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  • Four Legendary Trees

    Join horticulturist and HGTV host Erica Glasener for a tour of 4 legendary trees.
    By Erica Glasener, Networx

    Chances are, you may have a champion tree in your own neighborhood and not even know it. For more than 70 years, the mission of The National Register of Big Trees, coordinated by American Forests, a nonprofit based in Washington, DC has been "to preserve and promote the iconic stature of these living monarchs and to educate people about the key role that these remarkable trees and forests play in sustaining a healthy environment."

    Champion trees are documented using a formula that takes into account the circumference, height and crown spread of individual trees. Find out if you have one in your own local landscape.

    1. The Osage Orange at River Farm in Alexandria, VA

    New national champions in 2011 include the Osage Orange (Maclura pomifera) at River Farm, the headquarters for the American Horticultural Society in Alexandria, VA. It's over 200 years old and is prized not only for its age and size, but for the cool environment created under its

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  • Three Interesting Dogs You Should Meet

    Domino is a Border Collie/Siberian Husky mix. Contact the Seattle Humane Society to adopt him.
    By David Aaron Moore, Networx

    The world is full of interesting dogs. Television programs and movies boast a bevy of them that captured American hearts, from Lassie and Rin Tin Tin to Benji or Toto from "The Wizard of Oz." But what is it that actually makes a dog interesting? To find an answer, I turned to an expert.

    "Dogs can connect with people on an emotional level," says David York, the Executive Director of the Fulton County Animal Shelter in Atlanta. "They can detect when a person feels sad and they can be so funny. They're non-judgmental and they are a lot more like us than we realize. That, I think, is what makes a dog interesting."

    And York should know. In addition to his work with the shelter, he's also the founder and CEO of Barking Hound Village (a dog boarding and daycare facility and the owner of Sophie's Uptown, a canine-themed Atlanta bakery and restaurant named after a much-loved mixed breed that York shared his life with for close to 20 years. There's no doubt,

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  • 8 Ways to Make Organic DIY Food Coloring

    By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

    The 21st century world is a very unnatural time to live in. And for the most part, that's just peachy keen. The Internet, for example, is one modern invention I'm pretty fond of. And I'm glad we have, you know, like . . . doctors, grocery stores, fire-resistant roofing materials and robotic vacuum cleaners that do all the work for you!

    Yes, postmodern living has its perks. But there's a dark side, too, in this hyper-processed wonderland. Medicine is fine and dandy and robots are just plain awesome, but what about eating? What about health? What the heck has happened to our food?

    The truth is that synthetic replacements just can't stack up the real thing, and science doesn't always have the answers. That's probably why we're seeing a widespread resurgence of natural living; a return to a holistic lifestyle.

    All of our needs can be met using real, ground-grown produce instead of laboratory engineered products. (Passionate gardeners from Dallas to

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  • Four Ways a Contractor Could Rip You Off

    Don't let your dollars fly away because of a crooked contractor.
    By Laura Foster-Bobroff, Networx

    Not everybody plays fair! That's a lesson you learn in elementary school. But when it comes to spending hard-earned money to build or remodel your home, unless you know what to watch out for, it's difficult to identify when a contractor is breaking rules at your expense. Don't assume your contractor isn't cheating at the home improvement game because everything appears in good order on the surface. These are common ways contractors secretly cheat you:

    1. Cutting Corners: Contractors save themselves labor time by skimping in small ways that add up over the duration of a project. Homes hit by hurricanes suffer the most damage from improperly secured roofing and poor framing. Roofing installers may use a minimal amount of fasteners on shingles. Over time, shingles will buckle and may lift and separate under windy conditions, increasing risk of leaks in stormy weather. Skimping on fasteners allows a contractor to put together a home in record time, and

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  • Ten Fascinating Facts About Cats

    By David Aaron Moore, Networx

    People love their pets. Be it a cat, dog, hamster or goldfish, most U.S. residents have some kind of non-humanoid companion sharing their home. According to a survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA), however, cats win hands down when it comes to the sheer numbers that reside in American abodes.

    Ken Hubbard is an antique dealer with the company 2wice As Nice in Wheat Ridge, CO, a suburb of Denver. He's also the owner of two cats pictured above: both black American Shorthairs, one is known as Lace (left) and the other is Bear.

    "Cats can be fun, intuitive and loving. But they can also have an evil side," Hubbard chuckles. "They have their routines and they can be very demanding. Mine will torment me in the morning until they get me out of bed, with lots of stalking around the room and covers and a lot of meowing."

