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Everything listed under: Winter

  • Post Featured Image

    Did You Know That Snow Actually Helps Your Lawn?

    It’s been a brutal winter. Minnesota had record-breaking cold temperatures for New Year’s Eve – as low as 36 degrees below zero! 


    There’s still a lot of winter left to weather. So, what does all this cold and snow actually do to your lawn? Extreme cold can cause your lawn to lose moisture, putting it at risk of dying. But snow isn’t all bad. It actually has a number of benefits:


    1. Snow Acts as Insulation

    An inch or two of snow literally shields the grass from the weather. It prevents moisture from evaporating due to extreme cold and dry winds and allows the roots to keep growing.


    2. Snow Helps Fertilize Your Lawn

    Nitrogen is an essential ingredient in the soil. It’s also a main ingredient in fertilizer. However, a wet, warm winter can cause it to leach out of the ground through runoff.

    On the other hand, snow naturally contains a bit of nitrogen. That means when snow collects on your lawn, a small amount of nitrogen does, too. A winter cold enough for snow means there’s less runoff, keeping all of that nitrogen in one place. That way, when the snow melts in the spring, the extra nitrogen feeds your lawn.


    3. Snow Waters Your Lawn

    Heavy snow will melt slowly and release water into the ground. This will gradually water your grass throughout the winter. However, too much snow can also run the risk of snow mold. Risks of snow mold in our neck of the woods is rare, as the grass in Minnesota goes dormant in the winter, but this problem is seen in the Northwest region, where snowfall and harsh colds are less common. 


    4. Snow Can Help You Grow New Grass

    Seeding can be a pain. However, snow can help with the process. Sprinkle seeds over the top of the snow. When the snow melts in the spring, those seeds will be pulled into the ground. You don’t even need to worry about watering! 


    So the next time you look at the snow on your lawn this winter, you can smile knowing the snow is working behind the scenes and improving the quality of your lawn.

    Snow does not, however, help improve your driveway – that’s where Ehlinger Lawn Service comes in. We can help with reliable, cost-effective snow removal for your driveway or business. We’ll be there after every snowfall, 1 inch or more.


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    How to Fight the Winter Blues (Hint, It’s Not By Shoveling)

    This time of year can be bleak, boring, and definitely cold. Getting out and about seems all but impossible with the frigid temps and whipping winds. 

    Each time the seasons change, we need to be reminded of fun activities we can do to keep busy this winter - even outdoors. We are Minnesotans, after all.


    1.     Get Your Vitamin D

    Less sunshine means less vitamin D in the body, a critical vitamin not only for absorbing calcium and regulating the immune system, but one that has been linked to mood. Doctors in our climate recommend between 1,000 IU and 10,000 IU per day to bring vitamin D levels to normal. This also applies to children and infants, so pick up a bottle of chewable vitamin D tablets or liquid supplements for the little ones.


    2.     Exercise

    Psychologists (and fitness buffs alike) have seen a connection between exercise and improved mood. Raising your heart rate for 30 minutes a day releases dopamine and enhances mood, while practices like yoga and pilates can rejuvenate the body. Plus, you certainly won’t feel the winter chill when you’re in a heated, 80-degree yoga studio or cycling through a 60 minute spinning class! Try these mood-boosting exercise ideas to begin.


    3.     Stimulate Your Senses with Color and Music

    Sometimes this time of the year gives people what they call “a case of the blahs.” So go the opposite of “blah” by wearing bright colors and listening (and moving) to upbeat music.

    Color therapy expert Constance Hart says, “Color has an effect on our psyche, it’s always affecting us whether we are aware of it or not…In my work I try to help people move away from black because it can have a depressive quality to it.” You could also consider painting your office, purchasing some bright artwork, or swapping out your grey winter parka for a bright red one. It may just give your mood the boost you need.

    Turn on your favorite playlists and sing or dance along to instantly feel lighter. The American Music Therapy Association finds that “music therapy programs can be designed to achieve goals such as managing stress, enhancing memory, and alleviating pain.” Whether your go-to jams are Mozart or Motown Philly, happy music can alleviate bad moods.


