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 NJ contractor since 1994, and a father, and husband. Contact me for all your construction questions.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Sheet Metal Roof Rust DYI

If is not uncommon to find sheet metal roofs. They are used on such buildings as utility storage and others. It works out pretty good as far as being exposed to the elements. But like any metal, over time it will get rust, that needs tending to. The best thing to do, definitely is to take care of the problem before it gets out of hand.

To do it your self, follow these steps. Scrub the sheet metal rust off with a good wire brush. Rinse any loose bits with water. Dry the metal off with a clean rag. Use this method for rust spots as well as rust holes.

With a rust blocking paint, paint over the rusted area. Using a rust blocking paint will stop the rust from not only spreading but will neutralize the rust.

If a rust hole is present, cut yourself a piece of sheet metal two inches wider than the rust hole all way round.

  • Screw the new piece with sheet metal screws, and space them every two inches for a secure fit.
After this caulk all around the new piece, and flatten the caulk with your finger, creating a good seal. Allow to dry over night.

The finale step would be to paint the new sheet metal with a metal roof coating paint. Doing this will seal and protect your new piece from any more water damage.



Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Do it your self gutter leak repair

This repair can be moderate to easy for any homeowner to do. Although aluminum and PVC gutters may last longer than steel ones, they will eventually have a leak. Large leaks of course means you should replace the whole section. But for those small leaks, why not do them your self and save some money. And also prevent them from turning into a big leak.

First thing to do, is to scrape any rust off that may be around the leak. A wire brush works great. Take time to remove all the rust. This will assure that your compounds will stick and be completely free of rust.

Next paint the area with some black asphaltum paint, and allow to dry for several hours.

When it is dry cover with a 1/8 inch layer of plastic cement specifically made for gutters. Make sure to wear gloves.  Do not use any other kind, this will not work.

Next step is to get heavy grade aluminum foil and cover the repair area with some strips. Overlap your strips in which the direction of water flows down your downspout. Take a dry clean cloth, and firmly press your strips down into the cement. Make sure the entire strip is well cemented.

Finally, allow the repair one whole day to dry. Then using a garden hose you can test for any leaks.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fix those Basement Walls

Mold, mildew and bacteria can grow on any basement wall. However if your basement walls bulge or buckle you may have a more serious problem. A sturdy basement with minor cracks can be done your self.

Before you start sealing any cracks, determine where your moisture is seeping through. Some cracks you will be able to see, some may be dripping water. You can find hard to find leaks with a sheet of plastic and duct tape.

Some places you can check for leaks is the snap ties holding the concrete forms together.  These are metal rods, and they can rust, and then create water conduit in the basement. Visible dimples or round holes in the walls leaking moisture is caused by the seal to these rods has fallen off. A easy fix to this problem is to chisel the hole out, and refill with hydraulic cement.

Water seeping through will look unsightly on your basement walls, these come from small cracks. You can seal these cracks with expanding polyurethane form. With this foam it will expand and plug the crack. This will not work however for bowing and buckling walls. Basement walls that are in this shape will need to be replaced or reinforced with steel if they start to collapse.

Bowing walls can also be saved with installing proper supports. This will have to be done by a professional.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Citrus Peels and Using them in your Home

Don't throw those citrus peels away any more. Save them for your garden and cleaning your home or office. These peels can also save you money, because they produce some wonderful products. So let's get started on how we can use them.

First it is important to know your peel, will you be saving orange, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon or lime etc.

Make sure you wash your peels well. If you can, try and use organic sources, this way if you are putting them in your compost it will be better.

If eat kumquat, the peels make a great marmalade. By cooking the chopped peels with sugar syrup until it's syrup. Usually you boil for twenty minutes.

Lemon peels are the most used peels. They can be used for a bath. Or even to rinse your hair.

  Adding a sliver of lemon peel to your tea gives it a great lemony taste.
Another great taste for any peels is candied.

 1 lemon
 1 orange
 1 lime
 10 1/8 ounces (300 ml) water
 8 1/3 ounces (240 grams) sugar
 Half of a vanilla bean

Peel the fruit. Use the peeler to remove the zest from the lemon. Try to remove as little of the fleshy white pith as possible. Repeat for both the orange and the lime. Until all the fruits peel has been removed.
 Slice the citrus peel. Carefully cut the lemon peel into long, thin slivers. Repeat this with the orange and then the lime peel. They can be cut into larger strips if you prefer, but will take longer to cook.
 Blanch the peel. Put the cut strips into a saucepan of cold water and bring it to the boil. Cook for 1-2 minutes to remove some of the peels bitterness then strain into a sieve. This process is called blanching.
 Make the syrup. Slice along the length of the vanilla bean without cutting all the way through. Then carefully open it up and scrape out the pulp with the blade of the knife. Place both the bean and the pulp into a saucepan. Add the water and sugar.
 Cook the peel. Place the saucepan on a high heat and stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to the boil and add in the peel. Give it a quick stir and turn down the heat. Simmer in the syrup for approximately 15 minutes, until soft and translucent. Finally, transfer it into a bowl to cool.
 Serve. When drained, use it to decorate cakes or any desserts. Stored in a sealed container, it will keep in the fridge for up to 6 months.

Orange peels placed in a bag of brown sugar will keep the brown sugar from getting hard. Make sure the peel is as clean as possible.

Grapefruit can be used instead of lemon or orange peels. The peels also make a great marmalade.

The citrus peels are also a great way to flavor water.

Also place citrus peels in a sachet and place in your sock drawer for fresh smelling socks.

Citrus peels also do great in your compost.

Chewing your citrus peels can also freshen your breath.

And last but not least use peels to clean tar off your shoes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Pesticide's in Your Garden Is it good or bad

Recently it has been found that exposure to pesticide can be linked to thyroid desease. A study was done and 16,500 women we're followed on farms using pesticides. The study found 12 percent had diagnosable thyroid disease.

