Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

Holiday Safety Tips for Pet Owners

The holidays are a fun time and pets might even enjoy some aspects of the season. They most likely love the extra attention, new toys, and dropped food. There are some extra risks during this time of year, however, and pet owners need to be aware of holiday-related dangers.

Keep food out of reach

Many types of “people food” can be toxic to dogs. Some are outright poisonous, including chocolate and macadamia nuts. Very fatty foods, common during the holidays, can lead to pancreatitis when large quantities are consumed. Sugar isn’t going to harm a pet in small amounts but that doesn’t mean you should share the holiday cookies. While raw bones can make decent treats, always avoid feeding cooked bones. Cooked bones, especially from poultry, can crack and splinter. This can lead to dangerous blockages.

Watch cords

Decorating for the holidays is fun but often involves lots of lights and electronics. This results in more cords throughout the home. If you have a puppy or another pet that tends to chew (house rabbits are common culprits), keep wires out of reach. Consider getting cord protectors from a home supplies store. Pet stores may also carry them, but often at a higher price. The best ones are made from tough, durable materials. Avoid the rubbery types with built-in repellents. These repellents, often bitter or citrus-flavored, are rarely enough to keep curious puppies away.

Secure decorations

Cats and dogs (plus the occasional house rabbit) tend to be curious about Christmas trees, wreaths, and other decorations. Block the tree off with a baby gate or other barrier, especially if you’ll be out of the house. A pet could knock the tree over, causing injuries, or attempt to eat decorations. This can be especially dangerous with tinsel or popcorn strings. Both entice pets but can be life-threatening when consumed.

Inform guests

Pets are more likely to escape during holidays and guests are a common cause. People who aren’t used to having animals around may inadvertently let a cat out or leave a door open. Guests may also try to share food with pets or accidentally leave a plate in a pet-accessible area. Don’t worry about being too harsh, it’s better to have informed guests and a safe pet.

The holidays can be especially fun when pets are included–many owners buy their pets gifts or give them extra attention during holiday breaks. There are some unique risks and challenges, however, and prevention can go a long way. Pet owners need to be aware of holiday-specific hazards before celebrations begin.

REALTORS® Rock!

REALTORS® Rock!

Have you ever thought about being a Real Estate Agent?   Wonder what it would be like to drive around in a fancy car looking at houses?   Ever think about all the money you could make…thousands and thousands of dollars a couple times a week…just for selling a house.  Sounds like a dream job! Whoa!  Reality check time.  Realtors® are a hard-working group of people.   Whether buying of selling, their job is to ensure the process is as easy and hassle free for you as possible.  

Shopfredericton asked Realtor® Amanda Wade why it is important to have a Realtor®.  “The importance of having a Realtor when buying or selling is immense.  A Realtor brings education and experience that has been gained by years of working in the field.  Knowledge of neighbourhoods, demographics and comparable sales.  We guide on price and offer strong negotiating skills.  Often times, buyers and sellers will get emotionally involved and we are there to support and maintain the best outcome.  We offer our professional network involving the best people providing a variety of services necessary to facilitate the sale.”

In order to do their job and do it well, a Realtor® must be a member in good standing with The Canadian Real Estate Association, they must be committed to the Realtor® Code – which is the buyer or seller’s guarantee of professionalism along with quality service.  To be successful, a Realtor® needs to keep up to date about the “goings on” in various communities – pricing, development, housing trends and the market conditions.  That’s not all!  Realtors® are committed to on-going education through courses and workshops to keep current with changes to real estate.

But Realtors® don’t only sell houses.  They are active members of our community…working to make our communities better.  Jason Munn is a prime example of this.  We recently caught up with Jason to find out more about his new initiative “It’s OK to be AWSOME” and this is what he told us… “It’s OK to be Awesome is a new and innovative mental wellness program that coaches young people to create empowering beliefs about themselves. It’s been proven to help youth develop their confidence and recognize their worth, which leads to empowered choices!

I was approached by the founders, Rebecca and Anne who explained that having a sponsor such as myself helps to fund this what I believe to be a very worthwhile cause. When I first learned of this program, I thought, yes, I love it and it is my chance to give back to the community. If it wasn’t for the support of the community, I wouldn’t be in business! Every child deserves to know their self worth and the It’s OK to be awesome program does that.”

