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Projects and or items used in our home.

Garden Home

Bananas, taste the tropics!

January 31, 2023


Banana trees are a tropical plant that are known for their large, lush leaves and delicious fruit. They are often grown as ornamental plants, but can also be used for their fruit in warmer climates. Here’s a guide on how to care for banana trees, including information on propagation, fertilization, optimal soil and sun conditions.

Caring for Banana Trees Banana trees need warm temperatures and lots of sunlight to thrive. They prefer temperatures between 60-90 degrees Fahrenheit and should be placed in an area with at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day. They also require high humidity and regular watering. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged. It is also important to protect banana trees from frost and freezing temperatures.

Propagation Banana trees are propagated by rhizomes, also known as “suckers” or “pups” that grow from the base of the mother plant. These pups can be removed when they are about 6 inches tall and planted separately. It’s important to use a well-draining potting mix for banana trees, such as one made up of equal parts peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite.

Fertilization Banana trees are heavy feeders and require regular fertilization to promote growth and fruit production. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer should be applied to the soil every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. It is important to use a fertilizer with a high nitrogen content to encourage leaf growth and a high potassium content to promote fruit development.

Optimal Soil Conditions Banana trees prefer a well-draining, rich soil with a pH between 5.5-7.5. They also require a high level of organic matter in the soil. A mixture of equal parts peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite is a good option for banana trees.

Sun Conditions Banana trees need full sun to thrive, at least 6 hours of direct sunlight per day is optimal. They can be grown in partial shade, but it may reduce fruit production. If you live in a colder climate, it is best to grow banana trees in a greenhouse or indoors where they can receive the necessary sunlight and warmth. Banana trees are a beautiful and unique tropical plant that can be a great addition to any garden. They require warm temperatures, high humidity, regular watering, and lots of sunlight to thrive. They should be fertilized regularly and propagated by rhizomes. With proper care, these plants can bring a touch of tropical beauty to your home and delicious fruit to your table.

Garden Home

Bromeliads – Growing more!

January 28, 2023

Bromeliads are a diverse group of tropical plants that are popular among indoor gardeners. These plants come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, and are known for their unique rosette of leaves that can hold water. Here’s a guide on how to care for bromeliads, including information on propagation, fertilization, and optimal soil conditions.

Caring for Bromeliads Bromeliads are relatively low-maintenance plants that can thrive indoors with proper care. They prefer bright, indirect light and high humidity. They can be placed near a window that receives filtered sunlight, but should be protected from direct sun rays. They can also be placed under grow lights or fluorescent lights. Bromeliads do not need frequent watering, and should be watered only when the central cup or rosette is dry. Watering should be done by filling the central cup or rosette, or by misting the leaves. Overwatering can lead to root rot, so it is important to let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.

Propagation Bromeliads can be propagated by offsets, or “pups,” that form at the base of the mother plant. When the offsets are about one-third the size of the mother plant, they can be carefully removed and potted up separately. It’s important to use a well-draining potting mix, such as one made up of equal parts peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite.

Fertilization Bromeliads do not require frequent fertilization but can benefit from occasional feeding. A balanced, water-soluble fertilizer can be applied to the central cup or rosette every 4-6 weeks during the growing season. It is important to use a fertilizer with low nitrogen and high phosphorus to encourage blooming.

Optimal Soil Conditions Bromeliads prefer a well-draining potting mix with a slightly acidic pH of about 5.5-6.5. The mix should be made up of equal parts peat moss, coarse sand, and perlite. The potting mix should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.

In conclusion, Bromeliads are a beautiful and unique group of plants that can be a great addition to any indoor garden. They require bright, indirect light, high humidity and well-draining soil. They should be fertilized occasionally and propagated by offsets. With proper care, these plants can bring a touch of tropical beauty to your home for many years to come.

Garden Home

Mulch in your garden

January 26, 2023

Mulch is a great addition to any vegetable garden, as it provides a variety of benefits that help to improve the health and productivity of the plants.

