Spending Memorial Day At Home

Staying home this holiday weekend?  Here are some great ideas to get ready for a great summer!

Memorial Day traditionally represents the kick-off of summer. Kids are getting out of school (that’s not so much the case this year), families are making summer vacation plans, and backyard barbecues are on everyone’s minds. This is also a great time of the year to get your house in order and ready for the summer season. The following is a handful of ideas and tips to help you with this process.

 

Outdoor Spaces

GardeningGardening It’s not too late to start your garden! This weekend I will be planting an herb garden; I planted summer vegetables a few weeks ago.  If you’re thinking of doing the same, just make sure you use starts because many summer harvest vegetables won’t start from seed this late in the season.

Outdoor living My home has an outdoor space with great potential, including a partially covered patio perfect for entertaining. This weekend I plan to upgrade the space with small touches to make it summer party ready. This includes finding outdoor lighting options, updating the seating and cleaning up the barbecue.

BBQ- Make sure your grill is ready to go this season by making sure everything is clean and in working order before you fire it up. In the northwest that includes making sure the fuel lines are spider-web-free. Also, make sure you have propane or charcoal on hand for impromptu dinners.

Clean Windows- Now is a great time to clean your windows, inside and out. Sun shows more dirt and smudges.

Lawn care- Prepare your lawn for the months ahead. Depending on where you live this means different things. Check your sprinkler system to make sure it wasn’t damaged over the winter; upgrade your lawn care to ensure fuller greens, check for and remove moss to prevent dead patches and start your weeding regimen.

Pool prep- If you have an outdoor pool, get it ready for a summer season of fun in the sun. Same goes for hot-tubs. Make sure your equipment has been serviced, chemicals are available and your pool is clean and ready to use. OR, head to the local hardware store and buy your kiddie pool now before they run out, as I learned one hot July!

De-winterize- I once was doused head to toe when we were turning the water back on to our exterior pipes because the pipe had split in the winter- so make sure all your pipes survived the cold, check your winterized projects and prepare your house for summer.  This is also a good time to look around the exterior, checking roof, gutters and siding.

Summarize- Check or replace AC filters, window screens, and household fans to make sure these are all functioning and will help provide maximum circulation in your house. Consider installing an attic fan or vent to help pull heat out of your home all winter long. Pack away excess cold weather items such as heavy blankets, jackets and other items so they aren’t in your way. Same goes for any sundry items you only use during fall and winter.

 

Inside Spaces

Lighten the Space- Though I likely won’t spend much time inside once the mercury rises, I want to keep the house as light and cool as possible. I have found that replacing the curtains with a lighter shade lets the light in, but also keeps the rooms from overheating from sun exposure. Summer always makes me want to lighten up with the accessories- lighter colors, more whites, bright accents and less clutter.

Rearrange- Freshen up spaces by rearranging some of your wall art. If you don’t have enough wall pieces to rearrange regularly it may be time to add to your collection. You can find inexpensive original art online at stores such as Etsy or in person at local galleries. You can always play with other items like framed images from books, vintage posters or record albums. Here are some terrific ideas for using what you have to add interest to a room.

SpringCleanupAir it out- Open all the windows, shake out the rugs and update home fragrances to fit summer moods (citrus, freesia, clean linen, coconut, melon, fruits and tropical, etc.). You can create your own diffuser with essential oils to distribute fragrance. This may be more symbolic than practical but it always makes me feel ready for summer.

Paint- If you have a room you really want to refresh, a three-day weekend is a good time to take on a project of scale, so you have plenty of time to prep, paint, dry, and clean up. Painting is one of the least expensive ways to really transform how a room feels. Need help picking colors and paint type? Here is some good advice.

Garage or Basement- Tackle a big space that makes a big difference. Our garages and basements often become year-long dumping grounds for seasonal decorations and clothing, items that don’t fit in cabinets, memorabilia and maintenance tools. Go through your items and sort by keep, throw out and donate/sell and then group your keeps by function. Make sure your tools are accessible for easy gardening and entertaining by making sure your tools are accounted for, ready to go, and easy to reach. Here is a useful video on garage organization.

