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Archives for September 27, 2015

As I see it: It’s fall, and time to get busy

Saturday, September 26, 2015 7:06 am

As I see it: It’s fall, and time to get busy

By Capt. Fred Davis

Whether you live in the Thumb or the metro area, the list of fall chores is very important.  It’s easy to say, “I’ll do them next week,” because it’s still warm out and there are fun things to do. If you pass on doing them too many times, you may be caught by poor weather which makes the work very uncomfortable. 

You probably have a list, but if not, make one. Some ideas may include winterizing vehicles; cars, boats, personal watercraft, generators and gas-powered equipment. Pour stabilizer in each tank you transfer fuel with, then fill with fresh fuel. Using this fuel, fill all gas powered equipment.  If you plan to continue using any of them, it’s still a good time to use the stabilizer. It will clean out the tank and filters, especially those with ethanol fuel in them. Ethanol may cause extensive damage if left in the equipment for an extended time. Don’t forget your scooters, motorcycles or any other motors that run on gas.  Be sure to treat that back-up generator if you want it to work when needed.

Make sure all your small, gas-powered tools; mowers, trimmers, chain saw, blowers, etc. run with the treated fuel. When you fill your small device tanks, be sure to start them up even if you don’t plan to use them the rest of the year. The objective is to treat and clean the entire system. If you do continue using these tools, remember to refill them with the treated fuel.  

The fairer sex that read my column can help with the next item on my idea list. Treat the lawn and flowers, cut back and cover any that need it.  Fertilize for the cold season. There are lots of landscaping chores that will need to be done that most of you know a lot more about than I.

Your list may include sealing around windows — storm windows are a thing of the past on most homes.  Even expensive, new windows and doors can leak. If you feel a leak, try to seal it up.  Doing this will help with the heating bill. There are various seals available at building supply outlets and most local hardware stores.  As you are doing this, remember bugs and varmints will want to get in out of the cold. Make sure small holes are plugged, there are good sealants to accomplish this task. 

 If you’re winterizing a summer cottage that is left un-heated, provide lots of ant and varmint food to avoid infestation. Use some lock spray on your door locks around the house, shed and extra vehicles.  It only takes a few minutes but will save you from problems later. Seems obvious but cover your windows to prevent discoloration of carpet, drapes and furniture. It also discourages anyone from looking in.

If you are storing a trailered boat, as you winterize it be sure to run the motor; inboard, I/O or outboard, with treated fuel. Fill a built-in fuel tank 90 percent full leaving 10 percent for expansion due to temperature fluctuations. While working on your boat, don’t neglect the trailer. Pull the wheels and grease the bearings to avoid rust damage and air tires to proper pressure.

If you plan to use a tarp or vinyl cover, seal it and weight it down whether inside or outside. Chipmunks and mice can enter in an opening the size of your thumb. If varmints get into your vessel, they will chew up wiring and hoses — plus anything else lying around. These precautions also need to be taken if you store at a marina, it is not their responsibility.   

As I see it, after writing this column, it’s time for me to get busy and good luck to all of us as we undertake the fall chores.


Capt. Fred Davis is a retired charter captain and nationally published author of boating articles.  “As I See It” columns appear Saturday in the Huron Daily Tribune and his Boat Smart articles are published online at


Saturday, September 26, 2015 7:06 am.

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Bear displays part of new art series on campus

Massimals on display in Lexington, Ky. on Thursday, September 24, 2015. Photo by Alex Otte | Staff.

By Sarah Brookbank

Last week, the walk to class for many students was a little wild as four Styrofoam bears were on display on the walkway between William T. Young Library and Chemistry-Physics Building.

This outdoor installation was sponsored by the Student Activity Board’s cultural arts committee and were created by an assistant professor of Architecture in the College of Design.

Integrated strategic communication senior, Taylor Hamilton, the director of the cultural arts committee, said that the installation is a part of their ‘Art Matters’ series.

“Our goal is to make art more accessible for students, faculty and staff,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton said the arts board is small for a school the size of UK but they try to bring the fine arts to campus for reasonable prices. Their board has brought in artists to do ice and sand sculptures, and murals.

“We’re trying to show that art doesn’t have to be restricted to a museum or an exhibit,” Hamilton said.

And they did just that with the Massimal exhibit. Hamilton said they came across the work of Jason Scroggin at the Beaux Arts Ball and asked him if he would work with them.  The large bears were created and brought to campus with the help of U-hauls and SAB.

“It was easier than I thought it would be,” Hamilton said.

The Massimals were made of Styrofoam and piping and took three people to move.

When Scroggin was approached by SAB to have the Massimals outdoors, he said he was hesitant at first because the creations are lightweight.

