June 14, Flag Day and the Army’s birthday!

You probably know about Flag Day, the day set aside to honor the day in 1775 when the thirteen colonies produced and adopted their own flag.  But, did you know that it is also the day which commemorates the establishment of the first American Army?  It is the Army’s birthday too, and we will tell you all about it!

Flag Day

Flag Day was first proposed in 1885 by a school teacher.  It was established by proclamation in 1916.  And established as a national holiday by congress in 1949.  Oh, you knew that?  Well, good for you!  Also equally relevant, the Army’s birthday, and here’s the story about that.

Happy Birthday, Army!

The year was 1775.  The thirteen colonies were about to go to war with the mega-power, England.  The colonies had been using local militia for skirmishes around Boston. Authority over the small groups sent to fight from each colony was a big problem.

But, the fledgling country realized that it needed a better chain of command, as well as more centralized leadership.  The country needed an Army.  And on June 14, 1775, the congress resolved  to create rules and regulations for the army they needed to create.  Also, they passed measures to enlist ten companies of rifle sharpshooters, and they raised the money to pay their new army.

George Washington, first commander-in-chief

George Washington was commissioned the first commander-in-chief of the newly adopted army.  He officially took over command on July 3, 1775.

The  Navy, and the Marines began in 1775 also.  The Marines began on November 10, 1775.  Furthermore, the Navy began on October 13, 1775.  The coast guard began in 1777.  The Air Force began September 14, 1947.

Currently, over one million people serve in the Army with another 800,000 or so serving in the seven  reserve components which happen to be: Army reserve, Marine reserve, Air Force reserve,  and Navy reserve.  In addition, there are the Coast Guard reserve, the Air National Guard, and the Army National Guard.

So now, you too are an expert on the Army’s birthday!


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Still time to plant a garden!

According to  garden experts, it is way too late to plant seeds with the hope of a good crop. They are probably right, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t grow some vegetables.  If you do it right….

How do I start now?

In case you hadn’t noticed, almost everywhere you shop stores are offering plants.  Vegetables, flowers both annual and perennial, vines, shrubs, and trees.  The world is loaded with things you can grow!  If you wanted to harvest tomatoes but neglected to start seeds in your kitchen  in March, don’t worry!  There’s still time to get  plants and plant them.  With good weather, and good luck, you should get some wonderful home-grown tomatoes by Fall.

Vegetable plants, started and growing are available everywhere you look.  The trick at this point is to buy the biggest, hardiest shortest growing season plants you can get  your hands on.

For example, you can buy many different types of tomatoes, from Beefsteaks, which take longer to grow but produce much larger fruit,  to Early Girl, the type we usually grow here in North Central Idaho.  We have had good luck with the Early Girl, mostly because it has the shortest growing time.  We usually do start our plants inside, even though we buy them as plants.

Tomatoes don’t like it cold.  Spring around here is especially unpredictable,so  it is best to keep the plants indoors until you are sure that cold nights are past.  There are vegetables which like it cold, like lettuce, which will do fine outside right now, but tomatoes will not.

What else can I plant?

We hope that you don’t mind that vegetable seed planting time has passed you by.  You can  just buy your vegetables pre-grown from the grocery store, that’s good too.  There are TONS of other options, as we mentioned above.  Pick whatever you would like to grow, buy it, and get in the ground, and enjoy the nice weather and the fruits of your recent labors!

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The great ordeal, time to unpack!

Success!  You have gotten moved!  All of your belongings are again housed inside a structure other than a moving van or your truck and/or trailer.  You can be proud of yourself.  Ok, that’s long enough!  Time to start to unpack!

What should I  unpack first?

