How to Clean a Discolored Marble Tabletop

Gorgeously veined and marvelously cool, marble is a timeless choice for tabletops. While this elegant stone may seem solid, though, looks could be deceiving. Marble is a porous material, which makes it vulnerable to discoloration in addition to stains from spills and drips. Cleaning which tabletop with the appropriate strategies and materials will maintain the look you love.

With a solution of warm water and dish soap, thoroughly wash the surface of the marble. Use the rough side of a kitchen sponge to gently scrub the surface. Dry the marble entirely using a clean rag.

Fill a spray bottle with hydrogen peroxide. Spray the marble until the surface is evenly soaked with the solution. Cover the entire surface when addressing complete discoloration. Manage a smaller stain by limiting the spray to that area.

Combine hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in a bowl to make a loose paste. Use the mixture evenly across the marble table to take care of complete discolorations. Immediately cover surface areas with plastic wrap. Stretch the plastic wrap tightly under the table to make a safe covering. To treat stains without treating the entire table, use the mixture simply to the stained area and cover with plastic wrap. Use masking tape to hold the plastic in place. Allow the mix to sit covered for 24 to 48 hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and wipe the rest of the portion of the table. If necessary, repeat the process until the discoloration has been corrected.

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How Many Years If a Gas Furnace Last?

The first time your gas furnace stops putting out heat over a winter night is not the opportunity to consider whether it is nearing the end of its useful life. Warranties typically cover individual components for variable periods and more efficiency, but your furnace might outlive them all. Your furnace might be in good health at age 35, but it’s lived at least 10 years past the average.

Law of Averages

In a report prepared by the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2000, the typical life of a gas-fired furnace was estimated in 18 decadesago Other estimates average 15 to 25 decades. How frequently your furnace is employed determines tear and wear to components involved in stopping and starting the system, such as fans and digital ignitions. Its efficiency might impact control mechanisms, how much fuel the furnace uses and how much sooting occurs in burners. Regular inspection and cleaning affects efficiency and also identifies components that require replacement, possibly lengthening lifespan.

Once the End Comes

Before replacing your old furnace with a new, super-efficient unit, call your utility company for an energy audit to identify ways to save energy in your house. Gas furnaces might not get enough usage in a Mediterranean-type climate to warrant a 97-percent-efficient unit. On the other hand, a less expensive 80- or 90-percent-efficient unit coupled with increased insulation, duct cleaning or repairs, along with e-glass windows, might pay off previously — and last longer.

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What Is a Companion Plant to Tomatillos?

The tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica) is a green, tomato-like vegetable that’s used to create Mexican salsa verde. Tomatillos grow as annuals in the house garden. The plant needs two to 3 months to raise and produce fruit and therefore are cultivated in the same fashion as tomatoes. The fruit is ready to harvest when the newspaper covering of the tomatillo turns brownish. Several plants can grow as companion plants into the tomatillo in your own garden.

Herbs

Tomatillos grow nicely with basil and parsley. Basil helps you to repel hornworms that eat the fruit. The herb also keeps away other harmful pests such as mites. Parsley helps to repel the asparagus beetle and attracts hoverflies whose larvae eat aphids. The herb also attracts predatory wasps that eat other pests. Just as basil and parsley are utilized to complement tomato dishes, then the herbs may also be used with tomatillos.

Pollinators

Tomatillos must either be hand-pollinated or get some assistance from bees and other pollinators. Adding companion plants that attract these pollinators can assist in the pollination of your tomatillo plants. Marigolds and nasturtiums are two flowering plants that attract pollinators. Marigolds also have the added benefit of repelling nematodes in the soil, while nasturtiums discourage white flies.

Vegetables

Some root plants that work as companion plants to tomatillos include carrots and onions. Onions drive off beetles, spider mites and ants in the garden, plus you may use the onions after turning the tomatillos into salsa. Carrots split the soil as they grow so the roots of the tomatillo plants are not confined. Other vegetable plants that work nicely as a companion to this tomatillos include hot peppers and asparagus. The peppers help prevent root rot, while the asparagus shields the tomatillo plants from root nematodes. Tomatillos also grow nicely next to peas, which add nitrogen to the soil.

