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20 Things all Great Organizational Leaders Do

A great post from Dan Rockwell @ Leadership Freak. Might ever stick this one up by my desk. Concentrate on people, have fun and give back to the community. Sounds like a nice place to work?

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The Lawn strikes back!

So, yes I have been reading to much in the news about the new Star Wars films but it is sometimes a saga when dealing with the lawn!

Last weekend the lawn got put on hold, with the warmer weather there was just to much rain too and most of the lawn was saturated with some grass actually submerged.

This week has been a lot drier, and the lawn has had a chance to get out, in a bit, in fact the rain forecast for yesterday afternoon didn’t strike till the late evening and was a light shower. Great for the lawn growth!

This morning it is still a bit damp, but it is dry and blue skies, so maybe this promise of summer is coming true.

I am going to give it another 24hrs and hopefully Sunday will remain dry as is forecast.

Why are we obsessive about our lawns? What caveman instinct drives the need to battle the elements and desire a beautiful lawn?

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3 Simple Ideas to Conquer Email Overload

Maybe this will help in the office?

David Cummings on Startups

Every few months someone comes out with a new article on how to defeat email overload, and like the most recent diet fad, it gets some love and then goes away. Only, the volume of email continues to grow and the death of it is greatly exaggerated. I have a few friends that prefer texting and/or DMing over Twitter, but overall email dominates, big time.

Here are three simple ideas to conquer email overload:

  1. Only read emails in your inbox once and reply immediately if it’ll take less than two minutes to handle, otherwise promptly sort it into an appropriate folder
  2. Don’t — I repeat don’t — set your email program to automatically retrieve email, instead make it a manual process to get new messages (with Gmail make “Sent Mail” your homepage so that you don’t see when new messages come in)
  3. Allocate five time slots per day to check…

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Out comes the Lawnmower!

So it is that time of year again and the weather has finally warmed and more importantly it has started to bring some dry spells too. So out comes the lawnmer and last week the first cut of the year was a great feeling.

It has taken a bit longer this year for the lawn to look like its ready for a trim, but it has started to warm the last week or so and suddenly it was looking like it could do with a cut. Cool season grasses tend to get going at about 5C while the warm season grasses prefer a warmer 10C, but certainly spring time is when it all gets going.

Out lawn is a family lawn, so it takes quite a bit of punishment from ball games to dog antics, but we try to keep it looking not to bad.  Some regular cutting with the occasional watering in the dryer periods, with some feed and seed on any thin patches.  We always go for the organic and non-chemical approach as the lawn is a play area for kids and animals, so we avoid those.  Lucky for us we don’t suffer from moss or weeds in any great number some we can manage with a bit of seed here and there.

I hads a look around and here are some genral tips I found at http://landscaping.about.com/od/toppicks/ht/lawn_mowing.htm

  • Buy or borrow equipment for lawn mowing – I invested in a second hand petrol unit a few years back, to replace the old flymo.  It is a massive improvement, it cuts cleanly and even, plus the grass box picks up almost everything, so there is little in the way of clearning up to do.
  • Make sure the mower is in good condition – I always give the blades, underside and engine bay a good clear our before putting away for the winter, so this year the biggest issue was clearing out the old mice bedding from in the grass box.  Hopefully it was a nice winter resting spot for some local wildlife.
  • Adjust wheel height – I normally start at 2 inches and then work down over the next month of two.  My machine only has three setting so it makes it simple.
  • Clear objects and mark obstacles – nothing worse than going over the dogs old stick or a favourite toy.
  • Mow the lawn in a pattern – back and forth does the job
  • Use the half-pass trick – basically half of what you have just done, its a lot easier and a lot less load on the blade so a much more consistent cut.
  • Tidy up after lawn mowing – rake up all the loose clipping, this will depend on your mower, finally clean and maintain your mower.  This will vary on the type, I clean out the grass, check over the blade, check oil and ensure the fuel line is close and tank secure.
  • Mow early and often, but mow “high”the ideal is early in the day once the dew has dried off and once a week if you can.  When the growth is at its maximum, our lawn needs a cut mid week too, but if you do this on a thursday, it means the lawn is nice and tidy for the weekend.

