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Ticks: What You Need to Know

Ticks_ What You Need to Know

It’s that time of year again where ticks start to come out in full force. We’re happy that spring is FINALLY here, but the sudden onset of bites and buzzing is still a drag. We’ve been hearing for a month or so now that THIS is they year they’re going to be really, really bad.

There are some staggering statistics out there, and none of us wants to be part of those numbers, but what do we have to know to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from tick-borne diseases?

First, let’s look at some numbers.
The majority of tick-borne illness cases come from 14 states, one of which is our home state of Massachusetts. 87,000 people EACH YEAR are diagnosed with Lyme Disease here in the Bay State. Yuck.

While both ticks and mosquitoes can irritate us and make us sick, the number of tick-related cases are much higher.

So how do we guard against these pests?
Prevention and persistence are key.

When you’re going hiking or working outside, especially in long grass, wear long pants, and tuck them into your socks. Not a great fashion statement unless you’re reliving the 80s, but effective for keeping ticks off your ankles and out of your pants. Long sleeve shirts are also important as these pests like to drop from trees, too.

Use some sort of repellent.
At Bare Ground, we believe in effective, more natural and environmentally friendly options to keep ticks, and tick carrying animals, away from your home and your garden. Predator Urines and garlic are just two methods, but really, just protect yourself.
Repellents can be applied, or even come built into clothing geared for the outdoors. Choose what’s best for you and whatever it is that you’re enjoying outside.

There are products that you can use around your home and in your garden to keep ticks, and tick carrying animals, away.  Say that we prefer a less chemical, more natural approach like garlic to repel ticks or predator scents to keep tick carrying animals away.

After you’ve been outside, always do a tick check. In fact, do one daily, especially on children. Check in places where they can hide – neck, hairline, groin, knees and elbows, and places where your clothes are tight.

And shower after being outdoors. If you shower soon enough after exposure, ticks will wash right off before they really latch on to you. Feel your skin for any bumps that don’t belong. These guys are tiny, so sometimes your eyes will miss them!

What IF you miss one?

It happens. They’re really small and they hide.

Know what to look for: fever, chills, headache, muscle aches. These 4 happen with all tick-borne illnesses. Sometimes these are also accompanied by a rash.

Whatever you do, stay vigilant this season. The ticks are here, but if you are armed with all you need to know, they won’t have any impact on your summer fun!

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Asphalt Repair: Yes, You Can DIY!

Winter is almost over and the snow is starting to melt away and we’re all looking forward to a warm spring. Have you noticed how your driveway looks after about three months of winter? Is it time for some asphalt repair?

Here are some of the problems that can arise if you have a blacktop asphalt driveway or walkway:

  • Potholes – When pieces of asphalt break off from the driveway, creating a hole. They can vary in size. This is often the result of unmaintained alligator cracks that are worsened by the winter ice.
  • Alligator and spiderweb cracks – These are small cracks that connect to resemble the scaly back of an alligator or the loops of a spider web.
  • Sinkholes and bird baths – Areas of asphalt that have sunk into the ground. This occurs when the foundation is not properly constructed. The base may be washed away after a while and when the asphalt is warmed by the sun’s heat it will form into the missing base. Smaller sink holes are called bird baths and are typically 1-2 inches deep.

To have your driveway resurfaced by a professional, can cost anywhere from $3000 to $6000. Do you really have to resurface your entire driveway to fix some cracks and potholes? No! There is a much simpler and affordable way to fix parts of your driveway that need some minor repairs.

If you only have some few cracks to fill, the BareGround One Shot Premium Asphalt Crack Filler (and Sealer) will get the job done very easily in one simple step. This ready to use filler is also a waterproof sealant which can repair and patch cracks up to 1-inch wide. This One Shot product fills and seals at the same time reducing effort, saving time AND money.