Unfriendly Plants

Tomatillos are incompatible with a couple of garden favorites, nevertheless. Corn and kohlrabi should be planted in a separate region of the garden when growing tomatillos. Corn attracts pests that attack the tomatillo plant, and kohlrabi stunts the development of this tomatillo plant. The plant does not grow well with fennel or dill, either. Both dill and fennel contain oils that inhibit root growth and could destroy neighboring plants. Potatoes and eggplants attract potato beetles and potato aphids and shouldn’t be planted near tomatillos, which can also be vulnerable to these pests.

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How to Dye Cushion Covers

Before getting rid of your old cushions and purchase new ones, consider the choice of dyeing the cushion covers at home. Whether they have become stained, dated or don’t match your decor any more, a cheap box of fabric dye will alter old cushion covers into something such as new. This do-it-yourself project will be most successful if your cushion covers are produced from a natural fiber like wool, cotton, linen or silk, and when their current color is lighter than the colour you would like to dye them.

Remove the covers from the cushions. If your cushion covers aren’t designed to be removed, carefully unpick one of the side seams with embroidery scissors or a seam ripper, just enough to take out the cushion kind or stuffing from the inside. Be ready to sew this seam back together by hand once you’ve dyed the covers — if you don’t have basic sewing skills, recruit a crafty friend or family member to assist.

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a saucepan or kettle. Put on your rubber gloves and apron.

Transfer the boiling water into your bucket or basin and sprinkle or squeeze in the water the amount of dye recommended for the approximate quantity of fabric you will be working with. Stir the mix with an old wooden spoon (one which will no more be utilized for food) until dye is fully dissolved into the water.

Add more warm water into the bucket or basin till you have enough water to fully submerge your cushion covers. You don’t have to boil the extra water, but allow the faucet run until it’s hot.

Place the cushion covers into the dye bath and submerge them with the wooden spoon until the cloth is fully saturated. Allow the cushion covers soak for approximately five minutes.

Add 1 cup of salt into the solution if your cushion covers are made from cotton, linen or rayon. If your cushion covers are silk, cotton or wool, add 1 cup of white vinegar instead. Stir the mix with the wooden spoon. The vinegar and salt assist the dye penetrate the cloth’s fibers.

Soak the cushion covers from the dye solution for around an hour, based on the thickness of color you would like. Every five minutes or so, agitate the cloth by wrap it around from the process with the spoon. Periodically lift one of the covers partially from the bathroom to examine its new color. Keep in mind that when the fabric is dry, the color will be lighter than it appears when moist.

Eliminate the cushion covers from the dye bath when the color is to your liking. Gently squeeze the excess dye alternative out. Rinse the cloth under warm water at first, then under cold water until the water runs clear. Squeeze the excess water from the cushion covers and dry them on a clothesline or at your dryer.

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Wood Burning Stove Facts & Practices

Wood burning stoves have a place in history as well as the present. But changing social attitudes about healthy air as well as the governmental regulations that have accompanied them mean that the wood burning stove today isn’t the same as yesteryear. In some nations, use of wood burning stoves as well as fireplaces are severely restricted. In California, the regulations vary according to county constraints or regulations imposed by the local Air Quality Management District. In the Bay Area, as an instance, only wood burning stoves that meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Phase II regulations could be legally installed or sold. Additionally, visible smoke emissions must be kept to a specified minimum standard, and even the timber commercially available to use in wood burning stoves or fireplaces must be seasoned and never to exceed that a moisture content of 20 percent.

Old-School Wood Burners

Wood burning stoves fabricated prior to the first round of EPA regulations took effect in 1988 are inefficient and discharge unhealthy levels of airborne particulates and toxic gases into outside air as well as the interior of the home. From a health standpoint, many of the long-term consequences of exposure to the release from a pre-1988 wood burning stove would be like those resulting from breathing second-hand cigarette smoke. If you are within a home heated by a wood burning stove and you can smell the wood smoke, you are being exposed to those health hazards. Since these old wood stoves burn wood more rapidly, they also use more fuel, cost more to work and create more residual by-products from the chimney and stove, like flammable creosote, which is a fire hazard.

