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Iowa students build robot for garden project

DAVENPORT, Iowa — Davenport West High School students are building a robot to be used next spring in gardens at Buffalo Elementary School. The “FarmBot” project is the brainchild of Buffalo Principal Heidi Gilliland as project-based learning that involves the technology students at ...

Another thing to argue about: throw pillows

It’s a well-known decorating fact that throw pillows are an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room. They can add color, texture, interest or a dash of holiday cheer. But that doesn’t mean everybody appreciates them. The internet is full of women (and their interior ...

US pending home sales surged 3.5 percent in October

WASHINGTON — More people signed contracts in October to buy homes, ending three straight months of declines. The National Association of Realtors said Wednesday that its index of pending home sales jumped 3.5 percent to 109.3 in October. Despite the increase, the index remains slightly ...

Plan and budget for a good return on your garden investment

The first of the 2018 seed catalogs will be arriving soon in the mail, signaling the start of another growing season. Savvy vegetable gardeners pore over the pages while choosing plants and drafting budgets. Planning ahead provides healthier returns for what can become a costly ...

From Sweden, an unsentimental take on de-cluttering your life

For anyone who somehow missed out on Marie Kondo's "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," or who found her de-cluttering style too quick, too cute or too oriented toward a younger set, a Swedish author "between the age of 80 and 100" has come out with her own take on the subject. In "The ...

Some uncommon trees and shrubs have lots to offer in fall

Say “fall color” and many minds turn to sugar maple. Aspen, hickory and tupelo are among other well-known trees that fuel autumn's figurative flames. Ask about attractive bark, and many gardeners will think of white birch. But a number of lesser-known trees and shrubs can also ...

US home construction reaches strongest pace in a year

WASHINGTON — Construction of new homes climbed 13.7 percent in October, the biggest jump in a year as builders broke ground on more apartments and single-family houses. The Commerce Department said Friday that the monthly gain put U.S. housing starts at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of ...

US home sales rose in October as hurricane impact wanes

WASHINGTON — Americans bought more homes last month, as sales snapped back in hurricane-hit Texas and Florida. Yet the market is still suffering from a dwindling supply of available homes. Sales rose 2 percent in October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.48 million, the National ...

Craftivism: Melding of crafting, activism is having a moment

Colleen Haraden-Gorski uses her embroidery skills these days to embellish quilts made by students at school and community-center workshops on themes of social justice and working together to make a difference. Recently, she embroidered images of barbed wire and the serial numbers of ...

Some sweet gifts for the home baker

3If you've got home bakers on your holiday gift list, there are plenty of attractive and functional items on the market to help them whip up delectable goodies. Canadian artisan Brenda Watts of Hermitage, Prince Edward Island, makes French rolling pins out of flame birch in her Cattails ...

Practice makes perfect

Before theater professionals perform a play for an audience, they run a dress rehearsal to look for kinks that need fixing before the show opens. Traditional Thanksgiving dinner is a big production that can benefit from rehearsal, too, say some veteran hosts. Cortney McLellan grew up ...

Bubble wrap bonanza

DENVER — Anyone who has lived through a major home remodeling project can sympathize with Laura Elliff Cruz, collections manager for the Denver Art Museum who is in charge of relocating or trying to protect tens of thousands of treasures during a building upgrade expected to take a ...

Larger houses on smaller lots lead to scaled-down plants

Urbanization is transforming landscape design in many places: Larger houses and smaller lots are driving the development of scaled-down plants. Plant breeders are introducing plants — everything from shrubs and trees to flowering perennials — that remain compact when placed in the garden. ...