How to Make a Flower Garden - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

How to Make a Flower Garden

If you have been wanting to start a garden, now is the time! The long, sunny days are a great source of energy for plants, making summer the perfect season to start growing flowers. Any home could use a pop of color. Whether you are a seasoned gardener or a beginner, it can be helpful to cover the basics. From sunlight to soil, there are a lot of choices that must be made in order to create a successful flower garden, but hopefully, this guide will help you through the process with just five easy steps!

  1. Choose a Location
    The first step is deciding where you would like to plant your flower bed. Most people make flower beds along the front or the side of their house, but feel free to get creative with it. You could create a garden around the base of a tree, around your mailbox, or you could use flowers to hide certain objects in your yards such as electrical equipment or pipes. Sunlight is important to consider when choosing a location. Depending on the flowers you choose, they could need up to six hours of sunlight. It is important to read the labels of any seeds or plants that you buy to ensure that the location will be able to provide the necessary amounts of sunlight.
  2. Choose your Flowers
    Different flowers will flourish in different climates and different types of soil. Temperatures and day length plays a key role in the photosynthetic cycle. Depending on what region you live in, some flowers may not be able to grow. The country is divided into climate zones. Research what plants suit your climate zone, or ask for help at a local plant nursery! They will be able to help you choose the right flowers to make your garden successful.
  3. Remove the Grass
    Once you have picked a location, it’s time to prepare the soil. Begin by removing the grassy layer. With a shovel, start digging in the center of the designated area. Continue to lift the sod with your shovel until all grassy parts have been removed. If digging isn’t your style, there is another option! Although it is a longer process, it’s far less labor-intensive. Instead of digging up the grass layer, set newspapers over the entire area. Cover the paper with rich planting soil or compost and, in four or five months, the grass will have died and the area will be rich and ready for soil preparation.
  4. Prepare the Soil
    The next step is to add planting soil on top of the garden bed you have just prepared. When choosing one of the six soil types, consider what types of flowers or plants will be living in the soil. Each plant grows better in a certain type of soil. Be sure to research which type of soil will be best for your flowerbed before you begin planting. Soil does its best when it is loose and breathable. Before you add the soil, break up any clumps of dirt and remove rocks. Lay down six inches of soil. Do not apply too much pressure to the soil; packing it down will increase the density, making it difficult for air and water to reach the roots. Once the soil is down, create an edge with rocks or bricks to separate the garden from the grass.
  5. Plant the Flowers
    Before you begin planting, make sure that the soil is ready. You want the soil to be moist but loose. If you are planting seeds, look at the packet to see how deep they should be planted. Seeds need oxygen to germinate – planting them too deep can inhibit growth. Begin by digging a hole; for most plants, you want the hole to be about ¾ the size of the pot. Once you have taken the plant out of the pot, gently remove and discard the excess dirt from the roots. Set the roots in the hole you prepared, and gently push topsoil back into the hole, but do not press down. The soil needs to remain loose and full of oxygen.

Now that you have your flower garden, remember to take care of it! Some areas may have enough rain to nourish the plants naturally. If you live in a dry area, you will need to water your flowers between rainstorms to make sure that they are healthy.

Happy summer, and happy planting!


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Best Place to Raise a Family - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Best Places To Raise A Family

Rocket Homes | 9 MINUTE READ | FEBRUARY 05, 2022

Raising a family is as incredibly rewarding as it is challenging. There’s no doubt that heads of households want to ensure they’re giving their children every chance to thrive academically, mentally and physically, while also providing a safe space for the family unit to strengthen.

The burden doesn’t solely rest on a parent or caregiver’s shoulders. The place they choose to put down roots should also provide support and opportunity. The best cities for families to live will excel in providing safety, affordable care, open spaces to roam and quality learning, whether kids are starting kindergarten or wrapping up their high school years.

Taking those factors into consideration, Rocket HomesSM teamed up with BestPlaces.net to find some of the best locations to raise a family. This diverse list includes college towns, suburban spots, urban locales and several areas of the Midwest, meeting the needs of the country’s many different kinds of families – from those who wish to watch their kids grow up in the hustle and bustle of a big city to those who dream of the white-picket fences and treelined streets of the suburbs.

Finding The Best Places For Families

The researchers at BestPlaces.net used the following metrics to determine the rankings for the best places for families to live in the U.S.:

  • School ratings
  • Crime rate
  • Average cost of child care
  • Amenities for kids
  • Percent of households with children
  • Parks, playgrounds and greenspaces
  • Increase in households with children

1. Grand Rapids, Michigan

Population: 1,074,223

Percent of households with children: 47.9%

Average cost of child care: $9,420

Located just 30 miles from the beaches of Lake Michigan, Grand Rapids has an abundance of opportunities for kids to engage in culture, history, art and nature at more than 20 museums and the world-renown Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Residents can also be sure their children will receive a good education. Grand Rapids ranks in the top 5% in the country for school system ratings, which can be attributed, in part, to the quality of life of its educators, as the city also ranks as one of the best places to be a teacher.

