Portland Water Main Break Causes Chaos http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319939/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:15:46 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319939/-1/blogs01   When you live in a city that's been around for a while, you get all the benefits of classic architecture, beautiful wide streets...and antiquated infrastructure. Portland, Oregon, like many cities in America, has plumbing and sewer systems that aren't quite up to date, and sometimes, they fail catastrophically. [...]]]> Your Fall/Winter Chimney Safety Guide http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319940/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:15:46 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319940/-1/blogs01   Whether you rely on wood, pellets, or coal for heat, or you just like a blazing fire now and then for the atmosphere, it's time to start thinking about chimney safety, because it's getting cold at night. Chimney fires tend to spike in early fall and winter when people are firing up their stoves for the first time after a few months of disuse, and they can quickly spread, [...]]]> Dad Teaches Kids How to Build Their Own Home http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319941/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 31 Oct 2013 17:15:44 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131031/BLOGS/310319941/-1/blogs01   Our parents teach us lots of things throughout life, including, we hope, some useful life skills. One father in Oregon decided to take that to what some might view as an extreme, and others might view as pretty amazing: he's teaching his sons how to build their own home, from the ground up. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131030/BLOGS/310309948/-1/blogs01   You think your own home renovation is fraught with challenges and unexpected expenses: imagine trying to do a reno on a tiger enclosure! The Phoenix Zoo is undertaking some ambitious new projects with help from supporters to renovate and expand existing animal enclosures as well as prepare for new arrivals.  Which Beehive Is Best? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131030/BLOGS/310309949/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 30 Oct 2013 17:16:36 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131030/BLOGS/310309949/-1/blogs01   We love bees! These spunky little insects serve a great dual purpose in the garden. For one thing, they're pollinators, ensuring that your fruits, veggies, flowers, and more get the pollen they need to succeed in your landscaping. For another, they produce delicious honey, with flavors that will change through the seasons depending on what they're eating.  Car Washing the Eco-Friendly Way http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131030/BLOGS/310309950/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 30 Oct 2013 17:16:35 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131030/BLOGS/310309950/-1/blogs01   This time of year, my car gets absolutely filthy. I live on the end of a long dirt road and after months without rain, even driving at five miles an hour kicks up a huge plume of dust that settles all over my bright red Toyota. Every once in a while I'll use the squeegee at the gas station to get rid of the worst of the buildup on my windows, but I've long left the body of my car [...]]]> Working Smoke Detectors Save Lives in Florida http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279994/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:15:43 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279994/-1/blogs01   Always remember to keep your smoke detectors in good working order (along with your fire extinguishers). It's a good lesson to keep in mind, but if you need an extra incentive, consider the story of a family of three and their dog in Palm Bay, Florida, just outside Orlando.  See full [...]]]> What's Your Centerpiece This Fall? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279995/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:15:42 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279995/-1/blogs01   This fall, lots of households are planning on entertaining family, friends, and colleagues. Now that you've finished your bathroom renovation and freshened up the paint to make the house look its best, it's time to get down to the details. You know, the decor.  See full article.]]> STARPATH Provides Efficient Ambient Lighting at Night http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279996/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 27 Oct 2013 11:15:40 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131027/BLOGS/310279996/-1/blogs01   On especially clear, moonless nights I can look up and see the Milky Way scattered across the sky, looking like diamonds someone has carelessly spilled across the heavens -- or like a trail leading to somewhere new and exciting, if only I could upend myself and walk on it.  See full [...]]]> Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131026/BLOGS/310269981/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 26 Oct 2013 17:15:35 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131026/BLOGS/310269981/-1/blogs01   Yet another story about a farm animal on the loose, this time from Philadelphia, where a pig dubbed "Kevin Bacon" evaded capture for seven weeks before authorities finally collared him. Evidently he enjoyed his freedom, though undoubtedly it came at a cost to Philadelphia landscaping, as pigs are notorious for making a mess in the garden. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131026/BLOGS/310269982/-1/blogs01   Up until a week ago, I've been cutting most of the tree parts on my biggish suburban lot with a Sawzall fitted with a pruning blade. This worked surprisingly well and, most importantly, I already owned the saw. But after some big storms over the past year, the large limbs and trunks have piled [...]]]> We Tested It: Eco-Friendly Cleaning: Cream Of Tartar http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131026/BLOGS/310269983/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 26 Oct 2013 17:15:34 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131026/BLOGS/310269983/-1/blogs01   Id been hearing this buzz in my hippie circles about making all kinds of awesome eco-friendly home cleaning products using cream of tartar. Cream of tartar? Before I could commit to cleaning with it, I wanted to know what this stuff even was. What is that weird white powder that hides in the back of every spice rack? Well. