Archive for December, 2012
Whew! This has been a busy holiday season and one during which I suffered from a bad head cold! So, I’ve been neglecting my blog duties and apologize for this. Our supplier notified me last week about several new products that will become available during 2013. These products include several types of umbrellas for your patio, deck or the beach. I’ll be describing these and other new offerings in future posts.
And now I’ll share a delicious recipe for egg nog that one of my friends recommended. The coconut milk gives it extra flavor and richness. I usually add rum to it, but you can enjoy it without alcohol or with your choice of spirits.
1.5 oz. Triple Sec or other orange liqueur; 1 15-oz. can condensed milk; 1 14-oz. can Coco Lopez Cream of Coconut (I use Goya Coconut Milk); 6 egg yolks; 1 fifth (approx. 25.5 oz.) chilled white rum; cinnamon or nutmeg to taste. Mix all except rum in blender. Add rum and mix again. I usually make half the recipe at a time. Remember, please drink responsibly.
Do you hanker for an old-fashioned campfire-style barbecue? Or do you want to create a yule-log setting for the holidays? We may have the solution for your ideas: our quarter-round bench. The quarter-round bench’s sectional design allows for a semicircle or full, 360-degree circle design.
If you have the yard for this style of entertaining, first check local fire regulations concerning outdoor fires. You might have to settle for setting up a portable grill using regular coals or maybe an artificial log (like a Duraflame™). A brick or other type of permanently installed grill makes the setup easier. In most cases one or two benches should be sufficient. Remember to set up the benches a safe distance from the fire and observe other safety precautions regarding outdoor grilling.
The quarter-round benches provide another solution to seating under/around a tree, statue or other garden enhancement. Two quarter-round sections create a semicircle; four sections create a 7-foot circle with a 53-inch inside diameter. When the sections are properly joined, this arrangement should accommodate a centerpiece up to that diameter.
You have this big, leafy tree that provides wonderful shade and a cool environment for enjoying an al fresco lunch or dinner or a glass of wine and a good book. But, you have a problem: How can you relax under your tree if there’s no comfortable place to sit?
You can spread a blanket or set up a lounge or beach chair. But these solutions usually aren’t very comfortable. The hard ground under the blanket bothers your legs and back…and your arms if you’re trying to read a book by lying on your stomach and leaning on your elbows. And the lounge chair or beach chair sometimes sits lopsided because of the tree’s roots or the unevenness of the ground at the base of the tree.
We have two possible solutions to this dilemma: our around-the-tree bench or our backless quarter bench (the subject of our next post). The tree bench provides five sides to choose from; so, you’ll always find a perfect spot to relax under your favorite tree. This bench is so practical and inviting and will fit around any tree up to 24 inches! It can also provide seating around a favorite statue or similar garden enhancement.
Planter boxes are an economical way to beautify your patio, veranda and windowsill. There is no match for an attractively arranged Western Red Cedar planter box of any style. Wherever placed, our cedar planters are an excellent addition to any ranch, back yard, front yard, or cottage or apartment balcony.
We offer three styles of cedar planter boxes, which should accommodate whatever flower, plant or small shrub arrangements your landscaping design requires. You can combine the boxes with our trellises, arbors and planter bench planks to create landscaping designs limited by your imagination only. Indeed, maybe you can contrive combinations we haven’t thought of yet! If so, please share them with us.
Our boxes include: 10-inch planter box; 20-inch planter box; 30-inch window box; a window box that is ideal for ledges, railings and balconies; and 2-foot, 4-foot and 6-foot raised garden boxes. Garden boxes can be used in multiples, on top of each other, for deeper rooting plants. And, here’s a novel idea: Use the garden boxes in multiples as outdoor enclosures for small pets! Neat, huh!
It’s never too early to start planning your garden! Happy planning and planting!
Western Red Cedar, native to northwest North America, including Alaska and the southwestern provinces of Canada, is popular as an outdoor furniture material for several reasons:
1. Among common softwood timber, cedar is the most stable; it naturally lies flat and remains straight. No warping, twisting and checking, common faults among many other species.
2. The wood stays cool in the hottest temperatures.
3. Its resistance to bacteria and fungi recommend it for outdoor use. Also, its natural oils provide resistance to rot and decay, a particular advantage in moist and humid climates. Example of item: cedar planter box.
