JAC THEELEN REALTY

Jac Theelen Realty

November 2015

News letter December 2015
         
Get more free time.
Do you feel that there are not enough hours in the day?
Are you to stressed out to get it all done in the time that you have.
Here is an idea: Track your hours. 
Keep track of what you do in a day. 
Most of us do things like checking e-mail, as soon as it comes in. Replying messages. Instantly and repeatedly. Checking Facebook, and keeping it up to date with photos and text.  It takes so much of our daily hours that you almost run out of time do the things that really need to be done.
Try to book some OFF LINE TIME !!! It will brighten your day
Did you know:
Did you accidentally crack one end of an egg that you intend to boil !!!
Crack the other end too. Then you'll be able to cook the egg as planned without having the contents run out of the shell. 
 
Did you knowreindeer like bananas
 Like the Energizer Bunny, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer got his start as an advertising gimmick. A copywriter named Robert L. May first created the merry misfit in 1939 to lure shoppers into the Montgomery Ward department store. 
Storage for your garden vegetables
Cold and Moist Storage
Beets, parsnips, carrots, turnips and rutabagas prefer cold, moist storage. This means temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees F and 80 to 95% relative humidity - a refrigerator or a moist cellar qualify. Rinse these crops and trim tops to within one-half inch. Store in plastic bags with small holes - to keep moisture high but still allow airflow
.As for storing carrots, we put ours between layers of sand in a five-gallon pail, directly after taking them out of the ground.  They will keep until spring that way.
 
Potatoes can be stored in similar conditions but prefer a slightly lower humidity, around 80%, compared to 90-95% for carrots, turnips and parsnips. After harvest (once tops have died back and dried), brush soil off potatoes gently (do not wash). Then cure for one to two weeks in a warm, moist, dark location.
Warm and Dry Storage
Pumpkins and winter squashes prefer temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees F and 60 to 75% relative humidity. Be sure to wait until the squashes are fully ripened, or storage time will be decreased. But be sure to harvest before frost - frost damage will shorten storage time. Leave stems intact, cure at 80 to 85 degrees F for two weeks before putting into storage. (Do not cure acorn squash.) Lay pumpkins and squashes in a single layer one inch apart.
Housing market.
Are you thinking of selling your house acreage or farm.It make a huge difference what you sell, where it is located, and what you want to sell it for.
Today’s market, is good if you want to sell starter homes, that means homes in the lowend of te market.
Buyers that want to reduce their living cost due to loss of work or a lower income are looking for these homes.
If you are in the top of the spectrum, then it will be much more difficult to move your home.
there are enough uniek properties available, and most of the sellers are very motivatd.
When you want to sell, it is better to start with a good price, than to try the market and reduce later.
Acreages and bare acreages are selling when they have a great location, are priced for today’s market. The top end homes on these acreages have the same issue as the homes in town, that is that there is a good amount for sale, and not enough buyers for these homes. To sell in winter time, you have to be very active and have it priced to move it.
Interested buyers will see a great deal and will buy, even the time of year is not ideal.
Easy snow removal
Plan Ahead:
Be sure you have the proper tools to maintain your walks. A good snow shovel, an ice chipper and sand are all essentials that you should have throughout the winter months.
Take Care of Your Body:
If you are not physically active or have an ongoing health condition, check with your doctor to make sure the physical strain of clearing snow and ice is okay.
Dress in multiple layers of warm clothing. You should also wear supportive boots with a good grip.
Warm up and stretch your muscles before you start shovelling or chipping by walking around the block.
Be sure to take frequent breaks while you work, at least once every 10-15 minutes.
Shovelling:
The best shovels to use have a small blade and ergonomic handle with a gentle curve.
Push the snow as you shovel; it's easier on your back than lifting the snow out of the way.
Don't pick up too much at once. Use a small shovel, or fill only one-fourth or one-half of a large one.
Lift with your legs bent, not your back. Keep your back straight. By bending and "sitting" into the movement, you'll keep your spine upright and less stressed. Your shoulders, torso and thighs can do the work for you. 
Spray the shovel blade with cooking oil if the snow is sticking to it.
Clearing snow soon after it falls prevents it from being packed down and becoming ice, which is harder to remove.
When you remove snow from a gravel road, leave a very small amount on the ground, so you don’t move all the gravel.
Clearing Ice:
Warm weather during the day can make ice soft, so it's easier to chip or shovel away.
Spread sand or gravel on icy patches to make your sidewalk safer for pedestrians. Spreading sand on a sidewalk before ice forms can also make future ice easier to remove. 
Micro wave -safe container and spreading it while it is still warm can make it more effective. It will embed itself in to the ice, creating a gritty top layer.
Pile snow in a place where it will not run across your sidewalk when it melts and aim your downspouts away from areas where people walk to keep your sidewalks clear during freeze-thaw cycles. 
Immediately Stop Shovelling and Seek Medical Attention If You Experience:
Discomfort or heaviness in the chest, arms or neck.
Unusual or prolonged shortness of breath.
A prolonged dizzy or faint feeling.
Excessive sweating or nausea and vomiting.
Excessive bac
News letter 
Economy Down, opportunities Up


When the economy has a downturn, you can focus on the opportunities than will come out of it.
Was it hard to find a good trades person?  Now you can get someone to do work on your house much more easily. Maybe you can get a better price too.


Are you working less overtime?  You can do things yourself instead of having to hire others to do it. It won’t add to the GDP, but you’ll neither pay taxes on the work you do, nor on the former income you once spent on someone else’s services. 


When you’re shopping for goods or property, you can get better prices, so your dollar will have more value. Your savings can go a long way.


Think ahead, and look for the things that you don’t need now, but will need in the future. 
And if you are entrepreneurial, looking for that niche in the market --  if it’s not there, you’ll have to make it!





Theft and break-ins: how to avoid them!


When you go away, here are some tips to keep your home secure.
Lock away your handyman and gardening tools, which may be used to force open doors or windows, and any item that may be used to gain access to the property or cause damage.

Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your valuables and then put them somewhere safe. Before you leave, close all internal doors to help contain any fire that might occur.

Then, check that your doors, windows and garage are locked securely, and remove spare keys from hiding places.  As you leave, check everything again.

Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog/ face book isn't the best place to announce that you'll be away from home for a month. 
Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either.
Make sure that your children are discreet, too. 
No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. 
The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

Being happy is easier than being sad



•    When you are smiling, you are using fewer muscles than when you are frowning. (Try it, it feels great!)
•    Surround yourself with positive people.
•    When you work with people who are constructive and positive, you tend to adopt their positive posture. The opposite will happen when colleagues or friends give you only negative comments.
•    Change the way you think about a challenge.  If you think that something is impossible, you won’t try as hard and will give up more easily. So be a possibility thinker.
•    Help someone.  The positive energy you use to help others will spill over to yourself.
•    No one is perfect. Don’t dwell on the past. Remember that you cannot change what has happened, but you can try to change what will happen.
•    If you want to know what is positive, write down three good things that happened every day. Look at your list again at the end of the week.  It will make you smile.

Up-size or downsize?
Whether  you want to move to a smaller house or a larger one, each move has a cost.
These include  taxes, fees for lawyers, real estate commissions, and utility hookup costs.
Often forgotten are the cost of  moving your goods, and the fact that the size of your home can affect what you will need in terms of furniture. A small dining room table may be perfect for a small home, but in a large room it might not be a good fit.  
The same goes for all the furnishings in your new place.
The total cost of a move can be much higher than the gains from moving to a different home, so be sure to do the math.
When you want to get rid of furniture, house ware, and other reusable items,.
Think about charities and Kijiji before throwing them away.
 Many people would love to take them off your hands, thus saving you a trip.

Selling your home? Get it ready!


When you plan to sell your house, or farm, you can do a lot to make things easier on yourself,
 and even make some extra money along the way.

•    Pack away everything that you won’t need in the near future. Clean out your closets, box up the stuff that clutters your living room, and clean out your basement and spare rooms.
•    All boxes can be put away in a container or in storage. It will give your house a more spacious feeling, and that is what you need to highlight when you show it to potential buyers.
•    If you have a farm, look around outside. Get rid of old farm machinery that has been stored for years. Sell your old batteries and get a recycler to pick up all scrap metal (usually a free service).  Organize  and clean up the shop as if you had just moved in yesterday.
•    When the house is de-cluttered, check for small or major repairs that can be done without breaking the bank account.
Your potential buyers will look closely at the house.
 If you as an owner can fix it for $1000, they will count on $5000  to do it themselves, and will reduce their offer by that amount, or perhaps not even make one.
If it appears that you cared for the place, and it shows pride of ownership,  the sale has a better chance of happening.
•    Should you want to move your personal belongings yourself, think about a reefer trailer. 
On moving day a truck can hook on and move it to your new place.  Please park something under the trailer, so thieves cannot steal it when it is full of goods. Make sure all goods are insured in the trailer during your moving time.
•    A sea container is also an option.  However, when a truck will pick it up on moving day, it has to be hoisted onto the truck. This procedure might be hard on your furniture and breakable items as the container will tilt over. 
Another option (but expensive) is to rent a crane to move the container onto and off the truck.
•    You can also store all your goods in a shop or garage, right up to moving date, as long as buyers can see the space. 
•    Try to get your friends together on moving day so that everything can be loaded and unloaded in one day. 
•    Get a storage locker. Its drawback is the time required for delivering and retrieving your goods, but its advantage is the space and tidiness it provides.
Whatever strategies you choose, having your place ready for sale will:
•    Make the sale easier!
•    Make you money!
•    Make your move go faster!

Just my thought:

When the grass is greener on the other side,
think about investing in your own side.

The best compliment  you can give, is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@





Newsletter June, 2015

 

Building with the environment in mind

 

When you build your home, fence or deck, there are numerous options on the market.

When you choose wood, keep in mind that after the life of the deck or fence, the worn-out material will go into a landfill or be recycled.

PVC  and  plastic material will be stable after they have done their jobs, but they are made of oil-based products.  It is better is to use such products when they are made of 100% recycled material.

When you build a home, calculate what it took to make your building material and what it will take to recycle it.   When you use recycled materials to build your home, estimate what the energy usage and/or savings might be for the application you have in mind.

Quality and longevity are the first things you should look at.  The price is secondary, as it might be more economical in the long run to use a more expensive product.

 

How to do yard work with the greatest of ease


  • Use a leaf blower.  It is easy on your back, and makes moving material “a breeze”.
  • Install a gutter guard.  If your house is surrounded by trees, you’ll know how much of a pain it is to constantly have to get up on a ladder to clean out your gutters when they get clogged with leaves and other tree debris.  Gutter guards come in a variety of styles, materials and price ranges, but all do the same thing – they allow water to enter your gutters without letting leaves and other debris in.

  • Use tools like a log splitter or tile mover.  Why break your back swinging a heavy axe?  
  • And why keep bending over to lift concrete tiles?  Let machines from your local rental company make your life easier.
  • When planting a garden, think about future work.  Install a weed barrier, or add wood mulch to stop weeds from coming up between your plants.

 

 

 

What to do with ashes from your fire pit:


You can use clean ashes as fertilizer in your garden. They will bring up the PH in the soil, making it less acidic and adding micro-nutrients.

Sprinkling ashes around the bases of plants will kill snails as well, but wet ashes should be replaced.

 

Condo tips


When buying a condo, make sure you read the condo rules and the financial report  BEFORE you buy.

  1. The first section will tell you what you may and may not do with your property, and whether  you may have a dog, do garden work, etc.  Not every condo property is the same, and rules can change at every meeting of the board!
    1. The second section will give you an inside view on how the finances were managed in the past.

 

There should be a considerable amount of money in a reserve fund, especially if the property is older or shows deterioration.  If not, you will be on the hook for a cash call in the future.

That can run into thousands of dollars!  As a condo owner, you have to come up with cash for any necessary repairs or maintenance.  Sometimes this might be the reason for selling.   Buyer beware.  Do your homework before you buy. 


If you are planning to buy, 

you can always give me a call.


 

Full moon energy and Feng Shui

 

For those who believe in Karma.

 

The full moon is a time of positive opportunity if you use it correctly.  It can increase your positive energy or conversely, it can wreak havoc on your emotions.

 

Since the full moon pours down a tremendous amount of energy, you must be in a calm state of mind to receive a positive effect. 

Remember that whatever is going on in your body, mind and spirit will be amplified.

If you are angry, you will feel angrier or if you are happy, you will feel happier. 

During the full moon, the ocean swells and emergency rooms have more patients. 

The energy is very powerful so it’s important to direct it with positive intention.

Crazy energy as well as loving energy will be intensified. 

Knowing this is a huge opportunity for your emotional and spiritual growth.


The next full moon is ....today June 2

 

 

Just a thought



When the economy takes a turn

look for opportunities

Looking the opposite way might bring great things for the future



The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House




News letter May 2015
Newsletter May 2015

Safety  word.
Some of us have heard about it -- little kids that were kept safe because they had learned a safety word.
It might sound a bit weird, but having a family safety word is something that can be used at any time and can save you from misfortunes.
As a family, you can pick a word that is easy for you to remember, but impossible for others to guess.   Even better is a phrase. 
When you get together in the coming weeks, make sure all family members can recall it effortlessly at any time. 
How could it protect you or your loved ones?  Children approached by strangers can ask them the safety word before agreeing to go with them. Adults receiving strange texts or phone calls purporting to be from loved ones can use it to verify their authenticity. 

Insurance for mortgages will be going up.
The insurance for a mortgage with a down payment of 15% or less will be going up.  Such mortgages have to be insured by CMHC.
The coming increase in premium this spring will bring it close to 4%.
It pays to have a twenty-percent down payment when getting a mortgage.
Ask your mortgage broker to run a calculation for 5% and 20% down on a 25 year mortgage.  The numbers are significant!

Being prepared: Pros and cons of a rental income.
When you buy a rental home for additional revenue, here is some information to make it easier to make a rational decision:


Benefits:
1. Monthly paycheck without a lot of work
When you have a quality property and good tenants, this is easy money.
     2.  Equity, not cash
Rental properties can provide a nice alternative to selling if the market is in a slump.
Consider keeping your home when the markets are sluggish and rent it out.
3. Additional tax benefits
As a landlord you can write off a huge number of expenses related to owning and managing your property. Landlords can write off mortgage interest, depreciation, repairs, travel, and insurance costs related to the property.  And like any self-employed individual, a landlord can also write off home office expenses, legal and accounting services, and other expenses related to running a business.

4. Independence
By owning and managing a property, you can be your own boss. Granted, you may not be able to make ends meet with the income generated from just one property, but there are many savvy investors who turn rental income into their livelihood. 

Potential Problems:

1. Tenants can be awful
Renters have few reasons to meticulously care for a property. Often, in a best-case scenario, a tenant will leave the place a little dirty when he or she moves out. You’ll probably need to repaint.
When they leave the place ransacked, a $1000.- deposit does not get you to return the property to an acceptable condition for future tenants.

2. The investment requires capital
Beyond the capital required for a down payment to purchase a property, you need to have liquid capital to manage your property. For instance, you may need thousands of dollars to repair a property that is demolished by an awful tenant. You may need hundreds of dollars to take a tenant to eviction court.  Screening your tenants effectively may reduce that risk, but it is hard to do. Also bear in mind that home repairs are often costly, and you’re legally required as a landlord to deal with property problems quickly and sufficiently.

3. Potential legal consequences
Speaking of legal problems, the law is on your tenant’s side if you fail to make necessary repairs.  Your tenant can withhold rent or even walk out on a lease without punishment if you don’t properly take care of business. Moreover, if the tenant’s lease isn’t airtight, then you may have little recourse if your tenant damages property or does not satisfactorily pay rent.

4. Time-consuming efforts
Obviously, unexpected repairs can take time to troubleshoot. However, even the mere process of rental property ownership and management takes time.

5. The bottom line can bite back
Like all investments, there is risk associated with owning and managing a rental property. Sometimes, the markets don’t behave the way you’d like, such as when a property depreciates rather than appreciates in value. At other times, problems befall a property, such as a string of bad tenants or expensive repairs (which is especially devastating if you haven’t set aside enough liquid capital to deal with the problems).

Before you decide to buy an investment property, look at it from all angles. Being prepared is the best policy.



Is a home security alarm the best option?

To keep people from entering your home, you can either call an alarm company or use preventive measures of your own.
Bear in mind that the persons breaking into your home are probably not  highly educated. 
They are looking for a quick way to acquire some money, preferably by stealing valuables that are easy to turn into cash.
Denying them the opportunity to do so is the best line of defence.
Scaring them away outside is better than dealing with them inside.

Stop the easy access. Don’t leave valuables like skidoo’s, quads, tools in plain sight outside your house.
Don’t hang a note on your door informing crooks that you will be back in half an hour.
Close your garage doors, always!
Don’t leave a ladder outside for easy access.
Place motion sensor lights at every entrance. These lights should be aimed at the door or window you want to protect.  The brighter, the better.  Place them high so there is no easy way to turn them off.
A yard light makes it easier to see everything, including for those who want to steal.  Motion lights are better.
Thieves will be deterred by motion lights being activated in various locations.  Avoid having high shrubs that thieves can hide behind close to the house. 
Use high- quality hardware on your doors, including the back door. A fifteen-dollar lock does not cut it.
Windows that open without a crank should have bars that prevent them from opening more than eight inches. (Make sure you can open them from the inside in case of fire, though.) 
When you put in an alarm system, think about what you can do to prevent a false alarm.  After three false alarms nobody will care that it goes off, and will ignore it.
It is best to put in an alarm that immediately goes off when the door opens.  It stops entering in its tracks.
The keypad for disarming should be OUTSIDE, no time delay!
With these steps you will probably succeed in keeping burglars from coming into your home.

But what if they succeed in spite of all your efforts?  What are you allowed to do if they get in anyway?
Canadian law prohibits homeowners from taking the law into their own hands.
Calling for help should be the first option.
Make a picture of your blue emergency sign and post it next to your phone, so that it is handy when you call 911. When an unwelcome guest enters, you are allowed to use reasonable force when you or your loved ones feel physically threatened. 
“Reasonable” is the word that makes it difficult.  You will be judged afterwards as to whether the degree of force was reasonable against the degree of threat that the burglar used.
The use of a lethal weapon is not recommended, as it will be hard to prove that this was necessary.
Prevention is always the best option.

Future home value:
The value of your home has gone up in the past, and it is likely to do so in the future as well.  But there are other important considerations.
Can you afford to keep the property for a long time?
Can you afford to hang in the market when there is a significant drop in the value for a short or longer time?
Can you afford your investment when interest goes up while markets go down temporarily?
Would you be able to keep your rental property in the event that you would have no renters for a longer period?
Long term, the worth of your investment will always go up.  As long as your cash flow is sufficient, it does not matter whether the value goes up, as long as you can afford your place.Newsletter May 2015

 

Safety  word.


Some of us have heard about it -- little kids that were kept safe because they had learned a safety word.

It might sound a bit weird, but having a family safety word is something that can be used at any time and can save you from misfortunes.

As a family, you can pick a word that is easy for you to remember, but impossible for others to guess.   Even better is a phrase.

When you get together in the coming weeks, make sure all family members can recall it effortlessly at any time.

How could it protect you or your loved ones?  Children approached by strangers can ask them the safety word before agreeing to go with them. Adults receiving strange texts or phone calls purporting to be from loved ones can use it to verify their authenticity.

 

Insurance for mortgages will be going up.


The insurance for a mortgage with a down payment of 15% or less will be going up.  Such mortgages have to be insured by CMHC.

The coming increase in premium this spring will bring it close to 4%.

It pays to have a twenty-percent down payment when getting a mortgage.

Ask your mortgage broker to run a calculation for 5% and 20% down on a 25 year mortgage.  The numbers are significant!

 


Being prepared: Pros and cons of a rental income.


When you buy a rental home for additional revenue, here is some information to make it easier to make a rational decision:


Benefits:


1.      Monthly paycheck without a lot of work

When you have a quality property and good tenants, this is easy money.

2.  Equity, not cash

Rental properties can provide a nice alternative to selling if the market is in a slump.

Consider keeping your home when the markets are sluggish and rent it out.

3.      Additional tax benefits

As a landlord you can write off a huge number of expenses related to owning and managing your property. Landlords can write off mortgage interest, depreciation, repairs, travel, and insurance costs related to the property.  And like any self-employed individual, a landlord can also write off home office expenses, legal and accounting services, and other expenses related to running a business.

 

4.      Independence

By owning and managing a property, you can be your own boss. Granted, you may not be able to make ends meet with the income generated from just one property, but there are many savvy investors who turn rental income into their livelihood.

 


Potential Problems:

 

1.      Tenants can be awful

Renters have few reasons to meticulously care for a property. Often, in a best-case scenario, a tenant will leave the place a little dirty when he or she moves out. You’ll probably need to repaint.

When they leave the place ransacked, a $1000.- deposit does not get you to return the property to an acceptable condition for future tenants.

 

2.      The investment requires capital

Beyond the capital required for a down payment to purchase a property, you need to have liquid capital to manage your property. For instance, you may need thousands of dollars to repair a property that is demolished by an awful tenant. You may need hundreds of dollars to take a tenant to eviction court.  Screening your tenants effectively may reduce that risk, but it is hard to do. Also bear in mind that home repairs are often costly, and you’re legally required as a landlord to deal with property problems quickly and sufficiently.

 

3.      Potential legal consequences

Speaking of legal problems, the law is on your tenant’s side if you fail to make necessary repairs.  Your tenant can withhold rent or even walk out on a lease without punishment if you don’t properly take care of business. Moreover, if the tenant’s lease isn’t airtight, then you may have little recourse if your tenant damages property or does not satisfactorily pay rent.

 

4.      Time-consuming efforts

Obviously, unexpected repairs can take time to troubleshoot. However, even the mere process of rental property ownership and management takes time.

 

5.      The bottom line can bite back

Like all investments, there is risk associated with owning and managing a rental property. Sometimes, the markets don’t behave the way you’d like, such as when a property depreciates rather than appreciates in value. At other times, problems befall a property, such as a string of bad tenants or expensive repairs (which is especially devastating if you haven’t set aside enough liquid capital to deal with the problems).

 

Before you decide to buy an investment property, look at it from all angles. Being prepared is the best policy.

 

 

 

Is a home security alarm the best option?

 

To keep people from entering your home, you can either call an alarm company or use preventive measures of your own.

Bear in mind that the persons breaking into your home are probably not  highly educated.


They are looking for a quick way to acquire some money, preferably by stealing valuables that are easy to turn into cash.

Denying them the opportunity to do so is the best line of defense.

Scaring them away outside is better than dealing with them inside.

 

Stop the easy access. Don’t leave valuables like skidoo’s, quads, tools in plain sight outside your house.

Don’t hang a note on your door informing crooks that you will be back in half an hour.

Close your garage doors, always!


Don’t leave a ladder outside for easy access.

Place motion sensor lights at every entrance.

 These lights should be aimed at the door or window you want to protect.  The brighter, the better.  

Place them high so there is no easy way to turn them off.

A yard light makes it easier to see everything, including for those who want to steal. 

Motion lights are better.


Thieves will be deterred by motion lights being activated in various locations.  

Avoid having high shrubs that thieves can hide behind close to the house.

Use high- quality hardware on your doors, including the back door. A fifteen-dollar lock does not cut it

.

Windows that open without a crank should have bars that prevent them from opening more than eight inches.

 (Make sure you can open them from the inside in case of fire, though.)


When you put in an alarm system, think about what you can do to prevent a false alarm.  

After three false alarms nobody will care that it goes off, and will ignore it.


It is best to put in an alarm that immediately goes off when the door opens.  It stops entering in its tracks.


The keypad for disarming should be OUTSIDE, no time delay!


With these steps you will probably succeed in keeping burglars from coming into your home.

 

But what if they succeed in spite of all your efforts? 

 What are you allowed to do if they get in anyway?


Canadian law prohibits homeowners from taking the law into their own hands.

Calling for help should be the first option.

Make a picture of your blue emergency sign and post it next to your phone, 

so that it is handy when you call 911. 


When an unwelcome guest enters, you are allowed to use reasonable force when you or 

your loved ones feel physically threatened.


“Reasonable” is the word that makes it difficult.  

You will be judged afterwards as to whether the degree of force was reasonable against the degree of threat that the burglar used.


The use of a lethal weapon is not recommended, as it will be hard to prove that this was necessary.


Prevention is always the best option.

 


Future home value:


The value of your home has gone up in the past, and it is likely to do so in the future as well. 


