Living in the northeast or northern America there is a tool that is a necessity for winter. No matter where you live, in a city or in the suburbs, a snow blower makes winter livable. Choosing the right snow blower comes down to several factors; snow, gas or electric, and price. It is important to know what type of snow you would typically deal with. Light snow fall or powdery snow you can use a single stage plow. A single stage blower can handle up to about four inches of snow. This is because the single stage as a single auger, the barber pole blade that pushes the snow into the blower to shoot it in your intended direction. Now that is more than five inches and that clump together you would want to go with a dual stage blower.
The dual stage blower as an auger and another blade called an impeller. How this works is that the auger pushes the snow into the impeller which breaks down the clumpy snow and allows a more powdery snow to leave the blower. This reduces stress on the blower helping it to last longer and chew through snow better. if you are living in a place where a light flurry is two feet of snow then most professionals would recommend a three stage snow blower. The three stage also has the auger and impeller, but also has an accelerator.
These are heavy duty machinery and should be used with caution. The next step is find what suits you a gas or electric blower. In the past couple of years cordless electric blowers have becoming more common on the market place. simply charge in your garage. They have also gotten more reliable, but they are good for use up to about seven inches of snow. Electric snow blowers that use cords are slightly better than their cordless counter parts. Gas blowers wither single, dual, or triple stage offer more power than the electrical counter-part, but are more expensive.
Electric snow blowers can range from $300 to $700, while gas blowers range from $400 to $2,400. The best brands to look out for when buying new gas blower are Cadet, Craftsman, and Troy-Bilt. These brands are very reliable and are engineered to run smoothly so that there is very little hassle for the operator. For compact and single stage gas blowers Honda, Yard Machine, and Toro Power they are not as good at handling as their more expensive models, but they get the job done. Watch out for Power Smart and Poulan Pro they are slower and use more gas. Cordless and corded electric brands that have become popular are Craftsman, EGO, and Toro Power. These brands are efficient at their use of energy, reliable, and easy to use. Whether you are in a blizzard or cleaning up after a flurry having the right blower will make winter a paradise to be in.
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For most people after they are finished shoveling or snow blowing their walk ways and drive ways they lay down salt to prevent ice from forming. Salting helps fight and prevent ice and eases the minds of worried home owners. In most towns the home owner is responsible for taking care of their sidewalks and we have all heard the stories of people slipping on sidewalks and suing. Salts are harmful to the environment, pets, and plants.
Even those that claim to be safe can be harmful if not used properly. Sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and calcium magnesium acetate are the most common salts in the market. Sodium chloride is by far the most hazards to the environment even though it is the most common, while calcium magnesium acetate has claimed to be the new eco friendly trend, but has not been proven in lab tests. Some of the cheaper salts on the market contain ingredients that are also in construction materials such as concrete and brick. Why the salts are hazards to the environment is that they can dissolve in water, such as melted ice, and flow in to near by water sources. There are not many safe alternatives to these salts, but there ways to reduce the effects of the salts.
Before the snow starts to fall lay salt on the walk ways to help reduce the amount of snow that sticks. If you don’t put salt down before the snow, then mixing sand with the salt will increase traction and reduce the amount of impact the salts. Salts that have urea, glycols, and fertilizers have a reduced effect of the environment, but are not as effective as the harmful ones. The harmful salts can be as low as five dollars per bag, this is why they are the most common salts bought on the market. If your local store only has harmful salts choose the right one that works for what you need.
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How to Buy the Right Snow Blower
When Preparing for Winter Which is better? Hiring a Pro or Buying a Snow Blower
We all dread that morning we wake up after a snow storm, saying to ourselves “I guess its time to shovel.” Most of us contemplate hiring someone to remove the snow for us, but is it worth it. We all know someone on our street that has a kid willing to shovel your snow, right? I know I do! This past winter I stopped hiring our neighbor’s kids to shovel our snow. In today's age people are suing left and right, and since most of his interaction is by mouth not contact, I decided that I will be playing it safe. Hiring a professional is a good idea for companies and people with a lot of space that needs to be cleared. They are insured, know what they are doing, and will have a paper trail to prove they were hired to do the job.
