Tips For Grilling In Small Spaces

kamado ceramic grillA spacious backyard is not needed in order to create a great grilling environment.  Even urban lifestyles with some outdoor space can have enough room to be able to have an ample sized barbeque and not the kind that is set up on two cinder blocks either.  In reality, only a small space is needed even in the largest setting because the grilling space only takes up a couple of feet, so you really only need enough room for the grill and some space between you and the entrance to the home.  Another thing to keep in mind is to not set anything combustible next to the house.  Be sure to know the rules and guidelines of your apartment or condo for grilling outdoors, there may be some limitations to know beforehand.

How much room does a barbeque actually need in order to enjoy grilling and keep the space comfortable?  6 feet is the usually the norm for a small place to set up your outdoor grill and the biggest grill that will fit in the allowed space is the one you should get.   Even if the grill is a tight fit, you will use it more and have better cooking results.  Be sure to take down different measurement ideas to be able to accommodate this. There are many residents who have figured out a way to edge in a 7 foot grill and a cooking island to do all the preparation on the deck or allotted space.   This is a very important aspect because a smaller grill will limit your size capacity for certain meats.  Will you be content with just limiting your outdoor cooking to burgers and hotdogs, or is taking up a couple more feet worth more food options?

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What Type of Camp Cook Are You?

camping_cookDoes your camping menu consist only of toaster pastries and a cooler stuffed with drive through combo meals? Or does your campsite cuisine require cast iron cookware, a secret recipe for Dutch Oven cobbler and selecting new camping grills and accessories for camp cooking that can be found on

Before you can plan your camping trip menu you need to determine what type of camp cook you are. That helps determine what equipment you’ll need. Here are a few, slightly humor-filled, examples of different types of camp chefs. You may fit into one, or somewhere in between, these descriptions. Each description also includes a tip and equipment suggestion. Keep in mind; this is not something that requires you to check off on different skill levels as if you were getting a karate black belt or culinary degree. Practice and experience helps. Every time you camp out, your ability to serve up a great plate of chow will increase.

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Green Kids on the Block-Grow Your Own Eggs for Easter

easter_egg_plantLooking for a fun activity that will get the kids interested in gardening, then consider growing your own eggs.  While eggs really do not come from plants, the Solanum melongena var. is a type of eggplant that produces egg-shaped fruit and is also known as the Easter Egg Plant.

This plant is easy to grow and can produce fruit for two years if taken care of properly.

To begin the process, one must first get the seeds.  Many seed catalogues carry this variety of eggplant.  Other sources for this seed include horticulture supply stores.  Once you have the seed, you will need a container.  One choice is a Greenhouse Seed Tray or a 6-inch container.  Regardless of which you choose, do not forget to clean the container.  This is simply done by soaking the container in a bucket of water that contains a capful of bleach.  Scrub to remove any dirt, rinse in clean water and place in the sun to completely dry.

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Preparing for a Pet’s 911

feline first aid kitAs an avid pet owner, I always hope that I am not put in a situation where a pet emergency occurs.  But while I hope this situation never arises, it is always good to create an emergency prevention arrangement and have a plan for dealing with pet emergencies.

Information Tags

Having a pet tag on your furry loved one is a great way of preventing a disaster.  Many times pets are lost and the information about their owners does not exist.  A simple pet tag that you can get from your veterinarian will save you time and worry if your pet gets out.  Also if there is a residential emergency, such as a tornado or fire, this information can help guide rescue personal on how to handle this lost pet.

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Add a Touch of Whimsy to Any Garden Space with Decorative Sculptures by Outdora

sunflower_sculptureA garden space is not limited to plant material, but can also include decorative elements, such as stepping-stones, birdbaths, and decorative containers.  Did you know that decorative sculptures are not limited to European plazas or museums?  They can also be used in the home garden, but before you think that your home needs to be a castle to be able to afford decorative art, lets take a look at what Outdora sells and how to use it.

Brown Thumb Gardeners

Brown thumb gardeners can have a hard time creating and maintaining a healthy garden.  Many gardens owned by this type of gardener can be seen as full of weeds and/or dead plant material.  A simple solution to this problem is through the use of garden sculptures.  Outdora sells many styles that mimic their natural counterparts.  This includes several that look like flowers. Sprinkling a few natural rust patina garden iris or lily sculptures can go a long way in brightening up a brown thumb gardener’s space.  The best part of using these “flowers” is that even the least experienced gardener can grow them.

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The History of Birdbaths and Birdfeeders

bird_feederThe invention of birdbaths and birdfeeders came about when humans started living in villages.  While we liked the convenience of city living we still desired to have wildlife around us.  Some wildlife was easy to attract due to our habitats but quickly became a nuisance.  Birds, on the other hand, were attracted to our crops and in doing so could become a problem.  But through the study of birds or ornithology, we quickly learned how to attract birds that brought pleasure verses those that could destroy crops.

