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5 household chores that are a waste of time

<div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>An endless list of the same old household to-dos costs you time, money and sanity. Here are some you can just skip.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>1. Washing your hair every day</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"> <p>It may sound counterintuitive, but if you shampoo too often, you will actually make your hair oilier. Washing strips hair of natural oils, so your scalp produces more and then you have to wash again. Stick to two or three times a week, says derma­tologist Dr Tsippora Shainhouse. Using a ­gentle, sulphate-free shampoo and conditioner will keep your scalp and hair from drying out too much.</p> <p><strong>2. Using a top sheet on your bed</strong></p> <p>Save time making your bed every morning by skipping the tangle-prone top sheet. Many Europeans sleep directly under a quilt or a duvet with a cover, as do many of us. Just be sure to make time every week to wash any bedding that touches your body.</p> <p><strong>3. Tossing mouldy bread</strong></p> <p>The best bread is bought fresh at a bakery and eaten on the day you buy it. But if you don’t devour the loaf, you’ll want to store the rest in the freezer. 
It’ll last longer (two to three months, according to the experts 
at ­epicurious.com) and make much better toast, 
according to the<span> </span><em>New York Times</em>.</p> <p><strong>4. Opening curtains wide every morning</strong></p> <div id="page9" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Letting the sunshine in is a lovely way to greet the day, but if you’ll be leaving the house and not returning until after dark, all those rays can fade your furniture and make your air conditioner work harder. North and west-facing rooms are especially sun-prone, so try leaving those curtains drawn. Also, consider running the air conditioner only when you’re home.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><strong>5. Peeling vegetables</strong></div> <p>Unless you’re preparing pumpkin, celery root or some other food with a tough outer coating, there’s no reason to waste precious before-dinner time peeling vegetables, reports thekitchn.com. That goes for foods you may have been peeling 
all your life, such as carrots, cucumbers, potatoes and turnips. You’ll save time and gain flavour and healthy fibre.</p> <p><em>Written by Jody L. Rohlena. </em><em>This article first appeared in </em><a href="https://www.readersdigest.com.au/food-home-garden/household-chores-that-are-a-waste-of-time"><em>Reader’s Digest</em></a><em>. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, </em><a href="http://readersdigest.innovations.com.au/c/readersdigestemailsubscribe?utm_source=over60&amp;utm_medium=articles&amp;utm_campaign=RDSUB&amp;keycode=WRA93V"><em>here’s our best subscription offer.</em></a></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Level two water restrictions begin today – this is what you can and can’t do

<p>Residents of Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Illawara region will face tough new water restrictions from today, forcing those who fail to comply to cough up hefty fines.</p> <p>The NSW Government announced the introduction of “level two” water restrictions in November, as dam levels continue to decrease in drought conditions.</p> <p>The rules will be put in place from December 10, applying to all residents and businesses in the affected areas. For the first time since the millennium drought in 2003, level one restrictions were introduced in June.</p> <p>“Usually, we would expect to have level two water restrictions come into effect when dam levels reached 40 per cent,” said Premier Gladys Berejiklian in a statement.</p> <p>“But given the rapid rate of decline of our dam levels we have decided to enact the next level restrictions sooner than planned. We’re introducing level two restrictions to save 78.5 gigalitres of water per year.”</p> <p>Those who are caught breaking the rules will be penalised $220, while businesses will face one of $550.</p> <p>Level two water restrictions are crucial to help manage NSW’s increasingly low water supply.</p> <p>“We’re doing the work to save as much drinking water as we can to ensure there is enough if the drought persists,” said Water Minister Melina Pavey.</p> <p>“Businesses who rely upon outdoor water use as part of their operations need to get an exemption. If a business applied for and received a permit under the previous level of restrictions, they’ll need to contact Sydney Water to confirm it’s still valid.”</p> <p><strong>The biggest changes for residents and businesses in the affected areas are:</strong></p> <ul> <li>You can only use a watering can or bucket to water your garden before 10 am and after 4 pm.</li> <li>You can only use drip irrigation or smart watering systems for a maximum of 15 minutes a day per watering zone, before 10 am and after 4 pm.</li> <li>You can only top up an existing pool or spa, using a hose fitted with a trigger nozzle, watering can or bucket for a maximum of 15 minutes a day. You can only do this to replace water lost through evaporation, not to replace water deliberately removed from the pool or spa.</li> <li>You can only wash your vehicles with a bucket and sponge.</li> <li>You need a permit to fill new or renovated pools and spas that hold more than 500 litres.</li> </ul> <p>Recycled water, greywater, rainwater, bore water and river water is allowed under the new restrictions, however they may come with their own conditions as to how they can be used.</p>

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How to eradicate aphids

<p class="p1"><span class="s1">A</span>phids are small, soft-bodied insects that feed on sap and leave a sticky deposit as they suck the juice from leaves and stems.</p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They love nasturtiums but attack everything from herbs and vegies to vines, shrubs and trees, including roses, camellias, stone fruit and citrus.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids can be green, yellow, pink, brown, grey, black or woolly, and are only 2mm to 4mm long.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">These tiny insects are usually found clustering in large numbers on stems, flower buds and leaves, causing curled or distorted growth.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Populations start building up in mid and late spring, developing from small colonies into heavy infestations in a matter of days.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">They don’t just destroy new growth but also spread disease, transmitting broad bean wilt, cucumber mosaic and other viruses.</span></p> <p class="p3"><span class="s1">Aphids also secrete a sugar-rich substance called honeydew that attracts and feeds a type of fungus called sooty mould.</span></p> <p class="p3"><strong><span class="s1">Methods of control</span></strong></p> <p class="p2"><span class="s1">Aphids multiply rapidly, so a control program is very important.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PICK</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>aphids off by hand and squash them, making sure to wear gloves.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">BLAST</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>aphids from plants by hosing regularly with a strong jet of water.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">WIPE</span></strong><span class="s1"><strong><span> </span></strong>off indoor plants with a cotton ball dipped in methylated spirits.<span> </span></span><span class="s2">SPRAY</span><span class="s1"><span> </span>plants with insecticide, using low-toxicity formulas to protect edibles, pets and beneficial insects.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">ATTRACT</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>natural predators like ladybirds into the garden by planting achillea or Queen Anne’s lace.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s2">PRUNE</span></strong><span class="s1"><span> </span>and bin heavily infested stems and shoots to stimulate new growth.</span></p> <p class="p2"><strong><span class="s1">Mixing home remedies</span></strong></p> <p class="p1">Insects are repelled by garlic and cayenne pepper, so use it to make a spray that can be applied to plants as often as needed.</p> <p class="p2">Handle the solution carefully because capsaicin, the active ingredient in pepper, is a very powerful eye and skin irritant.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">COMBINE</span><span> </span></strong>six unpeeled and crushed garlic cloves with one tablespoon of cayenne pepper in a clean bucket.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">ADD</span></strong><span> </span>a litre of warm water and stir the mixture well for one minute then cover the container and leave in a location out of direct sunlight, letting it stand for two days.</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">STRAIN</span></strong><span> </span>the solution into a plastic spray bottle and use within 24 hours.</p> <p class="p1"><strong>Spotting and treating infestations</strong></p> <p class="p1">Aphids usually attack soft, new young growth and can cluster unseen on the underside of leaves. Monitor plants throughout spring, checking the leaves for signs of aphid activity, and treat infestations immediately.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Herbs</strong></h4> <p><strong>PROBLEM<span> </span></strong>Leaves are distorted, yellowing or sticky</p> <p><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Companion plant with nectar-rich species like scabiosa or sweet alyssum and include dill, fennel and chives to attract beneficial insects.</p> <h4><strong>Vegetables</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span><span> </span></strong>Leaves are curled, puckered or sticky</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Spray insecticidal soap directly onto aphids. To make your own, mix two tablespoons of pure soap flakes in a litre of water.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Flowers</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Insects cluster on buds and leaves are curled, distorted or yellowed</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Apply a botanical insecticide such as neem, spraying the foliage in the early evening.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Shrubs</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Distorted, sticky leaves.</p> <p><span class="s1"><strong>SOLUTION</strong></span><span> </span>Make a pepper and garlic spray for heavily infested foliage and use as needed. It will very effectively protect roses from both sucking insects and fungal issues.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Fruit trees</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span> </span>Leaves are misshapen and stunted</p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune off and dispose of infested leaves, stems and shoots then spray the tree with white oil, making sure to coat the pests.</p> <h4 class="p1"><strong>Citrus species</strong></h4> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s1">PROBLEM</span></strong><span class="s2"><span> </span>Black insects cover new growth, leaves wither and buds drop</span></p> <p class="p1"><strong><span class="s3">SOLUTION</span></strong><span> </span>Prune affected shoots to encourage new, healthy growth and apply pyrethrum, also spraying it around the base of the tree.</p> <p><em>Written by Artemis Gouros. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/eradicate-aphids"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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4 easy steps to get rid of stink bugs

