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    What is Hardscaping and Should Real Estate Investors Do It? – MSN Money - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    We all know curb appeal matters, for both flippers and landlords. You're more likely to receive a higher offer from a buyer or hook a renter when the exterior of the property is well maintained. And in that vein, there are trends in the landscaping realm that can help. With heightened consciousness about sustainability and the increased desire to spend time outdoors during the pandemic, hardscaping has become a popular approach to landscaping. Learn what hardscaping is and if you should use it in your next project.

    Hardscaping is a component of landscaping that uses permanent, nonliving features in the yard to improve function, create better outdoor accessibility, expand the living space, and reduce the environmental impact over a traditional landscape all while having the picture-perfect Better Homes and Gardens (NYSE: RLGY) look. It might involve a patio or deck, graveled or paved walkways, terraced xeriscape, outdoor living rooms or kitchens, firepit areas, or water features. Hardscaping features are usually blended with sustainable garden beds or softscaping for a landscape design that is both usable and low maintenance.

    The cost varies widely for hardscaping because it depends on the size of the yard as well as what already exists and what you are adding. For a professional design, which is almost always necessary for hardscaping, a patio, gazebo, pathways, and the associated vegetation or xeriscaping will on average cost around $30,000. But this estimate should be taken with a grain of salt. A patio install can cost as little as $2,000, while a large deck could cost over $10,000. A gravel walkway costs $3-$6 per square foot, whereas flagstone is $10-$30 per square foot.

    Essentially, hardscaping costs should be relative to the anticipated value of the house. Spending $30,000 on a small 2/1 frame house worth $140,000 probably doesn't make much sense, but spending that much or even a bit more on a home worth $300,000 house makes more sense. If, for example, the home is worth $320,000 and the hardscaping features boost the value by 12%, you could actually profit an extra $8,400 from a $30,000 hardscaping install, not to mention it will likely sell faster due to the increased curb appeal.

    As an investor, your goal is to appeal to the masses whether you focus on residential or commercial, rehab, or rental. Creating an appealing outdoor area for residents of an existing or planned apartment complex can help compete in the marketplace while reducing ongoing maintenance costs for landscaping. Another on-trend component of hardscaping is the reduction in watering, mowing, and pesticide or herbicide use. So if you really want to keep things low budget, opt for a significant amount of area-appropriate low-maintenance softscaping with a few pathways to meander through the garden.

    According to The National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), hardscaping that includes outdoor entertaining areas and increased environmental awareness are two of the top four landscaping trends of 2021. Hardscaping is in demand. It can increase curb appeal, create more usable space, allow for easier maintenance than a traditional yard. Plus, it offers the opportunity to increase returns, making it a great design element to try on your next investment project.

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    What is Hardscaping and Should Real Estate Investors Do It? - MSN Money

    UC ANR Reports Drought-Tolerant Plants Can Save Water, But Beware Of Those That Are Toxic – Sierra Sun Times - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    UC Master Gardener Francie Murphy in her succulent garden.

    February 9, 2021 - ByJeannette E. Warnert- UC Master Gardener Francie Murphy was pruning the succulents in her San Diego front yard when an unfortunate accident catalyzed her commitment to communicating the dangers of toxic plants. She trimmed a stem on her drought-tolerant pencil milk bush and milky sap spurted into one eye, causing stinging pain.

    I tried to wipe it out, and in doing so got in both eyes. I was blinded. The pain was unbelievable, she said.

    A nearby friend rushed her to the emergency room where the doctor diagnosed chemical burns to her corneas and washed her eyes with two liters of saline water each. Murphy removed the plant from her garden, but saw it growing throughout her community.

    I knew we had to do something, she said.

    Drought-tolerant plants like cacti, yucca, agaves and aloes have adaptations to protect themselves from wildlife in search of the moisture within their leaves and stems. They have spikes or spines to ward off people and animals. Other plants don't have outward signs of danger. Fire sticks, also known as sticks on fire and pencil cactus and by its scientific nameEuphorbia tirucalli, is a very popular succulent in frost-free areas. Its vertical growth habit and showy soft green to reddish-gold stems make it a striking landscape specimen. A native of southern Africa, the smooth, coral-like stems look deceptively harmless. The sap is toxic.

    Fire sticks should be planted far from walkways, in the back of the landscape, where you can see them, but not touch them, said UC Cooperative Extension natural resources advisor Chris McDonald. When trimming the plant, wear long pants, long sleeves and eye protection. If the plant is tall, consider protecting your face.

    After Murphy shared her story about these plants with other Master Gardeners, UCCE San Diego gathered a team and worked with colleagues to secure funding from the County of San Diego to develop a website and handouts to inform the community about readily available yet toxic drought-tolerant plants being planted into California landscapes.

    The handout can be downloaded from thePlant Safely website( The materials were quickly distributed to nurseries, garden events and Master Gardener help booths, such as at farmers markets, home shows and fairs, and other educational events. A key feature of the website is a database of nearly 100 plants (which can be foundhere) with photos and descriptions that explain how they are unsafe and how they can be used safely in the landscape. (

    Some common yet toxic landscape plants included in the database are:

    These potentially harmful plants are grown widely in many parts of California, McDonald said. It's important to promote drought-tolerant landscapes, and we must also do it in a way that preserves public health.