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131025/BLOGS/310259951/-1/blogs01   'tis the season...for haunted houses, that is, and they're popping up left and right across the nation. I got curious about who goes into the business, why, and what's involved, so I was tickled pink when I encountered this amazing interview with Archibald Ashdown and Jim Shackelford, who run "Legends: A Haunting at Old Town" in Orlando, Florida. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131025/BLOGS/310259952/-1/blogs01   Mustard. This small, humble seed is used in cuisines the world over, from the sharp spicy mustard served with dim sum to the rich, seedy variety applied to sandwiches. It's got pep and zest, comes in electric yellow and stoneground brown, and you might be surprised to learn that it's good for a whole lot more than sticking in your mouth. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131025/BLOGS/310259985/-1/blogs01   The hills are alive with color this time of year, so much so that some people are even taking road trips to check out the beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds. And they definitely do look gorgeous, but there's a downside, which anyone who owns a deciduous tree is already well aware of: what turns gold must fall down. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131024/BLOGS/310249949/-1/blogs01   Just thinking about bedbugs gives me the willies; writing articles about them is even more unpleasant, but I stick it out for the public good. I'm not the only one who lives in fear of bedbugs, though. Most people, quite rightly, avoid these creepy crawlies at all costs, and in regions like New York City where the bedbug population is exploding due to crowding, it's not [...]]]> Windows That Generate Electricity? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131024/BLOGS/310249950/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 24 Oct 2013 17:16:03 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131024/BLOGS/310249950/-1/blogs01   I can't be the only one who has not-so-secretly wondered, and dreamed, about the day when solar panels finally reach the pinnacle of design: a point when they are so efficient and so transparent that they can be used as windows, allowing an entire structure (or vehicle) to generate power for itself. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131024/BLOGS/310249951/-1/blogs01   Hydroponic gardening is already a well-established method of producing fruits and vegetables in controlled conditions for maximum flavor and efficiency, with growing adoption among landscapers. All over the world, hydroponics facilities are growing lettuce, strawberries, and more for eager consumers, but this farming production technique has another [...]]]> Eco-Friendly Mold Removal Tips http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239944/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:16:04 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239944/-1/blogs01   Few things are quite as unpleasant as uncovering a patch of mold. You might have found it while innocently moving furniture, or while trying to track down the origins of an unpleasant smell, or in the process of searching for your lost favorite coffee cup.  See full article.]]> Minneapolis Researchers Take Turbines Underwater http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239984/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:15:53 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239984/-1/blogs01   Watch out, Minneapolis electricians: you never know where your power might come from. Thanks to its location, surrounded by impressive bodies of water, the city has long been a site for researching fluid dynamics, dams, and alternative energy generation.  See full article.]]> Keeping the Home Lights Burning With Renewable Energy http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239985/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 23 Oct 2013 11:15:53 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131023/BLOGS/310239985/-1/blogs01   Skeptics of alternative energy raise some valid concerns when they look across an array of wind turbines or a glittering spread of solar panels: what happens when the wind stops blowing and the sun stops shining? If renewables are dependent on weather conditions, doesn't that mean they stop generating energy when the climate doesn't favor them, leaving customers without power? [...]]]> 6 Charming Uses for Old Windows http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131020/BLOGS/310209975/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 20 Oct 2013 17:20:13 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131020/BLOGS/310209975/-1/blogs01   Old windows are kind of captivating, in their own way. They can't be used in a house because their frames are too battered, the glass is single-paned, they're often the wrong size, or they might have other problems. But who wants to just throw them out? Think of how much they've seen, and how many people have seen through them. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131020/BLOGS/310209992/-1/blogs01   Every restaurant is always searching for the next hip new trend to help itself stand out, and more than a few take their inspiration from Taiwan and Japan, where some of the most truly bizarre novelty restaurants on Earth can be found. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised by the Magic Restroom Café, born of the Modern Toilet Restaurant chain in Taiwan, yet. [...]]]> Get Spooked at Historical Haunted Buildings http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131020/BLOGS/310209993/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 20 Oct 2013 11:20:21 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131020/BLOGS/310209993/-1/blogs01   There's nothing quite like a good haunted house, especially when you have a real storyteller giving you the scoop on the otherworldly residents of the place. Every Halloween, some of the best opportunities for touring and staying in haunted houses arise, including historic homes with fascinating architectural and cultural histories in their own right.  Toxins Stalk Miami Parks http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199978/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:20:30 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199978/-1/blogs01   In cities across the United States, toxins lurking in the backyards of residents and under the grass of public parks are an ongoing problem. This problem can be attributed to historically sloppy practices with pollutants, changing land uses, the presence of nearby industrial zones, and inadequate enviromental protections, and the end result spells bad news for people, [...]]]> Keep Ghouls Out This Halloween! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199979/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:20:29 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199979/-1/blogs01   At this time of year, it seems like every channel is running a horror movie marathon stretching deep into the wee hours of the morning, and it's enough to send you burrowing deeper into your bed in terror. But is that really what you should be doing? If you're going to stay safe from things that go bump in the night, you need to take a few protective measures -- think of it as [...]]]> 10 Uses for Paper Towels http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199980/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 19 Oct 2013 17:20:28 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131019/BLOGS/310199980/-1/blogs01   Paper towels are most commonly marketed to clean up spills, which is really not the best use of their talents. While these absorbent paper sheets can be great at cleaning up spills, it's much better to use a washable kitchen towel, rather than wasting a sheet of paper.  See full article.]]> Shaming Toll Scofflaws in Texas http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189945/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 18 Oct 2013 17:20:49 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189945/-1/blogs01   Texas has nearly 30,000 toll scofflaws with outstanding fees, and that accounts for a whole lot of money in a state that desperately needs funds for road maintenance (Houston concrete contractors need to get paid just like everyone else!) and other activities.  See full article.]]> You Can Build a House Out of Cardboard?! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189946/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 18 Oct 2013 17:20:49 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189946/-1/blogs01   We took a look at some cool uses for cardboard recently, but this may actually take the cake. Architect Shigeru Ban built an entire house out of cardboard tubes, putting new meaning to the idea of recycling cardboard. The house, situated on Yakushima Island in Japan, has a rather remarkable story behind it, but first, let's all take a moment to marvel at the idea of [...]]]> Making the Most of a Small Kitchen http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189947/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 18 Oct 2013 17:20:48 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131018/BLOGS/310189947/-1/blogs01   I have, like many people, a tiny kitchen. I would say microscopic, except that I've seen the kitchens in some of my friends' New York apartments, and by comparison, mine is palatial. This is definitely not the first small kitchen I've lived with, which is funny considering how much I love food and cooking -- and since I'm a renter, [...]]]> Spruce Beetle Outbreak Attributed to Climate Change http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131017/BLOGS/310179952/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 17 Oct 2013 17:16:05 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131017/BLOGS/310179952/-1/blogs01   Spruce beetles has been devastating coniferous forests of pine, fir, spruce, and related trees across the West, and the problem is only getting worse every year. Researchers in Colorado, one of the worst-affected regions, have taken a closer look at the issue to find out what's causing it -- and what they can do about it. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131017/BLOGS/310179953/-1/blogs01   Now that pumpkins are starting to adorn stoops and fun-size candy is filling store aisles, it's time for you to do a few things to put your garden to bed for the fall and winter -- while you may be producing some fall crops, other aspects of the garden need to be secured so they'll stay safe and cozy in cold weather. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131017/BLOGS/310179954/-1/blogs01   If you've spent any time on the freeways and highways of this country, you've probably seen a prefabricated home lumbering down the road with an "Oversized Load" sign. They're instantly recognizable once they're installed: ugly, squat, boring, and utterly uninspired.  See full article.]]> Restoring a Historic Texas Hotel http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131016/BLOGS/310169949/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 16 Oct 2013 17:16:24 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131016/BLOGS/310169949/-1/blogs01   Mineral Wells, Texas (just outside of Dallas-Fort Worth) was once a thriving destination for visitors interested in taking advantage of the city's natural hot springs. One of the hotels built to cater to exclusive guests was the beautiful Baker Hotel, a facility that towers over the city still even though inside, it's a gutted ruin. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131016/BLOGS/310169950/-1/blogs01   Over the weekend, the city of Venice tested its seven billion dollar flood protection system, known as the Moses project, for the first time. For centuries, Venice has been a center of art and culture in Italy, but it's also been a city at the mercy of the waters, thanks to its placement on the Mediterranean and the system of locks and canals that runs through it.  How Safe is Spray Foam Insulation? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131016/BLOGS/310169951/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 16 Oct 2013 17:16:22 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131016/BLOGS/310169951/-1/blogs01   Polyurethane foam insulation has attracted considerable attention in recent years as a green, affordable, and highly effective building material. This material is mixed on site and blown into (and onto) the walls, roof, and other supports of a structure to apply an even insulation surface and create a tight seal. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131013/BLOGS/310139989/-1/blogs01   There's something about butterflies that we seem to find captivating. Maybe it's their beauty, paired with their extreme delicacy; it seems amazing that creatures with such vivid colors and elegant, floating flight can be so fragile. Perhaps it's all the myths that have accompanied butterflies for centuries. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131013/BLOGS/310139990/-1/blogs01   Moving can be a stressful period in your life, especially if you're making a long-distance move. You need to pack everything up on one end and sell your house, prepare it for new tenants, or scour it to make sure you'll get your deposit back. Meanwhile, you're securing your new home, setting up utilities, getting organized, planning your moving day, and handling the endless [...]]]