<p>Anyone who’s had a citrus tree will be familiar with bronze orange bugs. Also called stink bugs, they produce a foul-smelling secretion and suck the sap from stalks, causing flowers and fruit to drop.</p> <p>These pests need to be controlled in winter before they can build up their numbers in spring and summer.</p> <p>They lay eggs on the underside of leaves with the young, called nymphs, appearing in winter. The nymphs are flat, lime green and about 6mm long.</p> <p><strong>1. Know the beast</strong></p> <div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Nymphs can be harder to spot as their green colour helps them blend with leaves.</p> <p>As they mature they turn orange or bronze and become rounded, going from brown to black and reaching 25mm long as adults.</p> <p><strong>2. Get them while they are young</strong></p> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Adult stink bugs change from orange or bronze to black or brown in colour.</p> <p><strong>3.  Methods of control</strong></p> <p>Numbers of bronze orange bug build up rapidly, making control difficult, so take action immediately. A high population may be a sign the tree is stressed. Give it a deep watering and apply a citrus fertiliser.</p> <p>Wear goggles to control bronze orange bugs, as they expel a caustic liquid that can cause severe irritation. For small trees, blast them off with a jet of water from the hose then collect in a bag and squash, or drop into a bucket of methylated spirits.</p> <p>Large trees should be sprayed every 10 to 14 days with Eco-Oil or Confidor to kill the nymphs before they develop into breeding adults.</p> <p>You may also notice green bugs with sharp shoulder spines. Native to Australia they’re called spined citrus bugs. They like lemons and mandarins but suck sap from other citrus fruit.</p> <p>This pest causes young fruit to develop flat patches of skin and brown stains on the flesh.</p> <p>Treat them the same way as bronze orange bugs but you’ll have to look a little closer to find them, as their green colour helps them blend in well.</p> <p><strong>4. Organic remedy</strong></p> <p>One way to treat small nymphs in winter is with a soap spray, concentrating on the underside of leaves and the lower part of the tree.</p> <p>To make the spray, add one tablespoon of pure soap flakes, such as grated Velvet soap, to half a bucket of warm water.</p> <p>When the soap has dissolved in the water, fill a spray bottle and treat leaves early in the day.</p> <p><strong>TIP:</strong> Don’t use any sprays on hot days, as this can damage stressed plants even more.</p> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/4-easy-steps-get-rid-stink-bugs">Handyman.</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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5 ways to enrich garden soil

<p>Healthier garden soil means healthier plants. It is the foundation of successful gardening and thus worth paying attention to.</p> <p>Here are 5 ways you can enrich your garden soil.</p> <p><strong>1. Spread grass</strong></p> <div id="page1" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Grass clippings add nutrients as they decompose. They also provide shade, keeping roots cool and reducing water loss in hot weather.</p> <p>Mix them with leaf litter or dig into the soil to avoid them forming a mat that will repel water.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>2. Use manure</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page2" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Cow manure improves soil micro-organisms and chicken manure, which is high in nitrogen and phosphorus, is great for the lawn and vegie patch.</p> <p><strong>TIP:</strong><span> </span>Don’t use manure from carnivores, such as dogs and cats.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>3. Lay straw</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page3" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>Lucerne hay and pea straw strengthen the soil, so they’re highly recommended. They also break down fairly quickly, which gives the soil a quick nutrient injection, and can be dug in to speed up the process.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>4. Use bark</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page4" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>These mulches take longer to break down, so they don’t need applying as often.</p> <p>They shade the soil, help retain moisture, repel weeds and look decorative, but don’t add many nutrients to the plants.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><strong>5. Add compost</strong></div> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <div id="page5" class="slide-show"> <div id="test" class="slide"> <div class="slide-description"> <p>A well-rounded source of goodness, compost allows water to penetrate the soil. It provides slow-release nutrients, attracts worms and encourages a healthy root system. Best of all, you can make it from kitchen scraps.</p> <div class="at-below-post addthis_tool" data-url="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"> <p><em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of </em><a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/5-ways-enrich-garden-soil"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>. </em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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Mother posts “delusional” list of babysitter requirements

<p>An anonymous mother has posted on Facebook looking for a babysitter for her three children. Although that might seem harmless on its own, the list of requirements was what had people confused.</p> <p>Some requirements included being a Trump fan to at least having nine years of experience working with children, according to the screenshot on <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.reddit.com/r/ChoosingBeggars/comments/a2664j/delusional_babysitter_requirements/" target="_blank">Reddit</a></em>.</p> <p>Although political preferences aren’t usually asked while looking for a babysitter, many were optimistic until they read further on for the unknown mother’s demands.</p> <p>According to her, candidates must have full availability, including weekends, and must show up for “emergency last-minute calls”. You also are required to have “perfect attendance”, as 100 per cent is required.</p> <p>It also helps if you’re a native English speaker but know a second language so you can teach her children while you’re looking after them.</p> <p>The best part for many was the price, as the mother was offering $10/hr in cash. According to her, “it’s like making $15/hr normally but without paying tax”.</p> <p><img style="width: 281.1094452773614px; height:500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7832907/6jfd7f801q121-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/ea3bc3e8e8db4b2cbcc163cd50792ffb" /></p> <p>Others were quick to comment, saying that they’d be worried about a babysitter with nine years of experience working for $10 an hour.</p> <p>“Would be worried about someone who had the degree and/or experience but was still willing to graft for $10 an hour,” they wrote.</p> <p>Another said that it was unfair that the babysitter would have to pay for snacks.</p> <p>“I thought she meant SHE'D be willing to pay for the babysitters snacks. I was like well I guess that's nice, then I realized she meant the babysitters would be paying for snacks. Lovely,” they said.</p> <p>One shared what their babysitting experience would be like if they were paid $10/hour.</p> <p>“For $10/hr I will come over to watch your TV and eat your snacks. Expect to return to alive children.... that's it.”</p>

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10 different ways you're not using bleach but you should be

