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Category Archives: do-it-yourself


“You can make all the excuses you want, but if you are not mentally tough, and you’re not prepared to play every night, you’re not going to win. “ ~ Larry Bird








“Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding on the 20th” –  Julie Andrews


Here is another example of a recycled home! Wow, if people started building this way, we would have a much cleaner planet!

To read the entire article, click on the following link:



“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn

There is something that really bothers me and I would like to put it out to everyone to see what the consensus is. This is something I have pondered and can’t quite figure out. I wonder if it is a generational thing, or a nationality thing or just a thing that I am incorrect about. OK here it is:

When addressing a married couple, I was always taught the woman’s name comes first, then the man’s name.  I’ll just use my name as my example, I was born Jocelyne ……. Grandjean, I married Robert…. Brown, therefore when addressing us as a married couple, I was taught it should be Jocelyne and Robert Brown.  The reasoning behind this is that Robert is the one who was born with the name Brown – I only married into that name.  Therefore one shouldn’t say Robert and Jocelyne Brown since I was not born a Brown. To me this makes perfect sense, yet time and time again I see it in print or hear it on the television as Robert and Jocelyne Brown.

Just today, when we were eating lunch, my husband and I were looking at the church bulletin and on the back page were a list of contributors to the bulletin. Each and every one was written with the man’s first name, then the wife’s first name and their last name. Of course when I saw this, I made my usual comment  to my husband – about how I was taught to write a married couples’ name. He agreed that the reasoning behind my theory made sense but said he never saw it written that way. Was everyone in the world wrong , he asked?

So my question to you is.  Is writing a couple’s name as Jocelyne and Robert Brown the old fashioned way of addressing a married couple – therefore making this a generational issue, or is it because my parents were immigrants and that’s how they did it in the old country making it a nationality thing, or am I just plain wrong. Has anyone else been taught the way I have been taught?

I would like to hear what everyone thinks.  I know I have readers from different countries and of different ages, therefore the answers I get will be from a varied source. I especially think that would be good since perhaps I’ll be able to figure out if it is indeed generational, or has to do with nationality.  Maybe, as my husband intimated, the rest of the world does it different from me.


“They (corporations) cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.” –  Sir Edward Coke

This modern-day fable explains how large corporations and big government actually work.


“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


“We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of    regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons.”                         – Jim Rohn

Residential fires take their toll every day, every year, in lost lives and destroyed property. The fact is that many conditions that cause house fires can be avoided or prevented by homeowners. Taking the time for some simple precautions, preventive inspections, and concrete planning can help prevent fire in the home — and can even save your life should disaster strike.

  • All electrical devices including lamps, appliances, and electronics should be checked for frayed cords, loose or broken plugs, and exposed wiring. Never run electrical wires under carpet or rugs as this creates a fire hazard.
  • Wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep each year to prevent a dangerous buildup of creosote, which can cause a flash fire in the chimney. Cracks in masonry chimneys should be repaired, and spark arresters inspected to ensure they are in good condition and free of debris.
  • When using space heaters, keep them away from beds and bedding, curtains, papers — anything flammable. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. Space heaters should not be left unattended or where a child or pet could knock them over.
  • Use smoke detectors with fresh batteries unless they are hard-wired to your home’s electrical system. Smoke detectors should be installed high on walls or on ceilings on every level of the home and inside each bedroom. Statistics show that nearly 60% of home fire fatalities occur in homes without working smoke alarms. Many municipalities now require the use of working smoke detectors in both single and multi-family residences.
  • Children should not have access to or be allowed to play with matches, lighters, or candles. Flammable materials such as gasoline or kerosene should be stored outside the house.
  • Kitchen fires know no season. Grease spills, items left unattended on the stove or in the oven, and food left in toasters or toaster ovens can catch fire quickly. Don’t wear loose-fitting clothing, especially with long sleeves, around the stove. Handles of pots and pans should be turned away from the front of the stove to prevent accidental contact. Keep an all-purpose fire extinguisher within easy reach.
  • Have an escape plan. This is one of the most important measures you can take to prevent death in a fire. Your local fire department can provide detailed recommendations on escape planning and preparedness. In addition, all family members should know how to dial 911 in case of a fire or other emergency.
  • Live Christmas trees should be kept in a water-filled stand and checked daily for dehydration. Needles should not easily break off a freshly cut tree. Brown needles or lots of fallen needles indicate a dangerously dried-out tree, which should be discarded immediately. Always use non flammable decorations in the home, and never use lights on a dried-out tree.
  • Candles should be placed in stable holders and placed away from curtains, drafts, pets, and children. Never leave candles unattended, even for a short time.
  • Christmas or other holiday lights should be checked for fraying or broken wires and plugs. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when joining two or more strands together, as a fire hazard could result from overload. Enjoy your indoor holiday lighting only while someone is home, and turn them off before going to bed at night.

