web analytics

Tag Archive | "spring"

Ready for Spring?


 

Ranger Steve Mueller

Ranger Steve Mueller

By Ranger Steve Mueller

 

The warm spell in February was a big tease. It forced me into action. I pruned some low branches along trails at Ody Brook that I knew would grow to interfere with free travel. I thought hazelnut shrubs would appreciate me clearing some shrubs and small trees away from them to provide space for growth. There are relatively few hazelnut shrub clumps in the nature sanctuary and I want to encourage their survival.

The landscape mound’s dead vegetation was left standing in fall as a place for insects, birds, and rabbits to use as shelter during the winter. Usually before March ends and snow has melted, I rake the dead stems from the mound to allow unimpeded new spring growth.

There is always something to draw one outside every day of the year but the extreme February warmth and sun created an irresistible enticement. I got a jump on spring “clean-up.” It was good exercise for my muscles with the rake instead of using exercise equipment. Exercise equipment might be better for targeting specific muscles for toning but somehow indoor machines leave me empty compared with good meaningful work in the yard.

The benefits of work in the yard are many. It helps maintain appropriate living space for wild neighbors. I see animals moving about more during the warming. Two Sandhill Cranes flew over to increase my outside enjoyment. They were my first for the year. Anxious to reach breeding grounds, they advance north as quickly as the frozen water retreats. Finding remnants of corn left in fields, mice, and aquatic animals in open shallow water sustains them.

Frogs were active in their nature niche during what must have seemed like spring’s arrival. Unfortunately, some explorers of territory do not survive the early season jaunts. I went to the road to remove animals killed by passing vehicles. An opossum lay dead just north of the creek, where it tried crossing from west to east during the night. In late afternoon, a wild turkey lay dead south of the driveway where it was not present at midday.

For early spring color and nectar, daffodils and irises were planted in the gardens years ago. Already in February, the warmth stimulated activity. Daffodil leaves stood three inches tall and irises showed green to one inch above ground. I would not have seen their rush to grow if I did not do some early season gardening. I have learned from observations during previous years the new growth will survive the coming cold that will return.

The warmth persisted and I cleaned the butterfly garden of dead leaves well before the spring equinox. I looked for butterfly activity in the woods and was surprised I did not find Mourning Cloak or Eastern Comma butterflies taking advantage of unseasonable sunny warm weather.

The Sugar Maple trees by the house were daily dripping sugar rich sap from winter wounds during the warm spell. Birds like chickadees and titmice carry black oil sunflower seeds from birdfeeder to tree branches where they peck the hulls to get seed meat. In the process, birds break thin bark on small branches. The wounds drip sap.

Some butterflies that hibernate as adults find the wounds a rich source for nutrition to recharge their energy after months of not feeding. Though they hibernate and use little body fat during the cold, it must be good to wake to a ready source of quick sugar sap energy from bleeding wounds.

Take the opportunity to witness spring life in your yard.

Natural history questions or topic suggestions can be directed to Ranger Steve (Mueller) at odybrook@chartermi.net – Ody Brook Nature Sanctuary, 13010 Northland Dr. Cedar Springs, MI 49319 or call 616-696-1753.

Posted in Ranger Steve's Nature NicheComments (0)

Top 2016 trends in outdoor living


_SPR-Top-trends2(BPT) – Take a deep breath of fresh air. Feel the warm sunshine on your skin. Kick back and listen to the peaceful sounds of nature. There’s a reason people are investing in spaces that allow them to spend more time relaxing, dining and entertaining outside.

In addition to expanding livable space, outdoor enhancements also offer a strong return on investment at the time of sale. Convinced this is the year you’re going to jump on the outdoor living bandwagon? To refresh your space and start enjoying the outdoors from the comforts of home, consider the top outdoor living trends of 2016.

Eclectic design 

Homeowners are embracing the same eclectic trends that they love indoors and bringing this same design approach to their outdoor spaces. Mixing materials is at the heart of this trend. From all-weather wicker and teak to concrete and aluminum, using different materials means creating durable spaces with one-of-a-kind looks. Beyond the hardscape, using a variety of patterns, textures and shapes adds visual appeal.

SPR-Top-trends1Upholstered soft seating 

This year, homeowners are revamping patios and decks by bringing the comforts of indoors outside. The perfect example of this movement is the use of upholstered furniture for the outdoors. Arhaus Furniture offers a variety of upholstered sofas, sectionals and chairs that look just like the classics used indoors, but are specifically designed to withstand the elements outside.

Outdoor cooking 

Summer entertaining is enhanced when meals are cooked outdoors. Home chefs are thinking beyond the grill to incorporate other useful mediums for al fresco cooking. For example, hearths and stone ovens offer undeniable outdoor ambiance while providing a unique way to cook pizzas, bread and other baked goods. The finishing touch: add an herb garden for quick access to the fresh flavors of the season.

