Together, we can help protect and restore our nation’s rivers. From rivers to tree roots to drinking water and beyond, clean water keeps the world flowing. That’s why Plow & Hearth is proud to help support American Rivers, the nation’s leading river conservation organization.
A nonprofit organization, American Rivers protects wild rivers, restores damaged rivers, and conserves clean water for people and nature. Since 1973, American Rivers has protected and restored more than 150,000 miles of rivers through advocacy efforts, on-the-ground projects, and an annual America’s Most Endangered Rivers® campaign.
National River Cleanup®
Plow & Hearth is privileged to be a corporate sponsor of National River Cleanup®. Rivers flow through our towns, provide clean drinking water, support fish and wildlife, and give us opportunities to fish and paddle, making memories that last a lifetime.
Our rivers are vital to our health and happiness. American Rivers launched National River Cleanup® in 1991, offering support to individuals, organizations and anyone interested in conducting a cleanup on their local river. Since its start, more than 1.3 million volunteers have participated in thousands of cleanups across the country, covering more than 252,694 miles of waterways. These cleanups have removed more than 25 million pounds of litter and debris from America’s rivers and streams.
Since launching our partnership with American Rivers In 2011, Plow & Hearth has organized an Annual Associate Cleanup Day on the Rivanna River near our offices in Virginia, where associates on foot and in kayaks and canoes have removed an estimated 2+ tons of trash.
The health of America's rivers depends on concerned citizens intent on helping to protect our waterways and the clean water, wildlife and recreation they support for generations to come. For more information or to learn how you can participate in a National River Cleanup®, visit American Rivers.
Selecting & Caring For Furniture
Eucalyptus Claremont Seating Collection
Want to furnish (or refurnish) your porch or patio, but don’t know where to start? From metal to plastic to wicker, the choice of materials is endless. But if the natural beauty and timeless look of wood is the only way for you, Eucalyptus Outdoor Furniture is one of the best ways to go.
1. Eucalyptus wood furniture is beautiful, yet surprisingly affordable.
If you’ve ever been impressed by the beauty and quality of teak outdoor furniture, but less than impressed by the expense, we’ve got great news: premium-grade eucalyptus wood (like the kind Plow & Hearth uses in our huge selection of eucalyptus outdoor furniture) is every bit as lustrous and beautiful as teak, but not nearly as expensive.
Eucalyptus Slatted Porch Swing and Rocker
Why? Part of the reason teak is so expensive is that it takes many years to mature – at least 20 before it’s ready to harvest for quality furniture. Eucalyptus wood, on the other hand, can be ready to be made into fine furniture in as little as 12 years, putting it at a 60% faster growth rate! This makes eucalyptus more readily available as a hardwood than teak– and thus more affordable.
Which leads us to another great thing about eucalyptus: 2. Eucalyptus wood furniture is environmentally friendly.
Choosing eucalyptus furniture saves the environment while saving you money! It’s true – eucalyptus is super-sustainable. Not only is it the fastest-growing hardwood in the world, it can be regrown from its own roots over and over. This means wood production companies can get their trees from carefully managed eucalyptus plantations instead of logging native and endangered rain forests.
Another thing that makes eucalyptus so eco-friendly is the fact that we use more than just the wood. The natural oils are used to make cleaning products, deodorizers, cough drops and decongestants, and insect repellent. The flowers provide food for beneficial birds, insects and bats. And the trees themselves are natural water-purifiers, drawing large amounts of water and cleansing it of toxins before releasing it back into the air.
They’re popular with koalas, too!
3. Eucalyptus wood furniture lasts for many years.
Eucalyptus furniture may be easier on the wallet than teak, but it’s just as resilient. Familiar with the saying, “penny wise, pound foolish?” It’s a great maxim – but it doesn’t apply to eucalyptus, which is actually a great value.
You’d have to search pretty hard to find an affordable hardwood that beats eucalyptus for longevity. The same natural oils that give it its sweet smell also keep destructive bugs at bay – a must for furniture that lives outdoors. These same essential oils also repel water and moisture naturally, protecting the wood and giving it a high resistance to rot and mildew.
Eucalyptus Adirondack Outdoor Furniture
The eucalyptus wood used to make Plow & Hearth’s outdoor furniture is high-quality, kiln-dried timber, extremely dense, with a straight grain and smooth, low-maintenance finish that stand up to the elements year after year.
4. Our Eucalyptus wood outdoor furniture is now better than ever!
Our fine collection of Eucalyptus furniture (most certified by the Forest Stewardship Council) includes chairs, benches, loungers, rockers, love seats, coffee tables and more, all in beautifully designed styles that will complement any outdoor décor.
We've made significant improvements to our eucalyptus furniture collection!
The difference is in the details! With the impressive enhancements we’ve made to our Lancaster Eucalyptus Collection, we’re delivering our highest-quality pieces yet. With improved hardware, a beautiful, weather-resistant multi-step finish, more generous sizing, and smoother, sturdier mechanisms, you’re sure to discover many features that will change how you do outdoor living for the better.
Eucalyptus Lancaster Collection Extension Table & Chairs
See it in action! VIDEO
Selecting & Caring For Furniture
Made in the USA POLYWOOD® outdoor furniture is designed to withstand nature's elements as well as to resist stains, corrosive substances, insects, fungi, salt spray and other environmental stresses.
