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As the harsh weather nears, many gardeners take the time to prepare their garden beds and flower plots to withstand the harshness of the winter. The end of fall is also a good time to clean your garden tools properly and put them in safe storage. Here are a few tips to help you do so.

Clean Your Tools Thoroughly

Before you put your garden tools in storage, make sure that you have cleaned them thoroughly. Don’t allow soil and garden debris to remain on your tools over the winter. Doing so might damage their surface and usability while destroying the integrity of your tools.

Remove Signs of Rust

If any of your tools are already showing signs of rust, take the time to move it now before you store your tools over the winter. Use a piece of sandpaper offering a fine grade to gently rub the area that has rusted. If your gardening shears have rusted, rub them gently with a pasty mixture of cream of tartar and lemon juice.

Allow Your Tools to Dry

While thorough cleaning of your garden tools is important, so is allowing them to dry completely before putting them away.

Store Your Tools Properly

The best way to prevent your tools from rusting over the winter is to store them in a container filled with a mix of oil and sand. Otherwise, you might want to consider hanging them on a peg board or storing them safely in a large bin or cabinet.

Clean Your Garden Gloves

Before you put your gloves away for the winter, give them a good washing. If they are still in usable condition, put them away in a secure location where rodents can’t get to them over the winter. Fix any minor tears now to keep your gloves in good shape.

Clean Your Garden Pots

If you have terracotta pots to store, clean them thoroughly with water using a soft brush or clean rag. For pots with white stains created by salt in your water or soil, clean them with a solution of water, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol to remove the damage.

Clean Garden Accessories

Take the time to clean and dry all of your other garden accessories, including tomato cages, watering cans, plant stakes, and measuring cups. Doing so makes it possible for you to continue using these items for many growing seasons.

Wash And Store Heavy Equipment

Use a good car wash hose brush to clean you mower, tractor, chipper, dump truck or any heavy piece of machinery that will not be in use over winter. Store these under cover if possible and you’ll be able to do some basic maintenance work on them and not get too wet and dirty!

If you love gardening or farming, then you understand the value of maintaining your tools while you are not using them. To ensure your tools are ready for your next growing season, put aside an afternoon specifically dedicated to the proper cleaning, drying, and storing of your equipment before you settle in for the winter.

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Finding Happiness: Do What You Love, and Why It’s So Important

by Leigh Summer

Finding Happiness No Matter What Life Brings

Let’s face it. Life can get crazy at times! It’s not always easy to get a grip. Sometimes it’s hard to keep energy levels high, accomplish tasks, find time for the things that matter most, and to just plain feel good about life. But life is our most prized and seemingly fleeting possession (You know what they say: You only live once). It’s vital to feel happy in order to truly enjoy our lives. In fact, there’s a fairly common philosophical school of thought, called Eaudonomionism, which suggests that happiness is the greatest of all goods. So how does one go about enjoying life and finding happiness?

It’s naïve to suggest that the key to finding happiness lies in one place. But there is a simple step that you can take to greatly improve your outlook on life: Do what you love.

Most of us feel like there’s not enough time in the day; however, the decision to make time for the things you enjoy doing is crucial. Not only is it important to make time to take part in your hobbies and interests, it’s key to make them work for you in a way that maximizes enjoyment and feelings of accomplishment.

Finding happiness can be tough in the face of life's challenges.Do What You Love At Least Part Of The Time

Unfortunately it’s common for people to choose income over passion. It’s certainly understandable, but it can lead to a drastic deficit in career satisfaction and enjoyment. Our jobs take up so much of our time and so much of our brain power. Being unhappy about our work can lead to general unhappiness in life (definitely not a milestone in the quest to finding happiness). However, a career change can be a dramatic upheaval in one’s life. Not many people wish to take such a huge leap of faith. Also while a great deal of people don’t pursue their passion, a good percentage of these people feel fairly positive about their career choice regardless of the fact that it’s not their dream job. Enter the hobby.

