History of Solitaire: A Fascinating Look at this Classic Card Game

Solitaire is one of the most-played games in the world, and there are over 35 million people who play the version on Microsoft Windows each month. To put that into context, that’s as many people as blockbuster video games like “Overwatch”, “Sea of Thieves”, and “FIFA” just to name a few. One of the big reasons why people love Solitaire is the access, as it comes for free with any Microsoft operating system, and has for quite some time.

You’ve probably had an instance where the internet went out and didn’t know how to kill time, so you booted up Solitaire until the internet came back on. Solitaire is a game that all of us are familiar with, but not many know the history of it. Let’s take a deeper look into the world of Solitaire to see how it developed into the game we know and love today.

The Unknown Start

Some historians believe that the origins of Solitaire date back hundreds of years into the past, though nobody can quite agree on the first version of the game or who came up with it. To this day, even after Solitaire became popular, nobody is sure who it was that created Solitaire. What historians do know, however, is when and where it became popular.

During the late 18th century, parts of Scandinavia saw the rise of a popular game that’s similar to modern Canfield, laying the groundwork for Solitaire. By the end of the 1700s, the more modern version of Solitaire with multiple decks of cards had become more popular but was played with more than one player.

Learning Patience

As the single-player version of Solitaire became more popular throughout Europe, books were published in the early 19th century showing newcomers how to play the game. In places like Russia, France, Germany, and Sweden, Solitaire was booming, but it went under a different name. Back then, it was simply referred to as Patience, which is still what it’s called throughout most of Europe to this day.

In the same way that Americans and Canadians changed the name of football to soccer after adopting the sport, they did the same with Patience when it was brought to North America in the late 19th century. When the game first arrived, it maintained the Patience name, and there was even an American book written on how to play the game, referring to it as Patience.

The word Solitaire comes from the Latin word solitarius which means alone and/or isolated, which typically referred to a widow. While this meaning wouldn’t refer to anything that has to do with the cards as you’re making four separate decks, it refers to the person playing the game by themself. People tend to play Solitaire when they’re alone and can’t think of much else to do, so the name is a fitting one.

Going Digital

Throughout most of the 20th century, a good portion of the population knew what Solitaire was and how to play the game. By the time the 1990s started, though, it was seen as a game that was more known by the older generation. Members of Generation X had been introduced to video games during the 1980s and were leaving traditional board games and card games behind.

That all changed when Microsoft decided to include Solitaire as part of the operating system beginning with Windows 3.0 in 1990. An intern named Wes Cherry developed the computer version of the game, and it was released on May 22, 1990. Within a matter of months, Solitaire was one of the most-used programs in the Windows system, even ahead of the likes of Excel and Word.

The type of game that was packaged with the original Windows version was Klondike, the most popular in the United States. Spider, Freecell, Tripeaks, and Pyramid were also included with Microsoft Solitaire, and even after 30 years, there were more than 100 million hands of Solitaire dealt on a daily basis across all game types and Microsoft programs.

The Types of Solitaire

We’ve already touched on some of the different types of Solitaire which have been included with the Microsoft version of the game, with Klondike being considered the “classic” version. This is the version of the game that features four foundations that you must build from the unbalanced tableaus, using the stockpile to help build them.

Freecell is the next most popular type of Solitaire, allowing players to move cards back and forth from the tableaus. Pyramid and Golf Solitaire kick things up a notch in terms of difficulty, while Yukon, Forty Thieves, Spider, and Canfield make up the other most popular forms of Solitaire. 

Solitaire may be shrouded in mystery when it comes to the game’s origins, but there’s no doubt that it has made a huge impact. Whether your internet or electricity are out and you need something to do to pass the time, Solitaire has been there for most of us over the years, and it’s not going anywhere.

Master the Art of Gifting: 5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Gift Every Time

Almost all of us adore giving gifts to our friends and family, but it’s not always an easy task. We want to show our love and appreciation for the people in our lives, though they may say that they don’t want a gift. Some people are just harder to shop for than others, especially when they aren’t dropping any hints as to what they want.

Thankfully, there are still some ways to get the perfect gift for that person you care about (or a colleague that you’re trying to make a good impression with). Here are five tips for finding the perfect gift every time through mastering the art of gifting.

Practical or Fun

A helpful tip to remember when seeking out the perfect gift is to narrow it down with the person receiving the gift. You should invest in a practical gift or a fun gift. The majority of your decision on what gift you give depends on your relationship with the receiver, the occasion, and the personality of the person you’re gifting to. Take the time to assess those particular points of the situation before you come to your conclusion. Think about what it is the receiver will appreciate the most, coming from you. 

