The Fox Valley offers so many opportunities to take advantage of both indoor and outdoor cultural activities. The calendar is packed with community and cultural events. Whether you want to learn about the history of Polka, color with adults, take part in the Fox Cities Read , Film Festival, see off – Broadway productions, or learn how to cook and grill, the Fox Valley offers it all.
We are so lucky to have many lectures, music and art events that are either free or inexpensive offered at both Lawrence University, UW Colleges or technical schools. We recently took advantage of the opportunity to see Motown the Musical at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. The PAC did not exist when we lived here before and we were very impressed at both the physical beauty of the center and the wonderful acoustics. Although we took advantage of the “cheap” seats, we were able to see and hear very well. We look forward to seeing many of the future shows offered at the PAC.
Several weeks ago, I also had the opportunity to listen to the Fox Valleyaires Barbershop Chorus Spring Concert. I must confess, my husband is a member of the chorus so I a had to attend, although not under duress at all. It was completely enjoyable and the auditorium was packed. If you missed the performance, I suggest you check out their website for future events.
Since we recently moved here, I didn’t know about the Fox Cities Read. I am so sorry to have missed the discussion of Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Addiction by David Sheff. This week, April 18 -April 24 is the celebration of the Fox Cites Book Festival.
Anyone moving from a larger city to the Fox Valley need not worry about living in a small town or city. The Fox Valley has grown so much since we originally moved here in the early 1980’s and now has something for everyone. I am impressed by the number of independent shops and restaurants as well as the viability of the downtowns.
Our addiction to HGTV has turned many of us into DIY wannabees. The remodeling craze has hit home literally. But is remodeling the best answer to getting the home of your dreams? Every time I watch the Property Brothers, Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Fixer Upper, or Tarek and Christina’s Flip or Flop, they come across a multitude of expensive surprises. There are advantages to starting from scratch and building the home you really desire.
- First of all, you get exactly what you want when building your new home. Of course, you may have to compromise on some finishes to stay within budget but building a new home lets you make the decisions to include what is really important to you.
- A new home is much more energy efficient saving you money overtime. Midwest Design Homes and Jon Huss Custom Homes builds all of our home above and beyond the Focus on Energy standards. Due to better insulation, higher quality windows, more energy efficient water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioners your energy bills tend to be much lower than in an existing remodeled home.
- A new home may be better for your health giving you a better quality of life. A newly constructed home is less likely to have toxic materials such as asbestos, lead paint, and mold.
- A newly built home is also better for the environment. Green appliances with Energy Star ratings, more efficient toilets, showers, plumbing fixtures, and HVAC systems all use less energy making your home more environmentally friendly.
- Building a new home versus remodeling makes it easier to recoup your investment. A new home generally requires fewer repairs and comes with a 1 year Builder Warranty.
- Remodeling an older home may not actually add as much value to home when it is sold but added value to your lifestyle. On top of that, I’ve yet to see a remodeling project without some pricey surprises.
In conclusion, building a fresh new home allows you to get the home of your dreams, save money on energy, have a healthier environment adding to the quality of your life,and be more environmentally conscious.
5 Tips for Preparing your Lawn for Spring or Establishing a New Lawn
We are all chomping at the bit for spring to actually arrive. It is April, although the snow and wind chills make it feel more like February or March. But spring will arrive- eventually and the time to prepare your lawn will arrive.
First of all, a disclaimer. I tend to be very serious about my lawn. I love spring and summer, green grass, and flowers. I love having lush, green, weed-free lawn in which to walk barefoot. So on to the recipe for a great lawn:
- For existing lawns remove any debris that has accumulated and rake up matted grass to remove the snow mold. Raking encourages better air flow and allows new grass blades to emerge.
- In early spring, when the soil temperatures reach 50-60 degrees, apply a pre-emergent crab grass control. We have skipped this step if we don’t have crabgrass but if you have had it in the past, DO NOT SKIP! Do not wait until the crabgrass gets out of control as it is very difficult to eradicate.
- Apply a spring fertilizer to give your grass a healthy start. Spring fertilization allows the grass to build strength making it more tolerant to summers’ heat and drought. Knowing your soil type helps to determine what ratio of fertilizer to apply. You may also apply organic fertilizers at this time.
- Spring is a great time to aerate the lawn. Aeration allows water and air to reach the roots faster encouraging new growth and root development. Aeration is especially important for heavier clay soils that tend to compact. Again, timing and temperature is important. Aerate early before the soil temperatures reach 55- 60 degrees. Waiting until later may encourage weed growth.
- If bare or thin spots are visible in the lawn, use the early spring to overseed. Allow the seed to germinate before applying the pre- emergent crab grass control.
If you have a new home and are just starting a new lawn, determine if you need a cool or warm weather and also if it needs to be sun or shade tolerant. In Wisconsin we obviously need cool weather grass.
- Make sure your yard has been finished graded and all stones and rocks removed.
- Depending on the size of your yard, seed can either be spread by hand or using a spreader. If using a spreader, walk first one direction and then then the other making a checkerboard pattern. I’ve started several lawns and prefer seeding extra heavy to achieve a really thick lawn.
- Apply a starter fertilizer to give the seedlings a good healthy start.
- A peat moss or straw mulch may be applied over the seed or you may prefer to just lightly rake the seed into the soil.
- Water, Water , Water. Depending on the wind, soil conditions, rainfall, and temperatures the new seed should be watered several times a day, keeping it moist but not to the point of drenching it. Continue to water until the lawn has good growth then back off slowly to once or twice a week.
- Don’t be in a hurry to mow. Wait until the new grass reaches a height of 3-4 inches and only mowing about an inch. After germination apply the first application of fertilizer.
Follow these simple directions and the grass won’t be greener on the other side.