This study reminds us how important our enviroment and are health are. It is important to avoid toxic chemicals as much as we can.


Saturday, March 26, 2011

Food Waste and Reducing It

When you add up what the American family and food services waste in food, it comes out to be twenty five to fifty percent wasteful. With some careful planning you can reduce the amount of food waste that goes to the landfill.

If you cook at home, or dine out, you should always plan the meals. One way to avoid food waste at home is to cook actually what is going to be eaten. Not only do you help to save the planet but you save money your self.

If you do cook to much, saving it and freezing it for later will also help with waste. The left overs can also be reused in new recipes. As long as the leftovers are not placed back in the fridge to rot, you will help with food waste.

Let's talk about the packages your food comes in, these are also part of food waste. It is better to use reusable containers. Not all restaurants use them, but if you are more conscious about it you will find alternatives. Example is instead of a food product in a plastic bag why not pick up some that is fresh and you can cut up your self and store in plastic containers. And with out even working that hard you just helped with food waste.

When going to the grocery store, try not to go hungry. Buying food you really don't need, that ends in waste is not helping. Think if what you are buying is going to be eaten and not left for waste. Try to eat before you shop. This will help with better choices.

The problem with food waste is that the material when broken down turns to methane, a form of greenhouse gas. This gas is actually more harmful than co2. Why not toss your food scarps into your compost bin, where they
can be more beneficial.

I am sure there are more ways to cut back on food waste so let me know if you have a good tip.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Compost Tea

A liquid fertilizer and disease suppressor can be made from compost tea. To make this compost you take small amount of active biologically compost and soak it in water. Adding kelp, or even molasses which will feed the microorganisms. Then aerate over one to two days. Put your tea in a spray bottle and spray directly on the plants, or the soil until drenched.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Your Garden and Spring

For garden lovers, like my self, the rewards you get are hard to describe. Doing gardening can be very relaxing, and I enjoy it very much. I love not only growing my own veggies, but having beautiful flowers around my home. I wanted to share some tips for spring gardening. And hope it will encourage you to start a garden if you don't already have one.

A compost bin is your gardens best buddy. You can start on, by collecting all those kitchen scraps, instead of throwing them out. You can also save money by building your own compost. Then filling it with a pile of organic matter. The cost to build one should be around eight dollars for all wood and screws.

Another great fun idea is to create a spa garden. Then you can make your own spa treatment ingredients with the herbs that you will grow. Buying spa products from the store can be costly. Making your own, you know exactly what products are touching your body.

Make gardening easy for your self also, by getting a garden tote. You can then have all your tools organized, and ready to use. You can even do this with a big bucket.

If you want to start your spring garden in a Eco friendly way, you can make seedling cups from left over newspaper. This is a good way of getting biodegradable compost from, especially if the newspaper is soy ink based. The New York times is one newspaper that is soy ink based, and available in most stores.

Get your garden going by inspecting your hose's/hose. Check and make sure there are no cracks. And if you find some, save your self some money and repair them yourself.

Another fun idea to even do with the kids is to build a birdhouse. Not only does it feed the birds, and draw some beautiful ones to your project. But it is a nice decor for your garden.

Also be ready this spring and make sure all your garden tools are sharp and ready to go.

Get your lawn ready also after a dull winter, wake it up, by raking.

Just doing some simple things can get you in the mood for gardening this spring.



Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Your home basement and it's smell's

Have you ever gone down in your basement and noticed a smell, one that really isn't pleasant. The smell may be mold, or mildew, or even urine from the family cat. And speaking of the cat, the smell may even be a dead mouse. Another smell can be concerning and that is sewer gas. When you have a older home, you may have a smell from a previous water leak. If you have a sump pump in your basement, this may not even be strong enough to help with those ugly smells. Blockages in your plumbing, and drains, venting and heating systems, are also causes of certain smells.

That mold and mildew in the basement is a growth of bacteria arising from stagnant moisture. It can be slow growing, or even rapid growing at times. Mold smells are usually tangy, earthy like, similar to decomposition. This mold is always present unless your home is in a arid area. One rule of thumb is, the more moisture you have in your basement, the more mold you are going to have. Remember, your home's basement is under the ground. So those cracks you see in the wall, or cracks in windows all contribute to mold.

Some people notice after a good rain their allergies are worse. So keeping your basement free of mold and mildew will help with this problem. A dehumidifier helps a great deal, also sealing any leaks or cracks is a great help. If your home does not have gutters, try investing in them, they keep any rain away from your home. But doing all the right things does not mean you are always going to keep mold and mildew at bay. Your basement just might always have a small amount of musty smell to it.

Another fix is to throw any carpet, furniture or other fabric away. This will also get rid of the mold and mildew, as well as the smell. These things are absorbents. Then cleaning thoroughly with a bleach solution will be a big help. You can place smaller items outside in the sun, to lose the smell as well as the mold.

There are case's that the mold and mildew problem is so severe that you need professional help. Getting your furnace and vents cleaned get rid of dust, debris, and any dead bugs. And even mold. Clean vents should be done every one to two years.

Now those smells of poop, rotten eggs, or even garbage means you have a bigger problem other than mold. This could mean you have a sewer gas smell, and this can be toxic, and in the wrong amount even explosive. This smell may be noticed only when the home is closed up and you have the heat or ac on. This smell is due to a build up of waste, which could be in your public sewer system or septic system. Smelling this gas could mean you have a clog or crack in the plumbing system. You could also have a clog or crack in your homes venting pipes. Venting pipes can be a part of your homes plumbing which poke out through your roof. These are not exhaust pipes, these are for fresh air. If alot of air is entering the drain pipe it will push air in front of it towards your sewer or septic system. These vents replace lost air. Also you may be smelling sewer gas due to plumbing fixtures traps that are now dry. If you plan of being away from your home for any length of time, you may want to get someone to flush your toilets for you. Toilet water can evaporate quicker than you think. These sewer problems can be serious and should be handled by a professional.