 But there are other important considerations.


*Can you afford to keep the property for a long time?

*Can you afford to hang in the market when there is a significant drop in the value for a short or longer time?

*Can you afford your investment when interest goes up while markets go down temporarily?

*Would you be able to keep your rental property in the event that you would have no renters for a longer period?


Long term, the worth of your investment will always go up.  

As long as your cash flow is sufficient, it does not matter whether the value goes up,

 as long as you can afford your place.



Just a thought


The best thing in the world

Is finding someone that knows all your mistakes and weaknesses

but still finds you amazing and never walks away.





The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House










News letter April 2015


Painting the outside of your home


Bear in mind that latex-based paint will dry fast, cleans up with water and soap, and has low VOC -- the smell  of the chemicals or gas that leave the paint when it dries.


Oil base paint will flow better, leaves fewer streaks, and is more durable. It takes paint thinner to clean it up, however.

When you use latex over oil-based paint, you have to prime it before you put it on, as it does not adhere to the oil-based paint directly. Scuff it down, use a pressure washer to wash off all the dirt and dust, or use a brush and soap.

Start painting on the shady side of the house.  If you do it in the hot sun, the paint will dry too fast and it won’t adhere well  (so you will be at it again pretty soon).


Start on the shady side. Soon the sun will have moved so you’ll be able to do the other side.

Fill cracks and holes with putty and sand it down.  Apply caulking around windows, doors and trim.

 USE ACRYLIC-BASED CAULKING -- NEVER SILICONE only.  


The paint will come off it, and it is very hard to remove later.

Both rollers and brushes can work well, but rollers are faster on large areas, while brushes work better on edges and small areas, as well as for finishing jobs.  Work from  top to bottom.


Paint will seal the surface, so no water can get in.  If the wood can get wet (from the other side) it will rot, as the water can’t get out.


Stain will penetrate the wood while letting it breathe. Water will be repelled, but moisture that is absorbed will be able to get out.

Water repellent for a natural wooden surface is clear, and will also let the wood breathe.


A treated wood can be retreated with a stain or with a fluid that penetrates.

NEVER put a  paint on wood that is flat and horizontal.


Take your time to do it right.  Prepare the surface and use a good product. 

(There are inexpensive good products available, so take the time to compare them.)

 


 

Irrigating your garden?

 

Do it in the morning when it’s cool so the sun can dry any excess moisture as the day progresses.   

Avoid watering at night, since it will facilitate fungus growth.


Soak the moisture deeply into the soil. It’s better to do a thorough soaking once a week than to spritz three times a

week.  The roots will grow deeper and make the plants less dependent on watering.


If you’re too busy to water, buy a timer, and set it so it will do the watering for you once a week.

Do you have a new lawn?   Water with an oscillating sprinkler for about 30 minutes.  Turn it off for an hour and then do it again.

This will allow the grass and soil to absorb it the water before getting more.


Mature lawns can be watered once a week.

If you intend not to water, let your lawn go dormant.  After a big rainstorm it will come to life again.

If cutting the lawn is a big chore to you, why not take it out, and plant shrubs and perennial grasses.

This will make your house stand out, give it great curb appeal and probably raise the value of your property.




 

Closing costs for mortgages go way up !


The changes will be introduced on July 1, 2015 and will mean that the flat-fee for land title and mortgage registration documents will rise by 50 per cent; from $50 to $75. 

The other part of the fees is variable and in some cases will be 6 times higher than the current level. 

That means that to buy a $500,000 home in Alberta with a $400,000 mortgage the fees will rise from $150 to $675 for land titles and from $140 to $675 for mortgage registration. 

That means the total payable will be rising from $290 to $1,230. 

If you are planning to take out a new mortgage, it might be good to get it now.


 

Want to save on gas?

 

Since your vehicle needs a mixture of fuel and clean air to make it run efficiently, replacing the air filter every 5000 km will result in better mileage. If you live in the country and use gravel roads, check the filter and clean it more often when roads are dusty.


Using synthetic oil will reduce friction in the motor, so it will need less power to operate. This oil is more expensive, but it will last at least twice as long.


Get rid of heavy loads that you don’t need. When you carry unnecessary stuff around in the trunk of your car, you will increase the fuel consumption of your car. Check what you really need and get rid of the balance. Every pound you carry will cost you fuel.


Smaller motors will reduce fuel consumption only if they are big enough to move a vehicle. An overworked motor uses too much fuel and wears out more quickly than it should.


Check your tire pressure.  

As the temperature goes up, so does the pressure in your tires, and vice-versa.




 

Things you don’t need to know.


- Cats can feel an earthquake coming through their sensitive feet.


- If you want to make dynamite, you need peanut butter.


- A goldfish has a very short memory -- about 3 seconds.


- You can’t sneeze with your eyes open.


- There are 336 dimples on a regular golf ball.


- Pound for pound, hamburgers cost more than cars.

 


 

 

Just my thought


If you can't change the challenge facing you,

 analyze it,

 deal with it,

 and don't worry about it!





The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House






Newsletter March 2015

Things to do before the snow melts
Make sure the snow piles are at such locations that when fast melting occurs, the water will flow away from the buildings.
Keep extra attention to the foundation walls, so you keep the basement dry.

Check that drains are open, and if necessary, open them up or hire a steam truck.
Spring runoff combined with rain can change your yard into a lake in no time.

Check the sump pump in the basement.
Raise the “float” and check if it turns on.
If you want to get cheap insurance, buy a spare sump pump. Your current one might break at a time you can’t get a new one (check Peavey Mart/ Canadian Tire/ Princess Auto flyers).

Buy a “high water” pump alarm.
It will sound a loud alarm, or even dial your cell phone when water comes out of the sump pit.
This will still give you time to react before the water gets all over the basement floor.
It pays to get one, especially if your insurance people discount your premium for having one.

Check your gutter downspouts for blockages.
Leaves or other debris from last year might have blocked the quick flow of water. 
Put the extensions on your downspouts so water will flow away from your home.

Finally, enjoy spring every moment you can.
Sit on the deck and sip a coffee; it is the beginning of new life!



Fix it; sell it

When you are thinking of fixing or remodelling your home, and want to maximize its future potential, think about what will increase your home value the most.
The best place to start is with whatever catches your eyes instantly.
Dealing with loose paint or damaged portions of your house are often a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade the home.
If you do it yourself, use good quality materials in order to achieve the best end-product.

Secondly, examine your yard.
Trimming plants, adding some flowers, or (if you are not selling soon) adding shrubs and perennials such as tall grasses adds value.  It will wow prospective buyers and doesn’t have to break the bank.

Next up are larger items such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Those rooms are the ones most highly valued by home owners.
A great house with a substandard kitchen takes longer to convince someone to buy.
If you want to spend little to achieve a lot, then stay in the current layout, and don’t move appliances or structures.
Older homes might have surprises in the walls, behind appliances or fixtures that can blow your budget.

Last, make a plan and a budget to keep track of your expenses. The price increase you want to achieve has to fit with typical homes in the neighbourhood.

If you’d like free advice about the current value of your home and what is possible in terms of value-adding improvements, please call me.                          Remember, information is endless; good advice is priceless.

What are land/ home prices going to be a year from now? 

If you know the answer, you can make a fortune.
Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure.
That is why it is important not to believe the newspaper articles stating that prices will either double or collapse tomorrow.

What can you do to make sure you will come out a winner?

If you see a very good deal, and you can afford it, even if interest were to go up 4 % or more, then buy.
If you get an offer to sell, and have a good  idea for investing the proceeds, then sell.

If a fixer-upper is available considerably under the current market price, is fixable and salable in a short time, and (again) you can afford it, then buy and sell it.  If you live in it for a year, you can call it your primary residence for tax purposes, and thus escape taxes on your resale profit.
If you have the cash to buy a home for rental income in a good area, as long as it is priced so you can afford it in the future, it is a good investment.

You will be gambling if you are borrowing in the hope that prices will go up, interest will stay low, and money will devalue shortly.
If you nevertheless want to do this, make sure the cash flow will work, even when times get tougher, so you won’t lose your investment property to the bank.  If the gains would be, say, $10,000, and your potential loss only $1,000, it is worth the risk.


House plants that clean the air


• English Ivy
• Spider Plant
• Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
• Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
• Snake Plant or mother-in-law's tongue
• Philodendron 
• Dracaena 
• Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
These plants will take out pollutants that “poison” the air, like VOC’s or other’s. Most are easy to keep and will also calm you down, as green plants are Mother Nature’s soothers.
 






When you speak to your dog, why does it tilt its head?



You may have noticed that when your dog hears you you asking him if he'd like to go for a walk, he cocks his head to the side.
This adorable move seems to say, "I'm listening," but what's really going on when dogs' heads tilt in response to various sounds?
 
Here are a few possible explanations.
 
They're trying to hear better.
Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of a sound, but they also have brains that can compute time differences between the sounds reaching each ear. A slight change in a dog's head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sound's distance.
 
They're trying to understand us.
He's trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with a reward, such as going for a walk or receiving a treat.
  
They can't see our faces easily.
In an effort to understand us, dogs not only use our words and inflections, but also facial expressions, body language and eye movements.
  
We've taught them to do it.
We have a tendency to respond to the behavior with positive reinforcement. Perhaps we say "aww" in a pleasing tone of voice or offer the dog a treat.


Info from: Laura Moss


If you need to make a choice, investigate, evaluate, and decide.
                                  Not deciding is always wrong.

Newsletter March 2015

Things to do before the snow melts
Make sure the snow piles are at such locations that when fast melting occurs, the water will flow away from the buildings.
Keep extra attention to the foundation walls, so you keep the basement dry.

Check that drains are open, and if necessary, open them up or hire a steam truck.
Spring runoff combined with rain can change your yard into a lake in no time.

Check the sump pump in the basement.
Raise the “float” and check if it turns on.
If you want to get cheap insurance, buy a spare sump pump. Your current one might break at a time you can’t get a new one (check Peavey Mart/ Canadian Tire/ Princess Auto flyers).

Buy a “high water” pump alarm.
It will sound a loud alarm, or even dial your cell phone when water comes out of the sump pit.
This will still give you time to react before the water gets all over the basement floor.
It pays to get one, especially if your insurance people discount your premium for having one.

Check your gutter downspouts for blockages.
Leaves or other debris from last year might have blocked the quick flow of water. 
Put the extensions on your downspouts so water will flow away from your home.

Finally, enjoy spring every moment you can.
Sit on the deck and sip a coffee; it is the beginning of new life!



Fix it; sell it

When you are thinking of fixing or remodelling your home, and want to maximize its future potential, think about what will increase your home value the most.
The best place to start is with whatever catches your eyes instantly.
Dealing with loose paint or damaged portions of your house are often a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade the home.
If you do it yourself, use good quality materials in order to achieve the best end-product.

Secondly, examine your yard.
Trimming plants, adding some flowers, or (if you are not selling soon) adding shrubs and perennials such as tall grasses adds value.  It will wow prospective buyers and doesn’t have to break the bank.

Next up are larger items such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Those rooms are the ones most highly valued by home owners.
A great house with a substandard kitchen takes longer to convince someone to buy.
If you want to spend little to achieve a lot, then stay in the current layout, and don’t move appliances or structures.
Older homes might have surprises in the walls, behind appliances or fixtures that can blow your budget.

Last, make a plan and a budget to keep track of your expenses. The price increase you want to achieve has to fit with typical homes in the neighbourhood.

If you’d like free advice about the current value of your home and what is possible in terms of value-adding improvements, please call me.                          Remember, information is endless; good advice is priceless.

What are land/ home prices going to be a year from now? 

If you know the answer, you can make a fortune.
Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure.
That is why it is important not to believe the newspaper articles stating that prices will either double or collapse tomorrow.

What can you do to make sure you will come out a winner?

If you see a very good deal, and you can afford it, even if interest were to go up 4 % or more, then buy.
If you get an offer to sell, and have a good  idea for investing the proceeds, then sell.

If a fixer-upper is available considerably under the current market price, is fixable and salable in a short time, and (again) you can afford it, then buy and sell it.  If you live in it for a year, you can call it your primary residence for tax purposes, and thus escape taxes on your resale profit.
If you have the cash to buy a home for rental income in a good area, as long as it is priced so you can afford it in the future, it is a good investment.

You will be gambling if you are borrowing in the hope that prices will go up, interest will stay low, and money will devalue shortly.
If you nevertheless want to do this, make sure the cash flow will work, even when times get tougher, so you won’t lose your investment property to the bank.  If the gains would be, say, $10,000, and your potential loss only $1,000, it is worth the risk.


House plants that clean the air


• English Ivy
• Spider Plant
• Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
• Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
• Snake Plant or mother-in-law's tongue
• Philodendron 
• Dracaena 
• Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
These plants will take out pollutants that “poison” the air, like VOC’s or other’s. Most are easy to keep and will also calm you down, as green plants are Mother Nature’s soothers.
 






When you speak to your dog, why does it tilt its head?



You may have noticed that when your dog hears you you asking him if he'd like to go for a walk, he cocks his head to the side.
This adorable move seems to say, "I'm listening," but what's really going on when dogs' heads tilt in response to various sounds?
 
Here are a few possible explanations.
 
They're trying to hear better.
Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of a sound, but they also have brains that can compute time differences between the sounds reaching each ear. A slight change in a dog's head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sound's distance.
 
They're trying to understand us.
He's trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with a reward, such as going for a walk or receiving a treat.
  
They can't see our faces easily.
In an effort to understand us, dogs not only use our words and inflections, but also facial expressions, body language and eye movements.
  
We've taught them to do it.
We have a tendency to respond to the behavior with positive reinforcement. Perhaps we say "aww" in a pleasing tone of voice or offer the dog a treat.


Info from: Laura Moss


If you need to make a choice, investigate, evaluate, and decide.
                                  Not deciding is always wrong.

Newsletter March 2015

Things to do before the snow melts
Make sure the snow piles are at such locations that when fast melting occurs, the water will flow away from the buildings.
Keep extra attention to the foundation walls, so you keep the basement dry.

Check that drains are open, and if necessary, open them up or hire a steam truck.
Spring runoff combined with rain can change your yard into a lake in no time.

Check the sump pump in the basement.
Raise the “float” and check if it turns on.
If you want to get cheap insurance, buy a spare sump pump. Your current one might break at a time you can’t get a new one (check Peavey Mart/ Canadian Tire/ Princess Auto flyers).

Buy a “high water” pump alarm.
It will sound a loud alarm, or even dial your cell phone when water comes out of the sump pit.
This will still give you time to react before the water gets all over the basement floor.
It pays to get one, especially if your insurance people discount your premium for having one.

Check your gutter downspouts for blockages.
Leaves or other debris from last year might have blocked the quick flow of water. 
Put the extensions on your downspouts so water will flow away from your home.

Finally, enjoy spring every moment you can.
Sit on the deck and sip a coffee; it is the beginning of new life!



Fix it; sell it

When you are thinking of fixing or remodelling your home, and want to maximize its future potential, think about what will increase your home value the most.
The best place to start is with whatever catches your eyes instantly.
Dealing with loose paint or damaged portions of your house are often a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade the home.
If you do it yourself, use good quality materials in order to achieve the best end-product.

Secondly, examine your yard.
Trimming plants, adding some flowers, or (if you are not selling soon) adding shrubs and perennials such as tall grasses adds value.  It will wow prospective buyers and doesn’t have to break the bank.

Next up are larger items such as the kitchen or bathroom.
Those rooms are the ones most highly valued by home owners.
A great house with a substandard kitchen takes longer to convince someone to buy.
If you want to spend little to achieve a lot, then stay in the current layout, and don’t move appliances or structures.
Older homes might have surprises in the walls, behind appliances or fixtures that can blow your budget.

Last, make a plan and a budget to keep track of your expenses. The price increase you want to achieve has to fit with typical homes in the neighbourhood.

If you’d like free advice about the current value of your home and what is possible in terms of value-adding improvements, please call me.                          Remember, information is endless; good advice is priceless.

What are land/ home prices going to be a year from now? 

If you know the answer, you can make a fortune.
Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure.
That is why it is important not to believe the newspaper articles stating that prices will either double or collapse tomorrow.

What can you do to make sure you will come out a winner?

If you see a very good deal, and you can afford it, even if interest were to go up 4 % or more, then buy.
If you get an offer to sell, and have a good  idea for investing the proceeds, then sell.

If a fixer-upper is available considerably under the current market price, is fixable and salable in a short time, and (again) you can afford it, then buy and sell it.  If you live in it for a year, you can call it your primary residence for tax purposes, and thus escape taxes on your resale profit.
If you have the cash to buy a home for rental income in a good area, as long as it is priced so you can afford it in the future, it is a good investment.

You will be gambling if you are borrowing in the hope that prices will go up, interest will stay low, and money will devalue shortly.
If you nevertheless want to do this, make sure the cash flow will work, even when times get tougher, so you won’t lose your investment property to the bank.  If the gains would be, say, $10,000, and your potential loss only $1,000, it is worth the risk.


House plants that clean the air


• English Ivy
• Spider Plant
• Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum)
• Chinese Evergreen (Aglaonema)
• Snake Plant or mother-in-law's tongue
• Philodendron 
• Dracaena 
• Rubber Plant (Ficus elastica)
These plants will take out pollutants that “poison” the air, like VOC’s or other’s. Most are easy to keep and will also calm you down, as green plants are Mother Nature’s soothers.
 






When you speak to your dog, why does it tilt its head?



You may have noticed that when your dog hears you you asking him if he'd like to go for a walk, he cocks his head to the side.
This adorable move seems to say, "I'm listening," but what's really going on when dogs' heads tilt in response to various sounds?
 
Here are a few possible explanations.
 
They're trying to hear better.
Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of a sound, but they also have brains that can compute time differences between the sounds reaching each ear. A slight change in a dog's head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sound's distance.
 
They're trying to understand us.
He's trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with a reward, such as going for a walk or receiving a treat.
  
They can't see our faces easily.
In an effort to understand us, dogs not only use our words and inflections, but also facial expressions, body language and eye movements.
  
We've taught them to do it.
We have a tendency to respond to the behavior with positive reinforcement. Perhaps we say "aww" in a pleasing tone of voice or offer the dog a treat.


Info from: Laura Moss


If you need to make a choice, investigate, evaluate, and decide.
                                  Not deciding is always wrong.


Newsletter March 2015

 


Things to do before the snow melts


Make sure the snow piles are at such locations that when fast melting occurs, the water will flow away from the buildings.

Keep extra attention to the foundation walls, so you keep the basement dry.

 

Check that drains are open, and if necessary, open them up or hire a steam truck.

Spring runoff combined with rain can change your yard into a lake in no time.

 

Check the sump pump in the basement.

Raise the “float” and check if it turns on.

If you want to get cheap insurance, buy a spare sump pump. Your current one might break at a time you can’t get a new one (check Peavey Mart/ Canadian Tire/ Princess Auto flyers).

 

Buy a “high water” pump alarm.

It will sound a loud alarm, or even dial your cell phone when water comes out of the sump pit.

This will still give you time to react before the water gets all over the basement floor.

It pays to get one, especially if your insurance people discount your premium for having one.

 

Check your gutter downspouts for blockages.

Leaves or other debris from last year might have blocked the quick flow of water.

Put the extensions on your downspouts so water will flow away from your home.

 

Finally, enjoy spring every moment you can.

Sit on the deck and sip a coffee; it is the beginning of new life!

 

 

 

Fix it; sell it

 

When you are thinking of fixing or remodelling your home, and want to maximize its future potential, think about what will increase your home value the most.

The best place to start is with whatever catches your eyes instantly.

Dealing with loose paint or damaged portions of your house are often a quick and inexpensive way to upgrade the home.

If you do it yourself, use good quality materials in order to achieve the best end-product.

 

Secondly, examine your yard.

Trimming plants, adding some flowers, or (if you are not selling soon) adding shrubs and perennials such as tall grasses adds value.  It will wow prospective buyers and doesn’t have to break the bank.

 

Next up are larger items such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Those rooms are the ones most highly valued by home owners.

A great house with a substandard kitchen takes longer to convince someone to buy.

If you want to spend little to achieve a lot, then stay in the current layout, and don’t move appliances or structures.

Older homes might have surprises in the walls, behind appliances or fixtures that can blow your budget.

 

Last, make a plan and a budget to keep track of your expenses. The price increase you want to achieve has to fit with typical homes in the neighbourhood.

 

If you’d like free advice about the current value of your home and what is possible

             in terms of value-adding improvements, please call me.  

                     

   Remember, information is endless; good advice is priceless.

 

What are land/ home prices going to be a year from now?

 

If you know the answer, you can make a fortune.

Unfortunately, nobody knows for sure.

That is why it is important not to believe the newspaper articles stating that prices will either double or collapse tomorrow.

 

What can you do to make sure you will come out a winner?

 

If you see a very good deal, and you can afford it, even if interest were to go up 4 % or more, then buy.

If you get an offer to sell, and have a good  idea for investing the proceeds, then sell.

 

If a fixer-upper is available considerably under the current market price, is fixable and salable in a short time, and (again) you can afford it, then buy and sell it.  If you live in it for a year, you can call it your primary residence for tax purposes, and thus escape taxes on your resale profit.

If you have the cash to buy a home for rental income in a good area, as long as it is priced so you can afford it in the future, it is a good investment.

 

You will be gambling if you are borrowing in the hope that prices will go up, interest will stay low, and money will devalue shortly.

If you nevertheless want to do this, make sure the cash flow will work, even when times get tougher, so you won’t lose your investment property to the bank.  If the gains would be, say, $10,000, and your potential loss only $1,000, it is worth the risk.

 

 

House plants that clean the air

 

 

These plants will take out pollutants that “poison” the air, like VOC’s or other’s. Most are easy to keep and will also calm you down, as green plants are Mother Nature’s soothers.

 

 

  

When you speak to your dog, why does it tilt its head?

 



You may have noticed that when your dog hears you you asking him if he'd like to go for a walk, he cocks his head to the side.

This adorable move seems to say, "I'm listening," but what's really going on when dogs' heads tilt in response to various sounds?

 

Here are a few possible explanations.

 

They're trying to hear better.

Dogs have movable earflaps that help them locate the source of a sound, but they also have brains that can compute time differences between the sounds reaching each ear. A slight change in a dog's head position supplies additional information that the canine can use to judge a sound's distance.

 

They're trying to understand us.

He's trying to identify familiar words or tones that he associates with a reward, such as going for a walk or receiving a treat.

  

They can't see our faces easily.

In an effort to understand us, dogs not only use our words and inflections, but also facial expressions, body language and eye movements.

  

We've taught them to do it.

We have a tendency to respond to the behavior with positive reinforcement. Perhaps we say "aww" in a pleasing tone of voice or offer the dog a treat. 

Info from: Laura Moss



 Just my thought


If you need to make a choice,

investigate, evaluate, and decide.

Not deciding is always wrong



The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House









News letter February 2015


Energy savings


It might sound simple that stopping drafts can save you money, but a lot of homes still have this issue.  Before you start thinking about big energy-saving projects, start with the small things that are quick and easy to fix.


  • Replace the foam liners around your doors.  They tend to wear, break or fall apart altogether. Replacing them takes ten minutes and will save a lot of energy.

  • Replace the rubber flap on the bottom of your door. Remove the 3 screws, slide it out and put a new one in place. The old ones become brittle and don’t work as they should.

  • Replace the rubber liners around your garage door. They seal the door for a while, but eventually get old and don’t do the trick. Then you can feel the wind or see light coming in. You can buy new ones at a garage door shop or hardware store.

  • Replace light bulbs with thrifty fluorescent bulbs or even more efficient LED bulbs. The latter type lasts longer but costs a lot more.

 Quick fix big results


 

Your mind and eating: losing calories without effort

 

Most people think that they tend to eat when they are either hungry or bored, but our appetites are greatly affected by attractions and perceptions.

Here are some tips to help you miss out on unwanted calories:

Place all foods where you won’t see them.


Buy dinner plates that are a size smaller. They look fuller, so you don’t take that extra scoop.

Serve dinner from the stove, and eat at the table, so that if you want seconds, you’ll  have to get up.

When you get a snack, transfer some out of the bag or box into a small bowl.


Info from: Brian Wansink,


 

Why Keystone XL will be a tough nut to crack.

 

On my trip in the USA last month, I listened to numerous radio stations from both the left and the right ends of the political spectrum. Listening to the talk shows makes it a little bit easier to understand what is going on in this immense country called America. Although Canada and America have a lot in common,

 politics is different over there.


