10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME

10 Inspiration Drive, Scarborough ME
Gorgeous Gambrel

Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays

Greetings to all
Thanks to all the wonderful buyers and sellers I had the good fortune of working with this year!
I hope everyone is looking forward to a fabulous New Year where your fondest wishes will all come true....

Friday, December 20, 2013

Merry Christmas to All


Snow Shoveling Tips


When buying a new snow shovel, common sense says that the larger the shovel scoop, the quicker the work. But that doesn’t mean you should automatically shop for the biggest bucket. Snow, particularly wet snow, is heavy, and the bigger the scoop, the more strain you’ll put on your neck, shoulders, and back.
Keep the dimensions moderate. A good size for most situations is 18-22 inches wide.
Material of choice
  • High-strength plastic shovels are strong, lightweight, and easy to use. Because they’re less prone to freezing, they release snow better than metal shovels. However, constant scraping against concrete walks and driveways can wear out the leading edge in a single season, and they’re not good for removing ice.
  • Steel shovels are hard to beat for durability — they’ll outlast all others. But they’re the heaviest models out there, and require more energy to use. They’re also the most expensive. Steel shovels are useful for removing both snow and ice.
  • Aluminum snow shovels are more durable than plastic, and lighter and less expensive than steel. However, aluminum may bend when it comes in contact with a stubborn ice chunk or a crack in a driveway. Once bent, they’re difficult to repair.
Getting the shaft
It doesn’t matter how strong a shovel blade is if the shaft twists, turns, and bows while you’re trying to use it. Look for shovels with a sturdy steel, aluminum, or wooden handles. With their high strength-to-weight ratio, fiberglass and resin handles are the premium choice, although you’ll pay up to 20% more than other types of handles.
What’ll you pay?
Prices for snow shovels range from as low as $15 for a flimsy plastic model on up to $125 for a solid steel shovel with wooden or fiberglass shaft. Most good-quality shovels, however, fall in the $30 to $50 range.
Ergonomic ease
The snow shovels with the funny-looking Z-shaped shafts are billed as “ergonomic.” They’re designed to ease the strain on your lower back by reducing the amount of bending you’ll do while scooping snow. Prices for well-built ergonomic shovels range from $25 to $75.
Another version includes a large wheel attached to the handle. The wheel supports all the weight of the snow and acts as a fulcrum for lifting snow and helping you move it out of the way. You’ll pay $130.
When push comes to shove
When it comes to physical exertion, it’s always better to push the snow rather than lift it. Push-type snow shovels or plows are great for driveways and walks where you can simply shove the snow off to the side.
Because snow pushers are large in size — anywhere from 24 to 36 inches wide — they aren’t great for when the snow is deep or has to be thrown over a snow bank. Make sure the width of the snow pusher isn’t wider than your narrowest walkways.
Snow pushers and plows usually have large, U-shaped handles. Expect to pay $25 for a plastic 24-inch plow and up to $80 for 30-inch heavy-duty aluminum models.
Safety first
It isn’t just a myth that many people get injured from the simple act of shoveling snow. In fact, according to a study by the Center for Injury Research and Policy, there are more than 11,000 medical emergencies each year related to shoveling snow.
The study found that just two minutes of shoveling snow can stress your cardiovascular system and raise heart rates past recommended levels. Singled out for blame: the non-ergonomic design of many snow shovels.
To reduce the risk of injury, the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) suggests you do the following:
  • Check with your doctor to make sure you’re healthy enough to shovel.
  • Dress appropriately in layers of light, water-repellent clothing. Don’t forget the hat, gloves, and slip-resistant boots.
  • Clear snow early and often. It’s easier to remove large snowfalls in multiple phases than all at once.
  • Warm up before starting. Stretch or perform light exercise for 10 minutes before shoveling.
  • Pace yourself, take frequent breaks, and stay hydrated by drinking water throughout.
  • Push, rather than lift, the snow whenever possible.
  • When lifting snow, bend at the knees with a straight back.
  • When moving snow, walk and dump it as opposed to throwing it.
Alternatives include safely using a snow blower or hiring a snow-removal contractor. When doing the latter, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends that you get multiple estimates, understand the difference between per-season and per-incident pricing, discuss what’s included (shoveling the front walk?), request references, and get it all in writing.

