‘Resourceful’ is just another word for ‘prepared’.
We work hard to give you everything you need for a successful, enjoyable real estate transaction.
We’re happy to provide you with a few of the tools you need to prepare in the pages below.
Once you’ve armed yourself with a little bit of knowledge and are ready to act, get us on your side for a smoother, faster, less stressful transaction.
We look forward to working for you!
Duncan & Wendy
Suggestions to plan a dinner party!
Wow your guests with your service and etiquette by following these tips. Of course, wowing them with the food is entirely up to you!
- Invitations – they can be written, delivered by phone or in person, or emailed (only for the informal get-togethers!). Guests are expected to RSVP.
- Greet your guests as they come to the door. Have a place for their personal items. Introduce people. Accept host/ess gifts graciously.
- Offer guests beverages and hors d’oeuvres.
- During hors d’oeuvres, slip out to the kitchen quickly to get the first course on the table before the guests are asked to take their seats (unless that first course is hot, in which case you should wait until the guests are seated).
- Call guests to the table and direct them to where you want them to sit, either with place cards or verbally.
- Follow an etiquette book as far as setting the table. Many things have changed in recent years. Not all of the pieces that were once used are necessary now, and some utensils are placed in different locations. A guest should never have to move a utensil to get to his/her napkin.
- After each course, remove the plate and utensils used.
- After the entree, remove all plates, used utensils, salt and pepper, butter, dressing, and so on. The dessert fork and spoon are usually placed at the top of the plate. They would remain on the table until dessert is served.
- Serve dessert and coffee cups. Place sugar and creamer on the table.
- After dessert, you do not need to remove the dessert dishes, unless they will be seen from the living room or family room for the rest of the evening.
- Hors d’oeuvres and cocktail glasses should have been cleared already.
- Games and conversation are both acceptable during this time.
- When guests leave, get their coat and belongings, walk them to the door, say a brief good-bye and return to the other guests.
Tips for Indoor and Outdoor Grilling
Wanting to learn how to do some outdoor or indoor grilling? Here are some helpful tips to follow:
- A hot grill is your best defense against sticky situations. Be sure that the grates are piping hot before laying down your food.
- Keep a spray bottle of water close by to tame any flare-ups.
- To oil your grill without creating a wild fire: fold up a cotton kitchen towel, lightly dip in vegetable oil, and use your tongs to glide a coat onto the grates.
- Barbeque sauces contain sugar that caramelize and then quickly burn. Try a dry rub in the beginning and then at the end of grilling baste with a thin coating of sauce.
- When cooking anything skewered soak the wooden sticks in water first to prevent them from burning.
Links to check out:
The microbiological process that creates compost is the natural process through which plants and other organic wastes are broken down. Doing the work of creating compost are worms, insects, fungi, bacteria, and other microorganisms that help to process dead materials.
The Golden Rule of Composting
Composting is a natural process that will pretty much happen no matter what. There is no need to obsess over creating a rapid, robust compost because even a failed compost heap will eventually succeed. That said, a very effectively created compost heap will proceed to finished compost much, much more quickly (and can be a strangely rewarding accomplishment).
For the composting process to occur, oxygen, water, some warmth, and a good ratio of carbon-based to nitrogen-based materials are necessary. Fortunately, every one of these materials is abundantly available and should be essentially free!
Many different compost bins are available, for many different prices (naturally). In fact, many cities offer conservation incentives through which they offer bins at highly discounted rates. Which one should you get? Here’s the beautiful thing – it really doesn’t matter. You will run into trouble if your bin is too small, but otherwise, any old container will do. In fact, no container at all is just fine too! Some of the best compost heaps are just that – a heap in a corner of the yard with a small enclosure or picket fence to keep things looking tidy.
The insects and microorganisms that do the work of composting will come no matter what you do. Fortunately, putting out the right combination of nitrogen- and carbon- based materials will be like offering them a free all-you-can-eat buffet. Carbon-based materials to add to your compost should be available in abundance. These are the brown materials such as dead grass clippings, leaves, and even shredded cardboard. Nitrogen-based, or green, materials, can take the form of fruit peels, green grass clippings, and food wastes (avoid adding dairy and meat wastes). The ideal ratio for your compost is about 30 parts carbon to 1 part nitrogen, but anywhere in that neighborhood will work just fine.
The other two ingredients you will need to ensure a speedy process are water and air. Because the center of your heap will retain a great deal of water, the compost should not need to be wetted very often except during dry spells.
Oxygen is introduced by turning the compost (a pitchfork works best) about once a week, or when the compost slows down.
