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Spring is Home Improvement Time

Taking care of our fruit trees

Photo by Eugenia Jones
McCreary County Extension Agent Greg Whitis recently demonstrated grafting and care of fruit trees to a class of interested individuals.

Recognizing termite damage

Home ownership can be an unending series of adventures, especially for those homeowners who love good home improvement projects. Some projects are fun and improve the value of a home instantly, while others are undertaken to address a potentially serious issue.
Discovering that termites are taking up residence where you live can be disconcerting, but termites are a very common occurrence. Understanding termites and recognizing the signs of termite damage early on can help homeowners reduce the havoc that such critters can wreak on their homes.
While there are many varieties of termites, all are silent destroyers capable of chewing undetected through housing structures. To eradicate termites, homeowners must first identify the insects and then contact a termite management specialist to address the pest problem.
Signs of termites include accumulation of soil or dirt at the base of wood structures or the foundation of a home. There also may be fissures or cracks near wood surfaces. Sometimes “frass” or termite droppings can be seen. They appear as rough, granulated sawdust.
Covered mud tubes, or channels of mud leading from the soil up the foundation of a home, are indicative of the presence of termites. Even if termites are no longer present in these tubes, that does not mean the termites have moved on. They simply may have chosen a new path to your home.
Once termites have been identified, it is time to eliminate them. This means getting rid of water and food sources that are close to a home.
• Repair leaky faucets and other water drips in and around the house.
• Keep gutters and downspouts clean.
•Seal entry points around water and utility lines or pipes.
• Divert water away from the foundation.
• Keep lumber, firewood or paper away from the foundation of the home.
• Clear away stumps and tree debris.
• Prevent untreated wood from contacting the soil.
It is very difficult for homeowners to get rid of termites by themselves. Very often they require the work of professionals. Termites are problematic in many areas of the world. These insects often stay hidden and do serious damage that can cost homeowners a fortune. Treating termites promptly is essential.

Create drama with bold paint colors

Painting is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to transform the look of a space. Paint colors can dramatically change the mood and the design of a home. And depending on a homeowner’s goals, paint can make a statement or blend into the background.
Many people are now looking to bold colors to make spaces stand out. But choosing a paint color can be challenging. Homeowners looking to update walls and complement decor may want to look at some of the more impactful colors that Pantone indicates will be popular for the 2017 season. Primrose  Yellow, Lapis Blue, Flame, Pink Yarrow, and Greenery are some of the more eye-catching selections. Once colors are selected, consider these guidelines for using bolder colors in room designs.
• Decide how big an impact you want to make. Are you looking for color overload or just a small focal point of vivid color? Remember, using bold color doesn’t mean every wall must be lathered in that hue. Instead, select one wall to serve as an accent point and use that spot as your bold color display. Otherwise, rely on bold colors to dress up otherwise mundane areas, such as the back wall of a cupboard or moldings and trim.
• Try bold in a small space. Many people are surprised at how well bold colors work in small spaces. Powder rooms can be an ideal spot to experiment with paint colors. Try deep colors that can make the area seem intimate and even exotic. Dark, bold hues can be toned down by different accents, such as neutral colored fixtures and towels.
• Go bold in the kitchen. Incorporate a splash of color in the kitchen without going overboard. Try an appliance or design fixture in a bright shade. Or paint the inside of the cabinets in your favorite color and install glass inserts in the cabinet doors so that everyone gets a peek of the color beyond. A neutral kitchen also can be brightened up with the use of silverware, dishes, pots and pans, and other kitchen items featured in bold hues.
• Stick to boldness on interchangeable items. Those who like to experiment with color may find that they like to switch out the colors now and again. Instead of having to repaint every few months, use decorative items in bright shades to make swapping out color that much easier. For example, replace area rugs, throw pillows and draperies. Paint over terra cotta flower pots when the mood strikes.
Painting is a fun way to experiment with color. Many homeowners are not hesitant to use bold shades of color when they learn the right techniques. And because paint is an inexpensive option for making over a room, homeowners who find they do not like a particular color can easily paint over it with a new color.

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