Our ongoing partnership with
American Rivers reflects Plow & Hearth’s commitments to environmentally responsible operations and to leaving the world better than we found it. Our 4 th Annual Rivanna River Cleanup last month, coordinated by the Rivanna Conservation Society, showed us once again why foundations like American Rivers exist – there’s so much work to be done to keep our local rivers healthy and thriving. Fortunately, even a small group of volunteers can make a big impact: we’ve picked up more than TWO TONS of trash during our cleanups! Check out our video to see what we found this time. VIDEO
Our Marlton, NJ store has entered The Philadelphia Flower Show?'s Philly Bloom Window/Lobby Decorating Contest! The theme of the show this year is “Celebrate the Movies.” The store team went with a “Wizard of Oz” display that includes a five-year-old model as Dorothy and a little Maltese/Yorkie as Toto. The team used a variety of Plow & Hearth? garden décor items to build a great-looking and very creative display.
Looks like we'll be moving some fluffy white stuff!
It can be HARD WORK.
Did you know in 2012, 34,200 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for snow-removal-related injuries?
Here’s some tips to make snow removal SAFER:
1. Know your risk – Before you even START shoveling, know your risk of heart attack and back injuries. Have a question? Ask your doctor if you’re fit to handle that type of physical activity.
2. Stretch first - Don't be in a hurry to get outside. Stretch your hamstrings, stretch your back, and stretch your shoulders (don’t know how to do these stretches? The Fitness Team can help – just ask!) Then dress in removable layers, grab your shovel and resist the urge to fly at the white stuff just to get the job done. Pace yourself. Start slowly and ramp up to speed. Also be sure to do these same stretches when you’re done.
3. Maintain proper posture -
A. Use your leg muscles as much as possible - push snow when you can and use your legs to lift when you can't push it.
B. Keep your back straight as you move from the squat position to the upright position.
C. Use your shoulder muscles as much as possible.
D. Hold the snow shovel as close to your upper body as possible.
E. Keep one hand close to the shovel blade for better leverage.
F. Don't twist your upper body as you throw snow.
4. Keep hydrated - Take bottles of water out with you and keep them accessible, either in the car or on the front stoop or somewhere else convenient.
5. Rest frequently - Clearing an area by hand means that you may lift and carry anywhere from hundreds of pounds to tons of snow, so be sure to take breaks when you’re feeling fatigued.
IF you begin to have
CHEST PAIN or SHORTNESS of BREATH stop immediately.
No clear walkway or driveway is worth risking your health.
We hope you found these wintery tips helpful!
-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team
10 Ways to Stay Motivated to Workout During the Winter
Fitness experts offer their secrets to staying on track when temperatures dip.
It's tough to stay motivated to workout when the temperatures dip. Experts recommend finding a workout buddy or trying a new fitness class to stay on track.
1) Warm up inside
“Before putting on your cold-weather layers, get some active stretches in,” recommends personal trainer CJ Cross. Some leg swings, butt kicks, or jumping jacks before your run or workout will get the blood flowing to your muscles and joints as well as reduce your chance of injury.
2) Get a workout buddy
Almost every expert I consulted said having a workout buddy is a foolproof way to stay on track. “Knowing I have someone to meet makes my workout way more fun and means I can’t bail—win-win,” says Anne Mauney, a registered dietitian and runner.
3) Try a new workout
DC Fit Crasher Meaghan Stakelin staves off boredom by trying a different workout every week. “Find a fitness class that sounds fun and try incorporating it into your workout once a week as a special treat to look forward to,” she suggests.
4) Think of your wallet
Don’t let those classes you signed up for go to waste. “If you pay for a class, you may be a little bit more motivated to make it to class since you know you have a double whammy—your waistline and your pocket book,” says Anne Mahlum, owner of Solidcore.
5) Keep a journal
Remember how awesome you felt after boot camp? How all of your stress melted away after three miles? Keep a personal log of it in a notebook immediately after your workout. Flip through the book to remind yourself why you should get to the gym.
6) Post on social media
Mahlum says telling your followers and friends you’re going to exercise “keeps you accountable in a very public way.” According to the American Council on Exercise’s health coach manual, support from family and friends is key to maintaining an exercise regimen.
7) Buy new gear
“I always buy new workout sneakers and gym clothes this time of year,” says personal trainer Chris Perrin. “Something about new swag makes getting out the door and hitting the gym a lot easier.” (Check out our guide to new cold-weather fitness gear for your best bets.)
8) Make a spring fitness goal
Spend your winter training for your first half marathon or sprint triathlon. Whatever your fitness goal, Stakelin says, “sometimes an impending deadline is just the motivation you need to get going.”
9) Invest in home gym equipment
If you really can’t bear the cold, have some simple workout gear available at home. Check out this roundup of great workout DVDs for suggestions; I’m also a big fan of the Nike Training Club app, which offers hundreds of workouts for various fitness levels.
10) Treat yourself
Did you conquer the cold? Go ahead and treat yourself. Cross recommends bringing a big thermos filled with a warm drink to your workout. “Bring enough to share, and you’ll be the most popular person in your walking club during cool-down,” he says.
-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team
In celebration of National Chocolate Cake Day, here's an oh-so-chocalately recipe!
