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DIY Lawnmower Maintenance

DIY Lawnmower Maintenance It's that time of year when your grass is growing faster than you can cut it.  Your lawnmower has been sitting in the shed all winter and hasn't been cranked in months.  Small engines need to be cranked regularly and after sitting up all winter, your lawnmower will likely not start.  Most people who own lawnmowers don't know anything about small engines and don't want to fool with repairs.  It's actually very difficult these days to find someone willing to work on small engines.  So they head to the store for a new lawnmower.  What these people don't know is that there are a few simple things anyone can do to maintain or repair their lawnmower.  So before you buy a new one, try these: 1.  Replace the spark plug.  The spark plug looks like a little space rocket that screws into the engine.  They are approximately 3 inches long.  It will have a black rubber hose connected to the tip.  Disconnect the hose, unscrew the spark plug (may requi
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Landscape Lighting

Landscape Lighting            If you drive around a neighborhood at night, the only yards you’ll notice are the ones with landscape lighting. It is a great way to accent your house, a tree, landscaping, or all of the above. Though the idea of electrical work can be quite intimidating, installing landscape lighting is actually very easy. The hardest part is finding an electrical outlet. If you don’t have one outside, you can inconspicuously run an extension cord. Landscape lighting kits come in three parts: the power box, the wire, and the lights. Follow these three easy steps to install: 1. Plug in the power box. Yep, that’s it. Just plug it in. You may need to mount it depending on where you want it, but it is not necessary. 2. Run the wire. The wire easily connects to the power box. Run the wire to every location you want a light. Don’t worry too much about getting it perfect. The wire and lights are easy to move so you can change the location or direction of each light with ease. On

Make Your Own Organic Weed Killer

Make Your Own Organic Weed Killer The class action lawsuit against Roundup for the potential connection between the main ingredient glyphosate and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma has many people looking for other ways to kill weeds. As our weather warms up, weeds are popping up everywhere, and pulling them by hand hardly seems an option. There is an easy solution; make your own organic weed killer. All you need is:  One gallon sprayer One gallon of vinegar 2 cups of Epsom salt (or table salt) 1/4 cup of dishwashing soap Sunshine Mix the vinegar, salt, and soap in the sprayer. The cheapest soap and vinegar you can find will work. You can use table salt,  but Epsom salt is safer in areas where you may want other things to grow. If you don't care about growing anything in an area, use table salt. Pick a day when you don't expect any rain. Spray your weeds in the morning before the sun hits them so that you can get the advantage of as much sun as possible. The dish soap helps the salt a

DIY: How to Replace a Toilet Flapper

DIY: How to Replace a Toilet Flapper Replacing a toilet flapper sounds harder than it actually is. In fact, most homeowners can replace the toilet flapper themselves, and save money in the process! This Blankenships’ Universal Supply guide gives you DIY step-by-step instructions to replacing your toilet flapper. Learn how below! What is a toilet flapper?  A toilet flapper is a piece inside of a toilet tank that lets water go out of the tank and into the bowl when the toilet is flushed. Follow these step by step instructions to replace your toilet flapper: Remove tank lid Remove the tank lid and set aside. Turn off water supply First, turn off the water by closing the shutoff valve. This can be found on the water supply line; turn the handle clockwise until it comes to a halt.  Remove water in toilet tank Flush the toilet to remove the majority of water from the tank. Soak up any remaining water using a cloth or sponge.  Remove old flapper Disconnect the lift chain to remove the old fla


  It’s that time of year again.  Your home feels different.  It is full of holiday decorations, ridiculous amounts of food, and houseguests.  While the holidays are a joyous occasion for most, they do not come without a price.  In the spirit of giving, you must include everyone on your invite lists including unwanted house guests.   It may be your in-laws, a judgmental grandparent, a kooky aunt, a creepy uncle, or some bratty cousins.  Most of us have some small percentage of invites we include out of obligation.  Unfortunately, I cannot help you with those.  However, I can help you with some uninvited houseguests which can be just as pesky.  These holiday crashers are coming in to get out of the cold and help themselves to whatever holiday food scraps they can find.  Like your creepy uncle, they will likely get into the cookies you were saving for your party the following day.  Like your kooky aunt, they have a tendency to scare away your desirable house guests.  So unless you want yo


  The last time I wrote to you about paint , I made a comparison between paint and beer.   Just as cheap beer is nothing but watered down premium beer, cheap paint is watered down premium paint.   Cheap paint doesn’t last as long, just as the buzz quickly fades from a domestic light beer.   Cheap paint also doesn’t cover as well.   You have to use more of a cheap paint to do the same job you can accomplish with less premium paint.   Beer is the same.   It takes a lot of cheap beer to get that warm fuzzy feeling whereas you can get that same fuzzy feeling with less than a sixer of good beer.   However, if you are like me, you like to test theories yourself so you know for sure.   How would you know I’m not just trying to sell you expensive paint when you could get by just fine and save a few bucks using cheap paint?   I can certainly think of plenty of products where the cheap alternative works just as well.   The only problem with testing paint is that it could take around 20 years to

THE CUTTING EDGE: High Carbon vs Stainless Steel

I have loved to cook since I was a kid.  I have used many knives over the years and received many as Christmas gifts.  People would buy me what they swore to be the best knife they ever used.  Though I’ve owned some pretty nice knives, none of them stood out as a knife that I loved.  Each one had a noticeably sharper edge right after sharpening.  But half way through cooking, they’d lose it.  Another thing all these knives had in common is that they were all stainless steel.  I had never known of anything different.  It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I tried my first high carbon, steel knife.   My wife and I were moving in together.  While unpacking the kitchen stuff, I noticed a couple of old looking knives in a box.  I recognized the name “Old Hickory” branded into the knives’ wooden handles and realized that these were the same knives I sell at the store.  However, I had never used them.  I thought the appeal was their old-fashioned look and the fact that they are made in the USA