Lawn Mower Blades

The most crucial aspect to any lawn mowing device is the blade. If the blade does not function then the lawn mower does not function. The lawn mower blade needs to be in tip-top condition for the grass to be cut cleanly. The cleaner the cut, the better the appearance of your lawn but also the healthier your lawn will be. Blunt blades can damage grass by failing to cut cleanly and this makes your lawn prone to disease and also needs more attention to ensure survival.

Difference is sizes

The difference in blade sizes comes down to the size of the lawn mower you choose. The blade of a low output push mower is smaller than the blade of a lawn tractor. The size of blade is determined by the size of the deck of the lawn mower. In smaller push mowers the blades are approximately 20″. In riding mowers you are looking at blades at least twice that size.

How to look after your lawn mower blades

Looking after your lawn mower blades is like looking after a set of kitchen knives. Regular sharpening will maintain their edge. The more you neglect them the more work you need to do to bring them back to life. The longer you leave sharpening the blades the more susceptible to lasting damage the blades are.

Your lawn mower blade needs to be sharpened to maintain optimum cutting. Grab a file to sharpen the blade. Hold the file at a 45 degree angle to the blade and stroke the blade along the length of metal. Start close to you and move the file away from the body. The 45 degree ensure that the bevel (angle) is maintained. The sharpness of this angle dictates the sharpness of the blade. The closer to 45 degrees the cleaner the cut.

Bear in mind that some lawn mower blades may need to be sharpened by the company or by a professional in order to keep their warranty. Always read the manual or check with the manufacturer before attempting to sharpen your blade.

Yard Clean Up & Hauling

Springtime is approaching and the outdoors is beginning to look amazing! The weather is warm, the air smells fresh, and you can start breaking out your spring wardrobe. Now that it’s starting to be nice outside again and the snow melts, you are probably starting to see the real state of your yard. Over the winter, when you may not use your yard too often, your yard may fall into some disrepair. Now that it’s spring, you need to clean up that yard so it can look great for the summer! 

Cleaning up your yard may seem like a daunting task and one you may not be looking forward to with much enthusiasm. If you approach your yard cleaning with the right attitude and plan, however, cleaning up your yard need not be such an overwhelming task. You just need to prioritize and organize your efforts. That way, you will be able to clean thoroughly and efficiently.

You first need to have the proper attire for yard work. Put on your grubby jeans, that worthless concert t-shirt, and those too-big garden gloves, and get ready to get to work. The next thing you need to do after equipping yourself, is to pick up the yard. If you have a family, then your yard will probably be littered with various toys, balls, and miscellaneous pieces of outdoor gear. Pick up everything that shouldn’t be there and then put it away immediately. Cleaning up your yard won’t be successful if you just move junk from one place to another. If you’re not sure about some of the junk in your yard, then you should throw it away, give it away, or find a place for it.

Once the junk is picked up, go around and pick up any large branches or other large, natural items in your yard. You should rake up the leftover leaves from last autumn, pick up the pet waste, and dispose of the fallen tree branches, and anything else that doesn’t belong in your yard. Keep a trash bag with you, so you can easily dispose of branches, trash, and anything else that needs to be disposed of. At this point, your yard should be basically cleaned up, but you should take the extra time to make it look good, and not just picked up. Prune the bushes, edge the grass, mow the lawn. Start watering your lawn so it can look nice and green and healthy, and keep it looking tidy. Trim the branches on the trees so the branches don’t overpower anything else in your yard, and do the mundane yard work necessary to make your yard look clean, tidy, and classy.

Holiday Shopping Tips

Tips that fit seamlessly into your holiday routine

Between buying gifts, making travel plans and coordinating with family and friends, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with the hustle and bustle of the holidays.  Here are 10 tips to help you get back money, time and peace of mind so that you can maintain that holiday cheer:

1. Prepay baggage costs online:  Save money by pre-paying your baggage costs online.  According to AOL Travel, checking your bags in advance online can save between $3.00 – $5.00 per bag.  Check to see if your airline offers this service. 

2. No more backtracking!  A  lesser-known “route planner” feature on MapQuest helps you save both time and money by mapping out an entire journey – with multiple stops – all in one convenient step. You can add up to 25 destinations along any route, and the tool gives you the fastest route.  Since launching in July, it has saved North Americans more than 2.7 million miles! 

3. When gifting, go green:  Go green and get back some green with your gift-wrapping by reusing paper products you may already have around the house, like newspaper and even left-over wallpaper. According to the Clean Air Council, in the U.S. alone, four million tons of waste is generated during the holidays from wrapping paper and shopping bags.

