What to Know Before You Decide on Buying an Electric Vehicle

Can You Say “Range Anxiety?”

That is anxiety that comes from not knowing whether or not you will be able to make it to a charging station before the battery is depleted.

I talked with several Electric Vehicle (EV) owners and a mechanic to ask about the ins-and-outs of these cars and trucks.

“The first hard lesson I learned about owning an electric vehicle was the inconvenient charging,” Steve, who sold his 2018 model after just two years said.

Steve had to talk his employer into installing a charging unit at his place of work near downtown San Antonio, Texas to ensure he had enough power to make it home, 40 miles away in the Hill Country foothills near Boerne.

“Stop and start traffic on the highways made me nervous,” he explained. “I didn’t get home until close to midnight so I was constantly worried about power at night.”

“If I had it to do over again, I would have spent more time studying, but in retrospect, I can tell you as I experienced constant mechanical and electric maintenance and warranty issues, I changed my mind,” he continued. “When I began to read and hear about Biden’s Green Build Back Better policies, with impending demands imposed by the EPA and other governmental regulating bodies, I had enough. I took a $11,000 loss, but lessons learned, and now I’m relieved.”

“Charging ain’t free,” Ronald, another San Antonio EV owner announced. “I spent about $2,800 turnkey to install a high output (Level 2) charger in my garage. Before that, I had started by running an extension cord and trading the electrical socket back in forth for my kitchen stove and car battery. I couldn’t chance the possibility of needing to drive at night not knowing if I had enough charge in an emergency.”

“For long trips I had issues with ‘range anxiety for sure,” he said. “I’d plan to find a Wal-Mart or someplace to hangout while my car was charging.”

“I have a Mercedes-Benz EQS and get a bit over 400 miles on one charge,” Ronald added. “If I’m driving long distances it, of course, takes me quite a bit longer to get a full charge than those who just fill up with gas and move on.”

To get a real life estimate, using average KWh charging rates from Texas to California, CleverJourneys checked Tesla’s website calculator to compare cost and time between gas and electric charging.

It’s easy to understand why Joe Biden needed to get gasoline prices higher and availability more difficult. Two of his major campaign donors (over $200 million in contributions) profit considerably:

🔹George Soros bought heavily in Rivian EVs stock in Nov. 2021.

🔹Warren Buffet’s trains carry the oil that would have run through Keystone Pipeline that Biden cancelled on Day 1 of his White House term.

390 minutes (6.5 hrs.) charge time. $12 in charging fees + $128 in charge time = $140. At 34 mpg in our Honda Civic, it takes us 48 gallons of gas. At $2 per gallon (before Biden) = $96. At $3 per gallon = $144; 4 per gallon = $192; $5 per gallon = $240 (during Biden)
Charging stations availability. July 2022

Current prices for charging an electric car at Walmart range anywhere from 12 cents to 99 cents per kW across the U.S. Most charge somewhere close to 30 cents.

“It just really depends on which Walmart or place you go to and what type of electric car you have,” Gary, a newly certified service EV repairman, explained. “They usually charge a buck ($1 fee) per charging session.”

Although Walmart and other places have installed superchargers, “it is not good to use them every day or too often,” Gary warned. “Supercharging your car daily can damage your battery health, and wear out its lifespan.”

“There’s a fee if you stay parked after your car is charged. ChargePoint gives you a 5-minute grace period to move your car after it’s finished,” said Gary.. “After that, it charges you 14 cents per minute up to a maximum of $5 per session.”

🔹According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average U.S. household pays nearly 14 cents per kWh.

“An electric car gets 3 to 4 miles per kWh,” Gary stated. “So divide the total miles you drive each month by 3 to get the kWh you would use monthly. Multiply that number by your cost per kWh. The dollar amount you get could be less than what you pay each month to buy gasoline. I think this is why Biden is causing gas prices to go up.”

🔹If someone drives about 1,183 miles per month (Americans drive an average of about 14,200 miles annually), an EV, will use about 394 kWh in that timeframe.

🔹Using the U.S. household average from June 2022 of nearly 14 cents per kWh, it would cost about $55 per month to charge an electric car.

🔹Figure an extra $38.50 per month to charge an electric car at home if you pay the average 14 cents. This is a 33% increase on the average electric bill, according to stats from the Energy Information Administration. 

Prepare to wait.
Truck stop & EV station food.

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🔹Fully recharging the battery pack with a Level 1 or Level 2 charger can take up to 8 hours, and even fast charging stations take 30 minutes to charge to just 80 percent capacity.

LEVELS OF CHARGE

LEVEL 1 is the slowest and requires a regular 120-volt outlet, which you probably already have. Most EVs acquire roughly five miles per hour of charge when using Level 1 charging.

LEVEL 2 is a 240-volt electric circuit required for charging. This is commonly used for major appliances such as electric dryers, water heaters, and ovens. Installing one of these in a suitable location greatly increases charging capacity. With Level 2, most EVs can charge at a rate of about 35 miles per hour.

