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House To Home

Debt relief can do more harm than good

In a crisis, long-term planning may lose out to quick and dirty solutions — regardless of the consequences. As the pandemic and its economic fallout continues, more cash-strapped consumers could fall into this trap if the Great Recession is any indicator. A recent report by the Consumer ...

A bountiful harvest: Plant-based materials catch on with home goods designers

With an eye toward sustainability, makers of home furnishings are experimenting more and more with plant-based materials. You can find things like bark, leaves and seeds transformed into vegan leather, fabric and organic plastic. At Frankfurt’s Heimtextil 2020 trade fair earlier this year, ...

Daisies bring sunny look to gardens

Give a child a box of crayons and a piece of paper, and ask for a flower, and you very likely will get a picture of a daisy. Daisies also hold attraction for poets. Geoffrey Chaucer, English poet of the 14th century, wrote “... of all the floures in the mede, Thanne love I most thise floures ...

Winter radishes from the garden can add color, flavor in off-season

Put a “wow” in your radishes by growing winter varieties. Winter radishes grow more slowly than spring radishes, requiring about two months to mature, and they remain crisp and tasty for eating throughout the winter. I’m not a great fan of radishes, but a few winter ones do add variety ...

‘Story of Gardening’ gets timely update

“The Story of Gardening,” by Penelope Hobhouse and Ambra Edwards (Princeton Architectural Press) ------------- It’s an opportune time for an update to this lavishly illustrated history of gardening and landscaping. “The Story of Gardening” might sit (heavily) on a coffee table, ...

Can secondhand smoke lead to coronavirus?

Q: Can you get the coronavirus from secondhand smoke? ----------- A: Secondhand smoke isn’t believed to directly spread the virus, experts say, but infected smokers may blow droplets carrying the virus when they exhale. Being able to smell the smoke might be a red flag that you’re ...

Outdoors with style: Eat, entertain outside with good planning

Squeezing the most out of summer — especially this coronavirus summer — has often meant eating and entertaining outside, for those with the space to do it. “The goal today is to lavish just as much love and attention on your outdoor setup as you do your indoor rooms. Even if it’s just ...

Call a truce in the war against weeds

If you want to avoid chemical weedkillers but don’t like the idea of hand hoeing or bouncing along behind a rototiller, you still have options to keep weeds from taking over your garden. ----------- MULCH For starters, there’s mulches, which can smother weeds. Pile organic mulches ...

Here’s 5 fast, luxurious small sport-utility vehicles

Small luxury SUVs have traditionally offered an appealing mix of practicality, refinement and upscale features. Now they also offer high performance. Many luxury automakers have introduced new performance-focused versions of their small SUVs that can rival top-end sport sedans for power and ...

Chipmunks in Northeast drive some people nuts

There were plenty of acorns this spring, and now the chipmunks are driving people nuts. Their frenetic activities can be entertaining. But this summer in New England the varmints are making a nuisance of themselves, darting to and fro, digging holes in gardens, and tunneling under ...

Water your garden in the most effective way

August is the month for two garden W’s: weeding and watering. Regular attention to both keeps a vegetable or flower garden pretty and productive well into autumn. For now, let’s look at watering. It’s not necessarily less rain that makes soils drier in August; it’s August’s ...

Is it OK to never have a credit card?

Thanks to quick online applications and, in some cases, instant approval, credit cards make it as easy to build your credit history as it is to make purchases. But they can also make it easy to fall into debt if you struggle to pay on time or tend to spend more than you have. As a result, ...

Workarounds save heirs time, money in probate

A reader recently reached out after his elderly mother died, asking how soon he could distribute the $10,000 she had earmarked in her will for each of her two grandchildren. Because she lived in California, I had to break the bad news: He won’t be able to hand over the money any time ...

Some facing a desperate wait for needed tax refunds

As a 58-year-old woman on disability, Robin Short of Wallingford, Connecticut, relies on her tax refund to catch up on bills. She filed her return electronically in February, opting for direct deposit so she could get her $773 refund quickly. She’s still waiting, as are millions of others. ...