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Thursday, September 22, 2016

farewell sweet summer! my favs from summer 2016


It was a busy "house-project" summer around the house!  We got lots done and are still working on a few things which I will share with you next.
I was asked a while back to do a summer favorite post by a reader who liked my winter favorites list.  I love reading "favorite lists" and hope you do too!  Please share your favorites from this summer in the comments :)
Also.... Please note that I have changed my "featured adoptable dog of the week" that I posted this past Monday since one of my readers has sent in an application for little sweet Luther!!!!!  I'm over the moon!!!


This is my late summer mantel and I am going to be sad to change it to fall later today as I have enjoyed it so much.  Vintage coral fans lean against a painting, which leans against the antique French mirror.  Orchid in antique marble urn.  Circa 17th century Italian gilt and gesso candlesticks with a English hallmarked sterling and crystal match strike.





I am loving this chemical free Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby SPF 60 (sample from my dermatologist.)  For my very young readers...  do not listen to the articles that tell you you only need to wear a 30 SPF... you need a 50/plus SPF on a daily basis.  AND... you will want a chemical-free sunscreen for your face.  You can thank me in 20+ years ;)  I say this with first-hand knowledge as I grew up in Texas wearing baby oil (NO SPF) and laying in the sun as early as January.   I am paying for it now.  Do as I say, not as I did ;) !   I've have had 2 V-Beam lasers this summer (I am extremely pleased with the results, btw)  to erase redness from sun damage on my cheeks (telangiectasias.)  With all the media out there on the subject we now know better!  Wear your sun screen every single day!!  And don't neglect your NECK!!!:)  Just sayin'
You really shouldn't put anything on your face that has a fragrance since what you put on your skin is absorbed into your skin.  Why cosmetics companies insist on putting fragrances in beauty products and makeup is beyond me.  Most baby sunscreen products come fragrance-free and have the same ingredients of adult products, so I find them a really good alternative.





While not chemical-free I am still very happy with the Banana Boats KIDS spray-on sunscreen for the body.  Neither Dan nor I like perfumes, and even though a product might say it is "unscented" it often can have a smell.  I find this product to be truly unscented.  I keep it in the basket at the front door, so we can apply it outside as we are going to work in the yard or go for a walk with the girls.
And don't forget SPF for your lips, we us this HERE





I've loved this clam shell orb that I got at HomeGoods at the beginning of summer.




I have been loving Dr. Teal's Body Wash in Lavender and the Dr. Teal's Body Oil.  I use the Body Wash instead of soap in the shower then lightly dry off and apply the oil before going to bed.




 My go-to pedicure color for most of the summer was Essie's Turquoise and Caicos!  My manicure color was O.P.I. Cajun Shrimp, which unfortunately looks to be discontinued.




This summer I have found the magical oil that is Castor oil!   HERE  When I first saw it around the beauty blogosphere I thought... "The stuff that that industries use on machines???"  Well, turns out castor is a natural ingredient from the castor bean and has many natural beauty benefits.  Google it for yourself, but I have had really good results for eyebrow hair growth (eyebrows diminishes with age.)  It is very thick and the smell is similar to peanut/sesame seed oil (both which I personally like) but if you don't (or are allergic to nuts)  it might not be a good product for you.  I also use it on my cuticles every night right before going to bed.




Straw-Ella!  After rolling in our dry grass from months of hot temperatures with little rain!




This is my summer go-to bracelet (actually all-year bracelet)  from Love, Nina Jane -  freshwater pearls and antique medals strung on leather.   I've had my bracelet for three years, or longer, and loved it so much I "wore it to pieces" as Jane of Love, Nina Jane said when I wrote asking if they could restring it!  It is so easy to wear in the summer as it is light and not bulky, but so feminine and pretty.  Mine is the triple wrap bracelet HERE (which you can also wear as a necklace) in the brown leather.   I'll wear the bracelet alone or group with other bracelets.
photo Love, Nina Jane



It also comes in tan leather.

