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Daily Archives: March 18, 2012

Attracting Pollinators

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One of my most important spring time jobs is establishing the proper environment to be sure the pollinators take up residence in our yard and garden. I know I need the proper mix of flowers, bushes, bird seeds and the habitat that attracts the birds, bees and beneficial insects.

I had a coworker who lived in an area devoid of the bees necessary to pollinate her vegetables, and she resorted to hand pollination. Not what I want to do. Thankfully, we have lots of bees. Carpenter bees, honey bees, bumblebees. They will swarm around the hummingbird feeder to get to the nectar.

The flowers are also important and my perennials like my tulips and gladiola

besides attracting bees give me the pleasure of flowers on the table brightening my day.

The flowering trees attract bees and birds. The birds particularly like them once the berries are set, but in the spring the return of the bees to my cherries, mock orange, dogwoods and red bud trees tell me they are setting up shop and staying around to find my garden.

I have black eyed susans as well, the MD state flower. Once they are almost done, the finches will hang on them to get the seeds out of them.

My yard also contains spirea, which the bees crawl all over until the color has left the flowers. It contains butterfly bushes to attract butterflies and for the birds to nest in. Azaleas in the spring, another big source of color and cover in the yard. Chipmunks and bunnies hide under the wall of bushes along my house.

All in all, I have been creating a habitat to coexist with birds, bees, small animals and beneficial insects attracted to keep my garden productive.

Can’t wait to get out there and plant vegetables. I just need to make sure that I keep this little monster’s relatives out of my garden. He lives under my neighbor’s shed.

Building Relationships with Local Businesses

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An Appropriate Post for Mom and Pop Business Owners Day!

Where do you buy things? Foods. Hardware. Plants.

How about services? Plumbing. Car care. Roof. Painting. Landscaping.

There was a time when we were young that we did many things ourselves. Eventually work, and work travel, plus long commutes got in the way. We became time constrained. We needed to find people to help us maintain our home and our things, like appliances and cars.

Over the thirty plus years in Howard County, we established long term relationships with service providers and with local businesses in and around the county. Buy Local means something to us. We avoid nationwide mega centers and big box stores if there are viable alternative sources that keep more money here in Howard County. The Costco runs are only three or four times a year for things not easily bought at local businesses, like printer cartridges, computer paper, and for things like stock pantry items. If I can get what I need locally, I will.

Since 1983, British American has taken care of our cars. Since Brian’s daughters were really little, and when Brian and Rob did most of the work. Now Sandi is general manager, and Brian and Jennifer’s grandchildren cheer up the office when we see them there.

Ken Griffin does our plumbing. Has for years. When our well pump failed and we needed to replace 387 feet of wire as well, they were here in a day to get it all done. They live not far south of us, and work out of their home.

My husband has his yard equipment work done at Lawson’s in Woodbine. We get our tractor supplies from Maryland Equipment, also in Woodbine. We go to Kendall’s or Clark’s for almost all of our hardware needs. We were at Kendall’s Wednesday, after lunch at the Bridge, and a trip to the landfill to dump a truckload of pokeweed. Just the way it has become. Going to local places for food and services.

We buy annual and perennial flowers, plus many of the annuals in my herb garden at Sun Nursery. I could spend hours wandering around their nursery. My tulips, black eyed susans, cover plants and the rosemary and sage in my garden all came from there. Most of the basil each year as well.

Columbia Finishers is the painting company that did all our cedar replacement and staining. They do our difficult painting too. The type where you need scaffolding. There is no way we could do board replacement thirty feet in the air at our attic level.

We first met Craig, the owner, when they used to stain our town house community. They still have that contract, because their quality of work is excellent.

We used S&K Roofing to do our roof. They are just up the road in Eldersburg, and family owned. They did our roof between Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee last August and September. Scary having them show up when we had no power, but done before the week long rains descended upon us. Giving us peace of mind and a dry attic. Absolutely perfectly done.

From this:

To this:

They made our house look like new.

As for this year, we contacted Rhine to help with spring cleanup since I can do no work until recovery from surgery. I always helped my husband with mulching, pruning, and general clean up after winter took its toll on the property. Kept me in better shape than I was when still working at my desk before retiring.

They did not disappoint. Jay is a joy to work with. We are indeed fortunate to have so many quality family owned businesses here in Howard County and nearby.

I know I am a locavore when it comes to finding food and wine in the area, but I also am committed to supporting family operations to do as much as we can no longer do by ourselves. It only makes sense to me to be a part of my community in more ways than I did while working, and spending most of my time commuting to DC.

Buy Local. That’s my motto. It certainly has served us well.