Archive for the Worth Repeating Category

Only 9 Beautiful Homesites Remaining in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Around Your Home, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on July 14, 2015 by Kevin Fox

DW Lot 395Another beautiful homesite has been sold – there are only 9 sites remaining in The Manors of Deerwood. There are walkout and daylight lots available, ranging from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres.

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston, and is close to shopping and entertainment.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Another Beautiful Homesite Sold – Only 10 Remaining for Sale in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Construction, Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on June 16, 2015 by Kevin Fox

Now, you can purchase a homesite in one of Clarkston’s most desirable neighborhoods – – – The Manors of Deerwood. There are walkout and daylight lots available, ranging from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres.

Manors of Deerwood Lot (New Home) | Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesThe Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston, and is close to shopping and entertainment.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Only 11 Beautiful Homesites Available for Sale in Clarkston, Michigan

Posted in Homeownership, Lifestyle, Manors of Deerwood, New Homes, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on October 9, 2014 by Kevin Fox

Deer on Manors of Deerwood Lot | Clarkston, MichiganThe Manors of Deerwood has always been one of Clarkston’s most desirable neighborhoods, with beautiful custom homes, rolling terrain and heavily treed homesites. Now, you can purchase a homesite and have your own builder construct your home.

  • Both walkout and daylight lots available
  • Large homesites from 0.6 acre to 2.1 acres
  • Clarkston Schools
  • Minutes from I-75 and the Village of Clarkston
  • Close to shopping and entertainment

The Manors of Deerwood is located approximately 2 miles north of the Village of Clarkston. The property was formerly farmland, but it is now nicely wooded. It is bordered of the East by Independence Oaks County Park and on the West by privately owned parcels. To the North are 30 acres of privately owned land, yet to be developed, and to the South are earlier phases of the Manors of Deerwood.

For more information on the homesites for sale, call Pat Hansen at 248-895-1115 or visit our website.

Beware of Potholes: They are back and they are bad

Posted in Construction, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Local News, Worth Repeating with tags , , on March 19, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Potholes have returned and hitting one with your car can do a number on tires, wheels, steering, suspension and alignment.

Pothole (Sinistar | morgueFile.com)

Photo credit: Sinistar | morgueFile.com

To help determine if hitting a pothole has damaged your vehicle, watch for the following warning signs provided by the Car Care Council:

  • Loss of control, swaying when making routine turns, bottoming-out on city streets or bouncing excessively on rough roads. These are indicators that the steering and suspension may have been damaged. The steering and suspension are key, safety-related systems. Together, they largely determine your car’s ride and handling. Key components are shocks and/or struts, the steering knuckle, ball joints, the steering rack/box, bearings, seals hub units and tie rod ends.
  • Pulling in one direction instead of maintaining a straight path, and uneven tire wear. These symptoms mean that there is an alignment problem. Proper wheel alignment is important for the lifespan of the tires and helps ensure safe handling.
  • Flat TireLow tire pressure, bulges or blisters on the sidewalls, or dents in the rim. These problems will be visible and should be checked out as soon as possible since tires are the critical connection between your car and the road in all sorts of driving conditions.

“Every driver knows what it feels like to hit a pothole. What they don’t know is if their vehicle has been damaged in the process. If you’ve hit a pothole, it’s worth having a professional technician check out the car and make the necessary repairs to ensure safety and reliability,” said Rich White, Executive Director, Car Care Council.

Potholes occur when water permeates the pavement, usually through a crack from wear and tear of traffic, and softens the soil beneath it, creating a depression in the surface of the street. Many potholes appear during winter and in spring months because of excessive rainfall and flooding. The deteriorating pavement is usually easy to spot since there are often chunks of pavement lying nearby. These chunks often pose a hazard as they can be sent flying if hit by passing vehicles.

Spring is on the way. The orange road repair trucks and orange cones should be a welcoming sight. A little patience is required here, but knowing that the menacing potholes will soon be filled is worth a few delays.