If you have a cat and there is urine, it can be pungent and pervasive. Cat owners know this smell. Plenty of products are on the market that can help rid this smell. But the best way is to treat it the same as mold, and go through the same process. Except with cat urine you should also get rid of any wood or wallboard that has cat urine on it. If it has cat urine on it get rid of it. Spread baking soda liberally, vacuum and this will help lift the smell. Kilz for the stained walls will come in handy, it is also good for wood.

The last smell is the ugly smell, sickly, sweet, and of decomposition. Yes, the smell of a dead mouse. And that smell is usually coming from inside the wall. And the only way it is going to be gone, is with time.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nail Information for your Home Project

On today's market, there are many varieties of nails for projects. Each one has its own purpose. From woodworking to drywall, choosing the right one can be tricky. But they all have one thing in common, they are measured by millimeters.

Nail Assortment, 7 oz

Before you begin a project it is important to get a material list ready. And the one thing that usually holds it all together is a nail. Below is some ideas of different types of nails and what you would use them for.

Round wire nails are used in rough woodworking projects. That is due to their strength ability. The heads are usually large and round, are can be visible after being nailed in.

DEWALT DCS16200 2-Inch by 16 Gauge Finish Nail (2,500 per Box)

The oval wire nails are more suited for wood attachment projects. This type nail can be buried into the surface and covered up.

Round nails are similar to your oval wire nails, and can also be buried into your wood project. They are however stronger than your oval wire nails.

Then you have tacks, short nails that have a flat wide head. Mostly used for carpets being installed and also to fix fabric onto a wood surface.

Another type is panel pins, which are small and lightweight, with very tiny little round heads. These are used for small mouldings in cabinet making.

B & C Eagle A3X131/22 Round Head 3-Inch-by-.131-Inch-by-20 to 22-Degree Plastic Collated Smooth Shank Framing Nail (500 per Box)

Although this one does not sound like a nail it is. The cut floor brad is rectangular with a shank L shape body. They are best used for fixing floorboards to joints.

Your masonry nails are solid hardened steel. Used to fasten wood to blocks.

Next is your square twisted nail, which is twisted into a wood surface. They not only provide a more permanent grip but a much tighter one. You could compare this nail to that of a screw. The cost for this type nail is usually much higher than your common nail.

550pc Homeowner's Nail Assortment - Storage Case

Annular nails are similar to your conventional nail, with one exception. The shank has sharp ridges for a very tight and strong grip once nailed into place. They are great for creating a strong joint.

Then we have the cloat head nail, a smaller nail similar to that of the tack. But the heads of these nails are larger and much flatter. And are also make of galvanized steel. They are strong and also durable similar to the masonry nail. They generally are used for attaching soft material to wood. Great example is roof felt to wood.

Your spring head roofing nail are inverted cup like heads, and a twisted shank, similar to your square twisted nail. These nails will exert a very strong grip on the wood in which they are nailed to. Used primarily for fastening folded sheets on timber wood.

The cut clasp nail is rectangular, similar to your cut floor brad. They can be used not only on wood but on masonry. The fit is very tight once nailed into their position. And not only that, they are almost impossible to remove.

Hardboard nails are unique with heads shaped like a diamond. These heads are hidden once nailed into hardboard.

The sprig is a tiny nail, which has a headless look. used to fasten glass into a window frame, before the putty is applied. This makes these nails invisible to the eye.

Porta-Nails 42629 1,000 Pack 2-Inch Nails

If you are doing any upholstery work, you would use a upholstery nail. These nails are similar to your tack. They are a great fixer nail. They have a dome head, which is very decorative for finish work. Great for wood chairs with coverings on them. They come in chrome, brass and other metallic metals. They also have different head sizes, making it a great choice in certain woodworking projects. 

The list of nails is endless, and available in today's market. Choosing the right nail is a task you will have to decide on. It will not only provide strength, but can be a decorative matter. So before you begin, make sure you have the right nail to do the job.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Advice for Rose's in your Garden

Some gardeners get intimidated when it come's time to prune their "rose's". When in fact it is so much easier than they know. Pruning is a important part of getting beautiful healthy roses. And knowing how to cut dead and damaged branches, will result in better air circulation that will prevent disease.

It is also important that you choose the right place for the proning cut, due to this will control the direction of the new shoot growth. When doing any type of pruning it is important to use sharp pruners. Using dull instruments can cause the branches to mangle. In this case disease can then enter your branch also known as "cane".

 Step One: Identify your Type of Rose You are planning to do Pruning on.
The type of rose determines when and how much it is pruned. Hybrid teas, grandifloras, and floribundas need more severe pruning in late winter or early spring. Landscape and shrub roses require less pruning. Climbing roses, which bloom on last year’s growth, are pruned only after they bloom.


When you begin pruning make sure the cuts are centered so the rose bush will come open and most of the growth will direct outward. This will also promote good air circulation. Then cut back branches that cross the center of the plant, and any branches that are thinner than a writing pencil. Start with cutting dead and diseased branches, these will be dark in color. Cut these back all the way to the area where branches meet roots. You will want to also cut thick and old canes down to the crown.

It will have to be a decision you make to which branches you will leave standing. But of course it should be the brances that are the healthiest and ones that form a perimeter surrounding the base of the bush. Check for outward buds a foot up from the ground. Then cut above these buds at a 45 degree angle. Doing this will produce new branches from the bud and will then grow outward in a desired shape form.