    View the UC Master Gardener video about safely planting fire sticks (Euphorbiatirucoli):Source: UC ANR

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    UC ANR Reports Drought-Tolerant Plants Can Save Water, But Beware Of Those That Are Toxic - Sierra Sun Times

    Doreen Fogle: Grow some flowers to create a meadow for wildlife – The Union of Grass Valley - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A meadow is a field which has grass and flowers growing in it.

    Collins dictionary

    A meadow can be a low-maintenance, low-water area full of grasses and flowers to attract and provide for friendly wildlife like pollinators, birds and toads. Its vegetation cover and roots allow more rainwater to be absorbed into the soil rather than become runoff. That gets more water into our soils and aquifers.

    Meadows also have a wild and natural beauty for us to enjoy, that encourage us to slow down and relax, and to observe some nature up close. Plus, they can provide a supply of fresh-cut flowers throughout the season.

    The most natural are the open places that collect and absorb snowmelt and rainwater, holding it and releasing it slowly to waterways. These places are rich with wildlife activity and essential to wildlife.

    But a new definition of meadow has arisen in Europe and in the U.S. that responds to the decline weve been seeing in pollinators and other insects, birds and native plants. Theyre called urban meadows, and are often established in landscapes, parks or former lawns. Public meadows serve as teaching and observation spots about biodiversity.

    Mike Lizotte, of American Meadows seed company, calls small meadows you can work into your garden or landscape mini meadows. These can be a few acres large or as small as a raised garden box, or as tiny as a collection of pots. And they can consist of only flowers.

    For anyone who likes the idea of a low-water, low-maintenance, colorful, life-affirming, pollinator feeding, mesmerizing spot in their yard that also delivers fresh-cut flowers, a meadow is a project to try.

    My last article, Grow You Own Meadow Garden at Home offered some native perennial grasses and sedges to use that are low-water and low-maintenance. Worked into or around the grassy area, or without the grassy area, are the flowers.

    The flowers are the fun part. What youll get is a rambunctious collection of easy to grow flowers that will reseed and need no replanting. Include both annuals and perennials, both native and non-native.

    Including natives is always best for many insects and the birds that feed on them. Dont forget my constant reminder to use for all you need to know on what plants are native to your exact address, and nurseries that sell them.

    Using, make a list of flowers that grow in your spot with the sun you have. Please note that full sun is defined by six or more hours of direct sun. No less! Otherwise its part shade to shade.

    For larger meadows that are near the wilder lands I recommend more of the native wildflowers, theyll take less water, are more deer resistant, and if they venture out into the wild its OK.

    Next you can choose a wildflower seed mix. Select a mix thats designed for the Pacific Northwest, our area. If there are some natives youd like to be sure to include you may be able to get them separately. There are many seed mixes now that are for meadows and many include both annuals and perennials.

    Wildflower mixes often include non-native flowers and thats OK. Theyre included because of their low maintenance needs, quick and easy establishment, as well as for their value to pollinators, and often for deer resistance. See your local nursery for a selection.

    Annual flowers for a small space in a garden bed can include cosmos, Flanders poppies (Papaver rhoeas), zinnias, cornflowers, sweet allysum, even sunflowers.

    One rule to heed is to always go for the single flowers, not a fuller double version. This is because the double flowers hide or block access for the pollinators to the pollen and nectar source. So stick with singles!

    A few good perennials for our area include Echinacea, California poppies (yes, theyre perennial!), lupines, Gaillardia, Shasta daisies, Santa Barbara Daisies, California Fuschia (Zuaschneria californica), and Goldenrod (Solidago), Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta), columbine, and asters.

    To add even more habitat to your meadow and shade or privacy for you in the meadow, consider a few native shrubs to surround the meadow. A few that would be good are coffeeberry (Frangula californica), toyon, carpenteria (Carpenteria californica), Red Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum and many others), manzanitas (Howard McMinn and low growing Pt. Reyes), and native bunchgrasses like California Fescue.

    Shrubs offer more food in the form of flowers, berries, and seeds as well as shelter and nesting sites for birds and other small animals.

    How much work depends on the condition of the site. But after its established youll have very little work to do. Ill discuss how to start a meadow in my next article.

    But youll end up with a beautiful spot, large or small, for some wildlife viewing: birds, bees of all sorts, butterflies, moths, skippers, and hummingbirds. Youll be helping them to thrive.

    And youll get flowers for bouquets in your home.

    And youll get lots of opportunity for wonder for the children in your life!

    Doreen Fogle is a landscape designer and writer in Nevada County. More of her articles can be found on her website and she can be reached at

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    Doreen Fogle: Grow some flowers to create a meadow for wildlife - The Union of Grass Valley

    Robotic Lawn Mower Market Outlook By Product, Application, End-User and Forecast The Courier – The Courier - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    By using, Robotic Lawn Mower Market research report, organizations can gain vital information about the competitors, economic shifts, demographics, current market trends and spending traits of the customers. This global marketing report puts forth real world research solutions for every industry sector, along with meticulous data collection from non-public sources to better equip businesses with the information they need most. The report comprises of the scope, size, disposition and growth of the industry including the key sensitivities and success factors. The winning Robotic Lawn Mower Market report also covers five year industry forecasts, growth rates and an analysis of the industry key players and their market shares.

