A walk in the New England woods will undoubtedly reveal remnants of a fieldstone wall, standing strong amongst trees and forest brush.

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A walk in the New England woods will undoubtedly reveal remnants of a fieldstone wall, standing strong amongst trees and forest brush. Those woods were probably cleared for farmland hundreds of years ago. Piles of unearthed stones were typically stacked in a low wall along property lines. Fieldstone walls are a tradition going back centuries, most notably found in England and Ireland. They aren’t as common today, but not all is lost. There are different ways to build a fieldstone wall on your land.

Curb Appeal: Driveways

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Realtors stress the importance of “curb appeal” when selling a house. First impressions count. Landscaping is an obvious concern, but your home’s Hardscape likely covers more ground and attracts the eye more than your greenery does. Many times a homeowner will overlook the impact of the home’s driveway. Driveways can cover the largest part of a property’s land but they tend to be neglected as a major consideration in curb appeal. Improving the driveway adds beauty and function to your property.

Party on the Patio: Summer Wines

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Having a great outdoor space gives you more opportunities to spend time with family and friends. A themed party on the patio can vanquish our work-a-day blues and turn an unassuming weeknight into a fun-filled event. Wine-tasting parties are especially popular to have outdoors. There’s nothing like a summer night combined with a beautifully chilled glass of wine to give you an “attitude adjustment.”

Running water

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Leonardo DaVinci said “Water is the driving force in nature.” Because our bodies are mostly water, it’s in our nature to live near bodies of water. Most of the Earth’s population lives within a few kilometers of a lake, river or sea. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 39% (123.3 million people) of Americans lived in counties that contained one of the country’s shorelines, which is 6x more people than live in the corresponding counties more inland. The US National Institutes of Health noted in a 2011 study that only 10% of humans live more than 10km away from a freshwater source.

No Fly Zone - keep the bugs at bay

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One of the major stumbling blocks to spending more time outdoors is the dreaded mosquito and the itchy bite it leaves behind. Thankfully in our region these little pests don’t usually come with big problems like they do on other continents. Still, when we are plagued by bugs we tend to spend less time outside.

Change it up: Chicken Marinades from Around the World

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As outdoor grilling enthusiasts, we all have our go-to marinade recipe for the best chicken in the neighborhood. Recipes for a good marinade are like gold, because they make a simple grilling event into a showplace dinner. The marinade does most of the work. After a few hours or a day of soaking, the hardest part is done. All there is left to do is grill.

Commune with nature

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“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson This Saturday, June 25, 2016, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) is encouraging all of us to slow down and reconnect with Mother Nature by camping out. Here’s some information from the NWF’s website: http://www.nwf.org/Great-American-Campout.aspx

Keeping cool on the patio

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June 20th at sundown begins the new season. June 21 is the first full day of summer (September 20th will be the last). Many hot days await us in the coming months. Since we’re usually indoors through most winter and spring weeks, we want to maximize our time outside. When temperatures soar into the 80-90 degree Fahrenheit range (~27-32 Celsius), it is tempting to stay inside.

GO BEYOND THE GRILL: Make Dad happier this Father’s Day

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Sunday, June 18, 2016 is Father’s Day. We’ve all done the funny hats and grilling accessories thing. In fact, we posted our own gift ideas list last year. That stuff is fun. But there are only so many gag gifts and gadgets one dad needs. This year, skip the grilling gear and give Dad an experience to remember. This isn’t just a good idea; It’s science!

Retiring an old flag

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On Tuesday, June 14, 2016, we will celebrate Flag Day, a national holiday meant to show our love and respect for the flag under which are united these 50 States of America. For many citizens, Flag Day is a reminder to retire any Old Glory that has seen better days. Ripped, worn, soiled or tattered flags have served their country well and deserve a respectful retirement.

How to spend more time outdoors on your patio

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When Summer comes, getting outside more often is like re-learning a language. It may take a few stuttering steps to get into a routine that includes more time outside, but once you get into the swing of things you’ll remember how much you loved it.

May flowers after showers - brightening up your hardscape

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If you live in the northeast US, you may be still waiting for a break in the rain. It’s been a soggy Spring, and your garden patio may not be as filled with beautiful blooms as you’d like. Early plantings may not have happened, as most perennials probably needed to be planted last month. And perennials are great: You plant them once and they come back every year (well, they’re *supposed* to come back). But even if you missed this year’s planting window there are still some perennial varieties you can plant now. An informed salesperson at your local plant nursery or home DIY store can help you find some perennials to plant now.

Making Progress

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“I walk slowly, but I never walk backwards.” -Abraham Lincoln Raising children is an experiment with time. Some years go by in a day; some days take a year to end. Rest assured, children will move forward. Step by step or in leaps and bounds, life usually averages out to be a slow walk into the future.

Pavers- Not just for patios! Paver driveways add class

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You may think of pavers as a big part of patio design. Pictures of pool decks, outdoor kitchens, fire pits, sidewalks and pathways are the common images related to pavers, but a growing number of homeowners are installing pavers to increase the visual appeal of their driveways and garage door areas.

Cinco de Mayo on the Patio

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Step up your fiesta with an authentic flair Cinco de Mayo is commonly thought of as the holiday to celebrate Mexican independence, but it is actually a celebration of all things Mexican, based on the day Mexican army forces fought back French invaders in a tiny little town called Puebla de los Angeles in 1862. Cinco de Mayo is a time when we can all share in the proud and rich cultural history of our neighbor to the South.

An Outdoor Room of Mom’s Own

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Mother’s Day is fast approaching. Finding a gift that honors Mom can sometimes pose a challenge. Over the years, Mom has probably collected all the material things she needs. Of course, Gift Plan A would be a winning lottery ticket worth millions with which Mom can travel the world or buy more of those collectibles she loves. Plan B is to give her something very few mothers have: her own space outdoors and time to spend in it.