1 package chocolate cake mix 1 package chocolate instant pudding mix 1 cup sour cream 1 cup canola oil 4 eggs, beaten 1/2 cup milk 1 tsp vanilla 2 cups chocolate chips (mini chocolate chips are best)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with the exception of the chocolate chips (batter will be thick)
Stir in the chocolate chips
Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans (or cake pan of choice)
Back according to directions on cake mix package plus an additional ten minutes
Test for doneness with a toothpick; keep checking after five minutes if not baked through
Allow to cool thoroughly before frosting
Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened 1 cup unsweetened cocoa 5 cups confectioner’s sugar ½ cup milk 2 teaspoons vanilla extract ½ teaspoon espresso powder
In a large bowl, add cocoa and whisk through to remove all lumps
Add butter and cream together until well-combined
Add sugar and milk to cocoa mixture a little at a time, blending well on a high speed
Add vanilla extract and espresso powder and blend well
If frosting appears too dry, add more milk (a tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the right consistency; if it appears to wet or does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar (a tablespoon at a time) until it reaches the right consistency
With the rising cost of fuel prices, you may be looking to your fireplace to help cut your home-heating bills. To make the most of your hearth, here are some tips for fireplace cleaning and fireplace maintenance that will help keep your fireplace working efficiently and, even more importantly, safely:
Get the chimney in order. The National Fire Protection Association recommends that chimneys be swept at least once a year at the beginning of the winter to remove soot and debris. If you burn more than three cords of wood a year, you should have your chimney cleaned twice annually (a cord is 4'H x 8'L). In addition to cleaning, a chimney sweep will also inspect your chimney and chimney liner for cracks, loose bricks or missing mortar. (Find a certified sweep in your area through the . Chimney Safety Institute of America
Cap off the chimney. Install a chimney cap over the top of the chimney to keep out rain, snow, birds, squirrels and debris from entering the chimney. Repair a cap that is damaged or replace one that is missing.
Test your smoke alarms. If you don’t have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home, install them near the fireplace and your bedroom areas. Be sure to change the batteries and test them regularly.
Use a spark guard. Guard against flying embers and shooting sparks with a fireplace screen or spark guard. A guard in front of an open flame is especially important when the room is unoccupied. Fireplace screens and spark guards are also a great way to enhance your décor – read our tips on and take a look at our entire selection of fireplace screens choosing the perfect fire screen . here
Keep the heat in. Be sure to close the damper when not using your fireplace to prevent warm indoor air from escaping through the chimney and raising your heating bill.
Burn only dry, seasoned hardwoods. Use dry, dense hardwoods like oak or hickory that have been cured (i.e. split, stacked and dried for 6-12 months) as opposed to green, resinous softwoods (like pine or spruce) that result in more creosote buildup. Using the right wood will also help keep your fire going longer.
Start small. A fire that’s too large can wind up cracking your chimney, so keep it small. Smaller fires also generate less smoke, which means less creosote buildup. To burn a fire safely, build it slowly, adding more wood as it heats. Keep the fireplace damper all the way open to increase draw in the early stages, and use kindling (like our popular ) to start the fire. Place the logs at the rear of the fireplace on a metal grate. Fatwood
Burn . The fireplace might seem like a tempting place to dispose of crates, painted wood, scrap wood and lumber, but those treated woods will release chemicals into the air in your home, affecting your air quality. only firewood
With these simple guidelines for fireplace cleaning and fireplace maintenance, you’ll be ready to enjoy your fireplace burning brightly, efficiently and safely!
Why should the kids have all the fun? With its opportunity to play dress-up (and the nostalgic memories), grownups love Halloween, too! Check out our tips for throwing a monster bash geared toward adult partygoers.
Invitations. Get them out in plenty of time (no sooner than three weeks in advance). Be sure to let your guests know if they’re to wear costumes and, if so, if there’s a theme (classic movie monsters, historical figures, etc.). Tip: Online invitations are an easy way to send themed invites, and an easy way for your friends to RSVP.
Set the mood. Create a festive ambiance with orange-and-black crepe paper and balloons, and decorate with fake spiders, cobwebs, and creepy displays. Stock up on Fall or Halloween-themed paper plates, cups and napkins. Tip: Set up your DVD player or Blu-Ray to run classic thrillers with the sound off as a great way to add atmosphere to your spook fest! (skip the gore – think old, black-and-white versions of Frankenstein or Dracula).
Music. Include a collection of upbeat, fun and spooky songs like “Monster Mash,” “Love Potion #9” and “Thriller.” Tip: While guests are still arriving, play a CD made up of creepy or funny sound effects, like doors creaking, wolves howling, and witches cackling.
Costumes. Costumes are a must for Halloween parties! Hand out prizes for the funniest, scariest, most original and “best couple” costumes. Gift cards, bottles of “spirits” and “treats” are a great way to go. Tip: Have inexpensive masks on hand for guests who may have forgotten to wear a costume.
Food. Finger-food favorites are perfect for a fun and relaxed atmosphere! Offer your guests a cheese, cracker and fruit plate, mini-quiches, sausages, meatballs, raw veggies with dip and snacks such as popcorn and pretzels. Or you can warm up a chilly fall night with bowls of soup or chili that you can keep warm on a buffet table in a slow cooker. For dessert, offer pumpkin- or apple- based cakes, cookies, brownies or pies. Tip: Brew up a Halloween punch in a witch’s cauldron with dry ice at the bottom for a spooky fog effect. Like the items pictured on this page? Shop these and more fun and easy decorating ideas in our Halloween collection!
