Posted in business

How to Build a Website or Blog

The best way for an inexperienced person to build a website or blog is to find (hire) someone else’s website that is specifically designed to build websites.  Kind of like a website for dummies approach. These sites offer simple, straightforward advice and instructions that even the most computer illiterate people can follow. 

Keep in mind that Blogs are websites, so any reference here to a website will apply to building a blog too.

Find a Website Builder

Website builders or advisors can be found easily online and are great because they do most of the work. All that is required from you is the unique and specific information or items you wish to promote. And money, as these website building services are rarely free. Some sites do offer free advice and basic blog templates, often a great way to get your feet wet so to speak.

There are many such website builders designed and committed to building websites for others. Do your research to find one that suits your needs. Most have experienced employees that can offer valuable online support to advise and guide even the most inexperienced and novice person through the steps of building a website, regardless of what the website is to be used for.

Other things covered in the price of a website builder are spam filters, analytic tools, tutorials, templates, and troubleshooting. The support staff will also provide ongoing advice to help to keep the website running smoothly. These features make the process even simpler for you. Keep in mind that these extra services are the ones not usually included in the “free” offers.  

An online store is also usually available permitting your clients to purchase products you sell.  A free shopping cart for clients and use of PayPal is usually also available to enhance the shopping experience on the website.

Prices may vary depending on ongoing discounts and promotions offered as well as the length of the contract period selected.  When a contract is signed, rates are usually charged on a monthly basis. The good news here is that these charges can be claimed as expenses on your income tax if you claim your business income.

I chose WordPress (WP) for this blog, starting with a free site and domain, then purchasing a domain to lose the wordpress.com tag to my URL.

Finding a Domain

Finding and paying for an available domain name is a crucial thing to think about in the process of building a website. Your domain name will be the URL or address for your new website. When you register a domain name, no one else can use it for their website.  A unique, catchy URL is important since it will draw people to your website and help them remember the name to visit again or recommend it to others.

Some companies (the one you hired to build your website) provide a free domain name, if not they will show you how to find one that is available for use.  As mentioned under website builders, WP does provide a domain to use.

Advertising on Your Website

If advertising is desired on your new website, the website company you have hired will most likely provide some free credit through the services of Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.  This is beneficial if the website is to be used to make money, so if that is something you require, be sure the website company you choose offers that service.

Conclusions

The biggest tip I can offer is to research your options on all the offers available online. Some will boast they are free, but often just the basic start-up process is actually free. Most offer “packages” based on the services provided, starting at free and increasing in price. Keep in mind the adage “you get what you pay for.” Make a list of features you need on your website or blog and find someone to help you.

Regardless of whether you choose the free options or pay for help, your new website should be up and running in no time providing worldwide exposure.  Remember too that money paid to run your website is tax-deductible under business expenses.

It is so easy, even I managed to build a website for Gardens4u, my landscaping business, and this blog. When I started out (2012) I considered myself a website beginner. I have learned so much over the years that I have since promoted myself to someone with moderate knowledge of websites.

I use Yola for my business website and WordPress for my blog, both of which are listed in the top website builders for 2021.

photo credit

Posted in gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.ca

Last Garden Project of the Season for Gardens4u

I finished my last garden project of my Gardens4u season recently. The beautiful weather we have experienced lately has certainly helped in that I was able to extend the season a bit.

This latest garden project was for a neighbour. I had already designed a garden in her front yard a few years ago…

…but the condition of her lawn after the drought conditions of this past summer convinced her to extend the garden right to the road.

So, she dug up what little lawn was left, giving me a blank slate….my favourite design opportunity! I amended the existing soil with composted manure, then added stepping stones to divide the yard visually….and to provide access for maintenance as well as amusement for her grandchildren…

 Instead of one large garden, I treated the sections as individual gardens with taller plants in the center and lower ones around the perimeters. I think this will create added visual appeal. (this may be difficult to see now, but will be obvious when the plants mature) Several existing plants were moved to achieve this effect; those that were previously at the edges of the garden were moved to the fronts of each new bed, with taller ones planted behind them. A row of drought-tolerant, succulent groundcover now edges the curb where the lawn refused to thrive.

 After the plants settled into their new homes, mulch was added to finish off the project and protect the new plants over the winter. 

The neighbouring yard/garden visible in my pictures is the mature version of one of my very first Gardens4u projects, way back in 2012.

The challenge now is waiting until spring to see this latest design come alive!

Posted in blog, gardening, loreeebee.wordpress.com

Late October Blooms in Gardens4me

Due to the beautiful weather we have experienced so far this fall, (yesterday we hit 25 degrees C or 77 F) I still have blooms in late October in Gardens4me. Not many, but a few.

