Throw Some Ice On It

After we moved into our house in 2007, it became apparent that we had a little bit of a problem. There was a pretty nasty smell coming from the kitchen sink.

The house had been empty for a few months prior to us moving in (owner transferred out of state, not a foreclosure!) so things had been left largely to sit around for quite some time.

I quickly determined that the smell was coming from the drain.  We set up some methods to try to clear the smell.

We tried putting orange rinds down there which were supposed to leave it with a citrus smell (lemon peels work too).  This actually did leave a nice citrus smell….that combined with the still awful smell that made it clear there was still a problem.

I figured some sort of food particle had gotten left behind and the few months of inactivity had allowed it to fester wherever it got lodged, and also allowed it to stick there.

We tried a few other things to clear the sink of the smell, but nothing worked.  One day I was pouring something to drink and getting some ice out from the freezer when it dawned on me to see if maybe ice could dislodge whatever it was that was causing our kitchen funk.

Threw a few pieces down there while the disposal was running.  The blades made quick work of it.  I waited ten minutes or so, went back in, and gave the sink the old sniff test, and….

…didn’t smell a funk!

The ice worked. I’ve since done some looking around and some feel that it can actually help sharpen the blades of the disposal.  Whether or not this is true I have no idea.  Still, every now and then I’ll drop a couple of pieces of ice down the drain while the disposal is going to ‘clear the works’.

So, if your sink starts getting that ‘not so fresh’ smell, try some ice therapy!

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How Do You Get Things Done?

Being productive is an important step to reaching your goals.  This is true for any number of things, but can include such things as your job, your finances, and keeping up on things for your home.  In all of those cases (and many others), productivity can be measured by one simple thing;

How much do you get done?

This seems obvious but as we all know, productivity can always be improved.

How do you improve your productivity?

For me, the answer is pretty simple.

I make lists.

That is what I find the most useful tool in ensuring that I maximize my productivity.  Doing things with a list versus without, I’ll get more stuff done with the list most of the time.

I love making lists.  I love making them for a number of different reasons:

  • It tells you what you need to get done
  • It often reminds you of things you might not have thought of
  • It keeps you from forgetting things you need to do
  • It lays out everything you need to do so you can see what is more important to get done earlier

And most importantly….

  • You get to cross things off the list when you’ve accomplished them

That’s my favorite part.  I love crossing things off and looking at a list that slowly gets more and more scratches.

Because that means I’ve been more productive!

So, if you’re looking to improve your productivity in any way, might I suggest sitting down and writing out a list.

You might be surprised at how much that will help you in the long run.

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How Is Sherwin Williams Paint?

With the basement renovations approaching, one thing we’ve been looking at is paint.

In the past, we’ve used a lot of Behr paint at Home Depot.  I’ve read and heard that there’s lots better paint out there so we were thinking of using Sherwin Williams for our paint needs in the basement room.

mb-201009paintAnybody have any thoughts on it?

There’s a Sherwin Williams store near our house.  They had an event this past weekend where they were selling all of their paint for 40% off.  We didn’t do that, because we didn’t want to be rushed, but I have a coupon for 25% off that’s good until the end of the year.  (You can print it here).

Paying the extra 15% will be worth it if it’s good paint and we make sure we get the color we wanted.  This past weekend was pretty crazy and it just wouldn’t have been possible to get the paint without feeling rushed, especially since we haven’t looked at furniture and have only found one carpet sample that we like, meaning we need to do some work there as well.

Let me know if you have any positive or negative things to say about Sherwin Williams paint.

Copyright 2017 Original content authorized only to appear on Money Beagle. Please subscribe via RSS, follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or receive e-mail updates. Thank you for reading.

Overseeding The Grass

We planted some grass in the backyard in spring 2008, not too long after we moved in.  Prior to that it was a densely wooded area.  While the woods were nice, they left us with barely any yard and had slowly started taking over the deck area.  Many of the trees had died, having been overcome by the bugs that killed most of the ash trees in Michigan.  We had the dead trees removed along with many of the scrub or smaller trees.  We left quite a few trees so that we still had most of the privacy yet we had more lawn and a nicer view to look out on.

mb-201009grassPredictably, though, the remaining wooded areas meant that the grass wouldn’t get the full sun exposure that it needs to thrive.  About 75% of my grass does well, but there were a few spots in the ‘new’ section that I could tell would need regular upkeep.

After three seasons, I knew that it was time to strengthen the grass, and was set to do so by overseeding the areas that were thinned out.

Overseeding is something I hadn’t heard of, but once I started reading about it, made complete sense.  You are basically adding more seed to the grass to thicken it back up.  Doing so will restore the lushness and the thicker grass will act as a barrier from weeds.

However, it’s not as simple as just dropping some seed down on the lawn.  Nothing is ever that simple is it?

Grass seed will only grow when it is exposed to the dirt, so sprinkling seed around won’t accomplish much if you don’t prep the area first as most of it wouldn’t make it to the dirt.  So, quite a bit of preparation is required.

I did my overseeding last week and thought I’d share the steps I went through:

  • Determine your areas – It’s a pretty labor intensive process so you probably want to tackle your neediest areas first and then determine if you want to continue.  We did a portion of our backyard and a small patch in the front yard that had gotten worn out over time.  Most of the remaining areas were fine and didn’t require overseeding just yet.
  • Know the best time to overseed – For areas that get snow, the best time to overseed is in the early fall.  For areas that don’t, the spring time is the best time.  Around here (Michigan), the roots get shallow during the hot summer months, but will start strengthening back up during the fall in preparation for the winter.  You want to add your grass seed at the right time where it can develop a deep root system, and also do so at a time when weeds are least likely to grow.
  • Cut your grass low – During hot summer months, the best strategy is to keep your grass high, around three inches.  This does two things.  It retains moisture and it provides a ‘cover’ against weeds.  But, when it’s time to overseed, you want to cut as low as you can.  You want to eliminate that cover, but instead of allowing weeds to grow, you want to give the new seed the opportunity to grow.  Make sure to cut it around 1-1/2″ inches and collect your clippings.
  • Rake out the thatch – Again, the goal is to provide as much exposure to the dirt as possible.  Over time grass clippings will form a thatch.  Normally, this is good as it provides a fertilizer, but now you want it out of the way.  This raking will probably be the most labor intensive part of the process.
  • (Optional) Aerate – I know I’m repeating myself, but creating exposure to dirt is the goal as you want your seed to touch the dirt.  Aerating your grass will allow you to create more exposure to dirt as well as loosen the soil.  Our soil had not compacted much over the last couple of years, so I skipped this step this time.
  • Cut again – Even after raking out the thatch, I ran the mower over it one more time and got another bag and a half of clippings that had been worked up during the raking.
  • Lay down your seed – Buy a good quality seed and lay it down with a spreader.  I made two passes, going in two different directions, first side to side, then up and down.
  • Water – You want your grass seed to develop and just like with a new lawn, watering is the key component to ensuring that your grass takes root.  Watering three times a day for the first week, then two times a day for the next two weeks is key.  Essentially you never want your ground to get dry while your seed is taking root.
  • Wait to cut – Wait at least a couple of weeks before mowing.  This shouldn’t be a big problem since you cut it so low to begin with.

So far things are looking good but we will really see how things go in the spring. Hopefully we come up with a nice lush lawn that will stay that way for a couple of years.  I know that the backyard will require regular attention, but it’s worth it to have the yard plus the trees.  The best of both worlds!

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