The official start of fall is fast approaching and winter won’t be too far behind. Get your home and yard ready for fall and winter with this handy checklist:
- Hire a professional to inspect your furnace and make sure your heating system is working properly.
- Inspect you chimney for cracks and any debris that may have accumulated in the flue.
- Clean and covered or store patio furniture.
- Fertilize the lawn and winterize your lawn mower.
- Rake leaves.
- Clean gutters and clear them of debris before winter weather arrives.
- Hang holiday lights. It is easier to do and more enjoyable while the weather is still nice.
- Harvest the rest of the produce from your vegetable garden.
- Plant/move trees and shrubs.
- Mulch trees and shrubs to protect them from harsh winter weather.
- Drain and store hoses. Turn off outdoor faucets.
Buy winter supplies such as snow shovels, ice melt, and ice scrapers.
Hurricane season can last almost a half year (typically June – November), and with hurricane season quickly approaching, you don’t want to be caught off guard. If you live in a coastal area, now is a good time to review your emergency plan and prepare your home and family in case disaster strikes. Review these tips and hints to help you prepare:
- Create an Emergency Supply Kit – Create your own emergency supply kit. Consider storing these items in a waterproof container: First aid kit, flashlights, blankets, clothing, shoes, water, non-perishable food, radio, prescriptions, toiletries, insect repellant, extra keys, important documents like insurance policies, emergency phone numbers and some cash. Include a phone charger that plugs into the car’s power system for at least one of your cell phones. If you have children, include toys to keep them occupied and of course bring the usual diaper bag contents for infants. Don’t forget leashes and carriers for the pets.
- Prepare you Auto – Keep your car maintained and the tank full of gas. Know ahead of time the safest route to an emergency shelter and keep in mind alternate routes in case yours becomes blocked.
- Safety – Safety features in your house should include smoke alarms, fire extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. Consider learning first aid, including CPR. Know when and how to turn off your utilities. Review with your children how to call 911 and other emergency numbers.
- Have a Plan – Everyone may not be at home when the storm hits, so designate a meeting place and review it with all family members. Also, designate a friend or relative that lives away from the storm’s path, as an emergency contact. Write down all contact information for each family member to carry with them. Practice your plan so that everyone can remain calm and competent when the storm actually hits.
- Keep Informed – Register for emergency alerts for your cell phone, tablet or computer. Bad weather can take out phone lines and cell towers so be sure to keep a battery powered radio tuned to the appropriate channel/station. Know the difference between a Hurricane Watch and a Hurricane Warning. A watch means a hurricane could happen, while a warning means that it will happen. This is when all of your preparation and practice will go into effect.
With these helpful tips and a little planning your and your family will be better prepared should a hurricane make land fall in your area.
Taking proper care of your lawn in the spring, will give you a jump start to maintaining a healthy lawn all summer. If you polish your mowing techniques early, they will carry you through the growing season like a major league pro. These tips will help you get started:
1. Rake – Remove all of the dead weeds and grass, sticks, litter, and leaves.
2. Sharpen Blade – Keep your lawnmower blade sharp. A dull blade tears and bruises the grass, therefore weakening it.
3. Proper Height – Generally, a lawn should be mowed by cutting off 1/3 of the blade. This may mean making two passes if the grass is especially long. Cutting a lawn too short allows accelerated weed growth and scalping causes uneven growth and bare spots.
4. Direction – Mix it up by cutting the grass in a different direction each time. This helps to prevent the grass blades from leaning in one direction. When turning the mower make turns as smooth as possible.
5. Don’t Mow Wet – Let the grass dry before mowing. Even the morning dew makes the lawn too wet to mow. Besides causing uneven cuts, mowing wet grass can encourage the growth of fungus. Wet grass clumps up under the mower’s deck. This can impede the blade and tax the engine. Also, there is danger to the operator trying to maneuver on a wet lawn. Don’t be a hero; let the ump call the game.