The government of the USA changed the first week of January, 

and the Republicans now have a majority in both houses.


The president is a Democrat, and you would think that governing would be easy now,

 since he would have to follow the majority. Think again....


The president has the power to veto any legislation, and to exercise power in certain respects without the consent of the Congress, unless both the House and the Senate can muster a two-thirds majority to override the presidential veto.

 

Let’s see how this applies to the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. The people who voted for the president did so because his platform included promises to protect the environment.  If he approves the Keystone XL Pipeline, he will go into the books as the president who lied to the people. If he vetoes it, however, he’ll be David against Goliath, and American environmentalists will see him as a hero


    Fun with your kids

When it is unusually cold outside, take a small pan with very hot water, and throw the water up into the air. It will disappear !  Take care not to scald anyone., though.


Youngsters find this magical.


How does it work? The boiling water will evaporate instantly when it comes in contact with the arctic air. It appears to be gone, but it really just evaporates very fast.

 

Renovation plans?


                  Before you start changing your floor plan, here are a few tips to keep costs under control:


•           Keep the plumbing and electrical where it is – moving plumbing and electrical lines can double the cost of your project. Planning and designing your project around existing plumbing can save you a considerable amount of money and free up additional funds to use somewhere else.


•           Refurbish structural elements – If your project involves replacing ceiling beams or wooden floors, for example, consider refurbishing these surfaces instead of replacing them. Consider recycling materials and using them in a new, creative way. A great way to save money on a kitchen remodelling project is to ‘reface’ the cabinets (i.e., install new doors and hardware) if the boxes are still in good shape, as opposed to ripping them out completely and installing new ones.


•           Build up instead of out – If you’re considering an addition, experts say it’s always more expensive to build outward instead of upward. Foundation costs can be considerable. Also, consider repurposing a spare room for other uses – like turning an attic into another bedroom or bathroom.


•           Determine needs over wants – Home improvement projects can be divided into needs and wants. Determine the reasons behind your renovation. Is it because your cabinets aren't functional? Your appliances aren’t working? You don’t have enough space to store all of your stuff?  Factors like these could prove that your renovation is a need. If your kitchen is still functioning properly, it could be a want that can wait.


•           Hire a professional for an estimate – Unless you are a professional contractor, most homeowners who have undergone a renovation will say they went over budget. Having a realistic estimate up front of the cost of materials, labor and timing will help you to set a solid budget for your home remodelling project, and enable you to determine how much you need to save each month (and for how long) in order to reach your budgeted amount.


•           Budget a ‘cushion’ – The reality of a home remodelling project is that unforeseen  unbudgeted circumstances will almost always arise. It is therefore always wise to save more than your estimate, so that you have a cushion. It can be a life-saver and help reduce the stress of being faced with higher costs that you didn’t expect.


•           Take on smaller projects first – If you’re planning your first home renovation project, budget for a small one first (like a porch addition or a front door replacement). This will get your feet wet, and help you understand how the construction process works and how much labor and materials typically cost. Once completed, you will be armed with the experience to effectively negotiate with contractors on larger projects in the future.


•           Streamline personal and lifestyle spending – While saving for your renovation, limit your spending on needless items – ask yourself whether you really need what you are buying. Expenses such as dining out on a regular basis can be real budget-busters. If you typically have a Friday date night with your spouse, rent a movie or make a special dinner at home instead of going out. It can save you a lot of money over time. Even bringing your lunch to work as opposed to buying it every day can help you save money for the “renovation fund” more quickly.


                              Again, determining needs over wants will help keep your spending in check. 

                                            You’ll be watching your money add up in no time!



Just my thought


Sometimes the small gestures 

are bigger

 than the biggest gift

Think small to give in a big way

 


 

 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House










Avoid taxes when selling farmland
• When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
• Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
• This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
• As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
• Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
• If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
• You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
• You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
• You have a personal income.
• The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
• Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
• As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
• When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
• Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
• Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
• Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
• Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
• Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
• Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
• Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
• However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
• You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
• If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
• You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
• Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
• Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
• Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
• You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
• Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
• Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
• Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
• Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
• Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
• Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
• Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
• Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
• Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

Avoid taxes when selling farmland
• When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
• Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
• This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
• As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
• Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
• If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
• You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
• You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
• You have a personal income.
• The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
• Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
• As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
• When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
• Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
• Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
• Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
• Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
• Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
• Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
• Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
• However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
• You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
• If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
• You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
• Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
• Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
• Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
• You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
• Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
• Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
• Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
• Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
• Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
• Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
• Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
• Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
• Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better acTo

Happy new year, and all the best in 2015


Avoid taxes when selling farmland

 

•        When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.

•        Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.

•        This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.

•        As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.


•        Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.


•        If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location,

 we would be happy to assist you.

Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?

 

If the corporation pays you a salary, Advantages are:

 

•        You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).

•        You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.

•        You have a personal income.

•        The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.

•        Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.


Disadvantages are:

 

Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.

•        As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.

•        When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.

 

If the corporation pays you dividends,  Advantages are:

 

•        Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.

•        Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.

•        Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.

 

Disadvantages are:

•        Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.

•        Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.

•        Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.

 

 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?

 

•        Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.

•        However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.


Thanks to Susan Ward

 

 

Passport service terminated October 2015


When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information.

 


 

Success is what you do; luck is what happens.

 

•        You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

•        If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.

•        You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

•        Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.

•        Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.

•        Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

•        You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.



 

When to quit your job

 

•        Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.

Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.

•        Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.

•        Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.

•        Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.

•        Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.

•        Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.

•        Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.

•        Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.

•        Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.

If you think you can’t quit your job,

 

think about all the things you can do, about the future, 

the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  

Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  


And once you like your job... 


you’ll never go to work again.



 

Just my thought


Push for luck, aim for success

Think big, but don't forget the small things in

life

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House



 

Newsletter December 2014

                                                             We wish you a very happy Christmas



Unique Holiday Gifting

 

Every year we do the same thing. We approach the holidays with a certain amount of stress. It’s not so much what we’ll make for dinner because who doesn't get excited about mixing tradition with new dishes and sharing them with friends and family. But much of the stress comes from what to buy for others. Don’t get me wrong kids are easy, but adults?

So here’s a thought. Many families no longer exchange gifts among adults for the simple reason they’ve exhausted the possibilities and at a certain stage, we need less. More importantly we just want to be together during the holidays. But dropping the traditional gift giving is sometimes difficult.

A new tradition with holiday celebrating is potluck in a bowl/ pan or on a plate. Simply ask those who are coming to make something to bring – a part of the meal. It shares the work and everyone gets to feel a part of the festivities by contributing.

Buy a really nice piece of cookware, then cook your contributing dish in the cookware. Then you leave the dish as a hosts holiday gift.  Oven- safe bowl, something from a local pottery, or glass.

Bringing food in a gift of cookware is a gift that’s enthusiastically received and get's the stress away from the holiday's.

 

Refinancing yes or no?


Refinancing can be a great financial move if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your loan or helps you build equity more quickly. When used carefully, it can also be a valuable tool in getting your debt under control. Before

If you are going to refinance, take a careful look at your financial situation, and ask yourself: How long do I plan to continue living in the house? And how much money will I save by refinancing?

Keep in mind that refinancing generally costs between 3 and 6% of the loan's principal. It takes years to recoup that cost with the savings generated by a lower interest rate or a shorter term. 

So, if you are not planning to stay in the home for more than a few years, the cost of refinancing may negate any of the potential savings. 

It also pays to remember that a savvy homeowner is always looking for ways to reduce debt, build equity, save money and eliminate that mortgage payment. Taking cash out of your equity when you refinance doesn't help you achieve any of those goals.

Build your home better, faster, and most likely cheaper


Invented and developed in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, this building system is an insulated and structural component building product that is revolutionizing the building industry. Sections are made from two materials - EPS (expanded polystyrene) as the insulating wall core, and integrated galvanized steel construction studs for strength.

Simple product series are easily adaptable to most commercial or residential building uses including walls, foundation walls, foundation floors and roofs. The system has many unique advantages, significant cost savings, and its ease of installation makes the product less dependent on costly and hard to find skilled trade workers.

The Building Systems offer a wide range of environmental advantages from production of products to long lasting energy savings. All products are produced locally in Edmonton, Alberta. Polycore Canada has the only EPS recycling system in Western Canada allowing manufacturing with no waste ending up in the landfill. Each product is custom cut and designed to ensure that when the product is delivered to your construction site there is virtually no waste, you are only given the exact amount of product needed for your project. Due to the fact that all of the products are insulated and structural without using wood, there are less materials needed compared to traditional construction methods, and the product will offer a higher than normal R value. 

The Building Systems will continue to provide energy savings for the life of the structure, resulting in less greenhouse emissions and exponential savings. It is a healthy building solution that eliminates mold potential and has virtually no maintenance required.

The building system provides the strength of steel and the efficiencies of EPS (expanded polystyrene) at costs that are competitive with traditional wood materials; concrete cribbing and ICF style foundations. 

With the savings in construction time and skill base requirements this building system is more economical and faster to use than traditional construction materials such as lumber and concrete. Plus, you're not depleting natural resources, or dependant on fluctuating lumber prices.

 

Building a new home, 200sft will do?


When you want to down size, are strapped for cash, or want to do something different, 

here is some fascinating information about a Tiny House on wheels.

The majority of them look pretty much like each other, little boxes on wheels.

Jay Shafer, pretty much invented the tiny house thing, and most of them have looked like his ever since. But if you are going to build a sleeping loft, the traditional gable roof doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

Laird Herbert designed his tiny Leaf House with a shed roof that went front to back. This gave him a generous loft with consistent head height right across. He designed the inside of it like a yacht. On the same size platform as most tiny houses he gets a whole lot more room.

 “Ever since I started designing small houses, I realized that they would work best together as a cluster. Because then you can share amenities. ” Shafer has drawn a common house at the center of each design. 

There, neighbors can share storage, laundry facilities, maybe even a pool table. And he’s put the tiny homes on wheels so the complex can be zoned like an RV park.

Yes, get a real Christmas tree!


Everyone has different family traditions, maybe you have man made Christmas tree instead of a real one, maybe you go out every year and buy one together as a family, or maybe you just go out alone and grab one from your local supermarket (if they sell them).

The Christmas tree is a traditional decoration for any family that celebrates Christmas and without one the house just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. 

If this is your first Christmas without your parents then this is a chance to start a new tradition altogether, why not take your partner (and your children if you have any)

go out into the forest, or to a tree farm, to find the perfect tree and cut it fresh together, 

Smell the tree, remember what it took to get it to your home!

Roast some marshmallows over the fire outdoors!

You can really make it a fun outing which will become an annual event? 

Whatever you do this Christmas make sure you don’t go too overboard,

 you want to actually see the rest of the room and not just a space full of tree!

Just my thought.

Only someone who wants to laugh

and, wants to cry with you

Is a REAL friend


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House

 

Newsletter  November, 2014

 

Use Recycled Paper

 

Keep the world's trees and clients, friends and family happy, by printing on recycled paper.

Unlike years past, there's very little cost difference today between recycled and virgin paper, so there really isn't any reason not to use recycled paper.

Remember, recyclable paper is not necessarily all recycled paper.  Also, many papers are made from small amounts of mill scraps that are recycled, but this isn't truly recycled paper.

 

Instead, you'll want to use paper that is at least partially made up of previously used paper, like you put in your recycling bins. To find out what portion of the paper was made from previously used paper, ask your print shop for the paper's post-consumer-fiber percentage. The higher the number, the more recycled paper was used. Commonly used recycled papers generally range between 10-50 percent post-consumer-fiber.

 

If you do print on recycled paper, be sure to let readers know. Put "Printed on Recycled Paper" in small type at the bottom of your pages or in the masthead.

 

House Saving Tips:

 

  1. Shorten your dryer-vent hose. First, disconnect it and vacuum it out. Then trim the hose length so that it's just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. A short and unobstructed line makes your dryer run more efficiently.  
  2.  

Cost: Free    Savings: $25 a year on electricity, gas, or propane.

Bonus: Your clothes will dry about 20 percent faster.

 

Choose one neutral trim paint for the entire house rather than buying a gallon of a particular color for each room and using only a fraction of each can.

Cost: You have to forgo the trendy color combos in the paint manufacturer brochures.

Savings: $50.- on paint for three rooms.

Bonus: Crisp white trim is always in style, and you'll never have to rummage around for the right can for touch-ups.

 

Using dark colours for your roof will increase the temperature in your attic.  It also shortens the life of shingles as they tend to get very hot.

Using light grey will extend the time between shingling.

 

Plug in a Smart Strip. Three-quarters of the energy, that electronics burn is consumed when the equipment is turned off. Rather than unplugging items after every use, hook them up to a Smart Strip surge protector, which automatically kills power to electronics when you turn them off and returns it when you switch them back on.

 

Fix a leaky faucet or toilet filler. You can replace them in 20 minutes and save a sea of water.

 

Cost: approx. 50 cents per seal.

 

 

 

Where Are Interest Rates Heading?

 

Current rates are at an all-time low. There is a tendency to keep interest low for a while, so the economy can fire on all cylinders.

This to spur private borrowing, spending and ultimately growth.

 

Europe has its own problems with possible deflation. To tackle that European countries are cutting their spending and decreasing the growth of the tax burden for their citizens. (That is still an increase.)

 

Overall it looks like low interest will be here for a while. Remember that renegotiating your mortgage can be an advantage. Keep a long-term saving in mind, as well as your ability to pay back what you borrowed, even with a 3-point rate hike. The bank’s business is to keep you dependant, not to get you debt free.

 

Will the rates go up?  Not likely, but if deflation ever hits, something might change faster than you might like.

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared For the Cold? Have Your Home Ready For Winter

 

Have a couple of bags of sand in your garage, to deal with ice on the driveway. Don’t use salt as it eats your concrete away.

Use sand or fine gravel instead.

 

Get everything out of the ground now. When snow covers everything, you don’t know where you put it, and might drive over it.

 

Put stakes in the ground on sharp edges, at entrances and at the ends of culverts.

Clearing the snow with a machine is helpful.

Make sure your stakes protrude at least 3 feet out of the ground.

 

Drain all your water taps outside, and remove hoses from the taps.

Buy a good snow shovel now. There is plenty stock and some good deals are available now.

 

What is the Windshield Effect?

 

The windshield effect was a simple concept. If you want to go forward, you need to concentrate on the windshield and what is ahead of you.

However, you can't do this without glancing in the wing mirrors to see what is on each side of you, and in the head mirror to see what is behind you. In order to progress, one must understand and accept what has come before, and learn from it.

 

Personally, while I prefer not to dwell on the past, I often apply lessons learned from previous mistakes and apply them to new decisions.

 

Certainly, if you spend too much time wallowing in what is behind you, rather than looking in front, you will crash and burn. Prisoners of the past have no escape to their own futures.

Try to balance learning the lessons that have gone before with throwing yourself into the challenges of the future.

Oh, and remember to clean the windshield every now and then

Virgin owner: Richard Branson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just my thought.

If you want to be lucky...

Don't forget to look for it!






News letter October 2014


What better way than to fulfill a wish!


Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Non-profit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano..... and got it!?


Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)



Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?


• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation


Find the things that make you happy.

Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.


Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. 

You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, 

challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises



The best staff, come with a smile


How to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, 

treat them well enough so they don't want to  !!!
If you look after your staff,

they'll look after your customers.

It's that simple. 

How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? 

How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?



Leave the leaves.


When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants. Better still; leave them over for the winter. 
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants, to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.


If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, 

plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.

After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!



 If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, 

don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
Check the furnace


a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces.

 That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.

Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,

Don't forget the chimney . 

Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.

Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,

Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,

Finally, check those alarms. 

This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. 

Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- 

with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. 

Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.


Just my thought.
When Time flies, ...Stop.
Life is precious, 

live it to the fullest, every day.

What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House











News letter September 2014


Garden Tip

 

When you work in your garden this month, make some photos of the flower beds, with perennials and scrubs. It makes it easier later in the fall to know what they looked like, and where they are in the ground.

As they get older, you can start with dividing them up, and replant them. Make groups of three or five plants, and keep an eye on where you plant them, so they have room to grow, and show. A mistake often made is to fertilize when they are in full bloom in August. This can result in getting frost damage. Stop adding fertilizer in late summer, so all of it is used up before the fall comes and the plants goes in hibernation.

Burglar in the yard!


Do you experience uninvited guest in your yard. Try to deter them with signs and lights.

Place 1 or more No Trespassing signs.

When you want to add light, use motion sensor activated lights.  Install a light fixture near every entrance, with bright light that illuminates the area around the entrance. Do not point towards the door and the lock, but down on top of who stands in front of the entrance. It will put a shadow on the burglars work area, but have him stand out more.

You uninvited guest don’t like the attention, and being in full light when they work their way in. A flickering light is even better, as it stands out. (You can get strobe lights at Halloween shops).

Remember that a regular burglar wants to get in quick, and without being seen. Alarms are great, but a lot of times they are ignored, as they give to many falls readings. Don’t make your home a fortress, use a good lock on every door, keep valuables out of sight, and tools/ladders out of reach. With some extra lights, you will deter most criminals, as they will look for an easier prey.

 

Did your property go up in value this year?


We had calls in the last little while from people who asked me what their property is worth.

Did the land value go up, and what about the house and outbuildings? Land has gone up over the last 7 years. It has made a few “jumps” and is already stable for a while. The price of grain, a couple of good years in the farm industry, combined with low interest and uncertainty in the economy, has had people going into the purchase of tangibles, like land. This only will last, as long as there is a return on investment. What the future will hold is a guess, including value and demand. When you want to invest in real estate, make a long term plan, so interest rates, will not affect you in a negative way.  In the long run land will go up, but could make some mayor corrections down the road.

Buildings are valued on their use, and how long they can be used. Specific use buildings have only value for those who can utilise them. A well maintained home will keep its value, even better if you update it every 10 years. To get a more detailed number, call us for a estimate.

 

Networking, how can we help!

 

Over the time off several years, all of us have learned that it is not what you know, but who you know, is sometimes more important.

This is also important when you need to get it done, but don’t know who to call. If you like to share your information with other home owners, or like to ask who they used, you can do so by sending me a mail, with a request, or info from a trades person you used, and where very happy with.

We don’t need the price, and we don’t mention your name.

Just the name and address from the trades’ person you used.

 You will find a list on our web site www.Jac Theelen.com

 

 

Back to school.


That time of the year again. Everybody is excited to get things in time back for back to school.

If you have waited until the last minute, here a few tips.

The best deals on school supplies are when everyone else is done shopping. Wait until half September if you are not afraid not to get that one particular backpack with logo, and get everything you need ow on sale, as stores clear for the holidays.

Buy you items in bulk, pens / pencils /paper are great in large volume.

Don’t get excited when you don’t have all items on the too -do list crossed off. Let your kids know that you will have the missing items later in the weeks to come.  Avoiding stress before the new school year helps your kids to relax. Bake a cake together to celebrate, or take them to a movie.  Remember that the main goal is to have fun at school, so they like to go. Help them to achieve it!

 Just my Thought


There is nothing perfect in life 

Try only to perfect things

It will be as close as you can get

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@
The Ranch House





 News letter August 2014

 Theft and break-ins: how to avoid them!

 

When you go away, here are some tips to keep your home secure.

**  Lock away your handyman and gardening tools, which may be used to force open doors or windows, and any item that may be used to gain access to the property or cause damage.

**  Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your valuables and then put them somewhere safe.

**  Before you leave, close all internal doors to help contain any fire that might occur.

**  Then, check that your doors, windows and garage are locked securely, and remove spare keys from hiding places. As you leave, check everything again.

 

** Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog/ face book isn't the best place to announce that you'll be away from home for a month. Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either.

 

** Make sure that your children are discreet, too. No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

 

** Never leave a portable GPS in your car when you use long-term parking at the airport. It'll alert thieves that you're not home and give them a convenient map to your house.

 

Summer projects that increase the value of your  home


Build a deck or patio.

 

This project not only adds visual interest to the exterior of your home, it also gives you a chance to enjoy your outdoor living space to the fullest.

 

During the spring and summer, patios are spaces for entertaining guests, barbecuing, and leisure time.

Whatever your motivation, building a deck or patio will encourage you and your family to get outside and enjoy summer.

Install a sprinkler system.

On average, homeowners use 50 per cent more water than necessary on their lawns. This increases hydro bills and causes flooding. Automatic lawn sprinkler systems are designed with busy homeowner lifestyles in mind. Installing a sprinkler system allows proper irrigation through timing and even water distribution. Although initial installation can be pricey, you may end up saving money in the long-term.

 

If you have older kids who like to do outside activities, here are some great ideas.

 

* Place a swing ball game in your back yard.

* Mount a basketball hoop against your home.

* Build a misting or rain shower on a pole, and connect it to a garden hose.

* Have them build their own tent in the yard, with an outdoor kitchen to cook their own sausages for dinner.

* If you have a bigger yard with mature trees, let them build a zip line to glide from one tree to the next.

*Or simply sit together and find other fun things that they can do or build outside.

When kids can act on their own ideas, it helps them unplug their devices and play outside.

How to increase the value of your home acreage or farm before you sell it.

Install a movable kitchen island

When you have the space, an want to create more counter space, this is an easy install, and you have the option to move it too.

 

Trim trees and scrubs that have become to large and obstruct view and/ or take light away in your home.

Also , look how they look from the road ( first impression)

 

Install a sun tube.

Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sun scoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room, Sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer

 

Repair and fix broken or rusted part of gutters railings and other parts of your home that need some maintenance.

 

If you have an old front door, replace it.

This is the first thing people see when they come to your home.

Fix a broken door bell, or instead of the whole door, paint it and replace the hard ware.

 

Check the state of your bath room, and upgrade it, or fix it up.

Buyers are more prone to buy a house with a nice bathroom.

 

Paint your home neutral colours in today’s paint colours

You might like purple and orange, most buyers like neutral colors.

 

 

Get more free time.

 

Do you feel that there are not enough hours in the day?

Are you to stressed out to get it all done in the time that you have.


Here is an idea:                                            Track your hours.


Keep track of what you do in a day.

Most of us do things like checking e-mail, as soon as it comes in. Replying messages. Instantly and repeatedly. Checking Facebook, and keeping it up to date with photos and text. 

It takes so much of our daily hours that you almost run out of time do the things that really need to be done.


Try to book some OFF LINE TIME !!! It will brighten your day

 

Just my Thought

If live trows you a curve ball,

Catch it and play, you might win!


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House


News letter February 2014

Tips to Getting the Cheapest Airline Flights

 

1.         Book your flight 21 days before you want to fly: Booking a flight is like playing a game of chicken. Airlines want to get the most money possible for their tickets and have sophisticated computer algorithms that adjust their prices automatically. Book too early and you might miss out on some major deals. Book too late, and you might be shocked to see prices skyrocket. The general consensus is to book your flight 21 days before your planned departure date to get the best deals.

2.         Tuesday is the best day of the week: Most airlines update their reservation systems on a Tuesday at 7pm. People tend to buy the bulk of their tickets on the weekend, so airlines make changes on one of the slowest days of the week

3.         Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday: Tuesday and Wednesday are the least busy days at airports, and are also the cheapest days to fly. As an added bonus, you’ll also have less people to deal with at the airport. Friday and Sunday is the peak flying days of the week, and are the worse and most expensive days to fly.

4.         Book Early for International Flights: The best deals for international flying are found 11-12 weeks in advance. You can also try flying into smaller airports, which sometimes have better deals.

5.         Eat Your Cookies: Delete your Internet browser cookies if you’ve visited an airline site within the last 30 days. It’s been discovered that some airlines will raise prices for previous visitors to their websites.

6.         Compare Prices: Use travel search engines, in addition to airline websites, to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.


Natural Sunlight, makes you happy?


The cause of seasonal affective disorder is lack of natural sunlight on your skin. This is because sunlight provides an essential element to the human body: something that you need on a frequent basis in order to achieve optimum health, just like vitamins and minerals and other phyto nutrients that support your health. When you don't get natural sunlight on your skin, you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren't consuming vitamins or you go without natural sunlight for long enough, these symptoms will become apparent enough to be diagnosed by a physician, and that diagnosis will typically be named "seasonal affective disorder", or "sunlight deficiency" . If it were called only sunlight deficiency, it would give people a better idea of what to do about it. And with that in mind, let's move on to the treatments of seasonal affective disorder.

A person who makes a point to get natural sunlight on their skin on a frequent basis -- daily, if possible -- will experience a wide range of healthful benefits, and enhanced mood and brain function.