“I knew people would kind of interact with them. I didn’t expect it to be like this though but it’s been interesting,” Scroggin said. “They’ve been putting them in compromising positions.”

Scroggin said while the display is meant to be interactive, there have been some interesting interactions. He said one of his students sent him a screenshot of the UK Snapchat story when the bears had been stacked on top of one another. Some of the installations suffered damage, one even lost a leg.

“That’s probably the frustrating part … Clearly people are getting a little bit rough with it,” Scroggin said.

The Massimal project started in 2010, when Scroggin and his design partner Akari Takebayashi, an instructor in the architecture program, were invited to show their research.

Scroggin said most of the time, artists show renderings or scale models that people can see and understand but he and Takebayashi wanted to create something interactive to show off their research.

“Our research was based in developing or enhancing the public realm. Akari, being from Japan had never seen a petting zoo before,” Scroggin said. “Some of our initial ideas for the installation were dealing with making large models and ‘how could we package it in a way people might respond to?’ And we though ‘Oh animals’.”

Scroggin and Takebayashi took the one form, made it to scale, and created different iterations of it based on their research involving surface and the manipulation of planes. So when the opportunity came to create these designs, they chose bears, a massive terrestrial animal, though whales came into the discussion at one point.

The Massimal series includes multiple bears, many of which are designed differently. Students saw creations that were, but other iterations are pixelated and others have flat, almost triangular planes.

The creation of these figures is based on architectural modeling, like massing models, contour models for landscaping, where designers use foam to create models and use digital software to create examples of spaces using cubes and pixels and using planes to design landscapes. Some forms are tessellated, or folded out similar to origami, or egg-crate, where pieces of the models are slotted together to make a whole.

Since creating the original 5 pieces, they have created a giant rainbow Massimal for the Beaux arts ball, a Massimal out of zip ties and have an installation in Long Beach Museum of Art. They were also asked to create a Massimal tiger for China, which fell through. Scroggin said that his interest in the project is creating different designs within the constraints of the form.

“Each one was its own showcase for (architectural research) through this animal form … that people could kind of relate to,” Scroggin said.

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7 Things Home Sellers Can Learn From Celebrities

You may not have deep enough pockets to trade in your monthly mortgage for one that clocks in at $25,000 a month, but you can draw some inspiration from the celebrity real estate game. From Charli XCX and Nick Jonas to Julia Roberts and Jennifer Lopez, stars seem to change homes almost as often as they change their hair color — which isn’t a bad thing when you can cash in on your investment.

The celebrity magazines might not be reporting on your home purchase, but if you follow these seven tips to buy like the celebs do, you might have an easier time enticing a homebuyer to make an offer when it’s time to sell.

1. Location, location, location

Ever wonder why celebrities are all clustered together in the same neighborhoods? It’s for several reasons, but mainly it’s because those neighborhoods — like Hollywood Hills and Laurel Canyon — are prime real estate (and they were even before the celebs moved in). Many of these areas are close to the restaurants, shopping, nightlife, and studios where movies and TV shows are filmed. They’re in the heart of the action, but positioned to offer privacy.

You may not need 12-foot hedges and a guard-gated entry, but you can take a page from the A-listers and find the best neighborhood you can for your budget. The old adage of buying the worst house in the best neighborhood that’s convenient to work, close to great schools for your kids, and has outdoor amenities such as parks or lakes is an A-list concept.

2. Inspiration for great design ideas

Steal some inspiration from lavishly styled celebrity homes. And don’t be discouraged by their picture-perfect appearances. Celebrities don’t automatically have better taste or more gifted design flair than the rest us. What they do have is access to (and the money to pay for the services of) people who do!

Use celebrity listings for examples of great design, use of color, incredible landscaping, and layouts. It’s a great way to steal some fantastic ideas that can be re-created on a mere mortal’s budget.

3. Celebs like to make it their own

When they walk into a for-sale home, celebrities aren’t turned off by someone else’s differing taste or actual red carpets. They know they can make it their own and remodel.

Don’t shy away from homes that aren’t completely turnkey or move-in ready. If the home isn’t perfectly your style, you actually have more opportunity to personalize it to your tastes. Hate the popcorn ceilings or pink bathroom tiles? If you buy within your budget, it’s an easy fix. Sometimes, it’s better to get that deal on the fixer-upper home and improve it to your liking over time.

4. Overimproving is not a wise investment

No one wants bad press for having to drop their sales price, and celebrities have learned that throwing an endless supply of money at your house does not necessarily make for a great investment. It’s called overcapitalization — or overimproving. You never want to improve your home beyond the level of your neighborhood.