<p>You can use bleach for much more than just brightening white clothes.</p> <p><strong>1. Keep your Christmas tree alive for longer</strong></p> <p>Keep the holiday spirit around just a bit longer with the help of bleach. According to Julia Byrne, a product developer, bleach at Clorox, you can prolong the life of your freshly cut tree with an easy mixture. Use a solution of two teaspoons of bleach per two litres of hot water, plus one cup of corn syrup, and an eighth of a cup of powdered iron from your local nursery. This mixture goes into your tree stand bowl instead of plain water, Byrne says.</p> <p><strong>2. Let your garden flourish</strong></p> <p>Try using bleach to clean flower pots and plants. “By cleaning your containers it helps prevent the transfer of moulds and diseases from old plants to new ones,” Byrne says. To disinfect, wash and rinse pots and planters by soaking them in a solution of half a cup of bleach to four litres of water for at least five minutes before rinsing with water.</p> <p><strong>3. Freshen up your garbage bins</strong></p> <p>Although garbage bins hold your garbage bags, the bins themselves need a good clean with bleach, too. Wash with soapy water and rinse. Then deodorise and sanitise the bins with a mixture of half a cup of bleach per three litres of water. Swish this solution over the inside of the bin and let it sit for two minutes before rinsing.</p> <p><strong>4. Keep fresh cut flowers alive</strong></p> <p>If you don’t have a green thumb, you can still use bleach to keep store-bought flowers alive. Smell your freshly cut flowers for longer by keeping them in cold water with a quarter teaspoon of bleach per litre of water, according to Byrne.</p> <p><strong>5, Eliminate litter box odour</strong></p> <p>Put an end to unpleasant cat box odours with bleach because it kills odour-causing germs, Byrne says. Wash the litter box with sudsy water and rinse. Then wipe it down with a solution of half a cup of bleach to four litres of water. Wait five minutes before rinsing.</p> <p><strong>6. Clean off mould and mildew</strong></p> <p>Bleach not only removes mould and mildew stains, but also kills the fungus, according to Byrne. “By killing the fungus, you no longer have to worry about the harmful effects that mould can have to your family’s health,” she says. Remove mould and mildew from your bathroom tiles with a mixture of equal parts bleach and water in a spray bottle. Let it sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it off and rinsing.</p> <p><strong>7. Clean toys</strong></p> <p><span>Legos and other hard, non-porous objects such as kids’ toys could definitely benefit from bleach, especially if they are second-hand. “Bleach is perfect for disinfecting second-hand products because you can disinfect a lot of items with a small amount of bleach at a time,” Byrne says. Here’s what to do: add half a cup of bleach per four litres of water. Then wipe the surface with the bleach solution and let it sit on the surface for at least five minutes. Rinse it well with water and let it air dry.</span></p> <p><strong><span>8. Brighten and clean second-hand white linens</span></strong></p> <p><span>So you want to keep high thread count hand-me-down sheets without handing down any gross germs or bacteria. When washing, add two-thirds of a cup of bleach to your standard machine or one-third of a cup of bleach to your high-efficiency machine along with regular detergent. Ensure that the bleach contacts the clothes for ten minutes, Byrne says.</span></p> <p><strong><span>9. Clean most things in your kitchen</span></strong></p> <p><span>Sanitise second-hand food contact surface in the kitchen such as stainless steel utensils, plastic cutting boards, glassware, dishes, or baby bottles, Byrne says. Wash with water first, then rinse and wipe the surface with a solution of two tablespoons of bleach to one gallon of water. Let the solution stand for two minutes, rinse well, and air dry.</span></p> <p><strong><span>10. Make a DIY spray to use on most surfaces</span></strong></p> <p><span>Sealed tile, wood, countertops and plastic are all hard, non-porous surfaces that are safe for bleach. Create your own disinfecting spray with a combination of two cups of water and one tablespoon of bleach. Plus, bleach is good for cleaning glass dishware and porcelain because it doesn’t streak as much as some other cleaners, according to Byrne.</span><span> </span></p> <p><em><span>Source: <a href="https://www.rd.com/home/cleaning-organizing/ways-to-use-bleach/">RD.com</a></span></em></p> <p><em><span>Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/10-different-ways-youre-not-using-bleach-should">Handyman</a>.</span></em></p>

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3 hacks to keep your herbs fresher for longer

<p>Herbs are a must-have for any chef who wants to add that little something extra to their favourite dish, but the shelf life of herbs leaves something to be desired.</p> <p>Nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan knows this pain of bulk buying herbs and hoping for the best, so she’s shared her hacks for keeping herbs fresher for longer with <em><a href="https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/hack-forkeeping-herbs-fresher-for-longer-212750312.html">Yahoo Lifestyle AU</a></em>.</p> <p><strong>1. Create a mini greenhouse</strong></p> <p>This hack might sound a bit odd, but if you’re able to create a mini greenhouse, your herbs will stay fresher for longer.</p> <p>McMillan suggests placing the cut stems of your herbs in a small glass of water and covering the whole thing in a plastic bag. Keep the bag sealed up tight with an elastic around the base of the glass.</p> <p>This keeps the humidity high.</p> <p>Simply store the mini greenhouse in your fridge and use the herbs as soon as possible.</p> <p>Another way to do this trick is to sandwich your leftover herbs between two damp piece of paper towel and place the herbs in your fridge crisper drawer.</p> <p><strong>2. Don’t cut the herbs in the first place</strong></p> <p>McMillan recommends avoiding buying bunches of herbs in the first place if you don’t have plans to use all of the herbs at once.</p> <p>Instead, she says you should purchase the tiny pots of herbs that are now stocked in supermarkets. This helps keeping your herbs fresh as you can store them on your windowsill (if you remember to water them to keep the herbs alive) and they’ll be fresh until you’re done using the crop.</p> <p><strong>3. Don’t lose your leftovers</strong></p> <p>Food wastage is an issue at the moment, so another way to ensure that you get the most out of your herbs is to chuck them into your freezer.</p> <p>McMillan suggests that you freeze your leftovers as chopped herbs in a zip lock bag or in little ice cube trays that are filled with olive oil.</p> <p>By keeping them in the ice cube trays, you’re able to use them quickly and whenever you need a flavour boost.</p> <p>By following these hacks, you’re bound to keep your herbs fresher for longer and give your cooking a boost of flavour.</p>

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Mary Poppins author P.L Travers’ London home for sale

<p>“Mary Poppins” author P.L. Travers lived in a charming four-bedroom house in London from 1962 until her passing in 1996.</p> <p>It’s since undergone renovations and is on the market for around USD $6.2 million (AUD $9.1 million).</p> <p>According to a press release issued to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.today.com/home/mary-poppins-author-p-l-travers-london-home-sale-t168303" target="_blank">TODAY Home</a></em>, Travers purchased the home following the release of <em>Mary Poppins from A to Z</em> and continued to write additional books while living in the home.</p> <p>The home was also featured in the 2013 movie <em>Saving Mr. Banks</em> which starred Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson. The film focused on Walt Disney’s quest to obtain the rights to “Mary Poppins”.</p> <p>The home features a cinema room, wine cellar and garden as well as being spread out on four storeys.</p> <p>There are four bathrooms, three reception rooms and a roof terrace.</p> <p>There is a large sunny reception area when you first enter the home as well as a living area and an elegant kitchen and dining space.</p> <p>“It’s a real pleasure to market a home previously owned by one of the most influential authors of the 20th century,” Hugo Cordle, sales negotiator at specialist Chelsea estate agents Russell Simpson, said in a statement issued to <em><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.today.com/home/mary-poppins-author-p-l-travers-london-home-sale-t168303" target="_blank">TODAY Home</a></em>.</p> <p>“It’s hard to not imagine Mary Poppins and her famous umbrella swooping in to arrive on the roof terrace.”</p> <p>Scroll through the gallery to see the home where Mary Poppins author P.L Travers’ once lived.</p>