These jobs alone can cost between 50 and 100 dollars depending on your area. The more expensive jobs will remove your snow in a safe manner, meaning they won’t shoot the snow in to the streets or other high traffic areas, do the job quickly, and salt areas that have are exposed to a lot walking. These expensive jobs can be up words of 450 bucks. I started to realize that we were spending about $300 per winter on snow removal, that is with us also shoveling every other storm. wouldn’t buying a snow blower be better. While hiring someone else to do the job make our lives much easier and warmer, it has been found in many studies that purchasing a snow blower can be better than hiring someone. In the northeast it is almost a necessity to have a snow blower, but it is hard to part with about $900 on a good quality machine that will be used for one season a year.
Before we go out and but one we all think about the payback time frame. For the northeast the average payback period for owning your own blower (that is estimated to last at least 12 years) is between 3 to 5 years, depending on the amount of snow that winter. For states like Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan the national average was just under two years. I was curious about the average time or a machine to payback its worth south of Philadelphia, and found that it would be between 8 to 15 years. Depending on where you live owning a blower will save you money, but require more work to be done. You know what your winter is like and would know what would benefit you better. Professionals will do a fantastic job in a short period of time and will know to remove the properly, while salting/sanding correctly to help prevent injuries to you or the public.
Click Here for Info on Hiring a Professional for Snow Removal
How to Find the Right Winter Salt
Taking care of your lawn so that it stays healthy is a year-round job… excluding winter when it is dormant. The earliest time to start maintaining your lawn is in early spring. This time frame in early spring is primarily a prep time. You want to get all you tool’s ready for spring and summer. The main tool we all use is the lawn mower. You should sharpen the blades to ensure that they will cut the grass smoothly. You should also clean it so that any type of seeds and larva will not find a nesting place in your lawn after the first mow.
Once the snow is gone you should go out and remove any left-over leaves, sticks, or clippings that were left from the following fall. After cleaning your tools and lawn the pre-spring prepping can begin. The first step in preparing your lawn is reseeding. A sure way to make sure your grass seeds take is by puncturing the ground creating holes for the seeds to lay in. this allows the seed to root faster and prevent birds feasting on them. To do this you can use a trust old pitch fork and pierce areas that have dead grass. There are also specialized shoes that have spikes on the end to allow you to simply walk and make uniform holes through out your lawn… no, golf shoes don’t work. After seeding you can fertilize the ground to give nutrients to grass so that it grows and sets its roots deep. If you don’t want to make holes laying hay over the seeds also does the trick.
Early spring is also a good time to spray herbicides and pesticides to preemptively stop weeds and grubs from infesting your lawn. Once spring is in full bloom you can continue to mow, fertilize, and spray to keep the lawn growing to summer. In summer you want to cut back on fertilizing because this will dry out your lawn and require more watering than needed. In this season you want to water and mow your lawn twice week. Over doing it will kill the grass, while neglecting the lawn will allow weeds and pest to flourish. When watering it helps to do it deep unscheduled, especially after a couple of hot days. This will allow the roots to strengthen and grow to find a water supply. Also use herbicides and pesticides to keep the invaders at bay, particularly if you did so in spring.
Once we start to roll in to fall the main duty in this season is preparing the lawn for next spring. If there are dead patches of grass now is the time to remove them and reseed, remember to lay hay over the patches to prevent critters from eating them. You can fertilize the grass to give it food for when they go dormant for the winter and come out stronger I the spring. When watering in the fall you don’t want to go overboard, just water the grass till it is moist kind of like morning dew. Lastly do everything you can to clean leaves and fall debris off your lawn. Leaving it there when it snows will kill the grass and give you dead spots come spring. Although lawn care is a year-round job it is simple and easy to keep your lawn healthy for decades to come.
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Read our Article: Is it better to Hire a Professional or Buy a Snow Blower?
Insects, Pests and How to Deal with Them
Lawns even when they are cared for and maintained will eventually have pests crawling through them. Most of them are harmless to us, but can be quite annoying when you are trying to enjoy yourself outside. Before you jump the gun and go buy pesticides and chemicals there are a few tricks you can do to help get ride of them.