    To steer clear of organizational slip-ups and to take critical business decisions, adequate market research is very essential where this excellent Robotic Lawn Mower Market research report is a pre-requisite. While formulating the report, research analysts conduct smart, resourceful, and engaging surveys that are sure to present the better results. By leveraging the use of smart strategies and formats, the report helps businesses gain more conversions. With the high level skills and expertise, DBMR team provide clients with the top notch market research report. Robotic Lawn Mower Market report is highly beneficial to grow customer base as it helps identify the various hidden opportunities.

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    Robotic Lawn Mower Market Drivers, Restraint and Key Development:

    Increasing urbanization and consumers preference toward smart homes and system is driving the market.

    Higher cost of the device as compared to the traditional mower is the major factor restraining the growth,

    In January 2019, IRobot Corp announced the launch of their new lawnmower. The terra which can operates on its own and can head back to the base station to recharge even in mid- mow. The user can operate it with the smartphone and schedule automatic mowing and can be programmed to cover the specific part of the yard. The best thing is that they dont require boundary wires and can mow in straight and back- and forth line.

    Robotic Lawn Mower Market Key Competitors:

    Few of the major competitors currently working in the robotic lawn mower market are Husqvarna Group, Bosch Limited, Stiga S.P.A., Zucchetti Centro Sistemi S.p.a., YAMABIKO Corporation, Deere & Company, Honda Motor Co., Ltd., The Toro Company, AL-KO KOBER SE, Milagrow Business & Knowledge Solutions (Pvt.) Limited, WORX, MTD, The Kobi Company, LG Electronics.

    Robotic Lawn Mower Market Analysis:

    Global Robotic Lawn Mower Market is expected to rise from its initial estimated value of USD 533 million in 2018 to an estimated value of USD 1444.26 million by 2026, registering a CAGR of 13.27% in the forecast period of 2019-2026. Increasing safety concerns over traditional lawn mower is the major factor for the growth of this market.

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    Global robotic lawn mower market is highly fragmented and the major players have used various strategies such as new product launches, expansions, agreements, joint ventures, partnerships, acquisitions, and others to increase their footprints in this market. The report includes market shares of robotic lawn mower market for global, Europe, North America, Asia-Pacific, South America and Middle East & Africa.

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    Industry landscape

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    Chapter 4: Robotic Lawn Mower Market, By Region

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    Robotic Lawn Mower Market Outlook By Product, Application, End-User and Forecast The Courier - The Courier

    Film Study: Ohio State’s Destruction at the Hands of Alabama RPOs Was Years in the Making | Eleven Warriors – Eleven Warriors - February 9, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Urban Meyer was only minutes into his second stint as a retired-coach-turned-broadcaster when he became the star of Fox Sports' Big Noon Kickoff.

    Despite sharing the stage with two Heisman-winners and afinalist for the award, the former Ohio State head coach quickly established himself as the focal point of the network's pregame show during its first broadcast of the 2019 season, thanks in large part to the way he clearly explained the origins and mechanics of a tactic that had outgrown novelty status.

    While the takeaway for most within the sport was not the content itself, but rather the effortless delivery from a relative novice, the irony of the situation is hard to miss nearly 18 months later. Though Meyer has already found another sideline to roam in Jacksonville, he was in fact issuing a warning to his former team - whether he knew it or not.

    On paper, Ohio State featured the nation's top defense in 2019, clamping down on opponents by building around elite cornerbacks and the nation's best pass-rusher. With so much talent on display, there was little reason to complicate the scheme despite the fact that ithad long been abandoned by most coaches at his level due to its predictability and well-known weak points.

    But for most of that first season, it didn't matter. Through the first ten games of that season, Chase Young and co. tallied 42 sacks as the Silver Bullets simply overwhelmed the completionwhile facing just two ranked teams (Cincinnati and Wisconsin) during that stretch.Throughout thespan, no OSU opponent gained more than 285 total yards of offense, nor did any average more than 5 yards-per-play in a single game, leading many to believe the Buckeyes were impenetrable.

    Asninth-ranked Penn State came to town, however, small cracks began to emerge.

    Not only were the Buckeyes facing an opponent more comparable to themselves but opposing coaches had begun to catch on to their reliance on a single-high structure. Penn State, who had fully embraced run-pass options (RPOs) upon the hiring of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead a few years prior, saw a number of ways to attack a linebacker unit that seemed hellbent on stopping the run at all costs.

    Though the Nittany Lions would ultimately lose 28-17, the continued emphasis on reading unblocked second-level defenders was something future opponents clearly noticed.

    The very next week, first-year Michigan OC Josh Gattis faced his stiffest test yet as his team welcomed the Buckeyes to the Big House.For much of the first half, it appeared that Gattis and the Wolverines were up to the task, as although they trailed 28-17, they amassed 285 yards in the first half - more than any OSU opponent had gained in an entire game that season, save for Penn State the week prior.

