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President Barack Obama carries on the Thanksgiving tradition of saving a turkey from the dinner table with a "presidential pardon" of 'Cheese' the turkey in the Grand Foyer of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Obama on safe legal ground with turkey pardon

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has issued an executive action that some of his Republican opponents may be hard-pressed to disagree with — sparing Thanksgiving turkeys from the dinner table. In the spirit of the holiday, Obama on Wednesday took “action fully within my legal authority, the same kind of action taken by Democrats and Republican presidents before me,” to pardon the National Thanksgiving Turkey, a 49-pound bird named Cheese. He also spared an alternate turkey, a 47-pounder named Mac. Both came from Cooper Farms in Oakwood, Ohio. “If you’re a turkey, and you’re named after a side dish, your chances of escaping Thanksgiving dinner …

When son knows best A Belchertown couple turns to their eldest to design their modern home

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Architect Uwe Brandes has designed everything from a military museum in Buffalo, New York, to an elementary school in Berlin, Germany. Currently the founding executive director of Georgetown University’s Master of Professional Studies in Urban Planning in Urban Planning in Washington. D.C., Brandes, 50, has another design on his resume that hits closer …

Your Place: Anti-slip tape may save full additive solution

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Q: We have a common California style balcony in front of our condo building, with a coat of epoxy that was put on by the contractor last year. The finish is very slippery. Is there anything we can apply on top of the epoxy coating that will make the finish less slippery? A: Some contractors use a sand-like additive to make epoxy finishes …

Your Place: Best laundry detergents among lowest cost, study says

Friday, August 15, 2014

Here’s something of a novelty: A recent study of laundry detergents by Consumer Reports found that some of the best stain fighters were also among the least expensive, including wallet-friendly warehouse-store brands Member’s Mark and Kirkland. In an article in its August issue, Consumer Reports said that while …

In the heat of summer, think of fall

Friday, August 15, 2014

Burnt out on summer? Start thinking fall — vegetables, that is. It seems like summer just started, but it’s time to begin work on the fall vegetable garden, too. Transplant seedlings for broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and celery. Indoors, plant seeds for leaf lettuce, chard, kohlrabi and other fall …

Pet projects: Home designs with dogs in mind

Friday, August 15, 2014

Gayle Plessner and her husband love their dogs, but the sound of the rain on the roof of their home in Westlake Village, a planned community on the border of Los Angeles, made them lament winter, the season …

How to rehab a 50-year-old ‘outdoor’ room: The gardens at Naumkeag in Stockbridge get a $2 million update

Friday, August 8, 2014

Trees die. Fountain drains get clogged. Masonry walls crumble. When a garden landscape is 50 to 100 years old, things fall apart. The gardens at Naumkeag, the Stockbridge masterpiece of landscape architect Fletcher Steele, were in dire straits …

Get Growing, tips from Master Gardener Cheryl B. Wilson: Butterfly bushes

Friday, August 8, 2014

Are you wondering why your butterfly bushes aren’t blooming? Blame the harsh winter. Many of us lost buddleias this spring due to the subzero temperatures in December and January. Peter Flynn at Bay State Perennial Farm in Whately …

Your Place: After air conditioner runs, a cigarette smell

Friday, August 8, 2014

Question: Over the last month, after running the air conditioner in my son’s room, we noticed that it smelled like an ashtray. There is no hidden source, like a collection of cigarette butts in his room, so the logical thing was to clean the current air conditioner and …

Right at Home: Pop art packs decor punch

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mid-century modern style is now firmly planted in the home décor landscape. And one of its elements, pop art, is cultivating a 21st century following. Eye-catching, graphic, often tongue-in-cheek or sassily whimsical, pop art décor plays well off …

Living Smart: How landscaping can deter intruders, pests

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Done right, landscaping can do much more than attract compliments and boost your property value. It can help you repel intruders, both human and natural. Landscaping experts who’ve earned high marks from Angie’s List members say overgrown bushes and shrubs are like welcome mats to burglars. Keep plants …

Thursday, July 31, 2014

◂ HATFIELD — These newly built luxury townhouse — 3 of 12 units to be built — will be ready for fall occupancy. They each feature three bedrooms and two and a half baths and are built to …

Get Growing, tips from Master Gardener Cheryl B. Wilson: Natural air conditioning

Thursday, July 31, 2014

When the thermometer tops 90 degrees we are all grateful for some kind of air conditioning. In my 1871 farmhouse, most of the air conditioning is the “natural” kind. My real estate agent was puzzled when I used …