    4.     Watch for Warm(ish) Days and Get Outside

    On those days where the temperature climbs and the sun shines, use the opportunity to get outside for a walk, a jog, or some winter ice skating or sledding. The fresh air, exercise, and sunlight are a trio of mood-boosting stimulants.


    5.     Simulate Dawn or Use a Light Box

    Many people living in northern climates experience seasonal affective disorder, a yearly feeling of slight depression, tiredness, or winter blues. Combat this feeling with a light therapy lamp, like a happy light, which simulates sunlight and helps your general mood. Dawn simulators slowly turn up the light to naturally help you awaken during those darkest winter mornings.


    The best way to combat the winter blues by letting us take the most undesirable winter task off your hands: shoveling and snow blowing. You don’t have to call us each time you need us; Ehlinger Lawn Service sends snow crews each time there’s a snow accumulation of 1” or more. 

    Pay one flat fee for the entire winter, and consider this crossed off your list. Now you can enjoy more time with friends and family and less time pacing your driveway pushing a shovel or snow blower.

    We hope you find ways to not only get through but enjoy the winter months in Minnesota. Contact us to get help with your winter snow blowing so that you can spend more time enjoying the things you love, whether you’re in a red parka or not!

     

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    The Hidden Dangers of Shoveling Snow

    Shoveling snow may not seem like a dangerous activity, but surprisingly enough, it can be deadly.

    Cardiologists agree that individuals who have certain conditions may be putting themselves at an increased risk for a heart attack by shoveling snow during the winter months.

    Why Does this Happen?

    Colder temperatures increase the risk of blood clotting due to the narrowing of blood vessels which allows less oxygen to travel to the heart. This is especially problematic when paired with the rise in blood pressure and the physical strain to the body that happens during shoveling.

     

    Who Has the Highest Risk?

    Individuals who fit any of the following criteria may be at high risk for triggering a heart attack:

    • Cardiovascular disease
    • History of heart attacks
    • History of heart disease
    • Heart stent
    • Bypass surgery
    • Peripheral arterial disease
    • Sedentary Lifestyle
    • Smoking
    • High blood pressure
    • Diabetes
    • High cholesterol

    If you qualify for any of these factors, please talk to your doctor before shoveling snow. Based on your doctor’s recommendations, consider asking a friend, relative, or neighbor to shovel for you. 

    You can also hire a shoveling service to take care of it for you – then you won’t have to think about it again all winter!

     

    How Can I Protect My Heart During Shoveling?

    If you do fit the above criteria and still choose to shovel, be aware of some of the following tips that might help reduce the stress to your heart. 

    Before you Begin Shoveling:

    • Discuss the activity with your doctor and determine if it is safe for you to shovel
    • Blood clots occur most often in the morning, therefore wait a few hours after you wake up before you begin shoveling
    • Avoid large meals before beginning to shovel as some blood will move toward the stomach
    • Walk briefly to warm up your muscles before beginning shoveling
    • Avoid drinking coffee or smoking for one hour before and after shoveling as these substances tend to increase heart rate and blood pressure

    During Snow Shoveling:

    • Choose a smaller shovel that will lighten the load of the snow and space out the strain on your body
    • Shovel slowly – don’t rush yourself and overexert your body
    • Take frequent 15 minute breaks to give your heart rate time to slow down
    • Drink extra water so that your body does not dehydrate
    • Wear layers so that your body does not get too cold or warm and to avoid hypothermia and overheating
    • Wear a hat and scarf to maintain body heat where it is most easily lost
    • Cover your mouth with your scarf to avoid breathing problems related to breathing cold air
    • If you exhibit any warning signs of a heart attack (including lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, or tight pains in your chest, neck, arms or back) stop shoveling immediately and rest. If you believe you are having a heart attack, call 911.


    Let Us Take Care of it For You

    Don’t put yourself at risk; contact us to do your snow removal for you. We visit your home each time there is a snowfall of 1 inch or more, so you don’t have to worry about scheduling an appointment. We also use snow blowers instead of plows, so our services won’t ruin your lawn!