If you are pruning hybrid tea's, grandifloras or even floribundas, you are going to cut way back. When you are done, you should have a rose bush one foot tall and five to six healthy branches left growing from the base of the bush. Also if you have shrub or landscape roses, cutting these in the same manner will also produce the same results. Except you want to leave more height with these types. For your repeat blooming climbers, you will want to prune those in the spring. These are the easiest, due to the fact they only need to be cut out if they have any bad branches and then pruned to shape them. Your climbers are usually on a trellis or wall so any old growth is beneficial. Climbers will also bloom even with old growth, so be careful when pruning not to cut any off that may flower.

Rose's are very forgiving, so relax if you feel you cut back to much. They usually come back.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Are CFL bulbs in your home

Any cartoon you see, where the person is thinking, usually has a light bulb symbol above their head. Now in today's energy independent days it's not a regular light bulb, its CFL.

CFL stands for compact fluorescent light, which is used around the globe in homes as well as offices. The benefits of using this bulb is the life of the bulb is so much longer. The electricity the bulb uses is less, and there is little heat from the bulb.

The disadvantage of the CFL bulb is that it contains mercury. The small trace of high toxic substance that is extremely hazardous if it is digested or even if it is inhaled. If one of these bulbs are broke in your home or business it is not life threatening if handled in the proper way. Young children, pregnant women or even your precious pets are at risk.

  1. Before you do any cleanup 
    • Have any people and your pets leave the room.
    • Air out that room for 5-10 minutes by opening a window or door.
    • Shut off the central forced air heating/air-conditioning system.
    • Collect all the materials needed to clean up broken bulb.
  1. During the cleanup
    • Be sure you are thorough in collecting broken glass and any visible powder.
    • Make sure you place any cleanup materials in a sealable container.
  1. After you are done the cleanup
    • Make sure you promptly place all of the bulb debris and the cleanup materials outdoors in a trash container or a  protected area until you can be disposed of them properly. Make sure you avoid leaving any of the bulb fragments or cleanup materials indoors of your home or business.
    • Try to continue to air out the room where the bulb was broken and leave the heating/air conditioning system shut off for several hours if possible, but it would be best to do so.
    • Following and knowing about these bulbs are important, you can find more information on the Internet. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coal Energy and what is the real deal

You might think coal is a cheap form of energy, but there is really a lot of hidden costs. Pollution, and health issues cause the price of coal to be pretty high. Let's talk about power plants that produce toxins in our air, removal from mining practices that are destroying our mountains. And don't forget the waterways that are getting polluted.

In the Appalachian region it cost 75 billion for public health. Those power plants that are coal causing air pollution cost 187 billion in health costs. Mercury emissions are costing at least 29 billion. Imagine 206 billion for climate change and greenhouse gas emissions.

Study shows if you add up all these costs that are hidden, the kwh per price would increase by 18 cents.

And did you know that 40 percent of energy in the United States does come from coal. In order to reduce the coal we consume we have to use less power. Another way to save is have your power supply switched to alternative energy. If that is not a option for you, there are other ways to reduce coal dependence. 

By unplugging unused chargers can save alot of energy and coal use. When we are in warmer months trying to cool your home without AC is another coal saving tip. Make sure all electronics and appliances are energy efficient.

Leave a comment with any ideas you may have for coal saving.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

No lawn lawns

One of the best low growing ground covers is Creeping thyme. This versatile plant, Thymus serpyllum, can be used in countless ways to provide color, cut maintenance and its uses in the garden are almost unlimited.   Creeping thyme is one of those easy to grow plants that survive nicely with little or no care. It's a low maintenance plant that can take a lot of abuse too!
One of my neighbors has used a planting of creeping thyme, in place of lawn, in the parking strip in front of their home. I think this is a great choice, because it doesn't require mowing, much watering or care, yet it looks nice and can even tolerate being walked-on.

Uses - there are very few ground covers that can be walked-on, but creeping thyme is one of them. So it makes an ideal ground cover to use between stepping stones, near the patio adjoining walkways or at the base of a rockery. However, those are not the only uses for this versatile low growing ground cover. Because of its low growth habit, it can be used effectively in the foreground of just about any planting in the landscape. It is especially popular to use in spots where the plants can cascade over a rockery or fill-in between evergreen plants.
Growing habit - creeping thyme grows about two to four inches high and can spread up to two or more feet in width. The leaves are very small, but dense and cover the low growing plants. Foliage color varies in shades of light to dark green and the variety 'Woolly' thyme has attractive grayish foliage. The leaf color of the other varieties seems to vary with flower color, the lighter flowering varieties have lighter foliages. Flower colors range in shades of lavender, red, rose, or white. They flower in the late spring and early summer. The plants flower so prolifically, you can hardly see the evergreen leaves below. Creeping thyme is an easy plant to maintain, as it does not tend to take-over and can easily be confined to a specific area.
Location - these versatile plants will grow in full sun, part sun and shade and even full shade. However, they usually do not flower quite as well in full shade, and sometimes tend to grow a little more sparse in the shade.
Availability - most varieties are readily available at nurseries and garden outlets. They are usually sold in flats, trays or in pots. The typical four-inch pot can be planted in tact or cut and divided into two-inch squares. When divided in this manner they make about four small plants and each of those plants will grow into a nice plant about four to six inches across, during the first full growing season.

Information obtained by Ed's Favorites.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wind Power

Excerpted from Real Goods Solar Living Source Book, edited by Doug Pratt and executive editor John Schaeffer.
Sunlight, wind, and falling water are the big three renewable energy sources. These are energy sources that are commonly available at a reasonable cost. We’ve found in our years of experience that wind and hydro energy sources are most often best developed as a booster or bad weather helper for a solar-based system.
Hybrid systems—using wind or water combined with solar energy—have the advantage of being better able to cover power needs throughout the year, and are less expensive than a similar capacity system using only one power source. The only common exceptions are systems designed for utility intertie; they feed excess power back into the utility, and turn the meter backwards.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/wind-power-systems.html#ixzz1Gn2LyPVO

  • We generally advise that a good site for year-round wind turbine energy isn’t a place that you’d want to live! It takes average wind speeds of 8 to 9 mph and up, to make a really good resource for energy. That’s honestly more wind than most folks are comfortable living with.