One of the main benefits of mulch is that it helps to conserve moisture in the soil. When mulch is applied to the surface of the soil, it helps to reduce evaporation and keep the soil cool, which can be especially beneficial during hot summer months. This can help to reduce the amount of water that is needed to keep the garden hydrated, which can save time and resources for the gardener.

Another benefit of mulch is that it helps to suppress weeds. When mulch is applied to the surface of the soil, it creates a barrier that makes it difficult for weed seeds to germinate and grow. This can help to reduce the amount of time and effort that is needed to keep the garden free of weeds and can also help to improve the overall appearance of the garden.

Mulching your garden

Mulch can also help to improve the soil structure and fertility. Many types of mulch, such as leaves, grass clippings, and straw, are high in organic matter, which can help to improve the structure of the soil and make it more fertile. This can help to improve the health of the plants and increase their productivity.

Mulch can also help to protect plants from extreme temperature fluctuations. Mulch can help to moderate the temperature of the soil, keeping it warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer. This can help to protect the roots of the plants from damage caused by extreme temperatures, which can improve their overall health and productivity.

Finally, mulch can also help to improve the overall aesthetic of the vegetable garden. Mulch can be used to create a neat and tidy appearance, and can also be used to create attractive borders around garden beds.

In conclusion, mulch is a versatile and valuable addition to any vegetable garden. Its ability to conserve moisture, suppress weeds, improve soil structure and fertility, protect plants from extreme temperature fluctuations, and improve the overall aesthetic of the garden, make it an essential tool for any gardener looking to maximize the health and productivity of their vegetable garden.

Automation Home Homekit

Top 6 Home Automation Devices

May 2, 2022

More and more products are going to market improving our daily quality of life. With that being said, some of us, are not privy to modern automation advancements. We will continue to advance , we will continue to automate, we will continue to wait until its our turn to board The Axiom.

Garage Door

The myQ Smart Garage Controller will interface your garage door with its interactive services. This universal interface works on essentially any garage door unit built after 1996. Although there are some exceptions to the rule almost all of them


Nobody wants to come to a hot home. The Ecobee 3 is a smart thermostat that works on both the google and apple platform. Easily control, adjust, and know the temperature of your home. You can also add SmartSensors to your home in order to cool or heat certain areas of the home.

Lighting Control

Lutron Caseta is hands down my favorite lighting control module. I’ve been able to test lighting control with Zigbee, Z-wave, and Wifi. Lutron takes the cake with its ease of use, reliability, and quickness. Quickly set up a scene, schedule, or turn on / off a light with a push of a button.

Smart Locks

When it comes to smart locks it really depends on your personal preference. I’ve been lucky and fortunate enough to have been able to afford different locking brands. I think each has its place and will make your home secure.

August Wi-Fi – This lock is the one we use on our front door. We used it as it would not change the esthetic of the door looking from the outside in. However please be advised you will have a large cylindrical lock on the inside of your door. Lock functions good and I only have to replace the batteries once every couple of months.

Kwikset 99190-004 – My office door is protected by a kwikset lock. It’s pretty straight forward, battery life is exceptional, comes in different color styles, and is an all around solid unit. I particularly like that 1 key (if i so need it ) can control all of their locks using their lock reprogramming technology.

Ceiling Fan

Moxie 52in Ceiling Fan – Personally, I buy ceiling fans for the air that they push. Their primary task in my house is to cool me off and also provide light. The lighting is however secondary in my mind. This fan, provides an amazing amount of air but, its downfall is the LED lighting. While I personally have no issues with it I can see someone having an issue. If staying cool is your objective, look no further.


This ONVIS Smart Motion Sensor seems to be the jack of all trades. It will check humidity, motion, and temperature. You could run a series of automations based on humidity, if it detects motion, or whatever your hearts content.

Home automation used to be considered only for the elite. Their unfortunate high price point put out everyday home owners. The DIY path gives us the ability to use our imaginations and implement a better quality of life for those mundane tasks.