March is the Time for Making Maple Syrup

Posted in Dining with Pat, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on March 12, 2014 by Pat Hansen

Making maple syrup is a traditional right of spring, signaling the end of winter. Several species of maple trees grow in Michigan. Although all produce sap suitable for the production of maple syrup; two species, sugar maple and black maple are the source of sap for most commercial maple syrup production. Sap suitable for conversion into syrup may also be obtained from red and silver maples, although such sap usually has a lower sugar content.

**NOTE: The E. L. Johnson Nature Center in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
is hosting “A Day in the Sugarbush Maple Tapping
this Saturday, March 15, 2014.
Details are noted at the end of this article**

Necessary Equipment

Collection-PailMaple syrup can be produced with a minimum of equipment, but a few standard items increase the efficiency of the operation and the quality of the product, including:

  1. A drill with a 7/16 or 1/2 inch bit for drilling tap-holes in trees.
  2. A metal or plastic collection spout for each tap-hole.
  3. A collection container (bucket or plastic bag) or tubing line for each tap-hole.
  4. A large pan and a heat source for boiling down the sap. The size needed will depend on how much sap you intend to handle.
  5. A large-scale thermometer, calibrated at least 15 degrees above the boiling point of water.
  6. Wool, Orlon or other filters for filtering finished syrup while hot.
  7. Storage containers for the finished syrup.

Tapping the Tree

TapTo obtain the earliest runs of sap, tapping should be completed by the first week in March in Michigan. Minimal trunk diameter for trees suitable for tapping is 10 inches at 4 feet above the ground.

To tap a tree, select a spot on the trunk of the tree 2-4 feet above the ground in an area that appears to contain sound wood. At this point, drill a hole approximately 2-2.5 inches deep into the wood. Then insert a collection spout and tap lightly into the tree and attach a bucket or plastic bag or a tubing line to the spout. Open buckets used for sap collection should be covered to keep out rainwater, debris, insects and other foreign materials.

Collecting the Sap

Collecting-SapSap flow in maple trees will not occur every day throughout the tapping season. It occurs when a rapid warming trend in early morning follows a cool (below freezing) night.

To collect the sap from the tree, simply hang a bucket on the tap and watch the first few drips fall into the bucket. This should happen quickly, though there will be little drips that won’t amount to much at first. Place a lid over the bucket and let the sap continue to drip.

After a day or two, you can check to see just how far your sap collection has come. If you are satisfied with the progress, you can drain this bucket into a larger vat to take inside to start the syrup making process. Do not store the sap as it can spoil.

Turning Sap into Syrup

Syrup-KettleWhen you have a large quantity of sap, it’s time to cook it up to make the syrup. This is done by boiling the sap in a large pan on the stove as long as you have a vent fan and a dehumidifier on hand. When you boil sap, it can produce considerable moisture in the air. Professionals prefer to use outdoor gas ranges with large metal pans in order to avoid the moisture build up in their homes. There is also a hobby-sized evaporator available.

Boil the sap until it becomes thicker as the water boils off. You will need to continue to add sap to the pan, never letting the level get below 1-1/2 inches from the bottom of the pan.

As the sap is boiling, you need to skim off any foam that might be on the top. Using a candy thermometer, boil the sap until it is 7 degrees above the boiling temperature of 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Once you have reached this level, let the syrup completely cool. The sugar sand and other matter will settle to the bottom, allowing you to pour off the good syrup into a glass bottle. Let it cool and you are ready to serve homemade maple syrup.

If you plan to can the syrup, make sure to can the syrup at 180 degrees Fahrenheit and pour into sterilized glass containers to prevent spoilage and contamination by bacteria.

Sugar-ShackIf you feel that making your own maple syrup is a task too daunting to undertake, you can visit the Bloomfield Hills’ E. L. Johnson Nature Center this Saturday, March 15, 2014 and participate in tapping the trees, collecting the sap and visiting the sugar shack to watch the boiling process that produces pure maple syrup. Then, you can visit the log home for a taste of nature’s sweetener!