Let Your Hobby Be Your Passion

Hobbies are fantastic ways to channel your passion and even make a little money. If you can’t turn your passion or hobby into a full-time profession, there are still ways to make it a rewarding part of your life. First, identify the thing or things that make you the happiest. Think carefully. As we go through our day we often forget to add intention to our actions. We move by rote, and pay little attention to how we feel about what we’re doing. It can be helpful to look back at childhood and adolescent keepsakes and consider what you used to enjoy back then when you had less responsibilities. If you really can’t think of anything that brings you true enjoyment, explore a few ideas. Try something new! Take an art class! Try ballroom dancing. Open mike night at the local club where you can showcase your poetry? Try anything that catches your eye. Then evaluate. Do you get a buzz of excitement? Eager to learn more or pursue it further? If so, you’ve discovered a potential hobby.

Make Finding Happiness A Habit

Once you’ve decided on the activity or activities that bring you the most joy, begin to incorporate these findings into your routine. Find time in the evening, during break, or on weekends to research and actively pursue your hobby. Don’t turn it into a scheduled thing though! Doing that can gradually make it seem like just another chore. If one day you simply don’t feel it, don’t force yourself. There’s no reason to add pressure to something that’s meant to be purely fun.

Learning new things about your hobby can be exciting and inspiring. Connect with other people who also enjoy your passion, preferably in person rather than online. Local hobby clubs are a great way to expand your knowledge and find willing ears to talk about your passion. You might even be able to participate in group events.  Talk about finding happiness! That’s one fantastic way to keep the mojo going.

The key to finding happiness is to do what you love.Spending time doing something you love on a regular basis can make life in general seem brighter. Incorporating your hobby or passion into everyday life can make you feel liberated, as work schedules and other responsibilities can often make you feel trapped. Also, some hobbies, such as cooking, are rewarding in fairly obvious ways and can make us feel accomplished without having to pursue it beyond the home. However, you may wish to take your hobby a step further. By exploring options regarding some sort of gain, monetary or otherwise, your hobby can become a source of further pride and satisfaction. Making any amount of money doing something you love can make one feel more positive and optimistic, and make the entire experience more substantially rewarding.

Turning Your Hobby Into A Career

Start by researching your options. Many hobbies, such as art or writing, can be turned into financial gain right from home. Selling to friends and acquaintances or selling online can make the process easier and less time consuming. This can be an appealing option for people who are already busy or would rather not forfeit the entirety of their free time. The financial gain will often be relatively small, but for those who already have jobs the amount isn’t as important as the feeling of reward for your efforts.

Others may wish to pursue things beyond the home and into a more public setting. Things such as publishing works of writing, renting out art galleries, or even seeking ways to advertise the product of your hobby put your work more in the public eye and therefore maximize recognition and income. Both options are rewarding in their own way and greatly beneficial to finding happiness, but the latter is more time and effort consuming than the former. If you feel a true drive to take your passion as far as you can, don’t let yourself be discouraged. Unfulfilled ambition can be frustrating and uncomfortable and can turn your newfound source of happiness into just another dead end.

Remember that this is not your job. You’re doing this for fun! Don’t let yourself feel limited, stuck, unsatisfied, or unhappy about your hobby, as that defeats the purpose of pursuing it. Keep in mind that there’s no outside pressure in this area of your life, and that nobody is expecting anything extravagant from you. Save those feelings for work (where they may or may not apply), and don’t let them taint your experience.

Finding happiness is the key to a more satisfying life. The importance of your own personal happiness should never be ignored. Once you feel happier you’re more likely to feel more energized, positive, eager, motivated, and content in life. While this puzzle is ongoing and has no simple solution, pursuing an activity that you truly enjoy can bring countless benefits. The best part is that anyone can do it, and it doesn’t have to take away from any other part of your life if you don’t want it to. Everyone has something they love to do, so why not start doing it today?

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