Some insects like beetles and yellow jackets are drawn to things that smell sweet. Therefore, there are many bugs that crawl around your lawn and garden eating them. This trick is very good at getting rid of Japanese beetles that eat away at your flowers. Take a bowl that you don’t mind leaving out side for several days and fill it with beer. The cheaper beer I find works better, the smell of beer will draw the bugs to the bowl and they will drink the beer till they fall in. This trick kills the bugs and makes or easy clean up, simply strain the beer (either to dispose of or reuse) and throw away the pests. Though this trick works don’t do this with water this will attract bugs to your lawn. Other simply eco-friendly ways to prevent bugs is spraying peppermint or lemongrass oils. These have scents that will ward off insects. Spices that are spicy can also keep the bugs at bay. Using insects natural enemy is a great way to thin their numbers.
Building bird and bat houses will invite these wonderful predators will fest on your unwanted guests. In our back yard we have a huge pine tree that is home to bats during the summer months and eat the mosquitoes that hide in the grass around the pond. Setting up bird feeders around your yard will attract more birds during the day and the bats hunt during the night so the whole day cycle is controlling your pest problem. For more dangerous pests such as yellow jackets and hornets there are bug traps that use vinegar based mixes that lure them into the trap.
The traps that I have used with great success is a brand called Rescue wasp traps. I would set one up out side the nest at night and then another two about five to ten feet away. Remember when using sprays and setting up traps to do this at night, other wise you will be dealing with a hive of angry bugs. Using pesticides will take care of your problem a lot faster, just remember to use caution. There are many brands out there and many of them are the same. Try to pick one that is backed by a professional company. If you are not comfortable with using chemicals yourself hire a professional they will take care of your lawn and inform you when you it will be safe to walk on the grass again. Bugs can be a big nuisance in a little package, but taking care of them is easy.
Enjoy your lawn in every season without pests.
More Information on How to Deal with Bugs
Learn How To Care Care of Your Lawn Year Round
Landscaping - What exactly is it?
Simply put, landscaping is the modification of the visible areas of land. While the majority of this seems like regular maintenance, professional landscaping can be so much more than that.
Landscaping includes the arrangement of flora, fauna, terrain, lighting, amenities, and bodies of water to fully meet the needs of the property at hand. There are several positions at play:
Since budgets are usually tight, it is imperative that the designers are well versed in their responsibilities so that they can be as efficient as possible. Usually, before one can start a project, one needs to figure out the scope of the job, the client needs, and any other relevant factors that could affect the design. Those who are in the field of landscaping are usually designers with an appreciation and deep understanding of gardening, architecture, maintenance, and zoning/local restrictions. Some other fields of understanding that are required are project management, budgeting and efficiency
A lot of the local companies offer an array of services ranging from lawn mowing, and fertilization to in depth property project design. These companies tend to be all-in-one centers that have most of the services that you are looking for. If you are more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, there are many aids online and at the local hardware or gardening store that can help you get started on your landscaping project.
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Learn How to Deal with Bugs, Insects and Pests in your Backyard
You live in Brookfield, there is no chance you would run into a bear, right? Wrong.
In 2017 there were around 80 Black Bear sightings in the town of Brookfield alone. For the state of CT the total was in the 6000 range. While this may not seem like a lot, it doesn’t change the fact that this chance encounter could happen. An encounter with a bear can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Here is some information on the Black Bear and what to do if you happen to encounter one.
Black Bears are native to the area, and have been increasing in numbers recently. These bears are omnivorous, meaning that they could destroy your vegetable garden and follow that stunt up with gobbling up your annoying wife. Big loss there right? While they tend to keep to themselves, they can get drawn to humans especially when food is left out.
To prevent bears from gathering around your home or campsite take heed of the following tips:
Please report any run-ins to DEEP, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (860-424-3333). The dispatch is available 24hrs and is able to provide advice on your situation.
More Info on Bear Sightings in Brookfield
The Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company is one of the two Fire departments in Brookfield (the other one being The Candlewood Company). As the name suggests, it is 100% run by volunteers. This fire department started out with around 20 members in 1934, and has since grown to 80 volunteer members.
