Day: March 23, 2018

8 Easy Snow Removal Tips For Your Garden

There’s nothing wrong with having snow in your garden. It makes a great insulator and can provide just the right water to your dry plants during the winter.

However, once snow builds up and causes trunks to bend and break, it’s a totally different story.

Here are some of the best tips you can use to deal with snow in your garden.

Shovel frequently

shoveling snow

If you want to stop snow from accumulating in your garden, there’s really no better way than to shovel often. If you delay removing snow until the next day, you’re simply making your job a lot harder. Remember, snow can stick to the ground and freeze.

Be mindful of the shovel you’ll use. Make sure to use a quality shovel to avoid straining your body, particularly your back.

As much as possible, skip the cheap shovels. Although they can save you some money, they can make the job harder. They can even leave you with arm stiffness and back pain. They break easier as well and that means a repurchase.

Get a snow blower

using snow blower

If shoveling sounds like a lot of work for you, get a good snow blower. It can make removing snow a lot faster and less tedious.

Here’s the catch.

If you are going to buy a snow blower for the first time, consider getting one that’s maintenance-free. An electric snow blower is a great choice because you don’t need to change oils and fill it up each time. You just need an electrical outlet and extension cord and you’re good to go.

Now, if you are looking for the most efficient and powerful snow blower, a three-stage snow blower is one of the usual top picks. Although it’s probably not the cheapest blower you can find, it can save you a lot of time and energy.


If you’re going to use a snow blower, don’t point it to any plant to avoid breaking or damaging it.

Sweep gently

To get rid of snow on your shrubs and plants, remember to be really gentle and careful. With a broom or just your hands, sweep upwards to loosen the snow on your plants. Avoid sweeping downward as that can completely break any bent branch.

Don’t shake your plants, too. They are already stressed and very brittle. Shaking them will only make things worse.

As for the ice, just leave it and wait it out. If you try too hard to remove ice, you are liable to break branches off your plants.

Apply cooking oil to your shovel

This might sound weird but it definitely helps.

Using cooking spray on your shovel makes it easier to move the shovel through the snow since it prevents sticking. Just remember to completely wipe the oil off before storing your shovel in the garage to avoid creating a mess.

Choose the right form of ice melt

You actually have tons of options to get rid of a slippery driveway. You can get a calcium magnesium acetate, urea, calcium chloride or salt to get the job done.

Take note, however, that those ice melt forms aren’t the same. So, be sure to do your homework and really consider your choices. Some of them can be damaging and harmful to plants, floorings, and animals.

If you’re on a tight budget, go with salt. It’s readily available and cheap. It’s best applied to driveways and walkways but never directly on your garden.

Choose Magnesium Chloride if you’re looking for something that’s gentle on vegetation and most surfaces. It’s pet-friendly, too.

Be careful where you pile your snow

snow piling

When you’re removing snow from your roof, garden or driveway, make sure you’re not piling it up near your house. This can create problems in the foundation of your home, like frozen pipes and cracks.

Avoid creating a huge pile along your driveway’s edge, too. This can cause chunks to fall back into your driveway, forcing you to clear the area twice.

Stay safe

The equipment and tools you’ll be using for snow removal aren’t the only things you have to worry about. Since the process requires a lot of effort, you need to be physically ready, too.

Wear the right gear and dress properly to protect yourself. Dressing in layers can help keep your body warm while you’re outdoors. Avoid long winter coats and wear insulated vests instead. This will ensure your flexibility while working.

Remember to protect your hands and head as well. Wear a warm hat and a pair of earmuffs to prevent heat from escaping through the head.

As for your hands, wear gloves that will allow you to grip your shovel well without letting your hands get cold. If a pair of gloves isn’t enough, get a pair of heated gloves. They will keep your hands and fingers warm as you shovel through the snow.

Don’t forget to do a bit of stretching prior to shoveling, too. This will warm up and stretch your muscles to prevent injuries.

You don’t necessarily have to do a long and complicated routine. Stretching for about 5 to 10 minutes can be enough to prep your body for the hard work.

Consider getting salt-resistant plants

If you struggle with snow accumulating on your driveway every year, it’s probably the right time to get salt-resistant plants. Having them in your yard means you’ll be able to use salt and deicers without having to worry too much about killing your entire yard.