Photo Love, Nina Jane



 I am seriously coveting this 5 wrap bracelet in the tan leather
HERE.
 photo Love, Nina Jane




I have loved this florist hydrangea that was a gift from Amy and her family who adopted Nanny from the Lytle Animal Control HERE!  It has bloomed ALL summer while changing varying gorgeous colors and has been wonderful on the front porch.  I would never have thought that a florist hydrangea would last all summer, let alone outside!  Next year I am buying one early spring!  I have enjoyed it so much- thank you Amy!   kisses to Nanny!



Amy just sent me this adorable photo of adopted Nanny and her son!  Nanny won the puppy-lottery for sure!!




I love the Ikea battery operated tea lights! HERE  Be sure to buy extra batteries HERE !  Even after a rainstorm and soaking, for hours, in water they still work!  Unlike other battery operated tea lights I have seen these have a very realistic glow.  They also come in candlesticks which I use in the three cow stanchion windows in the barn mud room at Christmas.




I love the Pocket hose HERE!!   I also have several in black with brass connections HERE.  They expand when you turn on the water and then deflate when the water is turned off.  I like how you can tuck them out of view and don't have a huge hose reel to look at.  One key to a longer life for the hose is to always turn the water off when you are not using it.  I have 5 of these at different spigots round the house.




Kimberly Queen ferns take full sun!  I have used them for the last several years and absolutely love them!  They are annuals for me, but grow in really quickly during our spring and summer months.




I love the Royale Peachy Keen verbena  HERE   (This is for you Allison! xxo)   I have used it for several years now and besides LOVING the color (coral is my "happy" color :) I love how it blooms literally all season long!




I love using herbs as container plants.  We will sit in the chairs in the evening and casually run a hand over the rosemary and the scent fills the air!  It is so wonderful and simple!




We are still loving the Balsam Hills lighted boxwood that I first showed you HERE.  What I especially love is that it has a 6-hour timer.  You turn it on one night and then every night after that it comes on automatically for 6 hours at that same time, and then turns itself off.  It is so delightful to walk outside and have it lit without having to turn it on.




Love this battery powered leaf blower to blow off debris on the porches and the terrace.  It has just enough power to get rid of leaves and debris without moving the pea gravel or crushed stone. Word to the wise... be sure to save the box and receipt as these blowers have a tendency to not be long lived and you might need to replace it within one season.




The cutting garden.  As you can see there is still not a white picket fence around the garden.  Since we don't really need one for protection from animals eating the produce we have decided to simply set the garden gate as a "folly gate" using granite posts for support (you can see one laying in front of the gate.)  Hopefully that will get done this fall, but since this has been a 3-year in-the-works project I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you!!!:)
Note the tall cherry tomato plant in the back left corner.  I did not plant that this year!  It came back on it's own which totally shocked and surprised me in our 5a USDA garden zone!




The antique iron urn at the front door is planted with 4 small white on white plants that all work together!  I didn't plan to have 4 containers in the urn, but it just sort of turned out that way and it has worked well and I enjoyed the different foliage textures and tones of green and white.




Southern Luzianne ice tea with mint from the garden!
If I can find Luzianne in New Hampshire I'm thinking you can find it too!  I buy the decaf so I can drink it throughout the day.
I'm sure you all know this, but just in case a novice gardener is reading... ALWAYS plant mint in a pot... not in the ground as it will take over and become a BIG nuisance in your garden/lawn.




And since we are on the subject of drinks;)....  If you like margaritas or tequila straight, you must try Anejo tequila!!!  Anejo tequila is "aged" tequila and is mild and sublime and out-of-this-world wonderful!  Our favorite, for flavor and value, is the Costco Kirkland Tequila which we buy by the case ;) in Massachusetts as New Hampshire's Costco can not sell hard liquor!  Lucky for me there just happens to be a Costco right next door to the Ikea in Massachusetts!!!  Win/Win!
To make our margaritas I use Costco's Margarita Classic Lime Margarita mix which uses cane sugar.  I mix 3 parts lime mix to one part Anejo tequila and one-half part either Cointreau (me) or Grand Marnier (Dan.)  I often will use 1 part Dole Orange Peach Mango Juice and 2 parts lime mix, Dan prefers the straight lime mix.  If I rim the margaritas (I don't always)  I dip my favorite Marta glasses (these are perfect for so many things!) from CB2 HERE in the lime mix then in a mixture of kosher salt and sugar.  If I really want to kick it up a notch I will add a pinch of cayenne pepper into that mix!  Cheers!