  • This is where the beauty of hybrid systems comes in. Many very livable sites produce 8 mph or more during certain times of the year, or when storms are passing through, and this wind can be harnessed.

  • Tower height and location also make a big difference. Wind speeds average 50 to 60 percent higher at 100 feet compared to those found at ground level.

  • The cost of a wind power system includes the cost of the wind turbine itself, the tower, and its installation. The total cost of micro turbines can be as little as $500-$1,500 depending upon the tower used and its height. Bigger machines are more costly, but can be more cost-effective

  • Sunday, March 13, 2011

    Using salt around the home

    In every home, even some business's, you will find one mineral. Do you know what that mineral is? "SALT", yes that's right. But what you are using it for is what? "FOOD". But did you know according to the Salt Institute there is over 14,000 ways to use this mineral. In early days of man, salt was used to preserve their food. Although for man to find it was very difficult. Today in our times, it is common to use salt and to produce it. Salt also known as sodium chloride has been used since medieval times to clean around the home. Today also it is a abundant resource for us, and very inexpensive.

    Don't get to confused thought, because there are a class of chemical compounds that we call salts. The salt we are going to talk about today is  good old sodium chloride, as we refer to as table salt. Salt can also be found in our oceans, in which we refer to it as sea-salt, a unrefined salt.  Another known product of salt is referred to as Kosher, a sodium chloride processed to flat crystals. Your Epsom salt is a very different salt, it is magnesium sulfate, and not for eating.

    But salt is not just for the table, you can actually go green with salt and clean the home or business. So let's get right to it and learn some way's we can use salt other than sprinkling it on our food.

     For some kitchen facts on salt, it will not make your water boil any faster. What it does is bring it to a higher temp, which in turn reduces your cooking time. Because it does this, when you use it to poach eggs it Set's the egg whites more quickly, so sprinkle some in your water.

    How many of you use lemon to keep your fruits from browning? Did you know dropping them into lightly salted water, also helps them to retain their color. Also soaking your pecan and walnuts in salt water for several hours makes it easier to remove the nut meat. Icing a cake, add a little salt to the icing and it will prevent the icing from sugaring.

    Have you just peeled onion or garlic, you can get rid of the order with a pinch of salt/vinegar combo. Beating some egg whites or whip cream, a pinch of salt will make those peaks not only higher, but make them quicker. We all have cheese, wrapping your cheese in a moistened cloth with saltwater, will extend its life and prevent mold.

    Even though I do construction, I still love to cook. I find that when a casserole bubbles over in my oven I can use this tip. Put a handful of salt on the spill and it will not smell or smoke, because the spill will turn into a baked crust, which is much easier to clean up.

    Go green with salt also, it works great as a scouring agent. Adding salt and vinegar together will boost cleaning and deodorizing action to clean up with. A great soft scrub is making a paste with salt, baking soda, and dish soap. This is great to use on appliances, enamel and porcelain. If you have stains in the sink, use your paste of salt and baking soda to remove them. You can also deodorize and de - grease your kitchen drain by pour salt and hot water down, this will decrease any build up in the drain. If you have any marks made by beverage glasses or hot dishes, on wooden tables use a thin paste made of salt and veggie oil on it and the white marks it made will disappear. After using grease to cook, especially in cast iron pans, which I use most often, sprinkling a little salt and wiping with a paper towel will clean them right up.

    Another good tip, is for coffee drinkers, like my wife. If you have any stained cups, try this. Mix salt with a tab of dish soap making a soft scrub. This will not only get rid of tough coffee stains but tea stains as well. Baking soda is not the only product to clean your fridge's with and keep them smelling clean. Salt and baking soda will not only clean but deodorize, but will also keep chemical cleaners away from food.

    Have brass or copper pans, mixing equal parts of salt, flour and vinegar making a paste will clean them right up. Let it sit on them for a hour, wipe clean with a soft cloth, and then buff. Getting rid of rust is also easy with a mixture of salt, cream of tarter and just enough water to make your self a paste. Rub the paste on the area with rust, let it dry and then brush it off and buff it with a dry soft cloth. Back to coffee, clean that glass pot with salt and lemon, it cleans it crystal clear every time.

    There are so many reasons this great mineral comes in handy. If you know one share it here with me.

    Saturday, March 12, 2011

    No Dirt Needed Here

    Did you know that you don't have to grow your houseplants in dirt? Essentially the dirt is just the medium holding the plant up and allowing the roots to pull nutrients through moisture. You can throw out the dirt, and insects and disease along with it! Many houseplants grow very nicely in a simple double pot with a simple water solution, sometimes called passive hydroponics. In hydroculture, special pebbles rather than dirt hold up the plant's stem and roots.

  • Plant or rooted cuttings

  • Clay-fired pebbles

  • Inner pot with slots

  • Water level indicator

  • Outer pot

  • Rinse the clay-fired pebbles to remove dust and minute pebble particles.

  • Transplanting from dirt - remove the plant from its dirt pot. Hold the plant at the base near the dirt and gently wiggle it out, dirt and all. Tapping the pot might help free the plant. Remove the dirt from the plant. Knock off loose dirt clumps. Hold under gently running, room temperature tap water to rinse of the remainder of the dirt. Trim off dead or extra roots
    Plant the plant. Cover the bottom of the inner pot with pebbles, about an inch. Place the plant on the pebbles, and spread out roots. Hold in place with one hand while pouring more pebbles around the plant roots up to the base. Tap the container to settle the pebbles, and then rinse under room temperature running tap water

    Finish and feed the plant. Place the inner container in the outer container, and fill the pot with nutrient solution until the water level indicator shows its full enough.