Douglas Trattner has covered home improvement for HGTV.com, DIYNetworks, and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. He lives in a 1925 Colonial.


Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/seasonal-maintenance/snow-shoveling-tools-techniques-safety/#ixzz2o40U7Iym

Monday, December 2, 2013

Portland Maine 2013 Holiday Events





                              http://www.portlandmaine.com/downtown-lowdown/holidayevents2013/

Eco-Friendly Christmas

7 Ways to Have an Eco-Friendly Christmas

With a few conscious choices, your merry Christmas can also be an eco-friendly Christmas.

‘Tis the season to consume and decorate, which can leave your bank statement and the planet a little beat up. Celebrate an eco-friendly Christmas and nip your seasonal costs in the bud:
1. Light up with LEDs. LED lights use at least 75% less energy than conventional holiday decorations, according to Energy Star. That saves the average family about $50 on energy bills during the holiday, says Avital Binshtock of the Sierra Club in San Francisco. Or douse the lights and use soy-based or beeswax candles; their emissions are cleaner than those from paraffin candles.

2. Make your own decorations. Save money and keep your kids busy by hand-crafting eco-friendly decor—strings of popcorn or pine cones—instead of buying mass-produced holiday flare.
3. Wrap with stuff you already have. Get creative with reusable shopping bags, magazines, and newspapers instead of using wrapping paper. Even gift bags that recipients can pass on make for a more eco-friendly Christmas, says Brian Clark Howard of The Daily Green.

4. Buy a real tree. Real Christmas trees, wreaths, and garlands are renewable and recyclable, Binshtock says. Real trees mean an annual cost, but that may be a wash if you tend to buy a faux tree several times a decade.

5. Say “no” to glossy paper decorations and wrapping. Shininess and color come from chemicals not easily recycled. Alternative: Decorations or wrapping papers that use soy inks or natural dyes.
6. Package it in cardboard. Plain, corrugated cardboard is good for packaging because it’s easy to recycle. If plastic factors into your holiday plans, look for No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, the easiest to recycle, says Ben Champion, director of sustainability for Kansas State University.
7. Create precious moments that don’t leave a trail of debris.
  • Do something experiential like taking the family to a museum.
  • Give a gift certificate or donation to an organization meaningful to the recipient in the receiver’s name. Happy holidays to you: No sales tax.
  • Buy fair-trade, organic, or locally made products, which are often one-of-a-kind and may not need as much packaging and shipping, Champion says.
G. M. Filisko is an attorney and award-winning writer. A frequent contributor to publications including Bankrate, REALTOR Magazine, and the American Bar Association Journal, she specializes in real estate, personal finance, and legal topics.




Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/green-living/eco-friendly-christmas/#ixzz2mLe6nhg7

Friday, November 29, 2013

101 Things i Love about Portland Maine


335.After an exhausting shopping excursion in Freeport. stop in at Buck's Naked BBQ for a little taste of ribs.  Live music on Friday nights too.
http://www.bucksnaked-bbq.com/

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine








334,  Shopping at Christmas in Freeport and LL Bean's:
Great music and light show was very festive and lots of sales going on.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ready Your Yard for Winter

Fall Landscaping: How to Prepare Your Yard for Winter

Fall landscaping preparations ready your yard for a long winter and glorious spring.

Fall landscaping chores are your last chance to prepare your property for winter, and to protect that curb appeal you’ve worked so hard to create. So pull on some gloves, grab your tools, and get ready to mulch, prune, and plant before snow and frozen ground turn the lights out on your landscaping.
Spread Mulch
“Fall mulching is better for the plants than spring mulching,” says Dan Taft, owner of The Cutting Edge in Chantilly, Va. “It helps protect roots from frost and helps retain moisture during a cold and dry winter.”