    Visit our website to contact us or receive a free quote.

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    Don't Get Caught in The Cold! Schedule Your Snow Removal Service Before Winter


    Ehlinger lawn service has had another successful summer helping hundreds of happy customers get their lawn thriving. Believe it or not, snow is already on our mind. Snow!? Yes, it is entirely possible we see snow this month and it is time to get ready. Ehlinger does not just do grass, we also handle snow removal! Here are some reasons to schedule snow removal service for the upcoming cold season.


    The Old Farmer's Almanac

    This last year, we had a winter with cold temps, but no polar vortex and snowfall and no record-setting blizzards. This year, it is hard to know what to expect, but one resource that boasts an 80% accuracy rate is the Old Farmer's Almanac. According to this age-old predictor of weather patterns, snow will arrive before Halloween this year. It also says snow might interfere with your holiday travel; mid to late December is predicted to be the snowiest period of the season. We can help by handling the headache of what to do when snow falls on your doorstep.


    The Benefits of Snow Service

    Even if these predictions do not come true and we have a very mild winter, there are still a few great reasons to secure snow removal service. Stop checking the weather and worrying, put this aspect of home maintenance in our hands. Our snow removal service will stop by to clear every time it snows 1 inch or more. If you are elderly, lead a busy lifestyle, own a rental or commercial property, or are not around often (if you are a snowbird), our snow removal service will meet your needs. No matter what the special situation, it is worth your time to give us a call and get a quote


    You already know and love Ehlinger lawn service for your turf, try us for snow removal as well! Learn more about our services and pricing here.


  • How to Create Amazing Snow Sculptures On Your Own

    The last few Central Minnesota weeks have been uncommonly warm, melting almost all that is left of our snow. As we are just moving into March, however, you can bet that mother nature isn’t quite finished! And there isn’t a better way to celebrate the end of winter than creating an elaborate snow sculpture! 

    Snow sculptures are becoming more popular as people are tending to get as creative as possible with their works of art. Building a snowman is fun and all, but it’s easy work compared to making something that comes from the heart. If you’re a first-time snow sculptor, here are some easy tips to follow to start your masterpiece:


    Create a Plan for Your Sculpture

    If you have an idea, that’s the first step to success. Sketching out your idea is the second step. After that, know where you’re going to build your sculpture. Make sure to find the tools you need because you’re probably going to have to climb around a little bit. Common tools used in snow sculpting are spatulas, spoons, chisels and ice cream scoops. All of these tools are used to create unique shapes and can be found around the house. Especially if you are sculpting with kids, make sure to keep your sculpture away from the street, driveway, and sidewalk.

    Use the Right Snow

    Wet snow is always the best for sculpting. It sticks together better and it’s easier to work with. If you have to use powdery snow, fill a water bottle or spray bottle with warm water to wet it down enough to mold. 


    Work From the Top Down

    After you have a plan and make an outline, start from the top of your sculpture. When you carve from high to low, you can finish extra fragile elements first, then build up your foundation to keep everything supported.

    Add Some Life to Your Sculpture

    Most snow sculptures end up looking like the color of snow, which can be very boring. Why not add some food coloring? Dilute food coloring into water and then use a spray bottle or paint brush to apply it to the snow.


    Add a Layer of Water

    When all the details are worked out on your sculpture, spray a light layer of water on it. This will cause the snow to freeze and harden. That means your sculpture will last longer as the weather warms up.

    To get some inspiration, check out this buzzfeed collection of instagram sculptors. There are plenty of ideas to choose from if you can’t come up with your own.

    All snow sculpting takes is a little practice. If you follow these simple tips, your neighborhood could be talking about your skills for a long time.

    Ehlinger Lawn Service knows you don’t need much lawn help right now, but when the weather turns warmer, be sure to contact us at 1-320-250-9337. Spring will be here before you know it!

