Carrie’s Water Corner 2/15/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink! Well, not for humans at least. Plants, on the other hand, are getting a lot of water. For some plants, it might be too much water. Roses, for example, and other such waste-land plants. Yes, roses are a type of a waste land plant. We typically think of a rose as being some type of delicate, dainty, sweet smelling flower that needs special care, special soil, and a special place to be planted. Think again. Roses are one of the hardiest plants out there. The reason there are so many rose enthusiasts out there, who tend to be quite a bit over protective of their dear roses, is because roses are prone to various problems, ranging from minor diseases to total root rot, and back again. Larger roses also happen to be a favorite food of the local wild life, most specifically, deer. What of the miniature roses though? Deer almost never even bother to give them a second look. But, why?

I did some research on this a few years back, as I too was asking myself the same question: Why are the deer mowing down my larger roses, but not the abundance of miniature roses that are sitting right next to the larger plants? Answer: Because there aren’t enough little roses to make one bit of difference to a deer, and because most miniature roses often have twice as many little thorns, that run almost all the way up to the base of the flower, the deer just don’t seem to see the point in eating something that’s going to inevitably puncture their mouths with tiny perforations. Well, that certainly makes sense. So now, I invest in miniature roses, rather than their much larger relatives. There is one draw back to caring for a miniature rose, and it’s mentioned in the above paragraph – too much water.

Water ‘mold’, and mildew, are the two top causes of roses getting those horrific black spots all over the leaves, and once it sets in, it can be a royal pain in the neck to get removed. First, and foremost, do not let any of these leaves get onto the soil. If they do, remove the top layer of soil, and replace it with a very dry, sterilized soil (you can sterilize potting soil by baking it in the oven at 200F for about 30 – 60 minutes, in a 3″ deep dish, that’s covered with foil). Clip the remaining leaves that have black spots all over them, but do not let these leaves fall to the ground! Make sure you clip the leaves over a container. If you see any smaller branches that are also covered in these spots, prune those as well. It can be a chore, and by the time you’re done, the poor rose bush will look like it just got the world’s worst hair cut. In the end, however, it will flourish, and you’ll be very happy with the results. So, stay safe, stay dry and, if you’re feeling a bit down, go out and stay with a rose bush for a bit. You’ll be happy that you did! Have a great week everyone!

Carrie’s Thrift Corner 2/8/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Have you ever gone through a closet, and found clothing items that just are not going to be used any longer? Well, unless you’re in the mood to go through the entire closet, bit by bit, bag it up, and then haul the lot of it to a thrift store, there are a few things that you can do to re-purpose said ‘not going to be used any longer’ clothing items. If you’re handy with sewing, the options are endless. If not, there are still quite a few things you can do, using only a pair of scissors, and some masking tape.

Make colorful liners/dust covers for your book shelves. Cut the fabric so that it’s about 1 inch larger than the size you need. Fold the extra material under, and secure it with masking tape. The folded edges, and masking tape, help prevent fraying. Needs washing? Pull off the masking tape, and throw it in the laundry. Drawer liners. Cut the fabric to fit, place it in the bottom of the drawer. Secure it with a bit of masking tape underneath if you want to (not necessary though). T-Shirt bags for shopping. Cut the neck line out. Cut the sleeves off. Lay the shirt flat, and cut 2 – 3 inch strips along the bottom of the shirt. Turn the shirt inside out. Lay flat. Tie the strips together in knots. Turn shirt right side out. That’s it. Gets dirty? Wash it.

Pillow covers. Have an old toss pillow that’s seen better days, but the form is still good-ish? Stuff the pillow inside an old sweater, shirt, or even an old pair of jeans. Cut 2 – 3 inch strips along the open edges of the shirt, tie together in knots. New pillow cover. Travel bags. See instructions for making T-shirt bags. Old doilies? Use them to protect dishes that are being stored. Just place a doily in the center of a dish, and stack the next dish on top of it. Larger doilies, table cloths and table runners, can be used to wrap the set up and protect the dishes from getting dirty. Most of all? Have fun. Use your imagination. For those who are handy with sewing, the material alone is a treasure trove. Always be safe. If material is moldy, smells bad, has mildew on it or is otherwise stained with non-food items, throw it out. Otherwise…game on!!

