Matthew Walsh's Blog
Start a community gardenIs there a lot or patch on land in your neighborhood that is going unused? A great project to start that can benefit the neighborhood is to create a community garden. Gardening with others is a rewarding activity. You'll be busy working so you won't have to worry about awkward silences, and you will all share in the great rewards of seeing your creation grow. Here's how to start:
- Get permission for using the land, unless you own it
- Pass out flyers and post on Facebook to the people in your neighborhood to let them know about it.
- Add on the flyer that it would be appreciated if people brought some tools and supplies along which you can also list on the flyer
- Have a "breaking soil" day when your neighborhood comes out to commence work in the garden
- Before long, word of mouth and curious passersby will make your garden a popular place to hang out in the neighborhood
Host an outdoor movie nightIt's easier than ever to screen a movie outside. All you need is a laptop, some decent speakers, a projector, and a white sheet to hang against a wall. Just like with the garden, pass out flyers. And, be sure to choose a kid-friendly movie that people can bring the family to.
Start a neighborhood book club and book swapBooks are great icebreakers. You won't have to worry about having nothing to talk about because you'll have all the material from the books to discuss. Once you get a few people in the neighborhood to join the club, you might think about creating a neighborhood book swap. Take an outdoor cabinet and put it on your front lawn with a sign says "Take a book, leave a book." Then get some of your neighbors to join in as well.
Spend time outside and go for neighborhood walksJust by spending more time in the front yard and taking nightly walks you'd be surprised at home many new members of your neighborhood you'll meet. Instead of hiding your benches in the backyard, put them in the front and remember to say "Hello!" to your neighbors when they pass by.
A garage door protects your vehicle from the elements of nature. It could keep your vehicle’s paint and body from getting dented during hard storms. If you have an attached garage, you could stay warm longer on cold days and nights, as you’d only have to walk a few feet from the comforts of your house to your vehicle.
To continue enjoying these benefits, you have to know what to look for in your garage door. You have to know how to spot issues like those highlighted below before they become too big for you to handle on your own.
Signs that your garage door needs some TLC
Binding – If your garage door is hard to open or close, you may have a binding problem. Other signs that the door is not binding properly include the door getting jammed, the door not fully closing or the door making loud noises when it is opened or closed. For example, your garage door might start to close then stop closing half an inch from the ground.
Cracks or holes in the garage door – Strong storms, rocks being thrown at your garage door or a vehicle, including a bicycle, ramming into your garage can create cracks and holes. You could have cracks or holes in the door if you see chipped paint or dents.
Uneven or imbalanced garage door – Your door should safely open and close with the automatic opener turned off. Test the door by turning the automatic opener off and raising and lowering the door. If the door raises but does not stay open, it could be off balance.
Pests – The main portion of your house isn’t the only place that pests enter and turn into a cozy dwelling. Pests could enter your house through your garage door. Check your door for nests and small openings.
Sensors – If garage door sensors are missing or become damaged, your automatic door opener may not work properly. This could cause the garage door to lower when someone presses the up lever, the very thing that could lead to a minor or major injury. If sensors are not functioning property or are missing,your garage door could also keep lowering after it has touched an object or the ground.
Dry rolls and tracks – When garage door rolls and tracks become dry,the door will not open and close efficiently. Signs that rolls and tracks are too dry include squeaking, squealing or clanging noises. Repairing this problem should be an easy fix. Simply lubricate the rolls and tracks.
Loose joiners – In addition to lubricating rolls and tracks, make sure that hinges are properly lubricated. Also, make sure that garage door bolts and screws are tight. Loose screws and bolts could cause the door to raise and lower slowly or off balance.
Generally, a few minutes a week is all it takes to check your garage door. More thorough inspections should be conducted annually. You can spot signs that there is a problem with your garage door quickly if you know what to look for. Keep your family safe by repairing the door or replacing parts as needed.
