Home Style: Decor quiz: meth test kit; controlling voles

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

ON THE WEB: FIND YOUR DECORATING STYLE

What’s your decorating personality?

A fun quiz from Real Simple is designed to help you figure that out. (See it here: http://www.realsimple.com/home-organizing/decorating/decorating-style-quiz-00000000030420/index.html)

Mine turned out to be Cozy Casual, which came as no surprise – especially when I saw a photo of a room that exemplified the style. It included a slipcovered sofa that looks a lot like mine.

Once you’ve identified your decorating personality, you can mosey over to a site with more information, including hallmarks of the style, suggestions for good places to shop and blogs and other resources you can turn to for more information. I also enjoyed looking at the photos of decorative products that fit my design personality.

But a $4,800 rug? I don’t think so.

I’m Cozy Casual, not Money Bags.

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WHAT’S NEW: HOME KIT TESTS FOR METH

I’ve seen kits that test your home for radon and asbestos, but I’ve never seen one that tests your home for methamphetamine.

Until now, anyway.

A company called Meth Lab Cleanup is selling kits that tell you quickly whether a site has been used as a meth lab. The results take only four minutes.

The AccuMeth test kits are intended for use by anyone who needs that information, such as child protective services, police and landlords. It can also be used by real estate agents or prospective renters or buyers to ascertain whether a home is a safe place to live.

The kit is designed to be easy to use and employs components that are considered regular household waste, not hazardous waste.

Kits cost $24.95 each plus shipping.

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Q&A: CONTROLLING VOLES

Q: I have holes about 1 to 2 inches wide in my yard and tunnels through the snow. What could be causing them?

A: It sounds like you have voles, said Marne Titchenell, a wildlife specialist with the Ohio State University Extension. Voles are sometimes confused with moles, but they’re different animals. Voles eat plant material; moles eat insects and earthworms.

Voles can damage plants by eating roots and other plant parts. They create surface tunnels in grass or snow and sometimes underground tunnels with openings like the holes you described.

If the problem isn’t too extensive, Titchenell said, you can catch the voles with snap-type mousetraps placed just outside the holes, baited with an apple slice or a mixture of peanut butter and oatmeal. Cover the hole and the trap with an empty, upside down plant pot or similar container to protect pets, children and other animals, she said. You can put something heavy on top of the pot to keep animals from tipping it over.

If you have a large infestation that’s resulting in damage to your landscape plants, Titchenell said you might want to call in a professional pest control operator. You can also try using a rodenticide labeled for use on voles, she said, but it’s critical that you cover the bait the way you would a snap trap to keep other creatures out of harm’s way.

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Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to mbrecken@thebeaconjournal.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.

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