Customizable Home Security With SAGE


What's This?When I contemplate what matters most to me, my family is the first thing that comes to mind. I would do anything to protect them. Peace of mind begins with a safe and secure home. Meet SAGE by Hughes, a self-monitoring home security and automation solution that literally puts the control at your fingertips. Whether you’re relaxing on the couch or away on family vacation, your home is never more than a touch away! They provided some equipment for me to evaluate; Let’s see what it’s all about. [Read more…]

How to Keep the Rascals OUT of YOUR Garden

homefixated bunny pic

Awww! So adorable! Right? Wrong! Don’t be fooled! This sweet little hippity-hop-bun-bun is one of the most notorious scoundrels to ever descend upon the gardener’s plot. It’s the reason you need garden pest prevention done right. The dinky darling and his gang of miscreants can and will wreak havoc on your flowers and your veggies, turning your hard effort into a nibbled up knoll of nothing in no time. In addition to the bunny troubles, to make matters even worse for me, two of my very favorite varmints in life are on Team Bunny Foo Foo too – my puppy love and my whippersnapper toddler. Together, these three have an incredible offense based on cuteness and innocence. They are a constant force working against me when it comes to gardening. Along with the inappropriate munching, one gleeful romp from the dog turns my well planned and identifiable veggie patch into an oversized tossed salad come harvest time. And you can only imagine what a Tonka truck in the hands of the two year old can do. It’s a tomato plant’s worst nightmare. Please read on for a few basic tips on garden pest prevention. [Read more…]

Keen Milwaukee Work Boots – Not Just For Brewers Fans


If you spend most of the day on your feet, you know the value of a good pair of shoes. So do the folks at Keen Footwear, who have a reputation for making durable, comfortable, sporty looking shoes, for both work and leisure. Last fall, we got an insider’s look at the state-of-the-art Keen Footwear manufacturing facility in Portland, Oregon. We also got a chance to try out a pair of their American-built Mt. Vernon work boots. The Mt. Vernons I tried have steel-toe protection, and although they’re super comfortable, not everyone needs – or wants – the protection of a steel-toed boot. If you’re looking for comfortable and rugged work boots, but prefer not to be a man (or woman) of steel, the Keen work boots lineup offers several choices, including the recently introduced soft-toe version of the Keen Mt. Vernon. Ever eager to expand my horizons, though, I decided to try something from further north in Keen’s lineup of industrial-city-inspired work boots – a pair of Keen Milwaukee work boots. [Read more…]

Ridgid Jobsite Radio GEN5X – Take Your Bluetooth Boombox To Work

ridgid jobsite radio

Like most people, my work day has certain essential rituals. The first task every day involves consumption of large quantities of strong black coffee. Once I’m sufficiently caffeinated to contemplate actually doing some work, the first device to get powered up is the music. Even back in prehistoric times (the 70’s), I needed my tunes to get things underway. Back then it was a 9-volt transistor radio (ask your parents). The sound was pretty tinny, but even tinny music makes the work day go better. Fast-forward a few decades, and now I generally set up either my iPod and a set of portable speakers (if there’s power available), or a small, old Ryobi portable radio when I’m powerless. Recently, the new Ridgid Jobsite Radio GEN5X rolled in for us to evaluate, and my musical options came kicking and streaming into this century. [Read more…]

4ft LED Shop Light From Rockler Reviewed

4ft LED shop light - Rockler

When I was given the opportunity to evaluate our sponsor Rockler’s new LED shop light, (item #51898), I jumped at the chance. I’ve been in love with LEDs (said “ELL-E-DEES”) since childhood and was extremely curious to find out for myself whether white LEDs are actually good enough for use as room, or in this case, shop lighting. I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical. [Read more…]

Starting Seedlings Outside and Get Your Garden Groove On!


When there is snow on the ground in most parts of the country and holiday travelers are fretting over delayed flights, most gardening periodicals and blogs choose to tell us that we should get a head start on our summer gardens by going ahead and buying our seeds. After all, we only have another couple of months before they are supposed to be planted! Like it says on most of the packages we don’t bother to glance at until the spring of the year: “Start your seeds eight to ten weeks before your frost-free date, for best results.” Wait…what?!? Yes, I know. For some of us, that long passed date would have taken place in February and it’s already April! No worries, though, particularly if you’re in an area that has a long growing season. Read on for some great tips on starting seedlings outside, and why you might want to do that over starting seedling indoors. [Read more…]

Bosch JS120BN Cordless Jigsaw – Take It For A Scroll

bosch js120bn

Boy, do I have saws. Sliding compound miter saws, reciprocating saws, circular saws, table saws, a variety of hand saws, a tile saw, a jigsaw, a band saw, oscillating multitools…alright, time to cut this off. Sorry. Some of these saws get a lot of use, others much less, but I’m a firm believer in “The right tool for the job.” The right tool for many jobs is the trusty old jigsaw; for certain types of cuts, there’s no better way to go. When you have some of these fancy schmancy cuts to make, you’ll want to schlep along a good-quality jigsaw that’s easy to operate, and fast to get into action. With the dramatic improvements in cordless tools over the past couple of years, more pros are turning to cordless models to cut their down time. We recently received a Bosch JS120BN cordless jigsaw to evaluate; keep reading and we’ll see if it makes the cut. [Read more…]

Dust Control Takes Center Stage at the World of Concrete 2016


Every year I travel to the World of Concrete trade show in Las Vegas to see the latest tools, gear, and equipment used for building and remodeling with concrete and masonry. The show’s target audience is largely commercial contractors, but since many of the same tools are used in all types of construction, there’s plenty here to interest guys who don’t pour acres of concrete. The show was last month, but I waited to report on it until I had the news everyone in the industry was holding their breath over: the issuance of OSHA’s new crystalline silica “dust” rule announced just this week. [Read more…]

Nary a Bad Seed – 6 Seed Companies for Your Gardening Needs


Spring is in the air! If you haven’t gotten started on The Garden, 2016 edition, it’s not too late to do so! Although we’ve covered seed company reviews before, the emphasis was on catalogs and not brands. With that in mind, here’s a quick and pithy review of some seed companies I’ve used in the past and would probably use again in the future. This review of seed companies should give you some ideas about where to look for the most basic source of plant life.  [Read more…]

How to Make Great Cold Brew Coffee – Your Barista Will Tremble in Fear

cold brew coffee iced

How did I become a cold brew coffee fanatic? I’m an odd case. I took a sip of my mom’s coffee when I was about five years old and decided it was the most vile, disgusting beverage imaginable. Sure, it was brewed to German standards and was strong enough to strip the chrome off a Harley (or BMW), but I was terrified by its taste. Terrified enough that I didn’t revisit drinking coffee again until my early 40’s. With kids, a never-ending to-do list, and, especially, working as a real estate agent, I realized I needed to extract more productivity out of myself. The solution? Coffee. But not just any coffee. I eventually realized cold brew coffee actually tasted great, without the bitterness that still haunts me from my first childhood sip. Luckily for me (and you), making an amazingly delicious cup of hot or cold cold brew coffee is remarkably easy and requires almost no gear. Granted, it doesn’t involve power tools (unless you count the bean grinder), nor does it involve sawdust. . . but I think you’ll still find this cold brew coffee guide very useful. And, thanks to my trial and error, I’ll get you setup to make a great cold brew right off the bat, all for under $20. [Read more…]