    Friday, March 11, 2011

    Patio Re Dressing

    Moon rays 95540 Low Voltage Path Lighting Kit with Power PackWhy not dress up your deck or patio this spring. And make it delightful to use this coming season. Start by illuminating and defining your area with some lighting. You can do the patio, your walkway and even the garden. By doing this you can extend using these area's well after the sun Set's. Making your outdoor living space more enjoyable to.

    It's always wise to map out your plans. Determine where you would like to place your lighting. Low voltage landscape lighting is readily available for this type of project.

    After you have your lighting in place, make sure you program the timer according to the instructions. Also available to use, are solar lighting's.

    You can also re-dress your out door space with some great decorations. Furniture and other accessories, that compliment your area is a great idea. If you already have outdoor furniture why not throw some bright summer colored pillows on the sofa or chairs. Colored containers with overflowing perennials will spruce up any spot. Make it inviting with a nice fire pit, it provides warm lighting and heat as well.

    Another great idea is to hang some chimes up on your gazebo, or buy a flower pole to hang them on. The sounds are very relaxing. And speaking of relaxing, how about a out door water fountain, this will smooth your soul and mind.

    Share your tips with me.


    Thursday, March 10, 2011

    Make a Perennial Garden Yourself

    Planning a perennial garden is as easy as planting herbaceous, instead of trees or shrubs. You just have to know where to start. Maybe you started with annuals, but perennials will add a new design. Starting with a perennial border is a great way to start.

    What ever you choose a perennial garden will give you pleasure for years to come. Your Zinnias, petunias and sunflowers are going to be planted every season. A herbaceous perennial will survive winter and drought.
    The reason for this is their underground roots. For example if you plant phlox, day lilies or purple cone flowers, they will survive the winter elements.

    Of course just like any project you are doing, it is best to start with a plan before you start. Making a drawing can help plan your garden before you begin. It is best to be flexible with your plan because the garden will change over time. Plants you put this year, may not be one's you want next year, so group your plants in order to change them if you wish. Some gardens are great looking by planting different plants all the same colors. Another idea is to plant blooming plants that peak during one season.

    First step in a great plan is assess your site where you plan to plant. Be aware of the amount of sunshine, shade,  and other elements that will impact what selections you will make. Balance and symmetry will also play a important role. What else will you include in your garden. Like a arbor or trellis, and will it be in your garden year round. Going bigger for these items is better than going small.

    Figure if you will be edging your garden with other elements like stone. And if so what color, and shape will you use. Hoses are another great asset to shape your garden up with.

    It's always nice when you add some woody plants, some shrubs or even small trees. Make a framework to support all the perennials. Using variety with different size, and foliage is another great idea. Don't be afraid to bring tall plants from the back and mix it up a bit. They look great in the middle also. If you wish to achieve a unified look use a repetition pattern.

    Grouping plants of the same type isn't a bad idea either. Doing this will impact your garden. If you think you planted your plants in the wrong area don't be afraid to move them. Perennials are very hardy.

    Do you have a garden tip, post it here.

    Wednesday, March 09, 2011

    Put Spring into your yard

    Every woman does spring cleaning in the home, so every man should do spring cleaning in the yard. Well my wife thinks so any way. So why not devote the next warm weekend to sprucing up the yard and get it ready for summer. I bet you will find endless projects to do, that will make a huge difference, that will be very rewarding in the end. And will make the wife happy at the same time.

    You can start with the dead leaves laying around. Rake them up, and bag them in lawn bags to rid of them. Then the lawn, bringing it back from cold winter months, it needs to start breathing again. So why not do a aeration, and break up the soil that is now compacted. Aeration will create tiny air pockets that you can then fill with your compost.

    When you are done aeration on the lawn, you can then spread a thin layer of peat moss over your lawn with a rake. This is called a top dressing. It helps to toughen your lawn and make it resist to thatch, disease and growing of weeds.

    Speaking of weeds, maybe they need to be whacked. Also give your lawn some nutrients and care it will need, by keeping weeds out. You can also apply a weed killer for those pesty weeds. Also putting crabgrass controler is a good idea.

    Don't forget to prevent those small creatures that can invade your lawn. Those little critters are easy to control with a good pesticide. When planting try to use disease resistant plants. They help keep fungi, and bacteria from doing damage to your lawn as well as your garden.

    Oh then there are the bare spots that can happen for many reason's. The dog's are one good reason. You can fill the bare spot with a patch, like top grade topsoil. After scatter grass seed over the spot. In that spot try not to plant to much seed. Rake the spot lightly and spread a thing layer of your compost over it. Your seeds should be watered on a daily basis, but never to soggy.

    Since grooming your backyard is really not that hard, why not mow the grass, and trim some tree's and shrubs if you have them. Just by clipping the hedges, pruning some plants and edging can give you a really big head summer start.

    Powerwashing the patio furniture and deck isn't a bad idea either.

    Old man winter can also do havoc on your fence. If it's wood, check for cracks, loose boards. If metal, check for rust and any loose or missing clamps.

    And when your all done, why not throw some steaks on the grill, and admire your hard work.

    Tuesday, March 08, 2011

    Entertaining Outdoors

    During the warmer months, there is one thing my family loves is out side entertaining. It doesnt matter if it is during the day or during the evening.

    And one thing we love is our outdoor open air theater. So I decided to share how I did this with my readers.

    You don't need any fancy equiptment, any wall surface will do. Even the side of your house or garage can be your backdrop. If you have one you can use a white tarp or curtain as your screen.

    If you have a iphone or ipod you can get a projector to attact to it and view your downloaded movies.