Carrie’s Rock & Relax Corner 1/25/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Judging by the last few storms we’ve had, you’d think this county made a bet with Mother Nature, and lost. In truth, this is what’s known as ‘Winter’. Winter is cold, wet, snowy, icy, foggy, rainy, slushy and, in general, particularly crap on all levels. It’s supposed to be this way. Yes, we’ve had land slides, rock slides, mud slides and floods. The good news is that no one was hurt during all of those natural events (that we know of), and other than a lot of hard work, nature was just doing what nature does from time to time. It was adjusting, and reacting, to whatever was thrown at it…just as we all do. We had a few Sunny days, in between the storms. Where was I during those days? Out in my yard, digging out a rock wall. You read that correctly. I was in my yard, doing work. It was nice, warm and Sunny. I just couldn’t help myself.

Then, I thought about that for a moment. When I was younger, walking hip-deep in snow was normal. Ice storms were normal. We didn’t get to stay home from school just because it was -10 outside. We didn’t get a break from our classes just because there was a little bit of snow on the roads. Furthermore, when we got home from school, we were shoveling snow, chipping ice, snow-blowing the sidewalks and helping haul fire wood into the house. In other words, while the chore duties changed from season, to season, the amount of work that had to be done did not. It was just different kinds of work. Out here, that still holds true. Then again, ‘out here’ is an entirely different world from ‘over there in the city, down yonder a piece’.

Winter is a time when Mother Nature tells us that it’s perfectly OK to take a break from our daily chores, and relax. When snow falls, silence washes over the whole area, and when it comes to this kind of silence, it’s beautiful. Oh, I know many folks are ready for the warmer days, miss tropical locations they go to on holiday, or have cabin fever and need to get out of town for a day, or 9. Still, safety first at all times up here. If you see road signs that say ‘Road Closed’ – it means that no one is exempt from this. If there is a land slide, and the notifications read ‘road closed’ – don’t attempt to think that you’re going to get through, when everyone else can’t. Up here, those signs matter. Read them. Follow them. Stay safe, and enjoy the silence Mother Nature has provided you with. Silence isn’t always a bad thing, especially when you’re able to cuddle by a warm fire with a good book.

Carrie’s Slide Corner 1/18/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

We’ve all driven by the land slides. We’ve seen the raging rivers. We’re used to seeing mud on the roads, and, for the most part, we’ve become accustomed to driving around pretty much anything that’s in the road. At this point, having to wait on a moose to finish grazing on the fallen debris wouldn’t shock me one bit. Thankfully, no moose are known to be in the area…lest they become sloth with the over abundance of food that has fallen. What do I think when I pass these sites? Well, probably not what you’d imagine. Then again, to those that know me, these thoughts will likely not come as a surprise.

I think: “WOW! That’s a lot of fire wood!”, and, “Holy crap that’s some serious lumber!”, and, “Hmm…red earth. That would be very good for a layered look in the rock garden”. YES, I’m already thinking at least 6 months in advance. This is normal for me. Driving past these sites made me want to go home and start pruning everything to no end. I’ve got a Crabapple tree that’s just screaming for a hair cut, as well as a few Cedar trees that could use a good shaving, not to mention the umpteen Blackberry vines that are currently at war with the Castle Ivy and Periwinkle vines in my back yard. Meanwhile, my Camellia bush is trying to peek over the roof of the house (Yep, it’s that tall), and my rose bushes are yelling at me, seemly saying: “For the love of God, please stop raining! I’m a waste-land plant for crying out loud! Stop this madness!”.