Customization 

Customizing helps create outdoor spaces that are a reflection of the homeowners’ personalities. More than just personalized decor, the customization trend is evident in outdoor furniture. Expert stylists at www.Arhaus.com offer complementary design services including space design, product selection and customization with a wide variety of outdoor fabrics so they can get the exact look they desire.

Evening entertaining 

Outdoor entertainment shouldn’t be restricted by daylight, so homeowners are making thoughtful additions to ensure when dusk arrives the party can go on. Strategic deck lighting on posts and stairways illuminates gathering spaces. Torches, pathway lighting and string lights are great for landscaped areas. Finally, propane and citronella gel fueled fire pits are the ideal gathering place and bugs will stay far away.

Reconstructed stone 

Reconstructed stone is in demand for tabletops on dining, coffee and accent tables. When researching options, it’s important to remember not all reconstructed stone is created equal. For example, Arhaus makes reconstructed stone out of composite concrete so it’s lighter, less brittle and withstands weather well. Even when left outside year-round at the company headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio, there was no cracking, color fading or changes to material.

Posted in FeaturedComments Off on Top 2016 trends in outdoor living

Ice, ice baby


Ice on the windmill.

Ice on the windmill.

After having warm temperatures last week, it was a change to get freezing rain last Thursday. Many people got home from work to find their trees and yards covered with ice. Kim Tompkins, who lives on 17 Mile Road, sent us these photos of her yard. “I was surprised to find my whole yard in a frozen state,” she said.

Thanks, Kim, for sending us your photos!

If you have nature or wildlife photos you’d like to send us, email them to news@cedarspringspost.com.

Ice on the bushes.

Ice on the bushes.

Posted in OutdoorsComments Off on Ice, ice baby

It’s finally here


N-Flower-Doyle-Barnes-webWe’ve been waiting a loooong time for spring—and it seems to have finally arrived. With spring comes fresh blooms, and we were glad today to see this crocus photo from Doyle Barnes Jr., of Courtland Township. Thanks so much for sending this photo to brighten our day!

We would love to see your flowers and wildflowers, too—email photos with some information to news@cedarspringspost.com. Put the word “flowers” in the subject line.

Posted in Featured, NewsComments Off on It’s finally here

Stepping out for spring?


HEA-Stepping-out-for-spring

People with diabetes should check their feet first

(BPT) – Spring is finally here and it’s an ideal time to get outside and be more physically active. For those with diabetes, regular exercise helps increase circulation and is a critical part of staying healthy. But, before lacing up your sneakers, remember these important steps to ensure your feet are in shape:

* Get the green light from your health care provider. Discuss the type of physical activity that’s best for you and ask your provider to examine your feet. In general, your feet should be professionally examined four times each year.

* Be mindful of everyday foot care. Sometimes, people with diabetes have serious foot problems yet feel no pain. This may be due to nerve damage, a long-term complication of diabetes. Everyday self care includes inspecting your feet for scratches, cracks, cuts or blisters and washing and drying them carefully, especially between the toes.

* Wear socks and well-fitting shoes. Because of the higher risk of foot problems among those with diabetes, avoid going barefoot, even indoors. Wear socks and shoes that fit properly.

* If you do notice a problem, it may be a foot ulcer. Ulcers occur most often on the ball of the foot or on the bottom of the big toe. Ulcers may also appear on the sides of the foot. Keep in mind, while some ulcers may not hurt, every ulcer should be seen by your health care provider right away.

* Get foot ulcers treated. If you have a foot ulcer, innovative treatments can help, such as EpiFix, a wound care product from MiMedx, used extensively to rapidly and effectively heal diabetic foot ulcers. EpiFix is a dehydrated human amnion/chorion membrane allograft that delivers essential wound healing growth factors, enhances healing and reduces inflammation and scar tissue formation.

* Let it heal. If you have an ulcer, help it to heal by staying off your feet. Walking on an ulcer may worsen the problem by making the wound larger or migrating it deeper into your foot.

“Foot problems, including ulcers, are common among people with diabetes, but they don’t have to hold you back if you take the proper precautions and seek early treatment,” says Dr. Matt Garoufalis, president at Physicians Surgery Care Center, Chicago, Ill., and immediate past president of the American Podiatric Medical Association. “Before you step out to enjoy the spring weather, have your feet checked by a health care provider to make sure you’re good to go.”

 

Posted in FeaturedComments Off on Stepping out for spring?

Top fashion tips for spring and summer


HEA-Spring-fashion-trends

(BPT) – Spring is just around the corner – time to start planning your warm-weather wardrobe updates. To help you stay on top of the trends for spring 2014, the experts have plenty of advice to share.

