Kids and Dirt

As parents, all of us have been there. You go in the backyard to get some yard work done and tell your kiddo to go have fun moving some dirt around with their awesome new kid tractor. After spending some time pulling weeds, you notice that it’s just a bit too quiet. Next thing you know, your angel has decided he wants to help mommy by also “doing yard work”. Covered in dirt from head to toe and sticking out his tongue to show you the dirt in his mouth, you feel like you’re in one of those “wanna get away?” Southwest airline commercials. As odd as it sounds, it’s actually all good. According to researchers, dirt is quite beneficial for kids. Here are five good reasons why:

Read more

How to Build a Retaining Wall

Retaining walls can be very helpful and there are a lot of retaining wall ideas if ever you want to build one. When creating a wall, you must have a purpose for it. In the past, walls were created to protect a nation from its enemies. Today, walls are used to provide support to buildings and infrastructures. In cases of volatile slopes in landscapes, a retaining wall can be highly efficient to help control the soil and prevent any erosion. However, in order for a retaining wall to withstand the pressure that the sloping landscape is producing, the wall must be very sturdy and the retaining wall construction has to be done properly.

Read more

does borax kill ants

Does Borax Kill Ants?

We’ve all heard about Borax being used to kill and get rid of ants; but how does Borax works on these ants?

Borax doesn’t kill them immediately; it works gradually and takes its own time to affect the ants and ultimately kill them.

Also, did you know that using Borax alone won’t get you the desired results? You have to mix it with other sweeter substances to create bait for these ants.

Eye-opening right? Keep reading to find out more on how you can use Borax to kill these ants.

We’ve also included two extremely easy and DIY Borax recipes for you so that you can have an ants-free home quickly and for an extended period.

Does Borax Kill Ants?

Borax is definitely one of the best methods in order to kill ants.

But, you need to mix the borax with sugar, honey, or some edible sugary product because it needs to be an attraction for the ants since Borax is not a food source for them.

It can be said that Borax can be a great killer for ants; however, it will only help if you mix it with some sweet substance, as ants are not attracted to Borax alone; although, it will act as the best killer and provide you an ant-free home and the surroundings.

How does Borax kill Ants?

borax for ants

As soon as the ants will consume the Borax bait, it will interfere with their digestive system and will gradually kill them.

The time taken by the Borax will be more and when the worker ant will head back to the nest, it will hence be shared by the rest of the colony. It will allow in killing more ants.

The powder is also abrasive and will further affect the exoskeleton of the ant.

One of the reasons the boric acid effectively controls the ants is that the poisoned insect will bring the poison back to their nest; hence, it will spread to the other insects.

This will help in killing the ants even in the colony also; furthermore, it won’t cost you much.

Different Borax Recipes to Kill Ants

There are various Borax recipes which can be used to kill the ants.

As alone Borax won’t be helpful in killing the ant, you need to mix it with sugar, honey, or some other sweet substance.

It will easily attract the ants to the bait; however, the bait won’t work immediately and will take time.

See Also:  Eliminate Fire Ants From Your Home & Yard | Best Fire Ant Killer in 2021

Until the ant reaches the colony, it will be poisoned and will also infect the various ants in the colony; this will help kill most of the ants in the colony.

How to Use Borax for Killing Ants

Here are some of the mixtures that can be done to make the perfect bait for killing the ants; the method to make the bait is also discussed.

Killing Ants Using Borax and Sugar Water

You can mix the Borax with sugar water to kill the ants; it can be one of the most effective methods which can be taken to kill the ants and affect the colonies.

Supplies Needed: To make this liquid solution, you will require borax, sugar, and water, and then you will have to soak the cotton balls in this solution. Here is what is needed to make the solution:

  • ½ Cup (100 grams) of sugar
  • 1 ½ cups(350 milliliters) warm water
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Borax
  • Cotton Balls
  • A Jar
  • Shallow dishes, small containers, or lids (optional)

These all things are required in order to make the best solution for avoiding the ants; now follow the below-mentioned steps to make the solution:

Pour the Sugar and Borax into the Jar

Borax is the best substance that will kill ants; you should mix it with sugar in order to attract and kill the ants by using the bait.

