Gardening – The Mulberry

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Safety Tips

The mulberry tree belongs to the Morus genus that consists of about 12 species found over Mediterranean and north temperate regions with two being native to North America. The commonly cultivated black mulberry comes from an ancient line which has now been introduced into many countries of the world. It is believed to have been in cultivation for over 5000 years. It has variable leaf forms.

It produces a delicious fruit which is plentiful in summer and that ripens over a period long enough to enjoy the harvest for some weeks as the green berries mature to red or black. It is a notoriously difficult fruit to harvest, as are all the soft berry fruits, so there is ample scope for an enterprising soul to consider a way of developing an easier and efficient harvest and offering a new commercial crop.

In home gardens mulberry picking is enjoyed by children who are capable of exploring to seek to enjoy the sweet rewards as well as picking an amount for common consumption. However, they should be tutored to use the green, inedible fruit to rub away the persistent stains from the ripe fruit.

The White Mulberry, Morus alba is known as Sang Ye in China where it originated. It was introduced into Europe about 1434 from the Levant where it was cultivated mainly for the purpose of providing food for silkworms. It was introduced and is now naturalised in the U.S. providing an important food for wildlife. In Australian gardens it is welcome as a tasty home fruit, sweet and marketable also. The leaves when fed to silkworms produce a light yellow silk.

The tender young leaves are edible in small quantities when fresh or can be cooked as spinach. The leaves are used medicinally for treatment of fever and externally for ringworm. The root skin provides a medicine for bronchitis. The fruits which vary from pink to deep red/black are delicious to eat and in China it is regularly recommended to relieve insomnia, flu, high blood pressure, vertigo and other complaints. Fruit contains vitamins a B1, B2 and C.

Texas Mulberry or Morus microphylla grows as a small tree in the canyons of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona where it was once cultivated by Indians of the area and it is still considered a food source.

White Mulberry is a native of France Morus multicaulis

Black Mulberry, English Mulberry Morus nigra originated in Iran and known in antiquity when it was apparently much appreciated for its large, sweet juicy fruit. This is the species preferred by consumers large succulent fruits are delicious and sweeter, more flavoursome than the white mulberry. The unripe fruit when crushed, removes the stains from the ripe and often messy fruit. The leaves produce a lovely golden silk thread when fed to silkworms.

Red Mulberry, Morus rubra is a native of Nth America found from Vermont to Sth Dakota and south to Florida. Finely toothed leaves are coated with soft down in autumn. Red fruits are of inferior quality.

The Black Mulberry Morus nigra is often known as the English Mulberry for the following reason. In England James I tried to introduce a new silk industry into England. He issued a Royal edict recommending the cultivation of silkworms and urging the Shires to buy and distribute 10,000 mulberry plants of Morus nigra to all who would sow them, only to be advised that it was the wrong species of mulberry and the enterprise was abandoned. That is the reason that there are many ancient Black Mulberry trees still existing in England and very few old White ones. Regrettably, it was later discovered that both species of mulberry were used in the orient for silk.

Shakespeare’s mentions a mulberry – a Black Mulberry – and that it was not suitable for rearing silkworms, so reflecting the general disappointment of the times.

There is one surviving Mulberry tree in the private grounds of Buckingham Palace to this day. It still is bearing but in no way remarkable in size or spread.

Mulberry leaf is an old cottage remedy for ringworm. A very important purpose of the fruit is as a food supplement in the diet of heart patients, with some remarkable beneficial results.

For those who wish to introduce the Australian home hobby for children by keeping a few silkworms it can offer a fascinating and interesting experience for both infants and parents. Unfortunately there is little ultimate pleasure to be had from the silk produced, but it is certainly an exercise in nature studies!

It would be best to be sure of adequate supply of leaves by having planted your own trees in the yard, or at least enquire about a reliable and close alternative source. The leaves are best when fresh but keep for a little time in the fridge. It may be interesting for those unfamiliar with silkworm culture to know that if mulberry leaves for any reason are not available, a temporary diet of beetroot leaves will produce pink tinted silk and lettuce leaves will tend to give lemon coloured thread.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Gardening

Home Remodeling Tips

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Safety Tips

When many homeowners think about having to remodel their house, the first thought to come to their mind is that it is going to cost a lot of money to get the house to look the way that they want it to. However, that is not always the case. Homeowners to not have to have a very large budget to get the house to look the way that they want because there are a lot of project homeowners can do themselves in order to same some money here and there. A lot of do it yourself projects are cheaper then if you were to hire someone to do the job for you and if you do the project yourself you are sure to get the results that you are looking for.

