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6 Gardening Hacks You Need to Know This Spring

6 Gardening Hacks You Need to Know This Spring

Christmas has come and gone and, if you’re a suffering Brit like me, you’ll have been patiently awaiting Summer for what feels like an eternity. Considering Summer usually only lasts for a few short weeks, it’s important to be prepared as soon as those days hit in order to capitalize on the small amount of sun we actually get.

One of the best Spring and Summer pastimes is enjoying the weather in your own garden; sometimes though, the Winter months take such a huge toll on your back yard that repairing the damage can be time consuming and costly. If you want to find more eco-friendly ways to look after your garden and spend less time and money treating it, here are few tips to help you do just that.

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Remove rust with vegetables

Do you want to get rid of rust on your barbecue tools  or patio furniture? Believe it or not, one of the cheapest ways to do this is sitting right in your kitchen. Cut a raw potato or cucumber in half and scrub the rusted areas with the flat, moist surface of your chosen vegetable. Trust us, it works wonders, and there’s absolutely no need to spend money on kitchen sprays and scrubbing tools.

Get rid of candle wax with a paper towel and a butter knife

Al fresco dining is great and atmospheric, but can be messy; don’t worry if you overdid it with the candles at last night’s dinner party, you can remove candle wax easily.

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Start by using a butter knife to scrape off as much of the wax as you can from affected rug or tablecloth, and then place a paper towel over the affected area. Put iron on low heat over the paper. This will warm up the wax enough for the paper towel to absorb it.

Clean glass with vinegar

If you want to clean glass table tops or windows, you don’t need harmful chemicals to do it. Make your own glass-washing fluid with a mix of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. If you’ve used commercial products on your glass surfaces before, you may need to add a few drops of dish water to the solution. This will remove the waxy residue left by your old conventional glass cleaners.

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Use a trellis to brighten up your walls

If you want to brighten up an unsightly concrete (or just plain dull) wall, then it’s worth considering climbing plants and trellis’ for a quick and simple uplift. This year willow expandable trellis is making a comeback but if you check out trellis at Jewson Tools or any other reputable gardening supplier you’ll uncover a range of decorative trellis and garden features that will fit your style.

For advice on planting climbers, the BBC Gardening Guide is a great source for information and inspiration.

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Use salt to make paving stones look better

Nothing is less inviting than an unkempt driveway and if you’re looking to sell a property this Spring, you’ll really need to up your curb appeal game. If weeds are growing between the cracks in the paving stones on your patio, or on your concrete driveway – salt is all you need! Just sprinkling a bit in the affected areas should do the trick.

Please note: Salt can build up in soil and cause issues for plants you want to keep. So, if there’s a flowerbed next to your patio, be careful not to wash the salt into the soil.

Use a clothespin for safety

When working on DIY projects in your backyard, use a clothespin (rather than your fingers) to keep nails in place as you hammer it in. It may take a little extra time, but will absolutely save in money in the swear jar!

Featured photo credit: Huffington Post via i.huffpost.com

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Jess Melia

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Last Updated on June 20, 2019

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

Science Says Guitar Players’ Brains Are Different From Others’

There’s nothing quite like picking up a guitar and strumming out some chords. Listening to someone playing the guitar can be mesmerising, it can evoke emotion and a good guitar riff can bring out the best of a song. Many guitar players find a soothing, meditative quality to playing, along with the essence of creating music or busting out an acoustic version of their favourite song. But how does playing the guitar affect the brain?

More and more scientific studies have been looking into how people who play the guitar have different brain functions compared to those who don’t. What they found was quite astonishing and backed up what many guitarists may instinctively know deep down.

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Guitar Players’ Brains Can Synchronise

You didn’t read that wrong! Yes, a 2012 study[1] was conducted in Berlin that looked at the brains of guitar players. The researchers took 12 pairs of players and got them to play the same piece of music while having their brains scanned.

During the experiment, they found something extraordinary happening to each pair of participants – their brains were synchronising with each other. So what does this mean? Well, the neural networks found in the areas of the brain associated with social cognition and music production were most activated when the participants were playing their instruments. In other words, their ability to connect with each other while playing music was exceptionally strong.

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Guitar Players Have a Higher Intuition

Intuition is described as “the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning” and this is exactly what’s happening when two people are playing the guitar together.

The ability to synchronise their brains with each other, stems from this developed intuitive talent indicating that guitar players have a definite spiritual dexterity to them. Not only do their brains synchronise with another player, but they can also even anticipate what is to come before and after a set of chords without consciously knowing. This explains witnessing a certain ‘chemistry’ between players in a band and why many bands include brothers who may have an even stronger connection.

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This phenomenon is actually thought to be down to the way guitarists learn how to play – while many musicians learn through reading sheet music, guitar players learn more from listening to others play and feeling their way through the chords. This also shows guitarists have exceptional improvisational skills[2] and quick thinking.

Guitar Players Use More of Their Creative, Unconscious Brain

The same study carried out a different experiment, this time while solo guitarists were shredding. They found that experienced guitar players were found to deactivate the conscious part of their brain extremely easily meaning they were able to activate the unconscious, creative and less practical way of thinking more efficiently.

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This particular area of the brain – the right temporoparietal junction – typically deactivates with ‘long term goal orientation’ in order to stop distractions to get goals accomplished. This was in contrast to the non-guitarists who were unable to shut off the conscious part of their brain which meant they were consciously thinking more about what they were playing.

This isn’t to say that this unconscious way of playing can’t be learnt. Since the brain’s plasticity allows new connections to be made depending on repeated practice, the guitar player’s brain can be developed over time but it’s something about playing the guitar in particular that allows this magic to happen.

Conclusion

While we all know musicians have very quick and creative brains, it seems guitar players have that extra special something. Call it heightened intuition or even a spiritual element – either way, it’s proven that guitarists are an exceptional breed unto themselves!

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Featured photo credit: Lechon Kirb via unsplash.com

Reference

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