Baseball, Apple Pie & Your Home
It’s that time of year again. Time for balls, strikes, runs and the rare grand slam that makes baseball America’s favorite pastime. Ironically, more and more people are listening to baseball on radio while they work on what is becoming a close second to baseball as America’s favorite pastime — their homes.
Home sweet home is more than just where the American heart lies; it has become a source of therapy for work weary two-income earning families seeking refuge from job stress and stressful commutes. Making home repairs and improvements, working in the garden and puttering around in the garage or workshop not only act as great stress relief; they build personal pride, improve a home’s appearance and its value. Who could ask for anything more?
Consequently, the proverbial ‘honey do’ list no longer has the negative connotation once associated with it. If fact, if anything, the list has evolved into a ‘together we do’ list that involves participation from all members of a household.
Although there are as many different home and garden projects as there are plays on the baseball field, there a few seasonal tasks that could almost be considered Pavlovian. No sooner that the click of the ball hitting the bat and people are off to their local home center or hardware store to take on some of the following home and garden favorites.
Spring Cleaning: Spring is a good time to tackle home and garden projects that have been on the back burner during winter. The garage, basement or carport often are filled to the rafters with items best suited for a rummage sale. A maze of cobwebs, a buildup of soot, dust-laden upholstery and window coverings and filthy windows are a few of the reasons that we engage in the annual ritual known as spring cleaning.
Work from the top down. Dusty walls and ceilings, dingy light fixtures and door and window trim should be tackled before other elements in the space. Windows, closets and furniture are next. Window and floor coverings should be last. This might include floor stripping, carpet cleaning and polishing. The kitchen, laundry and bathrooms should be undertaken before other spaces because they are usually located at the home’s perimeter and you don’t want to track over already cleaned central spaces. And, don’t forget to dust the top ledge of all doors.
Decks & Patios: Noting beats listening to your favorite baseball team inch its way to the Series stretched out on a lounge chair on your beautiful deck or patio. Coming out of winter a deck or patio can look pretty grungy from leaf and debris stains, mildew and just plain aging. Give the deck and patio a good cleaning with a solution of 1/3 cup of powdered laundry detergent to one gallon of hot water. Scrub vigorously with a stiff nylon brush or bristle broom and thoroughly rinse with fresh water. Add one quart of liquid chlorine bleach to the solution if mildew is present. If your deck or patio still looks dingy, consider using a deck cleaning or brightening product to restore the appearance of the natural wood. Use a concrete cleaner to remove oxidation on concrete and restore the appearance of your patio. Remember eye protection and rubber gloves.
Finish the job by making repairs to damaged decking, secure fasteners and apply a fresh coat of deck finish. Although not necessary, a concrete sealer can breathe new life into the appearance of your patio and protect it from freeze and thaw damage if you live in a cold climate. In either case, your deck and/or patio will be the envy of your neighborhood.
Spring back your lawn: Winter’s gone and your lawn’s a mess? Start by taking a soil sample. Your local county extension office will do an inexpensive analysis that tells you exactly what fertilizer you need, and if it changed since last year. Then consult your garden center before you reseed to be sure you have the best and latest variety. New stronger drought-resistant and heat-tolerant types constantly are being introduced. When things start to grow, don’t mow too low. Cutting grass too short, especially the first time, can harm the lawn and lead to root damage — making it more susceptible to plant diseases, insects and the heat of scorching sun. As a rule of thumb, never trim off more than a third. Finally, an inch of water once a week is enough. To avoid over-watering, set out a rain gauge to be sure you’re not over doing it.
For more home improvement tips and information and an opportunity to win a $25,000 bathroom makeover, visit our website at www.onthehouse.com or call our listener hot line 24/7 at 1-800-737-2474.