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Cool, but what are they again?

August 05, 2004

Is it a lamp or a bench? Or maybe a big-honking plastic golf club? Designer Ross Lovegrove's bench-lamp looks like all three. Dubbed the BdLove Lamp, it was originally designed as a series of works for public spaces. The plastic bench, which comfortably seats two, features a tall, needle-shaped light that is bound to be a conversation piece for any backyard. Priced at $1,874, it is available in beige, white, green and blue. It comes with a one-year warranty on the fixture. Bring your own filling: either sand or water.

Available at www.themag azine.info, or (510) 549-2282.

Chris Erskine

What would Martha do? Buy stuff

WHEN Martha Stewart emerged from the courtroom after being sentenced for lying about a stock sale, she pointedly (some would say desperately) urged supporters to keep buying her products. Her catalog's annual summer sale, running through Aug. 31, could pull in even the most reluctant of shoppers. The sale offers discounts of up to 70% on more than 400 household items, including pole rattan dining sets ($449 to $519), Lloyd/Flanders woven furniture ($279 to $799), cotton matelasse bedding ($29 to $269), monogrammed glass barware ($29 to $39) and zinc-coated galvanized steel planters ($29-$49). The sale also features cooking appliances, tableware, crafts, holiday decorations and other ... good things. Items are available exclusively through the mail-order catalog, accessible via www.mar tha stewart.com, or by calling (800) 950-7130. The catalog is scheduled to cease publication at the end of the year.

Lisa Boone

Show those varmints who's boss

GARDENERS are always on the lookout for ways to shoo away deer, raccoons and other critters before the animals can decimate a garden. Poisons and traps are an option, but most people prefer something a little less Kevorkian.

The Scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler by Contech may be an answer. The sprinkler, which hooks up to a garden hose, is powered by a single 9-volt battery and features the sort of sensor used on security lights. When it detects an animal, a valve in the sprinkler opens and fires a three-second burst of water at the intruder. The combination of noise, movement and douse of water sends the trespasser scampering away. In tests, we found it simple to assemble and install -- about 10 minutes in all. Best of all, the basil and lettuce remain untouched.

Contech, $49.44, (800) 767-8658, www.scatmat.com.

Chris Erskine

Get a grip and pull a weed

Weeding is as much fun as door-to-door sales. Success takes time, persistence and an ability to deal with stubbornness. It also means a lot of time spent on your knees. Now, Fiskars, a company known for its innovative scissors, pruners and trimmers, makes some of the aggravation of clearing lawns and gardens disappear with the UpRoot, which enables you to work upright. Simply position the device over the center of the weed, step on the pedal to push it to the ground, and pull the handle toward you, which closes the blades on the offending root and lifts out the entire weed. Moist soil offers the best results.

As satisfying as it is to use, the UpRoot would be even better if Fiskars had designed the rounded plastic handgrip to be more squishy and ergonomic. Also, those who stand taller than average will find the UpRoot a bit on the short side.

Priced at $29.99, it is available at garden centers or at www.fiskars.com.

David A. Keeps

Skeeter schedule

Summer means barbecues, picnics, time by the pool and mosquitoes. Once mostly a nuisance, mosquitoes are a significant health threat. Last month, two deaths were tied to the West Nile virus, the first fatalities in the state linked to the mosquito-borne disease.

In response to rising concerns, the Weather Channel and American Biophysics Corp. are offering a mosquito activity forecast at www .weather.com/homeandgarden. The user simply enters a ZIP Code, and receives a report on the level of mosquito activity, hour by hour. To calculate the information, the site uses weather conditions such as temperature, rainfall patterns, wind and humidity.

-- Tim Sanchez

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