For a guided tour, meet at the Visitor Center:

  • Tours are from noon to 4:00 pm.
  • Tours are scheduled every 20 minutes and last approximately one hour.
  • Pre-registration is suggested to reserve a specific time: click here for details

E. L. Johnson Nature Center is located at 3325 Franklin Road, Bloomfield Hills, MI; phone: 248-341-6485; website: http://naturecenter.bloomfield.org/

Selling Your Home? Consider an Inspection First.

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, New Homes, Sell your Home, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , , on February 5, 2014 by Pat Hansen

If you plan to sell your home soon, it may be wise to get a home inspection before you list your home. You can speed things along by getting a home inspection and analyzing the condition of your home and making necessary repairs before the house is under contract.

Whole home inspections cover numerous systems within the house, but there are some hot spots that seem to worry buyers the most:

Roofs and Chimneys

  • Decaying ShinglesDeteriorated shingles or other roof coverings are one of the first things home buyers and inspectors notice. If the elements underneath the shingles are moist or rotted, you can bet repairs will be requested.
  • Make sure flashing around the base of the chimney is watertight, and that mortar and bricks are in good condition.

Radon

  • Radon may or may not be part of a home inspection, but it is a good idea to ask for a radon test since radon has been linked to lung cancer. If an unacceptable level is found, then a radon mitigation system will be required. There are recommended companies that do radon mitigation and they can be found by contacting the MDEQ (Michigan Department of Environmental Quality).

Mold and Mildew

  • Mildew stains and odors scare buyers, especially since toxic black mold is such a hot topic. Chances are you won’t even get an acceptable offer if mold and mildew are present. Even if the mold is the normal variety, get rid of it and fix the source of the problem.

Plumbing ProblemsShower Inspection

  • Fix leaks long before the home inspection takes place. The inspector will check water pressure by turning on multiple faucets and flushing toilets at the same time. The inspector will also run the dishwasher.

Damp Basements and Crawlspaces

  • Mildew odors signal that a basement is too moist. Buyers and home inspectors will look closely at the walls and floors for patches of mildew and signs of dampness. The inspector might use a meter to determine how much moisture is present in these spaces because moisture deteriorates building materials and attracts insects.
  • Cover exposed earth in basements and crawl spaces with plastic to help keep moisture levels down.
  • Most foundation leaks are a result of poor drainage that funnels water towards the foundation.
  • Make sure gutters are clean so that rainwater flows toward downspouts instead of spilling over gutter sides along the foundation.
  • Point drainage downspouts away from the house.
  • Check water flow through buried drainage lines by flooding them with water from a hose. If water comes back towards you, the line is plugged and should be cleared.
  • If foundation problems do exist and you cannot make repairs, you might need to lower the price of the house upfront, with the understanding that the price reflects the problem. Another option is to give the buyers an allowance to make the repairs after closing.

Inadequate Interior Electrical Systems

  • Electrical PanelThe electrical panel and circuit breaker configuration should be adequate for the needs of the house.
  • The inspector will look for receptacles with ground fault interrupters (GFI) in bathrooms and kitchens. These receptacles contain mini circuit breakers that click off during a short circuit or overload. The inspector will make sure the receptacles are what they appear to be, and not “dummies” that are not wired correctly.
  • The inspector will test a portion of the remaining receptacles in the house.

Other Important Home Inspection Checks

Furnace inspectionHeating and cooling

  • The home inspector will check the heating and cooling systems, making sure they work and will comment on their efficiency.

Structure and Foundation

  • The inspector will take a close look at the structure and foundation.

Appliances and Smoke Detectors

  • The inspector will check the appliances that will remain with the house, including running the dishwasher and testing smoke detectors.

Before the Home Inspection

  • Sample Inspection ReportDo everything you can to get the house in good condition before you attempt to sell it, but don’t be discouraged if the inspection report contains a few negative comments. Home inspectors make a note of everything they see. They can identify problems in the making and suggest preventative measures that might help avoid costly repairs in the future.
  • Home inspections usually take 2-3 hours, or more in some instances. Costs vary from $250 to as much as $500. Home inspectors are not required to be licensed in most states; however, many are certified by ASHI (American Society of Home Inspectors).

