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Falling Leaves and Falling Feathers

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This is the time of year when the air turns cooler, leaves are changing colors and many animals prepare for winter.

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I opened my chicken coop early one morning and was surprised to see feathers everywhere. It  looked as though a pillow fight had taken place.

The change of the season from summer into fall brings shorter days resulting in fewer fresh eggs and irritable, molting chickens.img_74011

Molting is a natural process in which birds lose old, broken, and soiled feathers for new plumage. The most common trigger for molting is the decrease of daylight hours.

 

New feathers act as insulation which helps keep a chicken warm in the colder weather. It takes a lot of energy to build new feathers; therefore,  it can result in an ill-tempered hen.

The molting process or “bad feather days” are comparable to the familiar saying of a  “bad hair day” for humans. These types of days are hard on everyone!

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Starting from the head and neck, the progression of the feather loss continues in sequence down the back, next the breast, thighs and finally the tail feathers. Chickens each have unique personalities and likewise apply this individuality to their molting technique. Some chickens lose fewer feathers and grow them back in 3-4 weeks, while others lose a lot of feathers and stretch the process out 12-16 weeks.

During the molting process it is important to make sure each chicken is getting plenty of protein. Layers feed which is 16 percent protein can be changed to a 20-25 percent protein, found in a broiler blend feed. Protein rich treats like sunflower seeds, peas, soybeans, cooked meat, oatmeal, or meal worms, a favorite snack for my girls, can be given. In addition, be sure to provide plenty of water to keep the chickens healthy.

Although molting is a messy production, it is necessary seasonal ritual for the chickens. I am looking forward to chicken business as usual. Friendly, healthy birds with a new look to their plumage are more fun than balding, grumpy birds.

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Lisa from the Fresh Eggs Daily Blog has developed an easy recipe for Molt Meatloaf. She says, “My Hens love it – and the eggs, oats and ground beef provide protein while the milk product provides added calcium, both of which help their molt go faster and more smoothly.”

MOLT MEATLOAF

Ingredients:
3 Eggs, lightly beaten
¾ Cup water
2 T Molasses
2/3 Cup Old-fashioned Oats
2/3 Cup Layer Crumble (or pellets moistened in a bit of water)
¼ Cup Wheat germ
¼ Cup Powdered Milk
3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
¼ Cup Fresh or Dried Parsley
1 T  each Fresh or Dried Basil, Dill, Marjoram and Tarragon
1 ½ Pounds Ground Beef

In large bowl, combine eggs, milk and molasses. Stir in oats, crumble, wheat germ, powdered milk, garlic and herbs. Add meat and mix well. Pat mixture into a small casserole or loaf pan.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour. Cool, slice and serve. Leftovers can be frozen and then defrosted as needed.

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Prince, my Pekingese, decided to show off his chicken costume and try to qualify for a piece of MEATLOAF.

 

Light it Up!

Are you ready to get rid of that old, outdated light fixture sitting over your dining room table? Sometimes the task of figuring out what kind of light, how big of a light, and how to hang it, can be an overwhelming one. A light fixture is something that is obviously functional, but can also show off some of your personality and style. It can pull an entire room together, and make it a nice place to gather. The key to a warm, inviting environment is lighting. Below is a simple chart that will give you the basics for light fixtures.

 

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Source

What is it? Cleat vs. Tensioner

Fix My Blinds sells hundreds of different repair and replacement parts for blinds and shades. It can be hard, at times, to identify the item that you need to fix your own blinds.

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A pulley-style cord tensioner often used on vertical blinds.

We have a great tool on our website here showing various drawings of blinds and shades with all of the parts labeled and named.

A popular we part we sell is called a Tensioner. A Tensioner (or tension device) is a part that holds down a looped cord or bead chain. They are used on all types of window coverings including cellular, roller and roman shades, and vertical blinds. Traverse rods for curtains and draperies may use a tension device as well. It simply holds the cord or chain down close to the wall so that it is not swinging about to get tangled or become a dangerous toy for a child.

A cord cleat does a similar job. It is a metal or plastic piece mounted to the wall to wrap long cords around. This is not to be used for a looped cord/chain like a tension device, but used when you draw up a blind or shade and have long lifting cords hanging down. Wrapping the long cord around a cord cleat keeps the cords safety out of reach from children, pets and the vacuum.

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Let us Entertain You!

The holiday season is quickly approaching; are you ready to entertain?

I am going to walk you through a step-by-step guide to prepare you for the holidays: Blinds Edition.

Tip and Tricks for entertaining around the holidays:

Tip #1: Clean

 

I know this one sounds obvious, but some people don’t think about it, or they may run out of time before guests arrive. A tip I have if you run out of time… clean the bathroom and kitchen first. If you only had the chance to clean one room, I suggest making it the bathroom or kitchen if you can get both done. Guests usually won’t mind or even notice a little dust on the coffee table. Something about a clean kitchen makes the whole house seem cleaner. And a clean bathroom goes without saying!

 

Tip #2: Decorate

 

Even with just a few pieces, you can create a comfortable atmosphere for your guests. (It’s also fun!)