How Close Are You To The Giftee?

Before you go about finding the perfect gift, first, consider your closeness in relationship to the receiver of said gift. If you lack a significant role in their life, you want to consider a gift that is simple and easy to please. The gift doesn’t have to be entirely basic, but perhaps stick to something more casual. The closer your relationship with the receiver, the more options you have and the more meticulous you can be in choosing the perfect gift that shows how well you know them. 

What’s The Occasion?

When finding the perfect gift, first take into account the occasion in question. You’ll want to give the appropriate item depending on the theme and setting at hand. A gift that might go over well at a birthday party may not be the right choice for a wedding. There are many separate occasions where gift-giving is acceptable. Knowing what to give and when it’s the appropriate time to, is something to consider beforehand. 

Pay Attention

To master the art of gift giving, you must first better understand your gift recipient. Pay attention to their likes, dislikes, and personality type, and figure out what it is that matters most to them. Doing so will help you better assess the gift-giving process and show them you put in the effort to choose the perfect gift for them. It really is the thought that counts, so be sure to put enough thought into your gift-giving if you aim to impress. 

Homemade Gifts

Sometimes the best gift you can give is something that you make yourself. Whether you possess an artistic talent or lack any and all creativity, a homemade gift just hits differently. The gift can be as simple, or intricate as you feel is necessary. A homemade gift has an everlasting sentiment that’s likely to touch the heart of the receiver and have a very positive impact. 

High-Quality Products

Understanding the importance of quality over quantity plays a key role in finding your loved one the perfect gift for any occasion. There are many ways companies use to make you want to spend your hard-earned money on products that are cheaply made and not worth the price paid. Finding a quality gift starts with knowing where to look. Try shopping at small, locally owned businesses that usually sell higher quality items. It’s money well spent at a place of business that cares for its community and the products they sell.  

A Galaxy Far, Far Away: Exploring the Best Star Wars Comics

After the success of the original “Star Wars” film in 1977, millions of people worldwide wanted to know more about the lore of the franchise. Since coming out with a new movie every month to go more in-depth on the series would be nearly impossible, comic books were quickly added. In fact, the first comics were released three months before the initial film’s release and detailed the events of the movie that people had yet to see.

Once the movie became one of the biggest box office hits of all time, the comics expanded to more than just film adaptations. Marvel created the comics from the start and held on to the publishing rights for the first decade until Dark Horse Comics took over. IDW Publishing also had its hand in the Star Wars franchise until both Marvel and Dark Horse re-entered the fray. There have been several hundred issues and dozens of graphic novels in the Star Wars franchise thus far, but which ones are the best? Here are our picks for the five best Star Wars comics across all eras.

Star Wars: Legacy

During its original run with Dark Horse Comics, Star Wars introduced the “Legacy” series which was published between 2006 and 2010. Over the course of 50 issues, “Legacy” continues the Skywalker story, but does so long after the film story of Luke Skywalker. His descendant, Cade, is featured more than a century following the events of the movie’s original trilogy, and the new antagonist is Darth Krayt, the leader of the new Galactic Empire.

Cade follows a much different path than Luke in the fact that he wasn’t classically trained by a Jedi, but rather lives with bounty hunters and is reluctant of his heritage. Eventually, Luke returns as a ghost and steers Cade in the right direction as he sets off to take on the new Empire. Without spoiling anything, it’s a classic Star Wars tale with great set pieces and new characters.

Darth Vader

Of course, you can’t talk about the Star Wars story without mentioning perhaps the most famous character, Darth Vader. There have been plenty of Darth Vader stories told throughout the Star Wars franchise, and among the best is the Darth Vader series started by Marvel in 2020. The story takes place between the events during “Return of the Jedi” after Luke said that he wouldn’t join his father as part of the Empire.

The movie then follows the adventures of Luke prior to his return to the Death Star, whereas the comic book series shows what Darth Vader was up to at that time. There’s also a look back into Vader’s past. Sure, there had been a backstory for Vader that was brought up during the prequel trilogy, but the comic book series gives him more history as Vader instead of as Anakin.

Knights of the Old Republic

Many people think of the video game series when they hear “Knights of the Old Republic”, but the comic book series was also a major hit with Star Wars fans. Like “Legacy”, “Knights of the Old Republic” is a Dark Horse series that started in 2006 before wrapping up in 2010. Also like “Legacy”, it ran for 50 issues.

