Show Notes: Fences and Cool Tools – On the House

Show Notes: Fences and Cool Tools

By on March 4, 2017

Spring is fast approaching, time to get your “To-Do” list on order. Is it time to replace that rickety  fence?  The choices for wood fencing may leave you wondering what will last longer, with less maintenance, than the old fence. We have  information that will put you in the know when you do go shopping for  that fencing. Time to tune up and get your mowers ready for spring? Need to change the oil? How about a kit from Briggs and Stratton that will eliminate that oil changing mess? 

Thank you to our guest: Dave Smith with Roxul:


Got Honey?

Honey Runs Down Walls of Bee-Infested Texas Home

 Latanja Levine just wanted a roofing job at her Texas fixer-upper. You can understand why she was upset when honey began oozing down the walls of her home shortly after work began.

Turns out, the 50,000 bees living in Levine’s ceiling were the culprits!

“It’s coming in from the ceiling, down to the walls,” Leveine said on KIAH’s NewsFix last week. “I’m mopping it up, mopping in the walls. It’s all over the curtains here— just honey. They’re probably ruined.”

When I looked, it’s going to other walls and coming through other places and you can see it’s coming through cracks and crevices in the crown molding,” she said.

 According to USA Today, “honey-soaked homes” aren’t uncommon, so there is protocol. The bees were safely smoked out and put into colonies. They did not, however, capture the Queen bee.


Dangerous Springtime Pests And Problems

Springtime is here, and with it comes rogue bugs out of their winter hiding spots and into our gardens and our homes.

While most people are thrilled to welcome the spring weather for outdoor adventures, the outdoors can also bring danger, and encountering these dangerous pests can lead to severe illness and damage to the environment.


 You may think of mosquitos as just an annoying pest that will make you itch with a bite, but they can actually be very dangerous.  In the U.S., the West Nile virus is becoming increasingly more common.

 If you decide to go outdoors, make sure you use insect repellant and keep your skin covered as much as possible.


According to, carpenter ants, odorous house ants, and pavement ants were the three most cited as structural and nuisance pest ants.”

House Flies

House flies are one of the most annoying and disgusting pests during the spring. According to, house flies carry “bacteria and protozoans that cause many serious diseases, e.g., typhoid fevercholera, and dysentery.”

Each female lays from 100 to 200 eggs in the garbage or manure on which the white larvae feed. ”That being said, make sure you inspect the outside of your house and seal up any openings that the flies may be able to sneak through.


Ticks are one of the most dangerous springtime pests. Be careful on any outdoor excursions such as camping and hiking through grassy, wooded places surrounded by wild animals and birds. Tick bites are easy to get and difficult to notice.

If not treated immediately tick-bourne diseases may occur, which include Lyme disease; tularemia; relapsing fever; rocky mountain spotted fever; Colorado tick fever; and babesiosis


There are many different types of spiders, some more dangerous than others. Some of these include the Black Widow Spider which can be found in woodpiles and garages, it is highly venomous and can result in death. Mouse spiders which can be found on open ground after rain, it has it has large fangs which result in a painful bite. Black House Spiders which are commonly found in gutters, sheds and toilets, and can cause severe pain and nausea if you’re bitten.


Cool Tool Review 

Tuning Up Your Lawn Mower

One of us made his way into the work world at the ripe old age of nine tending garden for an Aunt. Mowing four large plots of turf with a gas-powered, push-behind rotary mower was a once weekly chore. If the power mower didn’t work, we were forced to cut the grass with an old style push reel mower that took at least twice the time and four times the effort. Consequently, we learned early on the importance of keeping our mower – and other power equipment – in tip-top shape.

A mower tune up can save you big bucks in lots of ways. A well-tuned motor burns fuel more efficiently, which equates to lower fuel costs, more horsepower and greatly reduced emissions. And, when a motor runs properly it lasts longer.

Always best to follow manufacturer’s instructions for safety, care and maintenance, but the following tips keep mowers running safely and efficiently. Always disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plug before attempting any maintenance task to avoid injury from accidental start.