Extreme Laziness – Automation using the NFC reader off your iPhone –

Apple Homekit

Extreme Laziness – Automation using the NFC reader off your iPhone

March 29, 2022

Apple HomeKit brings automation to the masses with their “Works with Apple HomeKit” compatible devices. Their standardized system brings high quality, security, and ease of use. Making compatible products simple and easy to integrate. If you’re under the apple ecosystem this makes life exponentially easier. Right in the palm of your hands you have a massive tool to help aid you in your automation adventure. You just have to think a little outside the box.

Ever since the iPhone 6 our devices have been equipped with an NFC chip. While this chips intended use has always been contactless payments via Apple Pay… The addition of Shortcuts (app) has granted us the ability to use the Near Field Communication chip ( NFC) and create shortcuts. The shortcut I’m about to show you will hopefully help you solve a problem that has been plaguing my household for years. The dreaded…. I forgot to turn off X Y Z light (when in bed and ready to go to sleep). Unfortunately, this isnt a one and done application. There are equipment requirements that are needed in order for this particular shortcut to work. This tutorial will provide a list of items needed to make said short cut work, but not go in depth as to how they work together. Leave a comment below if you have questions.

Pre Warm-up:

Incoming Amazon affiliate links

Lets get to work!

This is not a tutorial on how to set up your lights, how to get the system to work, how to figure things out. This is just a tutorial on how to get your NFC to run a series of commands. This post will be vague in some aspects of the installation processes.

Creating a scene in apple home

– Locate and open your Apple Home App.
– Click the + icon on the top left.
–Add Scene
—Custom ( bottom)
—- Scene Name ( mine is good night )
—–Add Accessories


Add all devices you wish to control in this particular scene. In my case, I want to lock the door, turn off all kitchen lighting, turn off hall way lights, and any other device that might be carelessly left on.

Once this is done click DONE. After clicking done, you will be promoted with a new screen that lets you change the state of those selected devices.  In my case, I want to set all these devices to turn off. Make sure your devices are in the off state.

Recap:  This is where we’re at so far. You found a problem that you want to automate. Sometimes your significant other leaves the lights off and you want to be able to turn off the lights without having to do any actions other than putting your phone on your night stand to charge. Once you put your phone on your night stand your phone automatically reads the NFC tag on your night stand and runs a series of shortcuts. The short cut will run the scene named Good Night and will automatically turn off all the lighting you selected. If the lights are on… They turn off. If the lights are off…. They stay that way.

Shortcuts – climbing the ladder of success

– Open your Shortcuts app
– Click the + on the top right
-Create Personal Automation
– Scroll down to where you see NFC
–  NFC Tag   Scan – you will then be prompted to scan the NFC tag. Place your phone on your tag of choice as if you were going to do a contactless payment.
– Name your NFC Tag ( Good Night ) and click NEXT


Recap: You go to bed, place the phone on your night stand to charge, the phone picks up the NFC tag, and does nothing. But not for long.

– Click the “Search for apps and actions”
– Type ” Control My Home”
– Click Set Scenes and Accessories
– Select Good Night and click NEXT





Explanation: When the NFC tag named “Good Night” is detected run the scene “Good Night”.

I like to turn off the Ask Before Running tab so the automation runs without me having to confirm it ( use at your discretion ).


Alarm Home

Home Automation – PowerG Mailbox Sensor for your Alarm Panel with

December 16, 2020

When I think home automation …. I picture a futuristic scene in some space movie. I walk to a door, it unlocks automatically, it picks up some sensor on my body,  adjusts temperatures in the room, and then sends the sex robots. Although we’re quite not there, we can  stand to have some additional comforts in our life. Welcome in the Mailbox sensor.

Items you will need:

For this to work (in the way I am showing you) you will need the following.

Amazon affiliate links to the items used –


Installation is pretty easy and essentially takes no tools. Make sure you have your contact in place where it will allow the door to close and still make contact. I applied a little 4475 glue to each and pressed them against their surfaces for a couple of minutes. Once dried its not going anywhere. In this situation I used an indoor contact ( what was available to me ). Ideally you will want an outdoor version or add some sealant to the contact itself. I’m not too worried about it.


