According to information I learned and gleaned from the USDA, “rain gardens are depressional areas landscaped with perennial flowers and native vegetation that soak up rainwater. They are strategically located to capture runoff from impervious surfaces, such as roofs and streets.” In other words, instead of rainwater simply surging through storm sewers and the like, these gardens fill with a few inches of water after a storm and then water filters into the ground.
With more and more impervious areas of blacktop and concrete in our communities, increased storm water runoff becomes a problem. It’s more important than ever to help rainwater infiltrate deeply into the ground because this protects water quality and reduces storm water runoff. Storm water runoff from developed areas increases flooding potential and carries pollutants from streets, parking lots and lawns into local streams and lakes. As a side note, this is why we should not wash cars in driveways! All the soap and dirt go into our storm sewers and eventually our streams.
Designing and planting a rain garden is very similar to creating other perennial gardens, with a few exceptions. Rain gardens must be located to intercept runoff from impervious areas. They can be placed anywhere good soils with adequate drainage exists. It is best to keep rain gardens away from building foundations, utilities, and septic systems. A typical rain garden is between six and nine inches deep and may be from 100-300 square feet in size depending upon the amount of impervious area being drained or the number of gutter spouts emptying into the garden. The garden must be level side to side and end to end, and the berm must be level so storm water runoff spreads evenly.
To prepare for a rain garden, remove 12 inches of soil to create a depression. Add three inches of sand, two inches of compost and one inch of topsoil, and blend uniformly. While rain gardens are a highly functional way to help protect water quality, they can also be an attractive part of your yard and neighborhood. Choose plants based on site considerations for light, moisture and soil. Vary plant structure, height and flower color for seasonal appeal and butterfly habitat. Mowed grass borders or hard edging are recommended around the garden. The use of native plants is encouraged because natives have huge root systems to further help water infiltration.
Young plants, or plugs, are best for rain gardens because they are easier to establish and maintain. When laying plants out, randomly clump individual species in groups of three to five plants to provide bolder color. Be sure to repeat these individual groupings to create repetition and cohesion in a planting. It is a good idea to place plant labels next to each individual grouping. This will help identify the young plants from weeds as you maintain the garden.
It is important to water rain gardens regularly throughout the first season. Once established, they will thrive without additional watering. A two-inch layer of shredded wood mulch is an important part of a rain garden. Mulch helps retain moisture and discourages weed seeds from germinating.
Find additional information about rain gardens by visiting the follow Web sites:
Opossum Might Make a Good Neighbor
DEAR PAW’S CORNER: A family of possums has moved in under my porch. They are hideous looking. Are they a threat to my cat? — Julia in New Jersey
DEAR JULIA: Healthy opossums pose little or no threat to your cat, as long as it doesn’t bother them. As scary as their pointed faces appear, opossums (pronounced “possums”) are not a threat to pets nor to you. In fact, they can be beneficial.
Opossums are nocturnal creatures that avoid other wildlife — meaning they move around mostly at night and try to stay out of the way of, well, anything bigger than them. If you’re out at night and accidently come face to face with an opossum — as I’ve done occasionally, especially growing up in the South — you’ll probably get hissed at, which is frightening, but not attacked. When threatened, they often flop over and emit a foul-smelling fart. (They’re not really “playing dead,” as it’s a reaction triggered by stress). Opossums may not even do structural damage under your porch, unlike raccoons and other small mammals.
Opossums really are remarkable animals. They’re the only marsupial in North America, carrying their young in a pouch. (Possums without the “o” are an entirely different marsupial species found in Australia and the south Pacific region.) Opossums are omnivorous and eat snakes (even poisonous ones), slugs, grubs and roaches. They are reportedly resistant to the rabies virus and to Lyme disease, and they even eat ticks with no ill effects — up to 5,000 per year!
If you still don’t want a family of opossums around, contact a pest removal service to trap the family and release them safely somewhere else.
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© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
This glass prism with a slightly green tint is 4 1/2 inches high and very heavy. It was used like a window on vintage sailing ships to get light below the main deck. Just an ornament today, it is worth about $50 in an online sale.
A 4 1/2-inch-high heavy glass pyramid was in a recent house sale. It was inexpensive, but no one knew what it was used for. It was almost too heavy to lift, so it wouldn’t be a practical paperweight, but we bought it to display on a table with our obelisks. A long search of pictures online revealed what it is ... a “deck prism.” It was used to give extra light to parts of an antique sailing ship that were below the waterline. The first deck prisms were used about 1840. Fire was the best source of light, but it also was very dangerous on a wooden ship, so oil, kerosene lamps and candles were avoided.
My prism was inserted upside down into a hole on the main deck. The glass pyramid point hung down and shed some light into the room below. The base of the prism, now at the top, was set flush into the wooden deck. After a while, the caulking that held the glass would leak and the glass could chip, so the prism was carefully remounted and caulked. In 1861 a patented threaded light that could be screwed into a metal frame was invented, so prisms lost favor. But reproductions in colored glass still are made and used, and old ones are collected. They usually sell for less than $50.
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I have my great-grandfather’s accordion, a pre-1900 Hohner two-row button diatonic. It was appraised, and I was told it would fetch four figures. I’d love to keep it, but no one in my family wants it. It’s normal fifth scalar organization, 20 plus treble buttons and 12 bass buttons in very good condition. Where should I start?
You probably will get the highest price by selling the accordion at an auction of other antique musical instruments. Expect to pay the auction gallery a commission, a percentage of the hammer price. Fees are negotiable. Find out in advance what costs are and what it includes. Will the instrument be pictured in a catalog? What is the cost of shipping it to the auction? Insurance? Do you want a minimum bid? What are costs to you if it doesn’t sell? You also can try a music store in your area. They may know someone who collects vintage instruments.
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1938 Calendar, Esso, “Happy Landing,” child jumping from green plain, Standard Oil Company of Pennsylvania, 21 x 14 inches, $129.
Sewing stand, drop leaf, mahogany flame veneer and pine, three drawers, dovetailed, original pulls, carved leaves, c. 1835, 18 inches, $300.
Buff-Lo-Maid cleanser tin, cardboard body, tin lid & base, Indian woman, 4 5/8 x 3 1/8 inches, $672.
Donald Duck figurine, long-billed, movable head, stationary legs, Knickerbocker, 9 inches, $1,357.
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TIP: A magnet will not be attracted to solid brass. It will cling to brass-plated iron.
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© 2019 King Features Synd., Inc.
Brined Grill-Roasted Pork Loin
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
2 cups water
1 (4 to 5 pound) boneless pork loin roast
Extra-virgin olive oil
Cremer’s Rub Me Tender Seasoning
In a bowl mix the sugar and salt with 2 cups of water until dissolved. Put the pork roast into a deep bowl or a large plastic bag. Pour in the sugar and salt water. Add more water until the meat is covered. Let it sit in the brine in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours.
Remove the pork roast from the brine about 1/2 hour before you will be ready to cook it to allow it to come up to room temperature. When ready to cook, heat a grill to high heat. Dry the pork, rub it with olive oil, and season it with Rub Me Tender Seasoning. Sear the pork on all sides to get grill marks. Move the roast to an upper rack (or over indirect heat) and put a drip pan underneath it. Cook the pork until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F, about 30 to 45 minutes. Remove to a platter, cover loosely with foil, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes.
Before carving, add any accumulated juices to the drippings in the pan. Spoon these over the sliced pork.
It is always the secure who are humble.
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton