May 4, 2011 AsktheBuilder Tips And Newsletter
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Jim, a college buddy of mine, emailed me yesterday. He's got a problem with a minor landslide in his backyard and wanted to know if bushes would help solve the problem. In his case the answer is No. Trees and large bushes can stabilize soils in certain situations, but not this one.
What state do you think my buddy lives in?
I'd be willing to wager two pints of Aglamesis Mocha Chip ice cream that you would have picked California. Mudslides and landslides out in California make the national news each winter.
Odds are only a handful of you got it right. The answer is Ohio, and more specifically Hamilton County, Ohio. This is where my friend Jim lives. Would you ever guess that this part of the Midwest has the highest per capita landslide damage of any other place in the USA? You can discover much more about the crazy geology in southwest Ohio at the website two fellow geologists have created.
Why's this important to you? What's it have to do with your home? Unless you've figured out how to permanently levitate atoms or you live on a houseboat, your house is built on the Earth. And believe it or not, the soils and geology of your area could be something you should know about. Landslides, flooding, drainage issues, radon, abandoned mines, sinkholes, etc. could all affect where you think you might want to live.
Before buying, do some research. Talk to seasoned firefighters that have 20 or more years of experience. Ask them about emergency calls made to the street you're thinking of building or buying an existing home. See if your county extension agent has a copy of the soil map for your county. The wealth of information in this document will blow you away. Just be aware that what appears to be a perfect lot, may have some serious issues. If my buddy Jim had gotten a copy of the Hamilton County Soil Map, he probably would have never purchased the lot.
You can get some great soil data, apparently for free, from this US Department of Agriculture website. Be sure to take your time and read the instructions on how to use the real-time interface.
Last week, I was building some support blocks made from ¾-inch plywood that fit above the space between my kitchen ceiling and the cabinets. For some reason, the builder built the house with a finished ceiling height of 100 inches which meant I had to fill that gap with trim molding.
I was using standard carpenter's yellow glue made for interior purposes. It's tough not to have smears, so I had a grout sponge and a bucket of water to get any traces of glue off the face of the painted cabinets. If it were to dry, oh it would be a nightmare to remove. Plus, the glue dries much darker over time than when it's wet. So you need to really pay attention to make sure you don't have any residue behind.
As I used the glue, there was more air than glue in the bottle. I was hoping the seal would allow me to compress the bottle squeezing out excess air. But that didn't work. So I added a few drops of water to the top of the glue to keep it from hardening in the bottle. That way it's just like new when I go to use it in possibly three or four months.
The past few days I've been up on some land I own here in New Hampshire working with a great friend Peter Hall. Peter and I were repairing some storm damage from two weeks ago that washed out sections of the road that takes you to the top of the hill. The storm caused some debris to clog pipes that run under the road which, in turn, caused the water to overflow onto the road and erode the gravel.
Peter was at the controls of his cool Kubota excavator machine and I was the ground or hand man. Usually there is a person on the ground doing spot work with a shovel or assisting in other ways.
I was wearing my favorite work gloves from Milwaukee Tools. I've been using them for a few years and I have to tell you that so far I've not found a glove that fits my hand better than these. They are so comfortable, you don't even know you have them on.
There is an adjustable velcro strap so you can tighten them on your wrist. They are breathable. They are black, so they don't really show dirt. I believe you'll like them. There are different gloves for different tasks, but here are the Milwaukee Work Gloves I was wearing yesterday.
That's an affiliate link. If you buy the gloves, I get a small commission.
Moments ago, I helped Jan pick the PERFECT countertop material. She discovered I used to barter chili for gems at 5 am in the morning. Go read the thread!
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Steve's a very close friend of mine who lives in Southern California. He's a computer genius and a former rocket scientist of sorts as he used to work for the Jet Propulsion Labs. He's got a dream mom named Patti. His dad Jim is awesome too. It's a great family.
Anyway, since you're on a computer reading this, this has everything to do with you, especially if you're in the growing legions of Mac users like me. If your Mom has a Mac, then you absolutely must keep reading. This is going to make for a great little extra gift for her on Mothers Day, this Sunday!
I used PCs for 25 years, but about four years ago, I exploded when it took 8 minutes to get my PC to go through the start-up menu. I got up from my desk and went out and bought a new MacBook Pro. But switching from a PC to a Mac was a little intimidating, I'll admit that.
Steve has helped solve that! He convinced his Mom to buy a Mac, but she found herself in the same boat as I was so he started creating these cool short videos that help you understand just how intuitive a Mac is.
Yes, I bought David Pogue's Missing Manual book to help me, but Steve's videos are an excellent resource so you can really see in real time what's going on as the mouse moves on the screen and gets clicked.
If you need help or know of someone who is a new Mac user, Steve's MacHelpforMom.com website - and his Newsletter - is just what you need. Be sure to watch the video of Patti on the home page. Since she already lives in LA, she won't have to commute far to her new job. I have a feeling Hollywood is going to be calling her up. See if you don't agree! Leave a comment with Steve about his mom.
GOSH! I just watched a video there about how to take screen shots and I discovered three new tricks. I'm going back now to sign up for the newsletter. WOW!
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