For driveways with potholes, the BareGround One Shot Asphalt Water Based Pot Hole Repair will permanently fix in a jiffy. This unique product is specially formulated to cure and harden immediately with water to form a durable asphalt pothole repair. It is also eco-friendly, VOC free and solvent-free. Besides driveways, this compound can also be used in roads or parking lots. Pour the One Shot water based pothole repair mix into the hole and add water to create a solid and long lasting fix.

Repairing your driveway shouldn’t be time consuming and costly. Simple DIY asphalt repair projects will keep your wallet happy and you will have more time for fun outdoor activities!

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Clean Up Winter Before Spring!

Spring Sidewalk

When cold temperatures linger and snow keeps coming, it can feel like winter is never going to end. As we trundle our way through the last chills of winter, we all look forward to warm, spring months where flowers start to bloom again and grasses become greener. We may even get a taste of spring as a tease before winter is really over. But, before we make our way to local nurseries to pick out some perennials or start planning our veggie gardens, there’s some post-winter cleaning to do.

After every snowfall and every ice storm you likely used a deicing product to treat your driveway and walkways. Did you know that salt and liquid deicers can leave behind efflorescence?

“Efflorescence” might sound pretty (the word means “to flower out” in French), but the reality is something much less attractive. Efflorescence is the white, powdery deposit you see coating stones, bricks and concrete. This happens when soluble salts rise to the surface of porous materials and gets left behind after water evaporates. While these coatings aren’t hazardous, they can quickly become an eyesore. What is the best way to get rid of these stubborn and unsightly stains?

BareGround’s One Shot Efflorescence Remover is our fast-acting, water-based cleaner scientifically designed to remove efflorescence from concrete and masonry. By attacking sodium chloride deposits directly, our solution makes cleaning a breeze. Best of all, a treatment of One Shot Efflorescence Remover also helps prevents efflorescence stains from recurring.

After you take care of your spring cleaning at ground level, don’t forget to clean places you don’t see as easily, like the solar panel on your roof.  While the ice and snow may melt away on its own, there will always be dirt and grime left behind which will diminish solar panel efficiency and effectiveness.  In order to maximize the impact of your solar investment, it’s essential to keep panels clean throughout the year

Our One Shot Solar Panel Cleaner washes away dirt and reduces surface tension to prevent further buildup. Specially formulated to protect and improve the efficiency of solar glass, our cleaner is:  

  • Ammonia free
  • Streak free
  • Non smearing
  • Quick drying
  • No odor or VOC’s
  • Environmentally and User friendly

Plan ahead now and soon you too can say hello to warm weather by saying goodbye to all the wintry weather mess.

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How To Stay Warm in Winter Weather

Cold weather is back again, so it’s time to take out the winter gear to stay warm and safe.

It’s easy enough to remember the basics like hats and gloves. But, did you know that there are many other ways to stay warm and toasty all winter long?

Here are great ways on how to keep yourself, your pets, and your home warm and safe during our long winter months.

 

Your Body

  • Wear three layers! First, wear an under-layer, such as a thermal shirt and leggings. Then your usual clothing acts as the middle layer. Finally, the outer layer should be a waterproof jacket (see below). This will help you stay warm without wearing bulky sweaters!
  • Waterproof outer layers are important. It’s no fun getting wet in the snow when all you want to do is enjoy the outdoor activities. A waterproof jacket will help you stay dry and therefore warm!
  • Accessorize! Keeping your head, neck and fingers warm will protect you from frostbite and other skin damage from cold temperatures. If you on’t want to wear a ski mask, you can always pull your scarf up to cover your nose and mouth.
  • Nobody wants to walk around in cold, soggy socks and boots. Keep your toes warm and dry by doubling up on your socks and wearing insulated, waterproof boots.
  • Use hand and feet warmers. These toasty packets add extra heat just by holding them in your hands, placing them in your pockets, or attaching them to your socks.
  • When in doubt, have a beverage! When the temperature outside is freezing and you’re stuck inside, stay warm by having a nice cup of tea, cocoa, or any other hot beverage of your choice! Just limit alcohol, as it can lower your body temperature!

 

Your Pets

For those of us that are pet parents, keeping our pets safe from the cold is our number one priority! 