Yard/Garage Sale- If you have overflow at your house, plan a yard/garage sale to get rid of items you no longer need or want. Just make sure to pack everything up and donate it at the end of the sale otherwise you are just letting the clutter back in!

Plan a party- Once your space is all cleaned up and redecorated you will want to show it off! Plan a summer BBQ, dinner party, pool party, picnic or any other gathering.

 

What are your planning for Memorial Day weekend?

Source: Tara Sharp – Windermere Blog


Posted on May 15, 2020 at 5:42 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Helpful Tips, Home & Projects, Spring, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Morel Season in North Idaho

Beautiful North Idaho has so much to offer! One great thing is all the edible mushrooms you can find. And spring is a great time to find them. But, you need to know what you’re doing and what you’re looking for as there are more poisonous mushrooms than edible ones. Check out some mushroom identification and tips below.

 

The most common and popular mushroom in our area is the morel. You have likely heard about morels, and may even have had the great pleasure of tasting one, but you want to be sure you know what you’re looking for if you choose to more hunt.

Where To Find Them

Don’t expect an expect morel hunter to share their secret more picking spots, for many reasons. The majority of morels grow in the wild, so even if they know you well, they will likely keep their spot a mystery. They wouldn’t want to visit their spot and find it picked clean.

But, as a new morel hunter, there are some tips on places to look. For whatever reason, they tend to grow in areas that were burned the previous year. Searching in a recent burn is a great way to get your feet wet and figure out exactly what you’re looking for.

Additionally, morels tend to grow in cottonwood forests, under elms and by rivers. Once you find one, you will likely find more.Unfortunately, the growth of morels are a bit perplexing and difficult to find which adds to the reward when you do find them.

 

How To Identify

You could be looking in all the right places, but if you don’t know what you’re looking for then you won’t get very far. Below are a few tips to positively identify a morel:

  • Honeycomb-like cap with brown pits and ridges
  • The cap is fully attached to the stem and doesn’t pop off
  • If you slice the mushroom in half, it will be hollow inside

 

False Morels

The are a couple morel lookalikes in the area that you will want to keep a lookout for when morel hunting as these mushrooms are poisonous:

Gyromitra esculenta - Wikipedia

Brain Mushroom

  • Hooded False Morel | Project Noah

    Hooded False Morel

    Brain Mushroom – The cap of this mushroom is more or less convoluted, round & brain like which come in various shades or brown to reddish brown. The difference between this mushroom and a morel is that the Brain Mushroom doesn’t have a honeycomb like cap. These mushrooms grow at the same time and in the same habitat as a true morel.

  • Hooded False Morel – The cap is brown and saddle shaped, it starts out smooth but becomes more convoluted/wrinkled as it matures. So, this mushroom also doesn’t have a honeycomb like cap either. It also grows at the same time and in the same habitat as a true morel.

 

Both of these morels grow in north Idaho and are poisonous. They can cause adverse physically reactions within 1-24 hours of ingestion and I would advise avoiding at all costs.

 

When To Look

The basic answer is spring time, so late April-early May. But that all depends on the year, elevation and temperature. Morels like warm soil, so you will likely find them in the lower elevations earlier in the year and higher elevations later on. Morel season could last up to 2 months. The best time to look is on a sunny day, after a rainstorm.

 

How To Pick, Process, Cook And Preserve

Like it was stated earlier, morels grow mostly in the wild. So you want to be sure to pick them correctly to allow for them to grow next year. Be sure to pinch or cut them at the base. Do not pull them up or remove the root ball. Additionally, carry them out with a woven basket or mesh bag. This allows for them to release and spread spores. Do not use a plastic bag which not only stops the spread of spores but it also makes your mushrooms get slimy quick.