    Avoid light sources that you can’t control, such as streetlights or those from neighbors’ homes and landscape lighting. For obvious reasons, you’ll want your theater area to be quite dark. To light a pathway for your guests to get to their seat, stake solar lights by Hampton Bay or Homebrite. For more information on outdoor lighting, check out our buying guide.
    Scout a quiet spot away from the neighbors’ houses since you don’t want the sound to bother them. Finally, make sure that your location has accessible outdoor power.


    Monday, March 07, 2011

    How to re-slot a stripped screw head

    Who hasn't experienced trying to extract a stripped screw. If you noticed the more pressure you exert the worse it gets. This only makes it even worse to get out.

    Luckily there is a easy way to fix this problem. Take a dremel, rotary tool, ez lock mandrel, and a ez lock cut off wheel, and you can make a new slot in the screw head. This will let you extract it with a standard tip screwdriver.

    All you do is insert the ez lock mandrel and the ez lock cut off wheel into your rotary tool. The system features a one piece design so you don't need a screw attachment.

    Always wear goggles to prevent any small flying pieces from the screw. After that place the edge of the cutting wheel into your screw head and turn on the tool. And you can go ahead and cut a new slot in your screw head, do it about 1/8 inch deep.

    And all done, you can go ahead and remove your screw with a standard screwdriver.

    Share your tips with me.

    Sunday, March 06, 2011

    Zone heating tips

    Last month when I got my oil bill I almost died. It was almost 600 dollars. When I first bought the home the bill was around 198 @ .99 cents a gallon. So although summer is almost upon us I wanted to do some research on what is called zone heating. Here is what I found.

    Zone heating and cooling is heating/cooling only the rooms you are using. This allows your central thermostat to be set low while maintaining the comfort level, and heating or cooling the room you are using with your zone heating/cooling system. Zone heating/cooling can work great in those hard to maintain rooms that may be drafty. So here we go.

    The first option is under floor heating. You can't see it but you can feel it. The system is electric mats that are installed under your floor. It doesn't matter if its hardwood, ceramic or other types. It provides a current of electricity that can be controlled with a thermostat. Heat rises up through the floor, and warms it and the air above it. This system is great for kitchens and bathrooms. The system is allergy friendly, because it doesn't rely on forched air, so air borne particles are dispersed through the home. Under floor heating doesn't take up an wall or floor space.

    Second heating is baseboard, a versatile heating solution. This is installed along any floor space in any size room. It is long lasting and low maintenance, and a covection heating system providing balanced heat from floor to ceiling. Electric baseboard heaters are inexpensive, easy to install and controlled by built in or wall mounted thermostats. The system is quiet, so it's great for bedrooms and small spaces.

    Next is in wall heaters. These are perfect for big and small rooms. They come in a variety of sizes, and respond faster than baseboard heaters. They unit uses convection air technology, which draws air into the gap between the wall and the heater. Heated air rises from the top, than a fan distributes the warm air evenly in the room. Fan forced wall heaters have built in thermostats, fan delay switches, and automatic wattage/fanspeed adjustment.

    Last but not least, in a long improvement over the years comes the oil filled and electric space heaters. They come in a variety of sizes and prices. Some are more perfect for drafty spots, such as a drafty door or window, that's in a room. Heat rises from the unit, and warms the area immediately. And this will elimenate your furnace working so hard. A ceramic heater is best for small space rooms. These systems radiate heat than uses a fan that blows the warm air to a specific area. The system has a fan only setting, but it helps air circulation when the heating element is not needed.

    Saturday, March 05, 2011

    A lawn your neighbors will envy

    Scotts 18262 Turf Builder Zoysia Grass Seed and Mulch, 5-Pound is a great product to use in the spring.

    Did you know that the way your water your lawn, is the key to having the greatest yard in the neighborhood.

    In spring approach the lawn on a as needed watering time. Mother Nature will help most of the time. So when she does don't even pick up the hose. Only water if the weather has been dry. Always water if your lawn is wilted, curled or the blades of grass start to fold. If you see a color change from vibrant green to dull bluish, also add water. When walking on your lawn water if you notice less bounce.

    Watering the lawn is important, but more important is to be water wise. The best time for watering is in the early morning or evening. This is because when the sun is low in the sky, you are losing less water to evaporation.

    If your lawn is subjected to fungi, watering in the morning is the best. The moisture on the blades stay less than if the lawn was watered in the evening.

    Make your self a watering schedule for the growing season. This will differ depending where you live. On a newly seeded or over seeded area water daily until your seeds are established.

    Having the right tools will also be productive for watering. You can install a watering system that will prevent shallow roots, thatch or yellowing.

    Having a above ground sprinkler will cover large areas of your lawn. Just make sure you make adjustments, to make the water fall only on the lawn or garden. Don't waste water by letting it hit the sidewalks and driveways etc. You also want to adjust the pressure so it will penetrate the soil slowly with out making puddles or run offs.

    Roses, raspberries and beans are susceptible to getting diseases from to much water on their greenery. Pop up sprinklers are a better choice for these area's of your garden or lawn.

    The old soaker hose is another good choice. It let's the water seep into your garden beds slowly. These hose's have three layers of tubing, two are for strength, and one inner with a flexible core. They come in various sizes, which are a great accommodation for the yard.

    Next is ultra water conserving drip irrigation kits. These are great for arid climates, and around shrubs, tree's and right in gardens. They only use half as much water as a conventional sprinkler, and they apply water slowly and directly to the roots.

    It's best to cover your irrigation lines with mulch or bury them under the soils surface.

    In the North and South, lawns usually need one inch of water once a week. This will encourage roots to go further into the ground, and also helps make them resilient to any dry spells. A rain gauge will help you keep track of rain so you will know how much to water your lawn.

    After you water for 30-60 minutes you should check the depth of penetration in the soil. Check in different area's and make adjustments with your sprinkler. This will assure the perfect coverage.

