Melisa Gagne's Blog
If you've read the news in the last few years you've likely heard about the alarming decline of the bee population. In our daily lives, most of us think of bees only when they're buzzing uncomfortably close to our picnic table. What we don't often realize is the vital role that bees play in pollenating our food supply.
Large farms throughout the country (and throughout the world) hire beekeepers to bring in their colonies for pollination. Without those bees there would be a drastic drop in food production. While drops in bee populations are naturally occurring and fluctuate from year to year, recent years have seen some of the worst declines to date.
Starting to feel bad about swatting at the bees in your backyard?
First you should understand that these declines aren't your fault because you've killed a few bees in your life. Among the stresses that the bee population faces are viruses, mites, climate change, and habitat reduction. It would take a massive culture shift to address all of those issues. But, there are a few things you can do right in your backyard that will lend a small hand in helping out your local bee population.
Know your bees (and what's not a bee)
Many people treat bees, wasps and hornets as interchangeable. Bees are fuzzy pollinators that can sting only once. Common bees include honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.
Wasps are not fuzzy, and therefore not as effective as pollinators. They prey on insects and can be more aggressive than bees. The only wasps that sting are females, but they can sting multiple times.
Hornets are a sub-species of wasp native to North America. They too can sting multiple times and are known for being the most aggressive of the three. Again, they are not the most effective pollinators.
Bees, wasps, and your backyard
If you've noticed an uptick in the number of bees or wasps on you property it's not necessarily a bad thing. If their numbers are low and you're not concerned about anyone's safety you may decide to leave them be. The bees and wasps will help you by pollinating your flowers, eating surplus insects, and leaving you well alone.
Some ways you can keep your backyard bees healthy include not using pesticides on your lawn or garden. You could also plant more flowers and let your wildflowers grow freely to provide an extra nectar source for the local bees.
Too much of a good thing
If the bees in your yard have grown high in number, are becoming aggressive, or you are worried for the safety of your family (bee sting allergies can be life-threatening) then it might be time to take action.
To avoid becoming part of the problem of declining populations, call in a professional. Some pest control companies still use killing the bees as a solution. But there are companies that are more proactive and attempt to coax away bees and relocate them. Seek out no-kill pest control companies for help.
Your local beekeeper is also an unexpendable resource when it comes to learning what to do about bees. Many beekeepers will even relocate the bees to commercial honey-making hives.
With a bit of research and careful behavior, cohabiting with bees can be beneficial for us and for the little bugs that make our honey.
Step 1: Setting upYou'll want to set up the room with the right balance of furniture, decorations and natural light. Avoid decorations that are too personal (like family photos) or eccentric (no stuffed animals, preferably). Set up your tripod against one of the walls of the room. Ideally, you'll have the target of your photo illuminated by natural light coming through windows, so you'll likely be standing in front of or next to the windows. However, before you take any photos use your best judgment to determine the room's best angles. The amount of and the placement of furniture will play a large role in how spacious the room looks, but equally important is the camera angle from which you take your photos.
Step 2: Learn your camera settingsYou won't learn all of the settings in a DSLR overnight, but it is important to get an understanding of the basics. In spite of the many technical improvements that have been made, the basic concept of a camera hasn't changed much over the years. The two main components that determine what your picture looks like are aperture and shutter speed. Aperture (or "f-stop") is what is used to determine how much light enters the camera. Much like your pupils dilate in the dark to let in as much light as possible, having a wide aperture will allow you to take brighter photos. Shutter speed is the amount of time the shutter on your camera is open. A slower shutter speed allows more light into the camera, creating a brighter exposure. However, due to our inability to hold a camera entirely still having a slower shutter speed creates more opportunity for your photo to become blurred from camera shake. A third important setting is the ISO. This setting is unique to digital photography because it controls the sensitivity of the camera's image sensor. The higher the number, the more sensitive. Why not just crank it up all the way then to get the best quality? Because if you set it too high the photos become grainy or "noisy."
Step 3: PracticeNow that you know the basics, start taking photos in your home using various camera settings. Play around with taking photos with different light sources on, with your camera flash on and off, and at different times of day. You'll find that there are endless possibilities when it comes to taking photos of your home.