    To do so, Gattis unleashed a bevy of RPOs that attacked the OSU linebackers. If they stepped up to play the run, the QB simply kept the ball and looked to pass. From there, he often had multiple places to go with the ball as the scarlet and gray defenders scrambled to recover.

    Luckily, Justin Fields and the Buckeye offense eventually pulled awayand forced the Wolverinesto throw deep on nearly every second-half snap, a tactic that played right into OSU's strengths. Little attention was paid to the effort as the Buckeyes cruised to a 56-27 victory.

    As the Nittany Lions and Wolverines before them, the Clemson coaching staff clearly took notice of the threat RPOs posed to a defense with such a straightforward approach. The Tigers had long embraced the philosophy, especially during Trevor Lawrence's freshman season the year before.

    Unlike thepackaged concepts fromPenn State and Michiganthat attacked downfield, however, the Tigers largely combined inside runs with bubble screens and other pass concepts that stretched the field horizontally and found little success early. Once the Tigers began combining runs with vertical concepts, the dam broke.

    With the Buckeyes in Cover-1 (man-free coverage), the Tigers sent both slot receivers on five-yard stick routes (inside hitches) while the offensive line blocked a QB draw play. Lawrence quickly checked the safety to ensure he dropped back into coverage -leaving just six OSU defenders to take on six Clemson blockers - andtook off for a 67-yard run that still pains Buckeye fans to watch.

    Much was made of Lawrence's 107 rushing yards in that game, most of which came on this one snap. But the focus was not on how OSU should handle RPOs, but rather, whether they could slow mobile quarterbacks.

    After the longest offseason in history, Nebraska opened the season in Ohio Stadium and had some early success with RPOs. However,none looked to attack the Buckeyes vertically, and eventually, the home team settled in for an easy 52-17 victory.

    As the Buckeyes traveled to Happy Valley in week two, though, their (least) favorite concept was back.

    OSU's focus on stopping the run once again exposed openings in the RPO game, as the PSU offense began hitting backside "glance" routes when the Buzz defender (often the outside linebacker) stepped up quickly to fill his run gap.

    Eventually, the Buckeyes were able to adjust their pass coverage when the entire threat of a Penn State running game had evaporated late in the game and the offense was forced into dropback passing situations (sound familiar?) But before they eventually gave up on this plan of attack, the Nittany Lions had scored 25 points and tallied 281 passing yards, more than anyone outside of Michigan had put up on Ryan Day's defense.

    It would be another month and a half before another opponent would attempt to recreate this plan of attack, this time coming in the Big Ten title game. Northwestern retooled its offense before the season and incorporated far more spread concepts, and it didn't take long to see the Wildcats hit the Buckeyes with a Glance RPO.

    Despite all the success found with the glance route, Clemson never seemed interested in throwing it in their CFP rematch on January 1st. Rather, the Tigers went back to their comfort zone of attaching screens to run plays; a strategy that had some success but failed to attack the Buckeyes where they were weakest.

    Unlike Clemson, Alabama had no intention of letting such an obvious shortcoming go un-probed. The Tide had already made glance routes a foundational aspect of their baseoffense and with a handful of veteran "analysts" scouting future opponents, there was no question of how they might attack Ohio State.

    While images of DeVonta Smith running untouched up the seam will forever haunt Tuf Borland, the Buckeye corners will have nightmares of their own. With little time to prepare (Day later noted that his team had just one padded practice in advance of this game due to COVID protocols), Ohio State had few counters at its disposal.

    With the Buckeye front-seven so focused on stopping Najee Harris and the inside run game, cornerbacks Shaun Wade and Sevyn Banks were left on an island against the nation's best receiver. Meanwhile, Alabama OC Steve Sarkisian toyed with the duo, mixing glance routes in with screens to ensure Smith would get a clean release off the line.

    But even when Wade and Banks had clean shots at Smith in man-coverage, the Heisman-winner broke his glance route outside where no one could help.

    On one side, it's easy to saythat the Buckeyes simply ran into a more talented team with a style of play perfectly suited to expose Ohio State's weakest points. Every defensive system, coverage, and philosophy has gaps that can be exposed and took two full seasons, and a team featuring three Heisman finaliststo finally break the one Day hadinstalled upon taking the head coaching job.

    But on the other hand, it washard not to see this coming. Alabama's use of RPOs that attacked both horizontally and vertically isn't novel. Rather, the Tide's offense marks the normalization of a concept that had largely been a complementary feature outside of small schools.

    Just as Vince Young made the zone-read the foundation of Texas' national championship offense in 2005, Alabama (as well asLSU the year before) havebrought the vertical RPO into the mainstream.

    That's not to say that these concepts are impossible to defend, as each and every week across the college football landscape, defensive coordinators successfully rotate safeties, exchange run gaps, and mask coverages to disrupt both the quarterback and the receiver. But those simply weren't tactics we often saw from the Buckeye defense in 2020 (or the year before).

    While it may not have been obvious one year ago, the game plan for OSU's opponents in 2021 is crystal clear. Now that they know it's coming, it's onKerry Coombs and the Buckeye defense to implementways to stop it.