     

     

     

     


  • Winter Home Maintenance Tips

    Although we at Ehlinger love taking care of what’s outside your home—lawn service and snow removal is our livelihood—we want the inside of your home to be safe, cozy, and well cared for this winter. As we settle into our Minnesota winter, now is a good time to give thought to some of the important winter home maintenance tasks that you may have forgotten.


    Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Heating Equipment

    According to the National Fire Protection Association, fires started by home heating equipment and carbon monoxide poisoning both increase during the winter months. Vehicles and generators running in an attached garage can cause dangerous levels of CO, and you should always make sure there is ample ventilation. If you’re going to start your car to let it warm up, back it out of the driveway so the fumes don’t build up in your garage and seep into your home.

    Never use your oven to heat your home, and be sure to turn off portable space heaters when you leave the room. (That includes the one you have hidden under your desk at work.)

    Stock up on Winter Supplies

    Stock up your home and your car with winter-ready supplies. For your home, make sure you have a good snow shovel, snow blower, and salt to rid your walkways of dangerous ice. Or, try one of these tips for keeping your walkways free of ice. If you have no desire to repair or purchase a snow-blower, let us do the snow removal for you. (We offer one price for the whole season, so you’re covered automatically, no matter how many times it snows!)

    For the car, think about what you might need in the event of a sudden winter storm in your path or being stranded on the side of the road. Blankets, flares, water, salt, and a small shovel can be incredibly handy in the right moment. Having a spare battery for your phone is another good idea. 


    Chimney Tips

    We all love a roaring fire, especially in these temps. But there are several to-dos surrounding that blaze to keep your home safe. First, get a fire screen that is well-reviewed if you have pets or children in the house or as guests. Many a tiny hand has been burned on fireplace glass! Hearth guards are also available to cushion those dangerous edges.

    To upkeep your fireplace, remove ashes regularly, and get your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year by professionals.


    Protect Your Pipes

    Often on the exterior walls of a home, pipes are susceptible to freezing in cold temperatures. If you’re leaving town, don’t turn your heat off completely because the pipes (and water within) may freeze and cause damage. When the temperature gets extremely cold, let the water drip a bit through the night to keep something flowing through the pipes. Pipe insulation is available at hardware stores and can give you pipe peace of mind.


    Watch for Ice Dams

    Melting and refreezing water on your roof can cause ice dams, meaning big problems forming under your shingles, in your gutters, and in drainpipes, blocking water from draining off your roof. The problem actually begins in your attic, with heat seeping through the roof and melting ice and snow, only to refreeze in an ice dam. Contact a professional to investigate and address this issue.

    If we take a moment to step outside your house to meet winter face-to-face, Ehlinger Lawn Service will be there to help you safely and effortlessly tackle snowfalls. Gain tips on how to shovel safely and find out more about our snow removal program, which provides snow blowing off your driveway whenever snow reaches more than 1 inch.

    So enjoy this winter, be safe, and stay warm!   



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    The Many Benefits of Using a Snow Removal Service

    Winter is Coming. To much of the country, that’s a quote from a popular HBO series or a cute reference to a book they may have read years ago. Here in Minnesota, though, we know differently; winter is always just around the corner. Winter is coming, and that means we must once again engage in the practice of snow removal.


    In a perfect world, you wouldn’t have to deal with snow removal. You’d wake up on a bright new day, fully refreshed after a full 8 hours of blissful sleep, and go about your morning routine. The snow that accumulated over the course of the night was seemingly removed by angels, or perhaps some sort of faerie folk.

    We can help you get at least a bit closer to that perfect world.

    It’s remarkably affordable to contract out the task of snow removal to a friendly, professional service from Ehlinger. With the rising cost of pretty much every good or service in our economy, you’d almost be crazy not to consider it.

    Let’s just break down a bit of the cost of doing it yourself, vs our full-season contract, and you can decide for yourself:

    Photo by Onno Kluyt via Flickr

    Photo by Onno Kluyt via Flickr

    Snow Blowers

    Most decent snow blowers up to the task of handling a Minnesota winter are going to run you anywhere from $700 to $1,000 or more. That estimate isn’t even factoring in additional costs like maintenance or gas, which can easily add up to more than our service over the course of the season.