LEVEL 3 is the quickest charging station on the market, delivering massive amounts of power in a short amount of time. Modern EVs can charge up to 80% of their capacity in about 30 minutes. These should not be used often as it shortens battery life.

Not all DC fast chargers are created equal, as charger speed can vary from 24 kW to 350 kW, and not all cars are compatible with the fastest speeds or come close to their marketed capability in practice. 

CURRENT SAMPLE CHARGING COST (June 2022)

Georgia: EVgo network charges rates by state, and it varies for Level 2 charging. On its website, the pay-as-you-go approach costs 30 cents per minute in Georgia. However, if you’re an EVgo Plus member, the rate drops to 24 cents per minute.

Illinois: Electrify America bills 43 cents per kWh for guests and 31 cents per kWh for paid members; EVGo bills between 22 and 30 cents depending on membership status; those billing rates can change based on location.

Some studies show that you can save around $14,000 on fuel costs if you drive an electric car for about 15 years but sometimes this may not be enough to cover all the hidden costs that electric cars have. Some of these hidden costs that you may encounter could cost thousands of dollars, with a few costing over $10,000.

THE NOTORIOUS BATTERIES

At the heart of all-electric automobiles are batteries — literally, the entire car is designed around them, and they’re the most expensive part of the car.

🔹Currently, all EVs sold in the U.S. come with an eight-year/100k mile warranty. Keep in mind that the average age for a vehicle on the road in the U.S. is 12.1 years. EVs average age is unknown.

🔹At some point the cost to replace the battery is more than your vehicle might be worth — estimates range between $6,000 and $20,000 depending on the model.

“The most expensive repair made on an EV is most likely going to be the high-voltage battery,” Gary commented. “Not anyone can do this type of work and it’s something that should only be done by a trained specialist at a proper repair facility.”

“This is due to the very high-voltage danger as well as maintaining proper repair procedures,” he added. “These replacement parts will come directly from the dealer. There’s just not much competition among parts manufacturers to drive prices down.”

🔹These lithium batteries are benign when compared to Nickel-Cadmium cells or even other automotive compounds like brake fluid. This means it’s considered toxic in our waste stream, and no one is prepared for the volume of used batteries headed to scrap yards.

🔹The EPA reported in 2021 that at least 65 landfill fires were caused by lithium-ion battery waste.

🔹These batteries are extremely heavy with some weighing up to 1,400 lbs.

🔹EVs have a shorter range than gas-powered cars. Most models only range between 60 and 120 miles per charge and some luxury models might make it to 300 miles per charge.

For comparison, gas powered vehicles will average around 300 miles on a full tank of gas, and more fuel efficient vehicles getting much higher driving ranges. This can be an issue when looking at EVs if you take long trips. Availability of charging stations can make AEVs less suitable for activities like road trips.

HIGHER INSURANCE PREMIUMS

🔹According to bankrate.com, the average annual premium in the U.S. for a gas car is $1,655. The much higher EV premiums are mostly due to the high purchase price and the high cost of repairs. 

🔹Steve said he shopped around and paid $2,300 a year for insurance his last year of ownership before he sold his EV.

🔹Electric vehicles will generally cost 25%-40% more than a gas car in terms of the insurance. 

CHILD LABOR & ENVIRONMENT CONTROVERSIES

🔹Modern batteries require lithium, which can only be mined in a handful of countries.

🔹There is much controversy about young children being used to hand dig cobalt out of mines for long hours, 7 days each week.

🔹Once mined, this cobalt is used to produce thousands of small cylindrical cells, each of which must be carefully monitored—no trivial matter.

🔹You must add the cost of environmental and crash protection to prevent battery fires.

VEHICLE REGISTRATION

🔹Finding a vehicle inspection could be a challenge.

🔹A quick search across 12 states from California to Texas to Georgia to Michigan revealed EV registration fees to be between $50 to $250.

🔹This is primarily due to there being a tax on gas that is used to pay for new infrastructure. Many states want electric car owners to contribute to providing the services needed.

Random Notes

🔹Electric cars have a low center of gravity due to the placement of the battery pack, so tires can wear down more quickly than on gas-powered cars.

🔹Some EVs have a powertrain that needs to have its fluid replaced at periodic intervals, such as the Tesla Model S.

🔹EVs are especially at risk of battery issues in high and low temperatures. Cold weather can reduce your range in the short-term, while hot weather can reduce the overall battery life of your vehicle.

🔹Because the battery pack is located in the underbody of the vehicle, corrosion can be more damaging to EVs than to conventional cars. Wash off any road salt and other corrosive materials as soon as possible, and keep an eye out for corrosion on the charging port and other electrical components.