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    Film Study: Ohio State's Destruction at the Hands of Alabama RPOs Was Years in the Making | Eleven Warriors - Eleven Warriors

    Replanting the landscape: Turn the derecho disaster into opportunity – The Gazette - October 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Gazette is working with the Linn Landowner Forum to present a weekly series of columns about elements landowners should consider when replacing trees and plants lost in the Aug. 10 derecho. The series will focus on recovery, the importance of native plants and other topics. Fourth in a series.

    Many property owners in Linn County are seeing the light literally.

    With trees and shrubs downed or damaged, properties are looking a lot sunnier these days. The now-ample sunlight proved an unforeseen benefit to the Aug. 10 derecho: the opportunity for property owners to transform their yards possibly now a blank canvas into a bird- and pollinator-friendly habitat. Or, at the very least, into a functional space that allows the household to live more lightly on the earth.

    Before jumping in to transform your green space, we advise starting with a plan. This will save you time, money and energy in the end.

    Commit to a spring planting and make your plan this fall or winter. Map out the green space in your yard. Know the amount of space available to work with and set a budget. Put key dates on the calendar (like local plant sales, predicted last frost date, ideal planting times). Research keystone species of trees and shrubs that is, trees and shrubs that historically have grown and thrived in our area for centuries rather than those introduced in recent years. Keystone species are more likely to provide the habitat that pollinators and birds in our area need to thrive. Learn more about keystone plants at the centers website,

    Add a variety of bird feeders. Local farm stores carry an impressive variety of bird seed in bulk, which eliminates the need for plastic bags. Bring an empty container from home, have it weighed at the cash register (this is called the tare weight), fill it with one variety of bird seed, write down the corresponding PLU number and have the full container weighed at checkout, subtracting the tare weight of just the container.

    For those looking for an educational opportunity for the whole family, consider making a tray bird feeder or bird house. Turn that tree stump in the backyard into a bird bath. Creating a bird or pollinator habitat not only adds functionality, but also beauty.

    Spring is the perfect time to plant wildflowers, prairie plants, berry bushes and other shrubs to create an ideal pollinator habitat. Lucky for you, the Indian Creek Nature Centers Plant and Art Sale on the first Saturday in May features dozens of varieties of these plants, both perennial and annual, at an affordable price.


    Also available at the plant sale will be vegetable seedlings. While vegetable gardens arent the best habitat for pollinators, they are ideally suited for sunny backyards and dont only feed yourself and your family, but also significantly lower your carbon footprint by reducing the overall amount of fossil fuels used to transport food to your dinner table.

    For first-time vegetable gardeners, a raised bed with nutrient-rich soil is essential to a productive garden. Spend the winter months reading books and blogs written for our plant hardiness zone, which is 5a, and order a Seed Savers Exchange catalog ( Research topics like succession planting and companion gardening to maximize production in a smaller space.

    Lastly, if youre not already taking advantage of the city of Cedar Rapids progressive curbside compost program, consider starting now. Kitchen and yard waste can be composted easily in your Yardy or in a small space in the backyard. If done correctly, there should be little to no odor or pests.

    Nutrient-rich compost provides fertilizer with no chemicals (perfect for your new garden) and avoids adding to unnecessary waste to the landfill.

    We hope Linn County homeowners take advantage of these tips, and continue to look on the sunny side of the derecho. While this storm has no doubt been devastating not only to us, but to the wildlife that resides in our shared habitats the destruction also has ecological benefits that will help our natural environment grow back stronger than before.

    Nature is resilient, and so are we.

    Kelli Kennon-Lane is the director of education at Indian Creek Nature Center, where she oversees programming and educational initiatives related to the centers mission to create champions of nature. She was raised in raised in northeast Iowa and has lived in Linn County for the last 15 years.

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    Replanting the landscape: Turn the derecho disaster into opportunity - The Gazette

    Army will play Pac-12 team in Independence Bowl – Times Herald-Record - October 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Ken McMillan|Times Herald-Record

    WEST POINT Its been an eventful two days for the Army football team.

    On Friday, the team learned it would serve as host of the Dec. 12 Army-Navy football game, being played at West Point for only the fourth time, and first since 1943.

    On Saturday, following a 49-3 win over Mercer, head coach Jeff Monken revealed a secret he had been keeping under wraps from his players.

    Frank Auer, chairman of the Independence Bowl, made a surprise visit to the locker room and extended an invitation to the late-December bowl contest in Shreveport, La., setting off a wild celebration.

    Army became the first team in the nation to receive a postseason bowl berth, even before a number of major conference programs had even played their first contest in a season tossed about by the COVID-19 pandemic.Ironically, Army, with seven games already played, will face a Pac-12 Conference foe, which doesnt even start play until Nov. 7.

    I'm just really proud of our team to be at this point in the season and being able to accept a bid to a great bowl game,"Monken said. Thats one of the exciting experiences in college football, being able to play in a bowl game."

    Armys players celebrated in the locker room after Auer made a short address to the team.

    Just going down to the Independence Bowl, that is amazing,"said senior Sandon McCoy, who had three 1-yard touchdown runs against Mercer. We didnt go to a bowl game last year (with a 5-8 record) and that kind of twisted our stomachs a lot, and we made sure that was not going to happen again."

