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Things to do around the house and garden

(ran HC, HP editions)

Clean mildew, moss and stains from foundation of house. Caulk or mortar damaged areas. Seal with a coat of liquid silicone.

When cooking on the grill, reduce flare-ups that can result in charred, raw food. Try either raising the grill rack, covering the grill, spacing the hot coals farther apart or carefully removing a few of the coals to cut down heat.

Spruce up interior of screened-in porch or outdoor deck with stenciling. Using acrylic paints, you can "train" your painted ivy to wrap around the perimeter and rails of the deck as if it really grew there. You may want to try a test spot first. Surprisingly, if used directly on treated wood, the paint is absorbed and doesn't wear easily, particularly if wood is not exposed to the elements. An acrylic coating will protect the paint.

If your front door is framed by windowpanes, use a double-cylinder deadbolt that can only be opened with a key, regardless of the side you are using. Single-cylinder models can be unlocked from the inside easily by a burglar who has broken the glass.

Fertilize plants regularly, writing down the date on the container so you will remember to feed flower beds, lawns and shrubs at the correct time.

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