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Create an Evacuation Plan for Your Pets

An evacuation plan is a necessity for every home, especially if you live in an area where fires, earthquakes, hurricanes, flooding, and other disasters are a possibility. Many homeowners create evacuation plans for their homes and practice them with their kids, but far fewer have considered one for their pets. Take these steps to add your pets to your evacuation plan.

Assign pet evacuation to an adult. Everyone should know how to act during an evacuation, and that includes assigning one parent or adult to the pets. This allows the other parent and the children to focus on their part of the evacuation plan, so there’s no confusion during a high-stress moment when time is of the essence.

Keep evacuation maps and pet carriers readily accessible. If you need to evacuate, you should know exactly where every important item is. If you pets require carriers, keep them in a place that you can access easily.

Practice your plan. Include your pets in your home evacuation drills. It’ll help you see how they will respond and make changes to your plan if necessary. Getting your dog out of a window may not be as simple as you think!

Be prepared in case you get separated from your pets. No matter how much you drill your evacuation plan, it’s possible that a dog or cat will run off while you’re focusing on keeping your family safe. A microchip or a GPS-compatible tag can help you find your pets once it’s safe to return to the area.

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Eco-Friendly Garden

Gardens aren’t just about petunias, they can also help animals and
encourage native plants.
This year when you are planning the family garden patch, you can
make a sustainable wildlife garden.
Animals, birds, bees, and butterflies need food, water, cover and a place
to rear young. Your garden can be a place where they thrive.
First, plant at least three native flowering plants. Some typical choices,
according to Buffalo grass, Prairie Dropseed, Black-eyed
Susan, and Common Ninebark.
Install a water feature. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Wet rocks are
good for butterflies. Hummingbirds like to take showers in a gentle
mist. And all birds need a drink in the summer.
Put up nesting boxes. The sparrows will move in quickly, but you
might one day be surprised to find nesting bluebirds, too.
To encourage butterflies, especially monarchs, find a place for nectar
plants and milkweed. Milkweed has a bad reputation because it
becomes pretty shabby looking by late summer. But it has some things
going for it. In late spring and early summer, milkweed delights with a
delicious fragrance as the big pink flower clusters bloom. Even when it
is looking shabby, that’s an important time for butterflies who use it as a
host plant.
Take the long-view of your garden site. Trees are essential for a good
wildlife area. Even a small yard can host a dwarf evergreen or
deciduous tree.

Your Monthly Maintenance Minute
Usually you think about your gutters in fall. But plenty of debris can
accumulate there in the six months since you last cleaned them.
It’s easy to miss leaves from trees that don’t go bare until late fall.
They’re probably still up there. Storm-blown sticks aren’t going
anywhere by themselves. Many trees drop spring buds and flowers, and
then there are the clouds of white cottony stuff blowing from the
cottonwoods. By the middle of May, it’s time to clean the gutters again.
Here are a few safety tips.
* You’ll be climbing a ladder, so don’t wear loose clothes that could trip
you up or catch on the ladder or the gutter. Wear shoes that easily grip
each rung of the ladder.
* Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes and wear work gloves so you
won’t be cut by something sharp, which could also startle you and make
you fall.
* Always work with a partner who can hold the ladder and help to
move it to the next work spot, and who can call for help if you fall or
are injured.
* Use a trowel instead of your hands, even if you are wearing gloves.
* Dump debris into a garbage can below. If you miss it, you can sweep
up when you’re finished. Never carry a trash bucket up the ladder.
You may not look forward to the project, but gutters are needed to carry
water away the foundation and basement. And they can prevent wall
damage on the inside of a home.
Put safety at the top of your list.



























































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As the school year wraps up, many families get serious about buying a home. If that’s where your head is at, be sure you find a good loan officer before you get too far into your home search. If you’re planning to stay in your home for a while still, why not take a few minutes to make your home safer or to plan a vegetable garden? Find tips for all this below!



There are many different loan options out there for aspiring homeowners. Choosing the right one is important, but so is choosing the right loan officer. Your loan officer will be responsible for helping you through any mortgage-related roadblocks you encounter so you need to make sure your loan officer is prepared to help you.

1. The title of a home is a very important piece of your home purchase. A good loan officer will order a title search to make sure the homeowner is the only person with a claim on the property you’re interested in. They’ll also order an appraisal to make sure the home is worth what the seller is asking for.

2. When you buy a home, you have to meet certain deadlines or your deal could fall through. A good loan officer will stay in touch with you about important deadlines and paperwork requirements throughout the home buying process to make sure everything goes smoothly.

3. When you do get to the finish line, a good loan officer will attend your closing so they can answer any last-minute questions you have as you work your way through the paperwork involved in buying a home.



Your health and the health of your loved ones is one of the most important factors you have to account for each day. However, even the most conscientious person can overlook some of these potentially lethal household hazards.

Carbon Monoxide
An odorless, colorless gas, carbon monoxide is almost impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Prevent headaches, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning by investing in an alarm for your home.

Like carbon monoxide, radon is a colorless, odorless gas. This naturally occurring gas is the second most common cause of lung cancer deaths in the U.S., second only to smoking. The only way to know if your home has dangerous amounts of radon is by using a radon test kit. Luckily, you can pick up radon test kits at most hardware stores.

Everyone knows that asbestos is bad for you, but many don’t realize they may have asbestos in their homes. Asbestos can still be found in ceiling tiles, floor tiles, and insulation in many homes across the U.S. When they start to degrade, asbestos fibers can get into the air and, if inhaled enough, cause you and your family to develop lung disease. If you think your home may have asbestos, have an asbestos professional inspect your home.

Lead is most notorious for its presence in paint, but it can also be in your plumbing and other building materials. Lead is typically safe unless it’s digested, making it a more dangerous hazard for young children since they’re more likely to stick potentially contaminated items in their mouths.

Smoke Detectors
Smoke detectors are only effective if they’re in working order and near the fire. Be sure to check your smoke detector’s batteries each month and replace the batteries each year. You should also make sure you have smoke alarms throughout your whole home, not just in the kitchen.



Growing your own fruits and vegetables in a backyard garden is a fulfilling way to spend free time and eat healthier. Choosing easy items like lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons can help ensure your time toiling outdoors is worth the effort. Here are tips to successfully grow each type of produce.

If you want almost instant gardening gratification, try planting some lettuce. Lettuce is an easy, fast-growing plant that comes in several varieties. Try planting some romaine, iceberg, and arugula for a good variety of lettuce types for your salads, burgers, and other summer recipes. Also, consider planting your lettuce in intervals so you’ll have fresh lettuce ready to harvest all season long.

A vine-ripe tomato from your backyard is almost unrecognizable as the same fruit you get from a grocery store. Purchasing tomato starters is a good way to make sure you’re ready to harvest before the end of growing season. Plant your tomatoes in a spot that isn’t too windy and purchase tomato cages to help the plants grow strong.

Cucumbers are great because they produce a lot without requiring much tending. Make a mound to plant your cucumber seeds in to encourage sprouting and use several seeds for each group. Just remember that cucumbers need a good amount of space to grow and spread, so plant according to the directions on your seed package.

Another easy-to-grow garden staple is squash. Like cucumbers, squash need room to grow. Be sure to leave enough room between your squash plants and other vegetables. Once you harvest, squash is great on the grill, in casseroles, and in salads.

Melons take a while to grow and ripen, but they’re worth the wait. Plant a few different varieties to see what grows best in your yard. Just remember that melons need plenty of sunshine and should be ready to harvest in late summer.

If your family needs more room to grow, whether it be vegetables or more kids, give me a call! I can help you find a home to suit your growing needs!