Musings from a DIY Fanatic

My Random Musings on Hiking

water poolIf you have read any of my other articles recently, then you will probably have picked up on the fact that I am really into DIY stuff. This includes growing my own food, since being self sufficient is something I’ve always wanted to do. Now that it’s all set up, it makes me feel like I’m a more well rounded individual. Growing your own food does take a good deal of energy, however you don’t have to work in your garden for several hours every day. That is why it was very important to me that I find something I could do that would provide me with good exercise. I didn’t want to have to join a gym, so I decided I would go hiking. I was in the Catskill area, since that is the closest hiking trail to me. I can’t believe I hadn’t been there before, even though I lived near by.

Wearing Good Walking Shoes To Cover Plantar Faciitis

Unfortunately there is a painful condition that runs in my family called plantar fasciitis. It is a hereditary disease that involves having lot of pain inside your heels after you have laid or sat down for several hours. Plantar fasciitis causes you to have great pain inside your heels right after getting out of bed. Each day you get up having the sensation that you are standing in a bucket that is filled with jellyfish, whenever your poor feet initially hit the ground in the morning. The affliction is absolutely horrible. I wouldn’t wish it even on my worst enemy. After the initial pain that you get from standing up fades away, this pain keeps nagging you throughout the remainder of the day. The condition won’t every really leave you alone. You must get it treated.

You must ensure that you always have flexible shoes that have a supportive heel cup, whenever you happen to have plantar fasciitis. What causes this is suffering through too much strain on your soles over time and that is way too intense. If you are overweight, you risk developing the condition, since this places a lot of pressure on your feet that you wouldn’t have if you were slimmer. However, the fact is that plantar fasciitis is something that you treat yourself quite easily in order to prevent needing to undergo surgery. Sometimes surgery makes it worse. However, there are many exercises that you can do to treat, and perhaps to cure, the plantar fasciitis that you have. Some of the things that can help include giving your feet lots of rest, performing some exercises using your feet and losing weight.

Overweight Couple Tackles Obesity Head On

prairie hikingDespite the fact that I grow my own food and am self sufficient, I have to confess that I have gone to the convenience store a number of time and may have bought more than a couple of bars of chocolate. Mu husband is also guilty of occasional junk binges also. This has resulted in both of us being very fat. For a homesteading couple, this is actually something that isn’t acceptable to us. Before this year is out we will lose weight together. However, we really can’t do that unless get ourselves a pair of walking shoes that are halfway decent and have been designed for overweight walkers. I’ve learned a lot from reading Boot Bomb’s updated 2016 guide. My husband will need to have good walking shoes designed for big guys, and I will need to have a good pair of running sneakers that are made for heavyset women. Since almost all physical activities require you to stand up straight, this all starts with making sure that you wear good footwear. You need to have walking shoes that are good for overweight individuals. All these are highly suitable for heavy people. Otherwise, you won’t ever get yourself in gear to lose the weight finally.

Losing weight isn’t something that is just healthy for your self esteem and your heart. If is healthy for your feet as well. Don’t you think that the soles of you feet, ankles, and knees are suffering due to all of the added weight you are carrying around with you if you happen to be obese. They definitely are. It’s something I feel definitely in my knees. They crack and pop quite often. It’s something I really don’t like, so I have begun to take my footwear a bit more seriously lately. It all began when I started reading about all these shoes that are recommended by Brian Bradshaw. Getting really great insoles is another thing that can really help. The stock insoles that are included with boots and shoes these days aren’t every going to compare to high quality pairs of orthotic inserts. Inserts only cost approximately $15. Of course, they will cot more if you have them custom made. Those cost more money. If your condition is especially bad, you will need to have insoles custom made for you. Both my husband and my self are able to get away with having orthotic inserts.