Still Blooming

Roses, in particular, are still pretty cheerful, one of the reasons I love and plant roses of all types in my gardens; many of the new varieties bloom from June until the ground freezes. One of my hardy hibiscus is still producing blossoms too, as are the daisies, sage, silver lace vine, and perennial geraniums.

Our Canadian winters are typically long (cold and icy) enough without an early freeze up, so hopefully, that won’t happen too soon. I do still have a few gardens to put to bed for the season.

Gorgeous Seed Heads

Even though the foliage on most perennials has yellowed (time to tidy it up), I love the look of the seed heads many produce. Especially the ornamental grasses; the cool season varieties are (still) gorgeous!

Fall Maintenance

Some grasses I leave as is over the winter, to let the seed heads blow in the wind. Others, particularly the ones I cannot see from my windows, I chop back to 6 inches from the ground. This gives me one less chore to get to in the spring.

Most of the annuals I have around Gardens4me have seen better days and need to be put out of their misery, but the colours in this coleus are still brilliantly beautiful. The sedge grass, heuchera and lamium around the coleus are all perennials whose foliage continues to look nice until covered in snow. I will leave the coleus there for a bit longer…

Late October Blooms
coleus top, sedge bottom left, heuchera bottom center, lamium bottom right

Looking Ahead

With the temperature much more fall-like today and in the forecast this coming week and next month, I am pretty sure this will be my last post about my Gardens4me. One of the best things about the restrictions surrounding the coronavirus is the increased amount of time I spent in my own gardens this 2020 season. I hope you enjoyed my pictures as much as I loved taking them. What did we ever do before cell phones and their ever-accessible cameras? Even my grandkids are getting proficient at using mine.

Posted in lorieb.wordpress.com, nature

Early Morning Adventures

One thing I do not miss since I retired from my career as a medical laboratory technologist is the early morning wake-ups. Unless of course an early morning is the prelude to a vacation, something we are all just dreaming about these days. Although I have discovered since retiring that I am not a morning person, especially when it is cold and still dark outside, I have been up (literally) for some morning adventures lately.

As mentioned previously, I have been helping my seven year old granddaughter with her online school lessons. On the mornings her mother goes to work (outside the home) said granddaughter is dropped off around 6:20am. I roll out of bed around 6:05, although hubby is up at 5:50, so my last 15 minutes are quite unsatisfactory. Since the e-learning does not start until 9am, we have some time for some non-school related activities beforehand. After my morning coffee that is.

This morning, even before the sun was fully awake, we baked muffins and played the piano. Home Economics and Music classes: check. We are hoping to impress the family with a “concert” at Christmastime, but still need lots of practice.

When the sun was high enough in the morning sky to warm things up a bit, we ventured out for a skip (think “we’re off to see the wizard” skip/dance) around the block. Gym class: check!

On these walks I am always impressed with and inspired by the beauty Mother Nature has to offer. Sometimes I have to wait until my heart rate slows enough to snap some pictures. This morning it was dew drops and fog remnants that caught my fancy:

Tomorrow I will get back to my Gardens4u business as fall cleanups and lawn care are beckoning. As I reminded you last month, this time of year is the most effective time to improve the quality of your lawns. The heavy dew and fog like this morning’s are perfect for reseeding or fertilizing!

Posted in gardens, gardens4u.ca, loreeebee.ca

Gardens4u and Gardens4me

I am so excited!  Ontario’s premier Doug Ford has announced landscapers can start back to work starting today, May 4th.  That means Gardens4u is officially opened for the season.  It has been a long time coming, but I am grateful we landscapers are included in the first step of reopening the economy that is getting decimated by COVID-19.

While I was waiting for this to happen (the re-opening) I worked (with the help of my hubby) exclusively on my own gardens.  They are probably in the best shape they have ever been this early in the season, except maybe for the spring my son got married.

When my gardens and pond were all cleaned up, ready for summer, I got extra creative and painted a Gardens4me sign on the gateway to my gardens.

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I have been keeping up with my planks in preparation for this day, now if Mother Nature would only cooperate, all would be good. At least in my (bubble) world.

Posted in lorieb.com

A Real Job, What is Yours?

