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An e-Publication from September, 2012
<font size=3>Reclaimed Beauty</font>

You might think that a homeowner who has chosen to use reclaimed wood in their home renovation is someone who keeps the environment in mind when making decisions, and you'd be right! But if you think the choice of reclaimed wood is simply an environmentally-friendly choice, think again.

Reclaimed wood is wood that has been salvaged from old buildings and other structures. Old barns, factories, warehouses, bridges, etc., that are not deemed worthy of restoring or preserving, get an opportunity at a new life of sorts by having its lumber put to use in a number of ways in today's renovated homes - and even new homes.

The environmentally-friendly aspect of reclaimed wood is in the fact that it reduces the demand for new lumber - and reduces the associated deforestation process along with it. It also means less wood going into our landfills. That is a good thing. And the benefits don't stop there. People who use reclaimed wood give up nothing - it is simply an alternative with a unique visual appeal.

Old-growth Douglas Fir is a plentiful species of reclaimed lumber in Canada. It can be very wide and strong making it ideal for a number of situations. Other species include cedar, maple, oak, pine, hemlock, alder, and more.

Wide plank flooring is a popular use of reclaimed wood. The age and natural oxidation that occurs in the wood brings out the grain and imparts a patina that is impossible to replicate with new wood. The end result is a floor with warm, intricately rich tones that impart an unmistakable ambiance to any area of the home.

Another popular use of reclaimed wood is in open-beam construction. Large, roughly sawn or hand-hewn posts and beams can define an interior and set the stage for a home flowing with character.

In addition to flooring and post & beam, reclaimed wood can be used for panelling, cabinetry, door & window trim, baseboards, doors, ceilings, and more. Its use is limited only by the imagination of the designer and homeowner.

<font size=3>Green, Green Grass of Home</font>

With all the talk of xeriscaping these days, it might seem odd to read an eco-friendly article about grass tips. For many ‘greenies', expansive lawns are simply a no-no – sucking up unnecessary amounts of water and fertilizer. But a well-tended lawn can have many benefits, from raising home value to controlling rain runoff and helping provide the very oxygen we breathe.

Moderation is the key. A lawn needn't be too large and look like wall-to-wall carpeting. An adjusted approach to your lawn can reduce its costs and consumptions while giving you the benefits.

Anyway you look at it, autumn is the best time to make an impact on your lawn. So here is what you might call some ‘green' grass tips;

  • When seeding, choose the greenest grass type for your area. Not ‘green' as in its colour. ‘Green' as in eco-friendly - of a type that suits your specific climate, needs little if any artificial watering, reseeds itself, is hardy enough to take cold winters, and doesn't grow too fast or too tall.
  • Reduce lawn areas in general, by trimming back lawns from driveways, foundations, trees, flower beds. Create transition areas that have ground covers that require less maintenance, like mulch, river rock, gravel, etc. It will save you time & money and add impact while modernizing the look of your home.
  • Top-dress and organically fertilize your remaining lawn areas. If you are going to have lawn areas, it's greenest to make sure they are healthy so they will require less maintenance and retain their moisture longer.
Ready to Learn 

School is back in session - or will be soon. Have you been reminding your children of the 3 important things to focus on this year? No, not the 3 R's; reading, 'riting and 'rithmetic. Let's talk about the 3 important factors that can help your child - or anyone for that matter - do better in school; water, rest, and exercise.

There has been a lot of press in the last few years about how maintaining healthy water levels in our bodies helps brain function. It can't get any simpler than that. Make sure your child knows this fact and that they drink water regularly throughout their day.

Rest is another topic regularly associated with brain function. But for many children, the late night habits they get into over summer seem hard to break once school begins. Getting back into proper bedtime habits will help your child be more awake and aware in class and will allow their brains to absorb more of what is being taught.

Regular exercise is another way to help improve brain function, either directly or indirectly. The generally improved blood flow associated with exercise is good for all of our internal organs. Plus regular exercise will help make your children be physically tired and ready to sleep soundly at night, and it will get them drinking more water, too.


"Failure is a part of success. There is no such thing as a bed of roses all your life. But failure will never stand in the way of success if you learn from it."
~Hank Aaron

Freeze the Freshness 

September in Canada means harvest time. It's the moment backyard gardeners have been waiting for all growing-season long. The chance to reap what they sewed - harvest the fruit of their labour.