NOTE: Adding a sensor to a panel will vary from panel to panel. The instructions here are only for the IQ2 Panel from Qolsys.

Step the first: Locate your panel and swipe down the middle drop down.

Step 2: Go into your advanced settings option and add your installers code

Step 3: Auto Learn Sensor ( Installation > Devices > Security Sensors > Auto Learn Sensor ) – Once you’re here you’re going to want to tamper the contact  ( open the contact and hit the tamper button, or just press the magnet to the contact and remove it )

Step 4 : Selecting Settings  – Things to note – Sensor Group 25, Sensor Name – Named it Mailbox, Voice Prompt is off, Chime type I have it set to High Wire but you could opt out if you choose. – Push notification

Essentially you’ve added the door/window contact, or in this case the mail box contact, to the alarm panel. If someone opens the mailbox it will chime inside. If you set the voice prompts it will say MAILBOX. If you want to take it a step further you can really step up the “automation” with



Login to your account. Head over to Notifications. Once in Notifications click +New Notification.

Click on Sensor Activity

Finalize your sensor Details: Make sure you select the name of your mailbox sensor ( in my example its Mailbox ) – During this time I selected at all times ( I want to know when someone opens my mailbox ), Notification Filtering I set to 5 minute ( I dont want to receive 200 messages about my mail box. So if it happens within 5 minutes don’t send me another notification. Either way I’m going to check the instant it pops ). Finally, if you add yourself as a push notification it will send you a message to your phone alerting you that someone has opened your mailbox.


Why did I use these items?

I used the qolsys panel as it was already available to me as well as the PG9303(Brown).  I purchased a tube of 4475 Glue years ago and it’s still going strong.

Why should YOU use these items?

Qolsys is a great way to incorporate home automation, security, and lighting control into one unit. Their PowerG frequency allows up to 1 mile (line of sight) for their wireless range. The ability to put something at the very front of my house ( as a mail box ),  have it communicate wireless and secure was extremely appealing to me.

Alarm Home

Update Qolsys IQPanel 2+ Firmware to 2.5.2

August 24, 2020

Qolsys released yet again another small patch to alleviate some lingering issues. While this update does not offer any new  and exciting features / integrations, it does help those using the 16 zone hardwired translators and improves on some communications with

The official patch notes are as follows:

  • Improved filtering for low battery alerts when using an IQ 16z Hardwired translator.
  • Updates to broadband communication between the panel and
  • Fix for reporting carrier stats to the back end for enhanced troubleshooting
  • Fixes for intermittent issues with image uploads

How to update your Qolsys IQPanel 2+

Step 1:  Advanced Settings

Go to your MAIN panel  (should be the only one unless you have a secondary Keypad). You’re going  to want to swipe down from the middle top  bring up the advanced settings menu.

Once there you’re going to want to click ADVANCED SETTINGS then enter the installers code.

Step 2: Upgrade Software

Once your installer code has been successfully been accepted you will be greeted with a similar layout with the one below. You’re going to want to click and open the upgrade software setting on your IQ PAnel2+

Step 3(a) and (b): Normal and Patch Tag installation

A) – Under normal circumstances you should be able to update your panel via WIFI using the Upgrade Using Network field. Clicking this field will communicate with the update servers and verify if there is a newer firmware version.

b) If the event you want to force a specific update, there is Patch tag. Patch tag  will tell the server you want a specific update to your panel and will bypass normal updating procedures.  If your panel is not giving  you the option to update to 2.5.2 you can do so by entering Iqpanel2.5.2  This is case sensitive.

Alarm Home

Change your Qolsys Icon on Ubiquiti

August 24, 2020

My home network was recently upgraded to a Ubiquiti style platform. While adding items I noticed my Qolsys Alarm Panels were not showing their correct icons. If you’re the type to label their network peripherals and want their correct icon then follow the steps below.

