1. Are All Grow Lights Created Equal?

    Feb. 13, 2015

    It's the time of year to begin planning our gardens!  I love this time of year because with each seed catalog delivered to my home, it inches my excitement level to begin spring up just once more notch!  I had the question the other day about grow lights and what were the ideal types of lights to have in your seed starting benches.

    Having adequate light is important to grow nice transplants for your garden.  While it is not essential to have a grow light for germination and growth of your plants, it does increase the chance that your transplants will be healthy and vigorous.

  2. Have a Heart to Heart Talk with your Children

    Feb. 09, 2015

    February brings us Valentine’s Day.  That makes it a perfect time to work on developing a loving relationship with our children.  Learning to communicate with each other will strengthen family relationships, especially during the teenage years.

  3. Tips to improve study time for our teens

    Jan. 23, 2015

    Hopefully all teens have gotten back into school mode now that they have been back in school for almost a month after their winter break.  As a parent, it has been a challenge to get my own kids back on a good study pattern.  Most parents today have busy work schedules loaded with many daily tasks to complete.  Some parents even bring work home with them.  Our teens have lots of sporting activities afterschool and they seem to be challenged with how to complete their homework.  Some of our teens catch the bus as early as 6:30 am.  At the end of the day both parents and teens are simply...

  4. The World Beneath Your Feet

    Jan. 20, 2015

    An entire world exists in the soil of your garden.  There are creatures you can see, such as earthworms and insects, but much of this world is made up of microscopic organisms.  They are tiny, but exist in vast numbers; a pinch of soil can contain millions of organisms.  We are dependent on this unseen world to support the plant, and ultimately animal life on earth.

  5. Steady Goes It on the Ice and Snow

    Jan. 20, 2015

    Many older people believe that falling just goes along with getting older.  Contrary to that belief, falling is not a normal part of aging, and most falls can be prevented.  Taking time to understand and manage risk factors can allow older adults the opportunity to live a full and active life free of the fear of falling.  However, this fear can be heightened during the winter months when many seniors report an even greater fear of falling when the weather takes a chilling turn.  This concern is one that is understandable.  One of the biggest risks from wintry weather is falling,...

  6. Chimney Fires Can Be Prevented

    Jan. 05, 2015

    You may find it odd to hire someone so that your fireplace doesn’t produce fire, but if your flue is blocked or your brickwork isn’t solid, your house could be in danger.  If your masonry is cracked in a wood-burning fireplace, sparks could escape between the fissures and set fire to your house.  If the flue is blocked in your gas stove, the carbon monoxide emissions could seep back into the home causing illness, injury, or even death.  So depending on how much you use your fireplace, it is always a good idea to get it inspected by a chimney service company at least once a year, preferably...

  7. Is it Illegal to Move Firewood out of Butler County?

    Dec. 18, 2014

    The weather has turned colder and many of us are looking for firewood to help heat our homes.  The question has been asked multiple times, is it illegal to move firewood out of Butler County?  The answer is yes. In an effort to protect the trees of Ohio from Thousand Canker Disease (TCD), the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) quarantined Butler County in December of 2013, which is the only county in the State known to have TCD.  The quarantine regulates the transportation of walnut tree products and firewood.

  8. Caring For Your Christmas Cactus

    Dec. 18, 2014

    Many families have a specimen Christmas cactus plant that is many years old.  If you have such a family heirloom, it is easy to pass starts along to other members of your family. Just break off a segment, let it dry for a few days, and then place it in barely moist vermiculite; pot up several so everyone can have one.  In fact, all the true Christmas cactus plants are a clone of a single hybrid of two native species produced in the 1840’s.  The original plants came from a small area near the coast in the tropical rainforest of Brazil.

  9. Over the River and Through the Woods

    Dec. 12, 2014

    Does the rush of the holiday season make you feel as if you might be missing something?  With so many things to do and places to go, it is so important not to overlook elderly family members.  For many, the holidays are filled with celebrations and festivities with family and friends, but it can be a difficult time for those who have difficulty getting around, or are confined to their homes.  Many seniors normally report feelings of loneliness and isolation, and these feelings can be exaggerated during the holidays.  Seniors might choose to forego family celebrations and festivities for...

  10. 4-H: Preparing Youth for a Brighter Future

    Dec. 12, 2014

    This week I have received several phone calls from parents inquiring about the Butler County 4-H program.  If you happen to be a parent or grandparent that has often wondered about the benefits of the 4-H program, I highly invite you to continue reading this article about a program that has a long history that continues to make a brighter future for our youth.  The Butler County 4-H program consists of 62 4-H clubs with a total enrollment of 1,236 youth.  4-H is an educational program for boys and girls to gain numerous learning experiences from club meetings, social activities, tours,...