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Mum’s surprising paracetamol cleaning hack fixes ruined iron

<p>A neat trick that shows many how to remove rust has resurfaced on the Facebook group<span> </span>Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK.</p> <p>Many are thrilled with the hack, including Laura Siârn Outhart who posted the hack.</p> <p>“A 29p pack of Paracetamols saved me buying a new iron. I am a nightmare for ironing things I shouldn’t and recently ruined my iron,” she wrote on the group.</p> <p>“I read somewhere that a Paracetamol rubbed onto the iron will make it almost like new again.”</p> <p>Laura’s iron was quite rusty, so this meant she had to use two tablets instead of the standard one.</p> <p>“This took two paracetamols and it worked better when the iron was hot and not just warm,’ she added.</p> <p>"I was amazed how well it worked and how much money it saved me.</p> <p>“To anyone asking, I didn’t wet the tablet beforehand and if you use tweezers and are very careful then you won’t get burnt.</p> <p>“I am not saying do this, but it worked for me and saved me buying a new iron. I tried other alternatives but this one worked in seconds and the other ways either didn’t work or it took too long and I would give up.”</p> <p>If you’re considering using this hack, here’s how it works.</p> <ul> <li>Plug the rusty iron in and put it on maximum heat.</li> <li>Once it’s hot, grab a paracetamol tablet with tweezers (not your hands, as you could burn your fingers) and rub it onto the rusty area. Depending on the level of the stain, you might need to repeat the process with a second tablet.</li> <li>Once you’re done, wipe it clean with a cloth (while the iron is still hot, but once again, be careful with the fingers).</li> <li>Turn the iron off and marvel at the good as new surface.</li> </ul> <p>Many were thrilled with the hack, saying that they couldn’t wait to try it out for themselves.<span> </span></p> <p>‘I’ve just seen this post and tried it and it works nice shiny iron again thank you,’ wrote one person.</p> <p><em>Photo credit: <a rel="noopener" href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/ExtremeCouponingAndBargainsUK/" target="_blank">Extreme Couponing and Bargains UK</a></em></p>

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“If only I’d prayed more”: Bushfire victim sends scathing message to Scott Morrison

<p><span>A New South Wales man who lost his home in the bushfires has launched a blistering criticism at Prime Minister Scott Morrison over the federal government’s inadequate response to the crisis.</span></p> <p><span>Earlier this month, Stuart Mackay’s family home was burned down in fires at Nymboida in the Northern Rivers region of NSW. </span></p> <p><span>The man criticised the Morrison government’s response to the blazes and called for more Rural Fire Service planes to be made available to the firefighters in a series of messages spray-painted on pieces of corrugated iron from the debris of his home.</span></p> <p><span>“If only I’d prayed more,” one of Mackay’s messages read, which appeared to refer to Morrison’s Twitter post on November 8 that stated: “Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been so directly and horribly impacted by these fires.”</span></p> <p><span>Mackay also took a swipe at Morrison’s branding of his supporters as the “quiet Australians” with the message: “Quiet Aussies lead to homes on fire.”</span></p> <p><span>Some other messages included “Our homes vs your surplus”, “Thoughts &amp; Prayers vs Action” and “No climate catastrophe? Shame ScoMo”.</span></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fcarlos.callo.7%2Fposts%2F3262028457202832&amp;width=500" width="500" height="669" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p><span>As of Sunday evening, 65 fires were burning across NSW with 31 yet to be contained. All of these were at “advice” alert level, including the 180,000 hectare Gospers Mountain blaze near Sydney’s north-western outskirts.</span></p> <p><span>On Sunday morning, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced $48 million has been set aside for bushfire recovery to aid affected communities.</span></p> <p><span>The recovery package includes grants of up to $15,000 to help small businesses and farmers.</span></p> <p><span>“The impact to communities has been evident over the last few weeks, however the extent of the impact to our farming and business sectors has not been fully quantified as these bushfires continue to burn,” Berejiklian said in a statement.</span></p> <p>“When money flows around a community it can help to speed up the whole recovery.”</p>

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How to know what weeds to pull and what to leave in the garden

<p>One of the least favourite but essential chores that must be performed regularly in the garden would have to be weeding.</p> <p>Because they are often attractive, easy-to-grow plants that thrive, weeds can quickly become invasive and destroy other less rigorous plants if they are left unchecked.</p> <p>The Australian government has produced a<span> </span><a rel="noopener noreferrer" href="http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/invasive/weeds/weeds/lists/wons.html" target="_blank">national watchlist</a><span> </span>of plants that should be avoided in your garden at all costs.</p> <p>If allowed to take root and spread, they quickly turn the backyard into an unkempt mess.</p> <p>Manager of the government’s National Weeds Strategy Project John Thorp, says, ‘Weeds are any plants growing out of place, such as on paths, in lawns or in a home garden, that a person wishes to control.’</p> <div class="advertisements"><strong>State of origin</strong></div> <div class="advertisements"> <p>Location is key in weed warfare, as species that are classified as a dangerous weed in a particular state or territory may be seen as a welcome garden plant in another.</p> <p>“Australia is affected in most places by weeds, but they change because we go from the tropics to temperate climates,” says John.</p> <p>“What may be an indoor plant in Tasmania could easily be considered a weed in the tropics.</p> <p>“You also get subtropical vines which scramble over canopies.</p> <p>“They’re a problem, especially in the Macleay River area in New South Wales where they really damage the bushland,” says John.</p> <p><strong>Garden invaders</strong></p> <p>There are 32 weeds listed by the federal government as having national significance.</p> <p>Many, including the most common one, lantana, are referred to as garden escapes.</p> <p>“That is, they’ve literally escaped from the garden,” explains John.</p> <p>“Birds typically spread the plants by picking up the seeds and flying over the neighbour’s place, dropping a few along the way and eventually heading into bushland.</p> <p>“The culprits include a range of black birds like the currawongs, which are frugivores.”</p> <p>Some of the most common backyard plants that turn into weeds this way include the fast-growing asparagus weed, which the birds prey on for their berries.</p> <p>Other widespread garden weeds are brooms, which come in different coloured varieties but are most common with yellow flowers.</p> <p>All types of broom, regardless of colour, are prolific seed producers. Cat’s claw creeper, Madeira vine and cacti are also garden weeds.</p> <p>“Cacti are a major problem if you are in a dry place,” says John.</p> <p>“Australia was overrun at one time with a type of cactus, the prickly pear. The opuntioid cacti are a whole group of plants that could easily invade entire dry parts of Australia.”</p> <p><strong>Plant right</strong></p> <p>To ensure the plants that are stocked are not dangerous to the environment, every Bunnings store has a Greenlife Buyer.</p> <p>National Greenlife Buyer David Hardie says one of the key selection criteria is suitability for local climate and conditions.</p> <p>“Our team also works closely with regulators to ensure we are always stocking the right plants,” he said.</p> <p>“Bunnings is committed to not selling environmental weeds that may have a negative impact on the natural environment.”</p> <p>David adds there are now more non- or less-invasive plant cultivars than in the past and recommends the state and territory plant guide at,<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="http://www.growmeinstead.com.au/" target="_blank">Grow Me Instead</a>.</p> <p>To control weeds, there is a wide range of herbicides and weedmats available instore. Mulching is a good way to prevent them occurring in the first place, as is cutting spent flowerheads from plants.</p> <p><strong>Disposal methods</strong></p> <p>Once a plant becomes a concern, it needs to be eradicated completely by preventing seeding and reproduction.</p> <p>“But the real problem with weeds spreading and propagating isn’t the birds, it is humans incorrectly disposing of garden waste,” says John.</p> <p>“Many people dump waste in the bush or recycle clippings as mulch thinking they’re being green, but it’s really just spreading weeds further.</p> <p>“The correct disposal method for a large amount of material is using an enclosed system like a skip bin, or taking the waste to the tip, making sure that it is tied down securely in a trailer.</p> <p>“Otherwise, use the green bin and dispose of clippings, weeds and other waste material through your normal rubbish removal service.”</p> <p>John also gives the big thumbs down to the backyard burn-off.</p> <p>“It is illegal in many parts of Australia, especially in summer, and the heat from a burn-off opens seeds so they can germinate. Weed residue can also be carried in the smoke.”</p> <p>Weeds are also a major problem in waterways, as they damage and pollute delicate aqua ecosystems.</p> <p><strong>Water invaders</strong></p> <p>“Athel pine is a shade tree which people use in arid lands,” says John.</p> <p>“It becomes weedy and, like the water hyacinth, which was once an attractive pond plant with its blue flowers, it invades major watercourses.</p> <p>“They are presently trying to control 600km of it in the Finke River, which is the largest dry river in the world, running from above Alice Springs to below the South Australian border.</p> <p>“These trees are often found in recreation areas, caravan parks and the banks of rivers,” says John.</p> <p>Many of the 100 willow tree varieties pose a double threat as they grow on both land and water.</p> <p>“Willows have a very short seed life, from two to six weeks, and this very brief propagation period means they can cross-pollinate and produce seed rapidly, so they’re now threatening our waterways.”</p> <p><strong>Growth season</strong></p> <p>The vigour of a weed’s growth depends on which time of year the rainfall occurs.</p> <p>For most of southern Australia, this would be in spring and for the tropical north in summer.</p> <p>Regardless of location, rainfall and season, once any type of weed takes hold, it’s hard work getting rid of it.</p> <p>“If you are going to successfully keep weeds down, you can never take the pressure off, as it requires dedicated persistence to keep them under control,” says John.</p> <p><strong>Pulling weeds</strong></p> <p>The Sydney Weeds Committee offers advice on how to weed manually.</p> <p>Always wear gloves and use a hand trowel to remove the entire root so the plant can’t resprout from any remaining root system.</p> <p><strong>RAKE</strong><span> </span>background mulch.</p> <p><strong>INSERT</strong><span> </span>the trowel and carefully loosen the soil around the roots.</p> <p><strong>PULL</strong><span> </span>the plant free, grasping it by the stems or the leaves while freeing the roots with the trowel.</p> <p><strong>REMOVE</strong><span> </span>the plant and shake off the excess soil.</p> <p><strong>REPLACE</strong><span> </span>the disturbed soil and any ground mulch.</p> <p>Place the entire plant or any part capable of reproducing, such as tubers, rhizomes, berries, seeds or other propagules in a bag and remove from the site.</p> <p>Other debris material can be mulched on site.</p> <em>Written by Handyman. Republished with permission of <a href="https://www.handyman.net.au/how-know-what-weeds-pull-and-what-leave-garden">Handyman</a>.</em></div>

