Simple tips to attract hummingbirds
(Family Features) Throughout the warmer months, many backyards play host to a variety of birds, including hummingbirds. When you see flowers and trees begin to bud and bloom and other migrating birds, like warblers, that’s nature’s way of letting you know it’s time to ready your yard for hummingbirds.
It’s enchanting watching hummingbirds – named for the humming sound of their fast-flapping wings – as their tiny size and speed make them natural wonders. Hummingbirds can fly 25-30 miles per hour, flapping their wings an estimated 70 times per second. They fly in every direction, even backwards, which only hummers can do, and float majestically in midair.
The birds get their brilliant color from the iridescence in the arrangement of their feathers, not color pigment. Plus, they have the fastest metabolism of any animal on Earth, burning 1-2 times their body weight in food daily. Hummingbirds draw nectar from its source into their mouths, lapping it up almost 12 times per second.
To increase your chances of observing these petite powerhouses at home, consider these tips from the experts at Cole’s Wild Bird Products:
Be conscious of beneficial insects. Hummingbirds rely on insects, which provide essential protein, to complement the nectar they crave. To attract insects, try placing rotting fruit near feeders and leave it until insects arrive for hummers’ easy eats.
Leave spiderwebs alone: Hummingbirds use spiderwebs as construction material to hold their nests together and pluck insects caught in the webbing.
Offer a water mister: Hummingbirds adore bathing; a mister gives them the fine spray they prefer. Once soaked, they’re off to find a preening perch.
Provide tiny perches. Leave small, sturdy, bare branches for hummingbirds, to perch on for rest, preening and hunting. Perches provide vantage points to see danger and launching pads to swiftly pounce on insects. Once hummingbirds find a favorite perch, they’ll use it repeatedly.
Hang hummingbird feeders first. Feeders are one of the most effective ways to consistently entice and encourage hummingbirds to come visit. However, not all feeders are created equal. For example, Cole’s Hummer High Rise Feeder is scientifically designed with elevated perches to make hummingbirds feel safe and comfortable, which encourages their consistent return.
Although hummingbird feeders can attract bees and ants, this feeder is uniquely designed to keep pests at bay. It doesn’t drip, so large bees can’t get to the nectar, plus it has a built-in ant moat to keep ants away from nectar when filled with plain water. Since birds drink from the moat, never use any repellents or additives.
Hummingbirds are territorial and not likely to share feeders, so hang multiple feeders far enough apart to attract more birds. To ensure a steady stream of birds, hang feeders in the shade to avoid fermentation of sugar-based liquids, check feeders bi-weekly to keep food fresh and clean feeders as needed with one part white vinegar to four parts water.
Plant flowers. Trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm and sage plants are particularly attractive to hummingbirds and provide rich nectar. Hummingbirds consume 1 1/2 times their body weight daily, eating every 10-15 minutes and visiting 1,000-2,000 flowers per day.
Choose the right nectar. Not all nectar is alike, and hummingbirds can taste the difference. Almost all commercial nectars contain one sugar source – sucrose – because it’s cheaper to make. However, real flower nectar contains three sugar sources – sucrose, fructose and glucose – in varying amounts depending on the flower.
Researched and designed to attract the greatest variety of hummingbirds, Cole’s Nature’s Garden is a high energy, nutrient-rich nectar that combines all three types of organically sourced sugars North American hummingbirds love, with a spring water base. It closely mimics the sugar ratios they favor and provides a healthier, nutritious, all-natural alternative to table sugar.
Don’t forget, hummingbirds have memories like elephants; once they discover your hummer-friendly habitat, they’ll come back every year if there’s a reliable food source. Learn more at coleswildbird.com.
Cole’s Wild Bird Products
Way to upgrade your remote workspace
(Family Features) With remote and hybrid work schedules here to stay for many Americans, it’s important to have a space dedicated to comfort and productivity. The initial transition to remote work may have involved setting up an impromptu workstation at the dining room table but creating a long-term, functional home office can be one of the first steps to increasing efficiency, focus and productivity.