How to Clean and Cook Morel Mushrooms | Serious EatsOnce you get your mushrooms home you want to be sure to immediately get them processed. First, get them washed. There are a couple schools of thought regarding washing a mushroom. You could just brush off any dirt and inspect for worms/pests. Not using water because that could cause the mushroom to soak it up and dilute the flavor. Or, you could soak them in salt water overnight to get rid of any worms/pests.

To prepare the mushrooms, they do need to be cooked. They taste the best when harvested at just the right time and cooked shortly after they are picked. These mushrooms are choice, highly priced and sought after so be sure to take your time and research the best way to prepare the mushroom to enhance the flavor. Click here for some resources I’ve found.

If you don’t plan to eat them right away, it’s best to store them in a brown paper bag on your counter for no more than a few days. Or, if you’d like to preserve them for longer, you could always dry them. You could use a dehydrator to do this or just thread them on a string and let it dry in an area that is hot, dry and with a slight breeze.

 

Other Mushrooms To Lookout For

There are many edible mushrooms in North Idaho, some show in spring and some grow in fall. It’s best to do your research to determine what’s edible and how to harvest and cook these mushrooms. Click here for a quick list of some edible mushrooms in North Idaho, and how to identify them.

Here are some gorgeous pictures of some wild mushrooms taken right here in our national forests:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Credit: TwinEagles, IdahoStatesman, FunFal Forager, Riverman

 

 


Posted on May 4, 2020 at 7:17 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Helpful Tips, Spring, Things to Do and See in North Idaho | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Gardening

Spring has sprung! It seems like it may be warm enough to start getting things in the ground, but we also live in North Idaho and could get random snow without warning. So, is it really a good time to start planting? Check out some tips below for getting fruits and veggies planted. It’s never too early to start planning.

 

When to Plant

On average, the last frost in the area is anywhere from May 8th-15th so planting before then is a bit dangerous. There are warmer years when the frost ends much sooner than that, but overall is a good idea to wait.

Wait to buy! All those big box stores are starting to bring out all their plants and flowers and they look great. But, the likelihood they will survive this early is up in the air without frost prevention measures. Resisting the urge to buy until it’s time to plant will save you money and time.

 

Seeding Indoors

Now is a great time to get some of your favorites seeded indoors. Purchasing seed packets are cheaper than plant starts and you get more options. You only need a few basic items and a warm, sunny window. Read all about how to start seeds indoors here.

 

Prepare Your Garden

Take a look at the winter damage in your garden. Make sure your perennial are still holding strong. Next, rake out any leaves or debris that’s left over. And pull out those weeds, the soil is wet so they will come out easier this time of year. If you choose to use a chemical to kill the weeds, be sure to read up on it so it doesn’t kill everything. Additionally, it’s not recommended to use vinegar as a weed killer. I will wilt the leaves and make them look dead, but their roots will still be alive. It will also damage the PH of your soil and kill the good micro-organisms living there.

person holding carrots

You can also start planning your 2020 garden. Figure out what and where you will plant things. A good idea is to not plant the same crops in the same spot each year, but rather to rotate them to prevent soil depletion and disease. Keeping a journal of your garden each year will help with that planning. It becomes a valuable tool year after year so you can know which plants thrive where, track weather patterns and planting times.

Don’t work with wet soil. It will compact and create rock hard mud balls which are impossible to work with. Only after the soil dries, should you gently turn the top layer of soil. No need for a deep rototilling, this will bring weed seeds to the surface. And before adding anything to your soil, it’s best to test it first so you know what it needs. You can find soil testing kits here.

 

Planting Calendar

You can plant cool season crops directly outdoors in late April or early spring. Those include peas, spinach, kale, lettuce, and carrots. But, of course, it all depends on the weather. If you plan to sow seeds directly into your garden, you will find that most of them do well when planted in early May. There are options if you want to transplant seedlings or start seeds indoors. Here are two great resources to help with timing of your planting:

 

Credit: Garden.org, Almanac.com, Coeur d’Alene Coop

 


Posted on April 21, 2020 at 5:55 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Helpful Tips, Home & Projects, Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Home Maintenance

If you’re like us, on the first day of spring you’re still waiting for the snow to melt so you can get on with enjoying spring properly. We’ve provided for you a quick home maintenance checklist of things to look over after a long winter.

