7 Strategies to Help Someone Hit by a Hurricane

My aunt Marilyn knows she is one of the lucky ones. You might question this. She fell and broke her leg a month ago and has been in a wheelchair ever since. She’d already been staying with her daughter and son-in-law for a few weeks when Hurricane Sandy torn through Tom’s River, New Jersey and bombarded her house. She lost her car and everything in her garage and a few of the bedrooms. Only the arrangement was insured for flood, so in addition to having a massive mess to clean up, she is thousands of dollars out of pocket. And she considers herself blessed.

She’s neighbors who lost everything and, without flooding insurance of any kind, are starting over. They too are thankful to be living.

This was how I felt a couple of decades ago when an arsonist randomly set our house on my family escaped with the clothes on our backs. We lost everything but were thankful to be living and were amazed by the generosity and attention of the community. It is so tough to eliminate everything and begin over even once you have an intact and thriving support system. I can only imagine the challenge when everybody around you’re equally devastated, like after Hurricane Sandy.

Federal Emergency Management Agency

What You Can Do to Assist

Nearly all people have seen the desolation caused by Sandy. In the U.S. alone: more than 110 dead, millions without power, thousands homeless, neighborhoods wiped out and whole towns ravaged. That is when those of us from a distance can measure up, reach out and be extended community, but it may be daunting to know what to do or where to start.

Maybe you have friends who lost their house or belongings in Hurricane Sandy and you want to help. I have a couple recommendations.

Before Photo

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Think before you speak. Less is truly more when it comes to words. Beyond”I’m so sorry” there isn’t a whole lot to say. It feels inadequate, and that’s OK. Odds are, your friends aren’t philosophizing, however if they are attempting to put their reduction in perspective, only listen. It is 1 thing for the people who have lost all their worldly goods to state,”It is just stuff,” and another thing entirely for you to state it, from your hot and intact home surrounded by all of your stuff.

Listen. No matter your friends have been through or lost, they have a story to tell. My friend Sue went to serve in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Her group distributed food, clothing and other basics. She asked everybody who came across the line,”What’s your story?” Every single person stopped to tell her and appeared more excited to talk than to eat.

Try to find a practical need and fulfill it. Don’t say,”I want to know if there is a way I could help.” People in crisis often don’t know what they need, and when they do, might still be reluctant to request assistance. This is often said to finish a dialogue, but resist the impulse. If you truly want to be useful, figure out what has to be done and do it.

American Red Cross

Send money. Writing a check to family and friends may seem impersonal, but it’s one of the most helpful things you can do. Disasters are costly. Something the majority of us do not consider is the prohibitive expense of flood insurance. A lot of people who lost their homes and businesses were not fully insured. Even in the best cases, there are apparently endless out-of-pocket expenditures.

Assist with the logistics. Some people curl up in the fetal position in the thought of insurance types. If you’re an”I” dotter along with a”t” crosser, consider giving your time to help a friend fill out and file paperwork.

American Red Cross

Organize an image drive. When our house burned down, which I mourned most deeply was the reduction of most our pictures and videos. Friends and family sorted through their images and started to ship them. It had been great to have numerous replaced and to look through them together.

Open your home. This is one of the most profoundly beneficial and compassionate things you can do. Losing your house and all of your possessions is a surreal experience, and rebuilding is a long and arduous process. Once an whole area is ruined, the rebuilding process is much slower. Even if it’s just for the brief duration, sharing your house is an extraordinary approach to help a friend get back on his or her toes.

Resource Guide: Recovering from a Hurricane

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Southern California Gardener's November Checklist

The days are becoming shorter, and the odor of cinnamon and pumpkin seed will soon be in the air. It may seem like your garden is headed for its winter nap, but in Southern California there is always something you can do to create your beds as bountiful as the Thanksgiving Day feast. Just a little legwork today will ensure amazing blooms in spring and winter-long produce in your veggie garden.

It’s still prime planting season in Southern California, especially for sailors, Mediterranean plants and cool-season veggies. See below for planting tips and extra garden tasks.

Habitat Design

Cut back (many) perennials. And grasses too. To get sages (Salvia, Perovskia as well as others) search for new expansion pushing against the bottom of the plant, then cut this year’s expansion, leaving 4 to 6 inches of stem.

For warm-season grasses, the last year’s growth typically browns out in the autumn. Cut it back to 4 to 6 inches too.

Las Pilitas Nursery

Prepare for winter . Thin evergreen trees before the winter storms arrive to decrease wind resistance and the prospect of storm damage. Hire a certified arborist or read up on proper pruning methods if you are intending to do the task yourself.

