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Best Gardening Tools for Turning Soil Over

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You are not that young guy who used to never run out of energy any more. But your garden does not care about that and is still there requiring some solicitude. Turning the soil over would be one. It helps mixing the soil nutrients, loosens it and provides the so needed aeration. Important stuff. Here are some tools to ease this task and therefore your life!

1. Broad fork

That’s basically your own personal gigantic soil turning fork. It is sometimes referred to as U-tool. With its mighty tines you stab the ungrateful mother earth and pull out backwards in order to loosen the dense soil. This provides the aeration, giving your soil the drainage a healthy lawn should have and, of course, the water will go where it’s supposed to(no puddles). Easy peasy.

2. Hoes

Real men use hoes. If you’re a woman just skip this paragraph. Hoes vary so there are plenty of choices here. Purposes of the use also vary and include weed control which comes from tousling the soil surrounding your plants, making nice round seed planting trenches, hilling, slashing unwanted enemy plants and whatnot. No matter which one you choose, make sure it suits you and your hands well, because it can give you awful whelks! I’d recommend using gloves but you wouldn’t be a real man then, would you?

3. Pickaxes

This might sound Viking old school but there are reasons people use these. Rocky soils are one. If that’s your case, prepare yourself! Using its pointy end will help a lot with removing tree roots as well.

4. Rake

Rakes can do a bunch of stuff. They are the manual version of the harrow. Perfect for levelling out soil, removing grass, slight loosening of the ground. There are also leaf rakes, designed especially to help you with leaf cleaning, which are worship worthy if you have plenty of trees in or around your garden.

5. Shovel

Finally here it is. Behind every successful garden there is a shovel. Scooping soil has never felt as masculine. Shovels also have different types. Straight shovels are for denser soils and require a well-developed technique in order not to break your fragile waist while in the middle of turning the ground over. There are slightly bent ones that provide the opportunity of digging. Great for planting holes and some funeral related acts.

6. Spade

A cousin of the shovel, this guy will give you the best compost turn experience ever, as far as that is possible. You will dig beds with ease and you can even use this magnificent tool for edging! Oh my!

7. Rotary tiller

Now we’re talking! This baby will do it almost by itself. Great for everything aforementioned basically. It’s rather easy and you will get quality results. I said rather because if it’s a larger tiller, a degree of upper-body strength would be needed. You can also spread some manure over the top before tilling and thereby, fertilize the soil at the same time. When using this godly device, just be careful not to destroy the soil surface by doing too much till(because with a beast like this it could actually happen).

8. Spading fork

Very good for mixing compost, loosening ground and turning soil over. I mean, if the Devil uses it for his hell gardens(I’m assuming), then it must be quality stuff. It is similar in use to the spade, but practice shows you would prefer the fork in most of the cases, because its tines make piercing the ground easier(more area pressure, yey physics). It also spares your weed root, and stones are not such an obstacle as they are for the spade. If the tines are wider and flatter the fork would be great for harvesting potato root crops and others from the like.

9. Trowel

That’s the hand size version of the spade. Use it for weeding, digging, breaking up earth and planting in small areas.

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Codependency – Do You Need to Be Needed?

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Maybe you grew up in a dysfunctional home in a codependent relationship. In the bestselling book, The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls tells of her hardscrabble childhood. Her father was an alcoholic, her mother abdicated her role as caregiver, and the children had to fend for themselves. Walls’ parents made their children serve them, not the other way around. Perhaps your situation is not so deeply dysfunctional, but it doesn’t have to be to grow up codependent.

What does it mean to be codependent?

Basically, you are codependent when you are in a relationship in which someone who is pathological, possibly with an addiction, controls you. The dysfunctional relationship puts you in a position to help or enable someone else to be immature, irresponsible or incompetent in some way.

Children who grew up with a tenuous bond with their parents, as Walls did, were in a constant state of anxiety. They had to forget their own needs, let alone what they wanted. They even had to forget who they were at their core in order to survive. You don’t have to be a child of an alcoholic to feel that you’re not good enough, and that your own feelings are unworthy. Children with parents suffering from narcissism, borderline personality disorders and other problems can feel equally insecure.

What happens when codependent children grow up?

As children, they learned to sublimate their needs, and most continue in that pattern. Their self-esteem has been eroded, so they need the approval of others, just as in their childhood. They pay more attention to others’ feelings and needs than their own and cater to others so they won’t be abandoned or rejected, as they fear they would have been as children. They have no ability to assert their own needs in a relationship, and often end up with a partner who continues the pattern of codependency.

Yet, having learned in childhood how to manage others, they can appear completely confident and competent. Because they are the person others depend on, they appear mentally and emotionally strong. They understand from experience that they shouldn’t depend on anyone else. They are the problem-solver, the caretaker, the decision-maker and the rescuer. They are driven by the need to be loved and accepted, as they never were by their parents or original caretakers.

Codependents need to be needed.