Spread 2 to 3 inches of fresh mulch around shrubs and trees. Taft warns home owners to avoid using free mulch from municipal piles, which often contain disease spores; instead, buy hardwood shredded mulch from home and garden centers, he says.

“Cheap, dump mulch mainly is made from trees that have died from disease,” Taft says. “Many diseases will linger in the mulch, like leaf spot and pine bark borers. You don’t want ground-up diseased plants around your landscaping.”
Remove the Dead and Dying
Fall isn’t the time to prune, because that encourages growth when healthy plants should remain dormant. But don’t shelve your shears and loppers yet. Fall is the time to neaten your landscaping before putting it to bed for the winter.

“If you remove dead landscaping in fall, you don’t have to look at it all winter,” Taft says.
  • Remove dead annuals.
  • Deadhead spent blooms, and cut back dead and desiccated ornamental grasses and perennials.

  • Lightly prune dead and dying branches from shrubs and trees. Carefully remove dried blossoms from hydrangea, but don’t remove dead-looking stalks, where new buds will form in spring.
  • After the first frost, cut back tea roses to about a third of their height.
Wrap Delicate Shrubs
Heavy snow, ice, and high winds can dry and split your delicate and pricey shrubs. To protect your landscaping from the winter elements:
  • Hide small plants under overturned plastic pots or buckets.
  • Wrap shrubs, such as boxwoods, in burlap.
  • Surround vulnerable trees with shredded leaves.
Take Advantage of Fall Sales
Early fall until the ground freezes is a good time to plant trees and shrubs. Not only do cooler weather and autumn rain put less stress on young landscaping plants, nurseries often have sales to empty their shelves before winter.

“They need to sell every plant by Dec. 1,” Taft says. “Nurseries generally pay a third of the price that you’re paying. So don’t be afraid to offer less than the asking price. If you’re buying several things, the manager may give you a break.”


lisa-kaplan-gordon Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an avid gardener, a member of the Fairfax County Master Gardeners Association, and a builder of luxury homes in McLean, Va. She’s been a Homes editor for Gannett News Service and has reviewed home improvement products for AOL.

Friday, November 22, 2013

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine

                            332. El Rodeo Mexican in South Portland
                                   Delicious fresh fajita salad and tacos.  Big $5 Margaritas at Happy Hour!


Thursday, November 14, 2013

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine







321.Try this great new eatery with Happy Hour from 3 to 6 pm.  The Buratta purse of mozzarella and ricotta with sage pesto and blistered tomatoes is delicious!

http://www.118preble.com/


Saturday, November 9, 2013

Energy Efficient Windows

What You Need to Know About Buying Energy-Efficient Windows

Installing energy-efficient windows is an expensive project that can pay off but may not be necessary. Here’s what you need to know.