The New Generation of Stoves

Newer wood burning stoves must comply with the EPA Phase II regulations which strictly limit emissions. Today, the EPA mandatory smoke emission limit is 7.5 grams of smoke per hour for noncatalytic stoves and 4.1 grams per hour for catalytic stoves. New technology in wood burning stoves has created these emission targets very accessible — several models have smoke emission levels as low as 1 gram per hour, and many burn seven times cleaner than old stoves. Consumers comparison-shopping to get a new wood burning stove might assess the EPA White Label affixed to your cooker for emissions specifications for that model.

Noncatalytic Models

Noncatalytic wood burning stoves would be the less expensive and much more widely-used models. These stoves incorporate several features to raise the efficiency of combustion and limit emissions. These include enhanced firebox insulation, a system to present preheated combustion air to the chamber and an expanded baffle to expand the gas pathway, resulting in more complete combustion of gaseous emissions. Some parts of a noncatalytic cooker, particularly the baffle, can degenerate over time because of exposure to high temperatures and require replacing.

Catalytic Stoves

Catalytic wood burning stoves are the most efficient and produce the least emissions. These units include a ceramic catalytic combustor coated with a rare-metal catalyst to combust gaseous components of smoke as well as airborne particulates, reducing emissions to a minimum. Catalytic stoves burn wood very slowly and create the best heat electricity output from a specified quantity of fuel. Earlier generations of catalytic wood-burners necessitated replacement of the catalytic combustor, sometimes in as few as two years, since the catalyst dropped effectiveness with time. But improvements in the technology have resulted in catalyst systems that last six to eight seasons with only nominal growth in emissions before replacement is needed.

Great Wood Practices

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) advocates specific wood burning techniques for greatest efficiency and decreased emissions from wood burning stoves. Softwood kindling like pine or fir is preferred for starting the fire because it ignites burns and fast warm, bringing the firebox up to temperature quickly. For the main passion, hardwoods like cherry and oak are dense forests that burn long and create less smoke, while delivering more heat energy than softwoods. All firewood of any sort should be “seasoned” — dried out, rather in a sheltered place — for at least six months following splitting. Some hardwoods may require as much as a year of seasoning before they are appropriate for burning. For use at a wood burning stove, CARB recommends wood that’s been dried to a moisture content of 20 percent or less by weight.

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The way to Establish a Regulator Clock

A regulator clock is a generic term for a wall-mounted, weight-driven clock regulated by a swinging pendulum. Invented in the late 18th century to improve upon the truth of spring-wound clocks, regulators usually have separate mechanisms for the hour and minute hands. Once the design was standardized in Vienna, regulator clocks became the most favored timekeeping apparatus in official locations like train depots and post offices throughout Europe and then America. In clock shops, a Navy had been always used as the time standard to which all other clocks in the store were put. Regulators are put by increasing or decreasing the speed of the pendulum swing.

Synchronize the regulator clock into a known accurate time source like the time displayed on a cellphone or pc. Expand the minute hand just in a clockwise direction to place the clock hands to the time.

Wait 24 hours, then compare the time on the regulator clock to the time exhibited through an accurate time source to ascertain any discrepancy in the clock’s precision.

Stop the swing of the pendulum and hold the pendulum still in 1 hand. Find the knurled pendulum speed adjustment nut to the shaft, just beneath the pendulum weight.

Expand the pendulum adjustment nut clockwise to accelerate the pendulum swing and boost the speed of the clock. Expand the pendulum adjustment nut counter-clockwise to slow the pendulum swing as well as the speed of the clock. Each 360-degree rotation of the nut alters the speed of the clock by 30 seconds each 24-hour period.

