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Homework: Programmable bird feeder cuts down on refills

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Staff and Wire Reports
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
 

Programmable bird feeder cuts down on refills

Wingscapes' AutoFeeder can save you countless trips through the snow to refill your bird feeder.

The AutoFeeder has a programmable timer that lets you determine how much seed to dispense and when. That prevents the birds from emptying your feeder quickly, so you don't have to refill as often.

The company says birds learn to visit at feeding time, so you can time that for when you're home to enjoy them.

The battery-powered feeder holds 1 gallon of seed and can be programmed to dispense it for as many as four times daily. If you programmed it to dispense 6 ounces of seed a day, for example, you would have to refill only once every 38 days.

The AutoFeeder can be ordered for $129.95 plus shipping at www.wingscapes.com or 888-811-9464.

Book offers advice about weatherizing

If you're serious about buttoning up your home, Bruce Harley's “Insulate & Weatherize” offers serious advice.

Harley, an energy-efficiency expert with a background in electrical engineering and energy auditing, takes a comprehensive approach to the topic. He helps readers understand the science behind air movement, heat loss and moisture buildup in a home, and then guides them in pinpointing and solving problems.

The book covers air sealing, insulating and weatherizing, and related issues such as providing adequate ventilation, choosing heating and cooling systems and reducing energy use. The illustrated how-to information is useful for homeowners who want to perform basic tasks such as sealing gaps in a wall or caulking around window frames, and it's appropriate for ambitious do-it-yourselfers taking on big projects like blowing insulation into exterior walls.

“Insulate & Weatherize” is published by the Taunton Press and is part of its Build Like a Pro book series. The softcover book is priced at $21.95.

Author gives 8-step plan for decorating

Don't know where to start a decorating project?

Holly Becker comes to the rescue with her workbook “Decorate Workshop: Design and Style Your Space in 8 Creative Steps.”

Becker, founder of the blog Decor8, leads readers through eight decorating steps, from finding inspiration to finishing the room. Her book is a journey of self-discovery and a practical guide to identifying problems with a room, exploring possibilities and finding solutions.

The book is generously illustrated with photos of homes that reflect a fresh, fun style.

“Decorate Workshop” is published by Chronicle Books and sells for $27.50 in softcover.

Keep the old tile, just give it a new look

Rust-Oleum's new Tile Transformations kit lets you update the look of outdated bathroom and kitchen tile. The kit contains an epoxy coating that creates a stone look. The process involves three steps — preparing the surface, applying a texturized bond coat and applying a stone-like finish.

The finish is durable enough for use in areas with prolonged water exposure, such as showers, tubs, kitchen backsplashes and ceramic tile countertops.

Each kit covers 50 square feet and contains most of the necessary supplies.

The product is available at Home Depot. Suggested retail price is $119.99.

— Staff and wire reports

Send Homework items to Features in care of Sue Jones, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, D.L. Clark Building, 503 Martindale St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212; fax 412-320-7966; or email sjones@tribweb.com.

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