So, as per request of my yard, I have taken on the task of making a monthly ‘to do’ list that hopefully will get my yard back into working order, after such an unusually harsh winter. Now, I say this with a bit of reservation, for if this was the area where I grew up, people would be outside in shorts, and T-shirts asking me when the real snow was going to set in. They’d be far more at home in the Eastern portion of the county, where the snow drifts are taller than the people. Yep, I’m already thinking of gardening….and wood stocking….and organizing..and, well, you get the idea. Just please, as I always ask you, be safe and stay warm. Also, be healthy! Take a day of rest if you need it. Take care of yourself, so that you won’t have to battle the sheers of a cold, flu or other nasty virus that’s flying around. Have a great week everyone!

Carrie’s Rainy Corner 1/11/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Since there’s probably no use in asking the rain to go away, and come again another day, the best we can hope for is the Sun to shine sooner than expected. Or, at least long enough for us to get everything clean up, cleared out and dried off (just a bit). Most people are probably thinking about what’s washed out, washed away or just washed up. Me? I’m thinking of what just got drowned in a literal mountain of rain water, and mud. We live in a heavily forested area (no kidding, right?), and as such, we need to remember to mark these rain dates on our calendars, especially if we have gardens, or extremely large trees on our lot(s). In my case, I’m keeping an especially close eye on about 12 rather large Cedar trees that surround my house, as well as a very old Walnut tree. My Crabapple tree is also getting an eye kept on it, as it’s very old, and is in need of some serious pruning.

Live trees aren’t too much to worry about above ground. However, when it starts to warm up a bit, and the rain has gone away for awhile, you’ll want to take a close look at how the base of the trees look. Are the roots too wet? Is it possible there is some underground washout? Root rot? Just take a quick look. Take a closer look if the trees are near any power, or telephone, lines, satellite dishes, external power boxes or seasonal vehicles (campers, ATVs, snow mobiles, etc.). Make a note of what you find, so you’ll be able to remember what to keep an eye on in the Spring.

Always stay safe, no matter what, especially in this weather! Any branches that have fallen should be removed to a safe location as soon as possible. Keep an eye on any wires that are near, or attached to, your home, garage, barn or work shed. Be sure your pets are safe, and out of harm’s way, especially animals that are typically housed outside of your personal home (chickens, larger live stock, goats…etc.). Keep your emergency numbers handy, and near your phone at all times, and always be sure you have a land line hooked up (or a phone that can hook into a land line outlet) in case the power goes out (which, has been more of a frequent event these days). Be safe, stay dry and try to have a good week. Thank you to all of our responders who have been working to diligently to help get this cleared out as quickly as possible so the area is safe for everyone. See you all next week!

Carrie’s Hoarder Corner 1/4/17

by: Carrie A. Blakley

New year, new me? Nope. Not hardly. Improved? Perhaps. For me, the improvement will come in the form of further organization, that very well may send my dear husband even further into the ‘what in the Hell is she doing now’ realm. He’s more than used to seeing me do some pretty unusual things around this house. Small talk in this house consists of something along the lines of: “Um, honey? Why are we saving bread tabs?”, “I’m using them to label the power strip wires”. He’s used to this, bless his heart. He also no longer gets the “you’re nuttier than Queen Victoria’s fruitcake” look on his face. See, there’s a difference between hoarding things because someone might need them some day, for some reason….and hoarding things because you actually use everything that you hoard. Or, I should say, re-purpose/recycle everything that you hoard. In other words, I’m a very selective hoarder. I only hoard those things that I know will serve another purpose, for me. If they can not serve another purpose, then I give them to someone who can re-use the items, or throw them out.