Some of your best choices are bee balm, peony, yucca, sedums, and butterfly weed. Century plant, rosemary, oleander, and rugosa rose are good options as well.

In conclusion

Most people look forward to seeing snow but feel dreadful once it’s time to get rid of the snow in their yard. If you are one of those people, knowing the right tips and tricks can greatly help. Investing in the right tools and equipment can make the process a lot easier, too.

The post 8 Easy Snow Removal Tips For Your Garden appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Unusual smoke-breathing elephant baffles scientists


For scientists conducting long term research on tigers and their prey, catching an elephant smoking is a rather strange sight.

That’s what they discovered when they visited camera trap locations around India’s Nagarahole National Park.

“I believe the elephant may have been trying to ingest wood charcoal,” Varun Goswami, an elephant biologist working with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS). “She appeared to be picking up pieces from the forest floor, blowing away the ash that came along with it, and consuming the rest.”

According to WCS, charcoal has toxin-binding properties which could be useful medicinally. It’s also useful as a laxative, serving a purpose after forest fires, lightning strikes, or controlled burns. Read more…

More about Animals, India, Elephant, Elephants, and Culture

Southern California needs to find its hub for it to develop its own tech ecosystem

Recognizing the tens of billions of dollars that the Southern Californian region leaves on the table, because it hasn’t taken its rightful place in the American technology industry, a new group called  the Alliance for Southern California Innovation has just released a report to analyze how SoCal can work to assume its pole position.

Through interviews with 100 leaders of the technology ecosystem and an analysis of venture capital funding for the region, the organization has concluded (with the help of the Boston Consulting Group) that the promise of a regional rival to Northern California’s silicon valley won’t be fulfilled without the establishment of a geographic hub and a willingness to overcome regional differences.

Founded by Steve Poizner last year to accelerate the growth of a startup entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southern California, The Alliance is building a network of investors, entrepreneurs and universities to provide ballast in the south to the dominance of the Northern California tech industry.

The Alliance estimates that Southern California’s tech community could be one-third the size of Silicon Valley’s by supporting or further developing the six pillars it already has for innovation to occur.

The potential impact making these changes could have is an added 200,000 new jobs and growth of $100 billion for the whole economic region.

“Over the past several years we have observed a significant decrease in startups leaving SoCal,” said Greg Becker, CEO of Silicon Valley Bank . “We’ve also seen a substantial inflow of venture capital from all over the world.”

In fact, as is well-reported, the luster of Silicon Valley is fading. As BCG writes in its report:

The good news for SoCal and any region with tech ambitions is that the Bay Area has in some ways been too successful. Our research revealed a saturation level causing unprecedented challenges, starting with exorbitant housing prices and runaway operating costs that accelerate a startup’s “burn rate”—its monthly spending.

Los Angeles investor Mark Suster, a general partner with Upfront Ventures, has been beating the drum for Los Angeles as a new tech hub for a while — and billion dollar exits for Ring and Dollar Shave Club, in addition to the public offering for Snap, lend credence to his position.

Suster has also noted for years that the region produces more technology doctorates than any other geography in the United States. Caltech generates more patents than any other university while UCLA boasts more startups founded by its graduate than any other school in the nation. Meanwhile, UCSD in San Diego has a deep bench of biotechnology expertise stemming from its proximity to the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine, the Salk Institute, and the Scripps Research Institute.

However, to thrive, BCG recommends taking six steps to bolster the the ecosystem and its chances to begin to catch up to Silicon Valley.

The consulting firm says that Southern California needs more local venture capital; the individual geographies need to work to promote their regional strengths; regions need to collaborate more closely with each other; founders need to start gunning for that IPO slot instead of taking acquisition offers; the region’s commitment to diversity needs to be emphasized; and finally the embarrassment of entrepreneurial riches needs to be promoted abroad.

“Southern California is a region of extreme innovation; however, it is so spread-out, making it hard to navigate,” said Steve Poizner founder and board chair of the Alliance, in a statement. “We believe by finding, filtering and aggregating exciting startups from top universities, research institutes, and incubators/accelerators, we can demonstrate the combined strength of SoCal in a compelling way to top investors and thought leaders.”