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History, Texas, Pioneers, Genealogy

From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

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Cold Weather Car Hacks: Herd It Through the Grapevine

Foggy Windshield Fixes

During the winter months, fogged-up and frosty windshields can be a constant issue. To quickly eliminate the fog without creating a mess of smudges, use a chalkboard eraser! It works really well, and it’s easy to store in your glove box or center console.

Another tip for dealing with a foggy windshield is to make sure your car’s air recirculation is turned off. The air in your car is already humid, and humid air contributes to windshield fogging. Use the fresh air intake option instead, which will pull in dry air from outside. The dry air will help take care of the fog in no time!

winter car hacks

Fog-Proof Your Windshield

While the tips I mentioned above will help you get rid of fog on your windshield, there are also ways to prevent fog from forming in the first place! Here are a few you can try:

  • Smear shaving cream on the inside of your windshield, then wipe it off. You’ll leave behind a thin layer of shaving cream, which contains some of the same ingredients as commercial defoggers.
  • Fill a stocking or sock with kitty litter and leave it in your car overnight. The litter will help absorb moisture that would otherwise collect on your windshield.
  • Before you turn your car off in the evening, open the windows for a few seconds to let the cold, dry air in. This dry air will help dehumidify your car overnight.
  • Don’t leave water bottles or other drinks in your car overnight. The moisture from them can contribute to a foggy windshield.
winter car hacks

Keep Socks In Your Glovebox

Having a pair of socks all ready in your car can be especially useful during the winter! You can pull them on over your shoes if you ever need to push your car out of ice or snow. (The socks provide a little extra traction that makes it easier to find your footing.)

Another way to use socks is to cover your wiper blade overnight! Just raise your wiper blades and slip the socks over the ends. The socks will help prevent ice from forming on the blades, which will make your de-icing process much easier in the morning.

winter car hacks

Fix For Frozen Wiper Blades

During the winter, make sure to fill your car with washer fluid that is rated for cold weather. It can help melt the ice that’s clinging to your wiper blades in the morning. It can also be a quick way to defrost your whole windshield if the ice is thin enough!

winter car hacks

Impromptu Ice Scraper

Can’t find your ice scraper and need to get going? Grab a plastic spatula from your kitchen, or use a plastic card from your wallet! (It’s best to use a card that you don’t mind losing, in case it accidentally snaps while you’re scraping the ice.)

Windshield Parking Hack

Let Mother Nature defrost your windshield for you! If you can, park your car facing east. This ensures that your windshield will get a bit of extra warmth from the sun as it rises in the morning. Your wiper blades may be able to take care of the remaining frost—no scraping required!

Thaw Frozen Car Doors & Locks

For frozen locks, try heating your key with a match or lighter. Gently push it into the lock to melt the ice. (Just be careful not to burn yourself!)

Another option for thawing frozen locks is to use a drinking straw. Just aim the straw at the lock, and blow air into it. The heat from your breath will start melting the ice, and you’ll have that door open in no time!

And finally, you can use hand sanitizer to fix frozen doors and locks. Just rub a layer of hand sanitizer over the frozen area and let the alcohol melt the ice.

Prevent Frozen Doors

Sick of having to unstick frozen doors? Prevent them from freezing in the first place with a bit of cooking spray. Just spritz a bit of it where the door seals. This acts as a “waterproofer” to prevent water from seeping in and freezing your door shut.

Keep Side Mirrors From Freezing

Prevent side mirrors from freezing overnight just by covering them up! Use a plastic shopping bag, a ziplock bag, or whatever you can find to slide over the mirrors. Tie the end or keep it in place with a rubber band, and your mirrors will remain ice-free overnight!

winter car hacks

Fast Headlight Fix

Having bright, working headlights is especially important during the dark and snowy winter months. If your headlight covers could use a cleaning, just cover them with a layer of toothpaste. Let it sit for a minute or two, then rinse the toothpaste off with warm water.

This toothpaste treatment will help remove the film on your headlights so they shine more brightly. It’s a quick and easy fix that’s much cheaper than buying a special headlight cleaner product!

Get Un-Stuck Fast

Keep a bag or two of heavy cat litter in your trunk on snowy days. It will help add weight to your car, which can help give your tires a bit more traction in the snow and ice. And you can sprinkle the litter under the tires if you get stuck! This will give your tires something to grip onto and improve your chances of getting out of that snowbank.

Another useful tip for getting your car out of a snowbank is to use your floor mats. Just lay them down in the snow in front of your tires. They’ll provide more traction for your tires and help you get your car moving. (Just don’t forget to pick them back up before you drive away!

Make A Winter Emergency Kit

Weather can be unpredictable during the winter, so it’s a good idea to keep emergency supplies in your car just in case. Start with a spare outfit that can keep you warm if you happen to get stranded. Follow these steps:

  1. Unzip a winter coat
  2. Put a thick pair of socks, long underwear, hat, gloves, scarf, and snow pants inside the coat
  3. Zip the coat up and stash the outfit in your trunk

You should also keep additional supplies in your car that could save your life in a winter weather emergency. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Flashlights
  • Warm blanket
  • Charged battery pack for your phone
  • Hand and foot warmers
  • Bottles of water
  • Energy bars

Now that you have these helpful tips, you’ll be able to face many winter driving challenges with confidence!

