Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Advantages of using firewood – and its other uses

Most homes use natural gas, oil, electricity and even propane as their heating source. While wood-burning stoves are likely more popular in rural or remote areas, wood-burning stoves can be the smart choice. Using firewood as a heating source has several advantages:
  • Firewood is a renewable resource. 
  • Using firewood makes dependence on energy companies obsolete. 
  • As a fuel or heating source, firewood lowers your utility costs as it is 6 times more economical than electric heat, 5 times more economical than gas and 4 times more economical than oil. Surprised? 
  • A roaring fireplace creates a unique ambiance and radiant heat like no other heat source. 
  • Purchasing locally sourced firewood supports local merchants – not multi-billion dollar utility companies. 
  • Burning firewood does not contribute to global climate effects and is ‘carbon neutral’. In fact, letting wood rot on the forest floor releases the same amount of carbon dioxide as it does when burned properly. 
  • Traditional fuel sources – gas, oil, electricity, propane – are all commodities and subject to price fluctuations driven by global demand. Firewood cuts dependence unlike other types of fuel sources and saves money on heating and cooking. 
While the oldest source of fuel in the history of time, firewood – or wood – also has obvious uses beyond heating.
  • Building/construction 
  • Tools 
  • Furniture/flooring 
  • Art/Crafts 
  • Music instruments 
  • Toys 
  • Landscaping 
Depending on your creativity, location or views on sustainability (like our descendants), firewood is an excellent source of heating. How many uses of firewood do YOU have?

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Holiday Crafts And Décor Using The Trees In Your Backyard

With the holidays quickly approaching, it’s time to think about the décor that’ll soon adorn your home. Rather than spending money on new ornaments, table centers, wreathes and other decorative items, consider making them yourself using a great resource that exists in your very own backyard – trees!

Knockoff Pottery Barn Pine Cone Christmas Tree Ornaments

You will need:
  • Pine cones (various sizes)
  • Silver or gold glitter
  • Crystal color filler
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Twine
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks

  1. Use a piece of cardboard or something solid and strong that you wouldn’t mind getting glitter and spray adhesive on.
  2. Set your pine cones out on the surface and ensure they are evenly spaced.
  3. Spray your pine cones with the spray adhesive. You may need to pick them up to get all around the pine cone evenly. Apply as much or as little spray adhesive as you’d like.
  4. Next, begin sprinkling your glitter all over the pine cones. Again, you may need to pick up the pine cone to make sure you get glitter in all of the nooks and crannies.
  5. Let pine cones sit and dry for about 5 minutes.
  6. Your next step is to spray the pine cones again with spray adhesive and then take a pinch full of crystal color fill and sprinkle them over your pine cone. You can add them to just the tops or the edges or do it however you chose.
  7. Let the pine cone dry completely – preferably overnight.
  8. Using hot glue, apply a glob to the top or bottom of your pine cone.
  9. Take a piece of twine and attach it to the pine cone, creating a loop to hang on your tree.

Autumn Leaf Mason Jar Candle Holder

You will need:
  • Autumn leaves of all colors
  • Mason jar
  • Mod Podge
  • Sponge Brush

  1. Make sure the mason jar is completely clean. Wiping it with rubbing alcohol will ensure it is free of any grime or grease, which could cause the leaves to not stick. Also make sure your leaves are loose/flexible – stiff, crinkly leaves will not stick to the jar properly.
  2. Dip your brush into the mod podge and paint a thin layer on one side of the jar. Once the layer becomes sticky, begin placing your leaf on the layer. Start in the center of the leaf and then push your way out to the edges with your fingers.
  3. Layer more leaves on top, filling the jar with as many as you desire.
  4. Once all the leaves are on, it will take a few hours to dry completely.

Twig Wreath

You will need:
  • Twigs – as many as you can find!
  • Hot glue gun
  • Flat circle wreath form
  • Any other decorative items you’d like to adorn the wreath with – ribbon, bows, etc.

  • Cut/break the branches into 8-10 inch strips.
  • Add the first layer of branches and hot glue them to the inner circle of the wreath form.
  • Continue adding layers until you have the shape/thickness level you desire.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

That beautiful tree is destroying your property: The magic of how tree roots grow

That beautiful tree is destroying your property: The magic of how tree roots grow

Not all trees have damaging root systems, but it is worth understanding how roots grow and especially if you’re planning on planting a tree, knowing what to look for to avoid problems in the future. Let’s first talk about different trees.
Maple, ash and cottonwood trees have lateral root systems that are known to be invasive and are not good choices near foundations. Pine trees, oaks, walnut, hickory and conifers are tap root feeders – their root systems grow straight down into the ground and have almost no effect on home foundations.
Hardwood trees like elm, oak and ash have shallow root systems. These trees grow quickly because they use plenty of water and have root systems that fan out slightly farther than the edge of their leaf mass. Whether these root systems will damage a foundation depends greatly on the soil.
On what type of soil is your home built? Gravels, sands and silts that are dry and well-compacted may not be impacted by trees at all. The tree will pull water from this soil however, little volume loss of soil mass will occur. In loose soil however, roots will seek out moisture and can cause shifts in soil and bring instability to a foundation, causing it to shift. When trees are planted close to a house foundation when a house is constructed, roots will weaken the surrounding soil simply through its survival, causing the foundation to ‘settle’.
There are two ways that homeowners can attempt to control damage a tree’s root system can inflict on their foundation.

Control the leaf mass – a tree’s leaf is the way in which water is dispersed back into the atmosphere. By reducing the number of leaves, the less water the tree will use. It’s worth noting that removing too many leaves can kill a tree, so use caution.
Manage the root growth away from the foundation – the general rule from experts is that trees should be planted no closer than half of their anticipated mature height toward the foundation. So for a tree that grows to be 40 feet tall, it should not be planted within 20 feet of a foundation.

Hopefully this gives you some idea about the damage roots systems can cause to your home’s foundation. Whether you’re planting a new tree or taking inventory of the trees surrounding your property, a professional tree service or arborist can help further educate you about protecting your foundation as well as caring for your trees.