Depending on where you live, of course, it may be difficult for you to get natural sunlight on a regular basis, and so the next best thing is to get high-intensity, full-spectrum lighting, which is available from various light boxes and seasonal affective disorder treatment devices. These are essentially very bright lights that radiate some of the same frequencies as the natural sun directly onto your skin (and into your eyes) where they have a similar effect. However, this is only the second best thing. Nothing replaces the natural sun in terms of intensity and frequency. So light boxes are a good choice if you can't get the sun, but if you live in a climate where you can get regular sunlight, then natural sunlight is of course your best choice.

These are pieces of an article that is written by: Mike Adams( Author)


Ice dams on the roof

 

Ice dams on the roof are caused by snow that melts and freezes on your roof.

When this water runs down the roof line it freezes up at the coldest place, at the bottom of your roof.

 

Over time more water that runs down will accumulate and a dam is created.

This can cause serious issues

When it goes under your shingles, or get to large and creates a load, too large for your roof structure, it can cause integrity issues.

 

There is a way to prevent it from happening.

 

What you can do is cooling down your attic.

1.         Check your attic for spots where the insulation has moved, so warm air from the house can escape into the attic.

2.         Replace insulation if it is gone, ore add more on top of the old insulation. If you want, you can rent a machine to blow it in yourself, or hire a company to do it. (Price approx. $0.60/ sft.) Don’t forget to insulate the hot chimneys but do this with inflammable insulation. (check with a professional before you take on this project!)

3.         Check if you have enough vents in your roof.

4.         On average you need 1 vent per 150 foot of attic surface. If you have less, add some vents or put in an attic ventilation fan or large wall mount vent.

5.         Check if you have any insulation that covers the soffit. The soffit has to be able to “breathe” fresh air from the bottom. This way there is an air circulation in the attic and warm air can disappear on the top easier and will be replaced with cold air through the soffit at the bottom.

6.         Put rigid insulation on the attic hatch to prevent any heat to escape through this opening.

 

Additional, you can rake off snow after a mayor storm.

Do this a.s.a.p. as the snow will stick to your roof over time. Special roof rakes make this easier and safe. If you want to get close, use scaffold or a ladder, do not go on a roof that is covered in snow. If it looks dangerous, it probably is!

 

When there is a dam, make an opening in the middle, so new water coming from the top, can run further down the roof.

Remove ice from the gutters to prevent them from collapsing under the weight. You can fill an old nylon with d-icer and drape that in the gutter or on top of the ice dam, it will slowly clear the ice away!!!

 

7  Tips for Renting Out Your Home

 

Thinking about investing, in real estate, and renting out your property?

Here some ideas how you can get ready, and avoid the pitfalls.


Contract

1.    Find a good tenant.

Tell your potential renter that you have hired an outside company to do a background check for you.

Even, when you do it yourself. This way you can blame the company that they came back with negative result, and you cannot rent to them.

 

Ask potential tenants to fill out an application, listing their basic information: name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references. You'll also need their Social Security number and signed authorization to check their credit reports and criminal history. If a prospective renter refuses to give you his or her Social Security number, you can still run a credit check based on name and previous address.

2.    How much rent to charge.

Get an idea of area rental rates by checking newspaper ads, online resources and other neighborhood homes advertising for tenants. Be realistic: Renting for too much money will have consequences like high renter turn over.

 

3.    Set up a lease contract

Have a written lease so that each party understands their rights and obligations, If you want to do a good job, have a lawyer make one for you. They make sure it is enforceable.

A lease should spell out the following:

*Lease term.

*Security deposit. This is usually one month's rent or more. Don't agree to take partial payments.

*Due date for rent. Spell out penalties if the payment is late.

*Repairs. What will you do, and what is the renter’s responsibility (Routine upkeep and maintenance responsibilities?)

*List of tenants. Who is living in your property?

*Rules like non-smoking, pets

* Arrangements for showing. When you want to show it or need someone in the house, during the rental period.

*Eviction terms.


   4 Insurance for you and your renter

 

Protecting your property when rented means you have to have rental insurance, which is different from your own home insurance. Make sure that your renter is aware that they have to have they own insurance for personal belongings. You could cover loss of income due to damage, and don’t forget to get liability insurance. When your tenant gets hurt, due to something that happened in and around your property.


    5 management company/ Do it yourself

 

If you are around, are handy, and don’t mind the hassle, you can do this yourself.

If you hire a company, they will do it for you at a cost, and hire people to fix problems at your property, collect rent, and find renters.

Make sure you know the cost related to their work.

 

These companies primarily charge fees for two services: finding a tenant, which includes advertising and background checks, and managing the property. According to ManageMyProperty.com, the fee for filling a house varies from about 25% to 100% of one month's rent, depending on the area. Then, for typically around 4% to 12% of the monthly rent, the company collects rent, charges late fees, handles repairs, and deals with early vacancies and evictions.

 

If you hire a property manager, find a licensed professional.

 

One big advantage of using property managers is emotional distance. The management company primary duty is to collect rent and maintain properties.


  6 Have a buffer.

Late rent, damage and eviction can cost you an arm and a leg.

Have enough buffer to cover this expense.

When you think about renting, inquire with people who do this already for a while.

 

 

Feeling groggy, a little sick, and fatigued? 


It might not be a hangover. Over-the-counter sleep aids can mimic the effects of too much booze. 


Resolve it and get on a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and long daytime naps, exercise regularly and keep stress in check.


Staring at cellphones and computers can make dry eyes feel even worse. The Mayo Clinic recommends using the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes you're on the computer, look away at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more.


A 15-minute walk after eating can lower your blood sugar level for hours, and significantly reduce your risk of diabetes. More important, taking a short walk after meals can be much more effective at preventing blood sugar spikes than taking one 45-minute walk daily.


Eating berries can lower your risk of heart disease significantly. A study of nearly 94,000 women found that those who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack



Just my Thought

When you do things for years, without the result you want

Don’t try harder, but try to do it different

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House

 

 

 



Newsletter January, 2014


Not all gift cards are equal!


Did you know that not all gift cards are equal?


Cards from stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, or the Bay have NO expiration date, and there are no fees attached to such cards.  You simply keep them until you decide to use them.


However, cards from malls or financial institutions, including their credit cards, generally charge you a fee (often called a "service fee") if you use them after a certain date.


It's a good idea to go online and read the fine print. It can save you a lot of frustration down the road.


 


Ho, ho, ho, holy cow, that is expensive!


Did you get one of these deals?


"Don’t pay for 24 months…."


Here is the catch.


The money you save by not paying now but paying in the future has a little issue attached to it.


if you miss the 24-month deadline, even by only a few days, you are going to pay interest of at least 18% for the whole period.


Whenever you accept a deal like that, be sure you mark the due date on your calendar.  This will save you a lot of grief.


Identity theft: did you know?


What is Identity fraud?


Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds, including the misuse of debit card or credit card data.


Facts


• Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated methods, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.


• Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spyware and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.


• Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their reputations.


What the criminals are looking for:


• full name/ date of birth/ full address


• social insurance numbers


• mother's maiden name


• username and password for online services


• driver's license number


• personal identification numbers (PIN)


• credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last    three digits printed on the signature panel)


• bank account numbers


• signature


• passport number


What your information could be used for:


• access your bank accounts


• open new bank accounts


• transfer bank balances


• apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services


• make purchases


• hide their criminal activities


• obtain passports or receive government benefits


How can you find out whether your identity has been stolen?


The best way to find out is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.


If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information, report it promptly. 


Step 1 - Contact your local police force and file a report.


Step 2 - Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company.


Step 3 - Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports:  Equifax Canada  at 1-800-465-7166, and TransUnion Canada at 1-800-663-9980.


Step 4 - Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime:


Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.


Ask yourself whether you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don't need and keep them in a secure place instead.


Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.


During transactions, it's safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.


Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.


Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.


Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.


Trash bins are goldmines for identity thieves.  Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them into the garbage.


When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your banks and credit card companies).


                                            The Ranch House


 


A New Year’s resolution that can save you MONEY!


It’s time once again to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and whether New Year’s resolutions are a tradition in your home or not, we have one for you as homeowners to get a great start to 2014!


Cut energy use -- sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, saving you $200 per year or more, according to Energy Star. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.


A good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy-wasters, leaking your heating and cooling air through holes and loose connections.


Because ducts are usually hidden inside walls, ceilings, attics, and crawl spaces, sealing and insulating them may be a difficult and time-consuming DIY job. If you can’t reach all your ducts, concentrate on those that are accessible.


Use duct sealant — called mastic — or metal-backed tape to seal the seams, holes, and connections. Don’t use the confusingly named “duct tape” which won’t provide a permanent solution and will peel off . Be sure to seal connections at vents and floor registers — these are likely places for leaks to occur.


After sealing your ducts, wrap them in fiberglass insulation. Most hardware stores and home improvement centers have insulation wrap products made for ducts.


IMPORTANT


Before you begin any home improvement projects we highly recommend finding information on current government initiatives that may give you funding or rebates to help you save money on your latest project. Go to the Government of Alberta website for details.


 


Incandescent light bulb, last chance!


On January 1, 2014 the Government of Canada began enforcing a ban on 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, so stores will no longer be selling them. Current stock can be sold, but no new bulbs will be made available. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) and LED bulbs are set to replace them.


If you have locations where you would like to keep using them, stock up before they are gone.


The reason for this measure apparently is that regular bulbs use 75 % more power to produce the same light output.


If you want to keep a step ahead, replace frequently-used light bulbs with LED bulbs. They are more expensive than fluorescent bulbs, but use even less power and last “forever.” Check the color on the package. "Warm White" is the same color as your regular bulb. "Bright White" will be comparable with halogen light.  "Daylight" will appear to be  bluer and cooler, which is not desirable inside your house, but more suitable for work lights in your shop.


 


 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.


 




Newsletter Dec. 2013



How to Use a Snow Thrower


 


In case all that stretching sounds like too much work, here are some tips for using a snow-throwing machine.


 


1. Test run the machine before the storm.


2. Keep necessary spare parts on hand: drive belts, spark plugs and shear pins.


3. Keep a wire brush, a scrap piece of wood and spray de-icer handy. You may well need any number of tools to keep the machine's auger and other moving parts cleared of ice and compacted snow. Never clear a clogged auger with the engine running.


4. Don't forget the newspaper that's been thrown into the driveway or onto the sidewalk. A frozen newspaper can clog a snow thrower like nobody's business. If you spot the paper or circular's outline under the snow when you come home (let's say), just remember to go out there and pick it up.


5. Keep a can of spray lubricant handy. Moving parts that worked fine in the garage can suddenly get cranky when exposed to cold, wet conditions.


 


“Different” Tips for Santa


 


If you want to do something different this year with Christmas, here are a few alternatives to buying:



    * Do other things with family, such as caroling, baking, watching tele-

       vision, or playing outside

  • Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter.

  • Ask people to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.

  • Make meaningful gifts yourself.

  • Do a gift swap where you put a valued possession (that you already own) into the swap.

  • Bake gifts.

  • Have an experience instead of giving material goods: do something fun together, go to the beach or a lake, or go skiing.

  • Find hope. Christmas has so much potential to be about so much more than buying — it can be a season of hope, renewal, loved ones, inspiration, and contemplation. Talk to your family about this — how can we find ways to be hopeful, thankful, and cooperative? How can we be more giving instead of worried about getting presents?

  • Get stuff at Goodwill. It’s recycled, and the money helps a good cause.

  • When all the above don’t work, at least you have given it a thought, and that is something too.

     

    Tax Tips 2014

     

    As the holidays quickly approach it's hardly a time to think about small business taxes. But a quick look at these year-end tax tips for small business can pay big dividends for 2014.

     

    Five Year-end Small Business Tax Tips

     

    1. Update Your Accounting: It's important as part of your year-end tax strategy to have a good understanding of your company's financial situation. Spend extra time ensuring your books are up-to-date and accurate. It won't hurt to plan time with your accountant for year-end advice particular to your operations.

     

    2. Defer Income: Any payments your company can receive during the first week of January as opposed to December cuts your tax bill. Every cent deferred until January 2014 will not trigger taxes until April 2015. Any deferral strategy will depend on your profit and losses for the year and business legal structure ( partnership, corporation, etc.)

    Depending on foreseeable income tax rates in the New Year, deferral of income can make the best sense for many sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations. Ensure your cash flow can handle the deferred income.

    Don't forget to push any early 2014 charitable donations back to 2013. Make sure you get a receipt for the tax deduction.

     

    3. Increase Expenses: Purchase items your business will require in the immediate future to maximize deductions for this year. If you can see a need for goods and services in the first quarter of the new year, buy them now, if cash flow permits. Consider the following items for expenses:

     

    •Office Supplies: Stock up on fax paper, printer cartridges, stationary, and other office items.

    • Pay Bills Early: Pay your bills before the new year in areas such as cell services, subscriptions, rent, insurance, and utilities.

    •Equipment Purchases: If you will be buying new office equipment, consider purchasing now. You'll have to decide whether an immediate write-off is best or spread out the depreciation over years. Consult with an accountant to examine your circumstance and company structure to maximize your deductions. In addition, your equipment will have to be in your office, "in use" by year-end.

    • Other Items: This category includes pre-payment of subscriptions, travel bookings, equipment repairs, and maintenance.

     

    4. Inventory Write-Offs: Depending on your accounting methods, you may wish to check inventory for goods that have been damaged or have become obsolete. The drop in market value of the inventory can provide your company with added deductions.

     

    5. Contribute to a Retirement Plan: Make payments to your retirement plan or set one up before the year-end to reduce your income for this year. Check the contribution limits for your type of plan. Discuss the best strategy with your financial planner or accountant.

     

    These year-end tax tips will apply differently to each business owner's situation and accounting method. The cash method of accounting allows for deductions and income reported for the year they are paid or received. The accrual accounting method applies income and deductions in the year incurred. Take the time to review the best strategy with a professional and make the most of the year-end tax planning for your small business.

     

    O Christmas tree, you deserve better!

     

    Your Christmas tree deserves the best treatment it can get.

    Seriously, you brought it in to shine, so you have to take care of it.

    By the way, it will still be called "Christmas" tree, even though many want to be politically correct and call it a "Happy Holiday" tree.

    When you pick it up, shake it to make sure it is a fresh one.

    Before you put it in a stand, cut 1 inch off the stem.

    Fill the stand with warm water, and if you wish, add a couple of scoops of sugar to the water.

    A live tree will "drink" a lot of water. You need to keep water in the stand at all times. If the tree goes dry, it will lose the ability to soak up the water.

    When you treat it well, it won't lose its needles, smells great, and even keeps the moisture level in your house up.

    Neither put it over the furnace register nor in direct sunlight.

     

    A fresh Christmas tree is good for the environment, as it cleans the air, won't emit chemicals or toxic gases when recycled, and is available from your local grower, so you promote the local economy.

    Recycle it in the New Year, or return it to the grower for composting.

    In Alberta many species are available. Try a new one every year, and enjoy a truly festive atmosphere each season.

     

    Keep it warm and dry this time of the year. 

     

    Keeping warm and healthy this winter isn't hard.

    Winter is here again so it’s time to get active. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to ward off winter colds and 'flu will help provide the energy you need. Have hot meals and hot drinks to keep your family warm and healthy, and wrap up in layers of warm clothes to stay snug when you leave the house.

     

    Why is it important to keep your home warm and dry?

    It's important for your family's health that your house is warm and dry. Cold and damp homes are linked to poor health, especially for babies, small children, people who are ill and older people.

     

  • To keep your home healthy, here are some methods that won't break the bank:

     


    *  Heat the room that you are in. Try to keep the temperature between       

    18 and 21 degrees especially if you have babies, people with illnesses

or older people living in your home. 

  • Dress warmly for bed and make sure your bedroom is warm enough - it is very important to stay warm during the night.

     

  • Block up unused chimneys and stop draughts around doors and windows. You can make your own draught 'snakes' by stuffing rugby socks or pantyhose with newspaper or cushion filling.

     

  • Up to 20% of heating can be lost through draughts. Plug them if you can, or seek help from a expert.

     

  • Open windows and curtains on sunny days, and close them when the sun goes down to trap heat in your home. Trim any trees that prevent sun entering your house (but if you are renting, remember to ask your landlord first!).

     

    How to keep your home dry

    A dehumidifier costs around $156 a year to run - these tips are cheaper and can be just as effective.

     


  • If you use a gas heater without a chimney, make sure that you use it safely. Research has shown that it can release gases which can be particularly dangerous for anyone with heart disease or asthma, pregnant women, young children and older people. If you have to use one, open a window and keep all internal doors open too. Use it only for short periods and never in bedrooms.

    For every liter of gas that you burn, you will evaporate about a liter of water.

     

  • Try not to dry clothes indoors, as this produces moisture in the air. Drying  outside is free and the sunlight kills bacteria, making your clothes healthier for you and your family. Use a shed or garage if it is raining.

     

  • To reduce moisture caused by steam, always open a window when you are showering and when you are cooking on the stove top. Use pot lids to reduce the amount of steam escaping. Keep doors to bedrooms closed at these times as steam can make beds damp.

     

  • If you must use a clothes dryer, make sure your clothes are properly spun first and leave windows open while you are using it - or even better, vent it outside. Check whether the vent hose and outlet are free of “fluff”. This collects in the pipe and can cause a fire. Just disconnect the hose, and check for the free flow of air.

     

    Top ten easy ways to save money and cut your electricity bill

     

    Talk to your electricity company about which plan is best for you. Most companies provide options including direct debits at a flat rate all year round, pre-payment meters and low use rates for people who are very frugal.

     

    If you have an electric hot water heater, most of your electricity bill will be triggered by hot water usage, so use less if you can. Set your washing machine on a cold wash and rinse your dishes in cold water. Take short showers instead of baths. Showers use 60 per cent less water than baths.

    Fix dripping taps. A dripping hot tap can cost $80 a year but a washer to fix it costs less than $1!

     

    If your hot water heater is old, keep the heat in by using a hot water cylinder wrap. These are available from hardware stores. Make sure the thermostat is set to produce a temperature of no more than 55C at the tap (this will also prevent scalds).

    This will be approx. 65 C on the tank.

     

    Always turn the lights off in rooms when you leave them. But if you are using energy efficient light bulbs, it is better to leave them on if you are returning within ten minutes, as they have to “warm up”. (Does not apply to LED lights)

     

    Appliances that have a standby function (such as TVs, stereos, mobile chargers, computers or microwaves) should be turned off at the wall. This can save you up to $75 a year.

     

    Clothes dryers can be very expensive to run so try not to use them unless you really have to. Heated towel rails are also expensive and cost around $120 a year to run.

     

    Make sure there is generous air space behind the back of your fridge and try to locate it out of direct sunlight, or in a cooler room like the laundry. Don't open the fridge door too often or leave it open.

    Make sure you cool food before putting it in the fridge. Turn off your second or 'drinks' fridge - this could be costing you $190 per year.

     

    When cooking keep the oven door closed. Always keep lids on pots and use as little water as possible to cook foods. Simmer rather than boil food and if possible use a microwave, as this uses 30-40 per cent less power than a conventional oven. Defrost food naturally if possible, (in the fridge is best) rather than in the microwave.

     

    Just my thought…

    You can't buy happiness, but you can give it.

     

    We wish you a Merry Christmas





 

2013 November News letter

  

It’s no coincidence that great employees have great bosses

“Print shops have a reputation as dingy, dirty, ink-covered sorts of places, so when they see a brightly lit facility with art everywhere and floors so clean it looks like you could eat off them, it really makes a statement about our company.”

It does more than that, actually.

A clean, cheerful workplace is just part of Friesens’ progressive approach to personnel management. Farm employers could learn a lot from this company, whose engaged and innovative workforce is the reason it’s Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books (everything from Harry Potter to high-end coffee-table books) and is prospering in a time of upheaval in the book business.

It starts by ensuring the cleaning kits liberally scattered around its 250,000 sq. foot production facility are used regularly.

“Cleanliness is a big part of the pride piece,” says Friesen, who is one of 38 Friesens on the payroll unrelated to the company’s founders.

“We really emphasize that if there’s down time — you’re waiting for paper or plates or something — then clean something.”

It’s a simple thing but it encourages a sense of ownership, he says. So do the book covers hung with pride on the walls.

“An author or photographer often spends years on their book and so while we’ll print 5,500 titles a year, we don’t want to forget each one is someone’s dream come true. It’s not just another order we need to get out.”

The company is employee-owned, but with 550 workers, it’s not a given every one will automatically act like an owner. So there’s a big emphasis on giving people a say in how things are done.

For example, when a new machine is being bought for their area, workers join managers in deciding which model or option to buy.

The company also takes an unusual approach to leadership training.

“We tell them that if they want to be a leader in our company, first be a leader somewhere else by volunteering with a sports or community club or some other organization,” says Friesen.

“You’ll get experience and a chance to see if being a leader is something you enjoy or not. And when a job comes open and five people apply, you’ll have references and experience in areas we can evaluate.”

Employee evaluations are also different.

“We always make sure the employee is doing 70 percent of the talking, and it’s not just the manager saying, ‘this is what I want you to do and here’s how I think you did,’ ” says Friesen.

“Instead, we always ask the employee, ‘tell us something that you’re proud of and you think you do really well.’ ”

So how does this relate to a farm?

Imagine dropping by a farm when “the boss” is away and chatting with the employees in the equipment shed. OK, the floor’s not clean enough to eat off, but the place is tidy, not grimy. It looks like a nice place to work. In the lunch area are pictures from seeding or harvest, and maybe maps breaking down productivity per field and showing how the yield trend is rising.

One of the employees — you recognize him because he’s a coach in your kid’s hockey league — proudly shows you the new seeding rig.

He says he persuaded the owner to buy it over other models because he’s become the farm’s go-to guy on seeding. You dig further and find out he’s got a passion for precision agriculture and his boss encourages that by sending him to courses and conferences.

Want to bet this farm is more profitable and has less staff turnover than average?

Now think about the cost: some cleaning kits and using down time differently; taking pictures on your smartphone and making posters of the work your people do, having flex time so employees can volunteer; asking them for their input; finding out their interests and providing learning opportunities.

These are do-able things. The toughest part, says Friesen, is thinking beyond the job at hand.

“As a manager, I have to worry about productivity, things like the number of pages or books per hour.

“What’s happening right now and in the next hour or next shift is important, but you have to take time every once in a while to think about the long term and the bigger picture.”

 

 What burglar's know about your home

 If you want to keep yourself and your family safe here are a few ways of deterring burglars and would be break-ins.

1. Living in a poor section will definitely deter a burglar. Burglars aren't going to bother with homes that look like the people in them can't afford anything nice. So if you are thinking of buying a home for safety issues you can consider moving into a lower income neighborhood.

2. You can deter a burglar by looking like you can't afford to breathe the air around you. Burglars are looking for homes to break into that the owners are wealthy or at least have nice things. Keep your Jaguar in a locked garage without windows and drive an everyday clunker. Something from the 1990's would be good. Park it in front of your house for would be burglars to see.

3. Burglars like privacy. The best way to deter a burglar is to live on a clear cut acre with outside lights. Burglars like the dark and they like to be able to hide. Don't give a burglar the chance to hide or be in the dark. Purchase outside solar lights and place them around your house. Lights deter burglars.

Open areas deter burglars. Burglars need somewhere to hide. A yard free from debris and low to the ground bushes/shrubs or no bushes/shrubs will deter burglars quickly. If there is no way for a burglar to sneak in or out a burglar is less likely to choose your home.

4. Most homes are staked out before a burglary. Burglars like to rob more than one home if at all possible. Burglars drive around neighborhoods getting the feel for the streets and seeing who is home and who isn't. They may stake out homes once or for several months. If you are purchasing a home gated communities may be the safest if there is only one way in and out. No escape path will deter a burglar.

Another deterrence for a burglar is a community crime watch program or an area where people walk at night or is well lighted. Burglars like privacy so if there are people around burglars will be deterred.

5. Don't leave expensive items where anyone driving or walking by could see them. If you have expensive artwork or a 52 inch flat screen television don't leave the items near a window where burglars could see them if they are walking or driving buy. A burglar that knows what you have will know what he wants and it will make your house an opportune situation.

If your living room has big windows leave the curtains shut when you are not at home. Turn your furniture so no one can see what you have. If a burglar is unsure whether or not you have nice things he may not waste his time breaking into your home when he knows three doors down there is two computers, a big screen television, and a telescope. He would much rather have that stuff then not be able to get anything at your house.

6. Another good way to deter a burglar is to leave lights on even when you are not home. Burglars who think you are home or up won't want to be caught so they may go to the next house. If you have any way of automatically turning lights on and off you might want to use them. Leave the radio turned on, or the TV, so it looks that you are around.

