Thursday 15 April 2021

What is Tick Paralysis in Dogs?

Tick paralysis in dogs results from a toxin that is given to them from a tick that bites them. The toxin that the tick gives off will cause symptoms to come out with in two to seven days of discovering them then after that it is just a matter of taking care of the symptoms as you notice them. It's hard to help your dog unless you take him to a vet. A vet may be able to calm your pet down long enough to look at them and tell what is going on. The paralysis starts from the back at the butt and works it way towards the head with in hours of receiving the toxin from the tick. Symptoms may occur such as hypoactive reflexes or non-active reflexes can occur and of course you really don't know that they have this paralysis for up to a week because it could take that long to take affect.

Tick paralysis in dogs can occur from the tick having the toxin in its body when it's feeding on a dog skin. The tick is like the mosquito for humans and is very itchy until it comes up and usually about the only way to kill a tick is to burn the head off with a lighter. This will keep it from getting back onto the dog or keep it from trying to come back alive after you try to kill it. The paralysis is bad because research that has been done has been shown to say that there have been 43 ticks that have been implicated in diseases in humans and so if there is that many that are implicated in humans there are bound to be just as many for dogs.

This is why it is important to catch it early if you recognize the signs and symptoms of your dog and one way to do this is to recognize and know your dog on the days he feels good and understand what those symptoms are of him feeling so you can decide if he feels good or if he is sick.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Home Improvements – Cost Versus Value

Home improvement projects are on the increase fuelled by a stagnant housing market which has seen people stay put in their existing homes instead of moving up the property ladder and by the huge tax incentives that have been put in place as the government seeks to get the economy moving.

Traditionally, for many homeowners and real estate professionals it has been a difficult task to establish what home improvements will actually increase the value of the property more then they cost to undertake. Indeed, some home improvement projects will actually detract from the value of your home and this is especially true of work carried out to a poor standard. To reap the benefits of any home improvement, both in terms of your enjoyment and the enhanced value of your home, it is imperative that a professional finish is achieved and this means engaging professionals to carry out the work and wherever possible, obtain guarantees for the workmanship.

Now more than ever, home improvement projects can be seen as generating a significant increase in the value of your home compared to the cost of completing the project. The reasoning is simple – house prices and home improvement project prices have significantly dropped as the recession has bitten deep into the pockets of the country. Demand has dropped significantly and suppliers of home improvement expertise, products and labor have had to respond by slashing prices.

Now the economy is returning to better times with the recession starting to fade. Prices will start to rise again as first time buyers return to the market and people look to trade their homes up. The pricing for labor and materials will also start to rise generally as people get put back to work and have more money to spend on their homes and lifestyles.

Right now, existing homeowners have a unique opportunity to get home improvement projects finished at rock-bottom prices and subsidized in many instances, by very large tax breaks courtesy of the government. This will be a relatively very low cost to the individual home owner compared to pricing in say a year’s time when tax breaks will no longer be available and prices have started to return to pre-recession levels.

Home improvement projects which are likely to add more value than they cost include window replacements, installing low-maintenance siding, recreational facilities such as a swimming pool or sunroom and decking. By carefully researching what your home would benefit the most from having done, you have an excellent window of opportunity to significantly increase the enjoyment you derive from your property while seeing the value increase way beyond the government-subsidized cost to you.

On the other hand, homeowners stand to benefit from the reversal of house price declines and start to experience general increases in their property valuations as the real estate market becomes more active and people start to buy and sell homes again.

By improving your existing home now, you are taking advantage of extremely low pricing while standing to benefit from the increase in property values as a result of the economic recovery and by improving your home.

Sunday 28 August 2011

Tips on Caring For Roses

There are many, many different types of Roses. Tea, Grandiflora, Floribunda, Old English, Ramblers, Climbers, Miniature, etc. Many of the newer hybrid varieties will bloom off and on throughout the growing season, while others have one spectacular show, with intermittent flowers later on.

Roses have very particular needs. Roses need a minimum of 6 hours of sunlight per day. They also like light, well drained soil. The soil around their roots should be kept loose by cultivating often. This brings necessary oxygen to the roots of the plants. They also like to be fed a good organic fertilizer regularly and mulched around the base of the plant to help keep the roots cool in the heat of summer and warm in winter.

Roses also need regular care to keep insects and disease at bay. An insecticidal soap spray will keep away Aphids and Whiteflies. An organic fungicide spray will keep away Black spot, a disease very common to roses. Watering the soil around the Rose rather than the foliage is also a good prevention against Black Spot.

If you keep a scheduled maintenance for insect and disease prevention, the care seems very easy. If one waits until there is an infestation of one sort or another, it is much more difficult to eradicate the problem. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure definitely applies.

When pruning your Roses, or simply clipping some for a vase, be sure to use good sharp pruning shears. Dull shears can tear the stems, leaving ugly dark marks. It also leaves a larger open wound for disease and insects to feast on. It can even inhibit new growth. When pruning a Rose, prune just above a leaf.

This will encourage the plant to grow bushy and thick. Leaving long stems will make the plant lanky. It is also important to prune out any old dead canes. Depending on the type of Rose, how they are pruned and cut back for the winter will vary. Check the instructions that come with the plant.

Roses have been revered by many generations of gardeners and non-gardeners alike. The beauty of Roses will enhance the look of your home year after year.

Garage Storage

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Water Gardening Tips

Filter Systems:

There are two types of biological filter systems. In the water and above ground. The in the water systems are good for smaller ponds. The pump and filter system sit in the bottom of the pond. These systems are relatively inexpensive, the down side is that when the filter needs to be cleaned (on a regular basis, at least bi-weekly) you are getting wet.