Why It Is So Important For Overweight Women And Men To Have Supportive Walking Shoes

sceneryFind the right walking shoes that have been designed for overweight runners, joggers and walkers is very important. If you aren’t serious about your footwear, your problems will just get worse. When you are overweight, you will more difficulties walking as you become older. That makes it more difficult for you to get in physical exercise, which in turn make it harder for you to lose weight. Get started as fast as you can.

Maybe you are fat and middle aged, and you haven’t done anything over the last few decades with your health. It’s still not too late for you. Maybe your knees have already started to go south on you. However, the human body has the ability to repair itself very well. I have taken supplements for supporting cartilage repair and following 6 months of using them, I can say definitely that they’re working. However, cartilage grows very slowly. You just need to be realistic about it. It takes a long time for the cartilage in your knees to show wear and tear. Building it up again will also take ages. So purchase yourself a pair of supportive waling shoe for individuals who overweight and start taking action.

It truly is amazing the capabilities that the human body has for repairing itself.

You ever see those Minibus Taxis Around the world?

Minibuses are used around the world, but did you know their most common international use is as a taxi? From the United States to Asia, minibuses can be seen transporting passengers to airports, schools, and day-to-day errands. Of course, each region has specific rules and licensing to ensure that taxis and for-hire minibuses are regulated for passenger safety.

Did you know that taxis are the most popular option for public transportation in South Africa? The taxi fleet there is over 90% minibus (an estimated 150,000 minibuses on the ground) and it is a huge regional industry. Because of this, taxi usage in South Africa is governed by strict traffic laws and usage requirements, in an effort to cut down on passenger and pedestrian accidents.

In other parts of Africa the minibus is also a popular form of transport, and will usually run on fixed-routes – similar to commercial buses in larger areas – but because they are typically owned by large companies, may be less passenger-accommodating than other forms of transit. Horror stories of waiting for days until a minibus is full and can depart are rare, but they do happen.

The UK Vehicle Hire is known worldwide for its taxi (or lorry) industry, and becoming a taxi driver there requires a substantial number of tests and permitting. Minibuses are becoming popular alternatives to the traditional black lorry, as they can carry more passengers and luggage.

If you have ever visited a Caribbean island or Mexico you’ve likely ridden in a minibus at least once. In places like Puerto Rico, “públicos” are more common than traditional taxis, and either operate on a for-hire basis, or run routes with passenger pick-ups along the way. At almost every airport in Mexico you will find minibus shuttles waiting to take passengers to stops on a specific route or available for hire.

Perhaps because of this influence, minibus “dollar vans” are an extremely popular transportation method in parts of New York – like Brooklyn – and Miami, areas with heavy Caribbean populations. While using these vans is significantly cheaper than a yellow cab and often faster than a city bus, thy can be a harrowing experience to drive in (or behind) on the New York City streets.

Minibuses are used as taxis around the world, and provide a great alternative to smaller transport types, allowing larger groups (or those who travel with lots of luggage) to travel comfortably and often times, cheaply. Of course, rules governing who can drive taxis and for-hire vehicles vary from place to place, so while New York dollar vans may be regulated, minibus taxis in another part of the US may not be. Always be sure that you are travelling in a licensed vehicle and that you can see the driver’s registration and/or required permitting.

Online Marketing to Build My Home Repair Business

I’ve been working on a fledgling Handyman/Home Repair business for many years, on and off.  Recently I’ve decided to start focusing more on building my business and actually making a decent living off of it.  I’ve started to look at online marketing (something I knew very little about a few months ago), as a legitimate way to build a business.

In part thanks to some very easy to understand guides to Global SEO like the pros I’ve been able to start focusing more precisely on building an online presence, and it has already paid off with a handful of referrals for new jobs.  So I figured I can make use of this newfound knowledge and also make use of this blog to let everyone know some of the tactics I’ve been using over the last couple of months…  So here we go:

Here are five of the most effective ways I use to get free traffic:

Professional SEO Tips #1: Networking

Online forums, social media (like Google+ local pages or Yelp pages), and other online communities are excellent places to begin networking. The best thing about these types of pages are that you get exactly the audience you want and you can fit the demographic that you need to market your product as efficiently as possible. Also, these options target a particular niche in your perspective market or demographic. The biggest benefit therefore, is that you’ll have all the resources you need to answer informed questions about your product. Use these specific niches to build a professional reputation to help you market your product. What you’ll notice is how quickly you become a person of trust and expertise- and you’ll begin to see huge dividends.

