Posted in drywall repair

Master Gardener: Protect your home from the wrath of woodpeckers

Answer: Woodpeckers can cause a lot of damage to a house! Several years ago, I noticed drywall dust on my bedroom nightstand, looked up, and discovered a hole in the wall. A pileated woodpecker had pecked through the cedar siding, sheeting, insulation, and drywall, causing $1,000 worth of damage. I then discovered that insurance doesn’t cover damage from birds. During the past week I have been chasing them off the house every time I happen to hear rat-a-tat-tat.

Related: Ask the Master Gardener: Add a splash of fall color to your yard with shrubberies

There are nine species of woodpeckers found in Minnesota. Flickers and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers leave for the winter, but the others stay here year-round. Don’t consider shooting them out your window because woodpeckers are a protected species — it is illegal to kill or trap one without a permit. Wood siding, especially soft wood like cedar,

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Posted in kitchen remodel

Feng Shui Lessons From a Design Master Who Has Your Back

This article is part of our latest Design special report, which is about taking creative leaps in challenging times.

I was clearly in over my head.

When I signed up for an online course in feng shui, an ancient Chinese practice of using design to enhance health and prosperity, I somehow missed the part about its being a “master” class. My fellow students included a graduate of a three-year program on the subject and three women whose homes already had been feng shui-ed by our instructor, Judith Wendell, the founder of Sacred Currents, a Manhattan-based consulting firm.

I, meanwhile, was a complete novice. And I was still struggling with the basics — including how to place the bagua, a template that is used to divide a space into nine zones — while my peers were ticking off “the producing order” of the five elements.

But I wasn’t the

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