Lifestyle Columns

Fix-It Chick: Tips for protecting a wood deck or fence using stain, finish

Wooden decks and fences last longer if they are protected with a stain or oil finish. Pressure treated lumber should not be treated with anything until after it has aged a full year. Cedar wood does not need to be treated at all. Regular maintenance of wooden decks and fences is the best way to ...

Garden Variety: Soil depth at base of trees key for long-term health

Trees with soil or mulch piled around the bases of their trunks exhibit symptoms of stress and have shorter life spans than trees that are planted and maintained at the proper depth. Well-meaning gardeners who are planting trees, building tree rings, grading soil around trees, adding mulch and ...

Fix-It Chick: Cleaning tips to make outside deck look brand new

Outdoor living areas need spring cleaning, too. Now is the perfect time to give that old wooden deck an easy face-lift with some good old elbow grease and a little deck cleaning solution. Step 1: Choose the deck cleaner that best suits the needs of the deck. Bleach-based deck cleaners contain ...

Garden Variety: Spotting different traits in 2 types of locust trees

Black locust trees are captivating in mid-May when their large, fragrant white blossoms open and make the medium to large trees suddenly apparent along the edges of wooded areas and in small groves. Black locust is sometimes confused with honey locust because of the name, but the two trees have ...

Healthy Outlook: Sweating it out in an infrared sauna

There’s something to be said for working up a good sweat. After a long workout or hard physical labor, I sometimes feel as though the earned perspiration is stress leaving my body. On a stressed-out whim this week, I decided to go let the infrared sauna at Optimal Wellness and Cryospa, 4931 ...

Gifts from nature: creative inspiration and free art supplies

Now is the perfect time of year to spend time outdoors, and if you need an excuse to do so, gathering ideas and art supplies is a great one. It’s fun to keep your eyes open for treasures when you are on a hike, weeding your garden or just strolling through the neighborhood. I have always ...

Author J. Drew Lanham talks Kansas ahead of his visit to Lawrence

I’m not the only one who views J. Drew Lanham as a superhero of advocacy for the natural world — especially for greater participation among people of color as well as increased celebration of birds! Lawrence Public Library is partnering with community organizations for Lanham’s visit — ...

Fix-It Chick: Replace old dishwasher with new, updated model in 12 steps

Replacing an old dishwasher with a new updated model is a project most homeowners can tackle on their own. Step 1: Measure the dishwasher opening to assure that the new washer will fit. Most dishwashers are standardized in size, but it never hurts to double check. Step 2: If the old ...

Healthy Outlook: Struggling moms, you are not alone

The pressure on a soon-to-be mom or the mother of a newborn is something I cannot begin to fathom, and the weight on the shoulders of a woman simultaneously struggling with mental health issues is that much greater. Imagine everyone you know and love expecting you to be all smiles and joy, ...

Garden Variety: Watch for diseases when planting popular hostas

Hostas are one of the most popular landscape plants in the U.S., known and loved for their shade tolerance, wide array of colors and sizes, and low maintenance requirements. Although they have few pest problems, the plants are susceptible to a disease known as Hosta Virus X (HVX) and gardeners ...

Garden Variety: Hummingbirds make return after winter migration

Ruby-throated hummingbirds, the only hummingbird species common in Kansas, are making their way back to the area after their annual journey to Mexico and the tropics for the winter. If you are interested in attracting these beauties to your yard, now is the time to add flowers and plants as ...

Fix-It Chick: Resurface brick walkway, patio

Brick walkways and patios are timeless, durable additions to any home, but over time the joints between the bricks can become compromised. Brick walkway or patio mortar joints need to be almost level with the brick tops to avoid water damage, as well as to deter unwanted plant growth. Repairing ...

Fix-It Chick: Replace trailer light plug end in 11 quick, easy steps

Replacing a worn-out four-wire trailer plug is a quick and easy job.Step 1: Use a pair of diagonal pliers or a wire cutters to remove the existing plug from the trailer.Step 2: Take the old plug end to the hardware store or automotive store and find a matching replacement plug. If the wires on ...

Garden Variety: Wild growth of Callery pears concerns conservationists

Callery pear trees are easy to spot this time of year in the landscape, on roadsides and in unmanaged pastures. They have stiff upright branches loaded with white blossoms that are part of what have made them a popular choice in landscape plantings since the 1960s. In recent years, the number ...

Healthy Outlook: I failed traveling healthy, but I’ll do better next time

I travel so infrequently that I didn’t realize I needed to check my bag before I got into the security line at the Kansas City airport. Thus, my trip began with a mildly embarrassing, panic-stricken moment, but otherwise it was off to a great start. Yet I hadn’t even considered how starving ...

Fix-It Chick: Replace a classic deadbolt lock with electronic version

Replacing an existing deadbolt with an electronic deadbolt can eliminate the need for house keys and make getting into your home easier for those who you want to let in. Most keyless deadbolts have the ability to be programmed with multiple security codes. It is easy to program a code to give a ...

Garden Variety: Upcoming Garden Show offers education, expertise

Next Saturday, April 28, the Douglas County Extension Master Gardeners are sponsoring a one-day educational Garden Show to celebrate spring and share their expertise. This free event is from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds, 2110 Harper St., Lawrence.The Master Gardener ...