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14 TIPS FOR FURNACE AND FIREPLACE SAFETY

“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.” – Victor Kiam

Beware of the ‘silent killer’

By Bill and Kevin Burnett
Reprinted from:  Inman News™

Q: Our house was built around 1940; the fireplace is original; and we installed forced-air gas heating about 10 years ago. We haven’t had the fireplace or furnace inspected. What do you guys recommend to get the fireplace and the furnace ready for winter?

A: Regular inspection and servicing of fireplaces and furnaces adds to comfort, makes them more economical and most important, keeps them safe. Regular inspections can prevent a deadly house fire or the introduction of a silent killer: carbon monoxide.

Here’s our checklist to keep you cozy and safe during the winter months:

Wood-burning fireplaces

1. Inspection by a certified chimney sweep is a must. For heavy use, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned annually. Go up to five years if the fireplace is used only occasionally. The sweep should inspect for proper operation of the damper and for cracks in the flue liner, as well as sweeping the flue to remove creosote and other combustion byproducts.

2. Close the damper when the fireplace isn’t in use.

3. Install a chimney cap if you don’t already have one. You don’t want creatures building their nest in your flue.

4. When starting a fire, “prime” the flue by holding lighted newspaper at the back wall of the firebox to start the warm air rising.

5. Burn aged, dry hardwood if possible. Fir or pine burns hot and deposits creosote in the chimney. Don’t burn construction debris. It may contain toxic chemicals that will vaporize in the fire and could enter the living space.

6. Do not clean out the fireplace when the ashes are still hot. And dispose of the ashes in a place where wayward embers won’t start a fire.

Fireplace with gas starter

1. If the flame goes out, wait at least five minutes before attempting to relight the fireplace. This allows time to clear the fireplace of gas.

2. Be alert for unusual odors or odd-colored flames, which are often a sign that the fireplace is not operating properly. In such cases, contact your dealer or licensed technician for servicing. Contact the gas company if you smell gas when the unit is off.

Gas furnace maintenance

1. An annual maintenance check of a gas furnace extends the life of the appliance and ferrets out any hidden problems. A qualified heating contractor should vacuum out the unit, inspect the blower motor, inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, check the electronics and perform a multipoint checklist to make sure the furnace is operating properly.

2. Clean or replace the furnace filter frequently during the heating season. This ensures that air returning from the inside of the house is unobstructed and clean when entering the combustion chamber.

3. Keep vents, space heaters and baseboards clear of furniture, rugs and drapes to allow free air movement.

4. Ensure there is free airflow around your furnace and make sure there are no storage items obstructing airflow.

5. Do not store or use combustible materials, such as chemicals, paint, rags, clothing, draperies, paper, cleaning products, gasoline, or flammable vapors and liquids in the vicinity of the furnace.

6. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and lethal gas that can occur any time there is incomplete combustion or poor venting. Any home that contains fuel-burning appliances, such as a fireplace or furnace, should have a carbon monoxide alarm installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Copyright 2011 Bill and Kevin Burnett

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GOODBYE LIL’ ORCHID!

GOODBYE LIL’ ORCHID!

Well sometime last night after midnight, October 9-10, 2011, during the terrible storm that went through Alachua,  Lil’ Orchid went to her final resting place.  I wonder if her long time pal, Miss Lily came to get her, as they say dead family members do when a human dies. I would also like to think that there is a special little place in heaven – a doggie park, for our beloved pets to run in the grass and play for eternity.

We have fond memories of Miss Lily and Lil’ Orchid.  They both came to us at the same time, from the same family, and have brought us such joy in their short, little lives.

It seems it was just last year, (maybe two) that our church updated their parish directory and all parishioners were asked to have their pictures updated at no charge. We were told that if we wanted to have pictures taken with our pets, dogs or cats, we could.  I immediately wanted to bring all 4 poodles with us to have a picture taken. Rob only wanted to bring the larger dogs, saying the little ones would only be trouble in an unfamiliar place, but I insisted and he gave in. Well let me tell you, all 4 dogs were so well-behaved — we couldn’t have been prouder.  We got our picture taken with all of them and purchased a package to give as gifts, and of course, kept one for ourselves. Rob has done nothing but talk about that picture and how happy he is to have a picture with all the dogs, but especially with Miss Lily and Lil’ Orchid, now that they are gone.

