. Be sure to also clear the area around your fireplace of any flammable debris.
  2. Between inspections, monitor your fireplace for soot buildup. (more…)

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December 9th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Nontraditional fences

Although a white-picket fence can be a lovely accent to your house, taking a nontraditional approach to fencing can also enhance your home’s curb appeal. You have so many options for fencing, and many can serve dual purposes.

To avoid confusion, help you shop smarter and get results you’ll be happy with for years to come, start by deciding the main purpose of your fence. For example, are you building a fence to provide an enclosed space for children or pets, ensure enhanced privacy, a boundary, or simply to add an exterior-design accent? Knowing what you want your fence to accomplish will ease the stress and work involved in the planning process.
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December 1st, 2014 at 10:00 am

Kitchen knife care

Save your holiday meals before they even start with these handy tips.

With all the cost and time that go into the perfect holiday meal, from selecting the turkey or ham to preparing the vegetables and setting the table, there is one small aspect of the celebration that usually goes overlooked until it is far too late.

That small aspect? The sharpness and cutting quality of your knives! Too many people have discovered to their great chagrin that their cutlery simply won’t cut it. Butchered carvings and clumsy chopping will destroy the atmosphere of a holiday gathering, but you will be armed and ready by following these handy tips:

  1. First things first: Make sure you have the right knife for the job you need. Slicing a turkey, chopping onions, and cutting bread require different-sized knives and edges. Carving knives are usually medium-sized, with broad, sharp edges to make cutting through dense muscles smooth and easy. Bread knives are long and thin, with a specially serrated blade that allows you to cut the bread without too much pressure that crushes and ruins it. Vegetable knives can appear similar to carving knives, but they often feature a rounded blade to facilitate smooth chopping. (more…)

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November 24th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

California gardening

Did you know that fall is the perfect time to prepare your garden? If you’re not already establishing your drought-tolerant garden, learn why you should start now by reading this blog post on fall gardening. If you’re ready to start your garden, but don’t know what to plant, this post is for you. Below is our list of 10 drought-tolerant plants perfect for your California garden.

Echinocactus grusoni

Native to Mexico, this cactus plant can survive the heat and requires minimal water. In the summer, small yellow flowers will sprout on top of the plant.


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November 17th, 2014 at 10:00 am

141117_cactus

Southern Californians know planning a garden that can withstand drought conditions isn’t easy. To get the most out of your garden, don’t wait until spring to start planting. Grab your shovel and start digging this month. Typically, November yields 10 percent of our annual rainfall. Our soil temperatures are still warm, which makes it an ideal time to get out there and plant!

Start your drought-tolerant garden by testing your irrigation system. Make sure all lines are clear and everything is working efficiently before you do your planting. Having your system in place will help you plan your garden.
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