7. Dogs and security systems deter burglars. If you have a dog it is best to keep it where the burglar can't see it unless it is a ferocious dog and then make sure you constantly walk it and have it on your front porch.

Security systems are also good to have. If you have a security system sticker in your window burglars won't take the time to find out if you really have the system or not.

8. The best way to deter a burglar is to not flaunt anything you do have. Burglars are more likely to hit homes they know have something than to hit a home that they are unsure of. Burglars don't want to waste their time so if you have nice stuff be careful of who sees it. Most times a burglar is someone you know.

Take a picture from all you valuables, serial numbers etc. It will make it much easier when you lose them.

 

When you want to identify crop in the bin, use micro confetti. For valuables there is a invisible bar code as an option

In this economy crime will be going up. If you can take steps to deter a burglar then maybe you won't become a victim.

Does it matter where and what kind of property you buy or sell?

We love acreage living. To us, the seclusion, quiet, space, and closeness to nature make it the ultimate lifestyle. But if you’ve never experienced country living we encourage you to be informed. Talk to people already living in the country.

Make sure the development you're looking at properly balances your (and your neighbors’) right to create a home site that suits your tastes and the needs of your family.

Many acreage developments don’t allow barns, workshops, and horses. Make sure you know what’s allowed.

 

The other side of the coin is that certain developmental controls (architectural styles, fences, materials) when intelligently applied, create attractive, functional communities that are enjoyable today and retain their long term value. Check the developmental controls of your new community carefully – and check the developer’s history in living up to them in past developments

 

Roads matter

Gravel road access to your property may seem “charming” on your first few trips to town, but you will quickly desire the safety and comfort of a properly paved road. For those who don't mind a drive on gravel, this can save them money.

 

Check your water source

Many acreage properties rely on well water. Check the quality of the well water, and the pressure--three gallons a minute is a good benchmark for a residential acreage. Remember to get a current report, as water availability has changed over the years.

 

Did you know:

Did you accidentally crack one end of an egg that you intend to boil !!!

Crack the other end too. Then you'll be able to cook the egg as planned without having the contents run out of the shell.

 

 

Storage for your garden vegetables

Cold and Moist Storage

Beets, parsnips, carrots, turnips and rutabagas prefer cold, moist storage. This means temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees F and 80 to 95% relative humidity - a refrigerator or a moist cellar qualify. Rinse these crops and trim tops to within one-half inch. Store in plastic bags with small holes - to keep moisture high but still allow airflow

.As for storing carrots, we put ours between layers of sand in a five-gallon pail, directly after taking them out of the ground.  They will keep until spring that way.

 

Potatoes can be stored in similar conditions but prefer a slightly lower humidity, around 80%, compared to 90-95% for carrots, turnips and parsnips. After harvest (once tops have died back and dried), brush soil off potatoes gently (do not wash). Then cure for one to two weeks in a warm, moist, dark location.

Warm and Dry Storage

Pumpkins and winter squashes prefer temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees F and 60 to 75% relative humidity. Be sure to wait until the squashes are fully ripened, or storage time will be decreased. But be sure to harvest before frost - frost damage will shorten storage time. Leave stems intact, cure at 80 to 85 degrees F for two weeks before putting into storage. (Do not cure acorn squash.) Lay pumpkins and squashes in a single layer one inch apart.Just a Thought:

 

If you want the world to be a happier place, start to smile.

It's Contagious

 

 

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House


Home


Avoid taxes when selling farmland
When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
You have a personal income.
The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

Avoid taxes when selling farmland
When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
You have a personal income.
The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better acTo

Happy new year, and all the best in 2015


Avoid taxes when selling farmland

 

•        When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.

•        Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.

•        This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.

•        As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.


•        Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.


•        If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location,

 we would be happy to assist you.

Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?

 

If the corporation pays you a salaryAdvantages are:

 

•        You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).

•        You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.

•        You have a personal income.

•        The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.

•        Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.


Disadvantages are:

 

Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.

•        As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.

•        When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.

 

If the corporation pays you dividends,  Advantages are:

 

•        Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.

•        Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.

•        Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.

 

Disadvantages are:

•        Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.

•        Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.

•        Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.

 

 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?

 

•        Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.

•        However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.


Thanks to Susan Ward

 

 

Passport service terminated October 2015


When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information.

 


 

Success is what you do; luck is what happens.

 

•        You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

•        If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.

•        You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

•        Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.

•        Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.

•        Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

•        You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.



 

When to quit your job

 

•        Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.

Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.

•        Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.

•        Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.

•        Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.

•        Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.

•        Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.

•        Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.

•        Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.

•        Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.

If you think you can’t quit your job,

 

think about all the things you can do, about the future, 

the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  

Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  


And once you like your job... 


you’ll never go to work again.



 

Just my thought


Push for luck, aim for success

Think big, but don't forget the small things in

life

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House



 

Newsletter December 2014

                                                             We wish you a very happy Christmas



Unique Holiday Gifting

 

Every year we do the same thing. We approach the holidays with a certain amount of stress. It’s not so much what we’ll make for dinner because who doesn't get excited about mixing tradition with new dishes and sharing them with friends and family. But much of the stress comes from what to buy for others. Don’t get me wrong kids are easy, but adults?

So here’s a thought. Many families no longer exchange gifts among adults for the simple reason they’ve exhausted the possibilities and at a certain stage, we need less. More importantly we just want to be together during the holidays. But dropping the traditional gift giving is sometimes difficult.

A new tradition with holiday celebrating is potluck in a bowl/ pan or on a plate. Simply ask those who are coming to make something to bring – a part of the meal. It shares the work and everyone gets to feel a part of the festivities by contributing.

Buy a really nice piece of cookware, then cook your contributing dish in the cookware. Then you leave the dish as a hosts holiday gift.  Oven- safe bowl, something from a local pottery, or glass.

Bringing food in a gift of cookware is a gift that’s enthusiastically received and get's the stress away from the holiday's.

 

Refinancing yes or no?


Refinancing can be a great financial move if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your loan or helps you build equity more quickly. When used carefully, it can also be a valuable tool in getting your debt under control. Before

If you are going to refinance, take a careful look at your financial situation, and ask yourself: How long do I plan to continue living in the house? And how much money will I save by refinancing?

Keep in mind that refinancing generally costs between 3 and 6% of the loan's principal. It takes years to recoup that cost with the savings generated by a lower interest rate or a shorter term. 

So, if you are not planning to stay in the home for more than a few years, the cost of refinancing may negate any of the potential savings. 

It also pays to remember that a savvy homeowner is always looking for ways to reduce debt, build equity, save money and eliminate that mortgage payment. Taking cash out of your equity when you refinance doesn't help you achieve any of those goals.

Build your home better, faster, and most likely cheaper


Invented and developed in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, this building system is an insulated and structural component building product that is revolutionizing the building industry. Sections are made from two materials - EPS (expanded polystyrene) as the insulating wall core, and integrated galvanized steel construction studs for strength.

Simple product series are easily adaptable to most commercial or residential building uses including walls, foundation walls, foundation floors and roofs. The system has many unique advantages, significant cost savings, and its ease of installation makes the product less dependent on costly and hard to find skilled trade workers.

The Building Systems offer a wide range of environmental advantages from production of products to long lasting energy savings. All products are produced locally in Edmonton, Alberta. Polycore Canada has the only EPS recycling system in Western Canada allowing manufacturing with no waste ending up in the landfill. Each product is custom cut and designed to ensure that when the product is delivered to your construction site there is virtually no waste, you are only given the exact amount of product needed for your project. Due to the fact that all of the products are insulated and structural without using wood, there are less materials needed compared to traditional construction methods, and the product will offer a higher than normal R value. 

The Building Systems will continue to provide energy savings for the life of the structure, resulting in less greenhouse emissions and exponential savings. It is a healthy building solution that eliminates mold potential and has virtually no maintenance required.

The building system provides the strength of steel and the efficiencies of EPS (expanded polystyrene) at costs that are competitive with traditional wood materials; concrete cribbing and ICF style foundations. 

With the savings in construction time and skill base requirements this building system is more economical and faster to use than traditional construction materials such as lumber and concrete. Plus, you're not depleting natural resources, or dependant on fluctuating lumber prices.

 

Building a new home, 200sft will do?


When you want to down size, are strapped for cash, or want to do something different, 

here is some fascinating information about a Tiny House on wheels.

The majority of them look pretty much like each other, little boxes on wheels.

Jay Shafer, pretty much invented the tiny house thing, and most of them have looked like his ever since. But if you are going to build a sleeping loft, the traditional gable roof doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

Laird Herbert designed his tiny Leaf House with a shed roof that went front to back. This gave him a generous loft with consistent head height right across. He designed the inside of it like a yacht. On the same size platform as most tiny houses he gets a whole lot more room.

 “Ever since I started designing small houses, I realized that they would work best together as a cluster. Because then you can share amenities. ” Shafer has drawn a common house at the center of each design. 

There, neighbors can share storage, laundry facilities, maybe even a pool table. And he’s put the tiny homes on wheels so the complex can be zoned like an RV park.

Yes, get a real Christmas tree!


Everyone has different family traditions, maybe you have man made Christmas tree instead of a real one, maybe you go out every year and buy one together as a family, or maybe you just go out alone and grab one from your local supermarket (if they sell them).

The Christmas tree is a traditional decoration for any family that celebrates Christmas and without one the house just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. 

If this is your first Christmas without your parents then this is a chance to start a new tradition altogether, why not take your partner (and your children if you have any)

go out into the forest, or to a tree farm, to find the perfect tree and cut it fresh together, 

Smell the tree, remember what it took to get it to your home!

Roast some marshmallows over the fire outdoors!

You can really make it a fun outing which will become an annual event? 

Whatever you do this Christmas make sure you don’t go too overboard,

 you want to actually see the rest of the room and not just a space full of tree!

Just my thought.

Only someone who wants to laugh

and, wants to cry with you

Is a REAL friend


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House

 

Newsletter  November, 2014

 

Use Recycled Paper

 

Keep the world's trees and clients, friends and family happy, by printing on recycled paper.

Unlike years past, there's very little cost difference today between recycled and virgin paper, so there really isn't any reason not to use recycled paper.

Remember, recyclable paper is not necessarily all recycled paper.  Also, many papers are made from small amounts of mill scraps that are recycled, but this isn't truly recycled paper.

 

Instead, you'll want to use paper that is at least partially made up of previously used paper, like you put in your recycling bins. To find out what portion of the paper was made from previously used paper, ask your print shop for the paper's post-consumer-fiber percentage. The higher the number, the more recycled paper was used. Commonly used recycled papers generally range between 10-50 percent post-consumer-fiber.

 

If you do print on recycled paper, be sure to let readers know. Put "Printed on Recycled Paper" in small type at the bottom of your pages or in the masthead.

 

House Saving Tips:

 

  1. Shorten your dryer-vent hose. First, disconnect it and vacuum it out. Then trim the hose length so that it's just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. A short and unobstructed line makes your dryer run more efficiently.  
  2.  

Cost: Free    Savings: $25 a year on electricity, gas, or propane.

Bonus: Your clothes will dry about 20 percent faster.

 

Choose one neutral trim paint for the entire house rather than buying a gallon of a particular color for each room and using only a fraction of each can.

Cost: You have to forgo the trendy color combos in the paint manufacturer brochures.

Savings: $50.- on paint for three rooms.

Bonus: Crisp white trim is always in style, and you'll never have to rummage around for the right can for touch-ups.

 

Using dark colours for your roof will increase the temperature in your attic.  It also shortens the life of shingles as they tend to get very hot.

Using light grey will extend the time between shingling.

 

Plug in a Smart Strip. Three-quarters of the energy, that electronics burn is consumed when the equipment is turned off. Rather than unplugging items after every use, hook them up to a Smart Strip surge protector, which automatically kills power to electronics when you turn them off and returns it when you switch them back on.

 

Fix a leaky faucet or toilet filler. You can replace them in 20 minutes and save a sea of water.

 

Cost: approx. 50 cents per seal.

 

 

 

Where Are Interest Rates Heading?

 

Current rates are at an all-time low. There is a tendency to keep interest low for a while, so the economy can fire on all cylinders.

This to spur private borrowing, spending and ultimately growth.

 

Europe has its own problems with possible deflation. To tackle that European countries are cutting their spending and decreasing the growth of the tax burden for their citizens. (That is still an increase.)

 

Overall it looks like low interest will be here for a while. Remember that renegotiating your mortgage can be an advantage. Keep a long-term saving in mind, as well as your ability to pay back what you borrowed, even with a 3-point rate hike. The bank’s business is to keep you dependant, not to get you debt free.

 

Will the rates go up?  Not likely, but if deflation ever hits, something might change faster than you might like.

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared For the Cold? Have Your Home Ready For Winter

 

Have a couple of bags of sand in your garage, to deal with ice on the driveway. Don’t use salt as it eats your concrete away.

Use sand or fine gravel instead.

 

Get everything out of the ground now. When snow covers everything, you don’t know where you put it, and might drive over it.

 

Put stakes in the ground on sharp edges, at entrances and at the ends of culverts.

Clearing the snow with a machine is helpful.

Make sure your stakes protrude at least 3 feet out of the ground.

 

Drain all your water taps outside, and remove hoses from the taps.

Buy a good snow shovel now. There is plenty stock and some good deals are available now.

 

What is the Windshield Effect?

 

The windshield effect was a simple concept. If you want to go forward, you need to concentrate on the windshield and what is ahead of you.

However, you can't do this without glancing in the wing mirrors to see what is on each side of you, and in the head mirror to see what is behind you. In order to progress, one must understand and accept what has come before, and learn from it.

 

Personally, while I prefer not to dwell on the past, I often apply lessons learned from previous mistakes and apply them to new decisions.

 

Certainly, if you spend too much time wallowing in what is behind you, rather than looking in front, you will crash and burn. Prisoners of the past have no escape to their own futures.

Try to balance learning the lessons that have gone before with throwing yourself into the challenges of the future.

Oh, and remember to clean the windshield every now and then

Virgin owner: Richard Branson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just my thought.

If you want to be lucky...

Don't forget to look for it!






News letter October 2014


What better way than to fulfill a wish!


Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Non-profit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano..... and got it!?


Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)



Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?


• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation


Find the things that make you happy.

Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.


Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. 

You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, 

challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises



The best staff, come with a smile


How to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, 

treat them well enough so they don't want to  !!!
If you look after your staff,

they'll look after your customers.

It's that simple. 

How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? 

How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?



Leave the leaves.


When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants. Better still; leave them over for the winter. 
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants, to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.


If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, 

plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.

After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!



 If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, 

don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
Check the furnace


a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces.

 That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.

Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,

Don't forget the chimney . 

Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.

Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,

Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,

Finally, check those alarms. 

This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. 

Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- 

with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. 

Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.


Just my thought.
When Time flies, ...Stop.
Life is precious, 

live it to the fullest, every day.

What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House











News letter September 2014


Garden Tip

 

When you work in your garden this month, make some photos of the flower beds, with perennials and scrubs. It makes it easier later in the fall to know what they looked like, and where they are in the ground.

As they get older, you can start with dividing them up, and replant them. Make groups of three or five plants, and keep an eye on where you plant them, so they have room to grow, and show. A mistake often made is to fertilize when they are in full bloom in August. This can result in getting frost damage. Stop adding fertilizer in late summer, so all of it is used up before the fall comes and the plants goes in hibernation.

Burglar in the yard!


Do you experience uninvited guest in your yard. Try to deter them with signs and lights.

Place 1 or more No Trespassing signs.

When you want to add light, use motion sensor activated lights.  Install a light fixture near every entrance, with bright light that illuminates the area around the entrance. Do not point towards the door and the lock, but down on top of who stands in front of the entrance. It will put a shadow on the burglars work area, but have him stand out more.

You uninvited guest don’t like the attention, and being in full light when they work their way in. A flickering light is even better, as it stands out. (You can get strobe lights at Halloween shops).

Remember that a regular burglar wants to get in quick, and without being seen. Alarms are great, but a lot of times they are ignored, as they give to many falls readings. Don’t make your home a fortress, use a good lock on every door, keep valuables out of sight, and tools/ladders out of reach. With some extra lights, you will deter most criminals, as they will look for an easier prey.

 

Did your property go up in value this year?


We had calls in the last little while from people who asked me what their property is worth.

Did the land value go up, and what about the house and outbuildings? Land has gone up over the last 7 years. It has made a few “jumps” and is already stable for a while. The price of grain, a couple of good years in the farm industry, combined with low interest and uncertainty in the economy, has had people going into the purchase of tangibles, like land. This only will last, as long as there is a return on investment. What the future will hold is a guess, including value and demand. When you want to invest in real estate, make a long term plan, so interest rates, will not affect you in a negative way.  In the long run land will go up, but could make some mayor corrections down the road.

Buildings are valued on their use, and how long they can be used. Specific use buildings have only value for those who can utilise them. A well maintained home will keep its value, even better if you update it every 10 years. To get a more detailed number, call us for a estimate.

 

Networking, how can we help!

 

Over the time off several years, all of us have learned that it is not what you know, but who you know, is sometimes more important.

This is also important when you need to get it done, but don’t know who to call. If you like to share your information with other home owners, or like to ask who they used, you can do so by sending me a mail, with a request, or info from a trades person you used, and where very happy with.

We don’t need the price, and we don’t mention your name.

Just the name and address from the trades’ person you used.

 You will find a list on our web site www.Jac Theelen.com

 

 

Back to school.


That time of the year again. Everybody is excited to get things in time back for back to school.

If you have waited until the last minute, here a few tips.

The best deals on school supplies are when everyone else is done shopping. Wait until half September if you are not afraid not to get that one particular backpack with logo, and get everything you need ow on sale, as stores clear for the holidays.

Buy you items in bulk, pens / pencils /paper are great in large volume.

Don’t get excited when you don’t have all items on the too -do list crossed off. Let your kids know that you will have the missing items later in the weeks to come.  Avoiding stress before the new school year helps your kids to relax. Bake a cake together to celebrate, or take them to a movie.  Remember that the main goal is to have fun at school, so they like to go. Help them to achieve it!

 Just my Thought


There is nothing perfect in life 

Try only to perfect things

It will be as close as you can get

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@
The Ranch House





 News letter August 2014

 Theft and break-ins: how to avoid them!

 

When you go away, here are some tips to keep your home secure.

**  Lock away your handyman and gardening tools, which may be used to force open doors or windows, and any item that may be used to gain access to the property or cause damage.

**  Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your valuables and then put them somewhere safe.

**  Before you leave, close all internal doors to help contain any fire that might occur.

**  Then, check that your doors, windows and garage are locked securely, and remove spare keys from hiding places. As you leave, check everything again.

 

** Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog/ face book isn't the best place to announce that you'll be away from home for a month. Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either.

 

** Make sure that your children are discreet, too. No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

 

** Never leave a portable GPS in your car when you use long-term parking at the airport. It'll alert thieves that you're not home and give them a convenient map to your house.

 

Summer projects that increase the value of your  home


Build a deck or patio.

 

This project not only adds visual interest to the exterior of your home, it also gives you a chance to enjoy your outdoor living space to the fullest.

 

During the spring and summer, patios are spaces for entertaining guests, barbecuing, and leisure time.

Whatever your motivation, building a deck or patio will encourage you and your family to get outside and enjoy summer.

Install a sprinkler system.

On average, homeowners use 50 per cent more water than necessary on their lawns. This increases hydro bills and causes flooding. Automatic lawn sprinkler systems are designed with busy homeowner lifestyles in mind. Installing a sprinkler system allows proper irrigation through timing and even water distribution. Although initial installation can be pricey, you may end up saving money in the long-term.

 

If you have older kids who like to do outside activities, here are some great ideas.

 

* Place a swing ball game in your back yard.

* Mount a basketball hoop against your home.

* Build a misting or rain shower on a pole, and connect it to a garden hose.

* Have them build their own tent in the yard, with an outdoor kitchen to cook their own sausages for dinner.

* If you have a bigger yard with mature trees, let them build a zip line to glide from one tree to the next.

*Or simply sit together and find other fun things that they can do or build outside.

When kids can act on their own ideas, it helps them unplug their devices and play outside.

How to increase the value of your home acreage or farm before you sell it.

Install a movable kitchen island

When you have the space, an want to create more counter space, this is an easy install, and you have the option to move it too.

 

Trim trees and scrubs that have become to large and obstruct view and/ or take light away in your home.

Also , look how they look from the road ( first impression)

 

Install a sun tube.

Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sun scoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room, Sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer

 

Repair and fix broken or rusted part of gutters railings and other parts of your home that need some maintenance.

 

If you have an old front door, replace it.

This is the first thing people see when they come to your home.

Fix a broken door bell, or instead of the whole door, paint it and replace the hard ware.

 

Check the state of your bath room, and upgrade it, or fix it up.

Buyers are more prone to buy a house with a nice bathroom.

 

Paint your home neutral colours in today’s paint colours

You might like purple and orange, most buyers like neutral colors.

 

 

Get more free time.

 

Do you feel that there are not enough hours in the day?

Are you to stressed out to get it all done in the time that you have.


Here is an idea:                                            Track your hours.


Keep track of what you do in a day.

Most of us do things like checking e-mail, as soon as it comes in. Replying messages. Instantly and repeatedly. Checking Facebook, and keeping it up to date with photos and text. 

It takes so much of our daily hours that you almost run out of time do the things that really need to be done.


Try to book some OFF LINE TIME !!! It will brighten your day

 

Just my Thought

If live trows you a curve ball,

Catch it and play, you might win!


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House


News letter February 2014

Tips to Getting the Cheapest Airline Flights

 

1.         Book your flight 21 days before you want to fly: Booking a flight is like playing a game of chicken. Airlines want to get the most money possible for their tickets and have sophisticated computer algorithms that adjust their prices automatically. Book too early and you might miss out on some major deals. Book too late, and you might be shocked to see prices skyrocket. The general consensus is to book your flight 21 days before your planned departure date to get the best deals.

2.         Tuesday is the best day of the week: Most airlines update their reservation systems on a Tuesday at 7pm. People tend to buy the bulk of their tickets on the weekend, so airlines make changes on one of the slowest days of the week

3.         Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday: Tuesday and Wednesday are the least busy days at airports, and are also the cheapest days to fly. As an added bonus, you’ll also have less people to deal with at the airport. Friday and Sunday is the peak flying days of the week, and are the worse and most expensive days to fly.

4.         Book Early for International Flights: The best deals for international flying are found 11-12 weeks in advance. You can also try flying into smaller airports, which sometimes have better deals.

5.         Eat Your Cookies: Delete your Internet browser cookies if you’ve visited an airline site within the last 30 days. It’s been discovered that some airlines will raise prices for previous visitors to their websites.

6.         Compare Prices: Use travel search engines, in addition to airline websites, to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.


Natural Sunlight, makes you happy?


The cause of seasonal affective disorder is lack of natural sunlight on your skin. This is because sunlight provides an essential element to the human body: something that you need on a frequent basis in order to achieve optimum health, just like vitamins and minerals and other phyto nutrients that support your health. When you don't get natural sunlight on your skin, you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren't consuming vitamins or you go without natural sunlight for long enough, these symptoms will become apparent enough to be diagnosed by a physician, and that diagnosis will typically be named "seasonal affective disorder", or "sunlight deficiency" . If it were called only sunlight deficiency, it would give people a better idea of what to do about it. And with that in mind, let's move on to the treatments of seasonal affective disorder.

A person who makes a point to get natural sunlight on their skin on a frequent basis -- daily, if possible -- will experience a wide range of healthful benefits, and enhanced mood and brain function.

Depending on where you live, of course, it may be difficult for you to get natural sunlight on a regular basis, and so the next best thing is to get high-intensity, full-spectrum lighting, which is available from various light boxes and seasonal affective disorder treatment devices. These are essentially very bright lights that radiate some of the same frequencies as the natural sun directly onto your skin (and into your eyes) where they have a similar effect. However, this is only the second best thing. Nothing replaces the natural sun in terms of intensity and frequency. So light boxes are a good choice if you can't get the sun, but if you live in a climate where you can get regular sunlight, then natural sunlight is of course your best choice.

These are pieces of an article that is written by: Mike Adams( Author)


Ice dams on the roof

 

Ice dams on the roof are caused by snow that melts and freezes on your roof.

When this water runs down the roof line it freezes up at the coldest place, at the bottom of your roof.

 

Over time more water that runs down will accumulate and a dam is created.

This can cause serious issues

When it goes under your shingles, or get to large and creates a load, too large for your roof structure, it can cause integrity issues.