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Plow & Hearth’s Tent Sale has a new twist for Fall. For the first time ever, the trusted local retailer will hold its October Tent Sale October 3-5 at both their Outlet and Country Store locations in Madison as a Fall Festival. The festival will include a pumpkin patch where customers may purchase their own pumpkins; cornhole and other games; cider tastings; and gourmet food tastings including their latest fall introductions.
Music will be provided Saturday, October 4 from noon to 3pm by Bud’s Collective, a bluegrass-inspired band that plays a mix of originals and favorite hits.
This will be the biggest tent sale in the company’s history, with both stores offering sale pricing and discounts. Customers can enjoy up to 70% off regular prices at the Outlet and special event savings at the Country Store.
Plow & Hearth Outlet & Country Store
Tent Sale & Fall Festival
Route 29 South
Monday – Saturday 9-6; Sunday 9-5
Visit Plow and Hearth at
The Harvest Season is on it’s way!
It’s always important to choose produce that’s in season so you get the maximum amount of nutrients. See below for some must-have healthy FALL FRUITS & VEGGIES!
Pumpkin is full of nutrients that can benefit the body. It contains fiber, vitamin A, potassium and vitamin C. Don’t throw away the seeds! They are full of zinc, magnesium, protein and iron. The nutrients in pumpkin can aid with digestion, immunity and eye health. Not only that, zinc has been known to aid with taste changes, which patients receiving cancer treatment may experience.
This hourglass fall staple is full of fiber and vitamin A. It is rich in folate, too. If that’s not enough, because of its high antioxidant content, butternut squash has anti-inflammatory effects. Reducing inflammation in the body has been known to reduce the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Why use sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes, you ask? We know white potatoes are a more traditional side, but sweet potatoes are a WAY better option. These orange spuds have a low glycemic index, which means they won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. They’re rich in and beta-carotene, which can prevent vitamin A deficiencies, promote healthy eyesight and generate retinol production. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin C, and when baked in their skin can pack nearly 5 grams of fiber.
Last, but not least, are apples. Though apples are available during the whole year, they are even sweeter and cheaper in the fall. Why should you eat them? Three words: fiber, fiber, fiber. Fiber can aid with digestive health, blood sugar control and heart health by reducing inflammation and cholesterol levels. : Traditional dishes made with these foods include a great deal of sugar, butter or cream–even though these fruits and vegetables are naturally full of sweet and savory flavors. Try using recipe replacements for the high-fat, high-sugar additives. Consider using plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, applesauce instead of oil in sweet breads, and half-and-half or evaporated skim milk instead of heavy whipping cream. HEALTHY TIP -Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team
The warm glimmer of a blazing fireplace inspires cozy holiday bliss in all of us. Even crooning Christmas legends have roasted chestnuts and hung stockings around the fire in beloved verse.
Nonetheless, while a toasty fire presents a practical way to warm up the wintertime chill, a neglected fireplace may spark a flame you can’t control. When soot condenses from continuous use, a highly combustible substance called creosote accumulates, leaving you one match away from a house fire.
Thus, to maintain a safe domestic blaze, let’s prepare for some holiday hearth action with an annual cleaning. As the hearth is the center of your home, protect your haven with these easy steps.
You will need:
Hearth Utility Gloves
Shovel and ash bucket
Chimney Sweep Brush
Bucket of warm water
Ash vac (optional)
1. Manage the mayhem
First thing’s first. Has it been one day? For this undertaking, it’s important that you wait 24 hours since the last lit fire.
Slip on our exclusive suede hearth utility gloves and make sure you’re dressed for the occasion – old clothing is great for fireplace cleaning.
Place newspaper or tarp on the fireplace floor to catch the soot and cover close furniture with old sheets or cloth. Trash bags are also helpful to have nearby to dispose of waste.
2. Detection Perfection
Open the flue and peer into your chimney. With a little skylight, you can inspect soot and possibly metallic hardened deposits of creosote. Let’s get to work!
3. Brush, Brush and Away!
Begin by using your handy dandy shovel to remove ashes and debris piled in the fireplace.
Next, take a chimney sweep brush and brush away! Our round poly brushes do a thorough job without scratching up the flue. Pair with a fiberglass extension rod and make sure to brush each wall top to bottom. Shovel the ashes into a pan and dump the wreckage into your standby trash bags or a sturdy ash bucket or scuttle.
Next, take a scrubber brush and a bucket of warm water and begin a deep cleansing. To make it more effective, add a squirt or two of detergent in the pale. Rinse with a sponge and wipe dry with an old towel.
4. Throw it in the bag!
Pick up your protective newspaper or tarp, full of soot and deposits, and throw it in the bag! The trash bag, obviously. Relax while the walls dry and savor that awesome feeling of do-it-yourself accomplishment. Close the flue and we’re back in business!
Now, you’re ready to rekindle another winter of yuletide bliss before the fireplace. Who needs lengthy footage of a burning log? You’ve got your own safe, efficient, slow-burning beauty at the ready.
For maximum ease and efficiency in cleaning your fireplace, visit our
Fireplace Cleaning & Maintenance collection.
Braided Rugs, History In The Making
Crafting a quality braided rug is an art form and a uniquely American one at that. The tradition of handmade braided rugs started in New England during the Colonial period and continues today with family-owned Rhody Rug, Inc. in Providence, Rhode Island.