Your local Pillar To Post office wishes you and your clients a happy and safe holiday season.

A big thank you to Karl for sending this article my way.

Karl Spitzer


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”  –  Ralph Waldo Emerson

I guess I’m not as young as I used to be.  I thought I would finish my post about those damn Yankees yesterday evening, but I fell asleep at the computer.  I guess I’ll wrap it up this morning before I start my day.

Before I wrap this story up, there is a very funny incident I will try to describe.  As a city slicker, I never thought any animal had a personality except cats and dogs.  Living on a farm has taught me otherwise.  Most of the goats were real sweet.  Some liked to get attention, and a few were skittish. The young goats were very animated and the males were, well, they mostly thought of just one thing – mating!  But I found out that these goats did have individual little personalities different from one another.  I found it thoroughly amazing.

Back to the funny incident.  When goats freshen, unlike humans who are flat on their back in a hospital seeking assistance from a doctor, they usually don’t have any problem.  This one goat was especially nimble.  She had given birth to one kid and after checking out that kid and verifying that all was well, she went about her business of walking around and eating.  Well she wasn’t quite done and as she was walking around, another goat started coming out, but not all the way.  This little one was partly out – the head was out and the sack was broke.  Mama was grazing when she suddenly heard a baby call out to her. She turned around, called back but didn’t see any baby.  Once again the baby call out – baa, baaaa, and mama turned around again and called back but didn’t see a baby.  Now mama was getting panicky and started looking around for this baby that was calling her more and more.  She ran back to the pen to check on the baby she gave birth to, and it was sleeping soundly.  Suddenly she hear the cry again, baa, baaaa, turning around and calling back she still didn’t see a baby.  By this time Rob and I were on the ground in tears laughing so hard.  She was quite a sight – a normal goat head on the one end and a little tiny head sticking out of her rear on the opposite end.  Each one calling the other and not seeing the other.  Luckily with each baaaa, baaaa, the little goat came out a little more and finally finished his journey in the pen next to his sibling.  Mama looked at us when this second goat appeared as if to say, where did he come from?  I wish I had my camera with me at that time, it would have been a great shot.  But of course this happened over the course of a few minutes and I would have missed the whole thing had I gone for my camera.

Eventually our daughter grew up, got married, had a baby and moved away.  Farming and taking care of animals became harder and harder. The chickens were the first to go, not that we ate them or got rid of them, – the coyotes took care of that for us.  One by one we would find a dead hen in the pasture with its stomach ripped wide open and the entrails scattered around.  Not a  pretty site.

The  goats all had names – females had individual names and wethers all had the same name – bar-b-que!  We had regular customers who came to purchase the wethers and eventually all we had left were females.  One day, after an unusually long period of rain, we sold off the remaining herd.  Why did I mention rain you ask?  Well, when it rains a lot, the goats need to be wormed more frequently, and that was a very tedious task that required at minimum two people, and at best three people. With our daughter married and gone, it became a task neither my husband or myself wanted to do.  I usually had to do it alone because he was at work and if I waited for him to have a day off, it felt to him as if he didn’t have a day off.  So we decided to sell the remaining herd to a farmer about 30 miles north of us.  It was a relief to not have the daily task of feeding and corralling the goats, but soon the rear pasture became overgrown again.  We opened the goat pasture back up to Max, our stallion, and during the winter months the rear pasture looked good.  But each summer would bring more and more weeds until even during the winter there were lots of weeds left.  Now with Max gone, it will become a jungle again.

Today a friend will be bringing one of his friends by to check out our rear pasture.  He needs another pasture for his cows.  I guess he has more cows than his land can handle.  I’ve never had cows nor been up close to a cow before.  Cows don’t seem to be very intelligent, but I’ve been told they too have personalities.  I guess I’ll find out if he decides to rent our pasture.  If he ends up not renting out pasture, in the spring we will plant pines. At least the smell will be good and the future sale of the wood in 15-20 years will be something to look forward to.

So, I guess having been down here for 21 years and not planning on leaving or returning to the north makes me a damn Yankee!

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