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12 simple ways to reduce bushfire risk to older homes

<p>Seventy-five years of Australian research into how houses respond to bushfire has identified 21 main weak points in houses and the area immediately surrounding them.</p> <p>In recent decades this knowledge has been used to inform <a href="http://www.as3959.com.au/">new building construction</a>. But older houses are generally not built to the same standard, unless they have been significantly renovated.</p> <p>Older homes make up the majority of buildings in bushfire prone-areas. There are some simple things that can improve the performance of an older house in a bushfire. Here are 12 suggestions: six simple projects that could be done over a weekend or two, and six low-cost things you could do in a single afternoon.</p> <p><strong>Six weekend projects:</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Remove some garden beds next to the house</strong></p> <p>This is particularly true for garden beds near timber-framed windows and doors. For timber and fibro homes, garden beds adjacent to the house should be avoided entirely. At the very least prune dense bushes close to timber-framed windows back hard.</p> <p><strong>2. Sand and repaint weathered timber door and window frames</strong></p> <p>Over time, paint peels and cracks appear in the exposed and weathered timber. During a bushfire, embers can lodge in these cracks and ignite.</p> <p><strong>3. Enclose the subfloor with a metal mesh</strong></p> <p>Flammable items are often stored underneath the house. If this area is not enclosed these items will catch, often due to ember attack, and pose a threat to every room in the house. The exposed underside of timber floors can be protected with a lightweight, non-combustible layer.</p> <p><strong>4. Repair or replace weathered timber decking</strong></p> <p>Just as embers can land in cracks in door and window frames, the same can also happen to weathered timber decking. Most decks are right next to the house and if they go up fire easily spreads to the home.</p> <p><strong>5. Have a 1-2 metre non-flammable area immediately around your house</strong></p> <p>Think of it as an additional protective defence area. You could use gravel, paving tiles, bricks, concrete, or ground rock such as scoria.</p> <p><strong>6. Get a professional roof inspection</strong></p> <p>Roofs gradually weaken and require maintenance. A professional roof repairer can check that tiles are in place, repair damaged ridge tiles, and ensure that skylights, air vents, evaporative coolers, and solar panels are in good order and are free from gaps where embers could enter.</p> <p>The product specifications for timber door and window frames, metal mesh, and decking materials can be found in the relevant <a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=AS+3959+(2018)&amp;oq=AS+3959+(2018)&amp;aqs=chrome..69i57&amp;sourceid=chrome&amp;ie=UTF-8">Australian Standard</a> and <a href="https://www.nash.asn.au/nash/publications/nash-standards">steel construction standard</a>. Actual requirements for houses vary according to the <a href="https://www.bushfireprone.com.au/what-is-a-bal/">bushfire attack level</a> associated with a specific block of land.</p> <p><strong>Six easy afternoon projects</strong></p> <p><strong>1. Replace natural coil doormats with synthetic</strong></p> <p>While they appear harmless, natural organic doormats can cause a fire to grow if they ignite. Due to their density they burn for a long time, and can spread flames to timber door frames. A synthetic mat will only flare up for a short time.</p> <p><strong>2. Remove organic mulch from garden beds next to the house</strong></p> <p>Burning embers can easily ignite dried-out organic mulch, setting fire to surrounding plants. If garden beds are near the house, particularly timber door and window frames, the danger is increased. Either remove mulch in garden beds next to the house or – if the mulch is suitable – dig it in deeply.</p> <p><strong>3. Store firewood in an enclosed metal container</strong></p> <p>It is best to store wood well away from the house, but no one wants to walk metres in cold winters to get that wood. So some firewood is often stored close to the house on a burnable deck, and often it’s left there over summer. Putting it into a large metal container can remove that fire risk.</p> <p><strong>4. Remove flammable material from the front porch, roof cavity, decking and underfloor area</strong></p> <p>When embers enter the roof cavity and underneath the house, flames can rapidly spread to every room. It is vital to keep these areas clear of flammable materials.</p> <p><strong>5. Replace timber benches on timber decks with synthetic ones</strong></p> <p>A timber bench on a timber deck next to a timber house is an unnecessary risk, similar to having a wood pile on a timber deck.</p> <p><strong>6. Turn pressure relief valves on outside gas bottles away from the house</strong></p> <p>Both the <a href="https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/bushfire-canberra-2003/">2003 Canberra</a> and the <a href="https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/bushfire-wye-river/">2016 Wye River</a> bushfires showed the danger of having gas bottle valves facing the house. In both fires, houses were destroyed when either the gas plume flamed or gas bottles exploded.</p> <p>While these projects will improve the bushfire protection of your home, they can’t guarantee your home will survive a bushfire, especially during catastrophic bushfire conditions. It is also crucial to upgrade your home insurance so you can meet the higher costs of <a href="http://www.as3959.com.au/">new building standards</a>, in the event you have to rebuild. And in all cases, act on warnings given by your state or territory fire authority.</p> <hr /> <p><em>The advice given in this article is general and may not suit every circumstance.</em><!-- Below is The Conversation's page counter tag. Please DO NOT REMOVE. --><img style="border: none !important; box-shadow: none !important; margin: 0 !important; max-height: 1px !important; max-width: 1px !important; min-height: 1px !important; min-width: 1px !important; opacity: 0 !important; outline: none !important; padding: 0 !important; text-shadow: none !important;" src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/122712/count.gif?distributor=republish-lightbox-basic" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /><!-- End of code. If you don't see any code above, please get new code from the Advanced tab after you click the republish button. The page counter does not collect any personal data. More info: http://theconversation.com/republishing-guidelines --></p> <p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/profiles/douglas-brown-106914">Douglas Brown</a>, Casual Academic, <a href="http://theconversation.com/institutions/western-sydney-university-1092">Western Sydney University</a></em></p> <p><em>This article is republished from <a href="http://theconversation.com">The Conversation</a> under a Creative Commons license. Read the <a href="https://theconversation.com/12-simple-ways-you-can-reduce-bushfire-risk-to-older-homes-122712">original article</a>.</em></p>