If your windows are more than 15 years old, you may be putting up with draftiness, windows that stick in their frames, and skyrocketing energy bills. Energy-efficient windows would be a great improvement, but replacement can be very expensive, from $8,000-$15,000 or more for a typical home.
For that reason, think long and hard before committing to new windows. In most cases you can get the same energy savings by investing $1,000 or so in insulation, sealing air leaks, and repairing your windows instead of replacing.
Related: A Guide to Deciding Whether to Repair or Replace Windows
If, however, you’ve decided your windows definitely need replacing, here are some facts to help you spend your window dollars wisely.
What Your Return on Investment Will Be
The range for energy-efficient window pricing is wide, but Energy Star-qualified windows start around $120 for a 36-by-72-inch, single-hung window and can go up to 10 times that. With labor, you’re looking at about $270-$800+ per window. Typically, windows at the low end of the price spectrum are less energy efficient.
But that doesn’t mean the numbers can’t make sense for you. For starters, window replacement is one of the best home remodeling projects in terms of investment return: For vinyl windows, you can recoup 71.2% of the project cost in added home value, according to Remodeling magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report.
Based on the replacement projects outlined in Cost vs. Value that use vinyl windows, that’s a value add of about $7,000-$9,300. Plus, if you choose windows that qualify for the federal tax credit, you can effectively lop $200 off the purchase price for windows put into service if installed before Dec. 31, 2013.
Related: Tax Credits for Windows
You’re also likely to see modest savings on your energy bill. In general, you’ll save $126-$465 a year if single-pane windows in a 2,000 sq. ft. house are replaced with tax-credit-eligible windows, according to the Efficient Windows Collaborative, a coalition of government agencies, research organizations, and manufacturers that promotes efficient window technology.
Keep in mind, though, that the savings can vary widely by climate, local energy costs, and the energy efficiency of both the windows purchased and the windows being replaced. Finally, you may qualify for low-interest loans or other incentives offered by your local utility that can sweeten the deal, although fewer of these are becoming available.
Price vs. Energy Efficiency
The most efficient windows on the market are usually the most expensive, but it’s not necessary to buy the highest-end products to realize utility bill savings or improve comfort and aesthetics. So how do you choose the most energy-efficient models for the price?
Thanks to Energy Star, you really don’t have to. Energy Star labels will tell you whether a window performs well in your climate based on ratings from the National Fenestration Rating Council.
Related: Understanding Energy Ratings for Windows
The Language of Windows
It’s also helpful to familiarize yourself with terms that appear on many window labels:
Glazing is simply the glass used in the window. The number of layers of glazing (single, double, or triple) doesn’t necessarily equal greater efficiency; the presence or absence of the other items in this list affects a window’s total energy performance. Glazing coatings can substantially affect a window’s U-factor, or degree of insulation against the outdoors.
Low-E stands for low emissivity, the window’s ability to reflect rather than absorb heat when coated with a thin metallic substance. Low-E coatings add up to 10% to the price of a window.
If your windows are in relatively good shape but you’d like better insulation, you can buy and apply Low-E films to your windows. They’re effective, but not as much as those put between glazing layers during manufacturing. Look for the NFRC rating on these films. Low-E films start at about $0.50/sq. ft., but you may want to check into the cost of having them professionally installed for large or complicated applications.
Gas fills typically consist of argon or krypton gas sandwiched between glazing layers to improve insulation and slow heat transfer. They often won’t work at high altitudes because differences in air pressure cause them to leak out.
Spacers separate sheets of glass in a window to improve insulating quality; the design and material are important to prevent condensation and heat loss.
Frame materials include vinyl, wood, aluminum, fiberglass, or a combination of those. They each have different strengths: Vinyl windows are good insulators and are easy to maintain but contract and expand with temperature changes, affecting the window’s air leakage; wood offers a classic look but is similarly affected by moisture changes and needs regular maintenance; fiberglass is very stable and low-maintenance but can be expensive; and aluminum is lightweight, stable, and a good sound proofer but is a rapid conductor of heat, making it a drain on energy efficiency.
Related:
Energy Efficient Window Coverings
Take Back Your Energy Bills
Karin-Beuerlein Karin Beuerlein has covered home improvement and green living topics for HGTV.com, FineLiving.com, and FrontDoor.com. She has also written for dozens of national and regional publications in more than a decade of freelancing.


Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/windows-doors/replace-old-windows-with-energy-efficient-models/#ixzz2kAyleIXd

Friday, November 8, 2013

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine


320. Great Little Theater--Saco River Theater in Bar Mills~~Musical Performances and live theater.
This is stage set for Steve Martin's "The Underpants"--very funny!
http://sacorivertheatre.org/

101 Things I Love about Portland Maine




319.  The Frog and Turtle Restaurant:  Fresh local food, beautifully presented and delicious.

http://www.thefrogandturtle.com/