4. Walk off your pie:  Walk off the holiday meal and recharge your mental batteries.  Start a family tradition! Go for a two mile walk and you’ll burn off about 170 calories, equivalent to one slice of pumpkin pie. 

5. Holiday kid swap:  You’ve heard of the holiday cookie swap…but what about the holiday kid swap? Gain kid-free time to make your way through your holiday to-do list by coordinating an exchange with family, friends or neighbors.

Errands-Driving

At an nationwide average drive-time of about 24.3 minutes, Americans now spend more than 100 hours a year commuting to work, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Yes, that’s more than the average two weeks of vacation time (80 hours) taken by many workers during a year.

Shopping Tips

Something seems funny about you today, Gentle Reader. Your palms are sweaty. You appear to be having difficulty breathing. And you’re so jumpy and uneasy.

Wait, wait! I know what’s going on! Have you procrastinated about doing your holiday shopping? Again?

Hoo-boy.

(All of you ultra-organized, non-procrastinating readers out there, bear with me for a few minutes. You just might be able to use the following information to help someone you love!)

Deadline-pushers, stop despairing. These quick tips can help you survive another holiday season and elate your friends and family as well.

1. Do your online shopping TODAY. If it’s important to you that people on your gift list have actual items in their hands by Dec. 25, then today’s the day to start clicking. Many online retailers promise to deliver presents by Christmas Day if you place your order by Dec. 20 using two-day shipping. Some lenient retailers will continue to guarantee on-time delivery if you use overnight shipping by noon Pacific time on Dec. 22. You can quickly check the shipping sections of stores’ Web sites to find out which deadlines you’ll have to hit.

2. Send electronic gift certificates or gift cards. Another option is an online gift certificate that gets sent out via e-mail. Many retailers offer them, and their convenience to you is unparalleled – so long as you feel reasonably comfortable that your recipient won’t mistake your electronic gift for spam. Some retailers allow the certificates to be used only on their Web sites, not in their stores, so make sure the person on the receiving end is comfortable shopping online. You’ll often have until around noon on Dec. 24 to order the e-gift cards and guarantee their timely arrival.

3. Buy tangible, plastic gift cards. Everybody from the drugstore to the electronics store to the coffee shop is offering gift cards these days, so you have plenty of opportunities to look thoughtful by tailoring your gift-card purchases to certain individuals. Just be sure to read the fine print before you buy. Some cards have onerous expiration dates and fees, particularly those bearing the logos of major credit card companies. Fees have become less common with gift cards sold by specific retailers, though. If you’re not comfortable just handing over a card, wrap it inside a mug or put it in the arms of a small stuffed animal.

4. Shop on Dec. 24. Most non-procrastinating types relax on Christmas Eve day – meaning traffic at the malls should be thinner then. Of course, this approach only will work for presents you can give in person locally, not for gifts that need to be mailed.

5. Think food and drinks. Consider “splurges” that your loved ones might not get for themselves – and that also won’t require you to step foot into a crowded mall. Some ideas: nice bottles of booze and liqueur; a case of wine; caviar; prosciutto; gourmet cheeses; fine chocolate; premium olive oils; hard-to-find hot sauces.

6. Order magazine subscriptions. Know someone who loves cooking? Get him or her “Cook’s Illustrated.” Travel? “National Geographic Traveler.” Outdoor and adventure sports? “Outside.” Smart budgeting and money decisions? “Consumer Reports” or “Kiplinger’s Personal Finance” magazine. (You get the idea.) You can buy a current issue of the magazine in question, wrap it up so it looks fancy, and let your loved one know there are 12 more where that came from.

7. Give the gift of yourself. For a gift that’s both personal and easy to execute on a deadline, create “coupons” for services you can provide in the weeks to come. You can give coupons for an amazing multi-course meal, babysitting services, pet-care services, massages, Web site building, car repairs, painting and other handyman services around the home. Just be careful not to over-promise; you’re sure to be remembered for giving a “gift” and failing to deliver on it.

 

8. Opt for practical ideas. You can get large quantities of items your recipients are sure to use, such as art supplies for art lovers, prepaid calling cards for friends who travel a lot, or specialized emergency kits. For someone with chronic car problems, give a flashlight, gas can, jumper cables, flares and a membership to AAA.