Fifi and Louie are now the only poodles we have and they are larger than Miss Lily and Lil’ Orchid, who were 7 lbs soaking wet.  We will enjoy the two we have left, for who knows how long their little lives will last.

HOUSEHOLD HINTS

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

I received this from a friend in an email and thought it was too good not to post. Even if just one of the items help someone it was worth the effort.  I knew about quite a few of these suggestions but not all of them.

FALL FESTIVALS

FALL FESTIVALS

“Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”   Khalil Gibran

Fall is upon us and so are the many festivals that come this time of year.  And if you need more than just festivals, how about maneuvering one of the 3 corn mazes in the Gainesville area.

Newberry Cornfield Maze: September 30th – October 31st – Friday and Saturday nights: 3PM – 11PM / Sundays: 2PM – 5PM. Adults: $9 / Children 10 and under: $7. Hay Rides: $5

Activities at the maze include the Haunted Maze, a pumpkin patch, a barnyard, hay-rides (which will be haunted at night), a mini Maze for kids, and much more. One of the unique activities at the Maze is a Corn Cannon, where customers will be able to shoot ears of corn at a target out of a small cannon. One can ‘laugh by day’ with activities including a pumpkin patch, hay rides, a mini-maze for children, a cow train and farm animals, or one can ‘scream by night’ in the haunted corn field and bone chilling hay rides.

Roger Farm Corn Maze: October 1st – October 31st: Fridays: 5PM – Midnight / Saturdays: 10AM – Midnight / Sundays: 1PM – 8PM. Attractions Only: $8 / Add Maze for $4

Rogers Farm Corn Maze and other fun activities: We have a tractor pulled hay ride that travels around 110 acres of farm land! At the end of the hay ride everyone gets a free pumpkin to take home! We have a petting zoo that features goats, donkeys, pigs, sheep, chickens, guinnies, quail, phesants, cows, ponies, rabbits and more. Our activities include rubber duckie races, corn launcher, play place, mini maze, pony rides, spooky trail, tractor pulled hay ride, tractor pulled cow train, jumping pillow, roping and more!

AND FINALLY

Coon Hollo Corn Maze: September 30th – October 30th: Fridays: 4PM – 9PM / Saturdays: Noon – 9PM / Sundays: 2PM – 7PM. Adults: $8.50 / Seniors (65 and up): $7.50 / Military, Law Enforcement, Firefighters, FREE
Children 4-12: $6.50 / Children 3 and under: FREE

Fall Family Fun on the Farm! Admission Includes: Interactive Corn Maze, Pasture Putt Putt (NEW!), Hayride, Farm Train, the Coony Coon Goat Tree House (NEW!), Pedal Carts, Hay Fort/Corn Cribs/Buckin’ Barrels/Tire swing, Farmyard Obstacle Course (NEW), Antique Farm Equipment, Agricultural Educational Displays. Also enjoy the Concessions, Farm Animal Exhibit and Old Country Store.

The list of festivals for October and November is as follows:

Weekend of October 1st & 2nd

Peanut Festival: Saturday, 9-4 PM  – Arts & craft vendors, food vendors, entertainment, rides, games and a petting zoo. Williston

Horsin’ Around Fall Festival: Sunday, 2-6PM – live music, food, kids games and crafts, face painting, a hay maze & hay rides, bounce house, family sack races, pet adoptions, equestrian performance, raffle and more – Archer

Saturday, October 8th

Family Literacy Festival: 10-12 – local performance groups, vendor displays, literacy awards, free books,favorite mascots and characters and much, much more. Headquarters Library in Gainesville

Ocala Cultural Festival: 1-8PM – live bands, cultural dance performances, a child’s craft area plus, cultural food and craft vendors – Ocala

Ocala Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festival: 10-5PM – Come experience the sights and sounds of Scottish and Irish heritage. – Silver Springs Theme Park in Ocala

Weekend of October 14th -16th

5th Avenue Paint Out: Saturday, 9-4PM Local plein air artists will be invited to capture the essence of this historic African-American neighborhood in paint and canvas plus children’s art activities. – Gainesville

Alligator Warrior Festival: Friday – Sunday 9-5PM – reenactment, a Native American festival with music and dancing, living-history camps, demonstrators of historic skills, traders, craftspeople, and food vendors. – High Springs