Rhody Rug President Ronnie Agrela is a first generation Portuguese immigrant, who came to America at age 14. Owner of Rhody Rug since 1987, Ronnie has been in the rug-making business for 47 years, and he has a combined 75 years experience with his company’s CFO, brother-in-law Manny Martins.
Both Ronnie and Manny are involved in all levels of the family business. Their enthusiasm for rug making and lifelong dedication to the craft are evident in all aspects from design, manufacturing and quality control to inventory management and fulfillment.
Rhody Rug and Plow & Hearth have a long history of solid partnership, dating back to the 1990s. Rhody Rug creates unique designs and color combinations exclusively for Plow & Hearth and is a recipient of our Vendor of the Year Award.
It’s What’s Inside That Counts: Hallmarks Of A Quality Braid
“All stuff and no fluff” is Ronnie’s motto. When it comes to braided rugs, Rhody Rug true flat braids are superior to their flimsy tubular counterparts, which often feature shoddy fibers, paper cores and more filler than surface yarns.
Rhody Rug true flat braids feature a knit tube inner that forms a cushion within the braid, offering longevity, softness underfoot and flexibility without distortion. The rugs lay flat and don’t curl. Their seamless construction ensures no weak spots.
Rhody Rug hand-stitches their rugs together with Clearlon
® T-50, a high-quality nylon monofilament thread that exceeds industry standards and offers exceptional strength and durability.
Rhody Rug braids have a real heft and fullness to them. You can see and feel the difference in their quality construction and materials.
Made in America, Down To The Last Thread
Every Rhody Rug is 100% American made. All materials – every thread and fiber – are sourced from American suppliers and manufacturers. Each braided rug is quality-crafted in the Rhode Island facility. With just 20 employees in the family-run business, Ronnie and Manny are often seen crafting the rugs themselves.
Rhody Rug is truly a hands-on company and a real American success story. Ronnie, Manny and their entire team take great pride in the tradition of braided rugs and it’s evident in every rug they make.
Find the perfect Rhody Rug for your home – shop our collection of
Braided Rugs and coordinating Chair Pads and Stair Treads.
Learn why you can’t go wrong with a Rhody Rug – watch our
video to see why these rugs are so great!
Fall is coming…time to think about Fall garden chores! Here are some timely tips for preparing your yard and garden for the cold months ahead and making spring cleanup easier.
Prune back trees and plants.
Trim off dead branches and spent blossoms from your perennials, keeping in mind that some seed pods and ornamental grasses add interest to the Winter garden. Save any leftover seeds from some plants (like coreopsis, Jefferson bean and sunflowers) to plant in the garden next year
Tend the vegetable garden.
The fresh veggies don’t have to stop with summer – in addition to winter squash, late summer is a great time to sow seeds for a Fall crop of greens (like spinach and lettuces). A cold frame or row covers help extend the growing season.
To keep bugs and other pests from hibernating in your vegetable garden, be sure to clear away all dead plants (you can use them for compost) and remove all yard debris once you’re done harvesting. Check in and around the garden for the tan egg cases of gypsy moths and destroy them. Any diseased or pest-ridden plants should be burned. Amend and improve vegetable garden soil with compost and organic fertilizers. While you’re doing this, you can plan out your garden for the following growing season, keeping in mind what plants performed well and what might benefit from a change.
Dig up annuals and summer bulbs.
Dig up summer annuals and use them to nourish the compost heap. You should also dig up your summer bulbs and store them in peat moss for the winter.
Yes, you can plant in the Fall! To ensure colorful springtime blooms, it’s best to plant bulbs in the Fall, before the earth freezes (usually in mid-October, though tulips can be planted as late as November). Looking for color before spring? Try planting cold-hardy annuals like ornamental kale, pansies and chrysanthemums.
Cut back and divide perennials.
Early Fall is a good time to divide and transplant perennials (like irises and peonies), trees and shrubs if they haven’t been flourishing in their current location, giving them time to establish themselves and allow their roots to develop before the ground freezes. Be sure to keep them well watered until the first freeze.
Bring container plants indoors.
“Winter over” container plants in the garage or basement. Remove dead leaves and break up any hardened soil before bringing them inside for storage in a garage, mudroom or basement.
Provide protection for plants that are sensitive to cold.
Once the ground freezes, cover shrubs, roses, and tender perennials that might succumb to frigid temperatures with a good layer of mulch. You can also use screens or covers to protect these plants.
Gather fallen leaves.
Don’t let fallen leaves stay on your lawn all winter – left unattended, they’ll suffocate grass and other plants. You don’t need to let them go to waste…shredded leaves make great mulch.
Mow the lawn and feed it.
It grows more slowly in the fall, but do cut the grass before winter sets in. Be sure to lower the lawn mower and cut it short to help it dry out more quickly in the spring. Follow up that last cutting with a feeding – the extra nutrients will help it survive through the winter.
Find more ways to make
Outdoor Fall Cleanup easier!
Looking for the right lighting for your landscape? Solar lights offer many advantages over other types of outdoor lights. Solar lighting requires no wiring or cords, which means installation is quick and easy. Plus, solar lights are an eco-friendly, energy-saving option because they capture the sun’s energy by day to brighten your home’s exterior at night. Here are some great ideas for adding beauty and security to your home with minimal effort!