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Tip #3: Music

 

Music can set the tone of any environment. Having some soft music playing in the background can make guests feel more at ease and also smooth out those quiet moments when the conversation dies down.

 

Tip #4: Always have snacks available

 

One big hosting faux pas is under serving. Your guests may feel uncomfortable asking for things, and I wouldn’t want my guest dying of thirst and not even realize it. Having simple things out such as bowls of chips, pretzels, or candy is a simple solution. Also having bottled drinks is an easy way to always have drinks readily available.

 

Tip #5: Smells

 

Having the house smell of fall or Christmas brings an entirely different feel to the party. cranberryYou could easily throw together some potpourri on the stove. Throw in whatever you’d like, but there are some awesome recipes out there to make your home smell of fall or Christmas. Things like cranberries, tangerines, cinnamon sticks, ginger, vanilla, and fresh pine go really well together. You could of course, opt for the candles. Either way, scents will make your home much more relaxing and welcoming.

 

 

Tip #6: Fix your blinds

 

Okay, this something most people don’t think about. While some things are more common to worry about, such as cleaning the house, decorating, and overall plans… What about those smaller, less common issues that arise, such as finally fixing those blinds that have been broken so long that you don’t even realize they are broken anymore. You really want to impress the family this year, and all of a sudden those blinds that won’t open or close all the way become a bigger deal.

First, don’t panic. Thankfully, companies such as Fix My Blinds exist. If your blinds aren’t opening or closing completely, you may need something replaced in the head rail, such as a tilt mechanism.

Was that last sentence gibberish to you? Feel free to visit our website at www.FixMyBlinds.com, call us at (719) 597- 0696, or email service@fixmyblinds.com, and we would be happy to answer any questions, and guide you through the process of fixing your blinds.

Happy entertaining!

From Trashy to Classy

It’s a necessary part of several rooms in your home, especially the kitchen. But even a simple, daily item can cause frustration. Below are some ideas to make your trash can less trashy.

     1. Air Patrol!

Don’t you hate it when there’s an air pocket between the trash can wall and the bag? You constantly have the “burp” the bag so that it can expand to hold all the goodies. Here’s an easy way to fix this annoyance.

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Drill a hole in the wall of the trash can with a large drill bit. Place it near the top of the trash can on the back side. No one will see it, but the air will escape, leaving your trash bag plenty of room to spread out.

     2. What Stinks? 

We all throw away some gross stuff in the kitchen trash, and our homes can be invaded by smells. The very best way to eliminate trashy odors is with basic baking soda. This time-tested odor-absorbing fix can be sprinkled directly into the bag or between the bag and the trash can itself. When it’s time to wash the can, the baking soda can be used to clean as well. This is a super cheap and easy fix.

     3. Hang in There! 

Now, about those smaller trash cans around the house, especially in the bathrooms and bedrooms. It’s always good to place a plastic bag in them for easy trash disposal, but the bag can often slip down, and trash may not make it in the bag. I line my smaller trash cans with shopping bags from the grocery store.

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Simply place an upside down removable plastic hook on the outside of the trash can and hook the handle of the shopping bag around the hook. (We used 3M Command hooks.) These won’t damage the receptacle and are easy to remove.

You could use all these tips in less than 15 minutes to solve your trash can troubles!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Slats, Slats, Slats!

Have your blinds reached the point of no return? When it’s time to replace them, think twice before tossing the old ones! There are so many creative, fun things you can do with an old, tattered blinds. I’ve compiled a list of fun and functional ways to reuse your blind slats.

Shutters

First, I will start with old shutters. These are easy to turn into something great! You can slap on some paint, and hang as decoration. One of my favorite ways to reuse these is turning them into a functional piece of décor. Take for instance this DIY organizer:

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Or this mail holder:

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Adding hooks to the bottom makes it even more functional, especially if you are like me and always misplace your keys.

Garden

Another great idea for re-purposing old blind slats is gardening. You can use blind slats to organize your garden and to give it a little more character.

Here is a great way to organize your plants with old blind slats. I think using them as plant tags is a great idea because the slats should do a pretty good job handling the sunlight.

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You can also make a square foot garden using the old slats as shown here:

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One of the most frustrating things is when you have clean floors and someone comes in from the garden and gets dirt everywhere. Here is a fun, stylish solution to keeping the dirt outside, where it belongs:

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Organizational

A quick, easy and inexpensive way to organize your kitchen drawers is to line some blind slats in them to make compartments like this:

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Decor

Last, but not least, you can turn old blind slats into pieces of art to hang around your house or office.

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Whatever you do with your blind slats, have fun and get creative!

National Window Covering Safety Month

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Later this month, you may take your child or grandchild trick or treating. Imagine walking on the sidewalk with your young child in your neighborhood, their small, warm hand in yours. You’ve made sure that they are wearing warm clothes, comfortable shoes and can see well if they are wearing a mask. You’ve taken all of the safety precautions as possible. It’s what we do; we’re parents, grandparents and caregivers!

