Picture Snob

October 4, 2010

A bird feeder with all the features it needs

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This bird feeder is a little pricey, but also looks to have all the features that correct what is wrong with so many feeders. It has two trays, a small perching one for the little birds and a larger tray underneath that bigger birds can stand on and peck away. The design is clever in that the large tray catches the seeds that the small birds scatter. That keeps the seed off the ground and away from the squirrels and other pests.

The feeder also has a squirrel guard so the squirrels can't climb on the feeder pole to get at the seed. The feeder we have in Boston, has a squirrel proof door on the feeder that closes when a large mammal or bird lands on it, but seed still falls to the ground and the squirrels seem quite content with knocking against the pole, scattering seed and getting their food that way. The larger underneath tray should eliminate that problem.

The base if free standing and the whole unit weighs 11 pounds. The tube feeder itself slides down the pole for easy cleaning. You can rinse the tube out with a hose and slide it back up and be done. Very slick design.

At Effortless Birdfeeder

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July 30, 2010

Coolaroo Triangle Shade Sail provides shade where you need it.

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If you have a spot in the garden or on the deck or patio that needs some shade and cooler temperatures, this sun shade will do the job. It comes in both green and sand and has stainless steel hardware fasteners. It has a 10 year warranty against UV degradation. You can create your own uniquely designed outdoor living space using multiple sizes and colors of sail shades.

I have friends who have a south facing house with no trees for shade. They put up about five Coolaroos at different angles and planted hops and grapes in planters. The area looks lovely now and provides shade for the house and a cool place to sit and see the sunset. I'm getting a couple of these to put over my double doors which face west. The sun heats up the house in the afternoon and the Coolaroos will keep that from happening until I can get wisteria or grapes growing over a trellis.

At Coolaroo Triangle Shade Sail 16 Feet 5 Inches with Hardware Kit, Brunswick Green

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July 9, 2010

A great hammock is the perfect summer pleasure

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I bought this hammock four years ago and it has held up very well. It has no tears, no fraying, no problems whatsoever, although I sometimes have the sprinkler going and it gets wet. The colors have stayed bright! I have it up all summer and only take it down when the rains start in the fall.

I've had a lot of hammocks. I used to swear by the Mayan string hammocks, but they did not hold up well with the abuse they get from visiting children. The spreading hammocks are fine for adults. I have a rope one on a stand which is great for me, but kids like a hammock what cradles them. My difficult to put to sleep grandaughter fell asleep easily in the Jobek hammock. Older kids put the strength of this hammock to a real test. They love to swing each other high and fast enough for the adults to occasionally to intervene to calm things down. After my guests had left, I lay down to relax in the hammock and although the rope that held it to the trees had stretched with the vigor of child play, the hammock itself was still unsullied and I relaxed with some lemonade and a short doze before continuing on with my day.

At Jobek 24107 Light Blue, Vanilla Stripe Rumba Spreadless Hammock

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June 28, 2010

Mr. BBQ 18-Piece Tool set is a perfect gift

Here's a good idea for Father's day. He already has a grill and this nice set of tools completes the pictures.

  • Be prepared in all grilling instances with this loaded, 18-piece tool set from Mr. BBQ
  • Includes a 4-in-1 spatula, knife, fork, tongs, basting brush, 8 corn holders, and 4 skewers
  • Whip it out to host family and friends at home, or pack it all up in the included aluminum carrying case to take on the road
  • Durably made, the set comes backed by a 5-year warranty

It comes with a carrying case if he wants to take it on the road! Have tools; will BBQ!

At Mr. BBQ 18-Piece Tool set with Case

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May 28, 2010

Handwoven Mayan Hammock is made for hammock lovers

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One of the items we used to carefully bring back from Mexico were Mayan hammocks. They are made by people who used them for sleeping and so know hammock comfort. Usually available in both nylon and cotton, these hammocks use miles of string which is woven so that it gives with body weight and you can easily turn, stretch and roll without falling out. The sides of the hammock are high and children can easily sleep in them without fear of them falling out. My daughter loved the hammock. She said it was like being in a string egg!

Here are some of the selling points:

  • Handwoven from more than 2 miles of durable nylon
  • Authentic, expert workmanship
  • Diamond weave for remarkable strength
  • Room for 3 or more; 600-lb. weight capacity
  • Bed dimensions: 7 ft. 6 in. L x 11 ft. W
  • Overall length: 14 ft. 8 in.
  • Several color options available
  • Hanging hardware not included

We hung ours in the grape arbor so that you could lie in the shade and eat grapes at your leisure. Only Roman emporers knew such luxury! And gardeners deserve a hour or so of well earned leisure so they can bask in the fruit of their labors.

At Mayan Hammock

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May 26, 2010

Sweet Petunias House Flag is a cheerful reminder of spring

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The weather is always a topic for the gardener. It rules our lives. In Northern California we have been experiencing a cool, wet spring which has surprised everyone. The old timers used to say about gardening, "Don't put a thing in the ground until June 1st." Of course I always tried to push the season a little. But for many years, it has been possible to plant corn in late April and the second planting in mid May and have all the warm weather vegetables in the ground and flourishing by June. Maybe that change had to to with global warming. But this spring has been a throw back to when I first got here and I've been surprised and a little pleased by the change.

In recent years, spring lasted for a very short period. There would be a few nice days and then suddenly it would be very hot and very dry. It brought on fire season early and many summers ended with smokey skies and fire alerts, so this late rainy spring has made us all feel safer. There is plenty of water and the fire danger will be way down. The small firs and pines are loving it. They have grown a foot at least and are still pushing up. The peas and onions, the carrots and broccoli have sprouted and grown nicely.