“Knights of the Old Republic” follows the story of a wide range of characters including Zayne Carrick a Padawan who sets out on a mission to retrieve a famous smuggler in order to be promoted to the rank of Jedi Knights. However, Carrick is late to graduation and a case of mistaken identity ensues as he and his captive become allies as they try to obtain freedom.

Star Wars: Tales of the Jedi

We go back in time a little bit for our next series, “Tales of the Jedi”, which was published by Dark Horse from 1993 to 1998. This series is part of the expanded universe that details both the Great Hyperspace and the Great Sith Wars. The original “Knights of the Old Republic” series was five issues long and was included with “Tales of the Jedi”, with other miniseries added including “The Freedon Nadd Uprising” and “Dark Lords of the Sith”.

Following the success of the original trilogy, there hadn’t been much backstory for Star Wars outside of the main characters. The “Tales of the Jedi” city fixes that, giving Star Wars diehards a lot of lore to sift through during the 1990s and helping bring in a new generation of franchise faithful.

Vader: Dark Visions

While the other comics on the list ran through multiple years, the “Vader: Dark Visions” series was much shorter with only five issues between March and June of 2019. The Marvel Comics production shows Vader in a much different light than what some people are accustomed to seeing. Even the cover of Vader riding a horse while carrying a shield, which is an immediate attention-grabber.

Vader gets a bit of hero treatment throughout the series, too. What makes it even more interesting is that the series is canon, so fans will really get a new sense of the Star Wars lore that they didn’t know about.

Pepsi Behind the Scenes: 5 Surprising Facts

No matter whether or not you indulge in sodas, it’s almost a guarantee that you know about the Pepsi brand. It can be nearly impossible to go anywhere without seeing advertisements for Pepsi or see their brands well-stocked in grocery and convenience stores. Pepsi has a very long and interesting history and still remains a massive corporation with a yearly revenue of over $80 billion.

Do you know some of the ins and outs of Pepsi’s history, though? There are some facts that aren’t as well known publicly, and these five fun facts regarding the soft drink titan may surprise you.

The Original Name and Use Were Much Different

When you think of Pepsi in its current form, you probably think of a cold, refreshing soft drink that doesn’t really come with any health benefits. However, things were much different at the start for the drink. Caleb Bradham, a pharmacist in New Bern, North Carolina, came up with Brad’s Drink in 1893. Originally, Bradham felt that the drink’s formula could relieve the symptoms of dyspepsia.

Five years after the release of the drink, the marketing changed so that it was more clear of its intended use. With that, it was renamed to Pepsi-Cola in 1898. The name ended up sticking and became a staple of Americana. While Pepsi-Cola is still a familiar name thanks to the parent company being named PepsiCo, the official name of the centerpiece drink was shortened to Pepsi in 1961.

Some Countries Get Exclusive Flavors

Here in North America where Pepsi was founded, many of us are used to seeing a lot of variations from the original flavor of Pepsi. Some of the staples for Pepsi include Diet Pepsi, Pepsi Wild Cherry, and Pepsi Zero Sugar, to name a few. There have also been plenty of limited-release flavors in North America, but other countries around the world get exclusive flavors altogether.

For instance, Poland receives an apple-flavored version called Pepsi Sumemr Chill while Italy gets the Pepsi Twist Mojito. The country outside of the United States that receives the most unique flavors, though, is Japan. The country has had plenty of popular exclusive flavors including Pepsi White (yogurt-flavored) and Pepsi Ice Cucumber. Nearby in Thailand, you can get the exclusive Pepsi Latte.

A 1992 Promotion Ended in Tragedy

PepsiCo has had some of the most successful marketing campaigns in business history, and there have been many ventures into loyalty programs. In 1996, the company debuted Pepsi Points, which would return for two more waves. Most people remember the lawsuit regarding the first Pepsi Points promotion when a man who collected enough points (7 million) didn’t receive the Harrier jet promised in the commercial that was thrown out in court.

While that was comical, a promotion just four years prior in the Philippines ended in tragedy. Pepsi Number Fever had points under each cap, with the grand prize being announced as cap number 349. It turned out that there were 800,000 bottles printed with that number, leaving many in the Philippines to think they won. The following day, a new winning number with only two winners was revealed, but a riot ensued when many thought they had won $40,000, and the riots left five people dead.