2. Bridgeport, Connecticut

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Shield Agency Flood Insurance

Considering A Home In A Flood Zone? What You Need To Know About Flood Insurance

Water views are fantastic, but the thought of a flood in your home can be scary. Flood insurance works to protect homeowners against the devastation that can be caused by a flood. Here, we’ll take a look at what you need to know if you’re considering buying a home that requires flood insurance.

Who Needs Flood Insurance?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines a flood zone as an area that has a 1% or greater chance of flooding in the coming year. Changes in water levels can mean that a home may be in a flood zone one year, but not the next.

If you’re considering purchasing a home in a flood zone, you’ll need to have flood insurance in order to move forward with the purchase of your new home. Sometimes, flood insurance is covered as a part of homeowner’s association (HOA) fees. In other cases, homeowners need to purchase flood insurance on their own.

What Does Flood Insurance Cover?

Thankfully, your flood insurance policy may cover all direct damage related to a flood. In the event of a flood, your insurance policy may cover functional aspects of your home (such as a sewer system that has backed up as a result of a flood), and damage to personal items. It’s important to note that your policy is specific to you and your home, and you’ll need to work with your insurance agent to fully understand your flood insurance coverage.

Need Flood Insurance? We’re Here To Help.

Reach out to Shield Insurance Agency, serving Michigan, for more information about how a flood insurance policy can help keep you, your family, and your home protected against the unexpected.

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5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

5 Ways to Stay Warm During a Winter Power Outage

ConsumerReports.org | By Paul Hope | Published February 18, 2021 | Updated January 5, 2022

  • Never use a generator indoors or within 20 feet of your house.
  • Have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every floor.
  • If you use your car to stay warm or charge devices, make sure it’s outside the garage.
  • Never use a device (such as an oven) to produce heat unless that’s its intended purpose.
  • Indoor portable heaters should have an automatic shutoff switch in case they tip over.

Winter storms leave thousands of Americans without power each year, but there are several steps you can take to stay warm and safe.

The biggest threat from a power outage, of course, is the lack of heat. But even during an extended outage, there are ways to survive the cold.

The danger is that some alternative heating systems pose their own threats, such as fire and carbon monoxide. But there are precautions you can take to minimize the danger.

Here are five ways to stay warm—and safe—during a power outage.

1. If You Can, Get a Generator

Even if you’ve already lost power, it’s not too late to look for a portable generator. Sales always spike during weather emergencies, but it’s still worth trying.

Some major retailers have told CR that they’re able to reallocate the supply of generators to affected areas in as little as a day or two. A good strategy is to show up early at a store to grab one before they’re sold out.

If you’re fortunate enough to find a portable generator, use our guide to get it up and running quickly and safely. Once the outage is over, hire an electrician to install a transfer switch or interlock device so that the generator can power entire circuits in your home, which is both safer and more helpful.

If you can’t find a portable generator at a home center or power equipment dealer, try looking for a recreational generator at places like Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, or even at a local RV or boat dealership.

These smaller generators aren’t really designed for power outages, but their output of 1,800 to 2,000 watts is still enough to power a large space heater and charge cell phones, which may be enough to get you through an outage.How to Run a Generator Safely

2. Stay in a Southern-Facing Room

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Ransomware Attacks Persists Even as High-Profile Attacks Have Slowed - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

Ransomware Attacks Persists Even as High-Profile Attacks Have Slowed

Claims Journal | By Eric Tucker and Alan Suderman | December 20, 2021

WASHINGTON (AP)–In the months since President Joe Biden warned Russia’s Vladimir Putin that he needed to crack down on ransomware gangs in his country, there hasn’t been a massive attack like the one last May that resulted in gasoline shortages. But that’s small comfort to Ken Trzaska.

Trzaska is president of Lewis & Clark Community College, a small Illinois school that canceled classes for days after a ransomware attack last month that knocked critical computer systems offline.

“That first day,” Trzaska said, “I think all of us were probably up 20-plus hours, just moving through the process, trying to get our arms around what happened.”

Even if the United States isn’t currently enduring large-scale, front-page ransomware attacks on par with ones earlier this year that targeted the global meat supply or kept millions of Americans from filling their gas tanks, the problem hasn’t disappeared. In fact, the attack on Trzaska’s college was part of a barrage of lower-profile episodes that have upended the businesses, governments, schools and hospitals that were hit.

The college’s ordeal reflects the challenges the Biden administration faces in stamping out the threat _ and its uneven progress in doing so since ransomware became an urgent national security problem last spring.

U.S. officials have recaptured some ransom payments, cracked down on abuses of cryptocurrency, and made some arrests. Spy agencies have launched attacks against ransomware groups and the U.S. has pushed federal, state and local governments, as well as private industries, to boost protections.

Yet six months after Biden’s admonitions to Putin, it’s hard to tell whether hackers have eased up because of U.S. pressure. Smaller-scale attacks continue, with ransomware criminals continuing to operate from Russia with seeming impunity. Administration officials have given conflicting assessments about whether Russia’s behavior has changed since last summer. Further complicating matters, ransomware is no longer at the top of the U.S.-Russia agenda, with Washington focused on dissuading Putin from invading Ukraine.