  • Just like humans, dogs and cats are also prone to frostbite and hypothermia. Limit the time of outdoor play in extreme cold temperatures.
  • When going for walks or playing outdoors with your dog, protect their paws by putting dog boots on them. The boots will keep their paws warm and protect them from snow, ice, and even de-icing salt on the sidewalk. To see pet-friendly ice melt options, see here!
  • Put a jacket on your dog to help keep them warm, and dry, too!
  • If your dog prefers to go outside with no protective gear, then be sure to dry their paws and their body with a towel when they come back inside!          

 

Your Technology & Auto

Cellphones

  • When it is extremely cold the battery tends to drain faster than normal. Other components of a cellphone such as the LCD screen is sensitive to the cold, too. According to Apple, the lowest, optimal temperature iPhones can operate is 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Just by keeping your phone in your pocket, you can help it stay warm with your body heat. A phone case will also help it from getting too cold.
  • If the phone does shut down, give it some time to warm back up. Restarting the phone immediately will cause more damage to the battery and shorten its lifespan.
  • Always remember to keep your cellphone with you and never leave them in a place where it can get too cold- like your parked car!

 

 Warming up your car

It is always nice to step into a car that is already warm when it’s time to head out. But, how long should we be warming up our cars?  

  •  Idling for more than five minutes is a waste of fuel and environmentally unfriendly.
  • Older cars with carburetors did need more time to warm up and get going. But modern, fuel-injected cars do not need more than 1 to 2 minutes to get the oil and engine to warm up and be ready to go!

 

 Your Home 

Keeping your home warm and functioning properly is also important during cold, winter months especially when there are many days with temperatures dropping down to below zero. Here are some ways to help you keep your home warm and cozy:

  • Use a draft stopper at the base of the doors that lead to the outside. This will keep the cold air our while retaining heat inside your home.
  • If you’re into DIY projects, you can make your own by using a pool noodle: First, cut the pool noodle in half lengthwise then put the pieces in a pillowcase or other fabric of your choice. Secure the noodle and covering with a safety pin. Slide it under a door and this should stop the draft.
  • Insulate your windows with an indoor window insulator kit from your local hardware store. This clear shrink film attaches to the indoor window frame.
  • Another option to prevent window draft is using insulated curtains which are thicker, lined fabrics designed to keep the cold air out and the warm air inside.
  • Although it’s not your first thought, ceiling fans can help us stay warm too! Switch the fan to rotate clockwise in the low speed setting. Naturally, warm air rises. The fan pushes warm air back down towards the floor to help keep your room cozy.
  • According to the US Department of Energy, the ideal thermostat setting is at 68 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and around 66 degrees Fahrenheit at night. With a programmable thermostat, you can set your hear to come on at a pre-set schedule. This will keep your home at a comfortable temperature when you’re home but lower when you’re asleep and away.

 And most importantly…

Protect Your Pipes!

 As the temperature plummets to below zero the most common concern everyone has is their pipes freezing.

 Here are some simple ways to prevent the pipes from freezing and avoid potential damages from bursting pipes:

  • Trickle warm water from a faucet that is on the outside wall.
  • Set your thermostat at constant temperature during the day and at night.
  • Keep your cabinet doors open to help the pipes remain at room temperature.          

Whatever you do, stay safe during the cold weather!

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What's So Great About Liquid Fish?

Liquid Fish Fertilizer

Fish has been used by Native Americans as a natural source of plant nutrients for hundreds of years. The organic matter that the fish fertilizer provides breaks down and releases nutrients into the soil for plant strength and vitality, and also enhances the naturally occurring micro organisms in your soil.  This means that you don’t have to use synthetic or chemical fertilizers that are the main source of groundwater pollution, AND the fish fertilizer is safe for people and pets.

Trident’s Pride liquid fish soil enhancer by Bare Ground is a concentrated high energy soil nutrient broth that creates a superb foundation for building the best lawns, crops and gardens. We use 100% including the enzymes (this is not a scraps-only formula).

