Day: April 30, 2019

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

How to Grow Corn Poppies – Six Easy Steps Corn poppies, (Papaver rhoeas), also known as Flanders poppies, field poppies or Shirley poppies, are hardy annuals with vividly colored, papery red, pink or white blooms that rise above lacy foliage. The fuzzy stems reach heights of 2 feet and more at maturity. Easily grown by seed, corn poppies are often planted by state highway departments for spectacular displays of color along roadsides across the nation. Corn poppies are beautiful as cut flowers and the dried seed pops add interest to dry floral arrangements. Step 1 Plant corn poppy seeds directly on top of cultivated soil. In mild climates, plant the seeds in late fall or early spring when soil temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Corn poppies thrive in full sunlight and rich, well-drained soil. If the soil is poor, incorporate 2 to 3 inches of compost or manure prior to planting. Step 2 Water corn poppies when the top of the soil feels dry. Saturate the root zone thoroughly, as shallow waterings promote a shallow root system. For best results, water by hand with a hose or use a drip system to keep the foliage as dry as possible. If you use a sprinkler, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry before evening. Soggy soil and damp foliage place the plant at risk of rot and fungal diseases. Step 3 Spread 1 to 2 inches of mulch around the plants in the spring. An organic mulch such as shredded leaves or dry grass clippings keeps the roots cool, conserves moisture and prevents the growth of weeds. Step 4 Apply a balanced liquid or granular fertilizer if newly emerging foliage has a yellowish appearance. Use the fertilizer in accordance with label recommendations. As…

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Pets, Places, & Things, Points on Pets

Adopting a Pet with Special Needs

Adopting a Pet with Special Needs What does it mean to adopt a pet with special needs? Adopting and caring for a pet with special needs can be quite a rewarding experience and often not as harrowing as imagined. Pets with special needs come in all shapes and sizes with varying needs. Some experience mental challenges, like anxiety or depression, while others experience physical challenges like missing limbs and sight or hearing loss.  Others experience internal challenges, like heart or kidney disease. Aging pets also fit into this category because many will experience changes to their sight, hearing or organ functions during their later years. What is it like to care for a pet with special needs? It can be difficult until you understand the pet’s situation and what is needed. Once you understand what’s going on, routine sets in and whatever seemed abnormal in the beginning rapidly becomes the new norm. Bean and Jazzy Two of our three cats have special needs, and I’m happy and blessed to tell you I’ve had them since they were kittens and they are now 14 and 15 years old.  Mya, or Bean as we like to call her, is experiencing hearing loss, a common ailment in senior cats. Jasper, aka Jazzy or Buster McKittyface, suffers occasional seizures, has lost sight in one eye and recently developed kidney disease, a possible side effect from years of taking phenobarbital to reduce the frequency and severity of the seizures. Bean is basically the same cat she always was with the addition of more frequent and louder meowing (often in the dead of the night) and new acts of bravery involving the vacuum monster, which no longer frightens her because she can’t hear it. We haven’t had to change our routine other than making an effort…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month

Rocky, Young, Male, Black Mouse Rocky might not be a flying squirrel but he’s still quite the jokester!  He’s working on his standup comedy routine, starting with comments on the weather – “I’m not going outside!  It’s raining cats and dogs!” – and riff at his friends – “Mickey sounds like he could use some oil.  Have you heard the way he squeaks?”  This comedic little mouse is always ready to show off for the audience, and he’d love to show off for you! Adoption profile: https://alexandriaanimals.org/animal-profile/?id=35715 Adoption information: https://alexandriaanimals.org/adoption-information/ Rocky – Photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Aimee, Adult, Spayed Female, Grey Tabby Domestic Shorthair Hello! I’m Aimee and I’m a one of a kind gal because I love every cat I meet!  I have lots of feline friends in my staff office and would love to have a kitty sibling in my future family.  I can be a little unsure about meeting new people but with another whiskered friend by my side, I’ll show you just want a cuddly lady I can be! Adoption profile: https://alexandriaanimals.org/animal-profile/?id=32762 Adoption information: https://alexandriaanimals.org/adoption-information/ Aimee – Photo courtesy of Shelley Castle Photography Sassy, Adult, Spayed Female, Brown and Black Boxer Sassy is a Boxer who loves life! While her shelter-given name may be Sassy; her true identity is Wiggle Bum! She’s the happiest girl in the world, and you’ll never find her without a smile and a tail waggle… well maybe when she’s sleeping! This sweet, sassy lady is looking for a home where she can go on all the adventures and have a cozy couch to crash on (what can we say, we think she deserves the best of both worlds!). One glance at this charming lady, and you’ll want to take her home in a heartbeat… don’t believe us? Stop by the AWLA and give…

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Personality Profile

Laz & Szilvia Bazals – From Hungary to Fort Hunt

By Lori Welch Brown Laz & Szilvia Bazals – From Hungary to Fort Hunt Typically this column is about the personality of a single person, but it’s hard to choose between the personalities of Laz or Szilvia when you have the unique and special personality of the spa they own and operate itself to consider.  It’s a lovefest!  First—it’s is overwhelmingly clear that Laz and Szilvia truly clearly care about the wellness of their clients—there are no shortage of hugs and/or special offers for those who enter.  Second—their mission of wellness translates over into the space they have worked so hard to renovate and put their own signature on.  Chip and Johanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame have nothing on them!  Laz has a passion for doing physical work—not only using his hands for massage, but for building and renovating.  It has paid off because he has done a fantastic job in the spa’s make over.  Szilvia’s talent for decorating proves that they are a terrific complement to each other’s skills.  What little spare time they have is spent renovating their home in the Shenandoah Mountains—they are turning it into a log cabin. Don’t ya’ just love a good spa day?  All that girly-girl pampering and blissing out feels like just what the doctor ordered.  Paint my nails passion pink, please!  Other days, you actually feel like you need doctor’s orders to cure those little aches and pains that often come with a maturing body (who, me?), fatigue, strained muscles, illness, injury and plain ol’ everyday stress, wear and tear.  I need a massage stat!  Code blue!  That’s where my pals at Ft. Hunt Massage and Spa come in.  I can get all blissed out and get the kinks worked out at the same time thanks to Laz and Szilvia. …

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Pets, Places, & Things, Road Trip

Veterans Day and D.C.’s Memorials

By Bob Tagert Veterans Day and D.C.’s Memorials This month we decided it would be a great opportunity to revisit the war memorials and military memorials in our Nations Capital area. The crisp fall is perfect for a brisk walk around D.C. and most of the tourists are gone or certainly in smaller numbers. Also, with the election happening and the conflicts in which we are engaged, I thought it a good time to reconnect with the past. We will begin our journey on the National Mall adjacent to Constitution Gardens. The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is a 2-acre national memorial that pays tribute to the brave members of the United States Armed Forces who fought in the Vietnam War and were killed or missing in action (MIA). The Memorial consists of three separate parts: The Three Soldiers statue, the Vietnam Women’s Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall…or simply, the “Wall”, which is the most popular feature. The memorial is free and open to the public 24 hours a day, with rangers on duty to answer questions from 9:30 am to 10 pm daily.      Perhaps the Memorial Wall’s most defining characteristic is a visitor’s ability to see his or her reflection at the same time as the engraved names, connecting the past and the present like few other monuments can. Of all my years in this area the only other places that demand this level of respect is Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln Memorial. Just south of the wall is the Vietnam Women’s Memorial, which serves to commemorate the 265,000 women that served in the Vietnam War, many of whom worked as nurses. The 2,000 pound bronze structure stands 15 feet tall and depicts three women attending to a wounded soldier, reflecting the unity required during the struggle…

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