Wait another 24 hours, then evaluate the time on the regulator clock to the time exhibited through an exact time source. Make additional alterations to the nut to fine tune the accuracy of the clock. Accuracy to within plus or minus two minutes each week is deemed optimal for the design of a regulator clock and also generally can’t be further improved.

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Flowers for Planters That Get No Direct Sun

There are few pleasures greater than the usual house garden filled with flowers. When gardening in vandalism which will have no direct sunlight, you can enjoy a pretty display of easy-to-care-for perennial woodland plants which can grow happily in shade. Perennials provide displays which return every year.

Serpentine Columbine

Columbines are famous for their lovely, delicate foliage. The serpentine columbine (Aquilegia eximia) blossoms in the summer and spring, and its refined red flowers are attractive to hummingbirds. It’s well-suited to a Mediterranean climate and also likes some moisture but will tolerate brief periods of drought. Once established, the only other attention you want to give it’s in autumn, once you need to remove old flower stalks and leaf to make way for new growth in spring.

Lenten Rose

The Lenten rose (Helleborus x hybridus) is a staple of the shady garden, and also being a little plant, copes easily with growing in a planter. Its pink spring and winter flowers are reminiscent of wild roses and it has attractive, evergreen foliage. To take care of this plant, you need only remove spent flower stalks and water enough to keep the soil from drying out completely.

Ivy Leaf Cyclamen

The ivy leaf cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) offers the benefit of appealing flowers and leaf. It’s scented white or rose-pink blossoms and appealing silver-marked leaves. It blooms in late summer and autumn until the leaf appears, grows well in a Mediterranean climate and also tolerates most soil types. You can grow this little plant successfully in planters, in tiny clumps dotted among larger perennials. It tolerates drought well and will return year after year with little attention.

Rosada Coral Bells

Rosada coral bells (Heuchera ‘Rosada’) offers airy pink spring flowers on stalks that stand prettily over its leaf. This is a great flowering, medium-sized perennial which grows well in shade planters. It needs little watering and is attractive to beneficial insects and hummingbirds. The only attention you’ll need give it would be to remove its spent stalks after flowering.

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Ideas for Succulent Planters

Succulents are drought-tolerant plants that survive by storing water in their fleshy leaves. The cold tolerance of succulents varies considerably, and many varieties won’t withstand frost. Otherwise, succulents adjust to any climate provided that they have good drainage. Succulents current opportunities for experimentation and creativity because they thrive in almost any container, including teapots, urns, soup tureens, hollow logs, cooking pans, old boots and tennis shoes.

Dish Garden

A dish garden full of a miniature landscape created with succulents is simple to care for because the plants require no fertilizer and hardly any water. Proper containers include a pan, pottery dish or other container measuring approximately 2 inches deep. Promote drainage using a potting mixture consisting of one part sand and 2 parts potting mixture. Plant modest, slow-growing succulents like miniature agave, jade, aloe or echeveria. Interesting stones or figures complete the landscape.

Strawberry Pot

A strawberry pot is perfect for planting a variety of vibrant succulents. Fill the container with a fast-draining potting soil like regular potting soil mixed with sand or a potting mixture formulated especially for cacti and succulents. To include interest, plant a different succulent in each pocket of this container and two or three taller varieties in the container’s leading. Succulents that function well in a strawberry pot contain red stem portulacaria (Portulacaria afra), black knight echeveria (Echeveria affinis “Black Knight”), coppertone sedum (Sedum nussbaumerianum), flapjack kalanchoe (Kalanchoe thyrsiflora) and striped finger (Senecio talinoides var. mandraliscae). Place the pot in a sheltered place when temperatures fall below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Hens and Chicks

A large bowl full of the succulent called hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.) Adds visual interest because the tiny chicks fill the spaces between the larger hens, eventually forming a closely packed mound of texture and color. With time, hens and girls form a film of spidery white hair on the top. Any low, round bowl functions for hens and girls, and even a concrete bowl or an older, cracked urn makes an effective container. Be sure, however, that the container includes a minumum of one drainage hole in the bottom. Catch the container outdoors year around or pull it inside during cool, wet winters.