     

    Chiropractic Bills

    Even if you have a snowblower, you still need to get out in the cold, dark morning before work and push that thing around, which can be really tough on the knees and back. According to Cost Helper Health, you’re looking at around $65 per adjustment if you go to even a less-than-reputable chiropractor, like one in the back of a failing mall in an office with a sign on their door that has “chiroprocter” misspelled.


    Personal Costs

    You also need to factor in the human cost to your own continued sanity and well-being. Getting up before the sun to go trudging out into the bitter cold to push snow around can expose you to the harshest cold temperatures of the year, which can lead to frostbite, sickness, and an acute feeling of resentment toward your neighbors who are still warm and toasty in their beds, because they hired someone else to do the work for them. Don’t let that happen to you.

    Contract Ehlinger Lawn Services, and we’ll come out and plow your driveway anytime there’s snowfall greater than 1” day or night. Plans start as low as $350, and routes fill up quickly, so get moving so we can get to you before Old Man Winter does.

  • Safely Removing Ice From Your Sidewalk

     

    Protecting our family and friends from slips and falls in the winter can be a daunting task, especially in this area of the country. Clearing the ice from the sidewalk becomes more important with elderly family members, children, or pets walking on it often.  There are many ice-melting products that you can find in the market these days, but these products often contain chemicals which can be harmful to the environment - and especially your pets. Here are a couple ideas:

    Table salt, kosher salt, and sea salt

    Chemically, using household salt in place of rock salt will be safer for the environment and for your pets,  but large quantities can still be harmful to pets as well as your soil. The Sodium Chloride in salt keeps water in its liquid form, preventing it from forming into a solid ice, so it works well as an ice-preventer, but large quantities of sodium chloride can contaminate your ground soil and become irritable on your pet's paws.

    Sugar Beet Juice

    You might be thinking, “Beet juice?... Seriously?” The secret to beet juice is that it lowers the freezing temperature of liquids. You can use beet juice before the snow and ice arrive, or it can be used after a snowstorm because it gradually melts ice into liquid. What’s really great is that it is completely harmless to humans, animals, plants, cars, fabrics, and water systems. You can also dilute salt solutions with beet juice, making the salt more effective in lower quantities.

    Alfalfa Meal

    Alfalfa Meal is 100% natural and is typically used for fertilizer.  The rough and grainy texture of Alfalfa Meal helps to provide traction from slipping and falling on the ice and the nitrogen helps to melt ice. Other forms of fertilizer can be used, but usually contain higher concentrations of nitrogen that can be harmful to nearby plants or contaminate nearby water sources.

    Gravel, Sand or Kitty Litter

    Using these substitutes won’t melt the ice, but they will give extra traction to your sidewalk. Best of all, they won’t cause any harm to your yard or your pets.

    Shovel Early, Shovel Often

    To prevent ice and snow buildup, shovel early after (or during) a snowstorm to prevent the ice and snow from packing and solidifying. After a few people have walked on freshly fallen snow, it becomes much more difficult to remove.


    Whichever of these techniques you chose, be ready with a shovel to clear the melted ice and snow to prevent it from freezing again. If you’d like to quickly clear your driveway of snow, contact us - we’ll do it for you all winter long. Do you have any natural ice removing techniques? Share them with us!

     

  • Fun in the Snow

    One truth about Minnesota winters you may have noticed is that they are dusted with beautiful snowy days. Whether you would prefer to spend your winter days inside sipping hot chocolate, or outside slipping down a snowy hill, Minnesotans will always find fun activities for the snowier months.

    For the Outdoors

    Sledding: Sledding is one of the most inexpensive, traditional snow day activities. All you need is snow, a sled (or something similar to a sled), a hill, and yourself. The whole family can dress in snow gear and enjoy a sledding trip.

    Snow Sculptures/ Forts: Creating snow sculptures gives you a chance to express your creativity. This can be a fun and challenging winter activity for the whole family to create something amazing. Some of the more traditional ideas are forts, igloos, and snowmen, or you can get extra creative.