> 5 Interesting Compost Management Systems http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131013/BLOGS/310139991/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 13 Oct 2013 11:15:40 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131013/BLOGS/310139991/-1/blogs01   Compost: everybody's doing it, or they should be. Food waste is a major contributor to landfills, which is why some cities are starting to get aggressive about requiring composting, with their own municipal composting services. Some individuals are taking the initiative themselves to get their food waste out of the waste stream, especially if they also have their own [...]]]> Popular NYC Chinese Restaurant Closed for Mice http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131012/BLOGS/310129988/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 12 Oct 2013 11:16:08 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131012/BLOGS/310129988/-1/blogs01   One thing about New York City that's awesome is the helpful posting of inspection grades from the Department of Health in restaurant windows, allowing diners to quickly determine whether they're ready to take the plunge. Except that sometimes, those grades can plunge themselves, pretty radically. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131012/BLOGS/310129989/-1/blogs01   The days feel like they're getting shorter by the minute (which, technically, they are), and the garden seems to be backsliding into laziness; with the exception of some squash, most of the beds are empty and crops are living out the last of their days.  See full article.]]> 8 Treehouses to Envy http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131012/BLOGS/310129990/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 12 Oct 2013 11:16:06 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131012/BLOGS/310129990/-1/blogs01   Treehouses are pretty much the aspiration of every kid, and no wonder; there's something about them that makes them feel like a magic, private clubhouse. Many kids who grew up around trees had at least a few planks up in a tree somewhere to call their own, but what about the advanced players? These treehouses from around the world might just blow your mind -- and [...]]]> Flashy New Streetcars for Cincinnati http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119977/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 11 Oct 2013 11:16:18 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119977/-1/blogs01   The lovely city of Cincinnati is hard at work on a street car route that should alleviate congestion, allow more opportunities for using public transit, and pay homage to the past, thanks to the design of the new streetcars. While the design will be taking advantage of all the modern conveniences, it's got a bold splash of my favorite color -- orange -- as a nod to the [...]]]> When Old Wiring Is Dangerous, Not Quaint http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119978/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 11 Oct 2013 11:16:17 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119978/-1/blogs01   Buying, and living in, an older home can be totally charming. But along with the quaint comes the antiquated; the rooms that are a touch too small, the old plumbing that leaks and grumbles to itself, and aging electrical systems that simply aren't up to daily use.  See full article.]]> Can't Help But Lover This Cantilever Home http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119979/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 11 Oct 2013 11:16:17 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131011/BLOGS/310119979/-1/blogs01   I love cantilever houses. There's something about this style of construction that's just so transcendent, making part of a house soar above the ground and thrusting residents into the beauty of the surrounding environment. Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater (left) is, of course, a classic example of this style of architecture, and Wright's design beautifully integrated a [...]]]> Get Ready for Higher Heating Bills This Winter http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131010/BLOGS/310109952/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 10 Oct 2013 17:16:22 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131010/BLOGS/310109952/-1/blogs01   Use natural gas? Get ready to see your gas bills blow up this winter, as delivery prices for natural gas have been climbing steadily over the course of 2013. A combination of typical winter price elevations and fluctuations in supply have created a vicious double-header for natural gas customers, a particular concern in regions of the country, like Cleveland, where [...]]]> Linoleum: More Eco-Friendly Than You Might Think http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131010/BLOGS/310109953/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 10 Oct 2013 17:16:21 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131010/BLOGS/310109953/-1/blogs01   Quick: tell me what you think of when you hear the word "linoleum." Cheap, tacky-looking polyvinyl chloride (PVC) sheeting sprawled across your floors, right? With some ridiculous pattern designed to make it look like something else when we all know it's just another toxin-emitting substance making you, and your home, sick. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131010/BLOGS/310109954/-1/blogs01   One of my strongest memories of the East Coast during my time at college there is of everything turning gold, orange, and deep red in the fall as the trees and shrubs prepared to drop their leaves for winter. We get some of that color here in Northern California: the grape vines change with the seasons, and in the inland parts of the state flares of color light up the [...]]]> Chicago-Area Animal Shelter Destroyed in Bus Crash http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099945/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:15:40 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099945/-1/blogs01   A school bus crashed into an animal shelter in Niles, Illinois (just outside Chicago) last week, amazingly without injuring or killing anyone of any species. Unfortunately, the shelter building wasn't so lucky; after 10 years building up the no-kill facility, the staff now face the unenviable task of calling on Chicago remodeling firms to rebuild from the ground up. [...]]]> Is Your Home Making You Sick? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099946/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:15:38 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099946/-1/blogs01   Feeling a little under the weather lately? One potential source of your illness could be your own home, thanks to the smorgasbord of toxins that tend to lurk inside, causing issues like difficulty breathing and infertility. Maybe it's time for your house to get a thorough going-over to look and eliminate potential culprits so you can live more comfortably, and healthfully. [...]]]> Go Underground for Year-Round Gardening http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099947/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 09 Oct 2013 17:15:37 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131009/BLOGS/310099947/-1/blogs01   Winter is already nipping quickly at the heels of fall in some regions of the Northern Hemisphere, even when it seems like fall has barely begun. We can talk about winter-friendly crops (and we will, later this week), but there's another way to get through the winter: a greenhouse. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131006/BLOGS/310069965/-1/blogs01   Woah, a construction project actually completed ahead of time. Have we woken up in oppositeland? Or maybe it's just Baltimore.