Another Realtor® working hard in our community is Wendy Hallihan.  Wendy is a driving force and fierce protector of animals.  She supports the Oromocto and Fredericton SPCA, the Carleton County Animal Society and Dun Roamin’ Stray and Rescue.  For the pat 6 years, Wendy has been raising funds to help support these animal shelters.  She tells us she “loves animals and loves to help them”.  She and a group of animal advocates have worked hard to provide a “voice” for injured and abused animals.  Wendy and the other stakeholders are responsible for the passing of the anti-tethering law.  They have been advocates in court cases because they are the only voice the animals have.  

Wendy and Jason are just two of many Realtors® who volunteer their time and resources to make our communities better. So, if you’re looking to buy or sell, contact a Realtor®. Your prospective home may look pretty, when in actuality it is falling down.  Think of your Realtor® as the foundation of your transaction!

ATVing in New Brunswick

ATVing in New Brunswick

ATVs (All Terrain Vehicles) come in all shapes, sizes and prices…from a kiddie’s wheeler to a quad wheeler with all the bells and whistles – there’s something for anyone who is looking to get involved in this fast-growing pastime.

It used to be a wheeler was transportation to get around a farm to check livestock and fences, or a way to get to the camp for a weekend of fishing or hunting, but with miles of groomed trails and a wheeler, it is quickly becoming a popular sport for many people.   Today, enthusiasts take to the trails for numerous reasons…some may want the adrenalin rush of the “power sport” while others are getting back in touch with the great outdoors.

The province’s intricate groomed trail system has made “wheeling” a sport which attracts, not only New Brunswickers, but is drawing neighbors from other provinces and the United States. 

Roger Daigle, President of the NB ATV Federation tells us “Our trail system is different from one end of the province to the other. We have anything any ATV rider is looking for, from some very challenging trails for experienced riders to some very family-oriented trails that will take you on a pleasant ride with lots of beautiful scenery along brooks, streams, beaver ponds, lakes and rivers.” 

Presently, there are approximately 12,000 kilometers of trails in the province, some are managed, and some are still being worked on.  Of the 12,000 kilometers, there is about 6000 kilometers that are also groomed winter trails.

Our trail system is different from one end of the province to the other.

We have anything any ATV rider is looking for.

The popularity of the sport has seen the organization of 56 ATV clubs in the province.  As of December 31st of 2017, there were approximately 52 thousand registered ATVs in the province and 20808 members. These various clubs sponsor organized “runs” 2 – 3 times a year with 100’s of members participating.   And even though the popularity of the sport has grown exponentially, the clubs and bikers themselves continue to face challenges to enjoy this pastime.   A common theme is the lack of amenities available for people enjoying the trails.  In some communities, it is against the law to travel 50 feet on the side of the road to gain access to gas, food and lodging while in some communities, such as Boiestown and Doaktown, the mayors have welcomed riders to their respective communities.  They encourage them to spend the night, get fuel and food which has resulted in a boost to tourism in the area.

In the past, wheeling was not considered a tourism product, but after years of determination and perseverance by the provincial federation and local chapters, the provincial government has finally sat up and taken notice.  In early June the Department of Tourism, Heritage and Culture announced funding for the Tourism’s “Trail Action Plan” which will see $15.8 million dollars poured into the province’s trail system.  Possibly this was due in part to a survey conducted by consultants, “Smith Gunther Associates Ltd.” this past May which reported that ATVing in New Brunswick has contributed 358 million dollars to the New Brunswick economy in 2017. This is money that has not left the province and stayed within this province.   Mr. Daigle is hopeful the announcement of funding from the government will make the sport even more popular, thus further boosting tourism revenue for our province.  “We are also looking at getting legal access to motels, hotels, restaurants and gas stations. Once our trails system is complete and with legal access to those facilities, we will quadruple our contributions to the economy.”   At present there is an agreement with Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Ontario where if they are members of their Federations, they do not need to buy our trail permits and the same is true for people from New Brunswick visiting these provinces.

 

What was once considered a male-dominated sport, ATVing is quickly becoming a family-oriented activity.

