I take pride in my heritage and would love this near the front door. Think it has just become a project in my near future.
We are honored to have a new Guest Writer Philip Brown who blogs over at The Lawn Enthusiast! Philip Brown is a lover of green, healthy lawns. A former lawn care professional, Philip now spends his time sharing what he knows with others and blogging about it at The Lawn Enthusiast. I have spent some time at his website and found some incredible information that I am sure you will enjoy. Please check him out – and I look forward to sharing more from him in the near future.
As we prepare for the joys.of the holiday season, we must remember to protect our pets from the rigors of winter weather. The veterinarians at Animal Humane offer the following tips to safeguard your pet’s health and happiness during the cold winter months:
• Keep young, elderly and small pets indoors. Small animals cannot tolerate the cold as well as larger pets with greater body mass. Just like humans, the very young and the very old are weaker, feebler and always, at greater risk to succumbing to pneumonia or even freezing to death.
• Be aware of the many ways that automobifes can be deadly to pets in the winter. Cats frequently seek out the warmth of automobile engines for example and can be injured or killed by the fan when a motor is started. As a precaution, develop the habit of banging on the hood of you’r car before engaging the engine.
• Never leave your pet unattended in a car. Not only is it illegal, but animals can freeze to death quickly in the small, cold space.
• Make sure your radiator is not leaking antifreeze, which smells and tastes sweet but is deadly to animals. Have your vehicle professionally serviced on a regular basis. Also, consider switching to pet-friendly propylene glycol products rather than those containing ethyleneglycol.
• Provide your pet sufficient food. Animals have greater caloric and nutritional requirements during cold weather, especially if they spend time outdoors.
• Fill your pet’s bowl with plenty of fresh water, which is even more impprtant than food to an outdoor pet in winter. And make certain the water source is not frozen.
• Don’t permit holiday guests to offer your pets food, bones or alcohol. At the very least, this can cause severe gastric upset. At worst, brittle cooked bones can rupture the intestinal tract, spicy foods can produce hemorrhagic gastroenteritis; and alcohol can induce intoxication, coma or death.
• Keep poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, Star of Bethlehem and holiday bouquets safely out of Fido’s and Miss Kitty’s reach. If your pet ingests a potentially harmful substance, call the American Society for the Prevention of Animal Cruelty Animal Poison Control Center at 888.426-4435 and seek veterinary care immediately.
• Keep your pet warm and dry. An animal’s coat is natural insulation. Resist the temptation to thin it or shave it. Invest in a warm coat or sweater for outdoor activity if your pet is small or has short hair.
• Provide a dry, insulated shelter where your pet can escape drafts and the elements, preferably off the ground.
• Have your pets microchipped and tagged with your address and phone number. If they do become lost, they can be quickly and safely returned to you.
Add the following supplies to your disaster supplies kit:
- Rock salt to melt ice on walkways
- Sand to improve traction
- Snow shovels and other snow removal equipment.
Prepare your home and family
- Prepare for possible isolation in your home by having sufficient heating fuel; regular fuel sources may be cut off. For example, store a good supply of dry, seasoned wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
- Winterize your home to extend the life of your fuel supply by insulating walls and attics, caulking and weather-stripping doors and windows, and installing storm windows or covering windows with plastic.
- Winterize your house, barn, shed or any other structure that may provide shelter for your family, neighbors, livestock or equipment. Clear rain gutters; repair roof leaks and cut away tree branches that could fall on a house or other structure during a storm.
- Insulate pipes with insulation or newspapers and plastic and allow faucets to drip a little during cold weather to avoid freezing.
- Keep fire extinguishers on hand, and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them. House fires pose an additional risk, as more people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions.
- Learn how to shut off water valves (in case a pipe bursts).
- Know ahead of time what you should do to help elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
- Hire a contractor to check the structural ability of the roof to sustain unusually heavy weight from the accumulation of snow – or water, if drains on flat roofs do not work.
Prepare your car
- Check or have a mechanic check the following items on your car:
- Antifreeze levels – ensure they are sufficient to avoid freezing.
- Battery and ignition system – should be in top condition and battery terminals should be clean.
- Brakes – check for wear and fluid levels.
- Exhaust system – check for leaks and crimped pipes andrepair or replace as necessary. Carbon monoxide is deadly and usually gives no warning.
- Fuel and air filters – replace and keep water out of the system by using additives and maintaining a full tank of gas.
- Heater and defroster – ensure they work properly.
- Lights and flashing hazard lights – check for serviceability.
- Oil – check for level and weight. Heavier oils congeal more at low temperatures and do not lubricate as well.
- Thermostat – ensure it works properly.
- Windshield wiper equipment – repair any problems and maintain proper washer fluid level.
- Install good winter tires. Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions. However, some jurisdictions require that to drive on their roads, vehicles must be equipped with chains or snow tires with studs.
- Maintain at least a half tank of gas during the winter season.
- Place a winter emergency kit in each car that includes:
- a shovel
- windshield scraper and small broom
- battery powered radio
- extra batteries
- snack food
- extra hats, socks and mittens
- First aid kit with pocket knife
- Necessary medications
- tow chain or rope
- road salt and sand
- booster cables
- emergency flares
- fluorescent distress flag
Dress for the Weather
- Wear several layers of loose fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. The outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent.
- Wear mittens, which are warmer than gloves.
- Wear a hat.
- Cover your mouth with a scarf to protect your lungs.