Cedar Key Seafood Festival: Saturday and Sunday 9-5PM – 200 arts and crafts exhibits, great local seafood , musical entertainment and parade. – Cedar Key

Newberry Fall Market Festival: Saturday and Sunday 9-3PM – arts adn crafts, vendors, kid-friendly activities. – Newberry

Weekend of October 21st – 23rd

Haile Oktoberfest: Friday, 5-11PM –  live bands, a performance from the Cameron Dance Studio students, plus there is always beer, bratwurst, strudel, pretzels and other German foods plus kids activities. – Haile Village Center in Gainesville

Butterflyfest: Saturday and Sunday 10-5PM – fun and educational activities, including take-away crafts for children, informative workshops, and presentations on conservation and attracting butterflies and other pollinators. – Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville

Fine Arts for Ocala Festival: Saturday and Sunday, 10-5PM – local children’s art and entertainment groups as well as children’s art classes and professional entertainment. Free Childrens activities and workshops.  – Ocala

Heart of Asia Festival: Saturday and Sunday, 12-6PM – highlights the rich arts, cultures, and traditions of the Asian continent.  dine on a variety of Asian foods and visit the numerous booths that will feature Asian arts, crafts and information about Asian cultural organizations. – Thomas Center in Gainesville

McIntosh 1890’s Festival: Saturday, 8-5PM – Residents of the small town, welcome visitors to the very popular arts and crafts festival dressed in 1890s clothing.   – McIntosh

Pumpkin Fest at Big Shoals Park: Saturday 3:30 -7:15PM – This one-day annual event invites participants to enter two different contests the whole family can enjoy. – White Springs

Weekend of October 28th – 30th

High Springs Fall Festival: Saturday, 10-4PM – vendors, food and arts and arts and crafts – High Springs

Lubee Bat Festival: Saturday, 10-4PM –  a one-day educational event for families and folks of all ages, which includes a tour of Lubee Bat Conservancy, bat arts and crafts, family activities and vendors. – North Gainesville

Weekend of November 4th – 6th

Alachua Harvest Festival: Sunday, 11-5PM- arts and crafts vendors, food, live entertainment, and free hands-on children’s activties. – Alachua

Liberty Fest: Sunday, 1-6PM – a patriotic family event in celebration of Veterans Day, motorcycle show, car show, races, food, children’s activities, facepainting, music and more. – Santa Fe College in Gainesville

Weekend of November 11th -13th

Downtown Festival and Art Show: Saturday and Sunday 9-4PM An outdoor street festival showcasing the works of over 250 of the nation’s most talented artists plus a Children’s “Imagination Station,”  includes activities for kids like sidewalk chalk murals, book-making, or mask designs.- Downtown Gainesville

Weekend of November 19th -21st

Cross Creek Festival: Saturday 9-4PM – Delicious Florida Foods, Bake Sale, Arts and Craft Vendors, Entertainment for the Whole Family. Old Time Activities (story telling, turkey shoot, etc.) – Cross Creek

For a more comprehensive and up to date list of Festivals please click on the following link: http://southfest.com/florida.shtml

CUT CLUTTER & MAKE MONEY!

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CUT CLUTTER & MAKE MONEY!

You can do it, if you believe you can!

This is a follow-up article to the article posted on Wednesday titled: “Out With The Old” .

Today’s article is titled: “Cut Clutter & Make Money”  and it will tell you the secrets to parting with stuff you can live without.  You’ll find a garage sale check list; when the best time to have a garage/yard sale is; how to e-bay items; what can go to goodwill; and the best way to run a garage/yard sale.  If you’re a novice or a pro at yard sales, there is sure to be information that will help you in this article.

Once again, if you still find you need some help de-cluttering, visit www.flylady.net it’s free!

As usual, just click on the links to read the article or visit the website!

Happy de-cluttering!

WHERE’S ORCHID?

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Here’s Orchid after her bath.  Too tired to go to her own bed – she just plops down on the closest dog bed.  This is normally Fifi’s bed – but Fifi is a good girl and shares.  Orchid weighs between 6-7 lbs even with her double coat! Just to give you a better perspective – Fifi weighs 25 lbs and only takes up half the bed. It’s a big doggie bed for Orchid!

DOG TIRED

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Here is Louie after his bath – all tuckered out. Fifi on the other hand, knows she is looking good and poses for the camera.                          

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