Q&A / 

April 10, 2012 AsktheBuilder Newsletter & Tips

Last week, I had the pleasure of working on the land Kathy and I bought here in New Hampshire about six years ago. My friend Peter let me use his Kubota excavator for two days. An excavator is a machine that has tracks, a small bulldozer blade and the all-powerful toothed bucket that digs ditches.

It's a perfect machine for clawing rocks out of the ground. Here's a secret most people don't know. You can rent tiny versions of these machines to dig small holes and trenches at your own home. This could come in handy planting a large tree or some other project that requires lots of digging.

Here's a link to a very tiny one. Imagine how this could save your back on a job around your home!

The one I was operating was more like this one. It was bigger than this machine, had an enclosed cab and did have the thumb so you could grab onto the rocks.

The point is, just imagine what you can pick up with these great machines: large tree trunks, stumps, granite curbing, rocks, etc.

Just before Christmas last year, I hired a man to come in and clear out all the brush on the sides of the driveway. Hundreds of gorgeous rounded boulders were lying about, and some were partially buried. They ranged in size from a cantaloupe to a large riding lawn mower. The largest rock I dug out and moved was egg-shaped and measured 5 feet by 3 feet. It was a monster.

I moved the rocks to the tree line and used them to build some rustic rock walls. Some of the walls were actually on the property line, but most look like random walls stacked long-ago by one of the original land owners to create a pasture. This summer I've decided to go back for a week and dig out thousands more of these great rocks.

Just under the surface are thousands and thousands of these *eggs* that were tumbled smooth by the motion of the last continental glacier that covered New Hampshire just 12,000 years ago. Heck, it covered all of New England, much of the Midwest and extended all the way back to the North Pole.

These egg-shaped rocks are a prized commodity up here. Wall builders and landscapers covet the rounded boulders. Most of the rounded rocks have long since been used up. The boulders and rocks you do see being used now are angular and have a stark unweathered appearance.

Suffice it to say I had a great time up there working for two days - just me, the machine, diesel fumes and blue sky.

The largest rock I dug up

Here are some photos I took on Easter Sunday morning of the work I accomplished. I decided to go back to the land to see if the Easter Bunny had transformed any of the rocks into dark chocolate. Sadly, I was disappointed. These photos may inspire you to build a simple rock wall in your yard. It's not hard to do.

This week I'll be programming some frequencies into my ham radios. Why? I'm one of the 200 or so ham radio operators providing critical communications for the Boston Marathon on April 16th. That will be one long day. I'll probably have next week's newsletter out a day late so I can give you a full report on any action I witnessed at the marathon.


Annual Deck Cleaning Tip

Let's say you want to just clean your deck each spring, and the sealer on the deck is still in good shape. What should you do?

It's easy. Just try regular liquid dish soap and water. I'd mop it on, or apply the soapy solution with a hand pump sprayer. Scrub lightly, and rinse with water. You should be good to go.

Don't use my Stain Solver on your deck if the sealer appears to the naked eye to be in good shape. There's a very good chance some of the top layer of the sealer is sun damaged and barely holding on. My powerful oxygen bleach will remove the sealer creating a blotchy appearance, whereas regular dish soap won't budge the sun-damaged pigmented sealer.


Glass and Metal Countertops

Were you one of the winners of the Mega-Millions lottery last week? Did a rich aunt just go back to Heaven leaving you the cash she couldn't take with her? Are you a hedge fund manager? Or, do you love looking at really cool building products that are often way out of your financial reach? I'm like that. There are so many things I'd like to have but just can't afford them.

If you like window or monitor shopping as we now call it, then check out the metal, wood and glass countertops that Craft Art has. You better have a napkin or a bib handy. You may end up drooling.


Stain Solver Sale Ends at MIDNIGHT

Just as I thought, the Stain Solver Sale is going down in company history as a monster success. The annual spring sale ended , April 10, 2012, at midnight Eastern Standard Time.

A few of the sizes have sold out and are on backorder. We FULLY expect to ship out all orders by April 19th at the latest. We appreciate your patience!

You better order now if you want some at the sale price. If you want my new Deck Cleaning and Sealing Your Deck eBook at the same time, you want to order the Stain Solver from my AsktheBuilder.com cart.

Stain Solver cleans just about anything. Kathy C., from Pensacola, FL, used it to clean off offensive organic oak blossom stains from her pride and joy. Go read about it.


Tip of the Week - Change Your Washing Machine Hoses

Do you have black rubber hoses that feed water to your washing machine? Is your washing machine in some finished space? If so, these rubber hoses WILL burst one day. I urge you to install hoses that are wrapped in stainless-steel fabric. This metallic covering helps to prevent blowouts.

Millions of dollars of damage happen each year from washing machine hoses that burst. Every month I get at least one email from a subscriber talking about an accident.

Imagine the nightmare if you were gone all day when water started flowing in your absence? I know, you feel you're safe because you turn off the water supply to the machine when it's not in use. Remember, the hoses can burst while you're at home doing laundry and in another room where you can't hear the mini Niagara Falls.


Would You Review My Cleaning and Sealing Your Deck eBook?

Last week I launched my latest eBook, Cleaning and Sealing Your Deck. Perhaps you were one who purchased it. If you liked the content in the eBook, would you be willing to help me?

Could you please go to the page on Amazon.com and leave a positive review? You can leave a review at Amazon even if you purchased it at my shopping cart. It would be sincerely appreciated.


The Mac Virus ALERT Email

You may be one of my subscribers that got freaked out last week when I sent out the blast about the Mac virus. That's one of the benefits of being on my list. I try to watch your back, as you get this newsletter electronically. That means I want your computer healthy. I happen to have good friends who have their ears to the ground and get early warnings of viruses.

I got all sorts of replies, some frantic, most thanking me for being helpful, but the one from Ron B. made me laugh out loud. Ron obviously has a great sense of humor. Here's what he said about my ALERT: "You beat the Drudge Report on getting the news out. Clinton could have used Stain Solver!" Thanks, Ron B.

Here's what I'd like to share about that alert. I send those out as a public service. I'm not Ask the Mac or PC Guy. Nor am I AsktheGeekSquad. I'm AsktheBuilder. That means I can't offer any hand holding when it comes to your computer. All I do is tell you there could be a problem, and try to point you in the right direction should you need help.

I tried, in my blog post, to give you a place to go if you had issues. That's the best I can offer. Please understand that when I do these alerts in the future, it's in the spirit of me trying to help you, not frustrate you.


Video of the Week - Plumbing Vent Pipes 101

You may not know this, but I'm a master plumber. I love doing plumbing work. Many people are unaware of the importance of plumbing vent pipes and what purpose they serve. Watch this video to discover something new!


Q & A of the Week - Poured Concrete vs. Concrete Block Foundation Walls

DEAR TIM: What is the difference between concrete block and poured concrete foundation walls? Which one is better? The lot I am going to build upon has a seasonably high water table. Which of the wall systems would insure a dry basement? Diane J., Redwood Falls, MN

DEAR DIANE: I think it might have been easier to answer a question such as: Is a glorious sunrise more beautiful than a magnificent sunset? The truth of the matter is that both building materials - concrete block and poured concrete - can yield superior foundation walls so long as they are.....

Click here to read how to build strong foundation walls!

Tim Carter


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