  • Check the oil level before every use. Make sure it is filled to the mark on the dipstick and don’t overfill. Experts say that you should change oil after every 50 hours of operation. We think it’s a good habit to drain and replace the oil in your mower at the beginning of every season. Tipping the mower on its side to remove old, dirty oil can make a huge mess. An easier way is by using an Oil Removal Kit by Briggs & Stratton ( The kit contains a siphon pump, a universal adapter, a sealable oil bottle and a clear hose. Run the engine for about five minute to warm the oil. Allow the oil to settle for several minutes and insert one end of the clear hose into the oil filler, making sure that the hose is all the way into the sump. Next, pump the handle on the siphon to start the flow of oil. You’ll know when you’ve removed all of the oil when the hose is clear. Remove the hose; seal the cap on the oil bottle and dispose of the used oil as you would other potentially hazardous materials. Complete the process by refilling the sump with the type and quantity of oil recommended by the manufacturer. Before running the mower, check the oil level with the dipstick once it has had time to settle.
  • Clean or change your air filter at least every three months or after 25 hours of use. If mowing in a dusty environment, consider changing your air filter more frequently. Keep in mind that cleaning your air filter can be helpful, but there is no acceptable substitution for replacement.
  • Use fresh gas and keep it in a well-sealed can.
  • Periodically inspect the blade for wear or damage and have it professionally sharpened at least once a year. Check to make sure that the blade is balanced.
  • Replace or clean the spark plug after every 100 hours of use. Again, if you don’t use your mower for 100 hours in a season you may want to replace the plug after each year of use anyway.
  • Clean the blade housing and mower undercarriage. Build up can occur inside the blade housing. Wet grass sticks to itself like glue. A slow blade can result when grass build up occurs in the blade housing.
  • Spray an all purpose lubricant into the blade housing and mower undercarriage to prevent mud and grass build up and to reduce the amount of cleaning you have to do.
  • The engine must always be clean and free of all debris –including mud. Lawnmower engines are air-cooled and can only cool when the engine parts can get adequate air.



 Fixing Damaged Window Screens

 Do your window screens look like they’ve been through a gunfight, and you haven’t got money or time to replace them? Well, don’t despair.

To repair holes in aluminum screens, cut a patch slightly larger than the hole. Pull off one strand of wire on each side and bend remaining edge wires downward. Place the patch over the hole with bent-wire ends sticking through, and crimp them over on the backside to hold it. For fiberglass screens, cut a slightly larger patch and place it over the hole, matching the pattern.

Add a thin bead of epoxy cement or super glue, even clear caulk will do, and dab off any excess before it dries. You can glue aluminum screening, too. It’s a process of trial and error.



Need A New Wood Fence?

What To Know Before You Go Shopping:

 When choosing a wood grade for your fence, it is best to pick from construction, select, premium or clear grade wood.

These are of better quality than standard, better or quality grade wood, which are cheaper but have imperfections and knots that tarnish the look of your fence and make it easier for rot and insects to impose. The most expensive choices are clear and premium grade woods, which have a uniform appearance, are the most durable and of the highest quality. Select and construction grade woods are less expensive and of good quality for fence building; however, one side of the lumber may have slight imperfections.

Pine, Fir or Spruce

Pine, fir and spruce are common choices for wood fences because of their affordability and durability. Spruce is commonly used to create prefabricated, stockade-style or picket fences. Pine and fir fall under the category of pressure-treated woods. An insecticidal preservative known as CCA, or chromated copper arsenate, is used to deter termites and other insects from taking up residence inside these woods. Pine and fir are also commonly treated with a water-repellent stain that increases the life and durability of your fence by preventing rot.

Cedar and Cypress

Cedar contains natural oils, while cypress contains a natural chemical called cypretine. Both of these aromatic oils and chemicals are a deterrent to insects, making them a good choice for fences. These woods are rot-resistant, giving them a longer lifespan than other wood choices. Increase the lifespan of your cedar or cypress fence by selecting wood that is treated with a finish to prevent it from turning gray in color. Because cypress trees are native to the Southern United States and are often shipped long distances, cypress can be a pricey choice for fences. Cedar is a middle-of-the-road choice that might better fit your budget.


The most expensive wood for fences is redwood. The high cost of redwood makes it uneconomical for very large or long fences, but its aesthetic value and quality makes it one of the best materials from which to construct a fence. If you are working on a tight budget but still want to incorporate redwood for its aesthetic value, it is possible to use higher-grade redwood for fence panels and a lower-grade wood for the fence posts. However, higher-grade redwood is the most durable wood, in addition to being the most resistant to insects and rot. Redwood also needs to be treated with a clear stain or coating to prevent the wood from turning a grayish color with age.


 Check Your Foundation Vents

 Spring is a great time to clean out foundation vents and check screens for damage. Clean the vents by hand or a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens knowing that a rat can squeeze through a hole the size of a quarter, and mice can get inside a hole barely bigger than the diameter of a pencil!





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