Its main facility is located on Pocono Road. This state of the art facility was built in 1991 thus replacing the old headquarters in Brookfield Center as well as Station A on Federal road. This facility is complete with 14 docking stations, a classroom, a kitchen, a training space, offices and living quarters. When its firefighters aren’t out on a job, they are usually doing training or maintaining their equipment and vehicles. The Candlewood Company is located in the Candlewood Shores community on Baywood Dr. While it works in conjunction with the Fire Company for most of its jobs, it is the first response for emergencies on the lake.
In addition to taking care of fires and assisting with ambulatory services, the Volunteer Fire Company hosts and helps out with numerous community events such as:
Learn More About Brookfield Volunteer Fire Company
If you are planning on putting your boat on the lake there are several things you need to know. Following these tips will help save you some money, as well as some trouble with the Candlewood Lake Authority.
Before one can put their boat on the lake, there are some preliminary things that need to be taken care of. In order to operate a boat in the state of CT, one must have a boating license also known as Certificate of Personal Watercraft Operation (CPWO). As far as the boat is concerned, it can’t be any longer than 26ft. Any individual who fails to adhere to the boat size limit will be subjected to a $75 fee.
In order to get the boat on the lake, use any of the trailer friendly boat ramps that are located around the lake. Once in the water, make sure you follow the speed limit. During the day the limit is 45 mph, while at night it is 25 mph. Another thing to keep in mind is that all individuals that will be in the boat need to have a life jacket
If you happen to be moving your boat between bodies of water make sure to check for any unexpected passengers. Zebra Mussels are an invasive species that reside in other lakes such as CT’s: Zoar, Lillinonah, and Twin Lakes. If moving your boat into Candlewood Lake from one of the aforementioned lakes, makes sure to triple check your boat and remove any of these animals. If left unchecked these animals can take a major toll on the wildlife of the lake. The recommended procedure is to clean your boat and “dry” it. The process of drying a boat requires you to not put it back into water for a certain amount of time depending on the month. In June/July this process can take a week, while in May or late September it could take a month. Mussels can survive without water for several weeks depending on the time of the year, so make sure that you remove them or kill them off before returning to the lake.
For further references check out CT’s boating laws as well as Candlewood Lake Authority.
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The Brookfield Craft Center is a center of learning and community focusing on arts such as Metalworking, woodwork, glass making, sculpting, jewelry making, and drawing/painting. It offers classes, workshops and studios in these different fields that are open to the public.
This center was founded in 1954 with a vision to “To teach and preserve the skills of contemporary and traditional craftsmanship and to promote creativity and personal growth”. It also claims to be one of the “finest professional schools for creative study in America”. Its staff consists of artists and teachers from the surrounding communities. Since this is a not-for profit organization, all these individuals are volunteers.
This center consists of 6 buildings which house the equipment, classes, and offices of those involved. The whole campus is centered on the historic mill building. The Mill Building houses the main offices, the gallery, the gift shop, as well as the metals studio and the jewelry studio. Some of the other buildings includes: Railroad Building (woodturning and glass studios), LTB Building (weaving), The Good Forge (blacksmithing), The Barn (clay studio and wood shop), and the Faculty House.
The majority of the classes, courses and workshops require a tuition and materials fee. These courses run year round. In addition to classes and courses, the Brookfield craft center holds open galleries, exhibitions, and events open to the public. There are also opportunities to volunteer at any of the studios.
In addition to inspiring artists in the surrounding area, the Brookfield Craft Center holds several initiatives to boost commitment to the arts. Each summer it holds the Youth Summer Program. This program allows kids between the ages of 11 and 14 to attend small group classes in a field of their choice. Another program in place, are the scholarships. The winners of these scholarships get their tuition waived for the course of their choosing. The featured scholarship is the Buster Shaw Scholarship for Woodturning. Named after one of the center’s retired instructors, this scholarship is given out 4 times each year and covers the recipient’s tuition and materials fees.
If you would like to support the Brookfield Craft Center please feel free to donate your time or money. All proceeds will go to improving the facilities as well as the scholarships.
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