Pepsi Used To Own A Lot of Restaurants

When you go to most restaurants, there’s a good chance that you’ll end up seeing Coca-Cola at the fountains, but there are a handful that use Pepsi. The primary reason for that is that Pepsi started to branch out from only selling soft drinks during the later parts of the 1970s. The company acquired popular chains like Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, California Pizza Kitchen, and even the (mostly) ill-fated Hot ‘n Now.

By the time the late 1990s came around, Pepsi decided to shift its focus from owning restaurants to the snack food business while acquiring more beverage brands. With that, the remaining brands under the Pepsi umbrella were put under the control of Tricon Global Restaurants, which is now known as Yum! Brands, Inc., a separate entity from Pepsi still uses the drink in its fountains at the previously mentioned restaurants.

Four of the 10 Most Popular Brands Are Pepsi-Owned

We all know that the Cola Wars consist mainly of Pepsi vs. Coca-Cola, and although there are some other competitors, the two are far and away the highest-selling soda companies in the world. While Coca-Cola is still the best-selling brand in the world, there is still plenty of representation for Pepsi in the top 10 highest-selling drinks.

Pepsi owns the number two spot with a market share of over $20 billion. Gatorade remains the highest-selling sports drink in the market and the sixth-highest-selling brand worldwide, and that’s also a Pepsi product. Lipton comes in at the number nine spot, entering into the top 10 as PepsiCo focused on healthier drinks. Of course, Mountain Dew is still part of the top 10, and perhaps Pepsi’s second-most-known brand.

The Top Garden Tools Every Gardener Needs

When it comes to gardening, it can be pretty easy to get into, but if you want to find success, you have to have the right tools for the job. Many gardening tools are often small and affordable, but people can easily forget to leave them off of a shopping list. If you’re getting into gardening as a small hobby or even a dedicated one, here are the top garden tools that every gardener needs at their disposal.

Pruning Shears 

Pruning shears are a picky gardener’s best friend. They’re great for easily snipping branches, leaves, vines, and more undesirable, or infected portions of your garden. Imperfections stand out and they can spread to other areas of your garden. Shears make pruning and caring for plants far easier. 

Plant Ties

These are the perfect tool for gently mending delicate fallen areas of your plants or seedlings. Sometimes the smallest of our plants need the most love and care. Plant ties are great for holding up and supporting fragile areas where your plants, or seedlings are struggling. Ensuring they grow properly and get a wonderful start. 

Plant Labels

A simple, yet important gardening tool you’ll want to have on hand is plant labels for identifying freshly sown seeds, seedlings, and somewhat unidentifiable plants. It’ll save you confusion on which plant is which in the initial growth stages, ensuring you provide adequate care for each specific plant’s needs. 

Gardening Knife

Knives are one of the best tools to keep your garden in tip-top shape. A seemingly simple tool that can provide you with many uses. They’re great for weeding, moving plants from one area to another, and softening tough dirt, and the tip is helpful when it comes to marking soil and seeding. 

Tool Belt

Nobody wants tools, especially sharp ones, laying around their garden floor. It can cause injury and lead to losing track of vital tools. A tool belt is incredibly beneficial to keep your tools safe, accounted for, and easily accessible for quick gardening work. 

Leather Gardening Gloves

Gardening is tough work. It can be relaxing and peaceful, but really wears on your hands, which are truly your most precious gardening tool. Leather gardening gloves will protect your hands from sharp points, pests, rough surfaces, and loads of other not-so-gentle areas of gardening. 

Blacklight flashlight 

Who would have thought black lights would come in handy in your garden? Well, tough to see pests can sometimes evade capture and continue to ravage your plants. UV light helps identify their presence where normal eyesight cannot. If you’re uncertain you’ve fully eradicated a pest, or suspect the presence of a new one, try using an affordable UV flashlight. 

Natural Pesticides

Pests are a common and unwanted addition to most gardens. You can make a number of safe and natural pesticide concoctions at home that will keep your plants, pets, and family happy and healthy. You can make your own at home using either neem oil, dish soap, garlic, or vinegar diluted in water. 


We now get to the more commonly-remembered gardening tools beginning with the rake. Rakes come in full-sized or handheld versions which can be used to keep the soil ideal for gardening. After each raking, pests won’t be able to stick around, while also leaving your garden look nice and neat.


Of course, you can’t talk about gardening tools without mentioning the shovel. After all, you’re probably not going to want to dig up dirt with your hands all day. The good news is that high-quality ones are made in all sizes depending on how big your project is. If you’re putting a small garden with only a couple of plants in your yard, a good mini-shovel can take you a long way.