 

There is a way to prevent it from happening.

 

What you can do is cooling down your attic.

1.         Check your attic for spots where the insulation has moved, so warm air from the house can escape into the attic.

2.         Replace insulation if it is gone, ore add more on top of the old insulation. If you want, you can rent a machine to blow it in yourself, or hire a company to do it. (Price approx. $0.60/ sft.) Don’t forget to insulate the hot chimneys but do this with inflammable insulation. (check with a professional before you take on this project!)

3.         Check if you have enough vents in your roof.

4.         On average you need 1 vent per 150 foot of attic surface. If you have less, add some vents or put in an attic ventilation fan or large wall mount vent.

5.         Check if you have any insulation that covers the soffit. The soffit has to be able to “breathe” fresh air from the bottom. This way there is an air circulation in the attic and warm air can disappear on the top easier and will be replaced with cold air through the soffit at the bottom.

6.         Put rigid insulation on the attic hatch to prevent any heat to escape through this opening.

 

Additional, you can rake off snow after a mayor storm.

Do this a.s.a.p. as the snow will stick to your roof over time. Special roof rakes make this easier and safe. If you want to get close, use scaffold or a ladder, do not go on a roof that is covered in snow. If it looks dangerous, it probably is!

 

When there is a dam, make an opening in the middle, so new water coming from the top, can run further down the roof.

Remove ice from the gutters to prevent them from collapsing under the weight. You can fill an old nylon with d-icer and drape that in the gutter or on top of the ice dam, it will slowly clear the ice away!!!

 

7  Tips for Renting Out Your Home

 

Thinking about investing, in real estate, and renting out your property?

Here some ideas how you can get ready, and avoid the pitfalls.


Contract

1.    Find a good tenant.

Tell your potential renter that you have hired an outside company to do a background check for you.

Even, when you do it yourself. This way you can blame the company that they came back with negative result, and you cannot rent to them.

 

Ask potential tenants to fill out an application, listing their basic information: name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references. You'll also need their Social Security number and signed authorization to check their credit reports and criminal history. If a prospective renter refuses to give you his or her Social Security number, you can still run a credit check based on name and previous address.

2.    How much rent to charge.

Get an idea of area rental rates by checking newspaper ads, online resources and other neighborhood homes advertising for tenants. Be realistic: Renting for too much money will have consequences like high renter turn over.

 

3.    Set up a lease contract

Have a written lease so that each party understands their rights and obligations, If you want to do a good job, have a lawyer make one for you. They make sure it is enforceable.

A lease should spell out the following:

*Lease term.

*Security deposit. This is usually one month's rent or more. Don't agree to take partial payments.

*Due date for rent. Spell out penalties if the payment is late.

*Repairs. What will you do, and what is the renter’s responsibility (Routine upkeep and maintenance responsibilities?)

*List of tenants. Who is living in your property?

*Rules like non-smoking, pets

* Arrangements for showing. When you want to show it or need someone in the house, during the rental period.

*Eviction terms.


   4 Insurance for you and your renter

 

Protecting your property when rented means you have to have rental insurance, which is different from your own home insurance. Make sure that your renter is aware that they have to have they own insurance for personal belongings. You could cover loss of income due to damage, and don’t forget to get liability insurance. When your tenant gets hurt, due to something that happened in and around your property.


    5 management company/ Do it yourself

 

If you are around, are handy, and don’t mind the hassle, you can do this yourself.

If you hire a company, they will do it for you at a cost, and hire people to fix problems at your property, collect rent, and find renters.

Make sure you know the cost related to their work.

 

These companies primarily charge fees for two services: finding a tenant, which includes advertising and background checks, and managing the property. According to ManageMyProperty.com, the fee for filling a house varies from about 25% to 100% of one month's rent, depending on the area. Then, for typically around 4% to 12% of the monthly rent, the company collects rent, charges late fees, handles repairs, and deals with early vacancies and evictions.

 

If you hire a property manager, find a licensed professional.

 

One big advantage of using property managers is emotional distance. The management company primary duty is to collect rent and maintain properties.


  6 Have a buffer.

Late rent, damage and eviction can cost you an arm and a leg.

Have enough buffer to cover this expense.

When you think about renting, inquire with people who do this already for a while.

 

 

Feeling groggy, a little sick, and fatigued? 


It might not be a hangover. Over-the-counter sleep aids can mimic the effects of too much booze. 


Resolve it and get on a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and long daytime naps, exercise regularly and keep stress in check.


Staring at cellphones and computers can make dry eyes feel even worse. The Mayo Clinic recommends using the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes you're on the computer, look away at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more.


A 15-minute walk after eating can lower your blood sugar level for hours, and significantly reduce your risk of diabetes. More important, taking a short walk after meals can be much more effective at preventing blood sugar spikes than taking one 45-minute walk daily.


Eating berries can lower your risk of heart disease significantly. A study of nearly 94,000 women found that those who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack



Just my Thought

When you do things for years, without the result you want

Don’t try harder, but try to do it different

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House

 

 

 



Newsletter January, 2014


Not all gift cards are equal!


Did you know that not all gift cards are equal?


Cards from stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, or the Bay have NO expiration date, and there are no fees attached to such cards.  You simply keep them until you decide to use them.


However, cards from malls or financial institutions, including their credit cards, generally charge you a fee (often called a "service fee") if you use them after a certain date.


It's a good idea to go online and read the fine print. It can save you a lot of frustration down the road.


 


Ho, ho, ho, holy cow, that is expensive!


Did you get one of these deals?


"Don’t pay for 24 months…."


Here is the catch.


The money you save by not paying now but paying in the future has a little issue attached to it.


if you miss the 24-month deadline, even by only a few days, you are going to pay interest of at least 18% for the whole period.


Whenever you accept a deal like that, be sure you mark the due date on your calendar.  This will save you a lot of grief.


Identity theft: did you know?


What is Identity fraud?


Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds, including the misuse of debit card or credit card data.


Facts


• Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated methods, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.


• Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spyware and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.


• Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their reputations.


What the criminals are looking for:


• full name/ date of birth/ full address


• social insurance numbers


• mother's maiden name


• username and password for online services


• driver's license number


• personal identification numbers (PIN)


• credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last    three digits printed on the signature panel)


• bank account numbers


• signature


• passport number


What your information could be used for:


• access your bank accounts


• open new bank accounts


• transfer bank balances


• apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services


• make purchases


• hide their criminal activities


• obtain passports or receive government benefits


How can you find out whether your identity has been stolen?


The best way to find out is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.


If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information, report it promptly. 


Step 1 - Contact your local police force and file a report.


Step 2 - Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company.


Step 3 - Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports:  Equifax Canada  at 1-800-465-7166, and TransUnion Canada at 1-800-663-9980.


Step 4 - Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime:


Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.


Ask yourself whether you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don't need and keep them in a secure place instead.


Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.


During transactions, it's safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.


Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.


Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.


Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.


Trash bins are goldmines for identity thieves.  Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them into the garbage.


When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your banks and credit card companies).


                                            The Ranch House


 


A New Year’s resolution that can save you MONEY!


It’s time once again to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and whether New Year’s resolutions are a tradition in your home or not, we have one for you as homeowners to get a great start to 2014!


Cut energy use -- sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, saving you $200 per year or more, according to Energy Star. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.


A good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy-wasters, leaking your heating and cooling air through holes and loose connections.


Because ducts are usually hidden inside walls, ceilings, attics, and crawl spaces, sealing and insulating them may be a difficult and time-consuming DIY job. If you can’t reach all your ducts, concentrate on those that are accessible.


Use duct sealant — called mastic — or metal-backed tape to seal the seams, holes, and connections. Don’t use the confusingly named “duct tape” which won’t provide a permanent solution and will peel off . Be sure to seal connections at vents and floor registers — these are likely places for leaks to occur.


After sealing your ducts, wrap them in fiberglass insulation. Most hardware stores and home improvement centers have insulation wrap products made for ducts.


IMPORTANT


Before you begin any home improvement projects we highly recommend finding information on current government initiatives that may give you funding or rebates to help you save money on your latest project. Go to the Government of Alberta website for details.


 


Incandescent light bulb, last chance!


On January 1, 2014 the Government of Canada began enforcing a ban on 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, so stores will no longer be selling them. Current stock can be sold, but no new bulbs will be made available. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) and LED bulbs are set to replace them.


If you have locations where you would like to keep using them, stock up before they are gone.


The reason for this measure apparently is that regular bulbs use 75 % more power to produce the same light output.


If you want to keep a step ahead, replace frequently-used light bulbs with LED bulbs. They are more expensive than fluorescent bulbs, but use even less power and last “forever.” Check the color on the package. "Warm White" is the same color as your regular bulb. "Bright White" will be comparable with halogen light.  "Daylight" will appear to be  bluer and cooler, which is not desirable inside your house, but more suitable for work lights in your shop.


 


 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.


 




Newsletter Dec. 2013



How to Use a Snow Thrower


 


In case all that stretching sounds like too much work, here are some tips for using a snow-throwing machine.


 


1. Test run the machine before the storm.


2. Keep necessary spare parts on hand: drive belts, spark plugs and shear pins.


3. Keep a wire brush, a scrap piece of wood and spray de-icer handy. You may well need any number of tools to keep the machine's auger and other moving parts cleared of ice and compacted snow. Never clear a clogged auger with the engine running.


4. Don't forget the newspaper that's been thrown into the driveway or onto the sidewalk. A frozen newspaper can clog a snow thrower like nobody's business. If you spot the paper or circular's outline under the snow when you come home (let's say), just remember to go out there and pick it up.


5. Keep a can of spray lubricant handy. Moving parts that worked fine in the garage can suddenly get cranky when exposed to cold, wet conditions.


 


“Different” Tips for Santa


 


If you want to do something different this year with Christmas, here are a few alternatives to buying:



    * Do other things with family, such as caroling, baking, watching tele-

       vision, or playing outside

  • Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter.

  • Ask people to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.

  • Make meaningful gifts yourself.

  • Do a gift swap where you put a valued possession (that you already own) into the swap.

  • Bake gifts.

  • Have an experience instead of giving material goods: do something fun together, go to the beach or a lake, or go skiing.

  • Find hope. Christmas has so much potential to be about so much more than buying — it can be a season of hope, renewal, loved ones, inspiration, and contemplation. Talk to your family about this — how can we find ways to be hopeful, thankful, and cooperative? How can we be more giving instead of worried about getting presents?

  • Get stuff at Goodwill. It’s recycled, and the money helps a good cause.

  • When all the above don’t work, at least you have given it a thought, and that is something too.

     

    Tax Tips 2014

     

    As the holidays quickly approach it's hardly a time to think about small business taxes. But a quick look at these year-end tax tips for small business can pay big dividends for 2014.

     

    Five Year-end Small Business Tax Tips

     

    1. Update Your Accounting: It's important as part of your year-end tax strategy to have a good understanding of your company's financial situation. Spend extra time ensuring your books are up-to-date and accurate. It won't hurt to plan time with your accountant for year-end advice particular to your operations.

     

    2. Defer Income: Any payments your company can receive during the first week of January as opposed to December cuts your tax bill. Every cent deferred until January 2014 will not trigger taxes until April 2015. Any deferral strategy will depend on your profit and losses for the year and business legal structure ( partnership, corporation, etc.)

    Depending on foreseeable income tax rates in the New Year, deferral of income can make the best sense for many sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations. Ensure your cash flow can handle the deferred income.

    Don't forget to push any early 2014 charitable donations back to 2013. Make sure you get a receipt for the tax deduction.

     

    3. Increase Expenses: Purchase items your business will require in the immediate future to maximize deductions for this year. If you can see a need for goods and services in the first quarter of the new year, buy them now, if cash flow permits. Consider the following items for expenses:

     

    •Office Supplies: Stock up on fax paper, printer cartridges, stationary, and other office items.

    • Pay Bills Early: Pay your bills before the new year in areas such as cell services, subscriptions, rent, insurance, and utilities.

    •Equipment Purchases: If you will be buying new office equipment, consider purchasing now. You'll have to decide whether an immediate write-off is best or spread out the depreciation over years. Consult with an accountant to examine your circumstance and company structure to maximize your deductions. In addition, your equipment will have to be in your office, "in use" by year-end.

    • Other Items: This category includes pre-payment of subscriptions, travel bookings, equipment repairs, and maintenance.

     

    4. Inventory Write-Offs: Depending on your accounting methods, you may wish to check inventory for goods that have been damaged or have become obsolete. The drop in market value of the inventory can provide your company with added deductions.

     

    5. Contribute to a Retirement Plan: Make payments to your retirement plan or set one up before the year-end to reduce your income for this year. Check the contribution limits for your type of plan. Discuss the best strategy with your financial planner or accountant.

     

    These year-end tax tips will apply differently to each business owner's situation and accounting method. The cash method of accounting allows for deductions and income reported for the year they are paid or received. The accrual accounting method applies income and deductions in the year incurred. Take the time to review the best strategy with a professional and make the most of the year-end tax planning for your small business.

     

    O Christmas tree, you deserve better!

     

    Your Christmas tree deserves the best treatment it can get.

    Seriously, you brought it in to shine, so you have to take care of it.

    By the way, it will still be called "Christmas" tree, even though many want to be politically correct and call it a "Happy Holiday" tree.

    When you pick it up, shake it to make sure it is a fresh one.

    Before you put it in a stand, cut 1 inch off the stem.

    Fill the stand with warm water, and if you wish, add a couple of scoops of sugar to the water.

    A live tree will "drink" a lot of water. You need to keep water in the stand at all times. If the tree goes dry, it will lose the ability to soak up the water.

    When you treat it well, it won't lose its needles, smells great, and even keeps the moisture level in your house up.

    Neither put it over the furnace register nor in direct sunlight.

     

    A fresh Christmas tree is good for the environment, as it cleans the air, won't emit chemicals or toxic gases when recycled, and is available from your local grower, so you promote the local economy.

    Recycle it in the New Year, or return it to the grower for composting.

    In Alberta many species are available. Try a new one every year, and enjoy a truly festive atmosphere each season.

     

    Keep it warm and dry this time of the year. 

     

    Keeping warm and healthy this winter isn't hard.

    Winter is here again so it’s time to get active. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables to ward off winter colds and 'flu will help provide the energy you need. Have hot meals and hot drinks to keep your family warm and healthy, and wrap up in layers of warm clothes to stay snug when you leave the house.

     

    Why is it important to keep your home warm and dry?

    It's important for your family's health that your house is warm and dry. Cold and damp homes are linked to poor health, especially for babies, small children, people who are ill and older people.

     

  • To keep your home healthy, here are some methods that won't break the bank:

     


    *  Heat the room that you are in. Try to keep the temperature between       

    18 and 21 degrees especially if you have babies, people with illnesses

or older people living in your home. 

  • Dress warmly for bed and make sure your bedroom is warm enough - it is very important to stay warm during the night.

     

  • Block up unused chimneys and stop draughts around doors and windows. You can make your own draught 'snakes' by stuffing rugby socks or pantyhose with newspaper or cushion filling.

     

  • Up to 20% of heating can be lost through draughts. Plug them if you can, or seek help from a expert.

     

  • Open windows and curtains on sunny days, and close them when the sun goes down to trap heat in your home. Trim any trees that prevent sun entering your house (but if you are renting, remember to ask your landlord first!).

     

    How to keep your home dry

    A dehumidifier costs around $156 a year to run - these tips are cheaper and can be just as effective.

     


  • If you use a gas heater without a chimney, make sure that you use it safely. Research has shown that it can release gases which can be particularly dangerous for anyone with heart disease or asthma, pregnant women, young children and older people. If you have to use one, open a window and keep all internal doors open too. Use it only for short periods and never in bedrooms.

    For every liter of gas that you burn, you will evaporate about a liter of water.

     

  • Try not to dry clothes indoors, as this produces moisture in the air. Drying  outside is free and the sunlight kills bacteria, making your clothes healthier for you and your family. Use a shed or garage if it is raining.

     

  • To reduce moisture caused by steam, always open a window when you are showering and when you are cooking on the stove top. Use pot lids to reduce the amount of steam escaping. Keep doors to bedrooms closed at these times as steam can make beds damp.

     

  • If you must use a clothes dryer, make sure your clothes are properly spun first and leave windows open while you are using it - or even better, vent it outside. Check whether the vent hose and outlet are free of “fluff”. This collects in the pipe and can cause a fire. Just disconnect the hose, and check for the free flow of air.

     

    Top ten easy ways to save money and cut your electricity bill

     

    Talk to your electricity company about which plan is best for you. Most companies provide options including direct debits at a flat rate all year round, pre-payment meters and low use rates for people who are very frugal.

     

    If you have an electric hot water heater, most of your electricity bill will be triggered by hot water usage, so use less if you can. Set your washing machine on a cold wash and rinse your dishes in cold water. Take short showers instead of baths. Showers use 60 per cent less water than baths.

    Fix dripping taps. A dripping hot tap can cost $80 a year but a washer to fix it costs less than $1!

     

    If your hot water heater is old, keep the heat in by using a hot water cylinder wrap. These are available from hardware stores. Make sure the thermostat is set to produce a temperature of no more than 55C at the tap (this will also prevent scalds).

    This will be approx. 65 C on the tank.

     

    Always turn the lights off in rooms when you leave them. But if you are using energy efficient light bulbs, it is better to leave them on if you are returning within ten minutes, as they have to “warm up”. (Does not apply to LED lights)

     

    Appliances that have a standby function (such as TVs, stereos, mobile chargers, computers or microwaves) should be turned off at the wall. This can save you up to $75 a year.

     

    Clothes dryers can be very expensive to run so try not to use them unless you really have to. Heated towel rails are also expensive and cost around $120 a year to run.

     

    Make sure there is generous air space behind the back of your fridge and try to locate it out of direct sunlight, or in a cooler room like the laundry. Don't open the fridge door too often or leave it open.

    Make sure you cool food before putting it in the fridge. Turn off your second or 'drinks' fridge - this could be costing you $190 per year.

     

    When cooking keep the oven door closed. Always keep lids on pots and use as little water as possible to cook foods. Simmer rather than boil food and if possible use a microwave, as this uses 30-40 per cent less power than a conventional oven. Defrost food naturally if possible, (in the fridge is best) rather than in the microwave.

     

    Just my thought…

    You can't buy happiness, but you can give it.

     

    We wish you a Merry Christmas





 

2013 November News letter

  

It’s no coincidence that great employees have great bosses

“Print shops have a reputation as dingy, dirty, ink-covered sorts of places, so when they see a brightly lit facility with art everywhere and floors so clean it looks like you could eat off them, it really makes a statement about our company.”

It does more than that, actually.

A clean, cheerful workplace is just part of Friesens’ progressive approach to personnel management. Farm employers could learn a lot from this company, whose engaged and innovative workforce is the reason it’s Canada’s largest printer of hardcover books (everything from Harry Potter to high-end coffee-table books) and is prospering in a time of upheaval in the book business.

It starts by ensuring the cleaning kits liberally scattered around its 250,000 sq. foot production facility are used regularly.

“Cleanliness is a big part of the pride piece,” says Friesen, who is one of 38 Friesens on the payroll unrelated to the company’s founders.

“We really emphasize that if there’s down time — you’re waiting for paper or plates or something — then clean something.”

It’s a simple thing but it encourages a sense of ownership, he says. So do the book covers hung with pride on the walls.

“An author or photographer often spends years on their book and so while we’ll print 5,500 titles a year, we don’t want to forget each one is someone’s dream come true. It’s not just another order we need to get out.”

The company is employee-owned, but with 550 workers, it’s not a given every one will automatically act like an owner. So there’s a big emphasis on giving people a say in how things are done.

For example, when a new machine is being bought for their area, workers join managers in deciding which model or option to buy.

The company also takes an unusual approach to leadership training.

“We tell them that if they want to be a leader in our company, first be a leader somewhere else by volunteering with a sports or community club or some other organization,” says Friesen.

“You’ll get experience and a chance to see if being a leader is something you enjoy or not. And when a job comes open and five people apply, you’ll have references and experience in areas we can evaluate.”

Employee evaluations are also different.

“We always make sure the employee is doing 70 percent of the talking, and it’s not just the manager saying, ‘this is what I want you to do and here’s how I think you did,’ ” says Friesen.

“Instead, we always ask the employee, ‘tell us something that you’re proud of and you think you do really well.’ ”

So how does this relate to a farm?

Imagine dropping by a farm when “the boss” is away and chatting with the employees in the equipment shed. OK, the floor’s not clean enough to eat off, but the place is tidy, not grimy. It looks like a nice place to work. In the lunch area are pictures from seeding or harvest, and maybe maps breaking down productivity per field and showing how the yield trend is rising.

One of the employees — you recognize him because he’s a coach in your kid’s hockey league — proudly shows you the new seeding rig.

He says he persuaded the owner to buy it over other models because he’s become the farm’s go-to guy on seeding. You dig further and find out he’s got a passion for precision agriculture and his boss encourages that by sending him to courses and conferences.

Want to bet this farm is more profitable and has less staff turnover than average?

Now think about the cost: some cleaning kits and using down time differently; taking pictures on your smartphone and making posters of the work your people do, having flex time so employees can volunteer; asking them for their input; finding out their interests and providing learning opportunities.

These are do-able things. The toughest part, says Friesen, is thinking beyond the job at hand.

“As a manager, I have to worry about productivity, things like the number of pages or books per hour.

“What’s happening right now and in the next hour or next shift is important, but you have to take time every once in a while to think about the long term and the bigger picture.”

 

 What burglar's know about your home

 If you want to keep yourself and your family safe here are a few ways of deterring burglars and would be break-ins.

1. Living in a poor section will definitely deter a burglar. Burglars aren't going to bother with homes that look like the people in them can't afford anything nice. So if you are thinking of buying a home for safety issues you can consider moving into a lower income neighborhood.

2. You can deter a burglar by looking like you can't afford to breathe the air around you. Burglars are looking for homes to break into that the owners are wealthy or at least have nice things. Keep your Jaguar in a locked garage without windows and drive an everyday clunker. Something from the 1990's would be good. Park it in front of your house for would be burglars to see.

3. Burglars like privacy. The best way to deter a burglar is to live on a clear cut acre with outside lights. Burglars like the dark and they like to be able to hide. Don't give a burglar the chance to hide or be in the dark. Purchase outside solar lights and place them around your house. Lights deter burglars.

Open areas deter burglars. Burglars need somewhere to hide. A yard free from debris and low to the ground bushes/shrubs or no bushes/shrubs will deter burglars quickly. If there is no way for a burglar to sneak in or out a burglar is less likely to choose your home.

4. Most homes are staked out before a burglary. Burglars like to rob more than one home if at all possible. Burglars drive around neighborhoods getting the feel for the streets and seeing who is home and who isn't. They may stake out homes once or for several months. If you are purchasing a home gated communities may be the safest if there is only one way in and out. No escape path will deter a burglar.

Another deterrence for a burglar is a community crime watch program or an area where people walk at night or is well lighted. Burglars like privacy so if there are people around burglars will be deterred.

5. Don't leave expensive items where anyone driving or walking by could see them. If you have expensive artwork or a 52 inch flat screen television don't leave the items near a window where burglars could see them if they are walking or driving buy. A burglar that knows what you have will know what he wants and it will make your house an opportune situation.

If your living room has big windows leave the curtains shut when you are not at home. Turn your furniture so no one can see what you have. If a burglar is unsure whether or not you have nice things he may not waste his time breaking into your home when he knows three doors down there is two computers, a big screen television, and a telescope. He would much rather have that stuff then not be able to get anything at your house.

6. Another good way to deter a burglar is to leave lights on even when you are not home. Burglars who think you are home or up won't want to be caught so they may go to the next house. If you have any way of automatically turning lights on and off you might want to use them. Leave the radio turned on, or the TV, so it looks that you are around.

7. Dogs and security systems deter burglars. If you have a dog it is best to keep it where the burglar can't see it unless it is a ferocious dog and then make sure you constantly walk it and have it on your front porch.

Security systems are also good to have. If you have a security system sticker in your window burglars won't take the time to find out if you really have the system or not.

8. The best way to deter a burglar is to not flaunt anything you do have. Burglars are more likely to hit homes they know have something than to hit a home that they are unsure of. Burglars don't want to waste their time so if you have nice stuff be careful of who sees it. Most times a burglar is someone you know.

Take a picture from all you valuables, serial numbers etc. It will make it much easier when you lose them.