There are so many aspects involved in your decision of choosing a house plan. As the holidays approach, consider whether your home plan will accommodate your needs to host or house your friends and family. With that in mind, take a look at this Southern two-story house plan. Its stately columns are just begging to be wrapped in garland and holiday lights. Imagine your guests approaching the front door following a walkway lined in luminaries. With the dining room windows in the front of the house, this is a perfect place to display a menorah. Your guests can turn left into the formal dining room with its Kwanzaa feast already on the table, or they can continue straight into the great room. Just think of a grand Christmas tree to fill that great space with its spacious two-story ceiling. While the guests enjoy the view through the multitude of windows or cozy up to the fireplace, the family chef can take command of the kitchen. With plenty of elbow room and work space including a stand-alone island, don’t think twice about recruiting helpers. The walk-in pantry makes it convenient to store snacks for the bowl games. Even if you’re not located in a warm climate, stalwart tailgaters will certainly be willing to step out onto the covered deck and grill up some goodies by game time. Dining options are plentiful. Too many for the dining room? Some traditions separate the younger ones by seating them at the “kids’ table” which works well in the breakfast room. The snack bar provides adequate space for serving buffet style meals whether it’s latkes or the Christmas goose. Informal munching can be accomplished in the great room lap style. Chase the kids upstairs to that bonus room that you’ve converted to a playroom, while you clean up the kitchen and then enjoy visiting with the rest of the guests. When it comes time for that long winter’s nap, you are well equipped to handle all those that sleep over. Convert the study, conveniently located near a full bathroom, into a guest room. Utilize that bonus room on the second floor or double up in the two secondary bedrooms. Once you have settled everyone in, take a moment for yourself. Wash away an exciting but hectic day in your own whirlpool tub in the bathroom of your master suite. Happy holidays to all and to all a good night.
If you’d like to view the details of this design please check out home plan 025H-0124. And if you’d like to see some of the other home plans we’ve features in the past, check out our blogs representing this featured collection of home plans.
The days grow shorter and the nights become colder, and before you know it the holidays are upon us. Even small household accidents become tragedies when they involve your family or guests. Entertaining overnight guests may create a little extra stress for the household. Take time to prepare your home for the holidays, so everyone can be nestled all snug in their beds.
1. Prepare the Family – With all the excitement of pending visitors, every household member needs to know what to expect. Try to keep the everyday routine as normal as possible. Remind everyone of the changes that may have to be made to keep the guests comfortable and safe. This may mean giving up a bed or room to grandparents or putting toys with small parts away where toddlers can’t reach them. If guests will be coming and going while you are not home, you may need to inform the neighbors so that there will be no problems with mistaken identity.
2. Prepare the Guests – Once your visitors have arrived, review your family emergency escape plan with them. Show them where the fire extinguishers and first-aid kits are kept. Keep essential phone numbers nearby or program their cell phones. If it’s necessary to use a space heater, instruct them on its safe operation. If they will be on their own in the kitchen, review the workings of appliances like the stove, toaster, and coffee pot.
3. Prepare the House – Keep the outside walkways clear of snow and ice and also well lit. Remove any hazards that could cause tripping like throw rugs or runners. Locate nightlights to help nighttime navigation. Use nonslip mats in the bathtub and install grab bars if necessary. To protect youngsters, lock up anything toxic, like cleaning supplies and medicines. If you are not used to having children around, you may need to seek help in childproofing the house. Inspect smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working.
4. Prepare the Decorations – Consider using flameless candles. If you must light up, keep candles high enough that pets and children can’t reach them but away from draperies and curtains. Place extension cords away from foot traffic, but do not place them under carpeting or area rugs. Be aware of the placement of glass ornaments so they are away from both pets’ and toddler’s reach. Refrain from using tinsel around pets and children as it can be toxic. Be aware that some holiday plants like poinsettias can be poisonous. Check with your guests about allergy information. Your beautiful live Christmas tree could cause them constant sneezing and wheezing.
Keeping these tips in mind, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season!