A Fairy Solution
Here at Plow & Hearth, we’re big fans of glittering fairies and woodland folk! Their resin wings and miniature homes fill our virtual shop and catalog pages. What’s the most flutter-ful thing about them, you ask?
The magical ability to light their way through our gardens, of course!
Luminescent fairy wings in flight make such a beautiful sight that we’re inspired to mimic their magic with string lights and hanging ornaments.
Have you been searching for the radiant romance of hanging lights and lanterns at dawn or the airy atmosphere of a faintly lit garden, fit for fairies? Or perhaps you’re seeking the security of a bright walkway, ensuring no late night homecoming goes unlit? These solar solutions have it covered, with or without the aid of wing-ed friends!
Harnessing Sunlight: What’s inside?
No access to shimmering stardust? No worries, the mechanics are fairly simple. Leave your lights to bathe in sunny rays during the daytime and the solar panels, found on the crown or side of your model, will store up energy. Your lights will ignite as sunlight fades and last for about four hours at a time.
While solar lights seem to work like magic, the actual chemistry is equally compelling. Each light contains either nickel cadmium (NiCD) or nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries wired to solar cells that convert sunlight directly into energy. In many cases, this energy powers an efficient light-emitting diode, or LED bulb. Leave them outside all year long!
Enchanting fairy lights, path lights, or lanterns are must-haves for any outdoor celestial haven. But don’t limit yourself to hardwired systems for landscape lighting in the process of creating the magic! There are so many eco-friendly and efficient solar lighting options to try.
Wireless and convenient, decorative solar garden lighting makes the perfect light and design solution to any outdoor entertainment or dining dilemma.
Shine Bright Like A Fairy
Brighter isn’t always better! Compared to conventional models, solar landscape lighting emits a softer ethereal glow to sustain light longer into the evening. The blaze won’t match that of traditional low-voltage lights, but these handy units conserve energy, light, and of course, your bill.
Long-lasting LED lights are the most common landscape light bulb, emitting a muted shine sufficient for solar security lighting along steps and pathways. Halogen or florescent solar lights burn brighter, but won’t last as long.
Like all of nature’s wonders, these lights are at the mercy of the sun. On winter or overcast days, cells will generate less power for the batteries to store. Nevertheless, on bright days that fade into clear dreamy nights perfect for entertaining, your solar lights will power through with abiding elfin spirit!
The Brilliant Benefits
Minimal maintenance and lack of a light switch are huge advantages to having solar outdoor entertaining lighting and security bulbs. Regularly wipe down the panels with a barely damp cloth and you’re set. The battery only needs to be replaced every two years!
Photo sensors and motion sensors maintain the magic, allowing you to watch your lights turn on from afar or catch the occasional nymph tiptoeing by. But if you’d rather dispel the magic for a while, some models come with a manual switch.
Subtly designed installations are one of many recent design advances in the solar landscape world. These days, you can place solar lights along in-ground walkways, float them in pools, or place them inside for decorative accents. Weatherproof technology even allows you to mount panels outside to give your shed, closet, or barn some fairy rustic mood lighting!
Twinkle to your heart’s content!
From the twinkling glow of rustic string lights and hanging orbs to the firefly effect of fairy lights in mason jars and color changing mobiles, solar lights bring unexpected brilliance your yard! Even classically designed practical and security lighting provide a serene ambience to skirt your pathways.
Borrow a little solar stardust to sprinkle above the garden and along the courtyard. You may just mesmerize even your enchanted woodland friends!
Shop our entire Solar Lighting collection!
Healthy Lifestyle Tip: Exercise is Key to Good Sleep
Exercise can affect your sleep. "Exercise is great for sleep. For the millions of people who want better sleep, exercise may help," says David Cloud, CEO, National Sleep Foundation.
Self-described exercisers report better sleep than self-described non-exercisers even though they say they sleep the same amount each night (6 hours and 51 minutes, average on weeknights). Vigorous, moderate, and light exercisers are significantly more likely to say "I had a good night's sleep" every night or almost every night on work nights than non-exercisers.
"If you are inactive, adding a 10 minute walk every day could improve your likelihood of a good night's sleep," says Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., poll task force chair. "Making this small change and gradually working your way up to more intense activities like running or swimming could help you sleep better."
Those who report exercising close to bedtime and earlier in the day do not demonstrate a difference in self-reported sleep quality. In fact, for most people exercise at any time seems to be better for sleep than no exercise at all.
"Exercise is beneficial to sleep. It's time to put exercise – any time – at the top of our list for healthy sleep habits," says Dr. Barbara Phillips, poll task force member.
We wish you an active, healthy week with some good rest!
-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team
Developed to be protective and add traction, running/walking shoes have evolved to incorporate lightweight materials that cushion the foot from the trauma of walking or running. Most cushioning comes from EVA foam, a lightweight material injected with air cells designed to absorb impact.
But, like all good things, the foam eventually loses its magic, that can happen anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear. For a runner/walker doing five 3-mile runs or walks per week, that comes out to a new pair every five to six months. (Let’s hope Santa comes twice this year!).
“According to some researchers, running/walking shoes should be replaced anywhere from 300 to 500 miles after the first wear.”
Why rush to pick up a new pair? Once that foam wears out, the risk of overuse injuries increases, because the material has lost its ability to absorb shock. While some overuse injuries (like shin splints are minor, others (like tendinitis) might require more serious treatment. One good way to avoid these issues: Regularly trading in your old shoes for new kicks.