ESSENTIALLY: If you were to ask a business or economics teacher how to get ahead they tell you- networking. Proper networking gives you the advantage over someone that’s plugging in keywords and trying basic tactics. Gathering an audience and putting your product out there is a tried and true approach that’s worked for centuries.

Professional SEO Tips #2: Online Media

It’s important to also make use of all different forms of media. Expand your product base to a newsletter format and provide users with catalogs of products that are interesting and entertaining. With This approach, you’ll notice that more and more people will sign up for your informative and carefully marketed newsletters. This allows you to recommend your product to various other people prior to your networking. The more people who sign up, the more your traffic will increase with your revenue.

ESSENTIALLY: You have to have unique media- otherwise you’re just a cookie cutter of every other business out there. Taking the time to provide things for your potential clients to look at is just Good business.

Professional SEO tips #3: Trading Links

This marketing tactic boils down to executing communication channels between two sites’ webmasters who have reached an agreement. These links could be recipes, product suggestions, or even media sources who’ve written an article about your product or service. When links are exchanged, both sites gain the benefit because they begin to share traffic that goes to these sources- maximizing the potential web traffic for both parties with quality marketing tactics that exploit a similarly designed niche market- providing a function called link networking- but make sure that you’re asking permission.

ESSENTIALLY: Trading links with established sources like newspaper websites can skyrocket hits to your webpage. Even trading links with a friendly webmaster is beneficial, but don’t just add random links- these types of backlinks can hurt your SEO scores.

Professional SEO Tips #4: Informative, Frequently Updated Content

Every piece of information on your website (e.g. blogs, FAQ’s, your sitemaps) needs to have the ability to entice a particular demographics’ interest. If it doesn’t, you’re wasting your bandwidth even offering it. Focus on perfecting one particular topic, and redesign any sloppy webpages to be catchier. Throw in graphics, but don’t get sloppy and overdo it or confuse your customer. Work with empty space, balancing articles (with great information) with great service to your customers and you’ll find the steam, fuel, and popularity to get where you need to go.

ESSENTIALLY: You don’t have to be an expert to write good information for your business- and in all reality, nobody knows it better than you. Don’t just list keywords and try to strike it rich- any little hole that you find in Search Engine Mechanics is going to be updated eventually, because the goal of a search engine is to provide great information- which means that your ultimate goal is to do just that.

Professional SEO Tips #5: Free Submission and Posting

Many sites on the World Wide Web offer free submission of your pieces of work- in places like Warrior Forum and social media shares (using Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, for instance). If your stuff is interesting and factual- and it’s top quality, then they have a high probability of following the post to find out where it comes from. These opportunities are even better achieved by inserting a link and a description of your company and the article so that they know, without a doubt that it’s your product.

ESSENTIALLY: If you can put something out there about your site, do it. Some common ways that people promote their sites for free are on classified ads, submissions to various directories, and even inclusions in listings on webpages. Not all are gold mines, but some result in a huge amount of free traffic.

The Internet is a rapidly evolving place, and it’s getting harder and harder to find that definitive edge that you need to ensure your business’s success. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to build a truly popular, effective site- and it’s not something that you can just accomplish over time. Any micro-building you do on the side that doesn’t BUILD your overall presence is wasting your time. Get the results you need- by doing it right the first time.