 

Gutters

roof gutter home house water investment

Your rain gutters are designed to direct water away from your house. A yearly inspection for damage and improper drainage will help you keep your home from dreaded water damage. Image by Felix Ulich

Fall loves to dump leaves all over your roof and winter likes to cement them in your gutters. In early spring the freezing and thawing can cause the watery leaf dam to expand and crack your gutters and down spouts. Keep this frost heaving in check by cleaning out leaves as soon as you can. If you didn’t catch it in time, the spring is a great time to inspect for damage and get it replaced, if needed.  Remember, water that isn’t directed away from the house can permeate into your foundation causing loads of problems down the road, that is why it’s important for gutters to work properly.

 

 

 

 

 

Chimney

chimney roof break broken diy investment inspection

Lots of snow and strong winds can compromise your chimney and other brick work that your home might have. When you can safely get on the roof, inspect for water intrusion or any misplaced and ill fitting bricks. Image by AxxLC

Chimneys stick out like a sore thumb on the top of your house. That means they’re especially vulnerable to the wind and inclement weather of North Idaho winters. There are some chimney features that really need to be inspected after a winter. Check for obvious problems like bricks that look out of place or… if it’s fallen down. That’s a good indicator of a problem. Check the flashing at the base of your chimney. That’s the thin sheet of metal that keeps the water from puddling and directs it down the roof. Furthermore, a periodic cleaning of the inside bits will make it firstly, more efficient. And secondly, safer.

 

 

 

Siding

After a damp fall and winter your siding will most likely accumulate mold, mildew and dirt. You can easily fix this with a pressure washer. If you don’t own one, they cost maybe $30 to rent for a day. When you hose your house down, two magical things will happen: you will experience the oddly satisfying pleasure of pressure washing and your house will look brand new. Seriously.

Some of the worst areas are under eaves and near downspouts. Any stains and mold in these places definitely indicate that there is a problem with how your gutters are handling roof water.

 

Foundation

Remember when we said that water can permeate into your foundation and cause problems? Ground water is no joke and can completely compromise your home’s structural integrity. Concrete is porous and readily holds water and that water will cause the concrete to break down over time. If you live in areas that get cold, you also run the risk of frost heaving. Both of these scenarios will cause your foundation to crack, or your home to be unsettled and shift.

The spring is your first opportunity to check your foundation for any problem areas. We recommend checking near downspouts and areas that tend to be waterlogged.

 

 

Roof

roof house moss mold investment diy clean

Unless your roof moss problem is a wild animal, a simple gentle scrub with soap and water should fix your fuzzy roof. There are chemicals available at home improvement stores to make this process easier. Image by RitaE

Shingles, slate and other roofing materials are not indestructible. While you’re already on the roof checking out the smokestack and gutters, give the roof a good look over. Look for out-of-place shingles, sagging spots or raised shingles. Water will get in any way it can. Your vigilance will keep your roof at the apex of its abilities.

Additionally, check for moss or other organic material. Moss holds water like a pro and the last thing you want is water perched on your roof waiting to find a way in.

 

 

 

 

Lawn

grass lawn green landscape landscaping home yard

Feed your lawn with a fertilizer of your choosing to give your turf a head start this summer. Image by Hans Braxmeier

We have tons of leafy beautiful deciduous trees in our yards. Every spring, without fail, we find clumps of leaves we missed before the snow fell. When the snow is gone, go clean them up. Debris that is left on turf for too long will suffocate and deprive grass of valuable sunlight.  This is also a perfect opportunity to rake and fertilize your lawn and give it the best fighting chance for yard of the month.