Why start a community garden?The benefits for having a community garden in your neighborhood are endless. First, it allows people to grow their own food--a rewarding process in itself. You'll learn about sewing seeds, caring for plants, and harvesting the vegetables. When it's all said and done, you'll save money as well, since it's much cheaper to grow your vegetables than to buy them from the grocery store. Gardens are also a great way to build a sense of community in your neighborhood. You'll meet new people, make new friends, and have something to be proud of together. Plus, talking about what you're planting is a great ice-breaker when it comes to meeting the neighbors for the first time. Aside from helping you and your neighbors, community gardens are also a modest way to help the environment. A garden means more food for bees, a refuge for local critters, and more plants producing oxygen. Plus, when you get your vegetables right from your garden you cut back on all of the resources used to wrap, pack, and ship vegetables across the country to grocery stores, reducing your carbon footprint in a small way. Excited yet? I hope so! Now that you know why to start a community garden you need to know how.
Steps to making a community garden
- Get the neighborhood together Invite your neighbors to a local cafe or library to talk about starting a garden. To build interest and awareness, start a Facebook group and post a few flyers in your neighborhood.
- Figure out the funding and logistics At this meeting, start talking about how the garden is going to be funded. Seeds, tools, fertilizer, and other expenses don't have to put a damper on your fun if you're prepared. The three main sources of funding for a community garden are finding sponsors, running neighborhood fundraisers, or having a membership fee for plots in the garden.
- Find a spot for your garden The best places to turn into gardens are plots of land that currently bring down the aesthetic of the neighborhood. Find an area that could be cleaned up and approach the owner of the land with the idea. You can offer them free membership or whatever other resources are available in exchange for being able to use the land.
- Throw a cleaning and a kick-off party To build the garden, invite everyone from the neighborhood over to the plot of land for pizza. Then once they're there stick a shovel in their hand (okay, maybe let them eat a slice or two first). Once the garden is ready to be planted, you can host another "kick-off party" so everyone can celebrate their hard work.
- Rules are made to be spoken Community gardens are a ton of fun. But to keep them that way you're going to need to decide on some ground rules for things like open hours, membership acceptance, tool usage, leadership, and so on. Post the rules on the Facebook, website, and at the garden itself so everyone can see them.
- Keep the momentum If you want your garden to last you'll need to do some work to keep everyone excited. Make a Facebook group, a website or whatever else you think will help people stay connected. Ideally, you want your messages to include everyone involved in the garden so that everyone feels involved.
103 Baker Rd W, Taunton, MA 02780
If you're in the market to buy your first home, you're probably experiencing a variety of emotions, ranging from excitement to trepidation. Owning your first home is a major accomplishment and lifestyle change, but it also brings with it a lot of responsibility. Not only will you have to make mortgage payments every month and pay property taxes on time, but you can no longer turn to your landlord when the furnace quits or your refrigerator dies. As former U.S. president Harry Truman once said, "The buck stops here."
Understanding Your Credit Rating
One thing you might want to become acquainted with before diving into a full-fledged house search is your credit report. Your credit score, as determined by the three major credit reporting companies, is a reflection of your ability and willingness to pay your bills on time. Banks and mortgage companies factor in this information when deciding whether to approve you for a loan. Your credit score also has an impact on the interest rate you're offered. Also called a "FICO" score, this scale ranges from a low of 300 points to a high of 800. The higher your score, the more desirable you're viewed as a potential loan customer.
If you'd like to find out where your credit score stands, you can get that information for free (once a year) from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Unlike lenders, they don't take into account factors like income and length of employment. The main things they look at are payment history, amounts owed, and length of credit history. If your credit cards are maxed out or you've been late with payments, then that will lower your credit score and make it more difficult to obtain the most favorable interest rates and loan terms. Fortunately, there are a number of commonsense measures you can take to improve your credit score. Side note: Errors may occasionally crop up in your credit report, so it pays to review them on an annual basis and dispute erroneous or outdated information.
Steering Clear of Other Pitfalls
While buying your first home can seem like an intimidating process, an experienced real estate agent can guide you and make the journey a lot easier. A licensed agent can help you get the process rolling, keep you on track, and resolve problems. There are plenty of situations in life where going it alone is a viable strategy, but buying your first home is not necessarily one of them. By working with a real estate agent, you'll avoid unnecessary frustration, stress, and costly mistakes. You'll also stand a greater chance of finding just the right home for your needs, desired lifestyle, and budget.