It should be kept in mind that the ants don’t see borax as a food source, so, won’t even come near it so, you should mix borax and sugar to make an effective and good killer for the ant.

Close the Jar and Shake It

You need to close the jar and shake it; this should be done to properly mix the borax and sugar together.

Proper powder should be made of sugar and borax in order to continue further.

Open the Jar and Add the Water

You should open the jar and add water after the sugar and borax is perfectly mixed.

You can use any temperature water for this process, but warm water is recommended and will easily dissolve the borax and sugar mixture.

The water will hence turn into a borax and sugar liquid solution; this will help you to dip the cotton balls in the solution easily.

Mix Everything with a Spoon, Fork or Stick

In order to form a better solution, you should properly mix everything; you can use a spoon, fork, or stick to mix and get the best liquid solution.

The proper solution will allow you to easily dip the cotton so, you should properly mix everything.

Soak Cotton Balls in the Solution

You should soak the cotton balls in the solution and make sure to soak it properly.

The number of cotton balls which is to be used will depend on the infestation in your house.

If you have any solution left over, you can save it for the future by putting the lid back on the jar; hence, storing the jar in a cool and dry place.

Start Setting out the Soaked Cotton Balls

Proper observations of the places from where the ants come should be done os that you can focus on the ant trails.

This will help you place the cotton balls properly; this will also allow easy access of the cotton balls to ants.

This will, in turn, help the ants to get easy access to the cotton balls, further allowing you to make a proper trap for the ants.

Also, if you are able to find the place from where the ants are coming then you should seal it with epoxy putty or seal paste.

This will help in preventing the ants to come back; however this should be done after all the ants have been killed and not before.

Please Note:

  • If you don’t want the floors or window ledges to get dirty and sticky, you should place the soaked cotton ball in a small container first and then set the container out.
  • You can also use a shallow dish or jar lid.
  • Whatever you choose, make sure that the same item is not used in cooking or for food purposes again.
  • It can cause a severe reaction to humans and pets as well.
  • So, be careful while setting up the container and not using it back again for food purposes.
  • Borax is very toxic for both humans and pets.

Killing Ants Using Borax and Honey

Since ants get attracted to the sweet smell and taste, you can use honey also.

The following steps can be taken in order to make the perfect bait which will kill the ants.

Supplies Needed: The supplies needed for making this includes:

  • ½ Cup (100 grams) of honey
  • 1 ½ tablespoons Borax
  • A Jar
  • Shallow dishes, small containers, or lids (optional)

These all things are required in order to make the perfect bait.

Pour the Honey and Borax into the Jar

After collection of all the required things, you should now pour the honey and borax in a jar.

Mix Everything with a Spoon, Fork or Stick

After pouring honey and borax in the jar, mix both of them properly with a spoon, fork, or stick.

If it doesn’t get mix easily, you can try pouring some warm water and make it proper bait; this bait will help in killing the ants.

Place the Bait

After the proper mixture of Borax and honey, you can place the bait in the lid of the jar, dishes, or containers.

You can also apply the bait on cotton balls and place it; however, it should be placed on the most spotted areas.

This will help the ants get easy access to the bait, thus killing them but making sure not to use the jar or the lid again, as it can be dangerous for you.

You can also consider blocking the ant nest i.e. the place from which the ants enter the house; however, remember to do this only when all the ants are dead.

Eliminating Ants with Pest Control

The above-mentioned Borax recipes for ants can surely get the work done for you; however, they may not be 100% effective in the face of a full-fledged ants infestation.

This is where a professional exterminator comes in the picture! They can not only get rid of the infestation for you but can also ensure that they do not make their way inside your home again.

Final Words

Borax is easily one of the most economical and effective methods to eliminate and kill ants.

As mentioned above, borax takes time to react and interfere with the ants’ digestive system, thus enabling them to carry the poison to their colonies, killing the other ants in the process.

However, it should be kept in mind that the borax alone is of no use; you need to mix it with sweeter substances to create a bait and attract these ants.

Also, please make sure to take proper care while using this extremely toxic power; take adequate precautions and make sure to keep it away from the reach of kids and pets in your family.