The above ground systems are more expensive, however, once installed they are easier to maintain and are good for larger ponds and ponds with waterfalls. These pumps are generally stronger than the submersible type and can push more water. The filters are easier to change and clean.

When cleaning your filter system, whether above ground or in the pond, Never clean the entire filter system at one time. There are usually more than one filter pad or chamber of filter medium. Clean half at a time. You want to keep a supply of beneficial bacteria in the filter system. The beneficial bacteria helps to filter our things like chlorine and waste. It will also keep the algae at bay.

Having Fish:

If you want to have fish in your pond, it should be 24' - 30" deep at the center so the fish can be wintered over. It also provides a cool spot for fish in the summer. A biological filter is also a must. Start with small, inexpensive fish. The fish will grow to fit the size of the pond, and you are bound to lose a few from time to time. Unless you are an experienced water gardener, I would not recommend spending $80.00 on a special Koi. Koi are beautiful, but they are also dirty fish. They excrete more waste than a regular goldfish.

Caring for your fish: Before you put any fish in your pond, neutralize the chlorine from the water. Fish hate chlorine! I recommend letting the pond settle for a few weeks and let the filter system grow a little beneficial bacteria before adding fish. When you do add fish, let the fish acclimate to the water temperature for at least one hour before cutting open the bags and pouring them into the pond. This way the fish can change temperature slowly and reduce the chance of shock. A dose of stress coat in the water will help reduce stress. This will coat the fish and reduce stress. The other deadly problem for fish is high Nitrates. Doing some reading about water chemistry in ponds will go a long way.

Pond plants are also great for the pond. They provide a source of shade and food for the fish. There are floating plants, such as Water Lettuce, Water Hyacinth, Anacharis and Water lillies. There are also bog plants. These grow in special pots and sit in the ledges of the pond, such as Iris, Cannas and Cat Tails. There are dozens of different types of pond plants.This will add aesthetic beauty to the pond. It will also create a habitat for frogs and turtles.

I know this sounds like a lot of work, but really its just a lot of info. Once you get your pond installed and balanced, it will be a joy. Put a bench near the pond so you can sit, relax and enjoy the serenity of a pond in your own backyard.

There are many ready to install pond kits available that will make building a pond quick and easier then you can imagine. You can find a series of sizes to meet your specific needs at most Garden Centers.

Monday 9 May 2011

Herbs in the Garden

Rather than just the sweet smells of roses and flowers, herbs lend another dimension of smell to the garden. Spicy, musky, heavy or light, each herb having a distinctly different scent.

Planting, Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano along a garden path will give off a gorgeous aroma as you pass by.

Mint makes a fabulous perennial (in most areas) groundcover, that can take foot traffic. Mint comes in many varieties, each with its own fantastic smell.

Sage is a lovely plant, and comes in different colors, the Tricolor Sage is a perennial favorite. Variegated green and white foliage with just a hint of red on the edges of the leaves.

Lavender, one can never have enough Lavender in the garden. Beautiful grey/green foliage with prolific lavender, purple or even pink (depending on variety) blooms. They smell fantastic and are great for drying.

Dill, Basil and Parsley are great foliage fillers for containers. Mixed with annuals they make a lovely display. Keep these planters near the house for easy access during cooking.

Nasturtiums are a free flowering herb that look great in planters, along the edge of the garden and are also great in salads.

Herbs generally like a sunny, well drained location and are easy to grow. They are not easily susceptible to insects and diseases. Many herbs are perennial, and will grow and spread quickly.

Tender herbs can be brought into the house and wintered over in a warm sunny window. Spray with a solution of soapy water before bringing inside and occasionally through the winter to keep insects away.

If you are going to be cooking with your herbs be sure to use a good organic fertilizer and an all natural insecticidal soap(if necessary).

Herbs like Echinacea and Scented Geranium have long been enjoyed as perennial flowers in the garden. Oregano and Thyme between your roses are breathtaking. Mint and Creeping Rosemary in planters adds a scented dimension that will delight you. Try a few in your garden, you will be surprised and pleased with the performance, smell and look of herbs.

Sunday 3 April 2011

How To Keep Critters Out Of The Garden

Rabbits, deer, chipmunks, squirrels, gophers, moles, voles and ground hogs are probably our biggest challenge in our vegetable and flower gardens. Following are a few easy tips on how to get rid of these pests:

There are all natural repellents such as ShakeAway, Liquid Fence, Deer Away and Critter Ridder.

These all natural repellents all work well and all work in different ways.

Shake Away is a granular Predator Urine product. This is a fantastic product. It creates the scent of predators such as fox, coyote and bobcat. They will not wash away in the rain and do not evaporate. They are not messy or highly stinky, like their liquid counterparts. They even have one for cats.

Liquid Fence Products such as their Mole and Vole repellent are odor and taste based repellents. Mole and Vole is all natural liquid that is sprayed and gets down into the soil to coat the roots of plants and earthworms. Their tasty meal is no longer tasty. They simply go elsewhere to look for food. It is long lasting and won't harm vegetation.

Critter Ridder by Havahart comes as a granular or a liquid and is listed OMRI organic. It will repel skunks, ground hogs, squirrels, racoons, dogs and cats. They are both pepper and capsaicin based products.

Critter Ridder Deer and Rabbit repels by scent and it lasts up to 3 months. It is also listed OMRI organic.

These are all safe, natural products. There are a few other items that also work well. Human hair and dog fur will also work. Human hair works the best. Go to your local Barber Shop and ask for some hair. Yeah, they might look at you a little funny at first, but they will think you are a genius when you tell them what its for. Put it around the perimeter of your garden. This will decompose naturally. It may need to be applied once or twice. With all these products, once a Critter knows your garden or flower beds are not a safe or tasty place to go...they usually will not come back.

Happy Gardening!