Whether your work area is a spacious room, small den or desk in a quiet spot in the house, these ideas can help you create a space where you enjoy working.
Select the Perfect Location
While some remote workers have a spare bedroom or den they can dedicate as a home office, others may need to create a multiuse area in which office space occupies another room, such as the dining room, family room or basement. If you have several options for your workspace, consider how lighting and sound may impact your ability to focus.
For example, positioning your desk near a window can help increase your mood and reduce boredom. Similarly, if possible, choose a location where noise from other family members moving around or traffic outside will be less of a distraction. Earplugs or background noise can help drown out sounds if you’re restricted to a specific location in your home.
Keep Color in Mind
Colors can influence productivity and mood, so it’s important to consider them when designing or updating your workspace. Avoid white, which can lead to boredom, and instead choose a color scheme that can make a positive impact. Warm colors like red or orange can increase energy; blues are relaxing and can help keep blood pressure down; and green can help reduce stress.
An on-trend option like the Granny Chic Home Office from Wellborn Cabinet, Inc., can be set up in nearly any area of the home to create a stylish workspace. Featuring Premier Series cabinets with Napa doors in an olive finish and satin nickel hardware, this desk and hutch also includes base and crown moulding to help set it apart as a space devoted to productivity. Plus, accessories like a wastebasket pullout, drawer inserts and dividers, and tiered organizers can make organization easy.
Choose a Desk and Chair
Start by measuring your space to see how large of a desk you can accommodate then decide between a traditional desk or trendy adjustable-height version, which can allow you to sit and stand throughout the workday and has been shown to provide health benefits in addition to increasing work performance. An ergonomic chair with a padded seat and armrests is also a must-have to provide lumbar support and increase comfort while seated.
Find Storage Solutions
Storage is one of the most critical aspects when designing your home office. To avoid clutter and keep documents and other items organized, consider options such as built-in cabinets and shelving, base cabinets with desk file drawers, utility cabinets and wall bookcases. You can even customize your cabinets and choose from a wide selection of styles including traditional, transitional, casual, formal, contemporary or eclectic with options from Wellborn Cabinet.
Add Plants and Decor
Office plants provide numerous benefits, including improving air quality and increasing productivity. In fact, a study published in the “Journal of Environmental Horticulture” found productivity increased 12% when workers performed a task on a computer in a room with plants compared to those who performed the task in the same room without plants. Low-maintenance species such as orchids and succulents also produce a pleasant aroma and earthy atmosphere to decrease stress.
In addition, consider your space’s decorations if you will be conducting video calls. If your home office doesn’t have much natural light, place a light source behind the camera. While the background for your calls should be relatively neutral, a mural or art on the walls or shelves can complement your professionalism and add a creative touch to your space.
Find more home office inspiration at Wellborn.com.
Wellborn Cabinet, Inc.
Resilient flooring trends for spring remodeling season
(Family Features) If the idea of a spring remodel brings equal parts intrigue and dread, starting with your flooring can make the process more appealing. For example, sustainable, resilient flooring comes in a variety of options to both your budget and personal style.
Resilient flooring is a durable type of flooring that includes rubber, linoleum, cork, luxury vinyl tile or sheet vinyl, among others. Increasingly popular in homes across the country, resilient flooring options from Beautifully Responsible partners are designed with indoor air quality and other important performance factors in mind, but they’re also built to stand up to the rigors of everyday life.
Consider these five home flooring trends for 2023 to help you create a tailored space at home and take the next step by visiting the Design Inspiration section of beautifullyresponsible.com to explore real-world design examples.
1. Classic Hardwood with a Resilient Twist
Ideal for kitchens, dining rooms, hallways and home offices, hardwood designs create a timeless foundation for your home with the ability to evolve with your tastes. When you go the resilient flooring route, you’ll find design options for everything from dramatic walnut to stately mahogany. Plus, options like luxury vinyl tile and plank are modular, making installation a little easier for DIYers.
2. Modern, Stone-Look Flooring
When it comes to resilient home flooring, stone style designs don’t just look sturdy, they’re durable, too. For example, slate-inspired tiles can add effortless class and character to high-traffic rooms that are cleaned often, such as dining rooms and mudrooms.