Installing an Outdoor Security Camera System

You can never be too careful when it comes to protecting your home and your family. Many people who are vigilant about the safety of their home and family are choosing to install security systems to alert them of intruders. The best way to protect your family from intruders, however, is to prevent them from getting into the house in the first place. For that reason, more and more people are installing outdoor security systems.

Owning a security system may sound like something that is only for the very wealthy or the sort of thing that one might see in a James Bond film, but advancements in technology are putting the once complicated and expensive gadgets into the hands of ordinary folks. A simple surveillance system, consisting of a few cameras and a monitor, can be purchased for a few hundred dollars and easily installed by even a relative novice.

Protecting Valuables

security camerasFor valuables, you need to realize that even if you have a good quality safe to store valuables in, most thieves can get into it with time. I personally take the safety of my family very seriously and thus invested in a top rated gun safe. While I love technology, my gun safe has to be mechanical. For instance, Fort Knox makes the very best mechanical gun safe. I determined that after literally reading a dozen gun safe reviews sites that are out there because of all the competition in the industry. A good outdoor security system can go a long way to keep what’s inside the safe out of the hands of bad guys.

Range

A wireless camera may have a transmitting range of up to 100 feet, which is far enough to mount cameras along walkways, near the garage, or over the front door. The camera then transmits images to a receiver that sends the pictures to a television or VCR. A more expensive system can send a signal an even greater distance. You can have your cameras running constantly, set them to run during certain hours—such as when you are away or when you are sleeping—or you can get cameras that are motion activated. With the right software, you can even monitor your cameras via the internet when you are away on vacation.

Lighting

A good security system will also include adequate lighting. Lighting is perhaps one of the simplest, least expensive and most common sense parts of a security system. Most criminals will not approach a well-lit home for fear of being seen. The lighting will also be necessary to help cameras pick up images at night. You may decide to put your lighting on a timer, have motion detection lights or simply operate your lighting manually.

It is important to keep your family safe and protect your home. The security system that helps you do that does not need to be either complicated or expensive. In fact, security can be as common sense as adequate lighting around your home. One thing is certain, though: knowing that you have systems in place to keep your family safe will allow you to sleep better at night.

Tree House Safety for Kids

A tree house to children is a place to call their own. The vision is of five bikes leaning against a tree with five little boys huddled in their tree house telling secrets and designing a most important sign that reads, ‘no girls allowed’.

…Or you might find the same scenario with five little girls instead.

There’s nothing like a hideaway for children, and a tree house can be exciting and entertaining  as well as adventurous. However, there should always be rules and precautions put into force in order to keep the children safe in such a high environment.

Before you get started

kids-tree-houseDo you need a building permit to build a tree house for your child? Some neighborhoods do have municipal regulations. However, it depends on the nature of the house you’ll be building.  Are your neighbors going to have it in their vision when they look out the window? Will it infringe on anyone’s privacy. More often than not, a neighborhood regulatory group wouldn’t become involved unless a neighbor makes a complaint.

Tree damage

We would certainly be kidding ourselves if we thought that tree houses do not do damage to trees.  Just stomping by foot at the base of the tree tightens the soil, which can be harmful to the roots. So, to minimize this damage, support the tree by putting fasteners, but not too close as it can cause weakness to that part of the tree.

The height of your tree house

If you can’t be assured of your child’s safety on the street, in the backyard or in a playground, how then can you guarantee his or her safety ten feet off the ground? And that is the standard…ten feet. However, at the bottom or the base of your tree, it would be advisable to add a good foot of mulch. Sand, gravel or even wood chips can still harm your child in the event they fall, so mulch is the best form of cushioning. Remember, kids are daring and it doesn’t take much for them to jump down rather than take the ladder you for them.

Tree Limbs

Thick, thick, thick.  At least a foot thick.  

tree-limbTry to keep in mind that twelve inches spell s-a-f-e-t-y, keeping in mind that you’re not the one picking the tree for your house, the tree is out there picking you. Just like people, each and every tree is different so let them guide you. Allow for its growth and consider sunlight.  When you find that tree, the first thing you want to look for is rotting wood, peeling wood and signs of distress. It might be wise to call in a tree specialist before you make the choice yourself on which branch or two you believe is suitable for building a tree house.