9. Donate to charity in someone else’s name. Through the nonprofit Charity Checks, you can order a check in any dollar amount, then let your recipient select a charity from among 800,000 in the United States. Go to http://www.charitychecks.us/ or call toll-free 1-800-854-5601 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              1-800-854-5601      end_of_the_skype_highlighting. (Once again, if you want your gift to show up by Christmas Day, it’s best to place your order by Dec. 20. You might be able to get away with waiting until Dec. 22 to order, so long as you’re willing to pony up for overnight delivery.)

10. Save on speedy mailing. The Priority Mail service offered by the U.S. Postal Service delivers packages in the United States within two to three days for less money than major delivery companies. The flat rates for packages weighing up to 70 pounds are $4.05 for an envelope and $8.10 for a box. To take advantage of this deal, though, it’s best to head to the post office today so your package will arrive by Saturday, Dec. 23.

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House Watching

When you own property as an investment or you have property in another area for a vacation home, this means that there won’t always be someone available to watch your property. This is definitely not something that needs to happen. By hiring a property management company, they can house watch for you.

What exactly does this mean and how will it help with managing your property? It means that they will be watching over your property on a regular basis for any problems or concerns. In other words, they will manage the property for you when you are not able to do it yourself.

Here are some of the different ways that a management company can help with watching your house.

1. A property management company can do regular on site inspections of your property. This is especially important if that property is vacant. Regular inspections need to be done daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the property.

You can set up a regular schedule with the property management company so you know your property is being watched on a regular basis. This will prevent any problems from going unnoticed while they become worse.

Any problems that are found can be fixed right away so it is always ready for the next tenant to live in. The management company doing this for you will not only save time, but will also provide much needed peace of mind.

2. Repairs and maintenance are two very important reasons why a management company is needed for watching your house. There will be times that repairs and maintenance will need to be done and if you can’t be there to see that it is done, then this can cause problems in the future with the property.

By using a this company, you can be sure that any repairs or maintenance issues will be handled promptly and efficiently by a team of local professionals. This will not only save time, but also money because repairs and maintenance that is left unattended will get worse over time. The management company will prevent this from happening.

These are the main 2 reasons why house watch is vital to any property that is owned. A good property management company will take care of watching your property for you. Do yourself a favor and find a good company to use today to ensure that your property is always being watched and managed properly.

Looking After Your Pets

A balanced, healthy nutrition plan is an important part of your pet’s health. Your pet requires a balanced diet that will help to keep him healthy. Pets are unlike humans – the food they eat is the same day to day, as humans are able to choose a variety of different foods day to day. For this reason alone your pet needs to meet his nutritional requirements for proteins, vitamins and minerals all in one daily diet.

Time Management

We all have the same number of minutes in our days, yet some people seem to get far more done than others. How come? Simple. They’ve mastered the basics of time management. And by following in their footsteps, you can do the same.

Here are six time-saving tips to help you take charge of your time and turn yourself from someone who’s always chasing their tail to someone everyone else can count on to get things done.

Get in the habit of making lists – Write down the things you need to do. This will help you clear your mind and give you a series of goals to work toward. For bigger projects, write down a list of all the things you need to gather together or tasks you to complete before you can begin the project.

Clear your desk and your inbox – Get rid of everything around you that has nothing to do with the job in hand. This will make it easier to focus on what you’re working on. Remove all sources of distraction. Deal with any unanswered emails. One of the biggest drags on productivity is allowing your mind to wander. Don’t give it the chance.

Do one job at a time – Don’t dilute your concentration. Stay with the job you’re working on until it’s done. It’s all too easy to think, Oh, I’ll just a take a break from this and bash out that email. Invariably, this is just a diversion that’ll make the original job take longer – or, worse still, get put aside and forgotten.

Plan ahead – Think about what you need to do tomorrow today. This achieves two important goals. First, when tomorrow comes, you know what you’re going to do, so can get cracking right away. Second, by thinking ahead, you alert yourself to any preparations you might need to make before you start. You also benefit at an unconscious level as your mind is already primed and may have even done some of your thinking without your realizing it.

Give yourself deadlines – One of the simplest, yet most powerful, productivity boosters, deadlines work wonders. Try it for yourself. Break your workload down into manageable units and set a deadline for each. Or take a date, say the end of next week, and aim to clear all outstanding projects by that time.

Guard your time – Do everything you can to limit interruptions. Use voicemail. Don’t check your inbox more than twice a day. Don’t go browsing the web at whim. Don’t tell co-workers your door is always open – set specific times when you’re available to take calls, talk through problems and attend meetings.