Make Your Home Feel Good with Color Psychology

Posted in Around Your Home, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , , on January 22, 2014 by Pat Hansen

SunroomHome décor is often viewed as a matter of aesthetics or what looks attractive.

Proponents of color psychology believe that the colors you use to decorate your home can have a profound effect on the emotional well-being of you and your family.

If you like the idea of using color to create an emotionally healthy home, color consultants say you should first consider the primary function of each room. Although it can’t be proven scientifically, color consultants say some hues work better than others at encouraging certain activities.

Gathering Room (Fairfield New Home), Clarkston, Michigan | Robert R. Jones HomesLiving Room and foyer paint colors: Warm tones like reds, yellows and earth tones like brown and beige work well in both the living room and foyer, because they are thought to stimulate conversation.

Kitchen paint colors: Color consultants say that if you have fond memories of spending time in the kitchen when you were a kid, it might make sense to create same color scheme in your grown-up kitchen.

Kitchen, Nook, Great Room (Lot 389 | Manors of Deerwood)If there is no particular paint scheme you remember fondly, reds and yellows can be great colors in the kitchen as well as in the living room and foyer. If you are watching your weight, however, you might want to keep red out of the kitchen. The restaurant industry has long recognized the appetite-stimulating power of red décor.

Dining RoomDining room paint colors: Because it is stimulating, red décor can be great for a formal dining room. In addition to encouraging conversation, it whets the appetites of your guests.

Bedroom paint colors: BedroomThe bedroom is where you go to relax. Cool colors like blues, greens and lavenders can be great choices here because they have a calming effect. The darker the hue, the more pronounced the effect is believed to be. Reds tend to increase blood pressure and heart rate; blue does just the opposite.

Bathroom paint colors: Whites and warm colors Bathroomhave always been popular choices for bathrooms, in large part because they connote cleanliness and purity. Today, the master bathroom is also used as a private retreat for relaxation and rejuvenation. Many people feel comfortable with blues, greens and turquoises because these colors give a sense of being clean, fresh and calm.

Home office paint colors: Productivity is the Home Officename of the game here. The faster you complete work-related tasks, the more time you’ll have to spend enjoying family and friends. Color consultants agree that green can be a great choice here. Green is the color of concentration; it’s one of the best colors to be surrounded by for long periods.

If you are thinking about selling your home, you may want to consider making your home more appealing to buyers by repainting the living room, dining room, kitchen, master bedroom and bath with a warm, neutral color. Staging consultants will usually recommend this, especially, if you currently have white walls.

Decorating with Boughs of Holly

Posted in Around Your Home, Holidays, Worth Repeating with tags , , , , on December 20, 2013 by Pat Hansen

For centuries, Europeans have decorated their homes and churches with greenery at Christmas. The tradition predates the Christian era. Pagan societies like the Romans, the Celts and the Norse observed Midwinter, the shortest day of the year, by decorating with cuttings of holly, ivy, bay, fir, rosemary, laurel, boxwood, mistletoe – any plant that remained green when woodlands and fields turned brown and bare. Holly, with its bright red berries and shiny green leaves, was perhaps the favorite ornamental.

Holly (kfjmiller | morgueFile)

(Photo credit: kfjmiller | morgueFile.com)

For the Romans, holly was sacred to Saturn, the god of agriculture, whose late December holiday, Saturnalia, provided the occasion for a week of raucous revelry. The Druids believed holly repelled evil spirits and protected people from witches and mad dogs – a superstition that persisted throughout the medieval period and caused many to keep holly in their homes or wear it on their clothing as a charm against witchcraft.

Early Christian leaders tried without success to stamp out these pagan rituals and decorating customs. The more pragmatic among the clergy decided to convert the holly tree to Christianity by attributing Christian symbolism to its prickly leaves, or the crown of thorns, while its crimson berries became the drops of blood on Christ’s brow. Its capacity to remain green all year long became a metaphor for eternal life after death.