We think that the obvious place to start is in the kitchen.  Even though you and your family have enjoyed sampling the dining offerings at ALL the local eateries, it will be nice to eat a home-cooked meal, even if it is only hot dogs.  Therefore, getting the kitchen even somewhat setup makes a good place to start with the unpacking.  We know that you have marked your boxes so that you can put your hands on everything you will need to get things cooking in your new kitchen.  Right?  Well, anyway…

Once the kitchen is at least somewhat sorted out, you can begin unpacking your bathroom.  You have been able to make do with the two towels that you put in the dreaded  “last box”, but now, it will be nice to change them for some other of your favorites and give the moving towels a week off.  Laundry will be the next stop for those towels!

Where else should I concentrate?

Since your furniture should be approximately where it will be placed in your new home, you should try to get your laundry up and running.  We told you to plan for about a week of clothes left out, and you probably are ready to wash them, as well as anything that got dirty during the move.  Hopefully, your soap and other laundry products are clearly marked and accessible…

How about my clothes?

We know that you packed your clothes where you could find them. It’s no fun to wear the same five shirts and two pairs of jeans much past a week, so locate your clothes boxes and get them back in the dresser or hung in the new closet.

By this time, you should be well on your way to being completely unpacked!   Yay!   Congratulations!


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Great Spring rental ideas

door1Well, it looks like Spring is finally making an appearance here and people are finally going outside and moving around.  They will be looking for homes and apartments to rent. The last time you  updated  your rental property was when?  Use these three tips for easy cost-effective updates that will bring you a great return!

One: Install a new outside door

The first thing a potential renter will see about your property is the front door.  The first impression will not be great if the door looks old and worn out.  To change the front door is easy, inexpensive, and a great way to make your property more appealing to renters.  Also,  you can easily replace the door hardware if it is worn out.  Remember, the color and style that you choose will say volumes about what is inside.  Choose the right color and hardware and your rental will really stand out at first look.

Second, paint that interior!

When was the last time that you painted the interior of your rental ?  If it’s been a few years, it is a wonder what a fresh coat of paint will do to spruce up your rental and give the space a new feel.  We have discussed paint colors in the past, but new fresh paint gives an excellent financial return.

Third, that shower curtain!

When did you replace that shower curtain in your rental home last?   Don’t remember?  not good. Does it match the bathroom paint?  Is it clean and fresh?  If the answer to any of these questions is no, you need to replace the shower curtain.  Shower curtains are very affordable.  In addition, they come in an endless variety of colors and styles, are easy to install and will make a world of difference to the appearance of your bathroom.

In conclusion, it’s time to do those small inexpensive updates that will make your rental  the one to love!


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Spring clean that living room!

curtainJust in case Spring does arrive, we want you to be ready.  That means you had probably better think about Spring cleaning your home.  You have kept up with the vacuuming and dusting.  You have done laundry every Monday.  Good for you!  Now it is time to clean that living room!

Your living room

All Winter, you have been living in your living room.  You have been keeping warm by the wood stove or fireplace.  Or, you have been watching the snow from there.  You have spent hours and hours wishing you were outside.  Playing golf, planting the garden, taking a sunbath.  Whatever you have been longing for or  dreaming about, you have probably been doing it in the living room. Therefore, it is time for you to clean that most-used area.  First, those curtains!

Clean your curtains!

While we don’t know how you see your curtains, we don’t think about the dust that lands on them.  You would think that dust only lands on horizontal surfaces, but it lands everywhere.  As a result,  you will be amazed at how dirty they were once you have cleaned them.

Find that pesky tag on your curtains, the one that tells you NEVER to remove it.  It should have cleaning and drying instructions.   You may get away with just vacuuming them really well. They may only need  steaming.  Assuming that you stayed away from those expensive “dry clean only” drapes, you may be able to wash them in your washing machine.  After washing, you can hang them back up.  Or, you can touch them up with your iron when they are dried if needed.  The iron, you know, that silver metal device your Grandmother used to straighten her hair back in the day?  Well, never mind, on we go…

Just these few tips will make a surprising difference in the appearance of your home, and may even inspire you to tackle the rest of your living room!

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