However the tomatoes I planted fresh from the greenhouse, have suffered. Some of the newest growth died back. But I am surprised that the corn and beans I planted the second week of May has sprouted in spite of the cold rain and wind. Today was the first sunny day we have had in a while and I spent all day in the flower beds weeding, having to change into my coat and wear a hat when the wind came up. I gave manure tea to the tomatoes and peppers, thinking that will give them the confidence they need to continue growing. They have not put out new leaves since I put them in the ground.

Once the flower bed was weed free, I planted the petunias I bought at the nursery. Their bright colors always cheer my heart. I gave them the manure tea also and have come in the house to start the fire and warm up. It isn't supposed to freeze tonight, but more cold storm is on the way Tuesday. I'm happy with the garden this year, although it's late. And it's almost June, when it's safe to plant!

I found this Petunia flag while I was looking for a present for my sister. I think she'll like it!

At Sweet Petunias House Flag

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May 25, 2010

Strathwood Recliners mean high end comfort

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Hopefully sometime in the hustle of digging, planting, fertilizing and getting your garden ready to produce, you'll find time to sit back and enjoy the spring. We've had a cold spell that shocked the tomatoes and nipped some leaves with frost, but I've watered them and given them manure tea and they will make it, especially now that the weather has warmed up. I had planted the first planting of corn and a row of beans, and they have not shown themselves yet. I'm hoping they still will come up.

All the cold weather vegetables are fine. The peas are growing; carrots, broccoli and beets have germinated. It's been their kind of weather. I have yet to plant the squash family or the cucumbers. So it's in the interim between plantings that the thought of just sitting and enjoying the sun, the lawn and the garden comes to mind.

These Strathwood recliners are truely wonderful. Strathwood is known for it's great line of outdoor furniture and these recliners adjust to an infinite number of leg and back positions so you can find your most comfortable position and change it when you wish without getting up. The recliner has a sturdy steel frame and flexible fabric seating. It is really easy to set up and take down, comes in a wide variety of colors and some models have a canopy cover to protect you from the sun. Sweet! Time to relax and enjoy!

At Strathwood Anti-Gravity Adjustable Recliners

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April 21, 2010

Brome Squirrel Buster Classic has great reviews

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Finding a bird feeder that won't attract and feed squirrels is difficult. The bird feeder in my daughter's back yard constantly has squirrels around it and believe me, there are a lot of squirrels in Boston. I'm not bothered by squirrles here in the wilds of Northern California. They don't have an easy life and furthermore, I have a dog and two cats. These pets are well fed and rather lazy, being old, so they are quite content to sit and watch the birds at the bird feeder, which keeps squirrels away, but the birds soon realize they have nothing to fear.

The Squirrel Buster Classic has openings in the wire grid that align with the seed ports and provide birds access to the seed. When a squirrel climbs onto the feeder, its weight automatically forces the grid down, closing access to the seed ports. Squirrels and many large birds are foiled but not harmed in any way. This bird feeder has two downsides. One is that it is a little pricey; the other is that it shuts down not just for squirrels but also for large birds. If you really want a cardinal or larger bird to feed at the feeder, there is another model, the 1024 which has a cardinal perch on it.

The reviews of this feeder are positive. They say it is easy to clean and that the birds love it and that it does shut down, as promised, when a squirrel tries to eat out of it. I don't think there is any bird feeder, no matter how strategically made, that can keep the seed from falling on the ground where the squirrels can get it. Only the cat and dog can keep a squirrel away from such an inviting meal. If you have found such a bird feeder, let us know and we'll rejoice and spread the word!

At Brome 1015 Squirrel Buster Classic

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April 12, 2010

Landmann Fireplace saved the Easter Party

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The party I have on Easter was threatened by a big late storm. We put up a tarp over the deck and brought out the Landmann fireplace and started fire. This plan worked beautifully. The fire was roaring and people loved standing around talking, drinking, and watching the snow come down, safely dry and warm. In fact, although the cabin was toasty warm everybody stayed outside to enjoy the novelty of snow fall on daffodils and tulips and a brilliant green lawn.

The nice thing about this Landmann Fireplace is that is was high enough off the ground that it didn't kill the lawn underneath it although a fire really blazed in it all day. It also can be moved on it's wheels while burning. We left the top off most of the day and piled the logs on. When everyone left, we put the top on, and let it burn itself out. This fireplace was a real party saver.

At Landmann Heatwave 28-Inch Outdoor Fireplace

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March 23, 2010

Garden Hook Bird Feeder Pole is attractive and easy to use

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This is an attractive pole, kind of lyrical with an hook at the end, that could be used as a flower hanging basket holder or used for placing wind chimes. It' easy to install in the ground and it should be hard for a squirrel to get to the bird feed. If you're beginning to look around for decorative ideas for the yard and garden, this seems to be a versatile choice with many possible uses.

If anyone has found the perfect squirrel proof birdfeeder, I would so like to hear from you. We have tried and tried again and the squirrels manage to outsmart the feeders, just bumping the pole of the ones they can't climb on, and waiting for the seed to drop to the ground where they can get it. Suburban Boston must be squirrel heaven as there are so many! Here in California, the cats and dog keep them at bay and they stay in the woods where they belong.

At Heath Outdoor Products BFP-3 8-Foot Garden Hook Bird Feeder Pole

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