With the introduction of side by sides and 4 and 6 seaters, it is now common to see families participating in organized runs or 2 or 3 machines out for a run by themselves.  You will even see wheelers with infants strapped into their car seats and some clubs organize female only runs.  Another participant who can be over-looked in other sports are persons with disabilities, who can now enjoy this sport with the introduction of side by sides.

Daigle feels the sport has changed drastically in the past 5 years which is evident with the increase in members.  In 2013 there were just over 16,000 members and they expect to surpass 22,000 before the end of 2018.  Bob Randall, President of the Nashwaak Valley ATV Club tells us they see the “ATV market changing with the introduction of multi-passenger side by sides as there are more families enjoying the sport than ever before.”   ATVs are more comfortable, they have a better ride and have more options such as power steering.

And as with anything in life…with the good comes the not so good.  Vandalism to private property incidents do happen.  However, the clubs are committed to working with the property owners – both private and public to try and find a solution to prevent the vandalism from recurring and in most cases will assist with repairs and costs.  Unfortunately, this takes time and resources away from improving trails and enjoying the sport.   Jim McGregor, President of the Rusagonis ATV Club and Chief Safety Officer says they try to educate participants about the laws and promoting safe, responsible riding.  “Most riders want to do the right thing; we have safe, legal and environmentally responsible managed rails and encourage ATVers to use them.  The ATVer’s motto is “Be respectful to the land owners, be respectful to other trail users and stay on the trail”. We also host ATV Safety Training courses every year which are open to all but focus mainly on kids 6 – 16 years old.”

We asked how the increase in popularity of side by sides has changed the sport.  Reports are they have increased the number of members and it has become more of a family sport than before.  Ken Legge, President of the York County West ATV Club told shopfredericton “I think it has had a positive influence in that there are more families partaking and with the 4 seaters, it is a great way to introduce people to the sport who don’t own ATVs.”  Provincially, there has been a shift to side by sides.  Last year the estimate was 60% ATVs to 40% side by sides.  This year it appears to be a 50/50 split and next year clubs are expecting side by sides to surpass the number of ATVs.

Whatever your preference, budget and style…it sounds like owning an ATV and hitting the trails in New Brunswick – by yourself or with a group – it sounds like a great way to spend your leisure time!

4 Tips to Prepare Your House for Winter

4 Tips to Prepare Your House for Winter

For large parts of the world, the winter season means snow, ice and cold weather. Winter also means rising energy bills and back-breaking shoveling. As winter approaches, there are steps every homeowner needs to take to make certain that their home is ready for the brutal weather. Set aside a fall weekend to winterize your home and you will be able to keep your energy bills down and reduce the amount of damage done by ice and snow.

COVER WINDOWS AND PATIO DOORS WITH PLASTIC

The idea of covering windows and doors with plastic is often dismissed as something that is only done in rural areas or by low-income families. The truth is that every homeowner can significantly reduce their energy bills each winter by adding an extra layer of plastic insulation.

One of the reasons why the plastic window insulation kits are so effective is that they create a thick layer of air between the windows and plastic that helps to keep out the cold. You can buy plastic insulation kits for your windows and your glass patio doors as well. No matter how new or well-designed your windows may be, you can make a significant difference to the comfort level of your home and your energy costs by using plastic insulation kits.

CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS

Some homeowners clean their gutters after the leaves have fallen from the trees, and some do not. If you do not clean your gutters to remove leaves and debris, then your downspouts get clogged up and the water will collect in the gutters themselves. As the air turns colder, the water starts to freeze and you get ice dams.

Ice dams cause two types of damage to your home. First, ice dams will cause water to back up under your shingles and leak into your home. Secondly, heavy ice dams will rip the gutters right off your house, causing a significant amount of damage. You can avoid all of that by simply cleaning your gutters after the leaves have all fallen off the trees.

WRAP YOUR PLUMBING

Exposed pipes can freeze and burst when the winter cold sets in. Many of your home’s pipes may be located near the furnace, but there are plenty of areas where the pipes do not get the full benefit of the furnace’s warmth. If you are able to reach all of your pipes, then you should wrap them in insulation. But if you are not able to reach every pipe, then you should at least wrap the pipes that are furthest from the furnace.

You can buy pipe insulation at your local home improvement store in pre-formed lengths that are easy to install. Wrapping your pipes in insulation is an inexpensive project that will only take a few minutes, but it could save you thousands in potential repairs if those pipes were to burst.