4. Western Red Cedar is durable. For example, untreated and uncovered cedar furniture left outdoors, even during rugged winters, can last eight to 10 years. It will last about twice as long if covered or brought inside during winter.
5. Although unnecessary, cedar is the best softwood to stain, paint or oil.
6. Red cedar emits a distinct aroma that people like but that repels moths, insects and other pests. Many households still use cedar-lined chests to store their woolen blankets, clothes and other susceptible household textiles to protect them from these pests.
7. No toxic chemicals, like arsenic, chromium or copper are used to preserve Western Red Cedar.
(Continued from 12/07/2012 post)
A good wood sealer such as Thompson’s WaterSeal helps by blocking the pores of the wood. This inhibits the grain from becoming raised, yet allows the natural fading of the wood to a gentle silvery-gray color.
A number of finishes can be used on cedar furniture to preserve the colorful tones of the freshly sanded cedar. We recommend good-quality penetrating sealers and transparent or solid exterior stains. Many colors are available making it easy to match your existing decor. We recommend a single coat of a semitransparent stain with a UV inhibitor, such as Sikkens Cetol 1 (natural) or Thompson’s Stain. Every third year you might reapply a coat of stain to freshen the finish. Cedar requires little or no sanding, preparation or primer when you use a stain.
Paint is fine; but, over time, it requires scraping and refinishing. Stain, however, is “breathable” and won’t trap moisture; so, no blistering, no peeling. Stain is the best choice for cedar. Many colors are available in semitransparent and solid finishes.
Western Red Cedar should be preservative-treated if it will be embedded in the ground; for example, fence posts, landscape ties or garden arbor posts.
Western Red Cedar in its natural, unfinished state has a richly textured tactile grain and a glowing palette of warm, mellow tones ranging from light amber to deep honey brown. No man-made material can duplicate the depth of cedar’s natural luster.
Western Red Cedar remains subtly aromatic, and the characteristic fragrance of Red Cedar adds an aromatic dimension to its universal appeal.
Because of the inherent nature of Western Red Cedar to withstand insect attack and the outdoor elements, cedar does not require a finish to keep its structure over the years.
Many folks prefer to allow their cedar furniture to “naturally age” outdoors without a stain or finish. Over time, the colorful tones of the wood slowly weather to a handsome silver-grey and the grain of the wood becomes slightly raised. If left completely natural, this silver-gray color eventually is highlighted by darker streaks formed from the reaction between the cedar resin and the zinc hardware. If you don’t fancy the dark streaks, we suggest using a simple wood sealer (see next blog entry).
We do not recommend using oil finishes on your cedar outdoor furniture.
Yesterday I wrote about cedar arbors, which have many decorative and functional uses in your garden. They can be entranceways between sections of the garden separated by hedges or fences. An arbor can span a walkway or serve as a frame for a statue or small fountain.
But what’s an arbor without an arbor bench? When combined with an arbor bench, your arbor becomes a relaxing refuge. You can enjoy hours sitting on your arbor bench, which can be all the more pleasurable if you have plantings of flowering vines growing on the arbor. The lovely scents of the flowers refresh your senses and calm stressed nerves, depending on the plants you select.
While it might seem to be a no-brainer to purchase an arbor with an arbor bench, many arbor benches actually are like an accessory to the arbor; the arbor bench is a separate purchase and has to be installed.
With an arbor bench, your arbor also provides limitless opportunities for seasonal embellishment. For example, during the Christmas season you can use the bench as a stand for a small Christmas tree and/or planters of holly, evergreens or poinsettias.
A cedar arbor provides a pleasant, quiet haven in the garden for reading, quiet contemplation or basking in the sunshine. Many people enjoy planting climbing vines, flowered or otherwise, to grow over and around their cedar arbors to provide shade and create a scented atmosphere.
During the autumn and winter months, your cedar arbor may be decorated to reflect the season or holiday. For example, for Thanksgiving you could place pumpkins, gourds and other seasonal decorations in and around the cedar arbor.
Strings of lights can be strewn over the cedar arbor to provide a nice glow at night. If you wish, candles provide a romantic ambience. Don’t use real candles, though. You don’t want to start a fire! Battery-powered candles serve the same purpose without the fire hazard!
Flowers and other plants also make lovely decorations for a cedar arbor. Consider surrounding your arbor with planters containing poinsettias, holly and evergreens during the Christmas season to provide a festive atmosphere for your garden. Think of your cedar arbor as another household location that can be decorated any way you wish!