    It will be Armys ninth postseason berth since its first appearance in 1984s Cherry Bowl and a win over Michigan State. It is also the fourth in the past five seasons on Monkens seven-year watch.

    "We are absolutely delighted to extend a bowl invitation to the Army West Point Black Knights football team,"Auer said in a prepared release. "The Independence Bowl celebrates the independence and freedoms we enjoy in America, and we are well aware that those freedoms are protected by our Army and the other armed forces. We deeply appreciate the role they play in our national landscape and will roll out the red carpet for them for their trip to Shreveport."

    The plans for Army to play in the Independence Bowl were actually made a year ago, with a six-year bowl contract deal signed with ESPN Events. Between 2020 and 2025, Army if it could meet NCAA-mandated wins requirements would play in even-numbered years in the Independence Bowl, and odd-numbered years in another ESPN-owned and -operatedbowl. Army also signed a deal with the Charlotte Sports Foundation to accept an invitation into the Belk Bowl twice within the next six seasons should one be offered.

    The minimum requirements used to be posting six wins against Division I-A schools, or Football Bowl Subdivision as it is known today. But with the college football world turned upside down in the year of COVID, the NCAA Division I Council did away with any wins requirements for 2020 two weeks ago, so Army was probably wise to secure the bid.

    Four 2020 college bowl games have already been canceled, including a recent decision by the Holiday Bowl.

    It will be Armys second appearance in the Independence Bowl. The first was a celebrated 32-29 loss to Auburn on New Years Eve 1996. In that contest, Army roared back with 22 fourth-quarter points but J. Parker pushed a 27-yard field goal try wide right with 30 seconds left that would have tied the contest.

    We want to thank the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl,chairman Frank Auer and the entire bowl committeefor this incredible opportunity to play in this outstanding bowl game,"said Army director of athletics Mike Buddie. We are very excited to accept the first bowl invitation of the 2020-21 season and to make our first trip to Shreveport since 1996."

    Army had a three-year victorious bowl run from 2016-18, beating North Texas State in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, San Diego State in the Armed Forces Bowl and Houston again in the Armed Forces Bowl.


    Hat tricks: McCoy posted the third three-touchdown performance of his career. He did so against Massachusetts last season and in the 2020 season opener against Middle Tennessee. He has 16 touchdowns for his career.

    Four quarterbacks: Monken started Cade Ballard for the second consecutive week and filled in with Tyhier Tyler much the way he did a week ago at Texas-San Antonio. Christian Parrish entered with a minute left in the third quarter and got five snaps. Maurice Bellan got the final snap of the third quarter and all but four during a 17-play, 91-yard scoring drive in the final period.

    Injury front: Center Noah Knapp went down midway through the third quarter. He had been splitting time with Connor Bishop. Running back Anthony Adkins hurt himself late in the UTSA contest and did not play. Defensive lineman Kwabena Bonsu returned after missing two contests.

    Defensive leaders: Spencer Jones and Jon Rhattigan each posted seven tackles to lead Army. Rhattigan returned an interception 50 yards just before halftime. Cameron Jones made a diving interception to short-circuit Mercers second series. Jabari Moore returned a pick 29 yards, marking the second time hes taken a turnover for a score (he had a TD off a fumble recovery at Cincinnati).

    My fault: Brandon Salyers pushed a 39-yard field goal attempt to the left on the final play Monken blamed himself for not centering the ball with one more play and two timeouts available.

    Twitter: @KenMcMillanTHR

    Original post:
    Army will play Pac-12 team in Independence Bowl - Times Herald-Record

    6 Gardening Tasks You MUST Complete this Month – Signals AZ - October 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

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    Snippet Octobers gardening to-do list. Preparing landscapes for winter. Keeping the Fall garden healthy through Autumn. Easy Fall maintenance for a healthy yard.

    October is a critical month in landscape maintenance and should not be ignored. As we transition into Autumn and the first frosts in November, these key steps keep our landscapes healthy, weed-free, and ready for their long slumber through winter. These strategic steps also will provide a rich harvest from the vegetable garden through the holidays. Broccoli at Christmas is possible with task #5, weed prevention with # 6, and vibrant green evergreens right through the coldest winter days with #1. So here are the essential October gardening tasks that should be completed by the end of the month.

    #1 Feed the Yard The most critical job of fall is also the easiest: feeding everything in your landscapes. The entire yard should be fed within the next few weeks. Stay away from synthetic winterizer plant food. Much safer results are delivered with Watters 7-4-4 All Purpose Plant Food. This organic blend plant food is safer for pets and people, and less likely to poison your drinking well than MiracleGro or Scotts 20-20-20 chemical foods. Evergreens will keep their vibrant green color through winter with this October feeding. Its a must for spring bloomers like lilacs and forsythias. Native pinion and ponderosa pines should receive this meal to fend off bark beetles, scale, and aphids.

    #2 Evergreen Pine Health This is the month to treat pinion pines for scale, and it doesnt take an arborist. Each evergreen is treated with Watters Plant Protector, Diluted with water in a 2-gallon watering can and applied at the base. The roots absorb this bug antibiotic and do the rest. Reapply in March, and you will have superior, pest-free trees all of 2021.