Your Action Plan
Why do experts give such a big range for the appropriate time to replace old sneaks? Every runner/walker has a different weight and foot strike, both of which affect the cushioning of shoes in various ways (For instance, a heavier runner/walker who runs or walks on their heels may wear out the shoe cushioning faster than a light runner/walker who runs or walks on their toes.). To eliminate all those miles of guesswork, here are some quick signs that those running/walking shoes need to be replaced:
Try the press test. Press a thumb into the center of the shoe, where the midsole is. If the midsole feels tough and unyielding (rather than cushy with some "give"), then it may be time for a new pair
Look for signs of creasing in the sole. Look at the midsole, then use your thumb to press on the outsole into the midsole. When the midsole shows heavy compression lines before you press into it, and doesn't compress much when you press into it, that's a sign that the cushioning is pretty much worn out.
Pay attention to aches and pains. While some say pain is weakness leaving the body, others say it’s an indication that something is wrong. A little twinge at the bottom of a foot could be your body's way of saying that a shoe is past its prime.
Compare new shoes with old ones. Trying on an old pair of shoes immediately before trying on a new pair gives runners/walkers a direct comparison of which feels better. Once an old pair of shoes stops feeling comfortable, it may be time to change it out.
-Your Plow & He♥rt Fitness Team
Footwear at Plow & Hearth.
Parker thinks he’s a normal cat, says his “mom,” Jessica. Granted, he can’t carry his tail proudly in the air like most kitties, and it can’t be denied that his walk is a bit crooked. But he runs about and plays like most young cats, pounces on his favorite toys (catnip mice), teases his big “brother,” Captain (another ginger cat), loves to cuddle with his humans, and has a healthy appetite ( too healthy, sometimes, Jessica admits).
A Photogenic Kitty
Parker is also a Plow & Hearth pet model.
You may have seen Parker in our catalog and on our web site over the past year, lounging around in our latest pet beds like the Kitten Caboodle Cat Bed Pouf (#53359), the Rattan Cat House (#53266) and the Waterproof Heated Outdoor Cat House (#52626), or snuggling into our Cozy Comfort Micro Velour Blankets (#93130). But he had a lot of healing to do before he was able to join the Plow & Hearth team as an employee.
A year ago this month, Parker was found hiding behind a woodpile in the parking lot outside our photo studio. Starving, dehydrated, riddled with worms and badly injured, the tiny kitten probably would not have lived through another day had the studio team not immediately rushed him to a nearby veterinary. Though not more than six weeks old by the veterinarian’s estimate, there was no sign of his family, nor any indication of how he might have managed to escape from the animal that apparently (going by the teeth marks in his little body) had picked him up and shaken him, leaving him with a hernia, broken rib, punctured liver and damaged spine.
“He was miserable, but desperate for help,” recalls Assistant Photographer Jessica. “When [Plow & Hearth Producer] Matt pulled him out of the wood pile and handed him off to me, Parker just clung to my shirt, crying. I knew right away that I wanted to adopt him.” Parker relaxing between takes.
A New Home
It was the best thing that could have happened to Parker (whose name was inspired by the parking lot in which he was found). Jessica’s fiancé, Hayes, works from a home office, so he was able to give Parker the frequent attention, feeding and treatment the kitten required after the surgery for his hernia and liver. Before long, Parker became strongly bonded to Hayes.
“It was like Parker imprinted on Hayes,” Jessica recalls with a smile.
Hayes also took Parker to most of his therapy sessions.
“The worst injury was the nerve damage to his spine,” Jessica explains “Every single disc had scar tissue, and he had to go through six months of acupuncture and laser therapy treatments.”
Parker patiently sits through an accupuncture treatment.
Improved Health and a New Career
As Parker underwent treatment, Jessica noticed that, while a little shy with strangers at first, he warmed up to them very quickly. Additionally, he was good-natured, patient and cooperative – qualities that make pets successful models. As his health improved, she decided to try bringing him along on photo shoots where a cat was required.
Good cat models are hard to find: being cute and photogenic (Parker is both!) is not enough. Many cats become uneasy in a strange environment and won’t stay in the beds or cat houses they’re meant to be trying out; others are happy to investigate the products, but get curious when they see the camera pointed at them and break the pose so they can investigate before the shot is taken. Perhaps it’s because he’s received so much care and handling from the humans in his life, but Parker willingly takes direction and stays put (mostly) for photos, making him an ideal pet model.
“He travels so well in the car,” Jessica says. “He doesn’t even need to stay in the carrier during short trips. And he’s very relaxed on-set. Also, he’s very small, which helps.” Career Kitty: Parker shows off one of Plow & Hearth's pet beds.
Small he is – at only five pounds, Parker is undersized for his age. His veterinarian thinks his growth was stunted from all he's been through. But what he lacks in size, he more than makes up for in personality. And unlike many models, he hasn’t let all the attention from his new career go to his head!
“He’s really sweet and cuddly, always sleeps on the bed with us,” Jessica shares. “Very chatty and talkative, and he looks you right in your eyes when he’s talking to you!
“He even ‘talks’ to the birds through the window,” Jessica adds with a laugh. “He’s an indoor-only cat, and sitting and watching the birds is one of his favorite activities.”
And though his body may be small, his appetite certainly isn’t.