I adore the morning glory"flying saucers" on the iron arbor in the courtyard (funny story of the arbor HERE).  My little vines starts that I purchased from a favorite nursery, Walker Farm in Vermont are planted like they are made with pure gold.  The reason is.....



 ... this nasty little hugely destructive varmint called a "vole," (not to be confused with other nasty varmints called "moles.)
I am ready to go all Caddy Shack on them HERE.
Last summer I had two white sweet autumn Clematis planted at the base of each pillar that were growing beautifully only to one day go outside and see every stem coming up out of the ground snipped- it literally looked like someone took clippers to them. I was sooooo mad :(   It took a while to figure out what had happened and what had done the damage.  After reading about the varmits I placed a cone shaped screen (it was actually a wire container that I cut the bottom out of) around the base.  The vine was growing back nicely and then it shriveled up and died.  The damn voles had dug underground and ate the entire root.  UGHHHHHHH.



So this year I bought small scale wire and Dan made two enclosed (sides and bottom) wire planters (planter on the far right) to plant the vines.  Wire planter in the middle of the photo is what it looks like buried, and the wire screen on the far left (open on top and bottom) is the one I place above ground to keep the voles out.  I didn't want to spend another $40 on the clematis, so I tested the wire planters with the morning glories as they were much cheaper since they are annuals and not perennials.  I've liked them so much I will probably do the morning glories again next year!



The morning glories encased in their wire planters.




The system has kept the varmints out, thankfully.  But they have done extensive damage to other beds and to the grass lawn all around the house.  After more research here is what happened and why we have a vole problem.  A couple of years ago Dan decided (after doing many test holes looking for grub worms) to not continue putting grub control out with his fertilizer thinking we didn't have any grub worms.  Wrong.  The next year is when our vole problem started in the winter.  The voles ate the bark off of newly planted trees and made a virtual road map of tunnels under beds and lawn eating and destroying countless plants.
Come to find out... voles love grub worms.  Grub worms turn into a pupa and emerge from the soil as adult Japanese Beetles.  If you fight Japanese beetles (which I did for the first time this summer)  then you have grubs, and if you have grubs you could get voles (or moles) which you do NOT want.  Let's just say we are back to using grub control;)
But, since that will take a while to kill the grub population we have been trying EVERYTHING to eliminate the voles, and nothing works.  I recently bought Organic PlantSkydd  repellant HERE, but havne't put it down yet.  The reviews are very promising however, so fingers crossed.  It also works for deer, rabbit and elk, so if you have any of those issues you might want to try it too.
If you've used PlantSkydd or have any "proven" vole eradication methods please, please leave me a comment before I go all Caddy Shack!!!;)

41 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness! I love all of your favorites. I will definitely try the baby sunscreen and the castor oil on my eyebrows.
    So frustrating to lose plants to those nasty little voles but I know you and Dan will take care of it. Happy Fall!

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  2. Lovely photos and I couldn't agree more about the importance of using sunscreen, especially on our faces. Thank you for the tip about voles. We returned home after two weeks in Florida to severely damaged Carolina Jasmine vine. May be voles!

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  3. You are adorable, Joan. I enjoy your blog so much. You always inspire me. Thank you for sharing your list. I have some new things to try.

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  4. Mole-Go granules Read the directions. Only thing I have found that works. good luck.

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  5. I always love reading your "favorites" as I get some great ideas/suggestions from you. Luzianne tea is my absolute favorite....I prefer it much over Tetley. I usually drink Crystal Lite now but love me some brewed Luzianne tea!