Thailand On A Budget: 5 Essential Tips

Thailand is among the largest countries in the world, ranking in the top 25 in terms of population with over 66 million people, putting it ahead of countries including South Africa, Italy, and South Korea. Thailand is also one of the more visited countries, pulling in around 40 million tourists per year. This ranks it second in all of Asia (behind only China), even significantly ahead of Japan and Malaysia.

Not only does Thailand have a lot of natural beauty and a great culture, but it’s also among the cheapest countries to visit. Some global rankings have placed Thailand in the number-one spot for the cheapest countries, so you’re already saving a lot of money by choosing Thailand as your vacation destination. If you want to save even more, though, here are five essential tips for visiting Thailand on a budget.

Flying into Thailand

There are several international airports throughout Thailand to pick from, all of which with varying prices. In most major countries, the largest and busiest airport is going to be the cheapest to fly into, and Thailand is no exception. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok is the one that fits all three criteria, offering the cheapest flights for international visitors. Don Mueang International and Phuket are good alternatives, as well.

As for the cheapest time of year to visit Thailand, what we consider the summer months in the United States are the lowest-priced. May is the start of the off-season for Thailand, and it runs all the way through October. The big reason is that this is monsoon season, so July and August are actually the cheapest months of the year. Try to visit in June for the cheapest tickets without the bad weather.

Taxi Over Tuk-Tuk

When you think of Thailand, one of the first visuals that might come to mind is the motorbikes and tuk-tuk vehicles that carry about two or three people. While those are popular options for tourists, they’re actually going to be more expensive. Instead, taking a traditional taxi is the best bet for cheap transport around the city, so it sort of operates in the opposite way as the United States.

On average, taxis start off at about $1 and only increase by $0.15 per kilometer. As for the tuk-tuk, you’ll likely have to negotiate a price that will end up being much higher. Other cheap forms of public transportation include bus and train, with the latter getting you around the country for just a few dollars. Simply avoid the tourist traps and you’ll be spending next to nothing on transportation.

Loving The Lodging

There are going to be a lot of budget travelers who say that hostels are going to be the best bet to save money, but staying in a traditional hotel is so cheap in Thailand that it seems like a no-brainer to stay in one compared to a hostel (unless you’re looking to more immerse yourself in culture and meet other travelers). In some cases, you can get a two or three-star hotel for as little as $5 per night.

That’s not an exaggeration, either. Spending anything above $10 per night can get you some pretty luxurious hotel rooms, and there are only going to be a couple of hotel rooms throughout the country that cost more than $20 per night. With that said, feel free to skip the hostels if privacy is important to you, and enjoy the safety and comfort of a hotel room without spending much.

Eating Cheap

When you’re visiting any new country, the temptation to visit what’s considered the best restaurant in the country will be present, but budgeters will want to kick that temptation. Thankfully, Thailand offers plenty of options that will cost just a couple of dollars per meal. Street stalls can be found everywhere in Thailand’s major markets, and you’ll never really find yourself paying more than $4 or $5 for a filling meal.

Public food courts are a big part of Thailand’s culture, and these vendors are all competing for your business, keeping the prices low. Sit-down restaurants are very much existent in Thailand, but still won’t cost as much as they do in the United States. For maximum savings, though, stick to the streets.

Explore the Free Options

Most people that head to Thailand will spend most of their time in Bangkok, the cultural and financial hub of the country. There are plenty of reasons for tourists to visit, and many of them are free. One of the more popular destinations is the Amulet Market, and it can be tempting to want to buy something, but simply walking through the taking in the sights is free and a fantastic experience.

Some of the other great free destinations throughout Bangkok include the Golden Mount, Lumphini Park, King Parjadhipok Museum, and many more. Getting away from the city will also present a lot of options to take in natural beauty. Khao Yai, Khao Sok, and Erawan National Parks are must-sees for any Thailand tourist.

The Future of Web Development: Key Trends and Technologies to Watch

Web development is a field that was once seen as very niche, but has now become so mainstream and vital that it’s one of the fastest-growing occupations in the world. Each year, thousands of new web developers are added, and children these days now go through school wanting to get into the field because of the great potential for earnings and for creating cutting-edge technology that will be used around the world.

