Building a home that is exceedingly comfortable – and one that consumes less energy, rather than building a home that just meets minimum building-code requirements, is super important to us at Nature Ridge Homes. Check out this short video that we put together during one of our recent builds which highlights some tips of the trade for constructing a better, energy-efficient house!
A beautiful journey across a rugged granite ridge landscape and through mature hardwood and spruce-hemlock forest, the Crowbar Lake Hiking Trail has no shortage of gorgeous vistas to take-in – absolutely perfect backdrops for the selfie-taking fanatic!
The trail system begins at 1800 Myra Road, Porters Lake, and is 16.5 kms of backwoods paths, which are arranged in a series of loops that allow for various routes of growing challenge – your hike can range from about an hour, to a full day (BONUS for the residents of Nature Ridge – the Crowbar Lake Trails are super-close to their doorsteps!).
Our new conservation design subdivision, which we call Nature Ridge, is located in central Porters Lake and has been 5 years in the planning…but now we’re ready for you and your awesome family! This pristine 215 hectare neighborhood, where 80% of the land has been preserved in its natural state, is flanked by magnificent Porters Lake and encompasses Jack Weeks Lake.
Nature Ridge features: large, beautifully treed lots (averaging approximately 2 acres in size); privacy and gorgeous vistas; paved Halifax streets; and, exceptionally constructed and personally tailored turn-key custom homes – priced from A – Z.
Our team at Nature Ridge Homes have always known that Porters Lake is one of the best kept secrets within Halifax, but now the secret is starting to get out! This amazingly special community is close to downtown Halifax, yet just far enough away to escape the hustle, bustle and noise of the city.
Porters Lake is vibrant and amenity-plentiful…a place where you can live connected to your neighbors, to nature, and, wide open space.
BUT don’t just take our word for it…read what the #PeopleOfPortersLake have to say about this hidden gem community:
If you’d like to find out more about Nature Ridge and what Nature Inspired Living is all about, contact us today (email@example.com or 902-209-1749) or visit our Award Winning Show Home at 112 Sugarwood Court, Porters Lake – we’re open Sundays between 1 & 4PM (or by appointment).
Infinite choice. One community. This is Nature Ridge.
Halifax Real Estate; New Homes Halifax; Halifax Home Builders; Home Builders in Halifax; Halifax Subdivisions; Custom Home Builders Halifax
Eight Seed Starting Basics
You might think growing from seed is a practice only for advanced gardeners, but it isn’t difficult to get the basics down. Rule number one: Don’t sow too early or your plants will be leggy and overgrown long before you can transplant them into the garden.
Typically, if the seed packet recommends sowing four to six weeks before the last frost date, it’s better to pick the four- rather than the six-week date. (To calculate the sowing date, count back from your region’s last frost date)
1. Choosing seeds
Annuals and vegetables are the easiest to grow. Perennials, however, are trickier because most need a period of cold to break dormancy and take a couple of seasons to reach flowering size.
Propagating kits (available at garden centres or hardware stores) include four or six cell packs, a tray to hold the packs and a plastic lid. If reusing containers, wash with soap, water and a little bleach, and make sure they have drainage holes. Newly sprouted seedlings may look alike, so label containers as you sow.
3. Sowing medium
Use fresh, sterile seed-starting mixture (available from garden centres). Moisten mixture about an hour before sowing; it shouldn’t be soggy, just as damp as a wrung-out sponge.
4. Follow directions
Seed packets contain information on timing, lighting requirements, sowing depth, and optimal germination and growing temperatures.
5. Keep moisture in
Lightly water freshly sown flats, then cover with plastic dome lid, or if reusing containers, place them inside a plastic zip-lock bag. At the first signs of germination, uncover or remove from plastic bag.
When the top of the soil looks dry, water carefully using a small watering can with a fine spray. Avoid overwatering: soggy soil and poor air circulation can lead to damping off, a fungal disease that can kill baby plants. Prevention is best, but the fungicide No Damp can also help.
A bright window works, but grow lights or cool fluorescent tubes are better. Keep seedlings about eight to 10 centimetres from light source to prevent plants from becoming too spindly. Plug lights into an automatic timer set for 16 hours on, eight hours off.
When seedlings have two sets of true leaves (the first leaves are called cotyledons—or seed leaves—so wait for the true ones), start feeding once a week with a balanced (20-20-20), water-soluble fertilizer at half-strength, working up to full strength after a few weeks.
Take it outside
Plants grown indoors need hardening off before they are planted outdoors. After the last frost date, start by setting them outside in a shady, sheltered spot, initially for half a day, then gradually leaving them out all day. Progressively move them into sunnier and windier areas to acclimatize to garden conditions.