What does a real job mean to you?  I read this powerful message on Facebook the other day…

The other day, someone very dear to me said, “Charlotte, promise me this. Promise me you won’t go back to waiting tables, frothing coffees or tending bars. When you graduate uni, you’ll get a real job, won’t you?”
Hmmm. ‘Real’. What does ‘real’ look like? Does it wear a suit? Boast a briefcase? Does it drive a ute? Fly a plane? Is its hands dirty, or clean? Does it save lives, or suck the life right out? Does it do your dry cleaning? Keep our streets clean? Your coffee cravings at bay?
So many people chase ‘real’, the ‘real’ that seems to be etched into our skin by society’s blade, and find that they don’t belong to their own life.
The way we have been conditioned is a travesty. The pressure I am under, as a 25-year-old, to make decisions that will supposedly ‘make or break me’ is crushing. The truth is, there are no rules here. Success is highly subjective. It’s traumatising to measure your success against someone else’s, yet we do it to ourselves every day.
The person who said the above said it out of love, and I love them for that. I get it. They want to see me succeed, but under whose guidelines? They want me to move up in the world, but who sets the bar?
Whether you’re a barista or a barrister, university graduate or world traveller, business owner or garbage collector. It doesn’t matter! What matters is that you make the rules. It’s your life.
Take it back!

a real job

 

Charlotte May McLeod (@lottiemaymcleod) posted these words of wisdom in Australia in frustration for the situation she is in.  Well said Charlotte, good for you for recognizing that a real job can be anything we want it to be.  Students and parents alike today (over) focus on the pursuit of the perfect education in preparation for the equally perfect job upon graduation.  The problem is that a job deemed perfect for one person is often not even close to perfect for another.

Education is important, that will never change, but keep in mind that there are all kinds of education available to prepare you for your very own real job.  Remember that every job you take on is an education of sorts, even those that are not considered real jobs.  Many of these so called not real jobs open doors for exciting and lucrative opportunities.  By lucrative I mean both financially and emotionally rewarding. Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

As Charlotte so eloquently stated, a real job can be anything you like these days, don’t settle for something that will please or impress anyone except yourself.

Please visit my other blog Gardens4u about all things garden related, including my business.

Posted in business, gardens, loreeebee.ca

Final garden chores

Well, our beautiful fall weather has come to an end here in Ottawa, so I am closing out my GARDENS4U season with some final garden chores:

  • cut back any perennials that get mushy or moldy (hostas, peonies, tall phlox)  Leave the rest for the birds, rabbits, squirrels etc.
  • mound clean soil (just plain, new soil,  no fertilizer) around the crowns of roses and any other less hardy plants.
  • mulch leaves and spread them around the plants in my gardens.  I will probably have to borrow some leaves from my neighbours or clients to do this as the trees in my yard are predominantly evergreens.
  • take any frost tender potted plants indoors (there are a few I overwinter)
  • put containers that are not cold hardy into the garage (those without drainage holes are especially susceptible to cracking) Store them on a shelf or other spot off the floor.
  • remove any cold sensitive decorations from the garden and store them (not on the floor) in the garage
  • pick any blooms still thriving; the frosty nights will kill them fast

 

 

 

That will probably end my garden posts for a while, I will have to look elsewhere for inspiration…

 

Posted in Canada, lorieb.com, nature, Ottawa, weather

“Let it snow” belongs in December, not March!

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Snow can be pretty and welcome in December, but in March it is a bit overdone!  It is snowing here in Ottawa, again!

I am so ready for spring, cannot wait to get out to my own gardens and the ones I look after.  Check out my website GARDENS4U  to read about my gardening business.  I just finished updating it with new pictures and information.

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com, nature, Ottawa, weather

Snow day for Gardens4u

Today is a snow day for Gardens4u.  I tried hard to get all of my clients’ gardens ready for winter and bulbs planted this week before the snow hit, but will have to wait for better weather before I get them all done.  Fortunately, the weather forecast for the next two weeks is promising to be warmer and greener:

I have been hesitant to cut back most plants in their gardens (and mine too) because everything has looked so nice up until yesterday.  We have had a beautiful fall season with extended bloom on most perennials and annuals.  This snow will take its toll on these perennials and annuals, so they will be ready to be cut back when I get to them next week.

For those of you wondering if it is too late to plant bulbs, you can plant them until the ground freezes.  Plant them pointy side up, or if you are not sure which side is up, on their sides.  I sprinkle cayenne pepper in the holes with the bulbs and over the soil on top of the holes to deter the squirrels from digging up the bulbs.  Another trick is to plant daffodils in the same hole as the tulips.  Squirrels hate daffodils.  Someone told me to try putting banana peels in the hole with my tulip bulbs to deter squirrels.  I haven’t tried that trick yet, but it may be worth a try.  Don’t forget to water your newly planted bulbs.  If your hose has been disconnected and outside water turned off for the season, get some water from your kitchen sink to sprinkle over the planted bulbs.

The snow is pretty today, but I am glad it is not here to stay.  Yet…