With that in mind, the future of web development has never been brighter, and we’ve already seen some of the great advances over the past few decades. So what exactly does the future of web development have in store for us? Let’s take a look at some of the key trends and technologies to be on the lookout for, as they could become a staple in our everyday lives.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual reality is not a new concept, as it came into existence for the first time during the late 1950s and has become more mainstream in the 21st century. However, we’ve only begun to see what VR is capable of, and that includes web development. There’s a massive push for everything on the internet to be capable of adapting to VR technology, especially with the introduction of products like the Apple Vision Pro which allows users to browse the web and get real-time updates from social media.

Because of this, web developers are working overtime to make sure everything is optimized for the VR experience. On top of that, augmented reality is quickly becoming more common, especially when it comes to mobile web development. This technology allows us to see how furniture would look in our living room before we buy it, or even show you what a burger would look like on your table before you order. Any company that doesn’t optimize for VR or AR is getting left behind these days.

Progressive Web Applications

While having a dedicated app for your company can be a good thing, it can also draw the ire of the end user. Whether you’re 18 or 80 years old, there seems to be one common complaint amongst all generations, and it’s that people are tired of downloading a dedicated app for every company that they use, especially if they aren’t regular customers. Progressive Web Applications are the remedy for that, and you’re going to be seeing a lot more of them in the future.

Essentially, a PWA is a website that operates in the same way an app would (It’s an app that isn’t an app, if that makes sense). You simply go to a company’s website (think Starbucks) and you can place an order in real-time without the need for any downloads. Many companies are switching over their ordering systems to PWAs because of how efficient they are while also being convenient for the user.

Accelerated Mobile Pages

In the same vein as PWAs are accelerated mobile pages. Web development has seen a big push for the mobile experience, and AMPs play a major role in that. When you’re browsing on your desktop or laptop, you don’t mind going to a webpage that has a sitemap that you can navigate easily. When space is limited on your mobile screen, though, you want everything streamlined, and that’s where AMPs come in.

AMPs take away a lot of the bloat that you find on desktop versions of webpages, allowing for much faster load times and better SEO performance. Users who are on an AMP are much more likely to return, as an impression is made within the first few seconds. If your page isn’t loading properly on mobile or even gives the user a chance to click on the wrong thing, they’re likely going to your competitor’s page.

AI Integration

Whether you’re a fan of it or not, artificial intelligence and machine learning are big parts of the future, and web developers know that. AI is being used for a wide range of tasks in web development now, including websites that are catered to a more personalized experience while also boosting security and optimizing websites for faster load times. Because of how fast AI can produce HTML code, companies are finding it more efficient than having a full team on hand.

Sometimes, it can be easy to spot when a company is using an AI in web development as the copywriting might not seem very personable, but you’re unlikely to find any spelling or grammatical errors. Still, the big push for AI usage in web development comes from that personalized experience, which you’ve likely already seen when you’re browsing through Amazon.

Customer Service

To add to the AI focus, there are going to be people that want to contact a company’s website on a daily basis. Customer service representatives would normally be on standby, but on slow nights, that person could be sitting there for hours waiting for a chat to come through.

That’s why so many companies are switching to AI customer service chats for some of the simpler questions. Of course, you’ll still want humans to handle the more nuanced things, but now you don’t have to waste manhours when someone simply wants to know your hours of operation.

How to Care for Your Garden in Extreme Weather Conditions

Most of us wish that we lived in a perfect climate where we didn’t have to deal with tornadoes, blizzards, heat waves, droughts, and more. However, there’s only so much space in these areas that have a perfect climate, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t get some gardening done in areas where we experience extreme weather.

There are a lot of ways in which you can still care for your garden during harsh seasons, and we’ll walk you through how to do just that. Here are eight tips for keeping your garden in perfect condition even when weather conditions aren’t perfect.


Garden stakes aren’t just for labeling the placement and variety of plants throughout your garden. Stakes can help support weak or top-heavy plants and keep them secure during intense bouts of wind and rain. Essentially, you kill two birds with one stone by introducing the use of stakes in your garden. 


Mulch is an essential part of keeping plants safe from irregular temperatures and holding moisture. The distribution of mulch surrounding your plant beds helps keep the frigid air from reaching their roots, which could very well lead to plant death. In the case of dry, hot weather, mulch helps hold moisture in after watering. Keeping your plants well hydrated and safe from perishing. 

Water Wisely 

Watering with caution and weather awareness is important to keeping your plants happy and healthy during not-so-wonderful weather. Keep an eye on the weekly weather report and water accordingly. If the forecast calls for a torrential downpour, it’s best to let nature do the watering for you. You can also utilize mulch to keep your plants from being drowned out by the storms. If you run into extra dry and hot weather, it’s a good idea to water your plants more thoroughly and deeply. 