For a more detailed look you can see this powerpoint presentation from slideshare, it goes into a lot more detail about what I’ve talked about above:

Tony Robbins and SEO: “Quality” VS “Quantity” from Joanna Vaiou

Living Under My Own Roof – Joys and Jeers of a Homeowner

Having recently spoke a bit various trials I’ve had with my home, whether it’s getting a new washing machine, or about my moving experience, I’ve been thinking a bit more about what it’s like to finally live under my own roof.  It’s a big thing for a guy like me, who has lived in apartments his whole life, to finally get his own house in order and be the owner of real property.  It doesn’t come without it’s trial and tribulations, however, and a in the few months that I’ve owned a house this has come up again and again.  It is stressful, expensive, and generally a pain in the neck, but anything worthwhile usually is.

I consider myself a pretty handy guy, as a DIY enthusiast, hobbyist and handyman I used to handle all types of issues and problems to help my various landlords, my parents, neighbors, etc.  While this makes a perfect sense for me to own my own home, the difference now is I don’t have any excuses.  All the problems in this house are my own, and if I don’t fix them, no one will.

Leaking Roof
I can’t fix a leaky roof on my own…

It also highlights the problems of expertise.  I don’t know how to fix a leaky roof, for example.  I’ve never had to do that when living in apartments.  So when it rains and I start to feel the dampness that comes with a leaky roof, I have to figure out how to do this.  Luckily my I’ve had some good experiences with contractors and roofers (I’ve had good experiences with http://max-roofing.org.uk/, so shout to them), and I’m hoping to keep it that way as the years go on.

Keeping Up – The Ongoing Fight

Another aspect of living in my own home is the fact that everything is essentially trying to destroy your home.  Whether it’s weather, time, weeds in the yard, paint chipping on the fence, concrete breaking on the sidewalk, the roof starting to leak, or whatever, there will always be something.  It’s an ongoing fight that needs to be kept up, or you will find yourself in one of those rundown homes you see on the side of the road.

This may sound like an exaggeration, but it’s not really.  Owning my own home has given me a lot of sympathy for people with no extra money to fix the leaky roof or get a new paint job.  All these things cost money, and without some extra cash flow things get deteriorate very quickly.  I’m lucky that, as a handyman, I can handle many of the small jobs, but a lot of the bigger ones are still out of my control and I need to call in the experts.

I’m sure I’ll have reason to publish plenty of future blog posts about all these different problems I’ll come across.  Do you have any stories of your home ownership that you want to share?  Let me know in the comments!  If I get enough feedback, maybe I’ll create a post about it!

Till next time folks…

Reminiscing on My Moving Experience

So I recently moved to a new house, and as anyone whose done this before can tell you, it is quite the pain.  Packing and shipping your entire life from one section of town to another is absolutely brutal.  Another aspect of moving that I’ve always thought interesting is how you realize how much stuff you actually have in your life.  Putting it into boxes (or having it put into boxes for you) is a crazy prism with which to view your belongings, and it seems to take up so much more space.

I decided to use a fastremoval company (I used this site here) instead of doing all the work on my own.  About 6 years ago I moved, and I swore then it would be the last time.  The back breaking labor and the tedious tasks was just too much, and I promised myself I would just pay a professional to do it.  Hell, that’s what the service industry is for right?

First the whole moving experience started with some tense conversations with my significant other.  She didn’t want to move, but I wanted to move, then she was OK with moving, but didn’t like the house we had picked out.  You know how it goes, standard couples fighting.  I didn’t take much of it to heart, but it still added stress to the whole situation.  Thankfully I had already sorted out the moving company so I was OK with that aspect of it.

Then it came time to actually pack up and move, this process always fills me with a bit of anxiety.  I don’t know exactly how to explain it, but picking up the roots of my life (and I lived in that home for almost 7 years) is disturbing in a way.  I have to realize that I’ll settle down sooner or later, but during the process its always a little strange, like a twilight zone or a limbo between one home and the next, it’s a little unnerving.

