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The privacy of a dwelling within acres of woodland drew us to purchase our house in the woods. We imagined ourselves sitting on the deck, looking out into what seemed like miles of trees while deer grazed and colorful birds flew by.

© Michael Godek/Getty Images

Make no mistake, that is what it's like living in the woods—when you're not blowing leaves, trimming branches, or climbing on the roof to clear the gutters. As serene as it is, these are a few of the things I wish I knew before buying our house in the woods.

Here is what I've learned The house often feels damp

Because of the ample shade in the spring, summer, and fall, the house takes longer to dry out after it rains. Without direct sunlight, it tends to always feel damp, especially in the basement. That's why dehumidifiers are a must when living in the woods. Without them, you leave yourself susceptible to a constant clammy feeling and even bigger problems, such as mold.

Seasonal chores are compounded even more than you think

Pruning trees in the summer, raking leaves in the fall, chopping wood in the winter, and weeding the garden in the spring all seem like typical seasonal maintenance. But when you live in the woods, these are nearly everyday chores. While the maintenance is constant, it's worth it to experience the beautiful fall foliage, blooming wildflowers, and picturesque winters.

Landscaping presents its challenges

We considered naming our house "Roots and Rocks" because it's hard to plant anything with long, deep roots, in part because of the abundance of rock just beneath the surface. Having a good root-cutting shovel will help. And because many of us don't own a jackhammer, the most useful tools to remove or work around the rocks are pick-axes, spades, and pry bars. A bonus: We're able to incorporate rock gardens and boulders into our landscaping at no extra cost!

You need a roof maintenance budget

Regular roof maintenance is imperative when you live in the woods because your roof takes a hit from the elements. While the tall trees help shield the roof from wind damage, having trees extend over the house makes the roof vulnerable to falling limbs, nuts, pine cones, bird droppings, etc.

In addition, the lack of sun means snow and ice sit longer on the roof in the winter. Replacing broken shingles, investing in a good leaf blower, and using an extension to clear the debris out of the gutters are some of the things we do to prevent leaks and keep our roof in good shape.

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UP NEXT A quality chainsaw is key

Keeping a fire burning in the fireplace all day while the snow falls outside is one of the coziest things about living in a house in the woods. And with so much firewood around, you can heat your home without cranking up the thermostat, which saves money. A lot of the wood comes from the dead and fallen trees, so buying the right chainsaw is a must.

It comes with health benefits

If studies show that spending just five minutes around trees or in green spaces improves health, imagine what living among the trees can do! Coming to our house in the woods from a more urban setting, we get better sleep, rarely get sick, and have a greater sense of calm. These are things I never would have expected but definitely appreciate.

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The post Things I Wish I Knew Before Buying a House in the Woods appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Trump team using $300 million in taxpayer dollars to make us feel better about Covid-19

(CNN)Over the past two weeks, an alarming 24% rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases confirmed on a daily basis in the United States has raised the daily infection average to nearly 43,000. Twice last week the US broke 50,000 new cases confirmed in a day. While that's below the daily average of 65,000 in July's deadly spike, it's still well above the 35,000 daily new cases seen just a few weeks ago.

Dean ObeidallahDoes that mean Donald Trump is now going to stop having rallies where he jams thousands on top of each other with few wearing masks — as he did Saturday night in Pennsylvania — and instead promote social distancing to prevent any further upticks in the virus? Stop laughing. Of course it doesn't.
    Trump typically only does what he believes benefits himself personally and, in this case, he apparently believes the optics of holding packed rallies will somehow help his flailing campaign close the nine-point gap between him and Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Instead, Trump's latest ploy is to try to convince voters into believing he did a great job handling the virus — and the worst part is he's using our tax dollars to do this. As Politico recently reported, Trump's Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is moving quickly to roll out a $300 million-plus advertising campaign to "defeat despair" about Covid-19. The campaign will include celebrities like actor Dennis Quaid and singer CeCe Winans and Politico reported that HHS is said to be pursuing television host Dr. Mehmet Oz and musician Garth Brooks to take part as well.While the latest ads have not yet aired, senior House Democrats have already raised concerns that it smacks of Trump using the apparatus of government to help win reelection. Earlier this month, House Democrats demanded new documents about department's contract with the marketing firm handling a campaign on coronavirus, writing: "We have grave concerns that, rather than focus on planning and executing a national strategy to contain the coronavirus, the Trump Administration is using a quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer money to fund what appears to be a political propaganda campaign just two months before a presidential election." Read MoreDonald Trumps biggest challenge comes on TuesdayDemocrats have good reason for these concerns given that the person said to have conceived of the campaign is Trump's hand-picked HHS spokesman Michael Caputo, a Republican political operative with no medical or scientific background and a history of racist tweets about Chinese people. Caputo recently began a medical leave after a cancer diagnosis, but not before launching a rant on Facebook Live video on September 13, where he indicated the goal of this ad campaign was to share "good news" that would help Trump. Democrats, media and "leftist" scientists "cannot afford for us to have any good news before November because they're already losing ... They're going to come after me because I'm going to be putting $250 million worth of ads on the air," he said. Add to that,10 current and former HHS officials told Politico that they had concerns over the ad campaign's possible political goals and its use of money that was earmarked for the Center for Disease Control during the pandemic. While the career HHS official now taking over the ad campaign from Caputo denies that there will be political spin in its messaging, the reality is that it's Trump, as President, who will have final say in what his administration does.You'd have to be living under a rock or in complete denial of reality not to be at least concerned Trump is trying to use this HHS ad campaign to help himself politically. Perhaps the ads will try to reinforce Trump's false view that the worst of the virus is behind us — even though the experts say he's wrong. Get our free weekly newsletter

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      Or the ads may try to back up Trump's comments last week that he should get an "A plus" for his handling of the virus. After all, this is the same Trump who in 2018 told his supporters about stories in the media that he viewed as hurting him politically, "What you're seeing and what you're reading is not what's happening." Trump is the king of gaslighting. American voters should be vigilant about whether he's now trying to use our own tax dollars to try to gaslight us.

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