We all know that empty toilet paper, and paper towel rolls, can be re-used for a million things. However, for me, it’s broken down into only a few things. Toilet paper rolls serve as fire starters (that are stuffed with used, dry, paper towels), small extension cord holders (easier to label the cords this way too), cat toys (because you know, store bought cat toys are just so last year, and never smell like cardboard – silly cats) and marker/pen/paint brush/craft supply organizers (1 basket + empty toilet paper rolls = instant organizer basket). Paper towel rolls serve as fire starters (same as the TP rolls), taper candle storage containers (wrap 2 tapers in wax paper and place into paper towel roll, bonus points if you remember to mark the color of the tapers on the roll) and dog toys (because you know, a toy box full of really cool store bought dog toys is so last year, and never rip apart quite like cardboard can – silly dog).

Bread tabs are used to mark power strip cords. Empty jars are used for just about anything you can put in a jar, plus they can be sterilized easily, including many of the lids. Brown paper bags can be reused for so many things that I don’t have enough space to list it all here. However, book covers, wrapping paper, fire starters, shopping bags, coloring paper, craft paper….are good ideas, to start with. Plastic bags (I loathe these things with more than just a passion), I reuse for rubbish bin liners in my bathroom. Basically, I’m the person who will take a look at something, and really spend a few moments pondering if that item can be re-used for something else, anything else. If it can be, I save it. The difference is that I don’t save it for a rainy day project that never happens. I save it, and re-use it almost immediately. Get creative, and have fun. Enjoy your new year everyone! Be safe, and stay well!

Carrie’s Disaster Corner 12 28 16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Now that everyone has at least one room of their homes that looks like a complete disaster area, and another one that looks like they’re losing a game of Jumanji, it’s fairly safe to say that the Christmas portion of the holiday program has come, and gone. It is also safe to say that the local transfer stations will spend the next week, or two, being extremely busy. This is when most of us rummage through what’s left of our living rooms, and proceed to throw out anything that is not nailed down, and looks like it’s seen better days. Two words: STOP THAT! Every single November, I see countless people piling through the holiday decoration departments as if it’s the last place on the planet, digging through mounds of wrapping paper, ribbons, bows and gift tags….and, otherwise causing the once neatly stacked display of gift bags, decorative boxes and other such festive paraphernalia to end up looking like a satellite just landed on it. This is not necessary! You can avoid having to put yourselves through all that with a very simple clean up procedure after your Christmas celebrations have ended.

Step 1: If you can not for the life of you identify it, even as something the cat threw up, throw it out. Step 2: If it can not be salvaged in any way, throw it out (use your creative minds before you decide if it can not be salvaged). Step 3: Remember that even bits of wrapping paper, tissue paper, bows and other such items can be re-used (and should be). Now then, on to the boxes, bags and baubles. First, if the box hasn’t been shredded to bits, keep it. Use it. Put another gift into it. Use it to store ornaments….but use it. Second, If the bag isn’t written directly on, yank the name tag off (if it’s been used), and save the bag. Bags can come in very handy – especially when you accidentally run out of wrapping paper. Finally, baubles always have more than one use. Ornaments, gift decorations, cat toys…whatever.

Want to cut down on doing a ton of dishes? Keep your leftovers in ziploc bags, or wrapped in plastic, or foil. Does something need to be frozen? Same principle. Use bags, foil, plastic, butcher paper….but not a solid container (unless it’s absolutely necessary, and I have yet to see a good case for it ever being as such). For those of you who have fresh trees, you can bring them for the tree burning event, or, do as we do, and save it. We cut the branches off, and then section the center out into 12 – 16 inch pieces for use next year in the wood stove. The smaller branches are saved as kindling, and the larger branches are also sectioned off for adding to the log pile. So, have a wonderful new year, and don’t wear yourself out over the cleaning up. Make it fun. Enjoy your gifts. Enjoy the days, and have a good night’s sleep. Happy 2017 everyone!! Make it your best year ever!