 

 

 

 

Planting/Gardening

Spring is a great time to get started on getting the flower beds ready for the months of upcoming growth. After winter, your soil will be dried and packed, best to revitalize it with some compost or manure. This will increase the health of the soil and in turn, your plants. Trim up your existing shrubs and plants to allow for new growth. It is best to wait until mid-April or May to do this. If it’s still getting too cold for plants to survive overnight, start seeding indoors. Vegetables and annuals can be started indoors 6-8 weeks before planting them. Once soil temperatures have reached the optimal temperature for your plants, get them in your prepared soil outside. Some recommendations for good spring flowers/scrubs include the following:

Put manure & fertilizer in your soil to keep your plants healthy in summer months

Pansies

Snapdragons

Vegetables like lettuce, peas and arugula

Redbuds

Transplanting tomato plants from indoor pots to outside

Lilacs

Tulips

 

 

 

Pests

Many pests and critters breed in spring. You can help keep them in check by cleaning the places they would typically habituate. That includes basements, window sills, under cabinets, behind appliances and ceiling corners, just to start. Prevent unchecked population growth by getting rid of the dust and debris that would typically provide shelter. Keeping your counters and trash bins clean will offer less food to the critters. If you’re more concerned with poisonous spiders or the bugs are taking over, call the pest exterminators!

 

Energy Rating

This winter, we found tons of drafts and cold places throughout our house. This is not good. Remember, air is small and goes wherever it wants. Including your bathroom windows and under your front doors. You get the idea, and just think of all the dollars you are literally letting slip through the cracks. My dad always used to yell “Close the door! We’re not heating the neighborhood!” Turns out that if you don’t repair the seals and weather strips, you are- in fact, heating the neighborhood.

Also. Bugs are small, they too come through the cracks. See above.

 

Climate Control

Your furnace was crucial during the winter and fall. Your AC will probably be a close friend during the summer. Take care of your friend before its in the triple digits. There are some really easy preventative maintenance tasks that you can do, or if you don’t feel confident- call an HVAC technician to service and inspect it.

Some easy things you can do: clean and/or replace your air filters, check hose connections for leaks, dust/blow off/ vacuum dirt from fans & electronics and check drip pans.

Click here for a Printable Checklist!


Posted on March 16, 2020 at 7:57 pm
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Helpful Tips, Home & Projects, Spring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Spring Checklist

If you’re like us, on the first day of spring you’re still waiting for the snow to melt so you can get on with enjoying spring proper. We’ve provided for you, a quick home maintenance checklist of things to look over after a long winter. 

Gutters

roof gutter home house water investment

Your rain gutters are designed to direct water away from your house. A yearly inspection for damage and improper drainage will help you keep your home from dreaded water damage. Image by Felix Ulich

Fall loves to dump leaves all over your roof and winter likes to cement them in your gutters. In early spring the freezing and thawing can cause the watery leaf dam to expand and crack your gutters and down spouts. Keep this frost heaving in check by cleaning out leaves as soon as you can. If you didn’t catch it in time, the spring is a great time to inspect for damage and get it replaced.  Remember, water that isn’t directed away from the house properly can permeate into your foundation causing loads of problems down the road. 

 

 

 

Chimney

chimney roof break broken diy investment inspection

Lots of snow and strong winds can compromise your chimney and other brick work your home might have. When you can safely get on the roof, inspect for water intrusion or any misplaced and ill fitting bricks. Image by AxxLC

Chimneys stick out like a sore thumb on the top of your house. That means they’re especially vulnerable to the wind and inclement weather of North Idaho winters. There are some chimney features that really need to be inspected after a winter. Check for obvious problems like bricks that look out of place or… if it’s fallen down. That’s a good indicator of a problem. Check the flashing at the base of your chimney. That’s the thin sheet metal that keeps the water from puddling and directs it down the roof. Furthermore, a periodic cleaning of the inside bits will make it firstly, more efficient. And secondly, safe as heck. 

