BACKYARD FRUIT TREES ... Want to plant a fruit tree or already have one? Learn what to consider before purchasing one as well as how to keep fruit trees healthy at the UC Master Gardener program's "Backyard Fruit Tree Basics" class from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 30, in the Orchard Room at the Los Altos Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos. UC Master Gardener Kalpana Jain will lead the free class. She will discuss the various types of fruit trees, good planting locations, pruning, fertilizing and watering, frost protection, and identifying and managing pests and diseases. For more information, go to mgsantaclara.ucanr.edu.
NEW YEAR TASKS ... With the arrival of the new year, Realtor.com is offering some seasonal home-maintenance tips. First, handle the holiday cleanup: Take down lights and wrap them around a hanger or wrapping paper tube to prevent tangling. Instead of throwing away holiday cards or tucking them away never to be seen again, recycle them into gift tags for next year. Find a pretty part of the card that has no writing on the back, cut it into a small square, and punch a hole in the corner. Second, do an early spring cleaning: If you've ever considered hiring house cleaners, now's the time. Focus on those filthy places that people don't see but you know are there, including the range hood and grills, refrigerator coils, tops of ceiling fans, dusty light fixtures and bulbs (make sure lights are off before dusting), and heating vents. Shortcut: Let your dishwasher clean metal parts such as vent grills and range hood filters. Shine and tighten doorknobs and hinges; tighten loose cabinet pulls and nobs and level cabinet doors. Shortcut: To clean metal hardware, wash with soapy water, then shine with a microfiber cloth dipped in vinegar or lemon juice. Brass polish will remove tarnish from solid brass hardware. Not sure it's brass? If a magnet sticks, it's most likely metal, not solid brass.
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