Lynne Riding, who is the fashion coordinator at The Art Institute of Charleston, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, and Dr. Courtney A. Hammonds, who has the same role at The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, offer some pointers.

Q: What are the top five trends for spring 2014?

A: “Look for clean, simple lines,” says Riding. “You’ll also see pleats, sheers and lace, and prints – both floral and graphic.” Hammonds agrees that pleats, especially knife pleats, will be big this spring. “Graphic prints are a major trend, using written words embroidered or printed across ready-to-wear garments,” he adds. “We’ll also see accessories with metallic touches in gold and bronze this year.”

Q: What are this spring’s top colors?

A: Both experts agree that lilac and other pastels are the most important color story for spring. Greens, especially mint green, are also big. “Muted and sophisticated tones predominate, although brights are also seen, particularly when paired with metallic touches,” Hammonds says.

Q: What one piece should everyone consider adding to her wardrobe to be on trend for spring?

A: “A poplin dress shirt in white, lilac or mint green is a great spring/summer addition,” says Riding. “It could either be a long wrap shirt without buttons or a long shirt worn on the hips with a belt.” Hammonds recommends adding a modern accessory, such as a metallic bag or clutch, statement eye frames, or even a metallic shoe that can go from day to night.

Some other ideas to give your wardrobe the fashion edge this spring? Consider a longer skirt (mid-calf or upper ankle length), wearing a classic shirt untucked with the bottom several buttons undone, or an accessory with fringe. And be sure to hang on to fashions with color blocking. Riding says this trend is continuing to be popular.

Whatever you do, Hammonds advises, dare to be edgy and always be true to yourself and your personal style. Riding adds, “A trend only works if it works for you. Does it fit your style, your lifestyle, what’s flattering? For instance, if lilac is not your color, don’t add a lilac dress to your wardrobe. Instead, choose a flower print that includes lilac or wear a print skirt with lilac tones along with a crisp white shirt.”

 

 

 

Posted in NewsComments Off on Top fashion tips for spring and summer

Spring—a reminder of life


Cedar-Christian-ChurchPastor Ryan Black

Cedar Springs Christian Church
340 West Pine Street, Cedar Springs

 

Springtime is finally approaching. What a lovely time of year. No other season invokes these sights, sounds and smells. Spring is the awakening of what was once dead but has now come alive. The Bible describes it, “For behold, the winter is past, The rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; The time has arrived for pruning the vines, And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, And the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, And come along!’ (Song of Solomon 2:11-13). 

The spring season reminds us of how important life truly is.  But what is life and what does it mean? What does it mean according to God?

In the beginning God created a perfect world. Why was this world so perfect? Because God’s presence was there and the presence of God brings life! However, man fell into Satan’s temptations, which removed the presence of the One who gives life. As a result, a curse was placed on this earth because of sin which has resulted in all of us being handed a sentence of death.  The image of a physical death and a curse on the earth which forewarns us of an ending we do not want to inherit.  That picture is eternal death. Eternal death means eternal seperation from God, the One whom gives life.

However, God had a plan; a plan to rescue us from that separation. He accomplished this by sending His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for us. This sacrifice bridges us back to the One who gives life! Eternally God has allowed us to escape our death sentence and has called us to live and reign with Him forever and ever. All you need to do is to confess Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and He will set you free and grant you eternal life in His Kingdom.

While the life God is concerned about is eternal, He gives us reminders and illustrations here on this earth.  Spring is a perfect time of year for that reminder. Spring brings hope that there will be brighter days ahead; days full of sunshine, happiness and joy. We see plants come to life, trees blossoming, flowers blooming, animals lively and birds chirping. These are all wonderful signs of life and should remind us that Jesus Christ gave us life through His death. It is a life that will allow us to live in peace and harmony with Him forever and ever. Remember, God is Life!

 

 

