Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fountain aerates water for cats

I rescued four kittens over three years. A few months ago, I gave our "problem child," Mushoo, to a friend. (Mushoo is aggressive and likes to pick on our other cats.) She gave him back when her allergies kicked in to point where she was almost hospitalized. Packed with Mushoo was the neatest gadget, a fountain water bowl.

All my cats love it. This small fountain circulates, filters and aerates the water. It flows through a charcoal filter and down a ramp into the bowl.

Cats need to drink plenty of water to avoid urinary track disease. My cats are fascinated by the sound and movement. The fountain costs about $40 and can be bought at local pet stores or online.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Take a hike with a walking stick

After my dog was attacked by a smaller but vicious dog on one of our daily walks, I started using a walking stick. The intention was to use the stick to ward off future attacks. Instead the walking stick helped me as a walking aid.

I'm top heavy so walking on trails with loose gravel, branches and shallow holes made for slow, unsteady progress. Having an excited dog pull on the leash just added to feeling unbalanced. I have fallen several times and broken my pinkie and foot. So I am wary of walking in rough terrain.

With the walking stick, I walk faster and with more confidence. I enjoy the walks a lot more. The cane provides a third foot on the ground, creating a tripod, which is more stable than a bi-pod.

As the walking stick distributes your weight through three points, it takes the stress off any painful joints you may have. It didn't take long for me to pick up a natural gait using the walking stick.

I'm not the only one has thought of using a walking stick as a weapon. A walking stick or cane is used in martial arts and has been used as a weapon for centuries by many cultures when formal weapons were outlawed.

You can buy a fancy cane or walking stick or you can make your own. I haven't used my walking stick to hit anyone, but I did scare two little terrier mutts back into their yard. And then I dashed away, with confidence.

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Monday, July 28, 2008

How to survive a power outage

Even if a storm like Hurricane Dolly leaves your home unscathed, a power outage could make your life uncomfortable for days. Hurricane winds of 75 mph with gusts up to 100 mph can knock down power lines if the uprooted trees don't fall on them first.

As of today, there are still homes that don't have electrical service five days after the hurricane left the area. But there doesn't have to be a storm to snuff out electrical service. In the summer blackouts can be caused by the excessive demand of air conditioning.

It's a smart idea to be prepared for power loss year-round. Check the Washington State Department of Health for tips for surviving a power outage.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

After the storm, check for water damage

Hurricane Dolly is creeping towards us this morning. It's a slow-moving storm so it's expected to dump from 10 to 15 inches of rain.

Following a storm, it is important to check for water damage in your house within 24 to 36 hours to prevent mold growth. Mold is not only unsightly, it can cause health problems from allergic reactions to respiratory issues.

I once attended a training with the foremost expert on mold. "Control moisture. Control mold. Thank you, that is the end of my lecture," he joked. He was only partly joking. Cleaning up water damage and preventing moisture is the key to mold growth.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has tips for preventing and cleaning mold in your home.

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