Treat peach leaf curl. If leaf curl (puckered leaves which turn yellow or reddish ) was an issue in your peaches and nectarines this year, spray them with lime sulfur once they go dormant.

Caution:Avoid spraying apricot trees, as lime sulfur is toxic for them.

J. Peterson Garden Design

Overseed warm-season lawns with annual rye — or not. Warm-season lawns (Bermuda, St. Augustine, Zoysia etc.) are going into dormancy. When the seasonal siesta and its accompanying brown color are not to your taste, now’s the time to overseed your lawn with annual winter rye grass. Here’s how.

• Give the yard a supershort haircut.
• Sow the seeds per the bundle label.
• Top-dress the place with nice compost.
• Maintain the ground damp until you find the grass sprout.
• Once you’ve got a great 3 to 4 inches of expansion, you are ready for the very first mowing.

Continue planting cool-season veggies and flowers this month. Leafy varieties and root crops love the cooler weather which November brings.

Plant broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, kale, kohlrabi, mustard, lettuce and other greens. Root crops include beets, carrots, radishes, and turnips. Make the most of the vast range of varieties now readily available in the nursery or through seed catalogs.

The New York Botanical Garden

Sow onions and garlic this month for harvesting next June.

Short-day, aka group 1 or chilly onions, go at the ground this month. Some Fantastic onion varieties for SoCal comprise Imperial Sweet, Grano and Crystal Wax.

Shades Of Green Landscape Architecture

Give berries a bit love this month. Divide and plant last year’s tomatoes or make bare-root varieties from the nursery at the ground before mid-November.

Cut back the old canes of berry crops (blackberry, boysenberry, raspberry, ollalaberry, loganberry etc.) into the ground. Leave fresh smooth-barked canes that grew this year to bear fruit .

Caution: For low-chill raspberries, wait till December or January to cut the canes back.

Margie Grace – Grace Design Associates

Sow wildflower seeds in anticipation of winter rains. Pick a Western wildflower seed mixture that includes both annuals and perennials, or find your favorite flower seeds and create your own blend.

A few showy wildflower species which do good in our Southern California climate comprise California poppies, larkspur, Lineria, Baby blue eyes, Clarkia, Chinese houses, Godetia and lupine.

The Todd Group

Spring-flowering bulbs. Continue planting any spring-flowering bulbs you didn’t get in the ground last month. Bulbs to plant now include anemones, daffodils, grape hyacinth, ranunculus, scilla, several species of tulips, freesia, Ixia, Sparaxis and Watsonia.

Enjoy the fruits of this season. Beautiful persimmons dangling from trees are hitting their tastiest this month. This bright, autumn-y fruit comes on as the leaves drops, leaving small”lanterns” hanging from the branches that are bare.

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Meet the New Super Toilets

Indoor plumbing is possibly the best invention in the history of humankind (with the potential exception of Peeps sushi). Along with the porcelain and chrome toilets that grace most baths in the darkened world work good. While most men and women believe, “When it ai not broke, why fix it?” Some gadget-happy companies — especially in Japan — say, “Why not?”

Fancy electrical high-tech toilets, which the Japanese call super toilets, can be located in more than 72 percent of Japanese households. At minimum they include a bidet attribute and many times a chair warmer.

High-tech features vary, but the majority of the toilets use electricity to give warming, automation and bidet functions.

More: Dream Tubs for Bath Lovers


Numi Toilet

The Kohler Numi’s squarish, angled shape, subtle switches and strange automatic lid make it seem like it is anything but a bathroom.

It’s a motion-activated lid which automatically opens when anyone stands in front of it and exactly what Kohler calls “advanced bidet functionality,” which is an integrated air dryer.

The appliance, however, goes beyond the normal functions of a bathroom and adds atmosphere. It’s a heated seat and even a subtle air port that warms the floor in front of the fixture.

It has an atmosphere light and a music player. A touch-panel distant, which attaches to the bathroom with a magnetic docking station, lets you customize each of the settings.

Contemporary Toilets

The leading super bathroom manufacturer in Japan is a business called Toto. And if you’ve ever seen a wonderful hotel in Japan with a Toto bathroom, you know that you’re not in Kansas anymore.

Toto’s most advanced toilets are sold exclusively in Japan, with controllers labeled only in Japanese. The most advanced Toto bathroom you may purchase in the United States is the Washlet S300.

It’s a heated bench, a remote-controlled bidet attribute with air drying and also the option of an oscillating bidet stream of water.


W+W Toilet

Roca W+W, which stands for “washbasin plus water closet,” uses advanced technology to help the environment.

The water appliance saves, filters and chemically treats the sink you use to wash your hands and brush your teeth then reuses that water for flushing the toilet.

The net result is that you utilize the identical quantity of water in the sink but zero additional water for the bathroom.