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From award-winning Texas author Cynthia Leal Massey.

FAA Launches Voluntary Reporting Program for Safety Office


Since 1998, the risk of a fatal accident has decreased by 94 percent.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has launched an additional way for its engineers, safety inspectors, systems safety specialists and other aviation safety employees to report safety-related issues and concerns.

Information shared and submitted via this new system will be used to validate or verify an aviation safety concern, identify the root cause, and determine the appropriate corrective action.

The Voluntary Safety Reporting Program provides those who work in the FAA’s Aviation Safety organization the ability to report confidentially any safety concerns without fear of punitive action.

The FAA’s Aviation Safety workforce is composed of about 7,400 professionals who provide oversight of airlines, manufacturers, maintenance providers, aviation medical practitioners and flight crews.

“We can never be satisfied with the status quo when it comes to safety, and the free exchange of vital information is a cornerstone of safety and continual improvement,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson. “We want our employees to know that when they speak up, they can be sure someone is listening.”

Since 1998, the risk of a fatal accident has decreased by 94 percent. Voluntary reporting programs have been integral to this reduction of risk by identifying and resolving issues before an accident occurs.

The new Voluntary Safety Reporting System mirrors other successful safety information-sharing programs across the aviation industry.

The new Voluntary Safety Reporting Program is in addition to several reporting programs already available. FAA management worked closely with union leadership representing Aviation Safety employees to structure the new program to encourage the sharing of safety information by all parties.

“The more we can continue to encourage people to report, the more we can influence the safety in the system,” said President of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), Paul Rinaldi, whose union represents engineers and other Aviation Safety employees.

In addition to supporting the FAA’s commitment to transparency, the continued development of voluntary reporting programs addresses congressional requirements for the FAA.

An open, non-punitive and confidential reporting system allows the agency to address safety sensitive issues that may otherwise have gone unnoticed due to fear of repercussion.

“The Event Review Team will leverage subject matter experts to evaluate the safety issue and provide a recommendation on corrective action and will continue to monitor the issue throughout the process,” said Mike Perrone, President, Professional Aviation Safety Specialists (PASS), a union that represents many of the FAA’s technical workers.

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How To Remove Sticky Residue or Stains From Almost Any Surface

Herd It Through the Grapevine #5

Tips, Hints, Secrets & Tidbits From Dodie Dennis

The products below will remove sticky residue.

1. WD-40

2. Peanut Butter

3. Pencil Erasers

4. Margarine

5. Vegetable or Olive Oil

6. Petroleum Jelly

7. Cooking Spray

8. Nail Polish Remover

9. Hand Lotion

10. Furniture Polish

11. Eucalyptus Oil

12. Rubbing Alcohol

13. Tea Tree Oil

14. Hair Spray

15. Baby/Mineral Oil

16. Vinegar

17. Window Cleaner

18. Baking Soda & Water Paste

19. Goo Gone

20. Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Over 100 Ways to Conserve Water

When it comes to conserving water, small adjustments can have a big impact. Conserve water with ideas from our 100+ water-saving tips.

INDOOR TIPS

KITCHEN

  • #1 When washing dishes by hand, don’t let the water run. Fill one basin with wash water and the other with rinse water.
  • #2 Dishwashers typically use less water than washing dishes by hand. Now, Energy Star dishwashers save even more water and energy.
  • #3 If your dishwasher is new, cut back on rinsing. Newer models clean more thoroughly than older ones.
  • #4 Designate one glass for your drinking water each day, or refill a water bottle. This will cut down on the number of glasses to wash.
  • #5 Soak pots and pans instead of letting the water run while you scrape them clean.
  • #6 Use the garbage disposal sparingly. Instead, compost vegetable food waste and save gallons every time.
  • #7 Wash your fruits and vegetables in a pan of water instead of running water from the tap.
  • #8 Don’t use running water to thaw food. For water efficiency and food safety, defrost food in the refrigerator.
  • #9 Install an instant water heater near your kitchen sink so you don’t have to run the water while it heats up. This also reduces energy costs.
  • #10 Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. This way, every drop goes down you and not the drain.
  • #11 Reuse leftover water from cooked or steamed foods to start a nutritious soup, it’s one more way to get eight glasses of water a day.
  • #12 Cook food in as little water as possible. This also helps it retain more nutrients.
  • #13 Select the proper pan size for cooking. Large pans may require more cooking water than necessary.
  • #14 If you accidentally drop ice cubes, don’t throw them in the sink. Drop them in a house plant instead.
  • #15 Collect the water you use while rinsing fruit and vegetables. Use it to water house plants.
  • #16 When shopping for a new dishwasher, use the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

LAUNDRY ROOM

  • #17 When doing laundry, match the water level to the size of the load.
  • #18 Washing dark clothes in cold water saves water and energy, and helps your clothes retain their color.
  • #19 When shopping for a new washing machine, compare resource savings among Energy Star models. Some can save up to 20 gallons of water per load.
  • #20 Have a plumber re-route your greywater to trees and plants rather than the sewer line. Check with your city and county for codes.
  • #21 When buying a washer, check the Consortium for Energy Efficiency website to compare water use between models.