This month isn’t just for candy and Halloween. October marks National Window Covering Safety Month and brings to the forefront of our minds the safety of all window coverings. According to the US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), corded window coverings are one of the top five hidden hazards in American homes.(The other four hidden hazards are magnets, recalled products, furniture tip-over and pool/spa drains.)

The CPSC recommends only cordless window coverings or those with inaccessible cords be used in homes with young children. This will prevent possible child strangulation from loose or long cords. Below are basic tips to keep your children safe from window coverings:

  • Move all furniture, cribs, beds and climbable surfaces away from windows.
  • Keep all window cords well out of the reach of children. Eliminate any dangling cords.
  • Install only cordless window coverings in homes with young children.
  • Make sure tasseled pull cords are as short as possible. Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies and vertical blinds should be pulled tight, and anchored to the floor or wall.
  • Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit inner-cord movement.
  • Order and install free retrofit kits on older blinds and shades.

To learn more about blind and shade safety or order free retrofit kits, please visit the Window Covering Safety Council at www.windowcoverings.org or call toll free at 1-800-506.4636.

Information for this post taken partially from: http://windowcoverings.org/october-kicks-off-national-window-covering-safety-month/

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

cozy-winter-fireplace-knitted-socks-desktop-wallpaperWinter is right around the corner, and if your windows are anything like mine, you will soon be having cold air drafting through them while they are closed. There are a few things that can be done to keep yourself warm and save on energy costs in the coming months.

Growing up in my parents house with old single pane windows, around October every year, my mom would put plastic up around the window. The difference was noticeable almost immediately. This is an inexpensive and fairly easy way to keep the cool air out and warm air in. Window Insulator Kits are available in just about every hardware and general store. The instructions in the kits do a good job of guiding you, and all that is needed is a hair dryer to shrink the plastic film to keep it airtight. It may, however, be best to keep the plastic off of windows or glass doors that need to be opened and closed frequently. Multiple videos can also be found online on how to put the plastic up; here is a good one that shows the process step by step.

Heavy blackout curtains are also a good option to provide an extra layer of insulation that keeps the heat in. While they are usually more pricey than the plastic mentioned above, they are available in a fairly large price range allowing you to find some that fit your needs while also adding some decoration to the room.

cellular-shades-13Cellular shades are by far the best insulation option if you are looking for a more traditional blind/shade window covering. You would want to get a double cell shade to provide an extra layer over the single cell option. They are also available in light filtering or blackout depending on how much light and heat you want entering the room. These can be purchased off the shelf or custom made depending on the size of your window, and again are available in a fairly large price range.

Another option is to caulk the window to seal any holes or cracks that may have formed in the frame allowing air to get in and out. Check out this video on how apply the caulk.

When DIY = Failure

I recently got new bedding. My bedside lamp didn’t match anymore, and rather than purchase a new lamp, I decided to spray paint the one I’d been using. I followed a cool tutorial that included spray painting not just the base of the lamp, but also the lamp shade. (See tutorial here.)

The base came out great! The lamp shade…not so much. In the end, I purchased a new lamp shade to finish the project. Here’s proof of this project’s partial failure. Even those of us in the DIY business still have things that don’t quite turn out right.

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Starting out. Painting the base navy and the lampshade white.

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Disassembled the lamp and tapped off the light bulb base. Made the fatal error of cleaning shade with a lint roller. This made the cloth fibers of the shade fuzzy.

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Painting the base was a breeze. Came out nice a glossy as planned.

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Spray painted the shade. It wouldn’t cover well, looked blotchy and fuzzy. Tiny pieces of the shade came off whenever it was touched.

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Tried using the painted shade. It looked awful when the light was on. It was very blotchy and left white “shade crumbs” all over. Time for Plan B!

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Finished product with the new shade I bought for $10. Project was still cheaper than purchasing a new lamp and matches exactly how I wanted!

 

What is it? A Clutched Tilt Mechanism

economy_wood_blinds__81503-1344963582-1280-1280Imagine waking up on a blue-skied, sunny day, and, wanting to enjoy the view, you twist the wand to open your horizontal blinds, but nothing happens. The gear inside is broken, and you can’t appreciate your view!

One of the most common repairs on horizontal blinds is replacing the tilt mechanism. That is the gear inside the head rail of the blinds that controls the tilting of the slats that make up the blind. Your blind may have a tilt mechanism that is controlled by a wand or by cord.

Many tilt mechanisms are fully geared, meaning that there are teeth all the way around the gear wheel. However, some tilt mechanism feature a clutch. This means that there is an area on the gear wheel that does NOT have teeth on it. The benefit of a clutched tilt mechanism is that it cannot be over-tightened, causing part failure.

Installing a tilt mechanism with a clutch requires one additional step compared to a non-geared mechanism. Before installing the tilter, you need to set it so that it will open and close the slats completely. Capture2This video shows how to set this type of tilt mechanism before installing: WATCH VIDEO

To select the correct tilt mechanism for your blinds, please visit our easy to follow buying guide here.

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