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“These are amazing": The $16.99 ALDI "house" selling for today only

<p>ALDI is well loved for their insane bargain deals, and this includes their Special Buys sales that has managed to gain a cult following on social media over the years. </p> <p>This week’s latest item calls on Animal and insect lovers and has gotten fans buzzing for the bee and insect houses.</p> <p>For just $16.99, the wooden bee-houses will be sold at this price as part of its Summer Gardening Special Buys range.</p> <p>It comes in three simple designs and also includes a hanging cord.</p> <p>Not only is it small and affordable, but it’s also kind to the environment.</p> <p>“With bees, insects and butterflies population in serious decline, the Gardenline Bee and Insect House provides a safe place for your Australian native bees and beneficial insects, to establish a home in your garden,” ALDI’s website read. </p> <p><iframe src="https://www.facebook.com/plugins/post.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FALDI.Australia%2Fposts%2F2919409801449835%3A0&amp;width=500" width="500" height="633" style="border: none; overflow: hidden;" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" allow="encrypted-media"></iframe></p> <p>ALDI customers took to Facebook to share their excitement over the adorable houses. </p> <p>“These are amazing, we got our cub scouts to make their own, but to have something like this on our den and watch nature would be great…” one user wrote. </p> <p>Another added: “These look like a fantastic idea!”</p> <p>“Great christmas idea,” another ALDI customer commented. </p> <p>These bee and insect houses won’t be available for long. </p>

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7 plants to grow and spice up your home cooking

<div class="field field-name-body field-type-text-with-summary field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>For lovers of spicy Asian food, a stir-fry, laksas and curries will be favourites on the menu.</p> <p>And certain herbs and spices are necessary ingredients for these cuisines.</p> <p>Curry leaves, lemongrass, Kaffir lime leaves, chilli, galangal, ginger and turmeric are among the essentials, with different combinations imparting a fabulous zing to fish, meat and vegetable dishes.</p> <p>Add these plants to the vegie patch so you have them on hand and can enjoy them fresh and at their best.</p> <p>Even if you have a courtyard or a balcony, you can still grow them, as most can be planted in containers.</p> <p>Many great intense flavours come from underground from rhizomes, such as galangal, ginger and turmeric, adding spice to many dishes.</p> <p>Belonging to the ginger family (Zingiberaceae), they all feature elegant tropical foliage that looks great planted among ornamentals.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="view view-content-slider view-id-content_slider view-display-id-content_slider_block view-dom-id-b5c8b242cf08c50b909aa17f4a0eb74b"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>1. Galangal</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>Commonly called Thai ginger, galangal (Alpinia galanga) tastes like a cross between pepper and ginger.</p> <p>A good understorey plant among other tropical foliage, it can grow up to 2m high, depending on the variety.</p> <p>GROW: Choose a semi-shaded or shaded spot in rich and moist but free-draining soil. Feed in spring and summer with Yates Dynamic Lifter and water regularly. A light frost won’t kill the plant but will damage the leaves.</p> <p>In spring, plant small rhizomes with at least two eyes 50-100mm deep.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Use about 10 months after planting. Dig carefully around the base and remove rhizomes as needed if you don’t want to disturb the clump.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: Flavour Asian soups and curries with fresh galangal. The young shoots are edible and the leaves impart a slight perfume when used to wrap steamed fish. Teams well with lemongrass.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>2. Ginger</strong></div> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The pungent rhizome of ginger (Zingiber officinale) is an important spice in Japanese and Chinese cuisine. It has elegant, lance-shaped leaves and grows to about 1.2m high.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong>: It likes a warm, frost-free climate and a semi-shaded position in rich and moist but well-drained soil.</p> <p>Plant fresh store-bought rhizomes. Cut the rhizome so each piece has at least two eyes, let the ends dry, then plant. Feed in spring and summer with Yates Dynamic Lifter and water regularly.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Use about 9-10 months after planting. Dig up the whole clump or dig carefully around the clump and remove rhizomes when needed. Replant some rhizomes to ensure<br />a continuous supply.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: Add fresh to Asian soups, seafood and meat curries.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>3. Turmeric</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>The name turmeric (Curcuma domestica) is thought to originate from the Latin words terra merita, meaning ‘merit of the earth’.</p> <p>It’s popular for its healing properties and is delicious in curries.</p> <p>With its tropical-looking foliage and white flower spikes, turmeric looks good planted with other foliage plants, in vegetable beds or large pots.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong>: Give turmeric a lightly shaded or sunny frost-free position in moist but well-drained soil that is enriched with compost.</p> <p>In spring, plant small rhizomes with at least two eyes 50-70mm deep. Feed with Yates Dynamic Lifter in late spring and summer and water regularly.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: As the leaves start to yellow and die back in late autumn, harvest the rhizomes. Dig up the whole plant or carefully dig around the clump and remove the rhizomes as needed.</p> <p>: Grate or chop fresh rhizomes and add to dishes, or dry and use with other spices for curries. Wrap fish in the leaves before barbecuing or steaming.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>4. Curry leaves</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>A curry tree (Murraya koenigii) is a worthwhile investment for lovers of Indian food.</p> <p>The leaves are an essential ingredient of dhal and impart a strong curry-like aroma.</p> <p>A small tree, it grows to about 5m high but can be clipped lower. Its long, slender leaves are dark green on top and a pale green underneath.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong>: Give a curry tree a sunny position in warm, frost-free regions. Feed in spring with a six-month controlled-release fertiliser.</p> <p>It can be grown in a large pot in frosty areas and put under cover.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Fresh leaves are best, as they lose some flavour when dried.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: Curry leaves impart their best flavour if fried in oil when you begin making a curry, and add taste to many Indian dishes.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>5. Lemongrass</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>The young white stem and leaf base of perennial lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a common ingredient in spicy Asian dishes.</p> <p>If you don’t have room in the kitchen garden, it makes an attractive ornamental plant. But give it space, as it can reach a height and spread of 1.2m.</p> <p>It can be grown in a large pot.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong>: Position in a sunny spot in well-drained soil in warm, frost-free climates. Feed in spring and summer with a soluble plant food.</p> <p>In cool climates, plant in large pots and protect from frost.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Cut the stalk at ground level from the outside of the clump at any time of the year. Cut stalks can be chopped and frozen.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: The soft base of the stalk is used in soups and curries. The green older leaves make a refreshing herbal tea.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>6. Kaffir lime</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>Called the makrut lime in Thailand, the Kaffir lime (Citrus hystrix) is an important ingredient in South-East Asian cooking. It grows to 1.5m high, but if the leaves are constantly being picked for cooking, the plant will usually remain small.</p> <p>The strong taste of the leaves is more popular than the fruit. The fruit is knobbly, and while the flesh is not eaten, the zest is used in cooking.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong>: Give it a sunny position in well-drained soil. In spring, summer and autumn, feed with a three-month controlled-release fertiliser.</p> <p>In cool climates, grow in a pot and place under cover in the sun in winter.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Pick leaves as needed. The leaves can also be frozen whole.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: Kaffir lime leaves are used in green curries, fish and chicken dishes, laksa and soups.</p> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-title field-type-text field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"><strong>7. Chilli</strong></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-image field-type-image field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <p>The chilli (Capsicum annuum), an essential ingredient in many dishes, has been a popular spice for centuries.</p> <p>The fruit follows star-shaped white flowers and comes in many different shapes and sizes. Depending on the variety, chillies ripen from green to shades of red, orange, yellow, brown or purple. They look great in pots.</p> <p><strong>GROW</strong> Give chillies a sunny spot in rich, well-drained soil. Sow seeds or plant seedlings in spring and feed when flowers appear with Yates Dynamic Lifter Plus Fruit Food.</p> <p>Water regularly.</p> <p><strong>HARVEST</strong>: Pick chillies fresh, dry the excess or freeze them whole for later.</p> <p>Always wear gloves or scrub your hands thoroughly after handling chillies, as they can burn your skin. Also avoid rubbing your eyes or any other sensitive areas.</p> <p><strong>USE</strong>: Add zing to scrambled eggs and omelettes with a sprinkling of fresh chilli. Use in Asian dishes, stir-fries, laksa and Indian dishes. </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> <p><em>Written by Handyman Magazine. Republished with permission of <a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/7-plants-grow-and-spice-your-home-cooking">Handyman</a>.</em></p>