Step 1 –

Ubiquiti Dream Machine Login

Click network to open up the network side of your ubiquiti system ( the above shown is off my Ubiquiti Dream Machine Pro )

Step 2 –

In your left panel you will see a few options to select. Click the Insights link

Step 3 –

You’re going to want to find something similar to the picture above. Granted you’re going to want to be 100% sure before you add your label / icon. If you have a myriad of items on your network and cant easily tell which is your Qolsys panel then I suggest you verifying of the panel itself.

Step 4 –

If you’ve found your Qolsys panel and are sure of it click the line to be brought up to item details

Step 5 –

Once in the item details you’re going to want to click ITEM DETAILS, and expand the Device Fingerprint. In the action field you will want to click Report Wrong Icon

Step 6 –

Enter Qolsys into the search field and the IQ panel will appear. Clicking Submit will push the changes over to the client and VIOLA. You have a new Qolsys IQ Panel icon on your Ubiquiti platform.


ANAP3002P – Aivo Network – Wireless Access Point

December 29, 2019

In May of 2019 my wife and I were able to purchase our first home.  The pipes, outlets, roof, and just about everything was checked prior to purchasing. Obviously, wifi capability was not one of those things we were able to check.

Upon moving in, we immediately found out that our current wifi setup was going to be insufficient and we needed something else. In came the ANAP3002P. The Aivo ANAP3002P access point allowed us to broadcast wifi from a more central location while still allowing me to keep the rest of the network in one location.


Contents –

ANAP3002Q Contains the following

  • 1 – ANACP3002P
  • 1 – Cat5e Ethernet Cable
  • 1 – Poe Power Adapter
  • 1 – Power Cord
  • 3 – Sets of Screws and Anchors
  • 1 – Quick Reference Guide


Installation –

Before you start hammering in anchors and drilling in your screws you’re going to want to know how you will power the access point. The first way of powering the access point is using the supplied PoE Power Adaptor / Power Cord and the second is strictly using Power Over Ethernet. Before you install please note…  you will need to run a cat5e or cat6 cable to the location where you plan on placing your new access point ( unless you will be placing it broadcasting from your router ). After you find your location, hammer in 3 anchors, and screw in 3 screws the installation is basically complete ( don’t forget to connect your Ethernet cable to the LAN port )  .


Setup –

  • Connect your access point via the lan port to your computer’s Ethernet port
  • Make sure your computer is set to DHCP
    • If on windows10
      • Start ( Window Icon )
      • Type: ” Network Status “
      • Click on ” Change connection properties “
      • Find “IP Settings”
        • Edit
      • Set to Automatic DHCP.
      • Restart Computer
  • Open your browser and head to
  • Default ANAP3002P username is admin and password is admin

ANCP3002P Setup

  • Click AP ( Access Point)
  • Set an IP Address on your regular home network ( This will assign a static IP to your access point. If you are installing this on a normal home network there is a good chance that your IP range is 192.168.1.XX where XX is the variable number for the devices. Set this to any number above 70 so there are no conflicting connecting devices) 
  • Set a Subnet Mask (usually
  • Set SSID ( What wireless devices will see when they need to connect to the internet)
  • Set a Password for this network
  • Bandwith set to auto
  • Country ( set to your country )
  • Channel set to auto
  • Finish

This will change the IP on your access point from to whatever you set, and using the credentials you set. Disconnect the access point from your computer and connect it to any available port on your router ( or switch ). Restart your computer.

After restart head on over to the ip you set your access point to and login. Default username and password is admin. After logging go to System > Change Password > and create a new password for your admin user ( DO NOT LEAVE THE PASSWORD AS ADMIN )


In terms of deployment and installation this was one of the easier things to add to my home network. I connected mine using a poe switch on my rack, did the minimal setup and viola! The major problem I was having in the house was not getting a good wifi signal in the bathroom ( dont judge me! ). This solved that problem and gave me  phenomenal coverage throughout the entire property (aprox 10k sqft). If i were to have any quarrels with the unit it would be that it only broadcasts 2.4mhz( longer range but shorter bandwidth ). If download speeds eventually become a problem I might upgrade to a dual band access point and take advantage of 5 band.