It also means an abundance of fresh produce from which to choose for us consumers. Stores are packed with local produce - fresh from fields in your area.

This year, stock up on the variety of fruits and vegetables available by storing some while they are still fresh. Canning, drying, and cold-cellaring are popular ways. But freezing is perhaps the easiest way to extend the life of your harvest. And it works for so many fruits and vegetables.

Freezing Tips

  • Since freezing is so easy, don't wait for large quantities to accumulate. Freezing in small batches - when the produce is at its prime nutrient level - will result in better tasting food when eaten.
  • Excess air can lead to freezer burn. So after adding your fruit or vegetable, remove as much of the air from freezer bags as possible before sealing.
  • As an alternative to drying, fresh herbs can be frozen in broth or water in small containers or ice cube trays - then easily added to your favourite recipe when needed.
  • Freeze fruits by making them into unbaked pies - ready to bake and serve anytime.
  • Label all frozen food with item and date frozen using a permanent marker.
<font size=3>Helpful Hints from Hank the Handyman</font>

For some reason, when autumn is approaching, I find myself on a ladder a lot. It could be the many prewinter repairs around the house, like caulking, painting, cleaning, etc. Or maybe it's simply that with winter on its way, I have to stop procrastinating and get all those lingering jobs done now.

No matter why you need a ladder, it is always important that you be safe and secure when on one. It's not rocket science - just some common sense tips that need to be followed;

Tie it off securely! A ladder that has been securely tied off to a solid structure should eliminate the risk of the ladder falling, but it does't ensure you won't fall off of the ladder. So...

Don't reach! Over-extending is often the cause of a fall from a ladder. Reaching too far left or right can move your centre of gravity outside the ladder itself. Not good! As a guide, never reach so far that your shoulder is past the opposite side rail of the ladder. In other words, your right shoulder should never be left of the left side rail, and your left shoulder, never right of the right side rail.

Proper angle! The base of your ladder should be 1 unit out for every 4 units up. i.e. If 4 meters up, then 1 meter from the wall. It will also mean that the flat part of the rungs is level and easier on the feet.

Stay off the top! The top two rungs should never be used to stand on. Not even for a moment.

Recycle Your Eyeglasses 

As Canadians, it is hard to imagine going through life without being able to see properly because of a lack of a simple, prescribed set of eyeglasses. Yet in countries around the world, and even for some people in Canada, clear vision is but a dream - eyeglasses being something they simply can't afford.

That is why eyeglass recycling programs have sprung up to fill the need - a wonderfully organized reuse program to collect, clean, repair, inventory and distribute used eyeglasses to those in need.

Lions Clubs International provides such a worldwide program, with a location in Calgary that serves as the base for its program in Canada. There are also a number of retailers who have collection programs to make it even easier for you to donate. So when shopping for new glasses, check with your retailer to see if they offer such a service.

<font size=3>Did Ja Know?</font>

Even if September's cooler temps don't have you thinking of a place down south, birds have already started thinking about it. The cycle of life for many birds has them flying great distances to locations suitable to breed and find the food they need to survive. 

Did j'a know these amazing facts about bird migration?

  • Migrating eagles, hawks and other raptors prefer not to fly over extensive stretches of water.
  • The Arctic Tern's migratory trip south can cover 16,000 k (10,000 mi) or more each way. Since they eat fish, they are able to refuel during their trip.
  • The Bar-Headed Goose needs to fly as high as 8,500 m (28,000 ft) to get over the Himalayas on its journey.
  • Birds are guided by different things during their migration. Some use their sight, identifying large rivers, mountains and cities to help them find their way. Others use the sun as a guide. And night-flying migratory birds, like many songbirds, use the stars.
  • Some scientists theorize that the tiny bits of magnetite – a mineral – found around the nostrils of some birds actually allows them to use the earth's magnetic fields to help guide their flight.
  • Migrating birds will fly at different heights depending on wind conditions. If winds are against them, they tend to fly low. If they have a tailwind, they will fly higher to take the most advantage of it.
  • Birds prepare for migration by eating more – some doubling their weight before their journey.
Kute Kwips 

“I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.” ~Unknown

“To attract men, I wear a perfume called "New Car Interior.” ~Rita Rudner

“We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.” ~Bryan White

“I don't believe in the afterlife, although I am bringing a change of underwear.” ~Woody Allen

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