Decorate Your Fireplace Safely

November 24, 2015 @ 4:32 PM

In much of the country, Christmas decorating begins with Thanksgiving weekend. We want our homes to look inviting, and folks with fireplaces just naturally want to dress them up to make the perfect setting for family and friends to gather. While the photo at left is truly lovely, I'm horrified by how unsafe it is! There are all those stockings overhanging the wood fire where a stray spark or simple overheating could cause them to catch fire. Then there's the greenery gliding across the hearth to the left. And we have the basket of firewood to the right, just inches from the fire. How can they possibly move that screen safely?

My apologies to the decorator/photographer... I can't find the original image to ask permission to use ......

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It's Probably the Batteries!

November 9, 2015 @ 2:50 AM

It's the batteries! It's the batteries! It's the batteries! Can you tell that I'm explaining this 25 times a day this time of year as customers call because they can't get their gas fireplace to turn on?

If you can't get your gas fireplace or insert to light, 99% of the time it's the batteries! There are batteries in your hand-held remote control of course, but there are also batteries beneath the firebox that provide the power to turn the valve that lights your fire. Look for a little black box and remove the cover to access the batteries.

IMPORTANT: use name brand batteries and purchase them in small packs of 4 or less as these will be most powerful and last longer.

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GOOD NEWS: Don't rake your leaves!

November 6, 2015 @ 6:08 AM

Want an excuse to not rake the leaves from your lawn and garden?

Fallen leaves contain nutrients that will enrich your soil if left where they are to decompose. They are also valuable in helping your soil retain water. Additionally, leaves provide a valuable habitat and food source for little critters like frogs, butterfly and moth pupae, turtles and worms. Leave your leaves where they are to help enrich your outdoor environment.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that

13.5% of landfill waste is due to leaves and yard trimmings

Of course, a very thick pile of leaves can damage a grassy lawn so you can get too much of a good thing. You can rake some and still recycle them ...

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Victorian Fireplace Design

November 4, 2015 @ 12:58 AM

The Victorian era, named after Queen Victoria of England, spans the period from 1837 to 1901. The Industrial Revolution resulted in building factories to churn out goods in great mass and at more reasonable prices. This resulted in the creation of factory jobs in the cities, and cities grew to house the new population of factory workers. Many new millionaires were created as a result of this new economic boom, and these "nouveau riche", or  newly rich, surrounded themselves in opulence if not always with great taste. Ostentatious designs in architecture and furnishings combined with goods brought back home from international travels. Every possible collectible was placed on display to share with visitors. The Victorians felt ...

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