Groups of Three

Small potted succulents arranged in groups of three is a simple way to create a number of interesting arrangements. For instance, plant three succulents in three individual pots of different shapes or of slightly different sizes. The 3 succulents should vary in color and size, like two rosette-shaped echeveria (Echeveria spp.) , which develop in a number of colors, including blue, red, green, purple and brown. Change the third container with a long-leaved succulent like burro’s tail (Sedum morganianum) or pen cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli). Arrange the 3 containers any manner that pleases your eye, or place all three with a circular tray, platter or terracotta dish. Make sure each container has a drainage hole to stop stem rot.

Water Requirements

Even though most succulents are incredibly drought-tolerant, the plants benefit from occasional irrigation during warm, dry weather. Water them generously but only when their dirt is dry, and allow the pots to drain completely. The containers should never stand in water because succulents in soggy dirt develop stem decay quickly. Succulents require little or no water during their dormant period, which can be indicated by a marked decrease in their growth. Although many succulents go dormant during the winter season, some varieties, like Dudleya, a succulent native to California, are dormant during summer.

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What's a Bayberry Shrub?

Since Colonial times, wax surrounding the fruit of several shrubs from the Myrica genus has been boiled down to create fragrant bayberry candles. Though the deciduous bush generally referred to as bayberry (M. pensylvanica) rises around the East Coast just down to U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zone 7, at least three other bayberry, or wax myrtle, shrubs flourish in warmer climates. They are all evergreen, feature aromatic leaf and prosper in USDA zones 7 to 9.

Pacific Wax Myrtle

In windy oceanfront sites, the Pacific wax myrtle (M. californica) looks like a flattened mass of divisions. But from the wind, it’s a vertical tree or tree, reaching 10 to 30 feet in height. Adaptable to either sun or shade, the wax myrtle’s new growth comes in mild green, contrasting with the ripe leaf of darker green and a waxier texture. Assets of the tree contain dense, attractive, serrated foliage and purplish, wax-coated nutlets that lure birds. The tree requires ample water to encourage its rapid growth design and is sensitive to frost.

Southern Wax Myrtle

Generally smaller than the Pacific variety, the Southern wax myrtle (M. cerifera) seldom exceeds 12 feet high. It tends to create multiple trunks, in addition to clusters of bluish-gray berries that last through the winter. A handsome plant with olive-green foliage, the tree has eye-catching bark that ranges from grey to almost white on some specimens. While getting established, it requires constant moisture, but also in subsequent years it will tolerate either drought or flood conditions. An unusually adaptable plant, it even withstands confinement within urban areas.

Swamp Bayberry

With bigger leaves and a denser look than the Southern wax myrtle, the swamp bayberry (M. heterophylla) earns its name by growing in poorer soils, which range from sand to clay, especially where water accumulates. The fast-growing tree, indigenous to the Southeast, typically reaches 8 to 12 feet. Foliage is dark green, with 5-inch leaves that are fragrant when crushed. After the waxy fruit appears, it’s small, round and contains a white to grey colour.

Landscape Uses

Taller varieties, like the Pacific wax myrtle, make excellent displays when implanted in multiples. All types can get effective hedges, whether ripped or casual. Because of the odor from the leaves, a bayberry hedge along a walkway could be a particular delight. The California native Pacific wax myrtle functions nicely as a part of woodland groups that include oaks and redwoods. With its multiple stems, the Southern wax myrtle may be dressed as a specimen plant close to your home. All three tolerate very wet locations, so they could adapt to seacoast places.

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How to Landscape with a Hedge Fence

A hedge fence defines boundaries and keeps unwanted traffic out of a yard whilst still providing the soft-scape advantages of plants. The fence is produced by planting shrubs and trees close to each other so their branches and foliage develop together and appear as a single unit. Evergreen plants deliver year-round green coverage in a hedge fence, or family fence, but a lot of deciduous shrubs can offer dense coverage even when stripped of their leaves in sunlight. Based on the hedge plants you utilize, the family fence might even have the ability to keep animals and intruders from passing through.