BATHROOM

  • #22 If your shower fills a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, replace the showerhead with a WaterSense® labeled model.
  • #23 Shorten your shower by a minute or two and you’ll save up to 150 gallons per month.
  • #24 Time your shower to keep it under 5 minutes. You’ll save up to 1,000 gallons per month.
  • #25 Toilet leaks can be silent! Be sure to test your toilet for leaks at least once a year.
  • #26 Put food coloring in your toilet tank. If it seeps into the bowl without flushing, there’s a leak. Fix it and start saving gallons.
  • #27 When running a bath, plug the bathtub before turning on the water. Adjust the temperature as the tub fills.
  • #28 Upgrade older toilets with water-saving WaterSense® labeled models.
  • #29 If your toilet flapper doesn’t close properly after flushing, replace it.
  • #30 Use a WaterSense® labeled showerhead. They’re inexpensive, easy to install, and can save you up to 750 gallons a month.
  • #31 Turn off the water while you brush your teeth and save up to 4 gallons a minute. That’s up to 200 gallons a week for a family of four.
  • #32 If your toilet was installed before 1992, purchasing a WaterSense® labeled toilet can reduce the amount of water used for each flush.
  • #33 Consider buying a dual-flush toilet. It has two flush options: a half-flush for liquid waste and a full-flush for solid waste.
  • #34 Plug the sink instead of running the water to rinse your razor and save up to 300 gallons a month.
  • #35 Turn off the water while washing your hair and save up to 150 gallons a month.
  • #36 When washing your hands, turn the water off while you lather.
  • #37 Take 5-minute showers instead of baths. A full bathtub requires up to 70 gallons of water.
  • #38 Install water-saving aerators on all of your faucets.
  • #39 Drop tissues in the trash instead of flushing them and save water every time.
  • #40 Look for WaterSense® labeled toilets, sink faucets, urinals and showerheads.
  • #41 One drip every second adds up to five gallons per day! Check your faucets and showerheads for leaks.
  • #42 While you wait for hot water, collect the running water and use it to water plants.

GENERAL INDOOR

  • #43 Teach children to turn off faucets tightly after each use.
  • #44 See how your water use stacks up to others by calculating your daily water use.
  • #45 When the kids want to cool off, use the sprinkler in an area where your lawn needs it most.
  • #46 Encourage your school system and local government to develop and promote water conservation among children and adults.
  • #47 Monitor your water bill for unusually high use. Your bill and water meter are tools that can help you discover leaks.
  • #48 Learn how to use your water meter to check for leaks.
  • #49 Reward kids for the water-saving tips they follow.
  • #50 Avoid recreational water toys that require a constant flow of water.
  • #51 Grab a wrench and fix that leaky faucet. It’s simple, inexpensive, and you can save 140 gallons a week.
  • #52. We’re more likely to notice leaky faucets indoors, but don’t forget to check outdoor faucets, pipes, and hoses.
  • #53. See a leak you can’t fix? Tell a parent, teacher, employer, or property manager, or call a handyman.
  • #54 At home or while staying in a hotel, reuse your towels.
  • #55 Run your washer and dishwasher only when they are full. You can save up to 1,000 gallons a month.

OUTDOOR TIPS

XERISCAPE LANDSCAPING

  • #56 Use porous material for walkways and patios to prevent wasteful runoff and keep water in your yard.
  • #63 Group with the same watering needs together to avoid overwatering some while underwatering others.
  • #64 Plant shrubs and ground covers appropriate to your site and region.
  • #65 Plant in the spring and fall, when the watering requirements are lower.
  • #66 Avoid planting grass in areas that are hard to water, such as steep inclines and isolated strips along sidewalks and driveways.
  • #67 Leave lower branches on trees and shrubs and allow leaf litter to accumulate on the soil. This keeps the soil cooler and reduces evaporation.
  • #68 Start a compost pile. Using compost in your garden or flower beds adds water-holding organic matter to the soil.
  • #69 Use a layer of organic mulch on the surface of your planting beds to minimize weed growth that competes for water.
  • #70 Spreading a layer of organic mulch around plants helps them retain moisture, saving water, time and money.
  • #71 Use 2 to 4 inches of organic mulch around plants to reduce evaporation and save hundreds of gallons of water a year.
  • #72 Next time you add or replace a flower or shrub, choose a low-water-use plant and save up to 550 gallons each year.
  • #73 Collect water from your roof by installing gutters and downspouts. Direct the runoff to plants and trees.
  • #74 For automatic water savings, direct water from rain gutters and HVAC systems to water-loving plants in your landscape.