Carrie’s Victorian Corner 12/21/16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

I probably ought to be writing about the holidays at this point. I’m not going to. Everyone else is writing about the holidays, which is great, and I love reading the articles, but I am not thinking about the holidays just yet. At least not with this Arctic cold front hitting the nation. I’m thinking about the many ways to keep everything at room temperature, without using enough electricity to light up Times Square. Wood stoves are fantastic ways to keep the house warm – or at least a room, or two, for those who live in larger homes. Cooking, and baking, are also ways to gently warm up a room, or two. Space heaters, that use less power than an electric wall heater, or central heating work well. Even though those are great during the day, keeping any of that going throughout the night is not going to work too well, without posing a fire hazard.

People sometimes wonder how folks kept warm during the harsh months of Winter, without looking, and feeling, like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. We’ve all seen the pictures of the Victorian era towns in the Winter. Currier and Ives are the most famous images that likely come to mind when one thinks of a Victorian winter. Mind you, these folks look like they’re dressed in fancy clothing, but they hardly look like over-stuffed children in snow suits, waddling around and unable to bend anything but their legs – barely. Have any of you ever put on an authentic Victorian winter suit, or dress? If you have, you automatically know their secret. Fabric, and layers of it.
Victorian homes had thick, very heavy, draperies. This kept the warmth in, and the cold out. Drapes weren’t just used on the windows. They were used around beds, hung over doors and even along pantry shelves.

Now, I’m by no means thinking anyone is going to go out and find huge, thick, pieces of tapestry materials that they’ll hang all over their homes, but let’s face it. The Victorian, and Colonial, folks were on to something. The secret? Layers. When you have to turn your heating off at night, or if we’re in the middle of a power outage, layer up. Start smart. Short sleeves/tanks, long socks/tights, thermals, then heavier outfits/pajamas/sweats. This goes for socks too. With the modern fabrics we have, we can layer pretty well, without the physical restriction of movement. The idea isn’t to keep ourselves at a constant toasty level, but rather, to keep our core temperature as even as possible…especially with all this sickness going around lately. Stay well. Stay warm. Stay safe. Most of all, have a warm, and happy, holiday season everyone!

Carrie’s Decorated Corner 12/14/16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

Deck the halls, the stalls, the stairs, the yard, the tree, the patio…and leave no corner un-touched! Or, we can all get real about this and understand that decorating for the holidays can sometimes get a little complex, if not expensive. Let’s face it, those Shiny Brite decorations are fantastic, but even in some of the thrift stores, they’re running almost $30.00 a box. Fortunately, we live in an area that provides us with some amazing decorations that cost absolutely nothing. Pine cones, and trimmed lower branches from a Christmas tree, are the obvious decorations. There are a few others, however, that people may not really think about as being part of the ‘festive decoration department’.

Thin twigs and sticks can be bound together with thin vines, or twine, to make decorative holiday boxes. Combine different greenery branches with some festive ribbon that you may have left over from wrapping presents, to hang on the front door (tie in some small pine cones here and there to add depth to the hanging). Rocks. These might not be anyone’s first guess at a holiday decoration, but if we can set out painted rocks in the garden during the warmer months, why not have some painted rocks inside during the colder months? Let the kids go nuts painting special rocks to put around the house for Christmas decorations!

Dirt. Yes, I just said dirt. Dirt that has been allowed to dry out, can be placed in the bottom of a clear heat-proof vase, to be used as a type of pillar candle holder. Add festive ribbon around the bottom of the vase, or add different colored pebbles in with the dirt. If using an LED candle, you can just go bonkers with the decorations inside the vase, but never do this if you’re using a wax candle. Just let your imagination run wild. Heck if nothing else, it will get you out of the house for a bit of a nature walk, and some fresh air. That is, until the snow starts hitting again. Have a good, and safe, week everyone!

