"It is winter--

...the best time to dream of spring." ~Debasish Mridha

 

I don't know about you, but I love winter. I truly do. I love the coziness of my house on a cold day. I love the hush over the world during a snowfall. I love the sparkle of snow on a sunny cold day.

I also love winter because it's when I dream of spring. And this year is no different.

Blue Cord has a new toy on order and I can't wait to share it with you!

Here's a video sneak peak of what it can do and why I can't wait to get it:

Dyna Wood
How to Keep Snakes Away from Your House
 

Some people are scared of snakes. For some, it's a phobia. Some just respect them enough to stay out of their way.

Snakes do take care of pests in your yard. But if you need to take action and get rid of snakes from  your yard, here's some steps to take.

Option 1 - You can purchase and apply a snake repellent powder, sprinkle, spray, or noise device. But although these are sold, they are completely ineffective, and a waste of time and money.
 

 Snake Repellent: Not very effective

Snake Repellent: Not very effective

Option 2 - You can purchase a snake trap. These work, but they won't always catch the snake.

 Snake Trap

Snake Trap

Option 3 - You can hire a professional in your area. Look on the internet for a company, or your local yellow pages, or you can find someone in your town from my directory that I list on this website. This method is the most reliable, but the priciest.

 Snake Wranglers

Snake Wranglers

Option 4 - You can make your property less attractive to snakes, by clearing out debris, keeping bushes and plants trimmed back, filling in any gaps under concrete or rocks (snakes LOVE these areas), sealing any holes in your house or gaps under your doors, which snakes can enter the house via, or in extreme measures, you can install a fence around the perimeter of your property - a solid fence, not a chain link fence of course.

 Blue Cord Property Care Brush Cutting!

Blue Cord Property Care Brush Cutting!

That's where we come in!

Give us a call or contact us and we'll take care of that unruly yard for you. And keep those snakes at bay.

 

Dyna Wood
How to Hang Christmas Lights (According to Popular Mechanics)

Despite neighborhood peer pressure, you and you alone dictate the aesthetic direction of your home's holiday display. He who wields the extension ladder in subzero temperatures earns the creative freedom to decorate his yard however he pleases.

Follow these tips for hanging outdoor Christmas lights, and step back and enjoy your masterpiece when you're done.

1. LIGHTS Before you start, make a plan. Measure the locations where you will string lights. Most likely this will be along eaves or gutters and around windows. Use this plan to estimate how many strands you'll need and how long they should be. Unfortunately, there are no standard strand lengths, but there are standard-size bulbs and standard distances between bulbs on a strand. Look for C7- or C9-size bulbs spaced 6 to 8 inches apart. A longer distance between bulbs allows for more light to spread across a wider area, creating more picturesque shadows and greater warmth.

BONUS TIP To avoid the dreaded Gordian knot of Christmas, wrap your lights around a coffee can before storing them.

2. LAYOUT Place the first bulb from the male end of a strand on the corner of your eave that's closest to an outlet. Now extend the line around the exterior of the house, keeping the string taut. Secure the lights with gutter clips so they don't creep up the roof. These are cheap, so buy a bunch. A discreet extension cord will connect the lights to the outlet.

3. TREES You could use net lights, but that's kind of a cop-out. Instead, wrap regular minilights around the trunk and branches. To determine how many feet of lighting you need, divide the height of the trunk by the desired spacing between each strip of lights; about 3 inches is ideal. Then multiply that number by the trunk's circumference. Do the same calculation for any large branches you want to wrap. First, wind the lights up the tree, leaving about 6 inches between each pass. Continue on to the branches, then wrap back down into the empty spaces. That will give you the desired 3-inch spacing. So, for a 6-foot-tall trunk with a circumference of 2 feet, divide 72 inches by 3 inches of spacing, for a total of 24. Multiply 24 by the 2-foot circumference, for 48 feet of lights.

4. ELECTRICIANS Most blown fuses are caused by moisture getting into the connectors that attach strings of lights to each other. Sealing each connection and the loose ends of a string with duct or electrical tape will keep everything dry.

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For a traditional look, keep the lights white and dedicated to three spaces: along gutters or eaves, in windows, and on larger trees or bushes. Aim for symmetry. And remember: There are three varieties of white LED lights. Warm white mimics the glow of classic incandescent bulbs. Polar white gives off an icy-blue tinge. And pure white is just what it sounds like. Ideally, you want a mix. Place warm-white strands along the eaves or gutters, and offset those with polar-white lights in your greenery. The two tones play off each other well. Avoid pure-white bulbs. They can make your home look like an enormous headlight.

BONUS TIPS Want to win the admiration of your entire neighborhood? Put lights along the ridgeline of your roof.

Unlike strands of old, today's lights will stay lit even if a bulb goes out, so long as the broken bulb remains in place and completes the circuit.

Evenly spaced tree lighting says, "I have goals and enjoy achieving them." Unevenly spaced tree lighting says, "Hey! Come take a look at this before I flush it!" Decorate accordingly.