Wooden Walls or wooden rails

Walls.  First of all, the kids will be using this as a personal hideaway. Why in the world would they want everyone to see them tell their secrets through guard rails? Additionally, walls are safer.

 Final precautions

  • Never allow a child under six years old to go into the treehouse alone.

  • Build a real ladder onto the tree to the treehouse rather than a rope ladder. In fact, in order to avoid accidents of strangulation, it is best to keep all ropes and trains away from the treehouse.

  • It is generally not recommended to allow kids to sleep overnight in a tree house. Instead, do a family backyard campout with a tent and all. Get some good sleeping bags for the kids and even some sleeping sacks for the younger crowd. This type of wearable blanket for toddlers allows new walkers the freedom to walk around with them.

Bottom line, it’s all about the children. What you are considering to build for them should afford them adventure, happiness and safety. Look into permits, keep it at a safe height, stay away from ropes and chains and surround the children with walls to keep their secrets safe.

Backyard Fencing

As most homeowners know, a backyard can provide you with the opportunity to work, play, or just relax. An outdoor area can give you a real sense of freedom, but you still want to protect the area and keep it safe and secure surrounding it with a fence for both safety and security. There are a wide variety of fence styles to choose from, some being better than others. Below is some basic information about the different fence types and how they may benefit you.

Stockade Fence

stockade-fence

A stockade fence (or privacy fence) is made of wood. The most common types of wood these fences are made of are pine, cedar or fir. A stockade fence can provide safety, security and privacy. This type of fence will consist of wood slats panels. These panels are assembled close together. The panels are nailed to wooden posts.

Gone are the days of using a hammer to build one. With the price of air compressors so low, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a top of the line compressor. If you’re on a strict budget, take a trip to your local Harbor Freight and you can get a descent Central Pneumatic model for under $100. If you’re asking yourself, “what size air compressor do I need?“, send me an email using my contact page.

Once constructed, these wood panels can be stained or painted the color you choose. This type of fence is very durable and when stained or painted it increases its durability.

A stockade fence has many great advantages. You can choose to build the fence yourself or have it professionally installed. One disadvantage of having a stockade fence is that after years of being in the weather, it will start to rot if the wood is not treated. Fortunately, a paint spray gun will make short work of the job which often takes days with a traditional brush. If you’re working on a relatively small yard, a small pancake model will probably be the best portable air compressor option for you. These types of fences not only make excellent backyard fences, but they make the perfect garden fence too.

PVC Fence

pvc-fenceA PVC fence is highly durable. This fence is made of highly durable plastic and will never rot. This type of fence has many great money saving and time saving advantages because it is man made and it does not need to be stained or painted. It comes available in a wide variety of colors for you to choose from so you can select it to match your home. Prices for PVC fence will vary and can range from being very expensive to inexpensive. This will allow you to choose the right PVC fence that will fit into your budget.

Chain Link Fence

chain-link-fenceA chain link fence is extremely durable because it is made of galvanized steel. It will never rot. The material that this fence is made from is able to withstand extreme climate conditions. This type of fence is attached to steel posts which are secured in the ground. This is one of the most easiest fences to install if you plan on doing the job yourself. This fence comes available with vinyl coating that is usually green or black in color. A chain link fence alone does not provide much privacy, but if you install the vinyl slats, which is an extra, then you can have all the privacy you need. The only disadvantage with this type of fence is that over time it can rust, but if you choose one with a vinyl coating then you will not have that problem.

8 Tips to Save Your Back According to the Pros

back-pain-landscapersNo matter if you’re just out of high school or enjoying retirement, back pain will affect almost 80% of people over the course of their lives (according to some studies). While some people unfortunately don’t have any say in it simply due to their genes, most instances are very much preventable. Those with physical jobs or hobbies by default have a higher risk of injuring their back.

Anyone involved in landscaping or gardening (whether professionally or as a hobby) will tell you that you need to take extra care of your back to avoid injury. Here are 8 ways to prevent back pain for landscapers and gardeners according to the professionals.

Sleep well. It may seem like an odd tip, but getting a good night’s sleep allows your body to recover and prepare it for the next day. If you are a stomach sleeper, you’re not doing yourself any favors. The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a knee between your legs. Making this simple change is a great place to start.