Carrie’s Salty Corner 12/7/16

By: Carrie A. Blakley

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! Everywhere you go! OK, almost everywhere you go. Fine, a few places. Growing up, I used to walk a mile, one way, to school, hip deep in snow. Of course my kids used to think I was pulling one of those ‘grandma’ stories. They realize that I was not even close to kidding now. I grew up in western Massachusetts. Colonial Winters is what we’d call the cold season. Like here, Old Man Winter didn’t always stick to the calendar. In fact, I’m fairly certain he didn’t have a calendar at all. Instead, Winter lasted from ‘sometime around the second week in October’, to, ‘whenever the heck it felt like snowing’. Or, approximately 6 months. Jack Frost was in on this little bit of fun as well, for the ice and cold would sometimes get quite seriously treacherous. I’m not talking about some poor lack-minded soul getting their tongue stuck to a metal pole. Rather, I’m talking about ice storms that are so bad, entire townships are quite literally iced into place. It’s dangerous, and often lethal for those who are unable to make their way to safety.

Now then, why am I bringing all of this ice/frost/snow/winter stuff up? Well, guess what folks. We’re in it. I hear folks exclaim how cold it is outside. Well, yes it’s bloody cold outside. We’re looking down the barrel of Winter itself! Folks need to start taking precautions, if they already have not. Check those pipes and make sure any pipes that are exposed, especially along exterior walls, are insulated well. If you know the temperature is going to get colder than 25 degrees, let a faucet drip. Yeah, I know the dripping sound drives people nuts. Thankfully, those that do know me, understand that those sounds are inaudible to me, and therefore I have been saved being forced to listen to such mechanical drudgery.

b102f36fb4781c48f465bf0a752258c1Get the salt!! Not for making salt circles in your living room. No, no…far from that. Even if the lights flicker, it doesn’t mean that winter demons have taken possession of your home. It means that you’re in a brown out condition, and need to take heed of the fact that the power could go out. That being said, salt has nothing to do with your power going out. It’s got to do with you going out. Outside. In the cold, snowy icy mess. Keep some rock salt near every entrance/exit of your home. Yes, it’s somewhat of a pain. Yes, I know it’s a bit of a pain to clean up. Yes, it could possible save you a trip to the hospital. Slipping on ice is no laughing matter – even if you look like a rag doll on your way down. Please, be safe. Take precautions. Make sure everything is as secure as it can be before the barrel of Winter is upon us full throttle. Have a great week, and again…please, be safe!

Carrie’s Jolly Wrap Corner 11/30/16

unknown-1by: Carrie A. Blakley

Well, it’s THAT time of the year. ‘Tis the season, and all that. I was raised in a home where almost nothing was left un-saved. Those who know me, understand this already, and it needs no further explanation. However, as much as I would have loved to wad up the used wrapping paper and play a game of trash-bin basketball with it, I was not allowed to do this. Why? Because, as I said, nothing was left un-saved. Bows, yarn, ribbon, wrapping paper, bags….and the all important wrapping paper cardboard tube. Now, those I still do keep, but not why you might think. OK, my husband and I do enjoy a good cardboard tube fight in the kitchen now and then. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as being able to bonk someone on the head with a cardboard wrapping paper tube. That being said, there are also other things we can use those for.

tangled-christmas-tree-lights1. Do not, I repeat, do NOT just knot up those holiday lights when you take them down. Instead, cut a slit at on end of a wrapping paper tube, stick one end of the lights in the slit, and proceed to wrap the lights around the tube until you get to the end of the lights. Then, cut a slit in the other end (if necessary), and stick the last end of the lights into the slit. No more ultra tangled Christmas blinky lights!
2. Large scraps of wrapping paper? Cool! But um…don’t try and wrap the paper around the outside of the tube. Instead, images-1roll it up and place it INSIDE the tube. If there’s room on either end, simply bend the tube rim shut to seal it. Mark the outside of the tube with a marker, so you know what’s in the tube. Personally, I use “old wrapping crap”. But, you can mark it however you wish.
3. Those tubes make great table linen savers. Roll up the linens and place them in the tube. In this case, you might want to mark the outside of the tube with your marker before placing the linens inside – just in case the marker bleeds through the cardboard.