Penn Station's $1 million bathroom remodel to comply with accessibility guidelines is complete, making the bathroom functional and more comfortable to use for disabled passengers moving through this major transit hub. 
http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131006/BLOGS/310069966/-1/blogs01   Wallpaper feels like it's going out of style in many corners of the world, but it's actually pretty great stuff -- as long as we're not talking horrible floral patterns from the 80s, that is! However, there's a wee problem: commercial wallpaper actually isn't that great for the environment, or for you.  [...]]]> How Will You Be Decorating Your Pumpkins? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131006/BLOGS/310069986/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 06 Oct 2013 11:20:28 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131006/BLOGS/310069986/-1/blogs01   By this time of year, those pumpkins you planted should be ripening up, and if you didn't plant any, you might be spotting a few in fields by the side of the road, or in giant containers at the grocery store. It's October, and that means squash time, but especially pumpkin time, because we're getting ready to celebrate Halloween, and I for one am ready with utility [...]]]> Rats Living it Up in Philly http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131005/BLOGS/310059972/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 05 Oct 2013 17:20:16 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131005/BLOGS/310059972/-1/blogs01   When you move into a high-end neighborhood, you have certain expectations. One of them is that it's relatively free of pests, because with the rent (or mortgage) you're paying, you'd think you'd get a little pest control. Not so for residents of Philadelphia's Rittenhouse Square, where rats are apparently running rampant in the park. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131005/BLOGS/310059973/-1/blogs01   The equinox has passed. It's officially fall here in the Northern Hemisphere, and while you might be making plans for Halloween, you should also be looking up to your roof. There are some things you may need to attend to before serious weather sets in, and you don't want to leave them waiting until the last minute. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131005/BLOGS/310059974/-1/blogs01   Cardboard is a ubiquitous packaging material, especially if, like me, you order a lot of things from the internet. You could let those cardboard boxes, supports, and more stack up until you head to the recycling place...or you could put them to use, getting a few more rounds of creative use out of them before you finally send them off into that good night.  60,000 Gallons of Petrochemicals Released in Colorado http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049941/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:20:19 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049941/-1/blogs01   Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is being used across the United States to extract deeply-locked petrochemicals from the ground, over protests from citizens and environmental organizations concerned about the practice. Colorado's recent horrific floods provided a stark illustration of these concerns; an estimated 60,000 gallons of petrochemicals were [...]]]> Using Concrete the Green Way http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049942/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:20:18 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049942/-1/blogs01   Visitors to Italy often take time to visit ancient Roman sites, and marvel at the fact that these structures continue to remain standing today. The extant infrastructure of the Romans is really quite amazing, including aqueducts, temples, public baths, and more.  See full article.]]> Small Bath? Don't Panic! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049943/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 04 Oct 2013 17:20:18 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131004/BLOGS/310049943/-1/blogs01   Small bathrooms are a common problem, especially in older homes, where apparently people were either microscopic, or didn't mind cramming in next to the tub to wash their hands at the sink. And they obviously had no beauty products, because there's never any storage.  See full article.]]> Atlanta's Barnyard Problem http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131003/BLOGS/310039955/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 03 Oct 2013 17:20:39 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131003/BLOGS/310039955/-1/blogs01   Remember Kevin the cow? (Who turned out to be Kevina when she was finally captured and safely relocated from her cozy highway-side home.) Well, it turns out that she was only one of many barnyard critters who apparently freely wander the metro Atlanta area, which makes for fantastic funny headlines, but a real headache for residents. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131003/BLOGS/310039956/-1/blogs01   Many gardeners have a strong wish that their gardening conditions were perfect: nice, rich, balanced soil on an even landscape, ample water supplies, just the right amount of sun, everything just ideal for anything they might want to plant. Unfortunately, real life often interferes with these dreams. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131003/BLOGS/310039957/-1/blogs01   One of my favorite places in Berkeley is Urban Ore, a giant salvage yard located just across the Bay from downtown San Francisco. I can't imagine anything further than the glamor and relentless newness of San Francisco; Urban Ore is all about old, dusty, funky things, and it seems like an odd place for a finicky person like me to spend so much time. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131002/BLOGS/310029932/-1/blogs01   First-time homeowners sometimes find themselves biting off more than they can chew, seduced by the magic of buying a home for the very first time and making it truly their own. Often, that means purchasing a fixer upper that isn't quite so easy to fix, and not being aware of all the restrictions on construction, landscaping, and other home improvement projects in [...]]]> Straight Talk on Meat and Dairy in the Compost http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131002/BLOGS/310029933/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 02 Oct 2013 17:20:43 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131002/BLOGS/310029933/-1/blogs01   Compost: in many ways, it's totally magical. You dump food waste, lawn clippings, paper, and other things into your compost pile, care for it, and it generates rich, dark, nutrient-laden soil that your garden will delight in. But there are a lot of questions surrounding compost, what you can put in it, and what you shouldn't toss in the compost bin.  Green Cleaning Tips for Cat Pee http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131002/BLOGS/310029934/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 02 Oct 2013 17:20:43 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20131002/BLOGS/310029934/-1/blogs01   I love my cats. What I don't love is their pee. When it's confined to the litterbox, that's great, but sometimes they miss, or they're not feeling well, and they don't quite make it to the box to begin with. And then I have a big, stinky mess to clean up, along with a confused cat who can't figure out why I'm going "blech!" I'm not ready to call in a cleaning service to [...]]]> Ever Wanted to See a Subway Being Built? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130929/BLOGS/309299985/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 29 Sep 2013 11:20:32 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130929/BLOGS/309299985/-1/blogs01   New York's subway system is already quite impressive, as I learned during a trip there earlier this year, and it's always expanding and improving to accommodate the city's growing population; unlike many US cities, New York is a place where you really can get along without a car.  See full [...]]]> Old-Fashioned Touches for Your Home http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130929/BLOGS/309299986/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 29 Sep 2013 11:20:32 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130929/BLOGS/309299986/-1/blogs01   Whether you live in a historic home that's been mutilated by "remodels," a modern home with a historic aesthetic that lacks many of the accents you might expect, or a new home that you want to give a more distinguished feel, there are some simple ways you can add an antique look and feel without breaking the bank. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130929/BLOGS/309299987/-1/blogs01   Anyone who read Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child probably remembers her sod house built on the banks of the creek. It was cold, dark, humid, and gloomy, thanks to the limited windows and poor aeration. Thankfully, underground building technologies have come a long way since Wilder (and the ancient architects who have been building underground for centuries), and [...]]]> Race Horse Tries Out for Roofing Job http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289968/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 28 Sep 2013 17:20:35 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289968/-1/blogs01   Race horses are notorious for being high-spirited, easily bored, and easily frustrated. Thoroughbreds have been carefully bred through the centuries for speed, grace, and power. Not patience and a fondness for down time, even in retirement.
So I'm not terribly surprised to hear that Must Win, a colt owned by Canadian residents Pat and Stephen Downey, got bored one day and [...]]]>
We Tested It: Homemade Daily Shower Spray http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289969/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 28 Sep 2013 17:20:34 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289969/-1/blogs01   My boyfriend has this contraption called an Automatic Shower Cleaner. Have you heard of this? Ive done some research and basically, its a magical device made by unicorns in The Land of Scrubbing and Rainbows.
It hangs there in his shower, looking all inconspicuous. 
See full article.]]> 9 Refreshing Uses for Hydrogen Peroxide http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289970/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 28 Sep 2013 17:20:34 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130928/BLOGS/309289970/-1/blogs01   Hydrogen peroxide. It's that weird-smelling stuff that comes in the brown bottle that your dad used to dab on your skinned knees when you were a kid. It was kind of cool to watch it bubble up, but OUCH did it sting. And you had to sit still because it was a 'disinfectant,' whatever that meant. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130927/BLOGS/309279927/-1/blogs01   For fruit farmers, the sight of birds in the fields doesn't evoke warm fuzzy feelings. Sparrows, starlings, and more can destroy a crop by eating indiscriminately as well as trashing vines and shrubs. Many farmers have explored a variety of techniques for controlling unwanted visitors, incuding firing specialized weapons to scare them, ringing bicycle bells, playing [...]]]> Your Guide to Green Lawn Care http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130927/BLOGS/309279928/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 27 Sep 2013 17:20:35 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130927/BLOGS/309279928/-1/blogs01   There's nothing quite like a sweep of emerald-green lawn, is there? It's a beautiful thing to see, but unfortunately, lawns are often laden with toxic chemicals: harsh chemical fertilizers; nasty herbicides to keep down weeds; and pesticides for creatures that can call a lawn home and ruin it in the process. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130927/BLOGS/309279929/-1/blogs01   When I hear the words "Epsom salt," I think of those containers I see in the store and how you're supposed to add Epsom salt to a bath when you have aching muscles. So I got curious when I saw our friends on Hometalk discussing a variety of uses for Epsom salt.  See full article.]]> Tragic Death Highlights Lack of Gym Regulations http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269945/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:20:27 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269945/-1/blogs01   Indoor rock climbing has become a major sport in the United States; a great way to work out, develop skills, and enjoy focused coaching in a safe, dedicated environment. But how safe is that environment, really? That's a question coming up more and more with injuries at rock climbing gyms, like that of Susan Lynn Mailloux, a gym regular who died after a fall at a gym in [...]]]