11 Vegetable Plants to Start Indoors Before Spring:
Did you know that Martinique Beach Provincial Park is the longest sandy beach in Nova Scotia? (A captivating 5-km crescent shape, white-sand beach). The beach is situated in East Petpeswick, 11 km south of Musquodoboit Harbour in the Eastern Shore region. (From Halifax take either Highway 107 or 207 to Musquodoboit Harbour and turn right onto East Petpeswick Road.)
BE WARNED…the beauty of the Eastern Shore is very alluring and may just make you realize that you’re unhappy where you’re currently living, which, may result in the sale of your home and your relocation to Nature Ridge (our new green-space subdivision in Porters Lake)…a not too far drive from Martinique Beach!
For you naysayers who believe that you can’t enjoy a day at the beach in the wintertime, check out these GORGEOUS photos of Martinique Beach (credit to Val Ritcey Young)…bets are, you’ll think twice about it now! Get real. Get outside!
Diane Tuplin of Royal LePage Atlantic will be hosting a luncheon at our award winning Show Home on Thursday January 14th 2016 from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Stop by for some sandwiches and sweets and learn more about Nature Ridge, a new green space design subdivision in Porters Lake!
There will be great door prizes provided by RBC Royal Bank, Nature Ridge Homes and Diane Tuplin!
Well, it appears as though #OldManWinter is here to stay for awhile but don’t fret, there are plenty of super fun activities to do in the #Halifax area this time of year. This winter, be sure to experience Halifax through our pristine seacoast and Maritime landscapes. Halifax outdoor activities, trails, and off-the-beaten-path adventures will surely awaken the explorer in you.
Enjoy life…be cheery…get out and try some of these fun, relaxing, adventurous, exhilarating, good-for-your-body-and-soul activities in-and-around our amazing city:
- Go Hiking/Walking – Bundle up and enjoy the groomed trials at Point Pleasant Park or, right here on the Eastern Shore, close to Nature Ridge, explore the Musquodoboit Trailway or the Crowbar Lake Trail in Porters Lake. The Musquodoboit trail system is perfect for any type of hiking and wilderness adventure. The main trail starts near the Railway Museum in Musquodoboit, and is a well groomed trail; you can choose your own adventure, venturing off into several looped trails that climb up and provide stunning views of the Musquodoboit River and surrounding areas. This area is also known for climbing, with large rock faces and boulders. The main loop is the Admiral Lake Loop, which starts 1.7km into the main trail and loops around for 5km before returning to the main trail again. The terrain can be slightly tricky, but nothing too difficult. When you get to the “look off” (you will know!) pause and take in the awesome 180 degree views of the White Lake Wilderness Area. Be sure to pack lots of snacks and water. The Crowbar Lake trail is approximately 16.5 km of back-country trail within the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area. The trails offer some absolutely spectacular scenery in a rugged setting.
- Take a Sleigh Ride – Enjoy a fun and bumpy wagon ride at Hatfield Farm!
- Go winter surfing at Lawrencetown Beach. This south-facing stretch of sand which unfurls for nearly 1.5 km (1 mi), is renowned as a prime destination for local and international surfers. From your first breath-taking view of the beach and the ocean as you drive along Route 207 from the hustle and cosmopolitan bustle of downtown Halifax just twenty-five minutes away, you’ll fall under the spell of Lawrencetown. Bonus: Lawrencetown Beach is a very quick commute from Nature Ridge!
- Go outdoor skating – perfect for a winter date, a group of friends or a family outing, rent skates for free from the Emera Oval!
- Take in a show at Halifax’s Neptune Theatre! They offer an exciting mix of beloved classics and new hits that attract 80,000 patrons a year! It’s the perfect way to come in from the cold and enjoy some exciting live entertainment.
- Step back in time at the award-winning theatrical tour of Alexander Keith’s original Brewery! Mr. Keith’s guests are hosted by actors portraying citizens of 1863 Halifax!
- Head to the brand new Halifax Central Library for an abundance of games, toys, computers, books and more!
- Give your brain a workout at The Discovery Centre. Located in downtown Halifax, the Discovery Centre is Nova Scotia’s only hands-on science centre. With a mission to make science interesting, enjoyable and interactive, it’s the smartest place to play! The Discovery Centre features dynamic travelling and permanent exhibitions, a state-of-the-art digital planetarium, high-definition films, live science demonstrations and interesting science programs for all ages.
- Visit a Maple Sugar Farm. Sugar Moon Farm located on the Alex MacDonald Road off Hwy #311 between Truro and Tatamagouche, has 2500 taps, a log sugar camp and restaurant and are open year round. The farm continues the spring tradition of creating exceptional maple syrup over an evaporator fired with mountain hardwood.