Holly is decorative in another way—its wood is hard, close grained and when the tree is cut during winter, almost white. These features make it ideal for furniture makers to use for inlay. The wood is also good for making musical instruments and piano keys. American holly, plentiful along the Eastern Seaboard, can grow as tall as forty or fifty feet, but few have trunks thick enough to yield more than small pieces of wood. Of 300 species of holly, about fifteen are native to North America. The most common of these is known as American holly. Its berries are poisonous; only the females have berries.

Holly Plant  (hotblack | morgueFile.com)

(Photo credit: hotblack | morgueFile.com)

Ever since Christmas carols began in the fifteenth century, holly has figured prominently in their lyrics. The ever-popular “Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly” has been sung since the Renaissance. In old England, more than the halls were decked with holly boughs. In some towns, so were the streets. A half-century before Columbus brought news of a new world across the sea, Englishmen were erecting upright timbers in the streets and adorning them with boughs of greens. For most Englishmen and most who immigrated to the colonies, Christmas decorations meant indoor greenery.

Though no written sources describing colonial Virginia Christmas decorations have been discovered, historians have concluded that the usual English traditions continued in the colonies. Virginians considered themselves English in every sense of the word—clinging to Old World traditions while trying just as hard to keep up with the latest London fashions.

English prints of the eighteenth century picture holly arranged in pretty vases, stuffed into crude pots or stuck between the wooden muntins and the windowpanes. Decorating impulses did not stop with houses and churches; taverns and eating places had their share of greenery as well.

By the 1800s, holly was known as the “Prince of Evergreens”. It was everywhere—its prickly sprigs were wedged behind picture frames and clocks, twisted around the chains of chandeliers, arranged in vases, fastened to the tops of draperies and even stuck into holiday dishes as a garnish. Some of Virginia’s earliest Christmas trees were holly.

Not until the early twentieth century did magazines and decorating guides begin to encourage women to adorn the outside of the house as well as the inside with wreaths of holly or other evergreen. The days before Christmas were spent cutting cedar pine boughs and holly for decoration. All the windows had holly wreaths and Christmas gifts were wrapped in holly patterned papers tied with red ribbons.

WreathHolly wreaths were among the earliest Christmas decorations used at Colonial Williamsburg. When the restoration project funded by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. opened to the public in 1934, there were no decorations at all on the exhibition buildings at Christmas. No one had anticipated guests during the holidays. When guests did come, and they came in great numbers, the subject of appropriate Christmas decorations was raised. The next Christmas, plain wreaths made of holly and other native evergreens were hung on the doors of some buildings, followed the year after by the fruit-bedecked versions that have epitomized the Williamsburg Christmas ever since.

The Secret to a Juicy Turkey

Posted in Dining with Pat, I Wish I'd Thought About That, Lifestyle, Worth Repeating with tags , , , on November 25, 2013 by Pat Hansen

Brining . . . Professional chefs and food experts alike will recommend brining a turkey. Brining makes it moist. Why are brined turkeys so juicy? Salt causes the meat tissues to absorb water and flavorings. It also breaks down the proteins, resulting in a tender turkey. Despite the moisture loss during roasting and the long cooking time, you end up with a juicy bird.

Making the brine . . . The real trick with brining is finding a container that is large enough to submerge the turkey, yet small enough to fit in your refrigerator. Try a stock pot or a large roasting pan. If you use a shallow roasting pan, you need to turn the bird periodically so that each side rests in the brine. Place the container on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator so spills won’t reach foods below.

Alternatively, pick up a 5 gallon pail with lid from your local home improvement center. Put the brine and turkey in your basement or garage if your refrigerator is too small. A third idea would be to use a cooler.

Brine IngredientsThe basic ratio for turkey brine is one cup of kosher salt to two gallons of water. Some recipes include sweeteners (1/2 cup brown sugar) or acidic ingredients to balance the saltiness. For extra flavor add the following aromatics: 1 onion, 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery, all rough chopped.