“We have to watch his food intake carefully because his system is so sensitive, and he hates it,” Jessica says. “He gets one treat daily, and I think that’s the highlight of his day!”
Want to keep up with Parker? “Like” us on Facebook to see more photos, keep checking our blog for updates, and follow him on Twitter. Parker also appears (along with some other four-footed friends) on the Plow Pets board on our Pinterest page. For a closer look at Parker’s 5-purr products, follow the links above. Parker (left) with big brother Captain. Thinking of adopting a pet? Consider one with “special needs” – they need a home, too, and have a lot of love to give. Jessica says that Parker makes all the effort of taking care of him well worth it!
This summer, millions of Americans will take to the roads. If you’re one of them you may think that means hours with nothing to munch on but convenience store staples like chips and cookies. Not anymore! While convenience stores still have their fair share of not-so-good eats, many now stock a surprising selection of healthy choices. Next time you stop to refuel, test drive these light snacks:
1. Whole grain cereal cups Why start your day with a donut when you can get wholesome whole grain cereal? You may need to dig through the cereal display to find it, but it’s there. Just be sure to read the label, as some varieties are more healthful than others. Look for brands that supply at least 4 grams of fiber and about 160 calories per cup (Cheerios are a safe bet that are almost always available). Mix with low-fat yogurt and a banana and you’ve got a wholesome breakfast you can take along for the drive.
2. Energy bars Energy bars make a savvy snack to have on hand for times when you’re stuck in traffic and your stomach starts to growl. Yet they’re not all created equally. Many are low in fiber, high in calories and loaded with sugar. For maximum hunger control, aim for bars with a combo of at least 5 grams of fiber and 7 grams of protein and fewer than 170 calories such as Kellogg’s Special K Protein Meal Bar or Kashi Go Lean Protein & Fiber Bar.
3. Peanuts in the shell Packed with vitamin E and monounsaturated fat, peanuts are a heart-healthy snack. But, if you’re not careful it’s easy to wolf down several servings before you know it. Enter in-shell peanuts. Shelling your own peanuts automatically slows you down, so you’ll be less likely to eat too many. About ½ cup supplies 7 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 20% of your daily vitamin E for a respectable 160 calories.
4. Low-fat yogurt When you crave something cool and creamy, head to the refrigerator case instead of the ice cream case. There you’ll find low-fat yogurt (some stores even stock organic varieties). It will satisfy your taste buds while also delivering on the nutritional front. For about 140 calories or less, you’ll get one-quarter of your daily calcium and as much protein as you’d get from a large egg. Look on the label and you’ll see many brands are now fortified with vitamin D as well.
5. V8 100% vegetable juice Squeezing in your 9 daily servings of produce when you’re on the road can be a major challenge. While fresh is best, it isn’t always possible. That’s when 100% veggie juice can help. One 12-ounce bottle provides the equivalent of 3 servings of vegetables for just 70 calories. It’s packed with vitamins A and C, heart-healthy potassium, and lycopene, a phytochemical cousin of beta-carotene. Each bottle also offers 3 grams of filling fiber.
6. Trail mix Put down the peanut M&Ms and reach for a bag of trail mix instead. Its dried fruit and nuts provide the perfect mix of sweet, salty and crunchy - but with a healthful twist. You’ll not only slash fat and calories, you’ll get half the saturated fat you’d find in chocolate bars or M&Ms. Be sure to keep an eye on portions. Even though it’s good for you, trail mix is high in calories. Three tablespoons supply 140 calories and 9 grams of fat.
7. Single serve bags of baby carrots You no longer need to stumble across a roadside stand to get your fill of fresh veggies. Conveniently packaged single-serve bags of baby carrots make it easy to sneak in a serving of produce. Precut, prewashed and easily portable, they make a smart alternative to other bagged snacks. One 2¼ ounce bag delivers 90 percent of your daily dose of vitamin A and 2 grams of fiber for only 25 calories.
8. Fresh fruit cup Stores like 7-Eleven are making it easier for you to get your fruit fix. Now instead of gravitating toward the snack aisle, check out the fresh food case. There you’ll find juicy fruit cups made from pre-cut cantaloupe, honeydew, and grapes. Not only are they a calorie bargain, they’re rich in fiber and also supply healthful antioxidants like vitamins A and C and beta-carotene. They’re filling too. One 8-oz container provides roughly 2 servings of fruit for only about 100 calories. If you can’t find fresh cut fruit, look for fruit packed in water or extra-light syrup.
9. Part skim string cheese sticks It’s hard to squeeze in your 3 daily servings of dairy when you’re cooped up in the car all day. Calcium-rich snacks like string cheese can help. Grab a couple of these and you’ll get as much calcium as you would from a glass of milk. What’s more, their protein (one piece supplies 7 grams) helps you focus and stay alert behind the wheel. For a balanced snack, pair them with a bag of baby carrots.
10. Bananas Most convenience stores offer single pieces of fresh fruit like bananas, oranges and apples year round. You don't have to look far to find them either—they are usually at the front of the store next to the cash register. If you don't want to worry about washing an apple or trying to peel an orange while driving, reach for a banana. This sweet fruit is packaged in its own skin for easy clean up and nonsticky fingers. Bananas are a potassium powerhouse, delivering energy to help keep you going on that long drive.
-Your Plow & He ♥rt Fitness Team