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The difference between a stately display and a glaring pile of festivity is in the color and number of bulbs. Use a multicolored strand along the gutter; under that, string icicle lights. Vary the size between the bulbs. Bigger C9 bulbs go along the roofline and gutters; C7s are better for the perimeters of windows. You can wrap a garland in minilights. You can wrap your mailbox. You can splay net lighting over your bushes. But please, no blow-up or animatronic lawn decorations. These invite an awkward conversation with your 6-year-old after the deer on your lawn are rearranged in lewd positions by stealthy neighborhood teens.

BONUS TIP To create a well-proportioned light tree, tape the ends of the strands to a hoop.

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Buy a real pine wreath and put it on the door. Then stake an E17 LED warm-white bulb a couple of feet back from the door and aim it at the wreath. It says, "I acknowledge that it is Christmas, but I am not getting up on my roof for anything short of a DirecTV catastrophe."

5 A Brief Taxonomy of Holiday Bulbs

Taxonomy.jpg

Illustration by Brown Bird Design

INCANDESCENT Classic, filament-based bulbs that give off a warm glow.

LED Last twice as long as incandescents. Can appear cold.

WIDE-ANGLE LED Nubbed LEDs with concave tips that throw light.

TRANSPARENT Colored minibulbs with visible filaments.

CERAMIC Opaque and look as if they've been painted. A classic.

GLOBE LEDs inside globe-shaped bulbs that stay cool.

NET LIGHTS Minilights or small LEDs in a webbed circuit.

RGB LED Programmable diodes that can display almost any color.

Dyna Wood
When to DIY and When to Hire a Professional
Accident.jpg

Do It Yourself (DIY) is everywhere these days. Entire show series on TV. Entire channels, even. So, how do you decide if a project you need done is better tackled by you or by a professional?

Well, take a look at this blog post (another thing everyone is doing these days) from Casey & Bridget and see if this helps you make your decision.

Casey & Bridget

When you decide that yard job is just a bit too much for you to handle, let us know. We'll be there for you. But we would appreciate it if you told everyone we did the work. We like to take credit, too.

6 Reasons to Eat Dinner as a Family

Since most of us will  be sitting around a table next Thursday with family, we thought this was a fitting post from www.fatherly.com.

 

When a family eats dinner together, sans tech, they experience some awesome outcomes. But what exactly are the benefits of family dinner at home?

The Science Of Eating Together

Of all the things you’d think researchers would put their minds to, family dinner ranks down there with “how to make farts smell better.” But it turns out there are some striking benefits to the increasingly lost art of group gustation. Here’s what eating at home as a family can do for everyone:

Developmental Boosts

For the littlest family members, sharing a dinner at the table with parents does several awesome things. First, it helps promote language skills as you talk with them, and your partner, about the day. It also helps them develop patience and dexterity through the use of utensils. And it helps them develop social skills that include manners and taking turns. All of that while they blissfully paint your walls with mac and cheese.

Improved Mental Health

One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids who regularly enjoyed family meals were less likely to experience symptoms of depression and less likely to get into drug use. Nobody every said, “please pass the joint” at the dinner table — although it would be a lot cooler if they did.

Bonded Families

Research also suggests that when a family eats together they feel a strong bond with one another. Everyone leads disconnected lives at work and school, and this time allows them to reconnect . And you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your kids’ lives. So when Ricky tells Tina that Julie said Tommy was going to ask Rebecca to be his girlfriend, you’ll know about it.

Better Grades

The National Center On Addiction And Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has done a series of studies on the importance of family meals. One showed that kids who eat with their family less than 3 times a week were twice as likely to report receiving Cs or worse in school. Kids who ate with family 5 to 7 times per week did much better, reporting mostly As and Bs. Either your lasagna is genius fuel, or dinnertime the perfect time to make sure they’ve done their homework.

Physical Health

Families that eat together make better food choices. One study from Stanford University reported that kids who eat family dinners are less likely to grub on fried food and saturated fats, while seeking out stuff like fruits and veggies.

Additionally, research from the American Society For Nutrition found that young children who ate at home with their families had a lower body-mass index than kids who did not. That’s most likely due to the fact that home cooking is healthier than restaurant meals, which boast larger portion sizes and higher calorie counts. You’ve been called out fried chicken taco shell.

Increased Savings

If you’re not into health or family, consider that eating home-cooked meals is also cheaper. A sample estimate finds that a family of 4 could save nearly $40 a week, per person, by simply shifting meals into the house. You’ll be saving money while your kid is getting Bs and not picking up a drug habit. That’s a win all around.

But the best part about getting together for dinner is that it becomes ingrained in a family’s tradition if you start the habit early.  And that can only be a good thing.

History of Veteran's Day

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"

The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and

Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and

Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."

On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.

In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.

The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.

The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.

Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

Dyna Wood
Another Satisfied Customer

A beautiful fall day and another stump removed! Here's the before and after photos.

Dyna Wood
Brush and Slope? No Problem!

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Check out this video: Here we are cutting a very steep and overgrown bank that the customer had hired crews with string trimmers in the years past. It would take them more than half a day and it didn't look that good either. We were able to get it done in less than an hour with only one machine and one operator. It looked a whole lot better too.

Dyna Wood