    I'm going to try that Dr. Teal's body wash. For years I've used Lever Body Wash but apparently it's been discontinued. I found it on Amazon but they want $20 for a bottle now! I refuse to pay that.

    I've worn Cajun Shrimp for years by OPI....it's a gorgeous shrimpy-peachy color. I wrote a hilarious post a few years ago about Cajun Shrimp.

    Love those bracelets....going to check them out. I like wearing a bracelet like them as it seems you're not wearing anything bulky or makes my arm "hot" (live here in Alabama...the "sweat" capital of the South)!

    Have a great week Joan!

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  6. I love some of your favorites and have ordered them already! We have a rat that visits our yard each night and nibbles just enough of the home grown tomatoes I was attempting to enjoy. I decided I'll give up on growing them. Voles I haven't seen here but we get gophers (right out of caddy shack). I haven't had one in a very long time.

    Thanks for the fun update on your favorites for the season. They are always helpful and I do love these lists.
    xo,
    Karen

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  7. Homing in on the end of my work week, 3 more hours to go, looking forward to my early "friday night"...I'm thinking an Anejo Marg (w/ cayenne on the rim! I LOVE it!)...is in my future on this LOVELY fall evening! Thanks for the recipe! And love the "summer mantle". A fuchsia orchid. JOAN!

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  8. So many great tips. Speaking from experience - voles are the worst! I'll have to try the wire cage trick next year. I also had great luck with the Kimberly Queen fern. And I've added Kirkland Tequila to my Costco shopping list. Thanks!

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  9. Love the summer favorites list! I've always had a bad attitude about morning glories but then I drove by some blooming their little hearts out climbing up corn stalks and now I think they're adorable!
    SPF...ummmmm maybe I'll do better next year. I was depressed last winter and my tan and pastel clothes pulled me out of it. And heaven knows I can't wear peach, mint, and lemon chiffon without a tan!
    There is a costco less than one minute down the street from my salon so I might just stock up on some tequila too. I'm a pretty devout believer in bottom shelf Jose gold for margaritas but it can make for a painful morning. So I might need to move up in the tequila world. Okay now get working on the fall list!

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  10. Such lovelies! I enjoy your recommendations. I, too, make my pitchers of iced tea with Luzianne decaf family size bags and add mint from the garden. We have the best spearmint that came from a neighbor of my mother-in-law from way back. We brought it with us to our mountain home. We can plant it in the ground here - the soil isn't rich enough for it to take over, but it is prone to being eaten by a green and black striped bug. Ugh! Also have a vole/mole problem. Our shade garden is rather wild and though they're nearby, they haven't destroyed anything yet, though at our last house they sawed right through all of our oakleaf hydrangeas. (Fortunately, many of the hydrangeas sprouted from the seeds of those plants, and we dug up the seedlings and brought them to the mountains. They are now way over my head!) My neighbor dug up all her hostas and replanted with sharp pebbles she found at a plant store around and under them. That involves enormous work, however, to replant everything!

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  11. What a lovely post, thank you! I second you on using sunscreen, it's a must. Luckily we don't have voles (or moles) here in Australia, but we do have Japanese beetles and they are a terrible nuisance! We call them Christmas beetles, and they are generally the variety with iridescent rainbow colors on their wings, quite pretty actually. I can't lay poison because we have free range chickens, but fortunately the chickens eat both the grubs and the beetles which keeps them from getting out of control.

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  12. Always like "favorites" lists. Never know when you might find just the "thing". I use Dr. Teal's body oil as well, but have not yet tried the body wash. Thanks for all the suggestions.

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  13. Love your lists. Congratulations for making another FTLOAH connection. You are going to have to come up with a graphic in your sidebar to represent the dogs finding homes through your blog. Maybe a dog with a hydrangea in his mouth.