Siding 

After a damp fall and winter your siding will most likely accumulate mold and mildew and dirt like its going out of style. You can easily fix this with a pressure washer. If you don’t own one, they cost maybe $30 to rent for a day. When you hose your house down, two magical things will happen. You will experience the oddly satisfying pleasure of pressure washing and your house will look brand new. Seriously.

Some of the worst areas are under eaves and near downspouts. Any stains and mold in these places definitely indicate that there is a problem with how your gutters are handling roof water. 

Foundation

Remember when we said that water can permeate into your foundation and cause problems? Ground water is no joke and can completely compromise your home’s structural integrity. Concrete is porous and readily holds water that water will cause the concrete to break down over time. If you live in areas that get cold, you also run the risk of frost heaving. Both of these scenarios will cause your foundation to crack, or your home to be unsettled and shift.

The spring is your first opportunity to check your foundation for any problem areas. We recommend checking near downspouts and areas that tend to be waterlogged. 

 

Roof

roof house moss mold investment diy clean

Unless your roof moss problem is a wild animal, a simple gentle scrub with soap and water should fix your fuzzy roof. There are chemicals available at home improvement stores to make this process easier. Image by RitaE

As below, so above. Shingles, slate and other roofing materials are not indestructible. While you’re topside checking out the smokestack and gutters- give the roof a good look over. Look for out-of-place shingles, sagging spots or raised shingles. Water will get in any way it can. Your vigilance will keep your roof at the apex of its abilities. 

Additionally, check for moss or other organic material. Moss holds water like a pro and the last thing you want is water perched on your roof waiting to find a way in. 

 

 

Lawn

grass lawn green landscape landscaping home yard

Feed your lawn with a fertilizer of your choosing to give your turf a head start this summer. Image by Hans Braxmeier

We have tons of leafy beautiful deciduous trees in our yard. Every spring, without fail, we find clumps of leaves we missed before the snow fell. When the snow is gone go clean them up, debris that is left on turf for too long will suffocate and deprive grass of valuable sunlight.  This is also a perfect opportunity to rake and fertilize your lawn and give it the best fighting chance of yard of the month (instead of those Smith’s who have won it for the last 5 years).

 

 

 

Pests

Many pests and critters breed in spring. You can help keep them in check by cleaning the places they would typically habituate. Basements, window sills, under cabinets, behind appliances and ceiling corners are a good place to start. Prevent unchecked population growth by getting rid of the dust and debris that would typically provide shelter. Keeping your counters and trash bins clean will offer less food to the critters. If you’re more concerned with poisonous spiders or the bugs are taking over, call for reinforcements! (pest exterminators)

Energy Rating

This winter, we found tons of drafts and cold places throughout our house. This is not good. Remember, air is small and goes wherever it wants. Including your bathroom windows and under your front doors. You get the idea, and just think of all the dollars you are literally letting slip through the cracks. My dad always used to yell “Close the door! We’re not heating the neighborhood!” Turns out that if you don’t repair the seals and weather strips, you are- in fact, heating the neighborhood.

Also. Bugs are small, they too come through the cracks. See paragraph above.

Climate Control 

Your furnace was crucial during the winter and fall. Your AC will probably be a close friend during the summer. Take care of your friend before its in the triple digits. There are some really easy preventative maintenance tasks that you can do, or if yo don’t feel confident- call an HVAC technician to service and inspect it.

Some easy things you can do; Clean and/or replace your air filters, check hose connections for leaks, dust/blow off/ vacuum dirt from fans and electronics and check drip pans. Not too painful, right?

 


Posted on March 21, 2019 at 3:22 am
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Helpful Tips, Home & Projects, Spring |

Its Mushroom Season!

Its that time of year to head out into the forests and find some wonderful and tasty seasonal mushrooms.

johnandtraceymushrooms

Are you ready to go out picking?  http://www.cdapress.com/lifestyles/article_a2a25241-c838-507b-89bd-5e9a6ef55954.html


Posted on April 30, 2016 at 12:10 am
John and Tracey Tindall | Posted in Spring, Things to Do and See in North Idaho | Tagged , , , ,