Shade cloths, a vegetable garden lifesaver in the desert

Once June heat takes hold in the low desert you will see a decline in garden productivity. Some of your plants, like peas and beans, will probably be done for the season and will die off completely.  Others, like peppers, might not care much that they've been placed into an oven.  But others, like tomatoes, will stop producing yet stay alive until a second spurt of fruiting in the fall--if you give them enough water and protection from the sun. Some of you might be lucky enough to have a perfectly positioned tree that shades your crop in the summer, the rest of use have to rely on shade cloths.  They can be so effective that I have a lavender that lived through multiple 115+ degree days in the most exposed part of my yard because it's under a shade cloth.

To provide enough shade while letting enough of the sun's nourishing light hit the leaves, stick with 40% - 60% shade in your cloths.  I have one 60% cloth that I've used over some of my more delicate heirloom tomato…

Gaia x GTFO = Discounted GPS!


Arlo Cameras, a constant, frustrating disappointment

Part of upgrading and customizing our house was installing a security camera at the front door.  After much researching, I chose Arlo due to the generally good reviews of their cameras, NetGear's stronger data-privacy policies, and the fact that they made a nice baby monitor camera too.  The ability to use custom activity zones for recording activity sounded great as well.  Wireless was important because I had no desire to run a wired system through the house.

We started off with the Arlo Ultra camera powered by the Arlo solar panel.  The Ultra is their top-of-the-line wireless camera with 4k recording.  The solar panel just made sense due to being in Phoenix and having an over-abundance of sunshine.

Installation was pretty easy--just three screws into the wall outside and the camera base was on, same for the solar panel.  Set up was also fairly easy, just following the prompts.  But quickly there were problems communicating between the camera and base station and/or app, leading …

My favorite tools for household handiwork

Whether you are a renter or a home owner there are a variety of tools that will come in handy in a variety of circumstances.  Whether it's a simple hammer to hang photos or a table saw to build your own furniture, the tools I prefer to get the job done are discussed below.

Avoid in Most Cases - the little tool kits that purport to provide all you need.  Unless you are resolute that you will never use tools for anything other than hanging a picture or tightening loose screws, they offer more style than substance.

My favorite power tools for the yard

When it comes to lawn and garden maintenance it all starts with a good set of tools.

When it comes to the power tools, I'm generally partial to battery powered equipment. The maintenance is practically nonexistent, they're far quieter, and since they don't run on gas they don't pollute or require trips to the gas station and fuel-oil blends. Ryobi's One+ system of 18 volt battery powered tools is the way to go--the entire line of tools use the same battery so you can power your mower, impact drill, and dust buster all with the same power source. Ryobi also makes a 40 volt line of battery powered equipment for those who need more umph, but the product line is far more limited than the 18v options.  I have three of the 4 amp batteries and they are all I need to mow, weed eat, and have juice left over for my driver when needed.

Gaia x GTFO = Discounted GPS!