     

    Snowmobiling: Snowmobiling is the root of a lot of winter family vacations. Bundle up and hit the snow trails during the day, and enjoy a warm fire by night. There are 230,000 miles of marked snowmobile trails in the United States and Canada. Click here to find all the snow trails in Minnesota.

    Ice Skating: Whether you’re a beginner or trying out for the next winter Olympics, Ice skating is a fun way to get outdoors and get some exercise in the winter. There are plenty of rinks in Minnesota, or just find your nearest frozen lake or pond and lace up your skates!

    For the Indoors

    Indoor Sports: Athletes can get especially gloomy in the winter months. Minnesota isn’t the best state to promote year-round basketball, baseball, volleyball, climbing, or hiking. Luckily, you can usually find a winter league filled with other fanatics of your favorite summer sports pretty easily. If you don’t have the time to join a winter league, find a local sports arena or rec center (such as the Whitney Recreation Center in St. Cloud) and gather a group on the weekend.

    Sitting by a Fire: If you would rather stay warm and cozy this winter, bundle up by a warm fireplace with a blanket and some good company. A fireplace can offer a simple “getaway” as you watch the snowflakes fall outside your window. Grab a few wintery puzzles, learn a new card game or board game, or snuggle up to a good book while enjoying the glowing embers of a warm fire.

     

    Hot Chocolate: Well, first of all, it’s hot and warms you up on a cold day. Plus, the smooth taste and feel of drinking hot chocolate that then warms your whole body is great on a cold winter day. There are tons of variations and recipes you can tinker with (for kids and adults) besides traditional coca. It’s a silky, rich, treat that everyone looks forward to in the winter.

    Don’t be stuck spending your winter hours shoveling snow, let us clear it for you so you can spend more time with family this having fun and creating memories. Contact Ehlinger Lawn Care today for a quote.

     


  • Choosing a Snow Removal Service

    Choosing a snow removal service is something that can’t be done overnight.  Once the snow starts falling the snow removal companies become extremely busy- so now is the best time to sign up.  Here are the top 7 steps to choosing what snow removal company will work best for your needs:

  • Assess Your Needs
    Before you decide to start looking for a snow removal company, it is important to first determine what your needs are.  Do you want your whole driveway cleared as well as your front steps and sidewalk? Do you need your driveway cleared off by a certain time of day so you can go to work/ school? To know what you are looking for, you must first know what you need.

  • Ask for Referrals
    Who do you trust more than your friends, family, and neighbors?  Ask them for a reliable source, who they use for their services or who they have used in the past. Another great way to find referrals is to check the company's website to see how previous customers liked their service.

  • Talk to Several Companies about Your Needs
    Contact 3 to 4 different companies that have either been referred to you by your friends, family, and neighbors or companies you have read good reviews about.  Tell them about your needs and see if they are able to fit your budget.

  • Ask Lots of Questions
    It important to ask lots of questions to each company you talk too.  Find out how long they have been doing snow removal, how often they will come out to clear the snow, how they determine their charge for their service, what type of equipment they use, and if you need to call or if they automatically come out for a certain amount of snow.  Be prepared with a list of questions before you contact a service.

  • Research the Company with the BBB
    Going online and searching for the Better Business Bureau office that services your area is a good way to get more information about any company.  This will tell you if the company has had any complaints against them and how reliable they are to their customers.

  • Don’t Choose a Snow Removal Service Based on Price Alone
    Prices vary based on the equipment used and the amount of time the service will take. As the saying rightly goes, you get what you pay for, so make sure you learn a bit about the company before you consider the price.

  • Read the Contract Thoroughly Before Signing
    It is important that before you sign the contract you have fully read and understand the services you will be receiving. Ask plenty of questions to clarify and issues or concerns you have.  Do not sign the bottom line if you are not completely confident about the content in the contract.
  • Ehlinger Lawn Service has been family owned and operated for over 15 years. Just check out our services. Once the cold weather comes, openings fill up fast, so get your snow removal set up before the first flake falls.