Stretch and warm up. As with almost any physical activity, you lessen your chances of injury when your body is warmed up and your muscles are loose. Since lower back injuries are by far the most common, you want to mainly focus on your lower back, hips, and hamstrings. Below are some great stretches to try that should literally take less than 5 minutes.

back-stretches

Use proper form when lifting. This goes without saying but you should always focus on using your legs to do the bulk of lifting instead of your back. We were taught this in gym class in school but it’s very easy to forget unless you make it a subconscious habit. The more energy that is being used by your back, the higher the chance of injury.

Keep manual lifting to a minimum. Overexertion is one of the main causes of back injuries. No matter how focused someone is on keeping proper form and lifting with their legs, you will get tired and your form will suffer. Make use of wheelbarrows, dollies, and hand trucks whenever possible and don’t be afraid to ask for help with especially heavy objects.

Know your limits. Just because someone else is carrying a 40 pound bag of potting soil or pushing a wheelbarrow filled to the rim with rocks doesn’t mean you should do the same. Lessen the load and make and extra trip or open the bag of soil and shovel some into a wheelbarrow.

Use the right tools. Long handled garden tools should be used as much as possible. While a short handled shovel may give you more control, you will likely be working in an unnatural bent over position with your back taking the full grunt of effort. Long handled tools make you use your legs more. If you are on the taller side, consider making the investment in some telescopic tools which actually adjust to your height.

Switch tasks on a regular basis. While not always possible, different jobs use different muscles. By switching things up, certain muscles get less fatigued which allows you to better keep good form. Similar to going to the gym, you don’t want to simply bench press for dozens of sets. You want to instead give muscles time to recover by going to a different exercise (or job).

Ice, ice, baby. If it’s good enough for professional athletes, it’s good enough for landscapers. Icing reduces inflammation, pain, and helps you recover quicker. Apply ice to sore muscles as soon as possible.

While back injuries or even chronic back pain is never 100% preventable, following these tips will greatly lower your chances of developing issues with your back.

Fixing a Leaking Water Heater

While it may not seem like a huge deal if your water heater is leaking, it’s actually more of an issue than you may think it is. That small pool of water in your closet or garage can over time cause mold to grow and even result in water damage to your home. That leaking hot water heater may also indicate a much more serious and possibly dangerous issue; therefore it is crucial you act quickly.

Troubleshooting the cause of the leak should be your number one priority as it’s possible the leaking is actually from a different source such as water pipes or other appliances. If you’ve determined there’s no other possible source, the culprit is most likely the water heater.

If you’re a do-it-yourselfer and want to try repairing or doing maintenance on your water heater to save some money, turning off the power is always the first step. With a gas water heater, simply turn the dial at the front of the water heater to “OFF”. On electric water heaters, you’ll need to turn off the correct breaker at your main circuit breaker panel, most often located in your garage.

Once the power is off, you’ll want to shut off the flow of cold water heading into the water heater by turning the inlet valve that’s located on top of the water heater to the “closed” position. If the leak is above this valve, you will need to follow the cold water inlet pipe until you see a secondary valve further down the line, sometimes it’s located on the outside of the house.

Once these two safety precautions are done, it’s time to investigate where the leak is coming from. Below are the most common areas for water heater leaks. Generally speaking, if your water heater is leaking somewhere from the top, the leak can be fixed. If you’ve determined the water heater has a leak near the bottom, the tank may need to be replaced.

  1. Pressure relief valve (TPR valve). Usually located at the top or top-side of a water heater, its purpose is to relieve excess pressure that may develop inside the tank. This part is known to fail over time.
  2. Inlet or outlet piping. Check the pipes and connections at the very top of the water heater.
  3. Drain valve. Located at the bottom of the tank, this simple valve is used for water heater draining and flushing.
  4. Water heater tank. This is the worst case scenario. If the actual tank is leaking due to corrosion or other internal problem, complete water heater replacement is the only real fix.

If you’re fairly repair savy, most water heater repairs are not too difficult. www.waterheaterhub.com is a decent site for more troubleshooting advice and instructions on how to replace common water heater parts.