Stone-look resilient flooring also gives your floors a stronger ability to adapt to rooms like kitchens and bathrooms, which often see fluctuations in temperature and moisture. Rigid-core flooring, for example, is one of the fastest growing categories of resilient flooring due to its comfort, durability and ability to resist water.
3. Large Format Tiles
Functional rooms like the kitchen are often the heart of the home where people meet to share the adventures of their days. They also often see a lot of dirt, moisture and accidental spills. However, resilient home flooring installations are resistant to scratches and stains, ideal for homes with small children and pets. Plus, they are easy to clean without the need for harsh chemicals and there’s no grout to maintain. Many resilient flooring options are also available in water-resistant or waterproof varieties.
An option such as large-format tile, including the sheet vinyl category of resilient flooring, can also create the illusion of space in basements, laundry rooms, mudrooms and other areas, making them appear more expansive.
4. Statement Designs
Just like a statement piece ties together the perfect outfit, a statement floor can make an impressive focal point in the kitchen, bathroom, basement, laundry room or mudroom. With statement designs from Beautifully Responsible partners, the possibilities are nearly endless with a variety of styles such as Bohemian, Farmhouse, Mid-Century Modern, Minimalist Zen, Scandinavian and more that can appeal to homeowners with different tastes and preferences. Resilient flooring types like luxury vinyl tile and sheet vinyl are also available with textured surfaces to make an additional statement.
5. Cozy Spaces
If you’ve found a perfect statement rug, resilient flooring can create an ideal foundation underneath in family rooms, bedrooms, hallways or basements. Many resilient floors are built to provide comfort underfoot, absorb sound and make spaces accessible for all levels of mobility. Also look for third-party labels such as FloorScore to identify solutions for protecting the air quality in your home.
Tips for creating a summer of unplugged fun
(Family Features) Between school, work and entertainment, there are times when screens can seem like a pervasive part of modern life. For all the positive aspects of technology, there can also be a desire for children to have stretches of unplugged learning and participate in educational activities that do not require a screen.
Why Unplugged Learning Matters
“Unplugged learning is important to balance the screen time children may experience with other forms of learning; to promote physical activities, social interaction and creativity; and develop the essential skills that bolster them throughout their exploration and growth as individuals,” said Rurik Nackerud from KinderCare’s education team.
Summer can be an ideal time to focus on unplugged learning as it often brings a break from the traditional academic year and activities.
“We want summer to be a time when children can put down technology and connect with one another face-to-face, build important creativity skills and learn how to be social with one another without the buffer of screens,” said Khy Sline from KinderCare’s education team. “They can play, run, be immature and laugh with their friends, giggle at the silly things and find joys in those in-person interactions with one another.”
Tips for Creating Unplugged Fun as a Family
- Get Outdoors. Make time as a family to get outside and explore, even if it’s simply a walk around the block after dinner. Help children notice the little things like a bug on the sidewalk or the way the sun filters through tree leaves to make patterns on the ground. Ask them about the things they see and give your children the space to ask questions and work together to find the answers. This helps teach children collaborative learning skills: asking questions, sharing ideas and working together to reach an answer.
- Read Together. This could mean going to the library to check out new books or exploring your family’s bookshelves for old favorites. Snuggle up together for family story time. If children are old enough to read on their own, invite them to read to you or their younger siblings. Talk about the story or even act out favorite parts to help your children actively participate in story time, which may help them better understand the story’s concepts.
- Encourage Creative Thinking. Help children expand their ability to think creatively by working together to make a craft or project. For example, the next time a delivery box arrives at your home, encourage your children to turn it into something new using craft supplies on hand. A blanket could turn a box into a table for a pretend restaurant while some tape or glue could transform it into a rocket ship or train. When everyone’s done creating and playing, the box can be broken down for recycling. This activity can help children literally think outside of the box and apply their own unique ideas and creativity to create something new.
For more tips to encourage unplugged learning this summer, visit kindercare.com.
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