Then comes the time when I’m looking at all this stuff thinking to myself…

Do I really own all this stuff?

stuffI guess we’ve all been there, whether moving or rearranging the house, we notice that all those closets just spill out and all the crap we own get shown the light of day for maybe the first time ever.  It’s amazing isn’t it?  And what’s more amazing is that usually, after we’ve gone through every last thing and assigned it to it’s rightful place or box, we come to the realization that we do, in fact, need all that stuff.

Life is more than just stuff, but we wouldn’t know it seeing all the stuff we buy on a regular basis and the importance we seem to place on stuff.  Think about christmas, with all it’s religious connotations, essentially it comes down to buy stuff for kids.  All those presents will inevitably end up tucked away in a closet waiting to spill out during the next spring cleaning or moving day.

Will I Move Again?

Eventually this answer will be “No”, unless of course I’m going to an old age home.  The answer now is “Probably”.  I think I will move again, granted I’m still not 40 years old, there are probably plenty of places for me live.  I will, however, almost certainly continue to use a moving company.  Using a fastremoval service turned moving from a horrible experience into something I can write an existential blog post about.

Now that’s funny.

Till next time!




Picking a New Washing Machine

When it comes to choosing the right washer/dryer for your home, there are a few different considerations to keep in mind.  We’ve had years of experience with home improvements, appliances and remodeling, so we’ve taken that experience and put together a nice little article guiding you through the process.  We hope you find it useful!

1. Size of Your Laundry Room

The first consideration is where you will fit the damned thing.  No matter how well it washes clothes, dries clothes, and all the bells and whistles attached to it, if you can’t fit it through the door, it’s completely useless to you.  So take precise measurements of your doors/hallways, and the laundry room itself before making a purchase.

Washing machine sizes can vary widely in width, height and length, so make sure you choose one that is appropriate for your home and laundry room.

In addition to being an important consideration with moving the washing machine into the home, you need to have ample space in your laundry room for all your other essentials (folding clothes, storing detergents, etc).  This means that you will have to have ample room inside the laundry room, so keep that in mind when choosing a model of washing machine.  The dimensions are very important to consider.   (Remember that some washing machine/dryers are “stackable” meaning they can fit on top of one another, which can save you lots space should you need it.  Check out http://www.stackablewasheranddryer.org for dimension and pricing information).

2. Load Capacity

One principle we see a lot of people breaking is the load capacity of their washers and how often they wash clothes.  There is a bit of a ambivalence here, because on the one hand it is important to not overload your washing machine (as they break often and then require repair), but on the other hand you want to conserve water, electricity and gas by making sure you do loads to their full capacity.

The handy rule of thumb is to take the number of people in your household, and divide that by 2, and you have the number of loads you will need per week.  So if you have a family of 5, chances are you will need 2.5 full loads per week.  This can be different from family to family (i.e. if you go to the gym everyday you may be producing 2x as much dirty laundry so someone who doesn’t), so make sure you figure out the correct math for your home.

3. Energy Consumption/Gas Usage

Clothes dryers, for the most part, use gas energy to heat up the air inside them.  Some use only electric power, but those are usually the minority.  For the most part we want to use gas, since it’s much more cost effective then electric, but it requires a special hookup that most people don’t just have lying around (as opposed to electrical outlets, which are usually all over the place, gas connections are not).  This is an important consideration if you are setting up your first laundry room.  Gas lines need to be ported over to the laundry room, and if this cannot be done for whatever reason, you may want to consider getting a electric only dryer.

Electric bills, water bills and gas bills are another important consideration, and you will get the feel for how your laundry habits effect them.  Be careful and try to consolidate your loads to be the most efficient (i.e. only do full loads, not partial ones).  This will help you keep your energy consumption minimized.  Energystar.gov has some helpful information on this topic: http://www.energystar.gov/products/certified-products/detail/clothes-washers.

We hope this has been helpful, if you have any questions you can drop a comment or email us at admin@oct3.net.