So they seek out someone who they can ‘help,’ and therefore feel good about themselves. But what often happens as the relationship evolves, is they support the other person’s negative behavior, whether it be incompetency, immaturity, irresponsibility or poor mental and physical health. If they end up with an alcoholic, for example, they enable the behavior by covering for their partner. They continue to rescue their partner-all the while feeling very needed-from problems. In actuality, they are accommodating unhealthy behavior. Unfortunately, the result is they prolong that behavior the longer they enable it.

More about codependency next time.

Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch.

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Amendoim – What is it and How Does it Stack Up to Other Exotic Hardwoods?

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As exotic hardwood floors continue to gain in popularity, Amendoim is sprouting up as a popular hardwood flooring option. But what is it exactly, and where does it come from?

Amendoim is commonly referred to as Brazilian Oak, although another species, Tauari, is also called Brazilian Oak, which has lead to a great deal of confusion among the flooring industry. It is grown in Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, and is also used to make fine furniture because it sands and shapes very well compared to other hardwoods.

Much like Brazilian Cherry, Amendoim has a reddish hue, but it has a more golden cast, particularly the sapwood. Amendoim Hardwood Floors have more swirls and rings than seen with Brazilian Cherry, but much like its sister specie, its soft brush strokes look as though they were painted on with watercolor. It will darken with sunlight, also like Brazilian Cherry Hardwood Floors, but it’s a much more subtle difference.

Also like Brazilian Cherry and other exotics, Amendoim is very, very strong, showing top ratings on the Janka hardness scale – 1912, which is above maple and red oak, and equivalent to Santos Mahogany. Brazilian Walnut is considered the strongest at 3680.

Amedoim is available in both solid and engineered hardwoods, with some engineered collections offering very inexpensive options. Engineered products range from $2.89 per square foot to $6.69 depending on the finish, distressing techniques, plank width, and thickness.

You can find solid Amendoim floors ranging from $4.09 per square foot for smaller spaces up to $7.70 for 5 ½ inch wide planks, which are typically the best sellers in all wood flooring products.

Price-wise, Amendoim is somewhat similar to Brazilian Cherry, perhaps a little more expensive, but much of that depends on what you’re looking to do. Handscraped floors will cost more than smoother finishes regardless of the specie. Brazilian Cherry seems to have more engineered options on the market with cheaper prices, but if you’re set on something solid, Amendoim is cheaper.

If you’re still exploring your options for a floor, have a free hardwood floor sample sent to your home so you can actually see the product and cut of the wood. This is particularly important with Amendoim because you could either be getting the tan sapwood or the reddish heartwood. Some cuts have lots of swirls and others don’t. You just want to be sure that you’re getting what you pay for.

A reputable exotic flooring retailer can walk you through the selection process and help you figure out if Amendoim is right for your home.

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How to Clean and Fix Your Oscillating Fan

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When cleaning the fan, you will need the following things:

-a screwdriver, to open the fan

-detergent and some warm water to clean it

-dry cloth or a towel to wipe off the remaining water

Not really a lot of things, right? Well, that’s one more benefit of oscillating fans-they are really easy to open and clean. An oscillating fan cools down more air than a regular fan, so it’s more likely to get dirty faster and more often. That’s why it’s design must allow easy cleaning.

So, the first thing you have to do in order to clean the fan safely is to unplug it from the electricity. After that wipe off the surface dust from the fan. When you have done that, you can begin disassembling it. Remove the grill by unscrewing the screws that keep it together. Some grills don’t have crews but clips and that makes the process even easier. Remove the blades by taking off the screws that keep them attached to the fan. Now you can use detergent to clean the grill and the blades. Be very careful with this because you don’t want any electrical components to get wet. After that use a dry towel or a cloth to dry the washed parts. Before reassembling, the grill and the blades should be left for some minutes to dry a bit more. That way, you will avoid getting injured or breaking down your fan. Reassemble the fan in the reversed order in which the parts were removed. Tightly screw in all the screws, plug it in and test it. Your crispy clean fan should now work perfectly, the ticking is probably gone, and the air is better because you stopped the accumulated dust from spreading around the room.

If you can hear the clicking noise while the head of the fan moves it could be just dirt. However, it could be that the gears are worn or loose. You will have to open it anyway so unplug it and to that.

– Take a screw driver and unscrew the grill of the fan. Take off the blades and clean them altogether with the grill, the shaft and the motor housing. For the grill and the blades you can use only water and detergent but for the shaft and the motor housing vacuum cleaning wouldn’t be such a bad idea. While you are there inspect the motor. If the gears look OK put everything back together again in the reverse order and plug the fan in the electricity. The fan should be running quietly now.

– If the gears look like they need a replacement or tightening up, then your work is not done yet. First check the set screw. If it’s loose tighten it up because this screw balances the blades and when it gets loose they are not balanced correctly and that may cause the buzzing and clicking sound.

– Also inspect the gear assembly and the motor housing. Try tightening them up. If you can then all should be good. But, if they can’t be tightened that means that they are worn and you have to replace them. After they are tightened or replaced lubricate the shaft and reassemble your fan.

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