Installing a Fence Around our Pool

Being a parent is one thing that many people look up to as they grow up. As for me, am I was not an exception either, I really longed to be a mother, hold my baby and see it grow. I can say I was lucky to meet with my loving husband Paul five years ago, when we got married and began a family. Four years later we got our twin girls who have become a great source of joy to us and it’s always a good feeling to be around them.

Bringing up children is a noble task that every parent who loves her children takes seriously. I personally am concerned to see my twin girls healthy and safe. Since my twin girls Allie and Kristy like playing so much, I see to it that the environment they play in is safe from anything that poses danger to them. Recently, we noted that the in-ground pool at the backyard of our house was posing a big danger to my twin girls who like to go near the pool even by themselves. For this reason my husband and I have decided to take the responsibility of ensuring that our girls are safe and putting up a fence around the pool. By installing a fence around the pool we shall ensure that the kids do not go near the pool all by themselves, and therefore protect them from accidentally falling into the pool as they play. According to LifeJacketAdvisor.com, a child can drown in as little as 20 seconds. While we always do our best to keep an eye on our girls, it’s simply not possible to do so every second of the day.

new-pool-fenceI discussed the various fence types with my husband and we settled at installing a life saver pool fence, since the safety of my twin girls leaves no room for compromise and they deserve the strongest and safest pool fence. The good thing with this type of fence is that, it is reinforced with solid poles and uses the strongest mesh available. This type of a fence is easy to remove by an adult for entertainment when the children are not home. The mesh provides many years of use in all weather conditions. The fence also has got self-closing and self-latching gate options which offer added security. The round-head fasteners and rounded edges, ensure there are no sharp edges

During the installation process, we hired a professional who did an excellent job and at a relatively low cost. After the installation, I feel so much relieved from the fear that my children are exposed to the danger of drowning since they cannot access the pool by themselves. Just as you cannot drive without putting a newborn in a car seat, or having them wear a top rated infant life jacket, you cannot have a pool around your home without a fence. An un-fenced pool is more dangerous to children than a loaded gun.

Starting an Organic Garden

my-gardenAfter moving from the city, into our new home in the suburbs, I decided to start an organic garden. Living in the city, I was forced to buy vegetables at the grocery store for my husband, 8 year old son, and my 2 year old daughter. I actually have some gardening experience, so I figured that an organic garden would not be too difficult.

When I started, I chose a decent sized spot in the yard. I’m not huge on maintenance but have made the mistake before of making a garden too small and crowded. I figure, better to be safe.

Because I was going organic, and I was not going to be using fertilizer, I would need to make a compost pile according to the advice of the nutritionist. It is the compost that enriches the soil. I got a bucket from my garage, and started collecting leaves from the ground, weeds, and grass clippings. Luckily my husband mowed the lawn the day before so I was all set.

One I made my compost, I added it to the soil. Because the plants need to be nourished without fertilizer, I knew that I would need a great deal of compost. Next, I planted my seeds and waited for them to grow.

After a couple weeks, I started to notice a few weeds in my garden. I pulled up the big ones, however, I wasn’t too concerned with the few clovers that I found.

For the next few weeks, I took the kids outside to play, while I checked on my garden, and watered it regularly. There were a few days where it was really hot, so I went outside twice to water the garden. I did not want my growing organic vegetables to dry out and die. There were also a couple days that it rained all day. After those rainy days, I took Michael and Kayla outside to play, and we didn’t water the garden. Too much water would have drowned it, and we never would have been able to enjoy fresh vegetables.

The first plants to come up were my cucumbers and tomatoes. The cucumbers did not need much work, just some love and care. The tomatoes did need some work. I had to add a tomato cage, so that the tomatoes would grow upwards. I had to wrap the vine up the cage.

mmmm-tomatoAfter the first month of working on my organic garden, I was finally able to pick some vegetables to feed to my family. When my husband tasted his tomato, he said, “Honey, I cannot believe how juicy these tomatoes are”. I was happy that he could tell the difference between my organic tomatoes and the ones that I bought at the supermarket. To be honest, I’m pretty proud of myself and it’s allowed us to eat healthier, but I’m definitely not thinking to become a nutritionist or something.

I spent the rest of the season caring for my garden by watering it and removing any weeds that threatened to destroy my garden. At the end of the season, I was proud to say that my family enjoyed fresh vegetables for months.