FOCUS: For Your Information

Now that warm weather is here, there are a few bits of information that all of us need to take notice of.    Ticks are now out and about, and just waiting for someone or a pet to latch onto. When you are outdoors, especially in the woods, and come in, check your clothes and your body to be sure there are no ticks attached. If you find a tick stuck to your skin, you need to remove it in a special way. Removed quickly, a tick won’t cause an infection which could turn into Lyme disease. Using tweezers, grab the tick by the head as close to the skin as possible. Pull up using steady, even pressure. Thoroughly clean the bite area with an antiseptic cleanser.

If you worry about Lyme’s disease, here are a few things to do before you go outdoors to a wooded area or an area that has lots of bushes and grass.  1. Protect your skin with a repellent containing at least 20% DEET. If you prefer to go chemical-free, try an oil of lemon eucalyptus product. Both products will repel ticks.  2. Spray your clothes before going out with a solution containing the insecticide permethrin which will kill ticks on contact.  3. Check your pets before they come inside as they can pick up ticks when outdoors.  4. To spot a tick which is a black dot, wear colorful clothes, long sleeved shirts, long pants tucked into socks, and gloves if you are in a high-risk area. Avoid open toed shoes.  5. As soon as you return, check your clothes, shoes, hair, scalp and body for ticks. As an extra precaution, you can put your clothes in the dryer for 20 minutes to kill any bugs you have missed.  6. It only takes a few minutes for a tick to imbed itself in the skin, so showering as soon as you’re back from your trip outdoors is recommended. This information was taken from Woman’s World.

If you are feeling down, you’re twice as likely to experience brain fog if you spend less than 15 minutes in the sunshine daily. The University of Alabama at Birmingham did a study and concluded sunshine peps you up. Of course, don’t forget to use your sunscreen when you get your 15 minutes in the sunshine. This information was also taken from Woman’s World.

Avoid the ulcer-stroke connection — Got a dull ache in your belly, chronic indigestion, or pain that flares a few hours after meals or at night? Ask your doctor to test you for H. pylori—the troublesome tummy bug that causes most ulcers. If you have it, treatment with a course of antibiotics can cut your risk of a stroke in half! The reason: H. pylori don’t only irritate the stomach lining; they also trigger damaging inflammation inside arteries. This information was taken from Woman’s World.

Did you know that pets can have a heatstroke? Never leave your pet inside a car while you go shopping, especially when it is warm outside. Even a crack in the window can be dangerous for your pet. When it is hot outside, it only takes a few minutes for the car to get so warm that your pet can have a heatstroke.  Signals of heatstroke are:  Lethargy, change in tongue and gum color, and heavy panting. Animals should not be exercised during the heat of the day. Provide plenty of water for your pets, especially if they stay outdoors. This information was taken from This Old House.

Do you throw your aluminum pie plates away? Here are a few ways to use them after you eat the pie. Make a bird deflector by crafting tin ornaments to keep feathered friends from striking your windows. Make the design your wish, put a hole in the tin and tie with a string. Use a pie tin as a mini roller tray when painting. They are just the right size to hold small amounts of paint when doing touch ups around the house. Prevent a melted wax mess by placing a pie plate under burning candles outside to stop wax from dripping onto your table or patio. Use pie plates to surround gas burners or to line burners on an electric stove. Cut a hole in the center large enough for the burner, as needed. Use an aluminum pie plate set on a heatproof surface as a resting place for your heat gun or soldering iron. Cut a pie plate in half, and secure the finished edges with staples or duct tape, open-side up, to a workshop wall. Use it to hold saw blades and sanding disks. Fill a pie tin with an inch of water and place a pet-food bowl in it to prevent ants from getting into the food. Lastly, poke the bottom of the pie plate with a knife. Make alternate vertical and horizontal slits. Fill with vegetables that might otherwise slip through your grill grate. These tidbits were given to This Old House by Michelle Brunner.

Do you happen to have a piece of old wood lattice that you do not know what to do with? Try one of these suggestions taken from an article in This Old House. Edge a flower bed by cutting pressure-treated lattice panels into 8-inch-wide strips. Frame ends with lattice cap, or C-rail. Coat with exterior paint. Attach stakes and install. Use lattice as a stencil for spraying on allover squares or diamonds. Add detail to a small plain table by attaching triangles of lattice in the corners to the legs. Place two lengths of 1x1 in each corner to act as braces behind the lattice, and fasten. Nail the lattice onto the corner braces. Put on a fresh coat of paint and you have a new table. Make a memento board by cutting a piece of plywood to size and cover it with batting and fabric. Secure with a staple gun. Tack a piece of lattice on top with brad nails. Use the board to hold various items by tucking them into the openings. Cover a square of lattice with heat-resistant paint and use it to protect your countertop from hot pots and pans. Katelin Hill provided these tips in This Old House. To find more smart uses for leftovers, go to

I like to watch programs that show how to take yard sale or flea market items and turn them into something special for someone else. Another good program is about a lady who does decorating in homes by shopping at flea markets and yard sales. You would be surprised at the transformations she makes with a few dollars for the old into something new which is different and pretty. Be creative in the way you decorate. Find some interesting ways to transform some of your old things into something special in your home. I saw the neatest chair and stool that was made out of a chest of drawers. The first and second drawers were cut out of the chest leaving the back and sides of the chest still attached. The chair was then covered with material. A nice cushion covered in the same material was placed where the drawers were removed. The two drawers removed were then made into a stool to match the chair. There are many ideas created from chests of drawers and other pieces of furniture. Use your creative ability to see what you can create. Remember the saying: “Your trash can be someone else’s treasures.”

Now is the time to plan for West Virginia’s Largest Yard Sale which takes place in Buckhannon and the surrounding area the first weekend of August. If you have things you no longer want, have a yard sale. If you are interested in finding some things you can transform, go shopping. You might be surprised at what treasures are just waiting for you. Yard sales are fun and you meet some neat folks along the way. It is never too early to start finding all the items you no longer need in your home. Your items might just be the special item someone else is looking for. You clean house, make a little money, and then see what you might find in some of the yard sales you attend. When attending the yard sales, remember to watch out for those who are driving, parking and shopping with small children. Don’t park in the middle of the street or on the sidewalk. Remember to treat those shopping the way you wish to be treated. Shop with joy and talk to those you meet along the way. If you are having the sale, make sure you have plenty of change, your items marked with a price, and be willing to make a deal.

I leave you with this thought for the day. “Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.” Mother Teresa


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