Vol. 8, No. 1

Are We There, Yet?

As every parent on a long trip knows, the second half of any journey tends to take longer once the initial excitement wears off. February 2nd is the halfway point between winter and spring and if you’re beginning to ask yourself, are we there yet… know that every day, we move towards more light, more warmth, and more time spent outside. So, regardless if the gopher sees their shadow this year, or not, spring is slowly but surely on the way!

As you start to re-imagine your space for spring and place seed orders, sharpen tools, and prioritize to-do lists, think about what kind of help you may need in your home and garden this year. Perhaps this is the year you hire a neighbor to mow your grass, or you break down and offer to pay your kids to pull weeds. Maybe this is the year that a professional comes in and evaluates the water damage under the sink and checks the vapor barrier underneath your house. If it has been more than a year, contact a septic professional to inspect your septic system, pumping the tank if needed.

There’s no shame in asking for help, and it’s really important to know when you need some. When hiring a professional, ask friends for recommendations and hire folks that will do the best job in a way that protects your family and our community’s health. Read on for some specific ideas for how to find the right fit.

Get Some Help!

There are mold spores everywhere, searching for damp, dusty places to thrive inside of our homes. Our work then, is to try to manage our indoor environments in ways that don’t allow mold spores to grow. This means reducing moisture and dirt.

Remove dirt by regularly wiping down surfaces, reduce clutter to reduce the surfaces where mold can grow, and vacuum weekly to limit dirt and other toxics that come in on shoes and paws.

Managing moisture is key in preventing mold growth and tends to be most challenging in kitchens and bathrooms. One of the easiest things you can do is run fans for at least 30 minutes after using any kind of water – bathing or cooking. Make sure fans are working well, are clean, and vent to the outside of your home.

1.  Working Well: For bathroom fans, put one square of toilet paper up to the fan. If the fan can hold it, it’s working fine. If not, it needs to be cleaned or repaired. If the kitchen fan can’t clear all of the steam from a pot of boiling water, open a window to help reduce moisture.

2. Keep them Clean: Clean bathroom fans at least once a year and clean the kitchen fan at least once a month or as needed to reduce grease and food build up.

3.  Vent Outside: Make sure fans vent to the outside of your home and not into the attic or, in the case of a kitchen fan, into a cabinet. The vents should lead outside so moisture is ventilated outdoors, not into a different part of your house.

4.  Use ‘Em! Run fans for at least 30 minutes after showering, bathing, and cooking. This will help most of the moisture clear out, completely.

If you don’t have fans that are working well or if they aren’t vented to the outside, keep a window slighly open in these rooms for 30 minutes after bathing or cooking. Use a squeegee or towel to remove extra water from windows and shower doors.

Trained professionals can help deal with moisture issues. Get help as soon as possible if you have an issue before it turns into a larger mess. The professionals on this list have all received training with certified healthy homes professionals from Thurston County Public Health to learn how to prevent and clean up mold. They can help evaluate a problem and do repairs if needed.

Get Some Help!

Is this the year you design and plant a winding trail of flowering native plants through the woods? Is it time for your dream apple and pear orchard, or - you’re ready to plant blueberries and looking for the best location? Maybe you just need some help with the regular chores to get some more time to enjoy your little patch of paradise!

Whatever the job, large or small, a professional that has been trained in safer and healthier landscaping practices is a great resource. EcoPRO-certified landscapers are trained in the safest practices for your family and our community. They use only the safest products and prioritize your family’s health and safety in their practices. They can be hired for large - or small - projects or, to help with regular maintenance.

If you’re looking for do-it-yourself ideas for preventing common issues, want to identify the bugs that are in your yard, or need a list of products and tools for tackling issues, visit: www.growsmartgrowsafe.org

Get Some Help!

Whether you’re looking to reduce your lawn size and add drought-tolerant native plants, or you want to make your lawn more friendly for bees and other pollinators, an ecoPRO-certified landscaper can help. Professional lawn care experts can help you get a handle on hard-to-manage areas, create sustainable watering plans, and help you take back some time to enjoy the outdoor areas you have!

EcoPROS are trained to create and maintain landscapes that reduce reliance on hazardous weed and bug killers. They use only the safest fertilizers and, prioritize your family’s health and safety in their practices. They can be hired for large - or small - projects, and to help with regular maintenance.

If you’re looking for a wealth of information, studying up for the lawn care activities to come, including strategies to prevent issues and information on the safest products for lawn and garden issues, visit: www.growsmartgrowsafe.org

Q: I have many trees and shrubs in my yard. How do I prune my plants to keep them healthy?

A: Pruning not only helps to maintain the shape and structure of a plant, but also encourages new growth of foliage, flowers, and fruit. The method and timing for pruning will vary by the type of tree or shrub, but all plants will benefit from the removal of dead, diseased, or broken stems or branches. Some plants will appreciate more pruning while some will need less, so research each plant before you get started. It is important to have sharp pruning tools to avoid damaging the plant and to make the process of pruning easier for you. Visit the Almanac Pruning 101: A Guide to Pruning Trees and Shrubs to learn more. 

Caring for Gardening Tools

Treat your gardening tools with care to keep them in good condition for years to come.

  • Keep tools clean after use by removing any caked-on mud, dirt, or debris with a bristle brush.
  • To prevent rust, allow your garden tools to dry completely and apply a light coat of vegetable-based oil before storing.
  • Protect the finish and prevent rot on wooden handles by applying a light coat of linseed, tung, or even walnut oil to the handles a few times per year.
  • Sharpen pruning tools and shears to keep them in optimal condition.
  • Lubricate tools’ moving parts with a vegetable-based oil to prevent corrosion. 
  • Store your gardening tools in a covered, dry location and keep them off the ground so they are not exposed to moisture. Hang your gardening tools to help prevent damage to sharpened edges. 

Connect to Farmers

Olympia Farmers Market

Saturdays in February and March


700 Capitol Way N

Olympia, WA 98501

(360) 352-9096


The Farmer's Basket is an online resource designed to connect people seeking local, farm-fresh food with the wealth of our local farmers.

Community Events

Check these great local calendars for up-to-date information about what's coming up.

Thurston Conservation District

Thurston Talk

Experience Olympia Calendar of Events

Stream Team Calendar


City of Lacey Arts and Events

City of Tumwater Special Events

City of Tenino Community Recreation Page