      This is a great gage for you water depth. 


    Do you have a lawn tip?

    Friday, March 04, 2011

    Stain and Mildew Tip

    Mildew and stains are important factors to protect your home from getting. It's also one of the most important steps you can take before painting any walls in your home, to protect them.

    To remove either one of these problems is going to take a little hard work, but the benefits will pay off. And will ensure bright colors that will last longer.

    The start of the project is to check for any mold or mildew stains. Then locate the source of the problem to prevent it from re-occurring.

    If you have located either of these here is your first part tip. Mix three parts water to one part laundry bleach into a plastic bucket. Always wear eye protection and gloves, the orders can be irritating to your eyes as well as your skin.

    Take a sponge and hold it on the mildew or mold stain. Let it dry then reapply the bleach water again, in the same manner, until the spot disappears.

    The last step is to use fresh water to rinse off the bleach water, let your wall completely dry, and prime your wall and you are then ready to paint.

    If you have a tip share it with me here.


    Thursday, March 03, 2011

    Getting the Grill Ready safety "Tips"

    With the warm temps we are going to have this weekend, I have decided to get the grills ready to fire up. Bought some great looking ribs, going to cook them and clean up the yard. So I thought I would share my grilling tips. There's nothing more satisfying to me, than the sound of a sizzling grill and family to share it with.

    I own both gas, and charcoal grills. And depending on what I am cooking and how I am cooking it, I then decided what way I am going, gas or charcoal.

    For my charcoal I prefer Kingsford briquette's. The lighting is faster and easier. And in case you did not know the ingredients used are natural. Usually this charcoal is ready to cook on in 15 minutes.

    I start my charcoal by first making a small mound of briquettes in the pit. I never use lighter fluid. I use a fire starter. When the coals are hot in the fire starter I then turn them out onto my small mound. The grill is kept open until I am ready to cook. The vents are also open while I cook, this helps give oxygen to the charcoal. When I am done grilling I always let the ashes cool for 48 hours before I dispose them. For some reason if you do not have that long to wait you can soak them with water, then wrap the coals in foil and put into a non combustible container. Of course never burn charcoal any where except outside. Using in any indoor area because it produces carbon monoxide that is toxic in any closed area.

    For gas grilling I use propane, which is a petroleum product. Normally gas can be compressible to a transportable liquid. Three to four percent of our total energy is supplied by propane. In NJ you need a safety cap on propane containers now.

    Gas grills should also only be used outdoors. Tanks should be stored outside in a upright vertical position. It is best to keep them away from any other source of ignition. When not using your propane make sure the controls to the source are off like the grill and also the valve on your propane tank. Another good safety tip is to check for dents, damage, rust and leaks when re-filling. Always take your tank home immediately, keep your vechile ventilated with the tank valve closed, plugged and capped. Never leave the tank in your vechile for any reason.

    Do you have some safety grilling tips?

    Wednesday, March 02, 2011

    Can Spray Paint

    For just five to ten dollars a can for spray paint, you can transform your out door furniture and other out door fixtures. Because over time your out door furniture can rust, and loose it's beauty. With spray paint you can make your plastic, wood, wicker and metal surfaces look brand new.

    Take your lawn chairs and upgrade them with textured finished hammered paint, for plastic in a classic dark bronze.

    For a patina finish to your metal dining set with stop rust multi colored textured in autumn brown.

    Transform your wicker or wood using chip and fade free American accents smooth satin finish spray in a summer color.

    If you have metal railings and rust is settling it can downgrade your home's "curb appeal". The repair for this is a quick fix, by removing the rust and grime and refinish with American accents satin spray paints, which can even be matched. To make it a completely different look choose a different color. A great choice is hammered finish silver, or Verde green.

    Don't just stop at there you can face lift your faded chain link fence. Rust Oleum universal advanced formula spay paint is great for a number of surface's and is very durable and long lasting. Always do any repairs before you start.

    How about your front door, the first curb appeal to any home. If yours is due for a makeover there's no need to replace it, paint it. Use high gloss finish in a great bold hue like red or black. Colonial red or nutmeg is a popular choice. With paint and a new kick plate and door hardware you have made a great new front door.

    Some suggestions for a mailbox makeover is to use American accents designer metallic in satin nickel spray paint, for a urban new look. Want to go country, try stops rust in hammered brown. To obtain a seaside feel rust oleum ultra cover in a vibrant vintage apple red, warm yellow or even a spa blue.

    Just a few squirts of spray paint will definitely spruce up your curb appeal.



    Tuesday, March 01, 2011

    Bathroom Tile

    Updating a bathroom tile is a great way to give the room a new look, and ad value to your home. There are so many designs in tile now to pick from.

    Property owns usually go with ceramic. Ceramic is a mixture of clay and earth. The tiles come in different finishes, which can be glazed. They are usually inexpensive and very easy to install. Property owners usually choose ceramic due to it's low maintenance. It may need a good grout scrubbing from time to time.

    Porcelain tile is another product that is often fired at a high temp, to make it more durable. Porcelain is less prone to stain and absorb any moisture. The color is uniform, so that makes scratches and chips less visible. This product is not likely to crack, and can be placed without grout lines.

    Natural Stone like marble, limestone or travertine, add charm to any room. With is earthy organic feel that is not in synthetic material. Stone can be set recified, and gives off a sleek look and is easy to clean. The stone requires little to no maintenance. To mop you use neutral pH detergent or pure soap.

    Mosaic tile are small squares and pre mounted on to a mesh backing which makes for a easy installation. You can then add details with out a complicated layout.

    Also you can use glass as a accent on the surface or walls. Glass mosaic tiles are less expensive per foot. They instantly upgrade the style to any bathroom. Most use the glass tiles for walls, but there are some designed for floors.

    With so many materials to choose from its easy to upgrade or install a bathroom floor.