More: Dream Showers Enable You To Soap Up In Style | How to Replace a Toilet in an Hour

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7 Tips To Merge Your Attic Into a Extra Living Room

In case you have a growing family, you may discover that it’s becoming increasingly more challenging to agree on a living room activity (or a tv station). Appease your household by creating a second area to hang out — a living room attic. Cozy and comfy, an attic living room gives an additional space where you can reunite or watch your favorite sitcom while everyone else is glued into the football match.

Try some of the design hints from a professional to receive your transformation going.

Heather ODonovan Interior Design

Get the ceiling in on the act. “Extend paint or background beyond the walls to the ceiling,” advises designer Heather O’Donovan. This gives sloped walls an even more snug and enclosed feeling.

LDa Architecture & Interiors

Cover up the flooring. Nowadays it seems rare that homeowners wish to forgo hardwood flooring, but attics might be the exception. “This is 1 area I prefer carpet,” says O’Donovan. “It keeps the noise down in anything rooms are beneath the attic making it easy to throw big floor cushions around for additional seating.”

Welcome the sun. In case you don’t already have windows at the area, consider having one installed. Ample natural light will create a cheerier and more inviting area.

Ashley Roi Jenkins Design

Consider a fireplace. Amplify the loft’s natural coziness by adding a fireplace, if at all possible. Contemporary decoration fireplaces are a fantastic option that take up minimum space.

Do not sell furnishings brief. Sloped ceilings often impede visual distance, but don’t feel that equates to the need for miniature furnishings. “Keep furniture low but not modest,” says O’Donovan. “Too small and you have Grandma’s attic, not a modern lounge for you and your pals.”

MN Builders

Do not go crazy with all the tv. Maintain the tv size under control. “Too big, and it can throw away the scale of everything in the room,” says O’Donovan. “I wouldn’t go much bigger than a 32-inch.”

Jacob Lilley Architects

Produce a warm glow. “Chandeliers and reduced — but again, not modest — table lamps provide lovely ambient lighting while working nicely,” says O’Donovan. “Once you carve out a cozy reading nook, you wish to have the ability to see your book.”

More: The best way to convert an attic or basement

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Fantastic Design Plant: Globe Thistle

Globe thistle (Echinops rito) is a plant with star power; put it on centre stage in your backyard and it will not disappoint. An herbaceous perennial native to central and eastern Europe and central Asia, it’s well adapted to a lot of regions of the U.S. It’s a dramatic, sculptural plant which features beautifully shaped bicolor foliage and striking blue blossoms. Globe thistle blooms for weeks during the latest period of summer — you won’t need to put this baby in the corner!

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Botanical name: Echinops ritro
Common name: Globe thistle
USDA hardiness zones: 3 to 9 (find your zone)
Elevation range: To 7,000 ft
Water requirement: Moderate to non
Light requirement: Total sun
Mature size: 2 to 4 feet tall and 2 to 3 feet broad
Fun fact: The genus Echinops derives its name from the Greek word for “just like a hedgehog.”

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Benefits and tolerances: Bold, architectural type; long-blooming blossoms that are acceptable for cutting or drying; tolerant of full sun, poor soils, heat and drought
When to plant: Spring through fall
Seasonal attention: Unique blue flowers July through October, peaking in late July into mid-August
Distinguishing traits: Stiff white blossom stems emerge out of a foundation of large, deeply lobed, spiny leaves that are green on the upper surface and white and woolly below. Blue blossoms form a round inflorescence that looks like a golf ball coated with blue bugle beads.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

The best way to utilize it. Plant globe thistle as an accent plant in a perennial border, cottage garden or garden. Its coarse texture and intriguing blooms stand out in both formal and informal designs. Position globe thistle where you can enjoy seeing the bees and butterflies which will come to visit. You’ll also wish easy accessibility to take cuttings for new bouquets and dried arrangements.

To wash the globes, cut them until the flowers fully open and then hang the stems upside down.

Globe thistle will show to best advantage when it’s paired with plants with contrasting foliage textures, such as daylilies (Hemerocallis spp), tall garden phlox (Phlox paniculata) and ‘Powis Castle’ sage (Artemesia ‘Powis Castle’).

Group some lower-growing plants — like sun rose (Helianthemum nummularium) or Missouri evening primrose (Oenothera macrocarpa) — round the bottom of earth thistle to hide the lower foliage, which can find a bit ratty looking.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Planting notes. Place world thistle in full sun and plant it in well-drained soil. Porous, sandy loam is perfect, but world thistle is fairly elastic. Plants may require staking if they are grown in a rich, moist soil. Deadhead to reduce self-sowing.