GET YOUR FURNACE AND CHIMNEYS INSPECTED AND CLEANED

If you have a furnace, then you have a chimney. If you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove along with that furnace, then you have at least two chimneys. Before the snow starts falling, you need to bring in professionals to look over your furnace and chimneys and perform any maintenance or repairs that need to be done.

Your furnace may need a new filter and your chimneys may need cleaning, but these are not things that you want to ignore. Take care of your heating systems and they will take care of you all winter long.

Winter can be a wonderful time, full of beauty and opportunities to get together with friends and family. To get the most out of winter, it is important to make sure that your home is ready for the harsh weather to come.

Three Randoms You May Enjoy!

Summer 2017

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May 2018

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REALTORS® Rock!

Have you ever thought about being a Real Estate Agent?   Wonder what it would be like to drive around in a fancy car looking...

5 Easy Holiday Desserts With Just Two Ingredients Per Recipe

5 Easy Holiday Desserts With Just Two Ingredients Per Recipe

We all love indulging in the traditional treats of the holiday season. However, for many of our favorite goodies can be a bit troublesome to make. Fortunately, it’s simple to whip up some great sweets with a couple kitchen staples and a few tricks. Here are five easy holiday desserts with just two ingredients per recipe:

Chocolate Pumpkin Cake 

Almost everyone enjoys a nice slice of chocolate cake. You can easily make a chocolaty dessert to cap off your holiday meal.

  • Just combine a box of chocolate cake mix with a can of pumpkin puree.
  • Once a thick batter forms, pour the mixture in a loaf pan and bake according to the package instructions.

When it’s done, you’ll have a moist, tasty cake that provides a punch of chocolate flavor along with subtle notes of pumpkin.

Miniature Fruit Pies

If you’d like to offer fun handheld treats at your holiday party, consider preparing a batch of miniature pies. All you need is some refrigerated pastry dough and a jar of your favorite flavor of jam or preserves.

  • Roll out your crust and cut several small circles using a round cookie cutter or lid.
  • Next, put a spoonful of jam on half of your dough disks. Top each one with another piece of pie crust and cinch the edges together slightly.
  • Place your mini pies on a baking sheet and bake them at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes.

When they come out of the oven, you’ll have cute mini pies that are golden brown and bursting with fruity goodness.

Creamy Mint Mousse

Peppermint is a flavor that’s often associated with the holidays. This light and fluffy mint mousse will be a refreshing finish for your Christmas feast.

  • Start with a pint of minty ice cream. You can use white peppermint ice cream with candy cane bits or green mint with chocolate chips. Either one is sure to look festive at your holiday celebration.
  • Let the ice cream soften slightly before stirring in a tub of whipped topping. It’s as easy as that!
  • Place large dollops into beautiful glasses and serve your elegant dessert.

This simple mousse will likely become a holiday staple in your household.

Bread Pudding

When the weather outside is frightful, your guests might want something warm and filling. This scrumptious bread pudding will certainly hit the spot.

  • Begin by tearing a loaf of bread into jagged chunks and placing the bits in a large pan. You can use any kind of bread you like, but the dish will turn out better if your loaf is a little stale.
  • Next, melt a pint of vanilla ice cream and pour it over the bread pieces.
  • Pop everything in the oven and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes.

With just two ingredients, you can make a custardy creation that everyone will love.

Magic Fudge

Fudge is a rich and creamy confection that fits perfectly on any holiday dessert table. However, most old-fashioned recipes contain a long list of ingredients. Plus, the traditional method of boiling on the stove can be a lot of work. Skip all the hassle with this easy version.

  • Simply melt a bag of chocolate chips in the microwave and stir in a can of chocolate frosting.
  • Once everything is combined, spread the mixture in a pan and let it harden.

That’s all there is to it. In just a few hours, your family will be celebrating the season with a sweet treat. This two-ingredient fudge comes together so easily, it’s almost like magic!

Making fantastic goodies for the holidays doesn’t have to be difficult. Any of the ideas on this list will help you create a delicious dessert with just two ingredients. Give one or all of these simple recipes a try to cut down on your seasonal stress. You can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with your holiday guests this year!