Avoid Dark-Colored Containers

We all know that darker-colored items attract and hold in the heat far more than lighter-colored ones. So, it’s best to avoid darker-colored planters and garden accessories during the warmer months. You can even cover plants with pots and other coverings to keep them safe from extreme weather. When doing so, be sure to pick lighter-colored coverings. 

Keep Them Inside

Are your plants unsafe outside? Just bring them inside. A seemingly simple solution to keeping your plants safe from extreme weather. It can be a hassle to get all of your vulnerable plants inside, but it’s possible. Make sure you have adequate space, sunlight, and planters to ensure your plants have everything they need indoors. 

Shade Cloth 

Shade cloths are a fantastic way to protect your plants from harsh weather. They’re affordable and come in a multitude of colors, densities, and sizes. You can choose the right shade cloth that fits your plant’s needs. The variety of shade cloths to choose from provide different levels of heat, sun, and general weather protection. Making them a vital accessory for any garden facing bouts of extreme weather. 


Though they can cost a pretty penny, greenhouses are a helpful way to keep your plants safe from harsh weather, while refraining from having to relocate them inside. They provide a level of safety and environmental control for your plants that you can’t get anywhere else. With the proper equipment, greenhouses can sustain fresh produce and healthy plants year-round. 


Adequate drainage is vital to growing healthy, happy plants. To ensure your plants don’t become bogged down and drowned out by poor water distribution, there are drainage devices, planters, soil, and gravel that you can purchase online that can make it all that much easier to regulate the amount of hydration your plants receive. 

The Best Flowers for a Hummingbird Garden: Tips and Suggestions

Imagine a garden alive with the delicate fluttering of vibrant hummingbirds, their iridescent feathers reflecting in the sunlight as they gracefully hover from flower to flower. Creating a hummingbird garden is a delightful way to attract these tiny, enchanting creatures to your outdoor space while adding a splash of color and beauty to your surroundings. To create a truly inviting haven for hummingbirds, selecting the right flowers is key.

Hummingbirds are renowned for their love of nectar-rich blooms, drawn to vibrant colors and tubular-shaped flowers that provide them with the nourishment they need. By incorporating a variety of these flowers into your garden, you can create a haven that offers sustenance and shelter for these delightful creatures.

Cardinal Flower

Cardinal flowers have so much to offer hummingbirds. The bright red colors attract the birds and the tubular petals set them up to easily feast on the sweet nectar deeper in the flower’s center. All while sprinkling pollen on the hummingbird’s head to spread once it takes flight. 


Fuchsia is known for its deep, vibrant pink and white color. The colorful and droopy flower works wonders for attracting hummingbirds. The positioning of the flowers invites hummingbirds in for a taste of the nectar inside. They use their lengthy beaks and tongues to fish out the nutritious food that other pollinators often have trouble reaching. 


The spiky and intensely pink and purple petals of the lupine flower have no problems attracting hummingbirds and other pollinators. The lupine flowers are strewn throughout a branch-like stem, making it extremely easy for the speedy little birds to fly up to and feast on the nectar and pollen-filled flowers. 

Trumpet Honeysuckle 

If any flower seems it was specifically made for the hummingbirds’ enjoyment, it would likely be the trumpet honeysuckle. The dangling trumpet-like shape of the flower lends itself extremely well to the hummingbird’s abilities. They’re able to fly up to the vine and reach areas other pollinators struggle to, enjoying a feast of goodies deep in the center bulb of the flower. 


Like many flowers on our list, daylilies possess attractive qualities that hummingbirds simply can’t resist. Flowers like daylilies have brightly colored tubular petals that tend to produce more nectar than flatter-faced flowers. Almost as if nature is calling out to pollinators to come feast. These kinds of flowers are perfectly accommodating to the hummingbirds’ long beaks and far-reaching tongues. 

Rose of Sharon

Unlike the typical tubular flowers that attract loveable hummingbirds, the rose of Sharon is a flat-faced flower that comes in beautifully colorful shades of pink, white, purple, and red. Not only do they produce copious amounts of nectar for the birds to feast on, but the flat head is also an easy landing spot for insects that serve as an extra snack for the hummingbirds. 


