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In the fall farmers and gardeners gather in the produce that they have been looking forward to for months. But the harvest begins long before fall and, in fact, is the result of observing specific principles that can also be applied to most aspects of life.

1. Prepare the soil - It is important that the soil has the proper acidity and composition to encourage growth. In your personal life you also need to have an environment of people and places that will help you to grow and reach your potential.

2. Sow the seeds - “Wishing doesn’t make it so”. You will not reap unless you have first sown. Many people state that they want to learn a skill or become a better person but do not begin the process. Then fall arrives and they have regrets.

3. Protect the crop - Insects, disease and predators can destroy the crop if you do not take precautions. That’s why farmers spray in June and July even when it might be more fun to go to the beach instead. In life, we need to protect our dreams and ideas so that they are not destroyed before they can mature.

4. Invest your energy - The whole process of growing a crop requires a good work ethic. Supplies must be purchased. Research takes effort. Add your labor so the seed will germinate, grow and ripen. Life also requires an investment of energy.

5. Be sensitive about timing - “There’s no point in trying to talk to a farmer when it’s seeding or harvest”. Farmers understand that time and opportunity must meet to allow success. You can do all the right things and still get terrible results if your timing is off.

6. Know that you will reap in kind - When you plant wheat you will harvest wheat - not corn or watermelon or fruit. When you plant lies or nasty words or gossip you will likely not get returns that are positive. Plant what you want in return.

7. Your seed will produce more than you sowed - I once planted a handful of pumpkin seeds that resulted in a crop of ninety-nine pumpkins! You usually get more than you started with so be careful.

If you are harvesting right now and feel disappointed about the results, do not curse the crop or look for something to blame. Instead, decide what needs to be changed and then look forward to a much better crop in the future.

Dr. Linda Hancock
Registered Psychologist & Social Worker

For decades, you’ve been told to install fresh batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide alarms when you change your clocks in spring and fall. This simple reminder has no doubt saved countless lives, since fire investigators tell us that powered and properly maintained smoke alarms double your chances of escape. In addition, however, a home safety expert at the country’s leading alarm manufacturer says one more step is needed to ensure your home’s protection.

Smoke alarms scan for danger millions of times in their lifespan, so eventually they wear out. Smoke alarms must be replaced every 10 years, and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms every five to seven years depending on the manufacturer. Checking the age of your system is critical, so that you don’t put new batteries into outdated alarms. These replacement rules apply whether alarms are battery powered or hand-wired.

Here are three timely safety reminders.

1. Install smoke alarms on every storey of your home and inside bedrooms if you sleep with doors closed.

2. Never take down an alarm or remove its batteries to silence a nuisance alarm; instead install a photoelectric smoke alarm near the kitchen as they are less prone to cooking smoke.

3. If you have any fuel-fired devices or appliances (furnace, water heater, gas or wood fireplace, range or clothes dryer) or an attached garage or carport, you need to install at least one approved carbon monoxide alarm.

Here are five proven tips for ensuring you get a great bathroom renovation and possibly avoid a renovation disaster.

1. Hire a true bathroom renovation expert. A bathroom renovation is one of the most complex renovations. You'll need a specialist not a jack-of-all-trades. Someone who will know all the issues that will need to be dealt with.

2. Make sure there is a showroom. Here you can see typical bathroom displays and the quality of the workmanship. You have somewhere to go and someone to speak with should issues arise.

3. Ask for three references. These should include a) a current project being worked on b) a project that is 3 to 6 months old, and c) a project that is about a year old. If you can see the work previously done, all the better.

4. Make sure you have a realistic budget. Include everything for the project that you want done (pay close attention to this). Never hire someone to do your project because of a low price or just because it fits your time frame.

5. Stay away from cash deals. They mean no paperwork, no warranty, and nowhere to turn if there are problems afterwards.

With these simple suggestions, you could make your carpet last forever.

1. Get rid of pet hair. Put on a rubber glove and run your hand over the carpet - pet hairs should magically cling to the glove.

2. Vacuum this way. To get rid of deep down dirt move the vacuum in several directions.

3. Remove dents. Place an ice cube in the dent and let it melt, then blot the wet spot. Use a spoon to re-fluff the fibers.

4. Protect it from the sun. For carpet in a sunny area, close the drapes to prevent fading.

5. Put on socks. The oils on your feet stick to the carpet and attract dirt and grime that harm the fibers.

6. Fight odors. Sprinkle baking soda over your carpet and let it sit for an hour. Then vacuum away for a smell-free room.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, a byproduct of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, is a colorless, odorless gas. Breathing CO reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen. In severe cases, CO can cause death. Defective or malfunctioning fossil fuel appliances, or inappropriate use of appliances that burn fossil fuel close to or inside the home can pose a serious health hazard.

Here are a few examples of dangerous operations:

• Running an automobile or gas lawn mower inside the garage

• Operating a barbeque inside the home

• A gas or oil burning furnace with a blockage in the chimney

• Kerosene space heaters

• Operating a generator in the home during a power failure

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, confusion, and loss of consciousness. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to death. Low level poisoning may go unnoticed because it may be mistaken for the flu.

Carbon Monoxide Detector
You should have at least one carbon monoxide detector in your home. In some geographic areas, a CO detector is required by law. The CO detector should be placed where you can hear it if, it goes off when you are asleep. A CO detector does not have to be placed on the ceiling, since unlike smoke, CO has approximately the same weight as air so it mixes uniformly throughout the room rather than floating up to the ceiling. To avoid false alarms, do not install the detector next to heating and cooking appliances, vents, flues, or chimneys. Make sure you read and follow the operating, placement, and testing instructions that come with the detector.

If the carbon monoxide detector alarms, take it seriously.

If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, it should be located where you can hear it when you are sleeping. For greater safety, multiple CO detectors can be installed throughout the home, follow the instructions packaged with the detector.

These are the habits most likely to get and keep your memory sharp, say researchers who surveyed 30,000 people:

1. Watching less than one hour of TV a day.

2. Reading novels or magazines.

3. Having fewer than two alcoholic drinks a day.

4. Eating fish three times a week.

5. Doing crossword puzzles often.

6. Drinking tea or coffee.

7. Keeping a journal.

8. An observant perfectionist.

Use these smart suggestions to repurpose those empty coffee canisters.

1. Gather grease. Pour hot grease from cooking into a coffee can, place in freezer until full, then toss. Save your drains from clogs.

2. Easy compost. Keep an empty coffee can on your counter to hold kitchen scraps in between trips to the compost pile - the lid will contain any odors.

3. Plant flowers. Punch a few holes in the bottom of a coffee can for drainage and fill with soil, then plant your favorite flowers. Bonus: You can use the plastic lid as a saucer.

Have your heating systems serviced every year by a qualified technician.

Have your fireplace chimney cleaned and inspected every year.

Install at least one CO detector in your home and replace the batteries twice per year.

Open the garage door prior to starting your car; drive the car out promptly. Do not leave it idling in the garage. Do not use a remote car starter when the car is in the garage.

Do not use a charcoal or propane barbeque in the home.

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