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  14. Love your new favorites list, and your blog , always! Dr. Teals is something I feel I can't do without - I have both of the ones you mentioned , plus his lavender epsom salts. Heavenly bath!! Esp. w/ the drain cover I purchased on your recommendation from one of your other fav lists - I love that thing! Will be trying some of these others things for sure. Thanks for your beautiful home and blog and gardens. Kay

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  15. Guinea Hens eat a lot of insects. You might want to see if they eat the beetles and grub worms.

    As for moles/voles... sometimes the quality of the soil makes them go away. The sandier the soil the easier it is for them to tunnel... layers of rocks or very hard red clay soil they cannot get through... then there is the option of using carbon monoxide to get rid of them... you have to plug up the holes at one end and use a dryer like hose from your car exhaust to literally put them to sleep. Some object to this measure. Your local pest control may have many ideas that you like better.

    For deer, rabbits, foxes and the like a mixture of garlic slices, onion flakes, and red pepper/cayenne pepper flakes.... all around the garden keeps many things away. It smells like a pizza and has to be replaced about once a month. If you go to Costco you can get the large jars of dried spices. They last longer as the rain helps intensify the scent and it is easy to apply. Also many do not like the smell of Irish Spring bath soap.... so leaving a few bars out and about also helps.

    On a happier note, I always enjoy favorites lists... always find a few new things to try !!!

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    Replies
    1. We have hard red clay here and it does not deter the voles at all.

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  16. Joan, I love your "favorite lists". I also purchased the clam shell orb this year, and was so tickled that I have something like you! I usually go and buy all the favorites you list!!$$ I honestly just love your blog. It's my absolute favorite, and when I read your posts it's like....well, they just make me so happy!:) Thank you for blogging and sharing with us! :) Robyn

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  17. OK, we had voles and I hate to even pass this on because I hate killing any animal, but .... they are incredible destructive. My husband simply hooked an exhaust sleeve to our car exhaust and then to a garden hose and ran the garden hose over to one of the vole tunnels. Using old rags, he closed off all the other tunnel holes he could see. He then started the car up and let it run for about 45 minutes. I'm hoping the voles just went "night night" but I can tell you we never saw another one or had any more problems. That was 12 years ago and we're still in the same house.

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  18. What a fun list! Love the picture of all three dogs feasting on ice cubes!

    Here, in our little corner of New Hampshire, we've been battling a ravenous porcupine in the fenced kitchen garden. Ugh. Any experience with those?

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  19. My husband brought home the pocket hose this summer, precisely for the same reason as you, because it's easy to hide. He hates the look of our hose showing. Which I thought was funny. Heaven forbid someone see our hose, I told him. But admit I really do find it much easier to use and love that it's lightweight.

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  20. Count your blessings that the voles got that clematis. It is an invasive plant and a real pest! The previous owner of my house planted one near the deck, thinking it would be cute trailing along the deck railing, but it has sprung up everywhere in the yard and is just about impossible to dig up. If I don't rip it out several times a year, it chokes my shrubs and I have no doubt that it would eat my deck if left on its own.
    I will have to try that fern you suggested, my ferns got fried this year, too much sun, not enough water.
    Thanks for all the great suggestions!

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  21. the voles. oh my god i have been there. i wrote several posts on the little buggers because they were just eating my garden and i was 2 steps away from bill murray-ing my garden with dynamite to get rid of them. i tried everything, the sonic pulsing poles, the sheets wrapped in bleach, used cat litter, and a few other methods that did not prove successful. however 1 that did in my area proved to be juicy fruit gum. not the chiclet style but real juicy fruit sticks of gum. i found it in a random post but the trick was to wear gloves and put the juicy fruit in the vole tunnels. the gloves are to not allow your scent onto the gum and they (the little cretons) apparently love the gum however their tummies do not. my vole problem eradicated. turned out we likely ended up with them as our dog had passed away that spring and without the scent marking they decided our yard was a threat free zone. good luck and always love seeing your gardens and home.