The height of the zinnia is largely what makes them so appealing to hummingbirds. Dwarf zinnias grow up to 12 inches tall and wide and other varieties can grow up to 4 feet tall and 2 feet wide. Like other hummingbird-friendly flowers, zinnias come in vibrant shades of pink, purple, yellow, red, and orange. They’re easy to grow and have a hefty bloom, making them stand out from the crowd so hummingbirds can seek them out without trouble. 


Petunias are relatively easy to care for and contain a lot of qualities hummingbirds look for in a sweet treat. They produce nectar, come in a wide range of colors, and grow at heights that are easier for hummingbirds to fly up to and grab a quick bite. Seeing as petunias are gorgeous and easy to grow, they make a great addition to your garden if you’re wanting to attract elegant hummingbirds and other pollinators. 

The World of Amateur Radio: A Guide to Building and Operating Your Own Radio

When you think about technology that people deem “outdated,” the radio might be one of the first that comes to mind. Of course, that’s because most people think about old AM stations where you only hear talk radio when modern times allow us to listen to music and podcasts through the power of streaming. However, there’s an entirely different part of the radio world that is actually seeing tremendous growth, and that’s amateur radio.

More commonly referred to as ham radio, this is a hobby that has been in place for well over a century with a massive resurgence during the 2010s and 2020s. Ham radio has a lot of great uses from communicating with people for fun, competition, or even as a lifesaving function. Amateur radio operators have really taken to using their setups for emergency communication over time, showing that amateur radio is still a necessity.

There are more than 750,000 people in the United States alone that are licensed to operate an amateur radio, which has caused an uptick in interest. If you’ve ever thought about starting your own amateur radio, you might be curious about where to get started. Let’s take a look at the world of amateur radio and give you a guide to building and operating your own radio.


Assuming you’re in the United States, the first thing that you’ll want to consider is obtaining an amateur radio license. The governing body in charge of licensing is the Federal Communications Commission or FCC for short. When you’re applying for an amateur radio license, you should know what it is that you want to accomplish with your radio. If you’re planning on simply communicating with people nearby, a technical license will give you a low frequency.

The next step up is the general license which gives you a wide range and higher power while the top line is an extra license where you can communicate pretty much across the entire nation at maximum power. Most amateur radios, especially beginners, will fall into either the amateur or general license categories.

Obtaining Equipment

One thing that you should know from the beginning is that amateur radio isn’t cheap, but it’s a hobby that really only has an entry cost rather than being continuously expensive. After all, the FCC license is less than $40, but the equipment you need could cost thousands. The first (and most expensive) thing that you’ll need is a transceiver, which can cost well over $1,000 for a good one.

Thankfully, everything needed for your transceiver is much cheaper, starting with the power supply. A very solid one can cost less than $100 since you won’t need a lot of voltage to get started. 

Next, you’ll need to get a VHF/UHF antenna, which may sound expensive at first since you’re likely used to seeing AM or FM radio towers. However, a good dual-band antenna with lower frequencies is less than $50. The same can be said for the HF wire antenna you need. Once you have all of the equipment, play with it for a little bit so you’re familiar with all of the knobs and dials.

Getting Set Up

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when you have new equipment sitting in front of you, but ham radios are actually pretty straightforward. There aren’t a lot of moving parts, and your transceiver will come with a guide on how to operate that specific model. In most cases, you’ll simply have to plug in your power supply and set up your antenna in a spot that doesn’t get in the way while also offering the best reception.

With that said, it’s best to have a dedicated space like a full office desk where you can place your ham radio. Some newer and low-powered model transceivers don’t even need that much room, and you might even just need a regular small table. Once you get more comfortable, you can upgrade antennas and start getting handy with your project, which includes drilling a hole in the exterior of your home and setting up the antenna on your roof.

Amateur Operation

Some people have the misconception that once you get your amateur radio set up and fully operational that you just hop on a frequency and start chatting with anyone else on that frequency. There’s a sort of etiquette that applies to amateur radio, and you should keep friendly casual conversation to the frequencies known as “ragchew” ones.

These are typically much lower frequencies, as higher frequencies are typically reserved for emergency situations. Always identify yourself, never talk over anybody, and adhere to any FCC regulations when using your amateur radio. If you don’t feel like using your voice, there’s also the option to communicate via Morse code if you really want that “old-timey” feel for your radio experience.

Amateur radio has been increasing in popularity for a reason, but you also have to know what you’re doing and how to operate it. Pretty quickly, you’ll get a handle on everything and become a professional amateur (sorry for the oxymoron) in no time.