There are quite a few more uses for these tubes, but in light of the already lengthy article this week, I’ll leave you to your own imagination to come up with some crafty ways to recycle those wrapping paper tubes. Even if you do just end up having one big family cardboard wrapping paper tube sword fight. Have a great week everyone, and drive carefully!

Carrie’s Wine Corner 11/23/16

4a30d8ec1eaef109e60030130731fffcby: Carrie A. Blakley

As many of you know, I love cooking with wine. Sometimes, I even put it in the food! So, in the holiday spirit, here is the ultimate ‘cooking a turkey with wine’ recipe for everyone. Many of us have already seen this on Facebook. For those of you who have not been able to view this marvel, here is the recipe.
Step 1: Buy a turkey. Step 2: Have glass of wine. Step 3: Stuff turkey. Step 4: Have glass of wine. Step 5: Put Turkey in oven. Step 6: Relax, and have another few glasses of wine. Step 7: Turk the bastey. Step 8: Wine of glass another get. Step 9: Ponder the meat thermometer.
Step 10: Glass yourself another pour of wine. Step 11: Bake the wine for 4 hours. Step 12: Take the oven out of the turkey. Step 13: Floor the turkey up off the pick. Step 14: Turk the carvey. Step 15: Get yourself another wattle of bine. Step 16: Tet sable, pour yourself another glass of turkey. Step 17: Say grace, throw-up, and pass out.

Furthermore, once you have woken up from your wine-induced stupor, make sure you do not leave the house, and think you’re going to be driving anywhere. Remember, we want you alive and well!! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!

Carrie’s Flu Corner 11/16/16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

images-2It should come as no shock to anyone that it’s officially ‘cold & flu’ season. Furthermore, it should not come as a shock to anyone that it started almost immediately after the flu shots were given out to the whole of the nation. Coincidence? Perhaps. I don’t blame the shots though. See, humans are often carriers of these ailments, and have little, to no, symptoms. Most of the time, they’re just passed off as ‘slight congestion’, or ‘my allergies – again’. Most people would consider themselves correct in these hypothesis due to the fact that said symptoms go away on their own in a day, or two. Or, so we think. That is, until something comes along to jar the system enough and…..enter cold and flu season.

Most people with school-aged children are now sitting at home, reading this, and probably thinking; No kidding. Really? You don’t say! – as they reach for their fourth box of tissue in as many days. Unless the aforementioned ailments decide to turn infectious (see ‘Bronchitis’ and ‘Pneumonia’ in your Webster’s pages), there’s little anyone can do to get better, other than waiting for the influenza party to get done and over with already. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate your symptoms. First, LOTS of rest, and LOTS of fluids – save for anything that may act as a type of diuretic (like, coffee, red bull, monster, hot cocoa and other such fun things to consume). The second someone in my house falls ill, my dear mother runs about proclaiming that we boil everything we consume! Boil it all! Well, yes…and no. It’s also a yes, and no, situation when it comes to some of the old fashioned remedies – such as Nutmeg-ing everything to death.

Simple fact, there is no cure for a cold. Also, considering there are well over 150 different strands of the cold (more like, over 190), the best anyone can do, unless it’s infectious, is to get some serious rest and relaxation. NO, I do not mean pitch a blanket on the beaches of Belize (although, that would be rather nice for most of us). Cut the fevers with Aspirin, Acet., or Ibuprofen. Rest….and a lot of it. Relax. Do not over-exert yourself, as this causes your body to want to go into over drive – which is the last thing you need if you’re sick. Just take it easy, drink your fluids, eat calming foods and just pretend you’re in Belize. Stay well everyone, and have a great week!