    #3 Tree Aphids Watch for large aphids. If the leaves and rocks are glistening like a mornings dew, aphids have begun their assault. Get on them right away by hosing down these pests with Watters formulated Multi-Purpose Insect Spray. It also eliminates spiders and ants from coming into your home for winter when sprayed as a barrier around doors and windows.

    #4 Insulate Irrigation -This move saves more money over the years from froze water pipes. Every fall, I buy next springs mulch, manure, and shredded bark products and use them as insulating bags. They are the perfect size for cold protection over inground value lids, around the well house, and around backflow preventers. The garden needs them next spring anyway, so why not get double duty out of those bags of soil amendments?

    #5 Add Winter Blooming Flowers By the end of October, trees are bare and summer flowers dead. Strategically place some blooming autumn plants in your landscape, containers, and vegetable gardens. Pansies, kale, mums, violas, broccoli, cabbages, lettuces, and cauliflowers all look bright through the shortest winter days.

    #6 Kill Winter Weeds Weeds like foxtail and dandelions emerge and become a severe problem by the end of the year. Spread Weed Beater Complete at 1 bag per 5200 sq.ft. for total weed control. Go ahead and apply your plant food and Weed Beater Complete simultaneously, just make sure this critical task is done in October.

    With these minimal maintenance tasks, youll find winter-blooming flowers brighter, evergreens greener, all with vigorous spring growth. If you have questions about any of these six tasks, please stop by the garden center where the Watters staff is here to assist.

    Latest Garden News Its been seven months in the making, and the first edition is now online. Watters digital garden center just makes researching local plants easier. Plant organization is precisely how a designer investigates them in the landscape. Trees are broken up into Evergreens, Shade and Fruit Trees to narrow down your search. This is an active list of plants that often changes as crops are harvested and brought to Watters Garden Center. is for locals of central Arizona only. Amazon will not be delivering a 300-pound tree to your doorstep. We have local delivery and planting teams hired to install plants or pick plants up yourself here at Watters Garden Center. Take a look and let me know how to make this new digital garden center even better.

    Until next issue, Ill be here at Watters Garden Center helping local gardeners with their October gardening list.

    Ken Lain can be found throughout the week at Watters Garden Center, 1815 W. Iron Springs Rd in Prescott, or contacted through his web site at or

    Read the original:
    6 Gardening Tasks You MUST Complete this Month - Signals AZ

    Jones, for now, on the wrong side of memorable moments – Newsday - October 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Some players are lucky enough to have their exploits reach iconic status. Some are even luckier and have that happen when they are at their best.

    With the Giants, when you think of Odell Beckham Jr. there is probably one catch that comes immediately to mind. Same for David Tyree. From Bobby Nystroms goal to Derek Jeters flip, our sports landscape is riddled with quick flashes of images that define athletes.

    Daniel Jones now sits at the other end of the spectrum. The one reserved for players such as Joe Pisarcik or Ernest Byner or Bill Buckner, whose careers were perfectly fine and worthy of pride but for that one ignominious moment that came to define them.

    Jones had an opportunity to be among the first group when he took off with the football midway through the third quarter of Thursday nights game against the Eagles and had nothing but open space between himself and the end zone. Had he wanted to, he probably could have kept going after that, all the way up the Turnpike and right to his front door.

    Instead he wound up running maybe a little too fast. He started to turn his head a bit to make sure he was in the clear. His center of gravity started to get out in front of him. And when he reached the 15-yard line, down he went. Splat.

    "I just tried to run faster than I was running and I got caught up," Jones said.

    That the play, an 80-yard run in which he topped out at a speed of 21.23 miles per hour -- the fastest an NFL quarterback has moved with the ball in his hands since 2018 according to NFLs Next Gen Stats -- quickly became a meme and a viral sensation.

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    Maybe he was the anti-Icarus, flying too close to the ground.

    Even his teammates on the sideline were pointing at the video board and laughing. A few plays later, the Giants scored a touchdown to take the lead, and Jones was able to smile about it himself.

    "That was a relief to me for sure," he said.

    But it wasnt over. Because the Giants blew an 11-point lead in the 22-21 loss, it became an instant metaphor for the team and for Jones and for their inability to finish. The biggest winner on the play may have been Josh Norman, the Bills cornerback who was stiff-armed off his feet by Derrick Henry two weeks ago. Norman is no longer the NFLs Photoshop du jour.

    Jones is. And for a while now, until the next poor sap comes along with a more grotesque gaffe, he will be a punchline.

    "Internally, that will be something that eventually well be able to laugh about," head coach Joe Judge said.

    As for the rest of the world, theyve been chuckling since it happened.

    "Look, the internet is undefeated," Judge said. "There are funny things all over the place. You just have to have a sense of humor. When someone sends you something or shows you something you have to be willing to laugh at yourself sometimes."

    Like most of Jones play throughout his career, there was plenty to be impressed by on the run before it all collapsed. It was the longest carry by a Giants quarterback, breaking the record Jones himself set just five days earlier with a 49-yard dash against Washington. It was the longest run by an NFL quarterback since Marcus Mariota ran 87 yards for the Titans against the Jaguars in 2015 (though Jones, had he scored, would have topped that by a yard at 88).