In other words, don’t put a $50,000 gourmet kitchen with granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances in a neighborhood that can support only the prices of homes with nice tile countertops and modest appliances. You won’t get your money back when you sell.

5. When in job flux, rent

Many celebrities, such as Katie Holmes and Kristin Cavallari, have million-dollar bank accounts — but still choose to rent. They’re likely planning ahead and heeding the advice of most real estate agents: If you can’t stay for five to seven years, renting is the best way to go.

Moving somewhere temporarily? Going through a divorce? Renting is the best option for transition periods. When life settles down a bit and the long-term outlook is clearer, you can consider buying.

6. They plan ahead

In Tinseltown, if a star is expecting a new baby, you can bet you’ll soon see a for-sale sign on her mansion. Celebrities move when they experience big life changes. Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis sold their bachelor and bachelorette pads and settled into a much more family-friendly estate in Beverly Hills when they were expecting.

If you’re expecting a new baby, or plan on welcoming one in the next two to three years, buy accordingly. Leave room in your home for the kiddos, so you’re not forced to go through a costly move when the stork arrives.

7. They leave it up to the experts

If you’re not a home repair expert, hire one. Celebrities know the value of their precious mansions and trust only experts. If you think it’s expensive to hire an expert craftsman, pool repair specialist, etc., just wait until you see the damage an amateur can cause.

And when it’s time to sell, you won’t see a “For Sale By Owner” sign on Wolfgang Puck’s or Shaun White’s front lawn. They always use a trusted and respected real estate agent. Your home is the biggest investment you may ever make; trust its sale to the experts.

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Weeds, part 2

Posted: Sunday, September 27, 2015 12:30 am

Weeds, part 2

By Bob Beyfuss
For Columbia-Greene Media

Mornings have turned decidedly fall like as we pass the autumnal equinox once more.

Many cultures measure time in seasons, but modern society is so far disconnected from the natural world that seasons hardly matter at all. Does anyone really care these days that on Sept. 22, the sun was directly over the equator for only the second time in a year? I recorded morning low temperature of 39 degrees twice this past week and the gas heater has been running most mornings. It is good weather to can tomatoes, make pickles and pick apples for sauce. I feel great satisfaction these cool mornings when my kitchen smells of steam and cooked food that will be enjoyed this winter in Florida.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015 12:30 am.

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Grass roots: Alan Titchmarsh’s tips on growing green lawn

The great benefit is that it will stay green far longer than short grass in a dry summer. And, of course, it’s a heck of a lot less work.

A meadow, on the other hand, is meant to grow tall, so the grasses flower and set seed just like an old-fashioned hay field. It’s only cut once or twice a year, in spring and autumn, so a normal mower is no use – you will need a rotary scythe. 

But a meadow is not a practical alternative to regular grass for the parts of your garden you use every day. For a start, you can’t walk through a meadow without bashing down the grass and leaving a flattened track behind you, and if you let the kids loose with a football the result will be a hideous mess. This is really something for a wild corner or a small paddock – but it looks delightful dotted with meadow wild flowers such as oxeye daisies. 

The way to enjoy it most is by mowing a path through it. Cut a rambling one round the edge and add the odd rustic seat, or create a straight, formal path through the middle, leading to an artistic focal point. You’ll need to re-cut your path every few weeks so it doesn’t grow out, but it’s still a big saving on work and the results are a great reward.

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Close to Home: Designer sample sale, fall garden events and more

Decor kaffeeklatsch

If you’re planning to redo a room or are hunting for furniture, here’s an opportunity to show your photos, fabric samples and Pinterest boards to Gabberts pros at “Coffee With a Designer,” from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturdays this fall. Coffee and treats will be served. The free event is at Gabberts in the Galleria, 69th St. and France Av. S., Edina, and at 3201 Country Dr., Little Canada. For more information, call 952-927-1500 or go to

Designer sample sale

Did you drool over a piece of furniture or an accessory that you saw in an International Market Square showroom? You might be able to find it discounted 50 to 80 percent at the Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) Sample Sale, Oct. 1-3. Shoppers also can sign up for complimentary 30-minute ASID designer consultations during the sale. Bring floor plans, room dimensions and photos. Sale hours are noon to 7 p.m. Oct. 1, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 2 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 3, at IMS, 275 Market St., Mpls. For details, call 612-338-6250.

Pumpkin planter

Bring the fall harvest into your home. Bachman’s pumpkin design workshop demonstrates how to carve out a pumpkin or gourd to create a vessel for a seasonal floral arrangement, from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 15 or 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 17, Bachman’s, 6010 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. Cost is $50 and includes all materials. Register at or call 612-861-7600.