The first step when you are going to remodel your house is to see what projects you can handle on your own. If you are a handy person and good at construction then there may be a lot of projects that you can do yourself. Once you have decided what project you would like to work on then next step is to search on the Internet to see if there are any home remodeling tips available for the specific project you are working on. There are many Web sites on the Internet that are dedicated to helping individuals with projects to work on around the house, therefore there is sure to be an abundance of tips available no matter what project you choose.

Even if you are not a very crafty person and do not have a lot of construction experience there are still plenty of projects that you can complete around the house by yourself to help with the remodeling project. Once task that is rather simple to do is to update the home hardware throughout the entire house. This may seem like a rather insignificant project in regards to home remodeling, however installing hardware such as new cabinet knobs and pulls in to the kitchen cabinets can make a big difference. Updating the kitchen and bathroom cabinet knobs is a rather cheap project and if you do it yourself you can save yourself a lot of money than hiring someone to do it for you.

In addition to cabinet and door hardware another simple project for homeowners to work on during a remodel is installing new lighting fixtures and accessories. Updated lighting fixtures in the kitchen, bathroom, living room or any other room in the house for that matter can make a big difference in the overall style and atmosphere in a particular room. In rooms such as the kitchen and bathroom, homeowners can install new faucets in the sink to help update that room as well.

When you are performing a remodel in the house it is important for you to make sure to take the necessary safety precautions before you begin. While smaller projects may not require safety goggles and hats, bigger projects that require tools will. The more safety precautions you make before you start the remodel, the better.

Tori works for Your Home Supply (YHS) the definitive website for home improvement tools, and gardening supplies. Your Home Supply offers a wide range of cabinet pulls. Visit them now at http://www.YourHomeSupply.com

Texas Windstorm Insurance

April 29, 2009 by  
Filed under Home Safety Tips

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of spending a summer on the gulf coast you’re already well aware of what windstorms are-and more importantly, what they can do to your home. For residents of Texas, however, windstorms are more than a nameless, faceless threat that seems bound and determined to ruin your vacation. They’re an unavoidable part of daily life, and they’re something that has to be considered when it comes to their home.

That’s why so many Texans look to the TWIA.

A windstorm can and often does wreak an incredible amount of havoc on homes in and around Texas. Because of its proximity to the coast on (almost) all sides most of Texas’s homes are considered to be at a high risk for damage by the various hurricanes and tornadoes that come stampeding through the area on a regular basis. Since they happen often, and with little regard to the damage they leave behind, most homeowners insurance providers won’t touch the damages that wind and hail leave behind in these areas with a ten foot pole.

Recognizing the fact that living in a high risk area with no protection against the damages left behind was unacceptable for Texas homeowners, the state created the TWIA (Texas Windstorm Insurance Association). ┬áThe TWIA issues insurance policies to Texas homeowners who absolutely, positively can’t find insurance coverage in the private sector. Like most last-ditch attempts (at, well, anything!) an insurance purchase made through the TWIA is more expensive than insurance purchased through the private sector; however, it’s a vast improvement over not having any insurance coverage at all when a hurricane comes sweeping in off the coast!

If you’re a Texas homeowner and you haven’t been able to find insurance coverage to protect your home against the wind, rain and hail because of where it’s located, contact an insurance agent about purchasing a policy through the TWIA. The first thing they’ll do is send you an insurance application that you’ll need to fill out and return, and give you directions on completing your TWIA home inspection.

Last ditch resort or not, the TWIA isn’t going to set its members up to have to pay insurance claims over and over again. Before they’ll insure a house they want to know that it isn’t going to go plunging to the ground the first time the wind starts to blow! To make sure that your home is up to current building code the TWIA is going to require you to get a WPI-8 certificate for your home.

What’s that mean? It means if the Big Bad Wolf comes knocking with ten mile per hour winds backing him up your home isn’t going to be reduced to firewood!

There’s nothing like the feeling of living on the gulf, but the last thing you want to do is have to sacrifice your home for the privilege. Contact your insurance agent to find out about protecting your Texas home from windstorms through the TWIA today.

Clifford. F. Berman is the CEO of QuoteScout.com. For over a decade QuoteScout has been matching customers’ requests for insurance quotes with local agents and national providers to help them find the best insurance prices in the business. For more information on buying Texas windstorm insurance, visit them on the web at http://www.QuoteScout.com