What (you hope!) Will Happen
If you have built a heap with a good carbon to nitrogen ratio, and one that’s sufficiently damp and oxygenated, the composting process should start immediately. After a while (approximately a day), when the process peaks, the center of your pile will be producing heat (sometimes a surprising amount of heat!). It is up to you whether you want to completely compost a batch of wastes and then start over, or simply add wastes as they become available. When the center of the pile cools, the process has slowed and it’s probably time to turn your pile. Repeat until you’ve got nothing left but black gold.
When your compost has been – well – composted – what will remain is a moist, black, sweet-smelling mulch approximately the consistency of soggy cardboard. Nature’s most potent fertilizer, compost can be spread on your flowers, in your garden, on your lawn, and anywhere else you want healthy, strong plants.
Skip the trash can for some of your waste – six weeks in your compost heap can break down more material than six years in a landfill – and the end result is free, natural fertilizer for your efforts!
Get Along (with your) Doggy:
Smoothly introducing your dog to your new home
Moving into your new home is very exciting, for your entire family!! But did you know that introducing your dog into a new home can be incredibly stressful for them? Fortunately, there are a lot of things that we can do to make this transition easier on them, which in the end makes it easier on us!
There are a lot of things that you can do to make the move less stressful on your pet. When moving, if possible, it would be a good idea to leave the dog with a friend they know. This will keep the dog out of your way when you are moving furniture, and decrease the chance that any accidents may happen. You can also leave the dog in the backyard while you move, as long as it is fully fenced and they cannot escape! Can’t do either? Well then, the ‘least worst’ scenario is to crate your dog while moving the furniture into the home. Make sure the crate is large enough that they can stand up, turn around and lay down comfortably, and be sure to give them access to water and let them outside to ‘do their business’ every few hours. Doors will be left open, items will be dropped, there will be a lot of commotion, and the best way to keep your pet safe during this time is to keep them out of the way!
During the packing process, you can actually plan ahead to make this as smooth a transition as possible for your four legged friend. Instead of trying to cram the packing into one or two days, planning to pack over a longer period of time can reduce the stress on your dog (and probably yourself as well!). Make sure that you pack their water and food bowls, toys, and blankets/beds in a separate box that will be easily accessible once you are at your new home. Dogs do not like change, so the more familiar the setting, the better! One easy trick is to make sure that they have belongings that smell like you, their people! Having a familiar scent in a strange place can make the transition easier. All you would need to do is put their toys in your laundry hamper for a few days, and they will smell just like you!! And don’t feel embarrassed, this is like the sweet smell of roses for your dog. These are as important to your dog as your child’s teddy bear is to them.
Housetraining is always a big issue, and even well-trained dogs may not know where to ‘go’ in a new home. When you bring them to your new house, make sure that they are taken into the back right away, where they can ‘do their business’. It may sound silly, but it is always a good idea to reward them with praise, so that they know they did something good! It may seem odd to your new neighbors that you are congratulating your dog for successfully going to the bathroom (you may become the most talked about person on your street), but your dog will think that they just won a gold medal for it!! You will want to keep en eye on them to make sure that they are able to find the back door (or front door depending on the home) whenever necessary. Here is a good rule of thumb to remember: let them out after playing for a period of time (15-30 minutes depending on age), after they wake up, and after they eat!
For puppies, the rules need to be modified slightly. You still want to show them where the door is, and give them lots of praise when they go where they should (this should be a very exciting event for them, and remember that the gold medal they are winning can come in the form of a treat!). Be sure to let them outside as often as possible, especially immediately after they eat, wake up, and every 10-15 minutes during playtime! There will be accidents, no puppy is perfect (adorable yes, perfect no!), so be patient and keep it positive!
Another point to keep in mind is that a puppy can ‘hold it’ for approximately 1 hour for every month they are old. For example, a puppy that is only 2 months old, can generally ‘hold it’ for approximately 2 hours at a time! This may not apply to every puppy, as they are just as different from each other as we are from other people, but it does give you an idea of what to expect.
For other great tips on housetraining your pet, please visit The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or The Humane Society of the United States.
Some other great links for advice on moving with your pet include:
Pets Welcome – a great website for finding pet friendly hotels, for those long distance moves
Air Animal (pet movers) – for the really, really long distance moves
Atlas World Group — great advice for moving tips
Planning To Relocate?
- Keep the following supplies and accessories on hand:
- Boxes, all sizes
- Bubble wrap or other cushioning material
- Marking pens
- Tape Measure
- Furniture pads or old blankets
- Money and credit cards