Happy mowing!

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Diggin’ The Dirt with Your Kids: A Child’s Garden

Can’t wait to get digging in the garden… if it would just stop raining for a moment.

Field Notes From Fatherhood

kidsGardenSo our last post helped nudge you in the direction of doing a bit of gardening with the kids. Great! But a lot of folks may be new to this, so you might be looking for some helpful advice.

Keep in mind that you don’t have to go hog-wild with a vegetable plot and plant everything under the sun; you don’t necessarily have to plant vegetables at all – some nice flower beds that will attract bees, birds, butterflies and other wildlife are fabulous too.

But let’s say you want to go with some veggies, since you’re looking to incorporate some homegrown produce into the family diet. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Start small. A smaller plot is obviously easier to prepare and maintain, and can always be expanded later if there is space. Choose a spot that receives at least 8 hours of sunlight…

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To dispose or not dispose?

I’m trying to decide what to do about my shaving? Suffering from a fairly consistent evening shadow, a poor razor makes quite a difference. Most likely a question all non-bearded blokes will have pondered. Do I use the re-usable razor, do I use a disposable or go for it and get myself a cut throat razor? I’m leaving out electric razors out as that is just to much to consider in one go, maybe next time.

So let’s assume that most of us are to shaky of hand or nervous of disposition to go for the cut throat. That leaves the modern razor and its host of features and gizmos. Now some of these gizmos may actually work but just how close a shave we can get and how many blades we need, I’m not sure, but eventually there must be a point when you can’t fit any more blades on the head and there is only so much power a vibrating handle can cope with.

Putting aside the wonderfully and fancy (marketing options) I started to wonder which of the blade options is best. Now I imagine that the choice of razor will be very specific to the individual.  The main options seem to be three types, the disposable pack of 10+, the disposable pack of 3-5 and finally the razor with replacement heads.

With each option the costs are widespread, so the best way to look at this might be to look at cost per razor or maybe your choice will be determined by the various technological claims? It’s now starting to get complex and standing in the supermarket trying to get your head round this might leave your regular bloke to grab what he knows and make a dash for it.

So maybe it is all just a big marketing scam! Are they all the same, and does the umpteenth blade actually make all the difference? I guess that it is maybe a case of trial and error, see what you like and are comfortable with?

Just for the record, I’m using a disposable 5 pack from a certain brand, they blade tends to blunt quite quickly but I only use for a about week, so a pack last a month. I used to use the replacement heads but they seem to cost more so I tend to use them longer. The other downside is that the handle grips get very mucky and so I tend to find myself cleaning the the handle! The large packs just don’t cut it for me to flimsy and only last about half a shave.

So I’m not really any further forward. I’ll just keep shaving and trying not the bleed to death in the process.

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9 Reasons Why You Should Garden with Your Kids

A fantastic way to spend quality time for all the family and great development for kids and adults alike. I’m inspired to turn some lawn into a veg patch? The zucchini bread looks very tasty!

Field Notes From Fatherhood

It was called The Cultivator, and it was an instrument of torture. A creaky, curmudgeonly metal wheel in front of four plow blades that we would muscle through reluctant spring soil, blisters blooming on our hands as we heaved and hoed the damn thing along. It was a fantastic tool – for hanging on a barn wall as a quaint reminder of the way things were done in days long gone by. But at our house it was still very much in use, a purgatorial precursor to the actual planting of the vegetable garden.

The preparation was holy hell, but when the soft moist soil was ready to receive the rows of green beans, the hills of summer squash and cucumbers, the tomatoes and peppers and Silver Queen corn, the Brussels sprouts and cabbages, I was right there with my family, taking part in the beginnings of a metamorphosis that…

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