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  22. What a lovely post! I admit, I mourn the end of summer. Fall means school, schedules, and busyness. None of which I like. I think I shall visit you someday in summer and drink margaritas on the porch with you. That would be a dream. Happy Fall! :) xox, Emily

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  23. Hello Joan, The Pocket Hose is a good idea. I don't have any yard, but I do have a balcony (with windows) that needs frequent cleaning. I had a cloth hose that was light and flat, but kept getting tangled and kinked, and had to be stretched out to get started--not easy on a balcony!

    I am also with you on unscented products. Many of the most basic essentials do not come unscented, or if they do they are often a weird brand that will not be available the next time.
    --Jim

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  24. Love your favorites list. Going out today and picking up sun screen and tea. I'm having a problem with varmints this year also. We've tried several things and for the moment they seem to be gone-they went to visit the neighbors. Jackie, ohio

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  25. Great post! Dr. Teal's Epsom salts are also wonderful. I have owned a Black & Decker "cordless sweeper" for easily 10 years that I use for quickly blowing leaves and debris off our various decks and walkways. I have had to replace the batteries and the battery charger once, but that was an easy Amazon purchase. I highly recommend!

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  26. The vole is so cute! However, they must find other places to eat musn't they. We have moles. My neighbor who is a dog behaviour specialist/trainer has Australian Shepherds. One sumer she engaged one of her dogs in a mole relocation program. She and the dog would go out in the yard, she carrying a bucket and shovel, and search for moles. Apparently the dog could detect them in the tunnel, would sniff them out for her, she would quickly dig and scoop into bucket. Moles do not like light so they would stay in the dirt in the bucket while she took them further down the road to a farm. Mole Relocation Program! I was given a pink grocery store/florist hydrangea a couple of years ago for Mother's Day. I planted it outside and lo" and behold I have a 3 foot bush now that is blooming pink! And pink hydrangeas in eastern North Carolina are an uncommon site. Beautiful and unexpected. Love your home and stories!

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  27. I really relate to your frustration over voles - we had them at our lake house a few years ago and they were digging tunnels on the hill below our house. With the heavy rain we get in winter, I was afraid the hill would be compromised as well as the foundation of the house. We had to go out and get a 'vole guy' who comes once a quarter and finds their main tunnels and injects a chemical that you can only get commercially with a license. Sorry to say we had to do that to the little critters but it was them or the house! Good luck to you!

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  28. Oh my!! I had voles, too. I mistakenly accused the deer of mowing down 3 of my hostas, one peony, and 3 blooms of lariope. After a lot of research I discovered the true culprit was voles. I went a little crazy buying products left and right only to find they were bad-aids to the large hemorrhage. I finally purchased a product called Kaput, from Solutions Pest Control. If you want humane, this is not for you, but after battling these little stinkers for 5 weeks I was beyond the humane route. It took a few weeks, but they disappeared.

    I foolishly planted all of my lost plantings again, after the first round of destruction, only to discover that they were unmercifully mowed down by the voles within 2 weeks. So you can see why I was moving beyond humane to full on hellfire and brimstone. Every day I would go outside to inspect the damage, praying that my hydrangea, a gift from my mom, was still standing.

    Boy do I feel your pain! :-) Kaput does the job.

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  29. Voles. I'd noticed tunneling under the snow in the back yard over the past winter, and when the weather warmed up, I wondered why the clumps of panicum virgatum had no roots. Weird, no? Then, I found a little nest of them cuddled up in dog fur under an upside down bucket. I shrieked. They scattered. While cute, they are quite destructive. I'm taking this approach for the winter. http://awaytogarden.com/garden-cleanup-targeting-mice-and-voles/
    We'll see how it goes! Best, Kathleen in Virginia

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  30. I love your favorites list. I've just ordered the castor oil and can't wait to try it as I am losing my eyebrows as well and because I didn't use sunscreen, I've had two basil cells removed this year and want to try it for scars as well. thank you! Good luck with the voles. Best Wishes, Wenda

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  31. For voles and mice, I know this will sound crazy, but it worked for me. If you can find someone or a pet shop that has ferrets, get as much of the poop as you can and scatter it around the plants or wherever mice/voles are at. The "weasel poop" smell keeps prey species away. You have to periodically replenish it, so make friends with the local ferret fanciers!