 

When you want to identify crop in the bin, use micro confetti. For valuables there is a invisible bar code as an option

In this economy crime will be going up. If you can take steps to deter a burglar then maybe you won't become a victim.

Does it matter where and what kind of property you buy or sell?

We love acreage living. To us, the seclusion, quiet, space, and closeness to nature make it the ultimate lifestyle. But if you’ve never experienced country living we encourage you to be informed. Talk to people already living in the country.

Make sure the development you're looking at properly balances your (and your neighbors’) right to create a home site that suits your tastes and the needs of your family.

Many acreage developments don’t allow barns, workshops, and horses. Make sure you know what’s allowed.

 

The other side of the coin is that certain developmental controls (architectural styles, fences, materials) when intelligently applied, create attractive, functional communities that are enjoyable today and retain their long term value. Check the developmental controls of your new community carefully – and check the developer’s history in living up to them in past developments

 

Roads matter

Gravel road access to your property may seem “charming” on your first few trips to town, but you will quickly desire the safety and comfort of a properly paved road. For those who don't mind a drive on gravel, this can save them money.

 

Check your water source

Many acreage properties rely on well water. Check the quality of the well water, and the pressure--three gallons a minute is a good benchmark for a residential acreage. Remember to get a current report, as water availability has changed over the years.

 

Did you know:

Did you accidentally crack one end of an egg that you intend to boil !!!

Crack the other end too. Then you'll be able to cook the egg as planned without having the contents run out of the shell.

 

 

Storage for your garden vegetables

Cold and Moist Storage

Beets, parsnips, carrots, turnips and rutabagas prefer cold, moist storage. This means temperatures between 32 and 40 degrees F and 80 to 95% relative humidity - a refrigerator or a moist cellar qualify. Rinse these crops and trim tops to within one-half inch. Store in plastic bags with small holes - to keep moisture high but still allow airflow

.As for storing carrots, we put ours between layers of sand in a five-gallon pail, directly after taking them out of the ground.  They will keep until spring that way.

 

Potatoes can be stored in similar conditions but prefer a slightly lower humidity, around 80%, compared to 90-95% for carrots, turnips and parsnips. After harvest (once tops have died back and dried), brush soil off potatoes gently (do not wash). Then cure for one to two weeks in a warm, moist, dark location.

Warm and Dry Storage

Pumpkins and winter squashes prefer temperatures between 50 and 60 degrees F and 60 to 75% relative humidity. Be sure to wait until the squashes are fully ripened, or storage time will be decreased. But be sure to harvest before frost - frost damage will shorten storage time. Leave stems intact, cure at 80 to 85 degrees F for two weeks before putting into storage. (Do not cure acorn squash.) Lay pumpkins and squashes in a single layer one inch apart.Just a Thought:

 

If you want the world to be a happier place, start to smile.

It's Contagious

 

 

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House

The best compliment is your referral

When you referrer us to a friend

Dinner is on us
@

The Ranch House


Avoid taxes when selling farmland
When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
You have a personal income.
The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

Avoid taxes when selling farmland
When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.
Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.
This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.
As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.
Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.
If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location, we would be happy to assist you.
 
                    Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?
If the corporation pays you a salary
 Advantages are:
You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).
You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.
You have a personal income.
The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.
Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.
                                           Disadvantages are:
Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.
As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.
When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.
If the corporation pays you dividends 
 Advantages are:
Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.
Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.
Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.
Disadvantages are:
Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.
Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.
Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.
 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?
Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.
However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.
            Thanks to Susan Ward
Passport service terminated October 2015
The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information. 
 Success is what you do; luck is what happens.
You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.
If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.
You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.
Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.
Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.
Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.
You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.
When to quit your job 
Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.
Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.
Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.
Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.
Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.
Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.
Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.
Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.
Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.
Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.
If you think you can’t quit your job, 
think about all the things you can do, about the future, the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  And once you like your job, you’ll never go to work again.
When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better acTo

Happy new year, and all the best in 2015


Avoid taxes when selling farmland

 

•        When you have an opportunity to sell farmland to the city, or run into an involuntary sale to the city, you might end up with a large sum of money.

•        Normally you pay taxes on the difference between the purchase price and the sale price. You can use your capital exemption to avoid paying taxes, but what if that is used up? The solution might be replacement land.

•        This can be advantageous if you want to expand or want to move to a different location. Another option is to trade some land with relatives or others and get a bigger block of land at a different location. You can even go out of the province and spend your money there.

•        As a rule, you have to reinvest in the same year that you sold your land, or within two years if it was a forced transaction. You have to have farmed the land and do this again in your new location.


•        Good advice is to seek help from a good CGA or CA before you sign.


•        If you need help to establish a value for your land, to put a sale together, or to buy in a new location,

 we would be happy to assist you.

Self-employed? Salary or Dividend?

 

If the corporation pays you a salaryAdvantages are:

 

•        You will be able to contribute to an RRSP (depending on your age).

•        You will be paying into the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). As your CPP retirement pension is based on how much, and for how long, you contributed to the Plan, this can be an important retirement consideration.

•        You have a personal income.

•        The salary or bonus paid out will be a tax deduction for the corporation.

•        Besides paying yourself, you can do some income-splitting by paying salary to related employees such as a spouse or children.


Disadvantages are:

 

Paying yourself a salary from your corporation is that you will have   a personal income. Salary is one hundred percent taxable (unlike dividends, which are taxed at a lower rate) so it's possible that paying yourself a salary could increase your tax load.

•        As for Canada Pension Plan (CPP), you will have to pay both portions of CPP as you will be both the employer and the employee.

•        When profits vary from year to year, paying yourself a salary can cause you tax problems because you won't be able to carry back a business loss in future years, as you could if you had paid yourself by dividends.

 

If the corporation pays you dividends,  Advantages are:

 

•        Dividends are taxed at a lower rate than salary, which can result in your paying less personal tax.

•        Not having to pay into the Canada Pension Plan can save you money.

•        Paying yourself with dividends is comparatively simple. You write a cheque to yourself from your corporation and at the end of the year, you update your corporation's minute book and prepare a director's resolution for the dividends paid.

 

Disadvantages are:

•        Not  paying into the CPP (Canada Pension Plan) will lessen the amount of CPP you are entitled to when you retire.

•        Receiving dividends doesn't allow you to contribute to an RRSP as you don't have any employment income.

•        Receiving dividends instead of salary can "kill" other possible personal income tax deductions for you, such as child care expense deductions.

 

 Is a Mix of Salary and Dividends Best?

 

•        Often, salary/bonus is paid out to ensure the corporation doesn't earn over $500,000, and then dividends are paid out if more income is required.

•        However, the "correct" answer to the salary or dividends question is completely dependent on the business owner’s own personal financial circumstances. Ask advice from a good CGA or CA, or see a tax lawyer.


Thanks to Susan Ward

 

 

Passport service terminated October 2015


When you are over the age of 18 and have to renew your passport in the near future, you better act now.

The consulate in Edmonton and Calgary are closing their doors for passport renewal on October 1 2015. Your next stop will be Vancouver. As there are a lot of applications and only some much spots, it is a good idea to book your timeslot now for getting that new passport. They will last for 10 years. You have to apply in person. Call them at 1877 388 2443 to book an appointment or more information.

 


 

Success is what you do; luck is what happens.

 

•        You'll work a lot harder and a lot longer if your primary plan simply has to work because there is no other option. Total commitment--without a safety net--will spur you to work harder than you ever imagined possible.

•        If somehow the worst does happen, trust that you will find a way to rebound. As long as you keep working hard and keep learning from your mistakes, generally you will.

•        You can be great when you put in an incredible amount of focused effort. Any person with rare skills has put thousands of hours of effort into developing those skills.

•        Remarkably successful people do what other people won't do. They go where others won't go because there's a lot less competition and a much greater chance of success.

•        Decide what you really want: to be the best, the fastest, the cheapest, the biggest.  Aim for the ultimate. Decide where you want to end up.

•        Then you can work backwards and lay out every step along the way.

•        You'll make better decisions, and find it much easier to work a lot harder when your ultimate goal is ultimate success.



 

When to quit your job

 

•        Quit your job if you are not happy doing what you are doing.

Quit your job if nobody cares what you are doing and your input is         disregarded.

•        Quit your job if your boss or supervisor criticizes you in public or humiliates you.

•        Quit your job if you never get a thank you or appreciation for what you do.

•        Quit your job if you always have to follow and can’t show initiative.

•        Quit your job when the only praise is going to your supervisor.  Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’s career at the expense of your own.

•        Quit your job when you feel that you have worked but not have accomplished anything.

•        Quit your job if you feel that you are merely a number.

•        Quit your job if you don’t want to go to work in the morning.

•        Quit your job if you can’t see any future in it.

If you think you can’t quit your job,

 

think about all the things you can do, about the future, 

the potential fun, and the appreciation you might receive.  

Then apply for a future that gives you meaning.  


And once you like your job... 


you’ll never go to work again.



 

Just my thought


Push for luck, aim for success

Think big, but don't forget the small things in

life

 

 

 

 

 

 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House



 

Newsletter December 2014

                                                             We wish you a very happy Christmas



Unique Holiday Gifting

 

Every year we do the same thing. We approach the holidays with a certain amount of stress. It’s not so much what we’ll make for dinner because who doesn't get excited about mixing tradition with new dishes and sharing them with friends and family. But much of the stress comes from what to buy for others. Don’t get me wrong kids are easy, but adults?

So here’s a thought. Many families no longer exchange gifts among adults for the simple reason they’ve exhausted the possibilities and at a certain stage, we need less. More importantly we just want to be together during the holidays. But dropping the traditional gift giving is sometimes difficult.

A new tradition with holiday celebrating is potluck in a bowl/ pan or on a plate. Simply ask those who are coming to make something to bring – a part of the meal. It shares the work and everyone gets to feel a part of the festivities by contributing.

Buy a really nice piece of cookware, then cook your contributing dish in the cookware. Then you leave the dish as a hosts holiday gift.  Oven- safe bowl, something from a local pottery, or glass.

Bringing food in a gift of cookware is a gift that’s enthusiastically received and get's the stress away from the holiday's.

 

Refinancing yes or no?


Refinancing can be a great financial move if it reduces your mortgage payment, shortens the term of your loan or helps you build equity more quickly. When used carefully, it can also be a valuable tool in getting your debt under control. Before

If you are going to refinance, take a careful look at your financial situation, and ask yourself: How long do I plan to continue living in the house? And how much money will I save by refinancing?

Keep in mind that refinancing generally costs between 3 and 6% of the loan's principal. It takes years to recoup that cost with the savings generated by a lower interest rate or a shorter term. 

So, if you are not planning to stay in the home for more than a few years, the cost of refinancing may negate any of the potential savings. 

It also pays to remember that a savvy homeowner is always looking for ways to reduce debt, build equity, save money and eliminate that mortgage payment. Taking cash out of your equity when you refinance doesn't help you achieve any of those goals.

Build your home better, faster, and most likely cheaper


Invented and developed in Edmonton Alberta, Canada, this building system is an insulated and structural component building product that is revolutionizing the building industry. Sections are made from two materials - EPS (expanded polystyrene) as the insulating wall core, and integrated galvanized steel construction studs for strength.

Simple product series are easily adaptable to most commercial or residential building uses including walls, foundation walls, foundation floors and roofs. The system has many unique advantages, significant cost savings, and its ease of installation makes the product less dependent on costly and hard to find skilled trade workers.

The Building Systems offer a wide range of environmental advantages from production of products to long lasting energy savings. All products are produced locally in Edmonton, Alberta. Polycore Canada has the only EPS recycling system in Western Canada allowing manufacturing with no waste ending up in the landfill. Each product is custom cut and designed to ensure that when the product is delivered to your construction site there is virtually no waste, you are only given the exact amount of product needed for your project. Due to the fact that all of the products are insulated and structural without using wood, there are less materials needed compared to traditional construction methods, and the product will offer a higher than normal R value. 

The Building Systems will continue to provide energy savings for the life of the structure, resulting in less greenhouse emissions and exponential savings. It is a healthy building solution that eliminates mold potential and has virtually no maintenance required.

The building system provides the strength of steel and the efficiencies of EPS (expanded polystyrene) at costs that are competitive with traditional wood materials; concrete cribbing and ICF style foundations. 

With the savings in construction time and skill base requirements this building system is more economical and faster to use than traditional construction materials such as lumber and concrete. Plus, you're not depleting natural resources, or dependant on fluctuating lumber prices.

 

Building a new home, 200sft will do?


When you want to down size, are strapped for cash, or want to do something different, 

here is some fascinating information about a Tiny House on wheels.

The majority of them look pretty much like each other, little boxes on wheels.

Jay Shafer, pretty much invented the tiny house thing, and most of them have looked like his ever since. But if you are going to build a sleeping loft, the traditional gable roof doesn't make a lot of sense.

 

Laird Herbert designed his tiny Leaf House with a shed roof that went front to back. This gave him a generous loft with consistent head height right across. He designed the inside of it like a yacht. On the same size platform as most tiny houses he gets a whole lot more room.

 “Ever since I started designing small houses, I realized that they would work best together as a cluster. Because then you can share amenities. ” Shafer has drawn a common house at the center of each design. 

There, neighbors can share storage, laundry facilities, maybe even a pool table. And he’s put the tiny homes on wheels so the complex can be zoned like an RV park.

Yes, get a real Christmas tree!


Everyone has different family traditions, maybe you have man made Christmas tree instead of a real one, maybe you go out every year and buy one together as a family, or maybe you just go out alone and grab one from your local supermarket (if they sell them).

The Christmas tree is a traditional decoration for any family that celebrates Christmas and without one the house just doesn’t feel like Christmas at all. 

If this is your first Christmas without your parents then this is a chance to start a new tradition altogether, why not take your partner (and your children if you have any)

go out into the forest, or to a tree farm, to find the perfect tree and cut it fresh together, 

Smell the tree, remember what it took to get it to your home!

Roast some marshmallows over the fire outdoors!

You can really make it a fun outing which will become an annual event? 

Whatever you do this Christmas make sure you don’t go too overboard,

 you want to actually see the rest of the room and not just a space full of tree!

Just my thought.

Only someone who wants to laugh

and, wants to cry with you

Is a REAL friend


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.

@

the Ranch House

 

Newsletter  November, 2014

 

Use Recycled Paper

 

Keep the world's trees and clients, friends and family happy, by printing on recycled paper.

Unlike years past, there's very little cost difference today between recycled and virgin paper, so there really isn't any reason not to use recycled paper.

Remember, recyclable paper is not necessarily all recycled paper.  Also, many papers are made from small amounts of mill scraps that are recycled, but this isn't truly recycled paper.

 

Instead, you'll want to use paper that is at least partially made up of previously used paper, like you put in your recycling bins. To find out what portion of the paper was made from previously used paper, ask your print shop for the paper's post-consumer-fiber percentage. The higher the number, the more recycled paper was used. Commonly used recycled papers generally range between 10-50 percent post-consumer-fiber.

 

If you do print on recycled paper, be sure to let readers know. Put "Printed on Recycled Paper" in small type at the bottom of your pages or in the masthead.

 

House Saving Tips:

 

  1. Shorten your dryer-vent hose. First, disconnect it and vacuum it out. Then trim the hose length so that it's just long enough for you to pull the dryer a few feet out from the wall. A short and unobstructed line makes your dryer run more efficiently.  
  2.  

Cost: Free    Savings: $25 a year on electricity, gas, or propane.

Bonus: Your clothes will dry about 20 percent faster.

 

Choose one neutral trim paint for the entire house rather than buying a gallon of a particular color for each room and using only a fraction of each can.

Cost: You have to forgo the trendy color combos in the paint manufacturer brochures.

Savings: $50.- on paint for three rooms.

Bonus: Crisp white trim is always in style, and you'll never have to rummage around for the right can for touch-ups.

 

Using dark colours for your roof will increase the temperature in your attic.  It also shortens the life of shingles as they tend to get very hot.

Using light grey will extend the time between shingling.

 

Plug in a Smart Strip. Three-quarters of the energy, that electronics burn is consumed when the equipment is turned off. Rather than unplugging items after every use, hook them up to a Smart Strip surge protector, which automatically kills power to electronics when you turn them off and returns it when you switch them back on.

 

Fix a leaky faucet or toilet filler. You can replace them in 20 minutes and save a sea of water.

 

Cost: approx. 50 cents per seal.

 

 

 

Where Are Interest Rates Heading?

 

Current rates are at an all-time low. There is a tendency to keep interest low for a while, so the economy can fire on all cylinders.

This to spur private borrowing, spending and ultimately growth.

 

Europe has its own problems with possible deflation. To tackle that European countries are cutting their spending and decreasing the growth of the tax burden for their citizens. (That is still an increase.)

 

Overall it looks like low interest will be here for a while. Remember that renegotiating your mortgage can be an advantage. Keep a long-term saving in mind, as well as your ability to pay back what you borrowed, even with a 3-point rate hike. The bank’s business is to keep you dependant, not to get you debt free.

 

Will the rates go up?  Not likely, but if deflation ever hits, something might change faster than you might like.

 

 

 

 

 

Prepared For the Cold? Have Your Home Ready For Winter

 

Have a couple of bags of sand in your garage, to deal with ice on the driveway. Don’t use salt as it eats your concrete away.

Use sand or fine gravel instead.

 

Get everything out of the ground now. When snow covers everything, you don’t know where you put it, and might drive over it.

 

Put stakes in the ground on sharp edges, at entrances and at the ends of culverts.

Clearing the snow with a machine is helpful.

Make sure your stakes protrude at least 3 feet out of the ground.

 

Drain all your water taps outside, and remove hoses from the taps.

Buy a good snow shovel now. There is plenty stock and some good deals are available now.

 

What is the Windshield Effect?

 

The windshield effect was a simple concept. If you want to go forward, you need to concentrate on the windshield and what is ahead of you.

However, you can't do this without glancing in the wing mirrors to see what is on each side of you, and in the head mirror to see what is behind you. In order to progress, one must understand and accept what has come before, and learn from it.

 

Personally, while I prefer not to dwell on the past, I often apply lessons learned from previous mistakes and apply them to new decisions.

 

Certainly, if you spend too much time wallowing in what is behind you, rather than looking in front, you will crash and burn. Prisoners of the past have no escape to their own futures.

Try to balance learning the lessons that have gone before with throwing yourself into the challenges of the future.

Oh, and remember to clean the windshield every now and then

Virgin owner: Richard Branson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just my thought.

If you want to be lucky...

Don't forget to look for it!






News letter October 2014


What better way than to fulfill a wish!


Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Non-profit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano..... and got it!?


Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)



Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?


• Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
• Have hope
• We are here to live our life, not others.
• Have faith in yourself
• Realize that you could have been in a worse situation


Find the things that make you happy.

Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.


Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. 

You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, 

challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises



The best staff, come with a smile


How to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, 

treat them well enough so they don't want to  !!!
If you look after your staff,

they'll look after your customers.

It's that simple. 

How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? 

How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?



Leave the leaves.


When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants. Better still; leave them over for the winter. 
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants, to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.


If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, 

plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.

After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!



 If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, 

don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
Check the furnace


a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces.

 That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.

Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,

Don't forget the chimney . 

Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.

Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,

Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,

Finally, check those alarms. 

This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. 

Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- 

with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. 

Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.


Just my thought.
When Time flies, ...Stop.
Life is precious, 

live it to the fullest, every day.

What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.
What better way than to fulfill a wish!
Since people and businesses often have items or services they’d be willing to donate if they only knew who could use them
Nonprofit consultant and freelance writer, Patricia O’Malley, has an idea for schools, hockey clubs, and other groups.
List items or services that you would like to have, such as office furnishings, supplies, or advertising space and give your readers a chance to help. 
The New York City schools have one, says Patricia. One teacher asked for a used piano and got it!?
Thanks to Sumac (Patricia O’Malley)
Happiness, It is free, endless, but where do you find it?
Don't be scared to live for yourself. After all, its your life!
Have hope
We are here to live our life, not others.
Have faith in yourself
Realize that you could have been in a worse situation
Do the things that make you happy.
Learn how to forgive others.
Whatever you do, and whoever you are, exercise.
Be generous and compassionate.
Follow your instincts.
Give yourself reasons to smile. 
Keep yourself busy.
Be strong and optimistic. Don't let negative circumstances and sadness creep into or ruin your life. Whenever you are sad, try to keep your head high. You should tell yourself that life is full of hopes, challenges and unexpected twists and turns of surprises
The best staff, come with a smile
How  to get the best employees, and keep them engaged in your business!
Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to.
 If you look after your staff, they'll look after your customers. It's that simple. How much time do you spend looking back, when you could be focusing on what is right in front of you? How often do you waste energy worrying about past mistakes, rather than planning future successes?
Leave the leaves.
When you have a garden and want to enjoy it for years to come, insulate the plant from the harsh Alberta weather.
When you cut the plants off, put the old twigs over the plants.  Better still; leave them over for the winter.  
The frost will make them stand out and give an unexpected winter beauty to the garden.
On a nice day, you can spread your compost over the plants,  to keep them warm, and gives them nutrients.
Mark the plants so you know where they are in the flower bed.
If you like to add Tulips or spring bulbs, plant them now, when the daytime temperature is below 10 degrees Celsius, in the day. Cover them with about 3 inches of dirt and add some mulch.
Don’t put them in a planter, or they will freeze.
After a nice fall comes.. WINTER, .. Be ready!
Clean the gutters  
Block those leaks
Insulate yourself  If you're layering insulation atop other insulation, don't use the kind that has "kraft face" finish (i.e., a paper backing). It acts as a vapor barrier and therefore can cause moisture problems in the insulation.
 Check the furnace
Get your ducts in a row , a home with central heating can lose up to 60% of its heated air before that air reaches the vents if ductwork is not well-connected and insulated, or if it must travel through unheated spaces. That's a huge amount of wasted money, not to mention a chilly house.
Face your windows 
Now, of course, is the time to take down the window screens and put up storm windows, which provide an extra layer of protection and warmth for the home. Storm windows are particularly helpful if you have old, single-pane glass windows. But if you don't have storm windows, and your windows are leaky or drafty, "They need to be updated to a more efficient window,
Don't forget the chimney . Do it yourself or not; before using the fireplace or stove, clean the pipes and check for damage.
Reverse that fan
"Reversing your ceiling fan is a small tip that people don't often think of,
Wrap those pipes 
A burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare. Prevent it before Jack Frost sets his grip: Before freezing nights hit, make certain that the water to your hose bibs is shut off inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and that the lines are drained,
Finally, check those alarms.  This is a great time to check the operation -- and change the batteries -- on your home's smoke detectors. Detectors should be replaced every 10 years, fire officials say. Test them -- older ones in particular -- with a small bit of actual smoke, and not just by pressing the "test" button. Check to see that your fire extinguisher is still where it should be, and still works.
Just my thought.
When Time flies, keep yourself grounded.
Life is precious, live it to the fullest, every day.


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House











News letter September 2014


Garden Tip

 

When you work in your garden this month, make some photos of the flower beds, with perennials and scrubs. It makes it easier later in the fall to know what they looked like, and where they are in the ground.

As they get older, you can start with dividing them up, and replant them. Make groups of three or five plants, and keep an eye on where you plant them, so they have room to grow, and show. A mistake often made is to fertilize when they are in full bloom in August. This can result in getting frost damage. Stop adding fertilizer in late summer, so all of it is used up before the fall comes and the plants goes in hibernation.

Burglar in the yard!


Do you experience uninvited guest in your yard. Try to deter them with signs and lights.

Place 1 or more No Trespassing signs.

When you want to add light, use motion sensor activated lights.  Install a light fixture near every entrance, with bright light that illuminates the area around the entrance. Do not point towards the door and the lock, but down on top of who stands in front of the entrance. It will put a shadow on the burglars work area, but have him stand out more.

You uninvited guest don’t like the attention, and being in full light when they work their way in. A flickering light is even better, as it stands out. (You can get strobe lights at Halloween shops).

Remember that a regular burglar wants to get in quick, and without being seen. Alarms are great, but a lot of times they are ignored, as they give to many falls readings. Don’t make your home a fortress, use a good lock on every door, keep valuables out of sight, and tools/ladders out of reach. With some extra lights, you will deter most criminals, as they will look for an easier prey.

 

Did your property go up in value this year?


We had calls in the last little while from people who asked me what their property is worth.

Did the land value go up, and what about the house and outbuildings? Land has gone up over the last 7 years. It has made a few “jumps” and is already stable for a while. The price of grain, a couple of good years in the farm industry, combined with low interest and uncertainty in the economy, has had people going into the purchase of tangibles, like land. This only will last, as long as there is a return on investment. What the future will hold is a guess, including value and demand. When you want to invest in real estate, make a long term plan, so interest rates, will not affect you in a negative way.  In the long run land will go up, but could make some mayor corrections down the road.