Posted in From the PulpitComments Off on Spring—a reminder of life

Ten timely tips to get feet ready for spring


(ARA) – From slogging through snow, ice and slush to being confined in heavy boots to fight the cold—if your feet could talk, what a tale of winter woe they might tell. You may be tempted to pull your sandals out of the closet and stuff your heaviest hosiery to the back of the sock drawer, but before you set your soles free to savor spring, some preparation is in order.
Being cooped up in cramped footwear during winter months can cause feet to suffer from a variety of ailments, from dry, flaky skin and discolored toenails to pesky corns and unsightly calluses. Pampering your feet in preparation for warm weather can help feet look and feel their best when warmer weather calls for donning flip-flops and peep-toe shoes.
“Caring for your feet not only promotes good hygiene, it can alert you to any problem areas that may need attention before slipping into sandals this spring,” says Dr. Michael King,  president of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). “Plus, it’s a good way to relax and de-stress after a tiring winter. When your feet feel good, you’re more likely to feel good all over.”
The APMA offers these 10 tips for getting your feet spring-ready:
1. Start with a soak. Immerse your feet in warm water with Epson salts, herbal soaks or oils for at least 10 minutes.
2. Use a pumice stone or foot file to gently remove thickened, dead skin build-up (calluses) around the pre-soaked heels, balls and sides of the feet. Never use a razor as it removes too much skin and can easily cause infection or permanent damage if used incorrectly.
3. Eliminate dry, flaky winter skin on the soles, sides and tops of the feet by using an exfoliating scrub.
4. Massage a generous amount of emollient-enriched skin lotion all over your feet, such as Amerigel Care Lotion, which has the APMA’s Seal of Approval. This hydrates the skin and the massaging helps to promote circulation. Be sure to remove any excess moisturizer from under your toenails or between toes; build-up in those areas can provide a breeding ground for bacteria.
5. Use a straight-edge toenail clipper to trim nails to just above the top of each toe to ensure nails don’t become curved or rounded in the corners.
6. Help lock in moisture by wearing a pair of poly-cotton blend socks at bedtime.
7. Forgo nail polish if your nails are not healthy. If you have healthy nails, remove polish regularly to keep them in top condition.
8. Wash your feet daily with soap and water. Dry carefully, paying extra attention to the area between your toes.
9. Inspect last spring and summer’s footwear. Throw away any shoes or sandals that appear worn.
10. If any skin or nail problems exist, see a podiatrist for a medical diagnosis.
Today’s podiatrists are physicians, surgeons and specialists are trained to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the foot, ankle and related structures of the leg. To find a podiatrist near you, log on to www.todayspodiatrist.com.
With a little foot-friendly preparation, your feet can be ready to step into spring … and let memories of winter boots melt away with the snow.

Posted in FeaturedComments Off on Ten timely tips to get feet ready for spring

Tips to spring into fitness


If you haven’t run all winter, it’s best to ease into a spring exercise routine.

(NewsUSA) – As the temperature starts to warm, many Americans think about lacing up their running shoes or pulling out their tennis rackets. But don’t let spring fitness fever corrupt your good judgment — if you haven’t exercised all winter, it’s better to ease into physical activity.

Not sure where to start? Here are some tips:

• Start slow. Attempting too much too soon will result in an injury or “hitting a wall” –reaching a point where your body can no longer recover from exercise. It takes about three weeks for your body to adjust to a new exercise routine and about six weeks before you’re ready for more aggressive activity. If you’re running, start with exercising three days a week. If you’re walking, you may be able to handle four or five days of exercise from the start. Increasing the duration or intensity of exercise by more than 10 percent each week puts you at a greater risk of injury, so be sure to progress gradually.
• Get the right equipment. Wear clothes that wick sweat — you’ll be much more comfortble. If you’re a runner, proper footgear will help your legs avoid unnecessary strain. Likewise, a well-fit bicycle can help cyclists avoid knee and other injuries.

• Don’t push through pain. Most exercise injuries are overuse injuries, meaning they occur when athletes push their muscles, tendons and bones past their limits. One sign that you’ve reached your limit? Pain. If you experience real discomfort, it’s better to take a few days off or see a doctor than risk worsening an injury.

Of course, some muscle pain is perfectly normal for those starting up an exercise routine. Schedule recovery days –days in which you either don’t exercise or engage in very light activity — to give your muscles a chance to rebuild between workouts.

If you experience routine muscle soreness, a topical product may help speed your recovery. For example, one product, Absorbine Jr. (www.absorbinejr.com), contains natural menthol and herbal extracts. The liquid pain reliever creates a penetrating warmth to soothe sore muscles, aching joints, arthritis and back and foot pain. Because it increases blood flow to sore muscles, Absorbine Jr. actually helps muscles heal as it provides pain relief. Absorbine products were initially formulated to soothe the strong muscle pain in horses. This inspired Absorbine Jr. for humans.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Tips to spring into fitness

Signs of spring!


It was still pretty cold out Monday, March 13, when two different readers sent the Post pictures of crocuses popping up in their yards.

Mary Lou Fuller, of Solon Township, sent us the photo of the beautiful purple crocuses pushing out of the ground, and Judy Gage, of Courtland Township, sent us the photo of the yellow wild crocus peeking out.

Gage said she’s lived there for 23 years, and she never knows where they will pop up. “Sometimes it’s only a handful, sometimes they’re everywhere. This year they popped up by the wellhouse,” she said.


Are you seeing any signs of spring? Send a photo and a short summary to news@cedarspringspost.com, and we may print it if space is available.

Posted in NewsComments Off on Signs of spring!