Incorporating a Hedge Fence

Create a wind screen and privacy hedge fence to define the borders of your back yard by utilizing tall, columnar conifers. Such conifers incorporate Canadian hemlock (Tsuga canadensis) and pyramidal arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis “Pyramidalis”). Space the hemlock plants about 2 feet apart and the arborvitae 3 to 5 feet apart.

Plant a 1- to- 3-foot tall hedge between your yard and walkways, patios or driveway to guide visitors to the hard-scapes and deter unwanted foot traffic to your yard. 1 option for this type of hedge is Japanese holly “Dwarf Pagoda” (Ilex crenata “Dwarf Pagoda”), that grows to a maximum of only 30 inches tall and doesn’t have the sharp barbs commonly related to hollies. Another option is wall germander (Teucrium chamaedrys), which grows 1 to 3 feet tall and includes corrugated leaf with pink-to-dark purple flowers that bloom from summer into autumn.

Plant a 4- to- 6-foot tall hedge screen between your front yard and the sidewalk. Utilize a frequent hedge plant such as American boxwood (Buxus sempervirens), Amur River privet (Ligustrum amurense) or English yew (Taxus baccata), each of which fills in fast with dense foliage. These shrubs are capable of growing 10 feet tall and taller so require regular pruning to keep a lower height. They fill in fast, however, providing an entire drop in only a couple of years.

Coordinate with your brand-new neighbor about planting a hedge fence to separate your own properties. If you both can agree on a drop species, then you can share price, pruning and maintenance obligations while both benefiting from the plants.

Plant a hedge using barbed plants to keep unwanted traffic out of your yard. Barbed plant possibilities contain flowering quince (Chaenomeles spp.) , red barberry (Berberis thunbergii atropurpurea) and scarlet firethorn (Pyracantha coccinea). This type of hedge can be used as a border along a wooded area to keep wildlife out or to surround your house as protection against burglary.

Include deer-resistant varieties in the hedge fence should you stay in an area where foraging deer are a frequent problem. Doing so will stop you from having to contend with deer eating the hedge’s foliage and making gaps in your fence. Lavender (Lavandula spp.) and rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) Function well for low hedge borders while forsythia (Forsythia spp.) , heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and juniper (Juniperus spp.) Are leading choices for taller hedge plantings.

Plant a hedge fence of flowering shrubs should you want to add more color than the hues of green typical of most plants. Densely planted shrubs such as azalea and rhododendron (Rhododendron spp.) , limelight hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata), roses (Rosa spp.) And common lilac (Syringa vulgaris) include color and fragrance to your living fence.

Planting and Training a Hedge Fence

Dig a trench to your hedge fence plants in a location that offers enough room to accommodate the adult size of the selected plants. Dig the trench as deep as the plant root balls and twice as broad as the first planters.

Plant the plants in the trench, using the nearest possible spacing for the selected plant variety or varieties so the hedge grows dense without gaps. The plant spacing usually is 8 to 24 inches for small to large shrubs and up to 6 feet for large, coniferous trees. It can take as much as 10 years for a hedge fence to develop to maximum height, but the sides of crops fill in fast with close spacing. An alternate is to space the hedge plants a bit further apart through planting and enable them to grow in their normal form once you prune to encourage dense growth. You could save hundreds of hours spent trimming perfect boxed hedges should you embrace the organic form of the plant species.

Hard-prune the hedge plants in early spring till they’re in bloom. If they are blooming in early spring, then wait till after the blooming time to hard-prune them. Pinch the tips of the plants to induce branching close to the ground, removing as much as one-third of the total branch length. Severe pruning annually in spring and fall, during that about one-half of this new growth is removed, encourages plants to fill in fast. Also remove about one-third of this older growing stems annually to support new growth so the hedge remains dense and youthful; remove another one-third of the plant divisions each year for 2 more years to rekindle whole plants.

Shape the plants in order that the hedge fence tapers at the surface, allowing sunlight to reach the bottom and top of this hedge plants evenly. That shaping technique removes the potential for a top and thin growth at ground level.

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