> Tips for Making a Small House Work for You http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269946/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:20:26 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269946/-1/blogs01   Living in a small space can sometimes feel suffocating, especially if you like entertaining. It's one reason many people gravitate towards larger homes, even with the tiny house movement in the background pushing for more modest living arrangements. Truth be told, there is a happy middle ground in the huge versus tiny debate; you can live comfortably in a small space, [...]]]> Bulbs, Bulbs, Bulbs! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269947/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:20:26 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130926/BLOGS/309269947/-1/blogs01   Fall has officially begun, which means that one of my favorite times of the year is approaching. No, I'm not talking about the golden, warm, crisp days of early fall, although those are nice. I'm talking about bulb-planting time! I love bulbs with a passion, not least because so many are deer-resistant, and they're one of the few things I can plant with abandon (with [...]]]> A Reminder to Call Before You Dig! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259946/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 25 Sep 2013 17:20:34 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259946/-1/blogs01   We know how it goes. You've got a major project and you're excited about it, so you can't wait to bust out the shovels and get to it. That's applicable whether you're a homeowner getting started on a new deck or, you know, a Caltrain crew with a multimillion dollar contract.  See full article.]]> Using Color to Set the Mood in Your Home http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259947/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 25 Sep 2013 17:20:33 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259947/-1/blogs01   The use of color in a room can change it dramatically. Many people know that cool colors (like blues, purples, and greens) will make a room darker, more somber, and more calming, while warm colors (reds, oranges, yellows) will brighten up a room and make it seem more energetic.  See full article.]]> Recovering from Flooding? Watch Out in the Garden http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259948/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 25 Sep 2013 17:20:32 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130925/BLOGS/309259948/-1/blogs01   With terrible floods ongoing in several regions of the world at the moment, including in Colorado and Russia, pictures of partially-drowned homes and cars, soggy gardens, and flood refugees seem to be filling the news. Flooding can be awful for a community, requiring substantial funds for recovery as people hire cleaning services and remodeling companies to make their [...]]]> Fire Devours Humble Mansion Near Houston http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130922/BLOGS/309229972/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:05:22 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130922/BLOGS/309229972/-1/blogs01   I love it when a headline turns out to be a bit of a double entendre; in this case, you might be scratching your head at the thought of a humble mansion. Isn't that kind of a contradiction in terms? Mansions by definition are supposed to being imposing, glamorous, impressive, and, of course, massive. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130922/BLOGS/309229973/-1/blogs01   For years, people have been aspiring to the biggest house possible; the mark of success in the United States is, after all, a sprawling manse with multiple bedrooms and baths, a swath of bright green lawn, and a swingset in the backyard. It used to be that the more money you had, the bigger you bought or built, all the better to show off your accomplishments.  Budget Makeovers? Yes Please! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130922/BLOGS/309229974/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 22 Sep 2013 17:05:21 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130922/BLOGS/309229974/-1/blogs01   Remodeling always sounds like a major endeavor. You have to hire a contractor, deal with work crews in and out of the house for weeks, rearrange your life, and, oh yeah, write some really big checks. All your friends with houses are eager to tell you about their remodeling nightmares, which is enough to put you off the idea altogether, and the whole thing sounds like [...]]]> Bringing the Drive-In Movie Theater Back http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130921/BLOGS/309219973/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 21 Sep 2013 17:05:27 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130921/BLOGS/309219973/-1/blogs01   Drive-in movies are pretty much the greatest, and not just because they have such a fantastic nostalgic history. If you get bored with the programming, you can get out of the car and look up at the stars (or peer through your moon roof), you get to sit in comfort, you don't have to listen to other people talking, and, of course, you can pack a picnic and the movie [...]]]> Super-Cute Houseboats Double as Affordable Housing http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130921/BLOGS/309219974/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 21 Sep 2013 17:05:27 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130921/BLOGS/309219974/-1/blogs01   Every time I drive to San Francisco and pass the houseboats in Sausalito, I think that it might be fun to live on one of them (although my cats might disagree). There's something amazing about living so close to nature, gently bobbing with the movement of the bay, in a space that's designed to be space-efficient and energy efficient. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130921/BLOGS/309219975/-1/blogs01   Here's a strange story out of New York: residents of Gowanus are fighting the installation of a community garden on an empty lot in their neighborhood. They're claiming the garden (which is actually being relocated from a site slated for development) would attract rats and other pests, and they want no part of it in their clean, carefully maintained community.  Cutting Down Trees for Nature's Sake? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209945/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:05:48 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209945/-1/blogs01   In a bizarre set of circumstances, officials near Minneapolis are proposing the destruction of over 800 trees as part of a larger project to address pollution in Northwood Lake, Minnesota. The stand of trees involved includes a broad mixture of species that grow next to a small tributary, providing habitat to animals as well as enjoyment for the neighbors, who like watching [...]]]> Flip-Flop House Takes Bauhaus to the Beach http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209946/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:05:47 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209946/-1/blogs01   Bauhaus is definitely not for everyone. This classically austere, crisp, sharp design doesn't get everyone's architectural juices going, which is a pity, because when it's good, it's absolutely amazing, as demonstrated by Dan Brunn's Flip-Flop house in Venice Beach, California.  See full [...]]]> 14 Great Uses for Salt http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209947/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Fri, 20 Sep 2013 17:05:47 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130920/BLOGS/309209947/-1/blogs01   Salt is an extremely abundant mineral. You might think of it primarily as that thing on the dinner table you use to add some flavor to your food, and it's certainly useful for that, but the uses of salt extend far beyond that; there's a reason the Romans prized it so much that soldiers were paid in it. http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130919/BLOGS/309199940/-1/blogs01   One of the biggest groups of plastic litter's victims worldwide is marine life; nonbiodegradable materials often make their way to the ocean, where they entrap birds, clog the stomachs of fish and marine mammals, and kill scores of creatures. So it makes sense for San Diego's SeaWorld to be particularly concerned about the rise of marine litter, which is why it was a [...]]]> Seeing the Future Through Smart Windows http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130919/BLOGS/309199941/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 19 Sep 2013 17:05:28 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130919/BLOGS/309199941/-1/blogs01   A window is a window is a window, right? Sure, with a few small differences: you've got your single-paned and your double-paned, your windows with special films to keep out glare and your average windows. But all of that is about to change with the development of smart windows, which will revolutionize the way homes are built, and the way consumers interact with window [...]]]> Freshen Up Your Foyer! http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130919/BLOGS/309199942/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Thu, 19 Sep 2013 17:05:27 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130919/BLOGS/309199942/-1/blogs01   If you're anything like me, periodically you just get totally frustrated with your house and you wander around restlessly for several days rearranging furniture, marking up pages in home design catalogs, and wishing you could put your finger on what's bugging you.  See full article.]]> Floods Devastate Colorado http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189934/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:05:39 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189934/-1/blogs01   The death toll in Colorado's flooding continues to rise as over 1,000 people are unaccounted for and rescue teams are struggling to get out and help in rainy, dangerous conditions. The devastation of the flooding is exacerbated now by the soil saturation level, which leaves many communities primed for flash floods; if any more water shows up, the soil simply [...]]]> Cleaning Filthy Water With Bugs and Slime? http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189935/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:05:39 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189935/-1/blogs01   You know how they say it takes one to know one? Researchers in Australia took this to a new level recently with the development of a water filter based on bugs and slime that cleans contaminated water supplies. Before you shudder with disgust, consider nodding in admiration, because the technology isn't just innovative: it will improve quality of life for [...]]]> A Great Leap for Solar Power in California http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189936/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:05:38 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130918/BLOGS/309189936/-1/blogs01   John Upton at Grist has a report on two important bills in California that stand to substantially increase the market for solar energy in the state. The already forward-thinking state is adding to its environmental reputation substantially with this legislation, which will hopefully be picked up in other states interested in making it easier, and more efficient, for [...]]]> This Ain't Your Grandpa's Flatpack House http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130915/BLOGS/309159989/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:05:21 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130915/BLOGS/309159989/-1/blogs01   I've done my fair share of battle with IKEA furniture. I'm guessing you have too -- if not with IKEA, than with other flatpack brands. Incomprehensible directions, utterly confusing drawings, and finished products that don't always look quite like what you were expecting.  See full [...]]]> The Hanging Gardens of the Parkroyal Hotel Pickering http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130915/BLOGS/309159990/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sun, 15 Sep 2013 11:05:21 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130915/BLOGS/309159990/-1/blogs01   I want to go to Singapore just to stay in this hotel. The Parkroyal Hotel Pickering is not your average luxury hotel, although it has all the fittings you'd expect, including stunning views and an infinity pool. It also has one of the most amazing hotel landscaping features I've ever seen.  See [...]]]> We Tested It: Moka Coffee http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130914/BLOGS/309149982/-1/blogs01?rssfeed=true Sat, 14 Sep 2013 17:05:10 +0000 http://www.butlercountytimesgazette.com/article/20130914/BLOGS/309149982/-1/blogs01   As with many things food-related, the Italians are peerless in the art of making coffee. Just walk into any bar on any street in any town in Italy and ask for a caffé, and you'll know what I mean. The espresso you get will be made with a machine that costs about as much as a gently used Ferrari, so you can forget about replicating this brew at home.