Some Content Credit to: http://www.destinationhalifax.com/experience-halifax/outdoor-adventure
Every year, the Nova Scotia Home Builders’ Association (NSHBA) hosts its annual Peter Kohler Peak Awards which highlights some of the most prestigious awards in the residential construction industry, and recognizes the work association members have done over the past year. This annual gala event is a coming together of professionals from the residential construction industry to celebrate and recognize those who strive to set new standards of excellence in the residential construction industry.
This year, our team at Nature Ridge Homes is feeling extremely grateful for winning two Peak Awards for our Show Home: Outstanding New Home Over 2200 sq. ft. and Highest EnerGuide Rating in the 2015 Parade of New Homes. Our company is so fortunate to work with what we would consider to be the best trades and suppliers in the industry! A big “thank-you” goes out to them for their continued hard work; they all have certainly been instrumental in the success of Nature Ridge Homes!
Yet another great article talking about current scientific research which outlines the health benefits associated with living close to nature! (See below**).
The environmental investments are significant in #NatureRidge, our new #GreenSpaceCommunity in the #Halifax area, especially in wetland enhancement. The Nature Ridge community will sensitively grow in a way that will sustain the area’s natural ecosystem and preserve space for wildlife. Several ponds, streams and a lake in Nature Ridge are a haven for many kinds of plants, insects and aquatic life. The Nature Ridge Master Plan provides that 80% of the land is dedicated to #NaturePreservation and recreation.
(**) It’s no secret that a walk in the woods makes us feel great — especially this time of year when much of Canada is a riot of colour of changing leaves. But what is it exactly about strolling through green space that restores us?
It could be the mere act of walking; after all, any physical activity gets our blood pumping and the oxygen flowing. But lots of studies have shown that a brisk walk in the city is nowhere near as relaxing to both the mind and the body as a walk in nature.
Is it the sounds of the birds? The sight of trees and vegetation? The fresh air?
University of Illinois environment and behaviour researcher Ming Kuo has been studying nature’s effect on health. She’s combed through dozens of studies that have demonstrated the specific ways that walks in nature improve our health. They include:
- reducing blood glucose
- reducing inflammation
- improving sleep by promoting relaxation
- increasing feelings of awe and gratitude
- restoring attention
But Kuo believes the main way that nature works its magic on us is by helping us switch from “fight or flight” mode (which kicks in when we’re stressed), to a more restorative “rest and digest” mode.
When we’re in “rest and digest,” we feel safe and our bodies can relax. That allows our bodies to invest resources toward such things as digestion, cell renewal and restoration of the immune system.
“When we feel completely safe, our body devotes resources to long-term investments that lead to good health outcomes—growing, reproducing, and building the immune system,” Kuo said recently in a statement.
Now of course, there are lots of indoor ways to find relaxation, such as with yoga, mindfulness meditation, or listening to music. But Kuo says nature provides “active ingredients” that can improve our health. These include:
- phytoncides, which are antimicrobial volatile organic compounds that plants give off and that can reduce blood pressure and boost immune functioning
- negative air ions found in the air in forested and mountainous areas and near moving water, which reduce depression
- mycobacterium vaccae, a common soil bacterium that has been shown to work as an antidepressant
- nature sounds, which studies have shown activate the parasympathetic system and reduce heart rate
- and of course sunshine, which causes our bodies to produce vitamin D.
Kuo believes that all these ingredients of nature combine to enhance our immune systems.
“Nature doesn’t just have one or two active ingredients. It’s more like a multivitamin that provides us with all sorts of the nutrients we need,” she said.
Give your home a once-over and tend to winter preparation tasks and repairs before the year’s first frost. Getting the exterior of the home ready for the cold winds, snow and ice is critical for keeping Old Man Winter out and keeping it warm and toasty inside. By being proactive, you’ll lower your energy bills, increase the efficiency and lifespan of your home’s components, and make your property safer.
Windows and Doors
- Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
- Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
- Replace all window screens with storm windows.
- Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
- Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.
Lawn, Garden, and Deck
- Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
- Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
- Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
- Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
- Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terra cotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
- Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
- Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
- Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
- Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
- Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
- Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
- Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.
Tools and Machinery
- Bring all seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust.
- Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass, and debris.
- Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
- Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
- Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work.
- Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.
Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning
- Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
- Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
- Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
- Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
- Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
- Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
- Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
- If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
- Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
- Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
- Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
- Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug up any leaks.
Gutters, Roof, and Drains
- Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
- Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
- Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
- Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
- Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
- Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.
Done? Congratulations! You’re officially ready for winter.