In addition to the liquid fish soil enhancer, Trident’s Pride also comes in granular form for added soil aeration, making it easy to incorporate this natural fertilizer into your planting process from the very start!

  • Helps ALL plants, flowers, grasses, trees, shrubs, and crops better assimilate soil nutrients
  • Creates beneficial microbe explosion in the soil with complex array of nutrients and minerals
  • Enviro-considerate by reducing the need to use fertilizers…the #1 ground pollutant
  • Increases Antioxidants in the soil
  • Increases soil’s energy and sugar content
  • Increases growth and production by building a healthier soil
  • Increases organic matter and earthworm population
  • Increases soil microbe production
  • Increases the Cation Exchange (electrolyzed exchange of positive soil ions)
  • Perfect for Organic gardening
  • Great for all indoor and outdoor plants

 

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Garlic: The Natural Pest Repellent

Garlic is a welcome smell in many kitchens. A little olive oil, a little garlic…dinner is on its way!

But… Did you know that garlic is also a very powerful (and natural) insect and garden pest repellent?

This delightful little bulb contains an amino acid that, when broken down by crushing, chopping, or blending, changes to allicin. This substance is the goodness you smell when you’re cooking, and it does more than just make our mouths water.

Allicin is absorbed by plants, causing a natural reaction – repelling mosquitoes and other garden insects like ticks, fleas, white flies, aphids, ants, etc., and animal pests like rabbits, deer, and field mice. The good thing about plants, however, is that while garlic’s repellent qualities last for a few weeks, their new-found garlic breath is no longer recognizable to humans within a few minutes of application!  In other words, while the insects and pests that would like to feast on your plants will taste it for weeks and stay away, it will be unrecognizable to humans in their garden vegetables.

Garlic is an all natural repellent, and is gentle enough to use on even the most sensitive trees,  and shrubs, and garden plants  to keep your gardens and your lawns mosquito free. And who doesn’t love safe, all natural outdoor remedies that keep our properties beautiful year round?!?

Excited about spring, but dreading the pests that come along with the new season? Learn more about natural solutions from Just Scentsational by Bare Ground that will help make the outdoors this spring and summer more Bareable!  

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Top Tips to Avoid Ice Dam Issues

If you happen to utter the words “Ice Dams”, do you notice that people tend to cringe? Last winter was particularly brutal, and homeowners and insurance companies alike are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst!

Peter Marshall, owner of Marshall Insurance in Marlborough, MA said he and his staff processed claims for their customers all day, every day for six weeks during the end of last winter. “I fielded questions from almost everyone I encountered for months after that, as well.” Ice Dam claims in the Northeast last year alone cost insurers $1.8 billion dollars. And the issues for homeowners? Well, let’s just say most everyone who dealt with ice dams last winter will do anything to avoid them again this time around!

But how can you prepare for Mother Nature this year? There are two main ways – preventative measures before winter approaches, and channeling water through ice and snow once your roof is covered!

If you have more time and resources at your disposal, performing an energy audit is key to really knowing your home. This critical process will tell you if your attic is well insulated, and identify your risks for ice dams. But it is already December, and the snow will be here before we know it!

Once snow and ice have built up on your roof, it’s the melting water that causes nightmares because it has nowhere to go but in… under your roof, down your walls and .. INTO YOUR HOME! Your first action is to make a channel for the water to leave your roof before it has a chance to back up under your shingles and soak on through into your home causing damage.

Use safe and effective products to efficiently remove snow and ice from your roof! There are many products out there that can work to remove ice dams – but few can ensure they work the first time, efficiently and are virtually non-corrosive as to not harm your roof, and is safe or plants, animals, and humans on the ground below.

When possible, choose compounds that are environmentally-safe, pet-safe, and virtually non-corrosive, like magnesium chloride with a corn inhibitor that Bare Ground uses in our new gel melts and other winter products. With a little preparation, you should be able to handle whatever Mother Nature blows your way this winter!

Stay warm and ice-free!