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add salt, aromatics and brown sugar (if using). Let cool for about an hour. Add remaining water (1 gallon plus 5 cups) in the form of ice cubes. This will cool the brine quickly.
  • Remove giblets and neck from turkey.
  • Immerse turkey in brine and refrigerate for at least eight hours, but no longer than 24 hours. Add ice as needed to keep the temperature cool if you are not putting your turkey/brine in the refrigerator. Make sure you keep the brine temperature below 40° F.

Cooking the turkey

  • When you are ready to roast, pour off the brine. Rinse the turkey well with cool tap water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Tuck the wing tips behind the back and place the bird, breast side up, on a roasting rack.
  • Proceed with your preferred recipe, but remember that the turkey has already absorbed a certain amount of salt and any drippings that you use for gravy will already be salty, and no salt should be added to butter or spice rubs.
  • If you are stuffing your turkey, rinse the cavity well. Some pros recommend cooking the dressing or stuffing separately; others say, leave out the salt when preparing the dressing. I added cranberries to the dressing before stuffing the bird and it was fine.

The extra time and effort it takes to brine the bird is well-worth it . . . the result is a delicious, juicy bird.

Now Is The Time To Order That Fresh Turkey

Posted in Dining with Pat, Holidays, Local News, Worth Repeating with tags , , on November 13, 2013 by Pat Hansen

If you are thinking about a fresh turkey for Thanksgiving, now is the time to order. Roperti’s Turkey Farm is one of a few turkey farms still operating. It has been family owned and operated for over 40 years. Currently, the 2nd and 3rd generations are operating their farm in Livonia, Michigan. Unlike Amish farmers who sell their turkeys to stores, Ropertis only sells the turkeys at their farm.

Turkey (Scott Bauer | ars.usda.gov)

Large white turkey
(Photo credit: Scott Bauer | ars.usda.gov)

The five acre farm operates much as it did 40 years ago with the exception of growing its own corn, wheat and oats. Today, the family purchases the grain it feeds its large Wilford White turkeys. Wilford turkeys are a large breed of turkeys that are very breasty and meaty. They get the turkeys from their grower in Zeeland when they are 8 to 9 weeks old and weigh about 2 pounds. The turkeys are picked up around the last week in August and are available for sale from October 1st through December 23rd.

The secret to good tasting turkeys is the right diet. In fact, the company motto distributed in neighborhoods in Oakland and Wayne counties, tells customers the importance of what a turkey is fed. “Remember, fresh is not the secret. The secret is what they’ve been fed.” Their turkeys are fed corn, wheat and oats, mixed with a high-protein mash, from the time they arrive until the last two weeks before they are killed, when they are fed nothing but corn.

But there is something else . . . they are uncaged and free to roam the 5 acres, enjoying the sunflowers that are grown for natural shade. They aren’t under stress from crowding or caging. Today, we call it “free range” and “organic” but that was how all responsible farmers cared for their livestock 50 years ago.

More about Roperti turkeys:

  • They cook faster than regular processed turkeys because there are no preservatives or chemicals in their system.
  • They are fresh dressed, just 24 hours before you pick them up.
  • Guaranteed to be juicy and tasty – first time customers always tell the Ropertis that they never knew turkey could be so good.

The busiest time of the year for the Ropertis is the four-day period immediately before Thanksgiving, when about 4,000 of the turkeys are killed and dressed by the family and a seasonal staff of 35 employees who set up a production line.

Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving Feast

Besides getting turkey ready for the roaster or deep fryer, the family also sells turkey, smoked for 12 hours, right on the premises, using apple and cherry wood with a little wet hickory thrown on top.

Ironically, when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner the Roperti family takes a pass on turkey. As Christine Roperti, the owner says, “My family has seen too many turkeys at that point and would hang me up like a dead turkey if I put a turkey on the table.” “For Thanksgiving, we have filet mignon, lobster and stone crabs and key lime pie my niece sends up here every year from Florida. She sends us the stone crabs and key lime pie in exchange for a turkey, of course.”

Location:  34700 Five Mile Road, Livonia, MI; 734-464-6546
Between Farmington & Levan, on the north side of Five Mile Road

Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., daily and weekends

Price: $3.39/per lb for Tom or Hen

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