LAWN CARE

  • #86 Read the Landscape Watering by the Numbers guidebook to help you determine how long and how much to water.
  • #87 Use a trowel, shovel, or soil probe to examine soil moisture depth. If the top two to three inches of soil are dry, it’s time to water.
  • #88 Set a kitchen timer or alarm on your phone when using the hose as a reminder to turn it off. A running hose can discharge up to 10 gallons per minute.
  • #89 Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk or street.
  • #90 Minimize evaporation by watering during the early morning hours when temperatures are cooler and winds are lighter.
  • #91 Timing is everything when it comes to irrigation. Learn how to set your controller properly.
  • #92 Look for WaterSense® labeled irrigation controllers.
  • #93 Learn how to shut off your automatic watering system in case of malfunctions or rain.
  • #94 Apply water only as fast as the soil can absorb it.
  • #95 If water runs off your lawn easily, split your watering time into shorter periods to allow for better absorption.
  • #96 Water only when necessary. More plants die from over-watering than from under-watering.
  • #97 Signs of overwatering: Leaves turn lighter shades of green or yellow, young shoots wilt, and sometimes algae or fungi grow.
  • #98 Water your plants deeply but less frequently to encourage deep root growth and drought tolerance.
  • #99 Use sprinklers that deliver big drops of water close to the ground. Smaller drops and mist often evaporate before hitting the ground.
  • #100 Use a rain barrel to harvest rainwater from gutters for watering gardens and landscapes.
  • #101 For hanging baskets, planters and pots, put ice cubes on top of the soil to give your plants a cool drink of water without overflow.

GENERAL OUTDOOR

  • #102 Winterize outdoor spigots when temperatures dip below freezing to prevent pipes from leaking or bursting.
  • #103 For more immediate hot water and energy savings, insulate hot water pipes.
  • #104 Wash your pets outdoors, in an area of your lawn that needs water.
  • #105 When cleaning out fish tanks, give the nutrient-rich water to your non-edible plants.
  • #106 When you give your pet fresh water, don’t throw the old water down the drain. Use it to water your trees or shrubs.
  • #107 Use a broom instead of a hose to clean patios, sidewalks and driveways, and save water every time.
  • #108 Set water softeners for a minimum number of refills to save both water and chemicals, plus energy, too.

Actions to Take to Protect Property Damage During Freezing Weather


CleverJourneys offers readers the following tips for preventing property damage during freezing weather:

Before Freezing Weather

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam cover, rags or paper.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent the valve from breaking. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6″ metal lid.

In Sub-Freezing Weather

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

If You Are Not Going To Be Home

  • Shut water off at the property owner’s cut-off valve.
  • Drain all outside water faucets if your house will be unoccupied for several days (leave outside faucets open).
  • Or, leave home heating system on at a low setting.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.

Renters and tenants may be responsible for their personal property damage caused by broken water pipes during severe weather conditions. Residents should contact property management/landlord or maintenance personnel to locate property owner’s cut-off valve and find ways to avoid pipe breakage during a freeze.

Jack Dennis directed Facilities Management for all H-E-B FOOD STORES in the 1980s-90s-2000s. In part, this included overseeing mitigation, prevention, maintenance and emergency operations for retail centers, manufacturing, warehouses, offices and real estate properties.

How ‘Big Rocks’ Can Improve Your Home, RV, Work, Life Experiences

I’m grateful for over 30 years (on and off) of employment with H-E-B Food/Drugs for many reasons. Besides working with awesome Partners (employees throughout Texas and Mexico), I’m especially thankful for the learning and training opportunities that proved so beneficial in life.

Learning and teaching Lean Enterprise and Six Sigma was especially rewarding.

Even today, years after my early retirement, I use these powerful techniques at home, in the RV and with projects.

Eventually earning Six Sigma Black Belt accreditation, I gave presentations across the country at various professional conferences.

At H-E-B, all of my Facilities Management regional offices (for retail stores, gas stations, manufacturing, real estate properties and warehouses) and their field Partners were trained. Some became belt holders of various degrees.

The results in productivity and value were amazing, saving millions of dollars over the years. Efficiency was the name of the game, by destroying waste along the way.

As an introduction to many classes and seminars, I’d present the substantial visual lesson from Stephen Covey’s First Things First “rock parable.”

With a large jar on a table, surrounded by various sizes of rocks, gravel and sand, I’d begin.

“Your life and work has big rocks and little rocks. The size represents the importance and, essentially, what should be prioritized. They all have to fit into your jar.”

I’d pour the little rocks in first and could easily get them all in the jar.

Next, I tried the big rocks, they wouldn’t fit.

Scratching my head, I’d suddenly come up with another idea.  This time I put the big rocks in first. Guess what happened?

Big Rocks always first.