Buildings are valued on their use, and how long they can be used. Specific use buildings have only value for those who can utilise them. A well maintained home will keep its value, even better if you update it every 10 years. To get a more detailed number, call us for a estimate.

 

Networking, how can we help!

 

Over the time off several years, all of us have learned that it is not what you know, but who you know, is sometimes more important.

This is also important when you need to get it done, but don’t know who to call. If you like to share your information with other home owners, or like to ask who they used, you can do so by sending me a mail, with a request, or info from a trades person you used, and where very happy with.

We don’t need the price, and we don’t mention your name.

Just the name and address from the trades’ person you used.

 You will find a list on our web site www.Jac Theelen.com

 

 

Back to school.


That time of the year again. Everybody is excited to get things in time back for back to school.

If you have waited until the last minute, here a few tips.

The best deals on school supplies are when everyone else is done shopping. Wait until half September if you are not afraid not to get that one particular backpack with logo, and get everything you need ow on sale, as stores clear for the holidays.

Buy you items in bulk, pens / pencils /paper are great in large volume.

Don’t get excited when you don’t have all items on the too -do list crossed off. Let your kids know that you will have the missing items later in the weeks to come.  Avoiding stress before the new school year helps your kids to relax. Bake a cake together to celebrate, or take them to a movie.  Remember that the main goal is to have fun at school, so they like to go. Help them to achieve it!

 Just my Thought


There is nothing perfect in life 

Try only to perfect things

It will be as close as you can get

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@
The Ranch House





 News letter August 2014

 Theft and break-ins: how to avoid them!

 

When you go away, here are some tips to keep your home secure.

**  Lock away your handyman and gardening tools, which may be used to force open doors or windows, and any item that may be used to gain access to the property or cause damage.

**  Record descriptions, models and serial numbers of your valuables and then put them somewhere safe.

**  Before you leave, close all internal doors to help contain any fire that might occur.

**  Then, check that your doors, windows and garage are locked securely, and remove spare keys from hiding places. As you leave, check everything again.

 

** Show some caution when you talk about your trip. Your blog/ face book isn't the best place to announce that you'll be away from home for a month. Being aware of who's around when you discuss your trip in restaurants and even at work isn't a bad idea either.

 

** Make sure that your children are discreet, too. No one is saying that you should be suspicious of everyone you meet, but even a chance remark has the potential to lead to unintended and unfortunate consequences. The less information you put out there, the less likely it is to reach the wrong ears and eyes.

 

** Never leave a portable GPS in your car when you use long-term parking at the airport. It'll alert thieves that you're not home and give them a convenient map to your house.

 

Summer projects that increase the value of your  home


Build a deck or patio.

 

This project not only adds visual interest to the exterior of your home, it also gives you a chance to enjoy your outdoor living space to the fullest.

 

During the spring and summer, patios are spaces for entertaining guests, barbecuing, and leisure time.

Whatever your motivation, building a deck or patio will encourage you and your family to get outside and enjoy summer.

Install a sprinkler system.

On average, homeowners use 50 per cent more water than necessary on their lawns. This increases hydro bills and causes flooding. Automatic lawn sprinkler systems are designed with busy homeowner lifestyles in mind. Installing a sprinkler system allows proper irrigation through timing and even water distribution. Although initial installation can be pricey, you may end up saving money in the long-term.

 

If you have older kids who like to do outside activities, here are some great ideas.

 

* Place a swing ball game in your back yard.

* Mount a basketball hoop against your home.

* Build a misting or rain shower on a pole, and connect it to a garden hose.

* Have them build their own tent in the yard, with an outdoor kitchen to cook their own sausages for dinner.

* If you have a bigger yard with mature trees, let them build a zip line to glide from one tree to the next.

*Or simply sit together and find other fun things that they can do or build outside.

When kids can act on their own ideas, it helps them unplug their devices and play outside.

How to increase the value of your home acreage or farm before you sell it.

Install a movable kitchen island

When you have the space, an want to create more counter space, this is an easy install, and you have the option to move it too.

 

Trim trees and scrubs that have become to large and obstruct view and/ or take light away in your home.

Also , look how they look from the road ( first impression)

 

Install a sun tube.

Less expensive than framing in a skylight, sun tubes—also known as light pipes, sun scoops, and tubular skylights—use reflective material to funnel natural light from a globe-capped hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture and into a room, Sunlight is nice, and moonlight is even nicer

 

Repair and fix broken or rusted part of gutters railings and other parts of your home that need some maintenance.

 

If you have an old front door, replace it.

This is the first thing people see when they come to your home.

Fix a broken door bell, or instead of the whole door, paint it and replace the hard ware.

 

Check the state of your bath room, and upgrade it, or fix it up.

Buyers are more prone to buy a house with a nice bathroom.

 

Paint your home neutral colours in today’s paint colours

You might like purple and orange, most buyers like neutral colors.

 

 

Get more free time.

 

Do you feel that there are not enough hours in the day?

Are you to stressed out to get it all done in the time that you have.


Here is an idea:                                            Track your hours.


Keep track of what you do in a day.

Most of us do things like checking e-mail, as soon as it comes in. Replying messages. Instantly and repeatedly. Checking Facebook, and keeping it up to date with photos and text. 

It takes so much of our daily hours that you almost run out of time do the things that really need to be done.


Try to book some OFF LINE TIME !!! It will brighten your day

 

Just my Thought

If live trows you a curve ball,

Catch it and play, you might win!


The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House


News letter February 2014

Tips to Getting the Cheapest Airline Flights

 

1.         Book your flight 21 days before you want to fly: Booking a flight is like playing a game of chicken. Airlines want to get the most money possible for their tickets and have sophisticated computer algorithms that adjust their prices automatically. Book too early and you might miss out on some major deals. Book too late, and you might be shocked to see prices skyrocket. The general consensus is to book your flight 21 days before your planned departure date to get the best deals.

2.         Tuesday is the best day of the week: Most airlines update their reservation systems on a Tuesday at 7pm. People tend to buy the bulk of their tickets on the weekend, so airlines make changes on one of the slowest days of the week

3.         Fly on Tuesday or Wednesday: Tuesday and Wednesday are the least busy days at airports, and are also the cheapest days to fly. As an added bonus, you’ll also have less people to deal with at the airport. Friday and Sunday is the peak flying days of the week, and are the worse and most expensive days to fly.

4.         Book Early for International Flights: The best deals for international flying are found 11-12 weeks in advance. You can also try flying into smaller airports, which sometimes have better deals.

5.         Eat Your Cookies: Delete your Internet browser cookies if you’ve visited an airline site within the last 30 days. It’s been discovered that some airlines will raise prices for previous visitors to their websites.

6.         Compare Prices: Use travel search engines, in addition to airline websites, to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible.


Natural Sunlight, makes you happy?


The cause of seasonal affective disorder is lack of natural sunlight on your skin. This is because sunlight provides an essential element to the human body: something that you need on a frequent basis in order to achieve optimum health, just like vitamins and minerals and other phyto nutrients that support your health. When you don't get natural sunlight on your skin, you suffer from a nutritional deficiency, just as if you weren't consuming vitamins or you go without natural sunlight for long enough, these symptoms will become apparent enough to be diagnosed by a physician, and that diagnosis will typically be named "seasonal affective disorder", or "sunlight deficiency" . If it were called only sunlight deficiency, it would give people a better idea of what to do about it. And with that in mind, let's move on to the treatments of seasonal affective disorder.

A person who makes a point to get natural sunlight on their skin on a frequent basis -- daily, if possible -- will experience a wide range of healthful benefits, and enhanced mood and brain function.

Depending on where you live, of course, it may be difficult for you to get natural sunlight on a regular basis, and so the next best thing is to get high-intensity, full-spectrum lighting, which is available from various light boxes and seasonal affective disorder treatment devices. These are essentially very bright lights that radiate some of the same frequencies as the natural sun directly onto your skin (and into your eyes) where they have a similar effect. However, this is only the second best thing. Nothing replaces the natural sun in terms of intensity and frequency. So light boxes are a good choice if you can't get the sun, but if you live in a climate where you can get regular sunlight, then natural sunlight is of course your best choice.

These are pieces of an article that is written by: Mike Adams( Author)


Ice dams on the roof

 

Ice dams on the roof are caused by snow that melts and freezes on your roof.

When this water runs down the roof line it freezes up at the coldest place, at the bottom of your roof.

 

Over time more water that runs down will accumulate and a dam is created.

This can cause serious issues

When it goes under your shingles, or get to large and creates a load, too large for your roof structure, it can cause integrity issues.

 

There is a way to prevent it from happening.

 

What you can do is cooling down your attic.

1.         Check your attic for spots where the insulation has moved, so warm air from the house can escape into the attic.

2.         Replace insulation if it is gone, ore add more on top of the old insulation. If you want, you can rent a machine to blow it in yourself, or hire a company to do it. (Price approx. $0.60/ sft.) Don’t forget to insulate the hot chimneys but do this with inflammable insulation. (check with a professional before you take on this project!)

3.         Check if you have enough vents in your roof.

4.         On average you need 1 vent per 150 foot of attic surface. If you have less, add some vents or put in an attic ventilation fan or large wall mount vent.

5.         Check if you have any insulation that covers the soffit. The soffit has to be able to “breathe” fresh air from the bottom. This way there is an air circulation in the attic and warm air can disappear on the top easier and will be replaced with cold air through the soffit at the bottom.

6.         Put rigid insulation on the attic hatch to prevent any heat to escape through this opening.

 

Additional, you can rake off snow after a mayor storm.

Do this a.s.a.p. as the snow will stick to your roof over time. Special roof rakes make this easier and safe. If you want to get close, use scaffold or a ladder, do not go on a roof that is covered in snow. If it looks dangerous, it probably is!

 

When there is a dam, make an opening in the middle, so new water coming from the top, can run further down the roof.

Remove ice from the gutters to prevent them from collapsing under the weight. You can fill an old nylon with d-icer and drape that in the gutter or on top of the ice dam, it will slowly clear the ice away!!!

 

7  Tips for Renting Out Your Home

 

Thinking about investing, in real estate, and renting out your property?

Here some ideas how you can get ready, and avoid the pitfalls.


Contract

1.    Find a good tenant.

Tell your potential renter that you have hired an outside company to do a background check for you.

Even, when you do it yourself. This way you can blame the company that they came back with negative result, and you cannot rent to them.

 

Ask potential tenants to fill out an application, listing their basic information: name, employer, salary, previous landlords and references. You'll also need their Social Security number and signed authorization to check their credit reports and criminal history. If a prospective renter refuses to give you his or her Social Security number, you can still run a credit check based on name and previous address.

2.    How much rent to charge.

Get an idea of area rental rates by checking newspaper ads, online resources and other neighborhood homes advertising for tenants. Be realistic: Renting for too much money will have consequences like high renter turn over.

 

3.    Set up a lease contract

Have a written lease so that each party understands their rights and obligations, If you want to do a good job, have a lawyer make one for you. They make sure it is enforceable.

A lease should spell out the following:

*Lease term.

*Security deposit. This is usually one month's rent or more. Don't agree to take partial payments.

*Due date for rent. Spell out penalties if the payment is late.

*Repairs. What will you do, and what is the renter’s responsibility (Routine upkeep and maintenance responsibilities?)

*List of tenants. Who is living in your property?

*Rules like non-smoking, pets

* Arrangements for showing. When you want to show it or need someone in the house, during the rental period.

*Eviction terms.


   4 Insurance for you and your renter

 

Protecting your property when rented means you have to have rental insurance, which is different from your own home insurance. Make sure that your renter is aware that they have to have they own insurance for personal belongings. You could cover loss of income due to damage, and don’t forget to get liability insurance. When your tenant gets hurt, due to something that happened in and around your property.


    5 management company/ Do it yourself

 

If you are around, are handy, and don’t mind the hassle, you can do this yourself.

If you hire a company, they will do it for you at a cost, and hire people to fix problems at your property, collect rent, and find renters.

Make sure you know the cost related to their work.

 

These companies primarily charge fees for two services: finding a tenant, which includes advertising and background checks, and managing the property. According to ManageMyProperty.com, the fee for filling a house varies from about 25% to 100% of one month's rent, depending on the area. Then, for typically around 4% to 12% of the monthly rent, the company collects rent, charges late fees, handles repairs, and deals with early vacancies and evictions.

 

If you hire a property manager, find a licensed professional.

 

One big advantage of using property managers is emotional distance. The management company primary duty is to collect rent and maintain properties.


  6 Have a buffer.

Late rent, damage and eviction can cost you an arm and a leg.

Have enough buffer to cover this expense.

When you think about renting, inquire with people who do this already for a while.

 

 

Feeling groggy, a little sick, and fatigued? 


It might not be a hangover. Over-the-counter sleep aids can mimic the effects of too much booze. 


Resolve it and get on a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and long daytime naps, exercise regularly and keep stress in check.


Staring at cellphones and computers can make dry eyes feel even worse. The Mayo Clinic recommends using the 20/20/20 rule: For every 20 minutes you're on the computer, look away at an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds or more.


A 15-minute walk after eating can lower your blood sugar level for hours, and significantly reduce your risk of diabetes. More important, taking a short walk after meals can be much more effective at preventing blood sugar spikes than taking one 45-minute walk daily.


Eating berries can lower your risk of heart disease significantly. A study of nearly 94,000 women found that those who ate three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week had a 32 percent lower risk of heart attack



Just my Thought

When you do things for years, without the result you want

Don’t try harder, but try to do it different

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.
@

the Ranch House

 

 

 



Newsletter January, 2014


Not all gift cards are equal!


Did you know that not all gift cards are equal?


Cards from stores such as Walmart, Home Depot, or the Bay have NO expiration date, and there are no fees attached to such cards.  You simply keep them until you decide to use them.


However, cards from malls or financial institutions, including their credit cards, generally charge you a fee (often called a "service fee") if you use them after a certain date.


It's a good idea to go online and read the fine print. It can save you a lot of frustration down the road.


 


Ho, ho, ho, holy cow, that is expensive!


Did you get one of these deals?


"Don’t pay for 24 months…."


Here is the catch.


The money you save by not paying now but paying in the future has a little issue attached to it.


if you miss the 24-month deadline, even by only a few days, you are going to pay interest of at least 18% for the whole period.


Whenever you accept a deal like that, be sure you mark the due date on your calendar.  This will save you a lot of grief.


Identity theft: did you know?


What is Identity fraud?


Identity fraud is the actual deceptive use of the identity information of another person (living or dead) in connection with various frauds, including the misuse of debit card or credit card data.


Facts


• Identity theft techniques can range from unsophisticated methods, such as dumpster diving and mail theft, to more elaborate schemes.


• Technology, mainly the Internet, facilitates more elaborate schemes, such as skimming, phishing, and hacking as criminals gather profiles of potential victims. Computer spyware and viruses, designed to help thieves acquire personal information, are an emerging trend.


• Victims of identity theft or fraud can experience financial loss and difficulty obtaining credit or restoring their reputations.


What the criminals are looking for:


• full name/ date of birth/ full address


• social insurance numbers


• mother's maiden name


• username and password for online services


• driver's license number


• personal identification numbers (PIN)


• credit card information (numbers, expiry dates and the last    three digits printed on the signature panel)


• bank account numbers


• signature


• passport number


What your information could be used for:


• access your bank accounts


• open new bank accounts


• transfer bank balances


• apply for loans, credit cards and other goods and services


• make purchases


• hide their criminal activities


• obtain passports or receive government benefits


How can you find out whether your identity has been stolen?


The best way to find out is to monitor your hard copy or on-line financial accounts frequently and to check your credit report regularly for any unusual activities. If you receive calls from collection agencies about unfamiliar accounts, or if you applied for credit and were unexpectedly turned down, you should investigate further.


If you suspect or know that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, or if you unwittingly provided personal information or financial information, report it promptly. 


Step 1 - Contact your local police force and file a report.


Step 2 - Contact your bank/financial institution and credit card company.


Step 3 - Contact the two national credit bureaus and place a fraud alert on your credit reports:  Equifax Canada  at 1-800-465-7166, and TransUnion Canada at 1-800-663-9980.


Step 4 - Always report identity theft and fraud. Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.


Prevention is the best way to deal with this crime:


Identity theft can occur over the Internet or telephone, or via fax or regular mail. Therefore, be particularly wary of unsolicited e-mails, telephone calls or mail attempting to extract personal or financial information from you.


Ask yourself whether you really need all of the identity documents you carry in your wallet or purse. Remove any you don't need and keep them in a secure place instead.


Periodically check your credit reports, bank and credit card statements and report any irregularities promptly to the relevant financial institution and to the credit bureaus.


During transactions, it's safer to swipe your cards yourself than it is to allow a cashier to do it for you. If you must hand over your card, never lose sight of it.


Always shield your personal identification number when using an ATM or a PIN pad.


Memorize all personal identification numbers for payment cards and telephone calling cards. Never write them on the cards.


Familiarize yourself with billing cycles for your credit and debit cards.


Trash bins are goldmines for identity thieves.  Make sure you shred personal and financial documents before putting them into the garbage.


When you change your address, make sure you notify the post office and all relevant financial institutions (your banks and credit card companies).


                                            The Ranch House


 


A New Year’s resolution that can save you MONEY!


It’s time once again to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions and whether New Year’s resolutions are a tradition in your home or not, we have one for you as homeowners to get a great start to 2014!


Cut energy use -- sealing and insulating your ductwork can improve the efficiency of your heating and cooling system by as much as 20%, saving you $200 per year or more, according to Energy Star. You’ll make your home more comfortable, and a more-efficient system helps extend the life of your furnace, air conditioner, or heat pump.


A good place to start is your HVAC ductwork. Ducts are notorious energy-wasters, leaking your heating and cooling air through holes and loose connections.


Because ducts are usually hidden inside walls, ceilings, attics, and crawl spaces, sealing and insulating them may be a difficult and time-consuming DIY job. If you can’t reach all your ducts, concentrate on those that are accessible.


Use duct sealant — called mastic — or metal-backed tape to seal the seams, holes, and connections. Don’t use the confusingly named “duct tape” which won’t provide a permanent solution and will peel off . Be sure to seal connections at vents and floor registers — these are likely places for leaks to occur.


After sealing your ducts, wrap them in fiberglass insulation. Most hardware stores and home improvement centers have insulation wrap products made for ducts.


IMPORTANT


Before you begin any home improvement projects we highly recommend finding information on current government initiatives that may give you funding or rebates to help you save money on your latest project. Go to the Government of Alberta website for details.


 


Incandescent light bulb, last chance!


On January 1, 2014 the Government of Canada began enforcing a ban on 75- and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, so stores will no longer be selling them. Current stock can be sold, but no new bulbs will be made available. Compact fluorescent lights (CFL’s) and LED bulbs are set to replace them.


If you have locations where you would like to keep using them, stock up before they are gone.


The reason for this measure apparently is that regular bulbs use 75 % more power to produce the same light output.


If you want to keep a step ahead, replace frequently-used light bulbs with LED bulbs. They are more expensive than fluorescent bulbs, but use even less power and last “forever.” Check the color on the package. "Warm White" is the same color as your regular bulb. "Bright White" will be comparable with halogen light.  "Daylight" will appear to be  bluer and cooler, which is not desirable inside your house, but more suitable for work lights in your shop.


 


 

The best compliment is your referral.

When you refer us to a friend,

dinner is on us.


 




Newsletter Dec. 2013



How to Use a Snow Thrower


 


In case all that stretching sounds like too much work, here are some tips for using a snow-throwing machine.


 


1. Test run the machine before the storm.


2. Keep necessary spare parts on hand: drive belts, spark plugs and shear pins.


3. Keep a wire brush, a scrap piece of wood and spray de-icer handy. You may well need any number of tools to keep the machine's auger and other moving parts cleared of ice and compacted snow. Never clear a clogged auger with the engine running.


4. Don't forget the newspaper that's been thrown into the driveway or onto the sidewalk. A frozen newspaper can clog a snow thrower like nobody's business. If you spot the paper or circular's outline under the snow when you come home (let's say), just remember to go out there and pick it up.


5. Keep a can of spray lubricant handy. Moving parts that worked fine in the garage can suddenly get cranky when exposed to cold, wet conditions.


 


“Different” Tips for Santa


 


If you want to do something different this year with Christmas, here are a few alternatives to buying:



    * Do other things with family, such as caroling, baking, watching tele-

       vision, or playing outside

  • Volunteer as a family at a homeless shelter.

  • Ask people to donate to your favorite charity in lieu of gifts.

  • Make meaningful gifts yourself.

  • Do a gift swap where you put a valued possession (that you already own) into the swap.

  • Bake gifts.

  • Have an experience instead of giving material goods: do something fun together, go to the beach or a lake, or go skiing.

  • Find hope. Christmas has so much potential to be about so much more than buying — it can be a season of hope, renewal, loved ones, inspiration, and contemplation. Talk to your family about this — how can we find ways to be hopeful, thankful, and cooperative? How can we be more giving instead of worried about getting presents?

  • Get stuff at Goodwill. It’s recycled, and the money helps a good cause.

  • When all the above don’t work, at least you have given it a thought, and that is something too.

     

    Tax Tips 2014

     

    As the holidays quickly approach it's hardly a time to think about small business taxes. But a quick look at these year-end tax tips for small business can pay big dividends for 2014.

     

    Five Year-end Small Business Tax Tips

     

    1. Update Your Accounting: It's important as part of your year-end tax strategy to have a good understanding of your company's financial situation. Spend extra time ensuring your books are up-to-date and accurate. It won't hurt to plan time with your accountant for year-end advice particular to your operations.

     

    2. Defer Income: Any payments your company can receive during the first week of January as opposed to December cuts your tax bill. Every cent deferred until January 2014 will not trigger taxes until April 2015. Any deferral strategy will depend on your profit and losses for the year and business legal structure ( partnership, corporation, etc.)

    Depending on foreseeable income tax rates in the New Year, deferral of income can make the best sense for many sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations. Ensure your cash flow can handle the deferred income.

    Don't forget to push any early 2014 charitable donations back to 2013. Make sure you get a receipt for the tax deduction.

     

    3. Increase Expenses: Purchase items your business will require in the immediate future to maximize deductions for this year. If you can see a need for goods and services in the first quarter of the new year, buy them now, if cash flow permits. Consider the following items for expenses:

     

    •Office Supplies: Stock up on fax paper, printer cartridges, stationary, and other office items.

    • Pay Bills Early: Pay your bills before the new year in areas such as cell services, subscriptions, rent, insurance, and utilities.

    •Equipment Purchases: If you will be buying new office equipment, consider purchasing now. You'll have to decide whether an immediate write-off is best or spread out the depreciation over years. Consult with an accountant to examine your circumstance and company structure to maximize your deductions. In addition, your equipment will have to be in your office, "in use" by year-end.

    • Other Items: This category includes pre-payment of subscriptions, travel bookings, equipment repairs, and maintenance.

     

    4. Inventory Write-Offs: Depending on your accounting methods, you may wish to check inventory for goods that have been damaged or have become obsolete. The drop in market value of the inventory can provide your company with added deductions.

     

    5. Contribute to a Retirement Plan: Make payments to your retirement plan or set one up before the year-end to reduce your income for this year. Check the contribution limits for your type of plan. Discuss the best strategy with your financial planner or accountant.

     

    These year-end tax tips will apply differently to each business owner's situation and accounting method. The cash method of accounting allows for deductions and income reported for the year they are paid or received. The accrual accounting method applies income and deductions in the year incurred. Take the time to review the best strategy with a professional and make the most of the year-end tax planning for your small business.

     

    O Christmas tree, you deserve better!

     

    Your Christmas tree deserves the best treatment it can get.

    Seriously, you brought it in to shine, so you have to take care of it.

    By the way, it will still be called "Christmas" tree, even though many want to be politically correct and call it a "Happy Holiday" tree.

    When you pick it up, shake it to make sure it is a fresh one.

    Before you put it in a stand, cut 1 inch off the stem.

    Fill the stand with warm water, and if you wish, add a couple of scoops of sugar to the water.

    A live tree will "drink" a lot of water. You need to keep water in the stand at all times. If the tree goes dry, it will lose the ability to soak up the water.

    When you treat it well, it won't lose its needles, smells great, and even keeps the moisture level in your house up.

    Neither put it over the furnace register nor in direct sunlight.