Carrie’s Safety Corner 11/2/16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

imagesAround here, there are more firearms than there are people, and with good reason. When you have a 400 pound California Brown Bear trying to corner you in the kitchen while it’s trying to pry its way into your refrigerator, throwing a spoon at it just is not going to do the trick. Then again, unless you happen to keep a rifle in your kitchen’s catch all drawer….well, that’s where knives come in handy. At any rate, firearm safety is extremely important. Probably THE most important thing you need to pay attention to inside your home (other than your living family members – human and animal). While it’s no secret that I am an avid supporter of firearms, I can tell you right now, I am even more avid about firearm safety.

nra-eddie-eagle-teaching-kids-about-gun-safety-apFirst, and foremost, any firearm should be kept in an extremely secure location within the home. The best 3 storage options for both safety and security are: a firearm lock (trigger or cable), a firearm case (preferably one that can be locked), and a firearm safe (also one that has a secure lock on it). Prior to taking your firearm into your home, it should be carefully, and completely, unloaded with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction. NEVER load a sporting firearm in the home. Ever. Just don’t do it. Always make sure your firearms are stored in a secure location, that is completely out of reach, and sight, of children. Locked cabinet, firearm vault, secure case…etc. Store the ammunition in a locked location that is SEPARATE from the firearms, and out of reach/sight of children – at all times! NO exceptions!

111122-f-nt337-001Clean your firearms before placing them in their proper storage location, immediately after you return from a hunting trip, or a day at the firing range. Always recheck firearms carefully, and completely, to be sure they are still unloaded when you remove them from storage. YOU are responsible for making certain the firearms in your home are not casually accessible to anyone – especially curious young people!! For more information about firearm safety in the home, you can stop by the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department, and pick up a VERY informative pamphlet from the National Shooting Sports Foundation. It’s free, and available right in the lobby of the office. If you have more detailed questions, concerns or comments, always talk directly to a law enforcement officer. Always remember to be safe!

I hope everyone had a great Halloween! Have a fantastic, and safe, week everyone!

Carrie’s DUI Corner 10/19/16

by: Carrie A. Blakley

May 9, 2012

May 9, 2012

Have you ever been around someone who has had a bit too much to drink, to the pointwhere they’re slurring their words so badly, that you have the overwhelming urge to stop them and say: “Pardon me, but I do believe you just spilled an R on your shirt. Also, can I possibly get you to give me your car keys so no one dies on your way home tonight?”? Right, this is where the handy duty DUI Nightmare booklet will come in handy – preferably while they’re still sober. These highly informative information booklets can be picked up (free) at the local Sheriff’s Office, in Downieville, and at the Sheriff’s outpost station in Loyalton. While I understand that there is always going to be a love/hate relationship with our law enforcement officers, this is, above all, one of the many things they have available to help the general public. Believe me, the last thing any of our officers want to do is to have to scrape your dead body off of the busted out, tree hugging windshield of your vehicle. Much less, want to have the unnecessary duty of informing your family that you won’t be coming home…..ever.

This booklet provides a world of information from getting pulled over, to the sobriety test, to car impounds, court appearances and…most importantly, how NOT to get a DUI. These booklets are available for other business owners as well, through the booklet’s web site: The booklets that are available at the Sierra County Sheriff’s Department also have their web site address, and contact phone number on the back of each booklet. Please keep this information handy in the unfortunate event that you may need it at some point. I say unfortunate, because truly, these officers do not need more than they already have to handle, least of which is someone who was idiot enough to get behind the wheel of a vehicle after having been on a drinking binge half of the night.

So please….do yourselves a favor, do not drink and drive. If you drink, don’t drive. If you’re home, and drinking, trust me, there is nothing THAT important which is going to require you getting behind a wheel until you’re sober (and I don’t mean ‘I’m Fine”…but yet you can’t walk in a straight line, or have a hangover headache the size of Montana). Rule #1: Don’t drink and drive. PERIOD! However, if you are going to drink anyway, call a friend for a ride, walk to your destination, or stay with a friend for the night. Go out with someone who is a designated driver, and make sure to give your car keys to that designated driver BEFORE you enter the bar. The roads are starting to get bad, and driving sober is going to quickly become an issue all on its own, thanks to Mother Nature. Keep it safer by not drinking and driving. Heck, don’t even drink and draw! Stay safe everyone, and have a great week!

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