The little rocks naturally fell into the remaining space allotted. I’d follow up with small bits of gravel and sand, representing inconsequential things people worry about, dwell on or spend far too much time on.

The moral of the story: Always take care of the most important stuff first. Always the big rocks! You can fit nearly everything else (that might be valuable and needed) later.

There are many ways to make sure your big rocks stay front and center.

One popular method is the Eisenhower Box or Matrix. I believe in it so much, that my children, now adults, use it naturally in their own homes and careers.

To use it, mark a piece of paper into four equal boxes or quadrants. Write or separate what needs to be done into one of the four boxes. Quadrant 1 will be top left, Quadrant 2: top right. 3: bottom left.

Quadrant 4: Not urgent and not important

Quadrant 3: Urgent, but not important

Quadrant 2: Important, but not urgent

Quadrant 1: Urgent and important


It becomes clear “urgent and important” items are your immediate priority.

We get into the most trouble when we confuse “urgent, but not important” with “urgent and important.” 

Live as much of your life as possible in Quadrant 2 activities: Studying, planning, vacationing, reading, exercising, taking your vitamins and medications properly, nutrition, mitigating, improving, resting, learning, organizing and getting rid of waste, etc.

The most successful and happiest people realize that things are always urgent, but if they only focus on the urgent (or what some may consider urgent but in reality, it’s not), the important will never get accomplished.

A common mistake people make in their planning, work and projects, is spending an inordinate amount of time on little rocks.

Imagine how much better your life, travels, and experiences could be if you weren’t so enamored with the bits of gravel. At a certain point–sooner than later–spending your time more on the little rocks, gravel and sand will give you significantly diminished returns.

That inordinate amount of time can have devastating effects on your “big rocks.”  Sometimes it’s better to attend to your true priorities, arrive safely on time or accomplish an important goal, than having a perfect little rock.

In future posts, I’ll present valuable Quadrant 2 type examples and information you can use at home, in your RV, workshop, or office to improve your life.

Follow me here to more tips, hacks and good information.

25 Clever Uses for Rubber Bands

The name “rubber” refers to the ability of the substance to rub off markings.

Here are 25 clever uses for rubber bands.

1. Open a jar. Tight lid? Place rubber band around the edge of it for extra grip.

2. Prevent lockouts. Hook a rubber band around a doorknob, then twist it and slip the other end over the opposite knob to keep the door from latching.

3. Skip paint drips. Secure a band across the opening of a paint can and use it to scrape off excess after dipping a brush into the paint.

4. Enjoy teatime. Place a band around your mug to hold the teabag string in place so the tag doesn’t slip in the water.

5. Perfect a French manicure. Stretch a rubber band across your palm from your thumb to your pinkie. Slip a finger under the band so only the nail tip shows. Paint the exposed part of the nail with polish.


6. Open a Stuck Bottle
Same as #1, but for a simple but effective grip, wrap a thick rubber band around the rim of a jar lid or bottle top and then twist. Plastic wrap and rubber kitchen gloves work well as grippers, too.

7. Prevent a Cutting Board from Sliding
A rubber band wrapped around the board will create enough resistance to stop any counter glide. Safer and easier!

8. Track Ingredient Levels
Have canisters or other kitchen containers that are difficult to see inside? Keep track of how much is left by securing a rubber band around the outside to mark the level of whatever’s inside. This little trick works well for paint containers, too.


9. Keep a Candle (and Wax!) in Place
Candle not quite fitting snugly into its holder? Wrap a rubber band around the candle’s base for a tighter fit. Secure a band a little higher up to stop any wax drips from moving past the candle onto your furniture.

10. ID Wineglasses
Having a party? Put rubber bands in different colors (or even shapes) to good use! These are perfect for slipping around the stems of wineglasses so your guests can tell whose glass is whose. Slip in a flower or other small charm or item as a decoration or party favor.

11. Better Flower Arranging
To help keep flowers where you put them, simply group with rubber bands around the stems.

12. Decorate a Jar or Tin
Wrap multicolored rubber bands around an old can or jar. Use it to hold flowers, pens, or even hardware—whatever you want to contain in a fun way. You can also space out some bands a bit and tuck in little touches such as dried flowers or cinnamon sticks.

13. Easy Curtain Pullbacks
Use a rubber band that matches the color of your curtains to keep them pulled aside.

14. Elevate Your Egg Decorating
If you enjoy dyeing Easter eggs, here’s a simple way to add patterns: Just wrap rubber bands around them before dipping into the dye. Wherever you place a rubber band will remain white. Try stripe and plaid patterns. This trick works for any kind of craft painting as well.

Save $20-$40 with a DIY French Manicure.

15. Hands-Free Phone Holder
Thread a rubber band through the top of your car’s AC vent, then pull it out through the bottom. Secure both ends around your phone at the top and bottom. The bands will hold the phone in place, ready to view for driving directions.