To attract birds to your backyard, one must provide the basic requirements of life.  One of the easiest things that you can provide birds is a source of water.  The first birdbaths were depressions in the ground, shallow streams, holes in rocks or any other surface that would hold water.  Birds would land near the area to drink and bathe.  As mankind observed this behavior, they desired to mimic it.  The Pulham & Sons Company developed the first recorded birdbath in Europe in the 1840s.  This company specialized in rockery, garden fountains and outdoor ornaments.  They also made fountains, which became the forefather of the birdbaths.  Today, many different styles of birdbaths can be found.  This includes ones that light up, such as the Country Gardens Solar Birdbath and a hanging version, such as the Whitehall Rose Hanging Birdbath.

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Facts And Food For Fourth of July

fireworksPerhaps our forefathers could have easily anticipated the firework-filled, meat roasting summer celebration that July 4th has become. Since the birth of our nation, Americans have been known for their adventurous spirit and gluttonous appetite for life. The founding fathers in particular left a long history of Congressional fistfights and scathing diatribes over dinners, particularly during the drafting of The Declaration of Independence.

The Continental Congress convened at various points from May 1775 through July 1776 to debate the language, provisions and rights most appropriate to declare separation from the crown and country of Great Britain. Many compromises and months later, the Declaration of Independence was signed and marked with the date of July 4th. While full ratification and a long revolution were still to come, the signing of this document by the delegates of the Continental Congress marked the beginning of America’s struggle towards independence and our national holiday.

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Creating a Backyard Paradise for this Season’s Stay-cation

backyard_designThis year there is no reason not to enjoy a stay-cation in your own backyard.  All that is really needed is a few items that can be purchased through Outdora and the backyard will be transformed into a paradise.

To begin the design, decide on a focal point or center the paradise around the patio. Next, address the elements that are essential to any paradise.  These elements include fire, water, earth, and wind.  Each one of these elements addresses one of the five senses and together creates a complete paradise.

The fire element can be described as the part of the design that brings heat into the environment. It addresses not only our vision but also touch and if food is cooked over the fire then our taste buds come into play. This heat can be created from the spark of a gas grill all the way to a literal fire in a fire ring or pit.  Placing a grill on the patio along with a table chairs can create the fire element.  Another approach is to use a fire ring or pit that is placed on the patio or moved out into the backyard environment. When using the fire element, always remove any flammable material, such as grass, from the area before lighting the fire.

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How to Design a Summer Floral Arrangement for the Patio Table

outdoor_floralTable design is not limited to the indoor environment but instead adds another element to incorporate into the outdoor landscape. In the past, the style of the interiorscape was carried over into the outdoor design.  Today, either living environments can be different or the same.

When designing an arrangement for an outdoor table, a few things need to be considered.  First, the size of the table and its function needs to be evaluated.  Is the table small, such as an end table, or is large, dining type table?  Another consideration is the function of the table?  Are people going to be dining on it or just sitting drinks on it?   Also, consider the health issues of those who may be around the patio furniture.  Cut flowers still attract bees and this could be an issue for any guests that are allergic to bees.

Before cutting the flowers, decide on the shape and height of the container.  The type of container can be very formal in shape, such as an urn, or more informal in nature.  Informal containers include clay pots or plastic containers.  Always keep in mind though that the arrangement is going into an outdoor environment, so avoid glass vases.  Next, consider the scale of the project and how it will work with your outdoor environment. Are people going to have to look over the project or is it going to be so large that it interferes with the natural flow around the furniture.  An easy gauge to use with thinking about the arrangement design is that the height of the arrangement will be 2 ½ times the height of the container.

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Garden Blues

blue_irisTrue blue flowers are the rarest of blooms, but they can be found. While you’ll find many purple and violet flowers, it’s the true blues that remain elusive. Perhaps it is the true blue’s rarity that has led it to symbolize romanticism in literature through the ages. Georg Philipp Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenberg, under the pen name Novalis, was the first to use the blue flower in this context in his unfinished novel, Heinrich von Ofterdingen, in the late 18th century. C.S. Lewis mentioned the blue flower as a symbol of romanticism in his autobiographical work, Surprised By Joy, and contemporary artists have continued to point to the blue flower as a symbol of general romanticism. You’ll even find allusions to it in movies, stage plays and rap!

Surprisingly, blue is the most desirable color for wedding arrangements, not as the primary color, but as a complementary color. In addition to representing romanticism, blue represents royalty, and who doesn’t want to feel like royalty on their wedding day?

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