The Massachusetts Homestead Law is a very useful law that was put into place as a protection of homeowners’ property. The law may protect your home against the claims of creditors. The act applies to your home if:
- You live in the home or plan to live in it
- You use the home or plan to use the home as your primary residence
Things To Know About The Law
It does protect manufactured and mobile home
Homestead protection does not stop your home from being foreclosed on in the event that you don’t pay your mortgage
Declaration Of Homestead
You must declare that your property is a homestead property in the state of Massachusetts. This declaration will protect the equity value of your home from creditors. The equity of your home is what the “fair market value” of the home is. To calculate this value, find out what the value of your home is, then subtract all home equity loans, liens, and mortgages that you have against the house. The number that’s left is what the equity value of your home is.
When a Declaration Of Homestead is in place, you’re protected from creditors who would otherwise force you to use your equity so that you you can repay the debts that are owed. Without this protection, creditors can foreclose on your home. The only creditors that a Homestead does not protect you from are home loan companies, the IRS and legal child support obligations.
When the loan for your home is in good standing and a Homestead is in place in Massachusetts, the following applies:
A creditor cannot auction your home if you, other owners of your home, any family members, or any family members who move into your home at a future date live there. This means that even in the event of your death, these people will all be protected from creditors taking value from the property while they are living on the property.
Any family members who have debts and are living in the house are also protected under the Homestead Act in Massachusetts.
$125,000 is automatically protected.
A Homestead Declaration needs to be filed for up to $500,000 of protection to be initiated.
How A Declaration Of Homestead Is Filed
You’ll need to go to the Registry Of Deeds in the county where the property is located in Massachusetts to file a Declaration Of Homestead. The document will need to be notarized and there is a fee associated with filing. You may be asked if you’d like to file the Homestead Protection during the purchase agreement signing for your Massachusetts home. Note that if a lien was put on your property before the Homestead Declaration is filed, you are not protected.
Talk to your real estate attorney and realtor for more details and information on how to file a Homestead Declaration when you purchase your Massachusetts home.
If you recently sold your house, there may be only a few weeks before you need to relocate to a new address. As such, you'll likely face a time crunch to pack up your belongings and get rid of excess items, including various home appliances.
Although your refrigerator, washer, dryer and other home appliances have served you well for many years, there is no time like the present to sell these items. That way, you can earn extra cash and avoid the hassle of moving these big, heavy items from your current address to your new one.
For home sellers who have only a short amount of time to sell their appliances, there's no need to worry. In fact, there are many quick, easy ways to sell your appliances and maximize their value.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you sell your appliances before moving day.
1. List Your Appliances Online
Create an online listing for each of your home appliances, and you should have no trouble stirring up plenty of interest in these items.
When you craft an online listing, it is important to include as much information as possible. Therefore, you should provide details about a home appliance's age and condition, along with photos. This will make it easy for a home appliance shopper to determine whether a particular appliance is the right choice.
Also, share your online listing with family members and friends. And if you post your online listing on social networks, you may be able to generate significant interest in an appliance in no time at all.
2. Host a Yard Sale
A yard sale offers a great opportunity to sell home appliances and other items before you move.
Host a yard sale on a Saturday or Sunday and start your yard sale in the morning. By doing so, you can improve your chances of attracting a wide range of yard sale shoppers.
In addition, be open to negotiating with yard sale shoppers. If you maintain flexibility on the price of a home appliance, you can boost your chances of a quick sale.
3. Post Flyers in Your Community
Craft flyers that include information about your appliances and post them in your community. This will allow you to generate interest from local buyers.
Flyers should be clear, concise and informative. They can include information about an appliance, along with contact information that enables buyers to reach you via phone or email.
Lastly, if you need to sell appliances prior to moving day, it often pays to consult with a real estate agent.
In many instances, a real estate agent can offer recommendations and suggestions to help you streamline the moving process. As a result, this housing market professional can make it easy for you to sell home appliances and other items before you move.
Ready to sell your home appliances? Use the aforementioned tips, and you can promote your appliances to the right groups of buyers.