    "Having them in your life can be rewarding, but with certain cats you have to be

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  • 80+ Items You Can Compost

    You'll be amazed at the wide variety of things that can be composted!
    By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

    Home composting isn't just for farmers anymore! The practice is becoming increasingly popular among urban environmentalists who are eager to cut their landfill contributions: from apartment dwellers growing gardens on top of NYC roofing, to folks who participate in their local municipal compost program, to homeowners looking to turn their backyards into a teeny tiny sustainable city farms. Composting is a key component of the eco-friendly puzzle, because it takes waste that's destined for landfills and turns it into usable, nutrient-rich soil, which is perfect for gardening. Most people focus on kitchen scraps, but that's just the very tip of the composting iceberg. Did you know you could also include the following?

    1. Dryer lint
    2. "Dust bunnies"
    3. The insides of a vacuum bag (just empty the bag into the compost bin)
    4. The contents of your dustpan (just use discretion)
    5. Coffee grounds
    6. Coffee filters
    7. Tea
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  • Training Your Cat to Use a Toilet

    She can use the toilet...and flush.
    By David Aaron Moore, Networx

    The thought of a feline urinating on a ceramic bowl generally reserved for the passing of human waste seems to conjure up endless reams of laughter among most individuals - both cat lovers and non.

    Call it toilet humor if you like and throw in a joke or two about scatology if you feel so inclined, but for many cat lovers, teaching their four-legged friend how to use a toilet like us humans is serious business. "There are issues to consider when you have a kitty that uses a traditional litter box," says Richard Johnson, a cat owner who lives in Houston, Texas. "It's important to stay on top of it constantly. That's why I chose to toilet train my cat."

    Feline fecal matter, especially when mixed with moisture from cat urine and traditional clay-based cat litter can potentially become a veritable breeding ground for bacteria. It's easily tracked out of the litter box, throughout the house and can ultimately be harmful to humans and other pets.

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  • Commissioning a Pet Portrait

    You're not weirdly obsessed if you commission a painting of your pet. You're stylish.
    By Linda Merrill, Networx

    Several years ago, I had a design client who owned eight rescue cats and two large Labrador retrievers. One of the rooms I decorated included a large formal portrait of the two dogs sitting side by side. Since the painting held so much meaning for her, it became the focal point of the space off of which all other items were set. In the painting, the dogs were sober and composed - which was not at all how they behaved in real life. The experience led me to investigate who paints dog portraits, and who buys them.

    Christine Merrill (no relation to me) is a world-renowned artist whose work is represented by the William Secord Gallery in New York City. She has specialized in pet portraits since 1975. Dogs comprise about 99.99% of her commissions, with the majority being Cavalier King Charles Spaniels as well as Westies, Pugs and specialty breeds, aka "one-of-a-kind designer dogs".

    Other pet portrait artists experience generally the same level of

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  • 10 Uses for Plastic Pill Bottles

    So many uses!
    By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

    I'm a pretty progressive gal. I make "Socially Conscious, Totally Fabulous" my mantra, and I've got my green routine down to a science. Mostly.

    My kitchen and home are practically plastic-free. I buy my beans, grains, sugars, flours, oils, vinegars, syrups, and anything else I can, in bulk to save on packaging. I've eliminated toxic cleaners and I make my own beauty products. For the most part, I'm about as low-waste as a girl can get.

    However. There's one piece of the plastic puzzle that I've found as-of-yet unavoidable. Pill bottles! My vitamins and supplements and over-the-counter medications and, on rare occasions, prescriptions. You can't buy vegan vitamin K2 in bulk (yet!), and you can't bring your own glass jar to the pharmacist (yet!). And so I end up with a stash of empty plastic bottles.

    Maybe you do, too. Some of these can be recycled (check into your city's program) and some of them cannot. But what about re-using? You can put those

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  • 10 Green Gifts for Valentine's Day

    By Sayward Rebhal, Networx

    For the longest time I was in the "anti-Valentine" camp. "It's such a silly Hallmark holiday", I would say. I was also a Christmas Grinch and I've been known to throw zombie parties for Easter. So rebellious, right? But, well, maybe I've gone soft in my old age. Because somewhere along the line, I came to this conclusion: Being a grown-up is already so serious! Any reason to celebrate is a good enough reason for me.

    And so now I embrace all the holidays. Even the most random ones, and even the very cheesiest ones. Arbor Day? I'm on it! Solstice parade? Sign me up! St Patty's? Get me a green microbrew! And Valentine's Day, in all of its roses and chocolates and pink-painted splendor. I like to take these traditional holidays and turn them on their heads,reclaim them (if you will) and morph them into my own. Which means: GREEN MAKEOVER! Here are 10 eco-fabulous Valentine's Day gifts:

    1. Fair Trade Chocolate

    Dagoba Chocolate is fair trade chocolate. We'll take it!

    Dagoba Chocolate is fair trade chocolate.

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