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Pacific Northwest Gardener: Things to Do in September

I want to enjoy my garden, not be a slave for it, and with five acres to perform, which means planning. Whether you’ve got a patio garden or a estate, your garden will be greater if you take some time to put down your pruners and pick up your laptop and camera. September is the perfect month to take stock of everything did nicely, what was a disaster and what needs changing.

Take these lawn jobs at a leisurely rate. September is the past reliably warm gardening month for those of us in the northern parts of this region, so enjoy it!

Milieu Design

Time to take stock. As you walk round taking care of the couple seasonal chores I list, be sure to take notes on which plants thrived and then fizzled out. Can it be due to lack of water? Infection? Overcrowding?

Are there any areas of your garden that you are just not satisfied with but can not figure out why? Take some brutally honest photographs. These aren’t the ones to talk with the world on Facebook, but may be taken into a nursery professional for advice. It may be that some plants need thinning, or there isn’t adequate foliage interest to hold the vignette together throughout the year.

Hiring an experienced garden coach or consultant also could save you time and money, since they can help you identify the problem quickly and provide lots of solutions which integrate nicely with the rest of the picture.

Jocelyn H. Chilvers

Plant cool-season edibles. Kale, cabbage, spinach and Swiss chard are favorites. Radishes and lettuce also will have plenty of time to grow and be harvested prior to the cold weather comes.

September is also the ideal time to plant onions and garlic. Cover those with bird figurines raised a few inches with blocks of wood or old nursery pots. Birds appear to like to peck at these emerging tips! Once the roots have established, the netting can be taken off.

For more great ideas on the best way best to grow cool-season crops, enjoy this ideabook.

Gardeners at the marine Northwest will find Growing Vegetables West of the Cascades by Steve Solomon invaluable.

Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC

A bit light tidying. September is the best time to putter. Continue to clip dead blossoms from earlier-blooming perennials, shrubs and roses, but make a few seed heads on plants like coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans for the birds to enjoy.

Remove mushy or diseased leaves promptly (make sure you check at ground level) to reduce the danger of disease.

Le jardinet

Container care. Your containers need to need refreshing just rarely before late October.

Here, begonia ‘Bonfire’ (Begonia boliviensis ‘Bonfire’)proceeds to burst with orange blossoms, richly supported by the vivid foliage of coleus (Solenostemon scutellarioides) and sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas cvs). A walnut (Acer palmatum ‘Arakawa’) takes centre stage and shortly will add fall color to the blend.

Michelle Jacoby, Changing Spaces

If your containers look in need of a tiny pick-me-up, switch out exhausted annuals with seasonal shade spots like asters, chrysanthemums (like the burgundy ones pictured here) or cape plumbago (Plumbago auriculata). Be sure to select colours that blend with the staying container plants for a cohesive look. (Wait till October to add spring bulbs and fresh fertilizer — tips on that next month.)

Le jardinet

If all else fails, cheat! Nestle a colorful pumpkin or gourd into a container to add some life to a summer style.

Smith & Vansant Architects PC

Lawn care. Lawn, pasture, meadow or area — just how can you specify your mountainous areas? We have all four, and when I’m truthful, their definition is mainly dependent on the amount of time and care we give them.


Dr. Earth Super Natural Lawn Fertilizer – $63.69

For those of you that are better yard care givers than that I am, this is the month to fertilize in order to develop a strong root system for winter. Organic fertilizers frequently incorporate a blood and bone meal component that consumers love, therefore keep Fido indoors until the clogs have watered it in well. Select a slow-release product.

Prevent ‘weed and feed’ products, that can be an unnecessary expenditure and add herbicide to your whole lawn. Accept a number of weeds, spot treat in the event that you truly need to, but focus on building a healthy yard to outcompete these weeds.

Mow as necessary, but onto a moderate-high setting; don’t scalp it! Leave the clippings as mulch to help conserve moisture and add nutrients back into the ground. When leaves begin to scatter upon the grass from neighboring trees, mow them over too. (When there are plenty of leaves, it’d be better to rake them up and put them into the compost pile).


Manual Lawn Spike Aerator – $27.30

Getting air to the roots of grasses is vital, so if you did not do this in spring, then do it today. Many programs are available to make light work of aeration, but for smaller lawns, a hefty whack with a garden fork or spike aerator like this one will do the job just fine.

Most lawns from the U.S. Pacific Northwest region include cool-season grasses, so fall is the ideal time to overseed any sparse regions or create a new lawn. Be sure to do this at least one month prior to your expected first frost.

Witt Construction

Love it! Now it’s time to settle back and relax, enjoying the last of the summer sunshine before shifting flip-flops for boots.

More: Guides for your Northwest garden

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