    RE: Rosemary--how do you winter yours over? I have been keeping mine in a garage in front of the window since they hate the house heat, but they always get puny in the winter. Any suggestions?

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  32. We too, have/had voles! They sampled almost every plant we had. We did lots of research because while we do not have dogs, the neighbors do. And we could not bear to think of adding anything dangerous to the yard. We found a product called Mole Max XX. It needs to be applied when the grass/plants are growing because voles like the roots, but do NOT like the taste of the roots once they take up the product. And they move on (unfortunately, to a neighbor's yard before we told them of the product. :)) It is pet and kid friendly, and we have had great luck with it! (And, we have not treated for grubs, just added the Mole Max. and it does seem that they stop eating above surface things too, eventually....maybe because they DO just tend to move on to tastier pickings.) Good luck! Rosie

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  33. Wonderful post, Joan! I'm particularly excited to try the garden hoses you mentioned. We plumbed in 4 exterior water bibs at our IL house and I've already been thinking about how we're going to hide the unsightly hose reels. Thank you for the idea of using the Pocket Hose! This summer, we've been enjoying (and might be slightly addicted to) Topo Chico sparking mineral water. We buy it by the case at Costco down here in Houston. It's extra sparkly and is especially nice in a cocktail.

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  34. We have been defeated by the voles here in Upstate SC. One summer we trapped literally hundreds of them, we counted. The next year there were more. They have eaten every ornamental plant in my yard. I used to have beautiful beds of hostas everywhere in my shady yard but they are all gone and I refuse to plant more vole food. Our entire neighborhood is the same. It is so frustrating but there is nothing we can do and all the neighbors feel like I do. I have wondered if they will just die out after they have eaten all the plants but I doubt it since the grubs will keep them fed. My herbs are now in pots on my deck or I would not have any.

    We have the Black and Decker 40V lithium ion battery blower and it just keeps going and going year after year without a single problem. We also have the weed eater and it is so easy to grab and use also. I don't know what we ever did without them.

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  35. You might want to check out Bulk Apothecary . com. They carry unscented bases of shampoo, soaps, lotions, etc. Read ingredients though if you do not use sulphates. I love their shampoo base and it is only $25 shipped for a whole gallon.

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  36. Joan, I just love a person who buys tequila by the case!!!Love these types of posts-keep 'em coming!

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  37. GRRRRRRRReat post! Besides the 'featured' item, we interlopers can find lots in the backgrounds to admire.

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  38. Thank you for a wonderful list! I will be looking for several items. Also, just love your custom trellis and Flying Saucer Morning Glories! So pretty!

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  39. Hi joan, enjoyed this post. We've lived in our house 12 years and for the first time during this hot, dry, northeastern summer, we had moles. Not sure if it correlates to the weather or not but interesting that you had voles. Keep us posted on your progress in finding a solution. I think a skunk or some predator took care of ours. On another note, I value your opinions and choices so much...might you have a favorite mattress you would recommend? Granted, it's a personal preference, but in regards to quality and how well it has held up would be valuable info for me since I'm in the market. Thanks in advance and as always, love your blog, photos, insights and sharing.

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  40. PlantSkydd works!! It smells AWFUL at first but after a few days the stench dissipates.
    We have deer. Many, many deer. And I love them and feel quite sorry for them since developers keep encroaching upon their space. I know that a too big population of deer is hard on the herd and I feel a little guilty about protecting my plants with PlantSkydd which does indeed keep them away. So I compromise and leave a few of my plants unprotected. I'm willing to share. We also have had a couple of voles, but they have only served to aerate my lawn. They go away really quickly. We at one point had hundreds of Japanese beetles and we have really attacked them and no longer have very many at all. This may be the reason the voles don't stay around long. I just go stomp down the tunnels they make on the lawn and everything seems fine.

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