    It was tied for the fourth longest run in Giants history, behind Tiki Barbers 95-yard play against Washington in 2005, Hap Morans 91-yard run against the Packers in 1930, and Ahmad Bradshaws 88-yard play in Buffalo that clinched a playoff spot for the eventual Super Bowl champs in 2007. Eddie Prince also had an 80-yard run for the Giants against the Eagles in 1951.

    Morans scamper of 91 was, like Jones, not a touchdown. Moran, who died in 1995, was lucky enough to live in a time when he did not have to watch whatever happened to him on that play over and over again on televisions and social media.

    The good news is that Jones career is very young. He has time to replace that lowlight with a highlight. He literally has a chance to get back up.

    Heck, some players are even lucky enough to have a couple of great plays they are remembered for. Eli Mannings throws to Tyree, Plaxico Burress and Mario Manningham are interchangeable as the defining moments of his career. Jeter had the flip, but also had the dive into the stands. And the Mr. November home run.

    Maybe one day, when people think of Daniel Jones, theyll immediately conjure images of some great achievement on the field when he hoisted the Giants to a victory or made someone else look foolish with his obviously impressive athleticism. Maybe Jones faceplant into infamy, tripped up by the 15-yard line, the turf monster, or, as the old-timers at Giants Stadium used to say, a "tackle by Hoffa," will be a footnote to his sizzle reel.

    Just not today.

    Today, Jones is the the guy who fell down while the world was watching.

    Tom Rock began covering sports for Newsday in 1996 and has been the Giants beat writer since 2008.

    See the original post:
    Jones, for now, on the wrong side of memorable moments - Newsday

    Rapid Reaction: TJ Finley and friends lead LSU to dominant win over South Carolina – Saturday Down South - October 24, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Les East | 19 minutes ago

    Freshman TJ Finley threw 2 touchdowns passes and ran for 1 touchdown in his college debut as LSU dominated South Carolina 52-24 Saturday night in Tiger Stadium.

    Finley started in place of injured Myles Brennan and helped produce a balanced attack as the defending CFP champions improved to 2-2.

    He got a lot of help from his friends as the offensive line created running room for John Emery Jr. and Tyrion Price-Davis as well as protecting Finley. Price-Davis rushed for 135 yards and Emery added 88.

    The LSU defense, which allowed an SEC-record 623 passing yards to Mississippi State and nearly 600 total yards to Missouri in its 2 losses, played better despite allowing several big plays.

    Freshman Eli Ricks ran 45 yards for a touchdown after intercepting Collin Hill, and the Tigers forced the Gamecocks to attempt 4 field goals and Parker White missed 3 of them.

    The defense put a consistent pass rush on Collin Hill, which helped it withstand a 100-yard rushing game by Kevin Harris.

    The LSU special teams chipped in a score on Trey Palmers 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that short-circuited South Carolinas attempt to turn the game around early in the 3rd quarter.

    The loss ended the Gamecocks 2-game winning streak and dropped them to 2-3.

    South Carolina trailed 31-10 at halftime, but Harris 1-yard touchdown run on the first possession of the 3rd quarter put some pressure on Finley and the Tigers.

    Palmer removed any pressure the offense might have been feeling on the sideline. He dropped the ensuing kickoff, picked up the football, calmly surveyed the landscape and weaved his way to the end zone.

    It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown by an LSU player in Tiger Stadium since Eric Martin did it in 1981.

    The Gamecocks tried to answer quickly, but Hills 57-yard pass completion to Keveon Mullins went for naught when White missed a 40-yard field goal.

    The Tigers stretched their lead to 45-17 on Davis-Prices 4-yard touchdown run with 4:12 left in the 3rd quarter.

    LSU couldnt have scripted the games first possession any better than it went for Finley.

    The Tigers put most of the responsibility on the offensive line and Emery.

    Emery had runs of 4, 8, 14 and 9 yards to put Finley in favorable down-and-distance situations. Finley completed his only 3 passes on the drive 6 yards to Arik Gilbert and 6 and 7 yards to Terrace Marshall Jr.

    Davis-Price had 5 rushes for 13 yards after a minor shoulder issue sent Emery to the sideline temporarily.

    The drive concluded with Finley sneaking the final yard of a 75-yard march on the 16th play. Almost as importantly the drive kept the LSU defense on the sideline for 7 1/2 minutes.

    The value of that was show on the ensuing possession when the Gamecocks needed just 3 plays, the last of which was a 45-yard run by Harris that tied the score.

    Finley marched the Tigers into scoring position again on the next possession before stalling. Cade Yorks 27-yard field goal gave LSU a 10-7 lead at the end of the first quarter.

    The Tigers made it 3 scoring possessions in a row when Finley threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Marshall for a 17-7 lead. That gave Marshall 9 touchdown receptions this season.

    South Carolina kicked a field goal to pull within 7, but LSU quickly answered when Finley hit Marshall for a 51-yard TD, and the margin never dipped below double digits.

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    Rapid Reaction: TJ Finley and friends lead LSU to dominant win over South Carolina - Saturday Down South

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