16. The Smartest Packing Technique
The secret frequent travelers use: To fit the most in your luggage without smashing and wrinkling, roll your clothing and secure with rubber bands.

17. DIY Tripod
Crisscrossed rubber bands can fasten your phone to a chair, bicycle handlebars, or wherever you’d like to enable fun photos or video.

18. Protect Books
Whether in your bag or your kids’ backpack, books can get damaged when pages fly open. Keep books closed by wrapping a rubber band around them.

19. Makeshift Splint
Use a rubber band to firmly secure an injured finger to a support you have on hand, such as a stick.

20. Create A Wrist Strap
Flashlight, camera, or other item missing a strap? Simply loop and tie a rubber band to make one.

21. Slow Pumpables for Kids
Pumps that dispense soap, shampoo, and lotion can make it too easy for kids to take too much. To reduce the amount, just wind a rubber band around the neck. This simple step will control how far the pump can move and how much it dispenses—and stop the sink mess.

22. No More Shower Drops
Shampoo bottles and bars of soap can get slippery to handle in the shower. Wrapping a rubber band or two around them will give you a better place to grip.

23. Eyeglasses Prone to Slipping?
Looping a rubber band around the end of each side can help them grip better and stay in place.

24. Hangers That Hold
Wrap rubber bands around the pointed ends to grip and keep tops from sliding off.

25. Get a Little More Give in Jeans
Make the waist of your jeans stretch a little farther by looping a rubber band through the buttonhole and over the button. It’s a great quick fix for early pregnancy months or even just after a big dinner.

Over 40 Uses for WD40

WD-40 Uses:

‘Water Displacement’ Compound.


1.      Protects silver from tarnishing.


2.      Removes road tar and grime from cars.


3.      Cleans and lubricates guitar strings. 🎸


4.      Gives floor that ‘just-waxed’ sheen without making them slippery.


5.      Keeps the flies off of Cows, Horses, and other Farm Critters.


6.      Restores and cleans chalkboards.


7.      Removes lipstick stains.💋


8.      Loosens stubborn zippers.


9.      Untangles jewellery chains.


10.    Removes stains from stainless steel sinks.


11.    Removes dirt and grime from the barbecue grill.


12.    Keeps ceramic/terracotta garden pots from oxidising.


13.    Removes tomato stains from clothing.🍅


14.    Keeps glass shower doors free of water spots.


15.    Camouflages scratches in ceramic and marble floors.


16.    Keeps scissors working smoothly.


17.    Lubricates noisy door hinges on both home and vehicles doors.


18.    It removes that nasty tar and scuff marks from the kitchen
flooring. It doesn’t seem to harm the finish and you won’t have to
scrub nearly as hard to get them off.  Just remember to open some
windows if you have a lot of marks.


19.    Remove those nasty bug guts that will eat away the finish
on your car if not removed quickly!🐛


20.    Gives a children’s playground gym slide a shine for a super fast slide.


21.    Lubricates gearshift and mower deck lever for ease of handling on
riding mowers.


22.    Rids kids rocking chair and swings of squeaky noises.


23.    Lubricates tracks in sticking home windows and makes them easier to open.


24.    Spraying an umbrella stem makes it easier to open and close.


25.    Restores and cleans padded leather dashboards in vehicles, as well as vinyl bumpers.


26.    Restores and cleans roof racks on vehicles.


27.    Lubricates and stops squeaks in electric fans.


28.    Lubricates wheel sprockets on tricycles, wagons and bicycles for
easy handling. 🚲


29.    Lubricates fan belts on washers and dryers and keeps them running smoothly.


30.    Keeps rust from forming on saws and saw blades, and other tools.


31.    Removes grease splatters from stove-tops.


32.    Keeps bathroom mirror from fogging.


33.    Lubricates prosthetic limbs.


34.    Keeps pigeons off the balcony (they hate the smell).


35.    Removes all traces of duct tape.


36.    Folks even spray it on their arms, hands, and knees to relieve
arthritis pain.


37.    Florida ‘s favorite use is: ‘cleans and removes love bugs from
grills and  bumpers.’


38.    The favorite use in New York: it protects the Statue of Liberty from the elements.🗽


39.    WD-40 attracts fish. Spray a little on live bait or lures and you
will be catching the big one in no time. Also, it’s a lot cheaper than
the chemical attractants that are made for just that purpose.   Keep
in mind though, using some chemical laced baits or lures for fishing
are not allowed in some states.


40.    Use it for fire ant bites. It takes the sting away immediately and
stops the itch. 🐜


41.    It is great for removing crayon from walls. Spray it on the marks
and wipe with a clean rag.


42.    Also, if you’ve discovered that your teenage daughter has washed
and dried a tube of lipstick with a load of laundry, saturate the
lipstick spots with WD-40 and rewash. Presto! The lipstick is gone!


43.    If you spray it inside a wet distributor cap, it will displace the
moisture, allowing the engine to start.


44. Ants don’t like it.🐜