Ransomware Attacks

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Flos Restaurant Gift Card given away from Shield Insurance Agency

Gift Card Winners Compliments of Shield Insurance Agency!

Friday, December 31, 2021

Every week, Shield Insurance Agency draws a winner of a local gift card from its clients and social media followers.

Why? Because we love giving stuff away!

Be sure to LIKE our Facebook Page to get yourself entered to win and see who the winners are!

Shield Insurance Agency has given away thousands of dollars in local gift cards over the last 20 years serving Michigan.

Look who is winning!

Shield Insurance Weekly Gift Card Winner
Shield Insurance Weekly Winner
Target Gift Winner from Shield Insurance Agency in Michigan
Subway Giftcard Winner from Shield Insurance
Meijer gift card winner from Shield Insurance Agency
Shield Insurance Agency Lowes Gift Card Winner
Shield Insurance Agency Denny's Gift Card Winner
Shield Insurance Agency Cracker Barrel Gift Card Winner
Shield Insurance Agency Meijer Gift Card Winner
Shield Insurance Agency Lowes Gift Card Winner!
Shield Insurance Agency Target Gift Card Winner!
Shield Insurance Agency Red Robin Gift Card Winner
Panera Bread Gift Card Winner at Shield Insurance Agency
Subway Gift Card Winner at Shield Insurance Agency
Shield Insurance gives away another local gift card!
Target Shield Insurance Gift Card Give A Way
Red Robin Gift Card Winner at Shield Insurance Agency

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10 Ways to Make Your Loved One Feel at Home and Independent - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

10 Ways to Make Your Loved One Feel at Home and Independent

Support an aging family member with household upgrades, new products

by Sarah Elizabeth Adler, AARP, December 15, 2021

Is your loved one aging in place? Part of helping someone do that successfully involves limiting risks — but at the same time allowing for Mom, Dad or another family member to maintain independence. Consider these smart choices around the house for added safety, autonomy and a sense of connection.

1. Smart speakers

These multipurpose devices function like voice-controlled virtual assistants: Ask to listen to music, set medication reminders, hear the weather forecast or even control compatible home fixtures such as a smart thermostat with the sound of your voice.

2. Nonslip rug grips

Slippery area rugs pose a fall risk and can be tricky to navigate for those who use mobility aids like a walker or cane. If you don’t want to remove area rugs altogether, consider adding a nonslip layer for safety: Opt for a nonskid carpet pad under each rug, or use adhesive corner grips or double-sided carpet tape to secure edges and keep corners from curling.

3. Digital photo frames

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Shield Insurance is helping Roslyn & Maddox by donating $25 to the family for each non-client who gets a quote from Shield

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Family

Shield Referral Program Supports Local Sparta, Michigan Family

Your Referrals to Shield Insurance Agency Help a Local Family in Need

Your referral can make a difference for Roslyn and Maddox who both have a form of Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenital. Shield Insurance is helping this Sparta, MI family by donating $25 for each non-client who gets a quote from us.

No purchase necessary!

CLICK HERE to get a quote and we’ll donate $25 to them! (Be sure to mention Roslyn and Maddox in the comment section!) You can also call or text the office (616) 896-4600 and one of our agents will take a few minutes of your time to offer up a quote. Don’t forget to mention Ros and Maddox

“The highest compliment we can receive is the referral of your friends, family & business associates. Thank you for your trust!”

Meet Roslyn
Roslyn and Shield Insurance Agency Referral Program

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10 Things to Know About a Home Appraisal - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

10 Things to Know About a Home Appraisal

HowStuffWorks.com | By: Dave Roos  |  Jul 1, 2019

Of all the people you’ll interact with when buying or selling a house, the appraiser is the one you’ll probably get to know the least. But he or she may play one of the most important roles in the sale or purchase of your home. What the appraiser finds can be the difference in whether or not you’ll get the house you want or be able to sell the one you don’t.

A property appraisal is different from a property inspection. The home inspector is looking for issues in the home that the buyer should be aware of before purchase (for instance, mold or a leaking roof). The appraiser is determining the dollar value of the home by looking at what similar homes in the area go for, as well as the condition of the actual property. If you’re borrowing money from a bank or other institution to purchase your home, you’ll likely have to get a home appraisal (the inspection is optional but buyers would be wise to get one.)

Here are 10 important things to know about a home appraisal, starting with why mortgage lenders require home appraisals in the first place.

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e—and make it more organized, functional, and flexible . . . for whatever comes next - Shield Insurance Agency Blog

DIY Updates Your Home Needs Right Now

How to protect your home living space—and make it more organized, functional, and flexible . . . for whatever comes next

By Perry Santanachote, October 07, 2021

With 2020 being what it was and hindsight being 20/20, we’ve learned a lot about new ways of living—with a pandemic, climate change, and working (and working out) at home. We also know a few things we would do differently. But through it all, our appreciation for our homes has never been greater.

Whether you like it or not, you might still find yourself spending more time at home than normal this winter—but this time, you and your home will be ready.

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