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10 must-read insider tips to save you money on gardening

<div class="field field-name-field-intro field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field field-name-field-intro field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Whether you buy materials from a farmer’s market, local farmers or chain hardware stores, here’s everything you need to know to get your garden growing on a budget.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><strong>1. Grow what you eat</strong></p> <p>While this may seem like common sense, it’s easy to get carried away when buying seeds and plants for your garden. Realistically, if you don’t eat a certain vegetable or herb now (kohlrabi and purslane, we’re looking at you), you probably won’t eat it even if you grow it. Save yourself time and money by only buying seeds and plants that you know you and your family will eat. </p> <p><strong>2. Buy seeds early in the year</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>According to Celeste Longacre, gardening expert and author of Celeste’s Garden Delights, you’ll find the biggest selection of seeds and the best deals in spring. “Many catalogues offer discounts if you buy the seeds before a certain date,” Longacre says. “Companies can also run out of specific varieties so you’ll want to get your order right in.” But you don’t need to plant seeds for every vegetable you intend to eat in the coming months. </p> <p><strong>3. Buy gardening equipment in autumn</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Most stores try to clear out their gardening supplies in autumn. You’ll find gardening equipment – like shovels, spades, rakes and buckets – at heavily discounted prices that you can use for next year’s garden. Another great idea is to source good quality second-hand items.</p> <p><strong>4. Go in on seeds with your friends</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>It may seem counterintuitive, but the more you spend, the more you save, thanks to lower prices for higher volume. “Many companies offer deals if you spend a certain amount of money,” says Longacre. “If you get together with friends on your order, you can save.” If agreeing on seeds is a challenge in your friend circle, consider other uses for your yield. </p> <p><strong>5. Plant crops thicker than they actually grow</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>You can plant crops like beets, carrots, onions, lettuce, basil and rocket closer together than traditionally prescribed, according Longacre. For example, instead of planting seeds 25mm apart, plant them 13mm apart. This way you can thin them out and eat the thinnings while the crop continues growing. </p> <p><strong>6. Hit up a local farm's harvest sale</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>The harvest sale is basically the equivalent of a half-yearly or anniversary sale, so you can expect to find amazing deals. Harvest sales usually happen between late March and early May, with the majority being held in April. The earlier in the harvest season you go, the more options you’ll have when it comes to crops, but if you wait longer into May, you’re more likely to nab lower prices, as farmers are trying to unload crops for winter.</p> <p><strong>7. Invest in quality equipment</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>Spending a little more on quality equipment will be worth it in the long run. Not only will you avoid having to re-buy the same gear each year, but you’re also be less likely to deal with stuff breaking mid-season. Equipment worth spending a little extra on: weeders, shears and pitchforks. But no need to buy fancy or expensive pots and planters. Regular, plastic ones will do.</p> <p><strong>8. Tend to your garden regularly</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>There will be days when crawling on your hands and knees through the dirt doesn’t sound all too appealing, but doing just that is necessary in order to keep your garden healthy. If you get behind on watering, your plants will die, and you’ll have to spend more on new seeds. If you don’t treat a bug invasion right away, it’ll only get worse and cause more damage, both to your plants and your pockets. “The hardest part of gardening is that things need to be done when they need to be done, not when you feel like doing it,” says Longacre. </p> <p><strong>9. Ask about inventory</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>A lot of stores offer discounted prices for products that they no longer sell, but still have in back stock. Just make sure you ask why they’ve pulled the product before buying because you don’t want to end up with a mower that doesn’t run or seeds that won’t grow in your climate. “Go to their websites and look for discontinued or clearance items,” advises Longacre.</p> <p><strong>10. Plant at the right time</strong></p> <div class="views-field views-field-field-slides"> <div class="field-content"> <div class="field-collection-view clearfix view-mode-full field-collection-view-final"> <div class="entity entity-field-collection-item field-collection-item-field-slides clearfix"> <div class="content"> <div class="field field-name-field-slide-content field-type-text-long field-label-hidden"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item even"> <p>If you plant your crops too early, they will die. And if you pick your crops too late, they will also die. Timing is everything when it comes to planting your garden. You simply need to choose the right produce for the season and do a bit of research on the climate in your area before selecting when to plant your seeds. </p> <p><em>Source:<span> </span><a rel="noopener" href="https://www.rd.com/home/gardening/gardening-tips-to-save-money/" target="_blank">RD.com</a></em></p> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div> </div>

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What you need to know about designing an outdoor room

<p>A purpose-built outdoor living area is one of the most requested additions in domestic architecture.</p> <p>Extending the home into the garden or enclosing a balcony is particularly well-suited to our relaxed Aussie lifestyle.</p> <p>In the past it was as simple as throwing a couple of weathered chairs and a token pot plant out on the patio.</p> <p>These days it’s about keeping cool and looking stylish with all the comforts of being indoors.</p> <p><strong>Function first</strong></p> <p>Before jumping into a renovation or redesign, decide exactly what you want from your outdoor oasis.</p> <p>It might be a lively entertaining area, an extension of the kitchen, a dedicated quiet zone or a kids' space.</p> <p>Interior stylist Tina Hutton says people can easily make mistakes in the planning, then wonder why the result never feels quite right.</p> <p>"It’s really important to be clear about how the area is going to be used," says Tina.</p> <p>"Thinking a space can be all things is usually a bad idea.</p> <p>"That’s not to say it can’t be zoned to suit different purposes, but that in itself has to be a decision rather than an accident."</p> <p><strong>Create your own style</strong></p> <p>"There’s a bit of a design myth about continuing the style of the home outdoors. Instead of matching, look to complement but be creative," says Tina.</p> <p>"An outdoor room is a wonderful opportunity to bring in elements you wouldn’t use inside, like concrete, stone, wicker, even modern plastics."</p> <p>Tina says stick with what you know, as experimenting with looks dramatically different to your usual style may bring results you won’t like.</p> <p>"Slavishly following trends can also catch you out down the track, so learn how to incorporate them instead.</p> <p>"Cushions are the easiest way to bring in a new design trend. Pick up the accent colour in accessories and you’ll have a space that looks cohesive and sophisticated."</p> <p><strong>Keep the outdoor room cool</strong></p> <p>No matter how wonderful your new outdoor area looks, nobody enjoys sweltering in the summer heat.</p> <p>Capitalise on cooling breezes without creating a wind tunnel by installing screening and fans suitable for outdoor use.</p> <p>Transparent pool fencing can be used to enclose a balcony or verandah and bamboo panels provide an economical and attractive privacy screen.</p> <p>"This is one area I like to bring in a feature usually found indoors," says Tina.</p> <p>"Curtains are great and a few sheer muslin panels add instant sophistication as well as cutting direct sunlight and reducing glare.</p> <p>"But you need to rig up a system on which they can be easily hung and taken down as they can’t stay outdoors."</p> <p><strong>Choose the furniture</strong></p> <p>Just as you should for an interior room, decide on the biggest items first, but don’t be swayed by looks alone.</p> <p>"People don’t spend enough time trying out the big things like sofas and chairs," says Tina.</p> <p>"Unless it works in the way you want it to and meets your comfort requirements, it will ruin the atmosphere you are trying to create."</p> <p>It’s also crucial to choose pieces that have been specifically made for outdoor use.</p> <p>"Look for easy-care, robust materials and soft furnishings with removable covers."</p> <p>When the large pieces are in place, add the smaller decorating elements that make the area appealing.</p> <p>"Work with your space in mind. If room is tight, keep extras minimal because having to navigate around things or risk knocking objects over doesn’t make anyone feel comfortable."</p> <p><strong>TIP:</strong><span> </span>One large plant is always good. Consider a potted fruit tree, which is practical as well as attractive.</p> <p><strong>Design ideas</strong></p> <p>Set up the outdoor room to suit your lifestyle, whether you need a place to party or a quiet corner in which to unwind alone.</p> <p><strong>Entertaining</strong></p> <p>Outdoor areas geared toward entertaining need to have easy-care flooring and plenty of unobtrusive seating for an informal crowd.</p> <p>Go for built-in bench seats or broad deck steps that can do double duty as seating.</p> <p>Install outdoor fans for comfort, low tables for glasses and snacks, and a bar with plenty of room for eskies.</p> <p>Cooking If you want an outdoor area centred on cooking and eating consider a built-in barbecue with plenty of bench space and a generous table that can seat a large group.</p> <p>If meals are long in your household make sure to add comfy chairs and cushions.</p> <p><strong>Playing</strong></p> <p>Kids play areas need to be inviting for adults and fun for children.</p> <p>Install a built-in sandpit, paint a chalkboard wall and buy outdoor rugs to protect delicate little knees.</p> <p>Make sure the area is well shaded and add lightweight tables and chairs for the mums and dads.</p> <p><strong>Reading</strong></p> <p>Create a place to relax and unwind by furnishing an outdoor room with a hammock, cushions and comfy chairs.</p> <p>Include a softly tinkling fountain or water feature and potted palms for atmosphere, adding bamboo screens or softly floating curtains for privacy and protection from the sun.</p> <p><em>Written by Handyman Magazine. Republished with permission of </em><a href="http://www.handyman.net.au/design-outdoor-room"><em>Handyman</em></a><em>.</em></p>

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How a shopper gets $350 worth of Bunnings plants for just $5

<p><span>A savvy shopper has shared how she managed to get $350 worth of plants for just $5 at Bunnings.</span></p> <p><span>In a <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-7645741/Australian-mum-scores-350-worth-plants-5-Bunnings-reveals-too.html">Facebook post</a>, the Australian woman encouraged other customers to look out for browning, old plants in store.</span></p> <p><span>“Did the math, just under $350 worth of succulents for $5. Pretty happy with that Bunnings trip,” she wrote.</span></p> <p><span>“They were carrying them to the bin as they were “dead” and I asked to make a deal. [I got them] for 15 cents each.”</span></p> <p><span>In comparison, the prices for fresh succulents at the hardware chain start at $3.98.</span></p> <p><span>The green-fingered woman said she would be able to “revive or propagate at least 80 per cent” of her haul.</span></p> <p><span>“Most are easy to grow because they evolved with special water-storage tissues that allow them to survive in environments that are too dry for most other plants.”</span></p> <p><span>The woman said she planned to propagate or grow new plants from the ones she had purchased by using a mix of soil and sand to support the desert-native succulents.</span></p> <p><span>She also recommended another method, which involved placing a leaf on top of the soil and spritzing it with water once a week to encourage root growth.</span></p> <p><span>According to <em><a href="https://www.bhg.com.au/how-to-propagate-succulents">Better Homes and Gardens</a></em>, succulents can also be propagated by placing a cutting or leaf in 1cm of water in a spot with fresh airflow and protection against the weather. </span></p> <p><span>Other shoppers also shared how they scored good deals from Bunnings by searching through the ‘sick plant trolley’ or other greeneries with yellow tag markdowns.</span></p>

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Fans poke fun at The Block’s Scott Cam over home project

<p><em>The Block’s</em><span> </span>grand finale reveals are hitting TV screens this week, however it seems the contestants’ hard work has inspired host Scott Cam to get out his own tool kit. </p> <p>The carpenter and TV personality took to Instagram to share he too was getting handy around his home. </p> <p>The tradie was photographed leaning against a semi-built structure, with his tool belt firmly strapped around his waist. </p> <p>Fans couldn’t help but to poke at Scotty for spending his weekend working on his own house. </p> <p>“Call me a sceptic but I’m thinking of checking with [your wife] Ann…”, Channel Nine host Leila McKinnon commented.</p> <p>“What??? A tradie working on his own home.... rare sight,” one person said, </p> <p>“Bet your wife has waited years for you to finish this project. Lol,” said another, while a third wrote, “That's unheard of - you sure are one of a kind Scotty Cam.”</p> <p>Scotty has had a busy season on<span> </span><em>The Block</em><span> </span>and will surely be relieved to say “tools down” for the last time this year. </p> <p>The most recent saga that we saw on TV screens was when the host had to play hardball with blockheads Tess and Luke. </p> <p>He angrily warned the contestants to “finish the bloody house,” before storming off after they complained about their rival team member’s financial situation. </p> <p>The couple confronted Scott over Mitch and Mark being $10,000 in debt. </p> <p>“[Mitch and Mark] have been able to do all these amazing things like put speakers in the ceilings whereas we’ve reeled it in big time. If we weren’t keeping track of our invoices, we could’ve won other rooms too,” Tess argued. </p> <p>A frustrated Luke complained, “How’s that fair on everyone else?”</p> <p>However, the TV host was not having a bar of it, snapping back “They weren’t going into the red four weeks ago when you guys were. And you’re now in a better position than them. </p> <p>“At the end of the day, we did you a favour.”</p>

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