8 Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: April and May

April’s arrival means our planting season is ramping up, and our Murphy, NC gardeners are immersed in seed starting and vegetable transplanting activities. And with the May 10 “last frost” date fast approaching, planting warm-season veggies is just around the corner. Best of all, dedicated gardeners might already be rewarded with nicely growing cool-season vegetables, planted during February and/or March. To give your plants a good start, and keep them healthy and thriving, here are 8 tips that will set you up for gardening success. 


APRIL

Gardening in April can be like playing a roulette wheel. Much of the time, you can expect warm, sunny weather or spring showers – perfect for growing your vegetable crops. However, a sharp cold front can change everything, giving you freezing temperatures and maybe even a touch of snow. By planning for these wild weather swings, and protecting your garden accordingly, you’ll help your plants survive until May brings more predictable conditions.

Continue Seed-Starting Work: Until mid-April, keep planting your pepper, tomato, and other warm-season vegetable seeds indoors. If you miss that window, plan to direct seed these vegetables right after our region’s May 10 “last frost” date.

Plan Tomato Crop Rotation: Pinpoint a new spot for this year’s tomato crop. By switching up your planting location, you’ll minimize the chances of soil-borne diseases affecting your vegetables. Continue reading “8 Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: April and May”

Visit These 4 Scenic Picnic Spots Just a Stone’s Throw from Murphy, NC

Springtime’s warmer weather makes you want to kick up your heels in the great outdoors. Maybe you like hiking in the woods or playing some softball with your friends. Or, you might take the kids for a stroll along the Murphy River Walk. And if you’d enjoy a good old-fashioned family picnic, with a cooler full of sandwiches, sides, and cookies, you’ve got your choice of destinations.

You’ll find one enticing picnic spot in Murphy, NC, and two more in Cherokee County. Just a short drive away, neighboring Clay County offers another option. So get ready to hop in the car and enjoy some fresh air and good food.

Konehete Park: 699 Connehetta Street, Murphy, NC
This expansive community park borders the scenic Valley River, and is jointly operated by the Town of Murphy and Cherokee County. Besides the baseball and soccer fields, you’ll find a nicely maintained picnic area along with a kids’ playground.

After you finish your feast, stroll down to the river and relax on a bench under the trees. Or, burn some calories by exploring the Murphy River Walk, a beautiful 2-mile wooded walking trail that winds along the Valley River and Hiwassee River. Continue reading “Visit These 4 Scenic Picnic Spots Just a Stone’s Throw from Murphy, NC”

3 Fun-Filled Summer Camps for Murphy, NC Kids and Teens

Now that spring is finally here, Murphy, NC students will soon be counting down the weeks until their summer vacation. Although kids and teens might plan to become experts at their favorite video games, or spend weeks hanging out with their friends, their parents would likely choose more constructive activities. In other words, the parents want their children to get off the couch and exercise their bodies and minds during the summer. So, why not send them to summer camp? If that sounds like a good plan, check out three popular camp choices in and near Cherokee County.

NORTH SUNGATE FARMS (Horse Camp)
Murphy, NC. 828-494-2859.

Kids who enjoy horseback riding (or would love to learn) gravitate to this weeklong horse riding summer camp adventure. North Sungate Farms is nestled among beautiful woodlands and meadows near Murphy, North Carolina – a perfect setting for a fun-filled midsummer session. Continue reading “3 Fun-Filled Summer Camps for Murphy, NC Kids and Teens”

6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Make Your Murphy, NC Home Shine

With spring’s arrival just a few weeks away, you’ve got the urge to give your Murphy, NC home a big cosmetic makeover. In other words, you’re gearing up for some serious spring cleaning. To keep from getting overwhelmed by the project ahead, break the work into manageable chunks. Plan to begin with tasks common to each room, and then put the finishing touches on specific parts of the house.

Next, gather your cleaning tools and supplies, plus plenty of paper towels and/or rags. Include a set of sturdy rubber gloves to protect your hands, along with a mask if you’re sensitive to chemical smells. Then, crank up your favorite playlist and give your home some timely TLC before warmer weather begins. Continue reading “6 Spring Cleaning Tips to Make Your Murphy, NC Home Shine”

Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: February and March

With this season’s delightfully mild winter (so far, anyway), Murphy, NC gardeners are increasingly focused on the upcoming growing season. In fact, they might even be tempted to till the soil and get a jump on their vegetable planting work. Although waiting until the last frost date (May 10 in Cherokee County) might be a safer course of action, gardeners can take some important steps with these Tips for Prepping Your Vegetable Garden during February and March. Continue reading “Tips for Prepping Your Murphy, NC Vegetable Garden: February and March”

Fun Activities For Seniors In Murphy, NC and Cherokee County

Local fun activities for seniors are as diverse as the folks who enjoy them. For starters, you’ll often find ladies and gentlemen enjoying biscuits or waffles at their favorite Murphy, NC breakfast eatery. Next, some seniors might hit the grocery store or make the rounds of the local thrift shops. Other residents browse through books and DVDs at the Murphy Public Library, while hobby fans stock up on supplies for their latest projects.

Seniors who prefer group activities also have some attractive options. Whether they engage in gentle exercise with like-minded workout buddies, or socialize with friends and neighbors at a favorite gathering spot, they can enjoy those pastimes right in their local community. Looking at the big picture, Cherokee County offers some enticing choices for every taste. Continue reading “Fun Activities For Seniors In Murphy, NC and Cherokee County”

7 Energy Efficient Tips For Murphy, NC Homes

Energy efficient log homesAs winter’s cold temperatures make your home a bit chilly inside, you’ve been cranking up the heat to keep your family warm. And because winter isn’t the best time for outdoor activities, everyone has been spending extra time watching shows and surfing on the computer.  Thus testing how energy efficient your home really is.

Your family’s increased power consumption often means a higher electric bill, and you’d like to begin reversing that trend right now. By making your Murphy, NC home more energy efficient, you’ll save money over the long term. As an added bonus, you’ll reduce the demand on your power generation company’s resources. To get the ball rolling, follow these simple strategies that contribute to positive results.

KEEP THE COLD AIR OUTSIDE

During our region’s colder months, you’re focused on keeping your home comfortably warm, without spending a fortune in the process. You’ve tried to be conservative with the heat pump, and maybe you’ve been running the gas fireplace as well. So, don’t allow subpar windows and/or doors to sabotage your efforts.

Button Up Your Drafty Windows. If your home’s windows have gaps larger than ⅛ inch, seal those leaks by placing adhesive-fitted closed-cell foam onto the window sash’s bottom. Or, tape bubblewrap over the entire window, creating a plastic barrier that’s surprisingly effective.

Seal Your Home’s Leaky Doors. To decrease cold air intrusion through your doors, apply foam strips on each door’s top and sides. To finish the job, place a door sweep on the bottom.

REDUCE YOUR HVAC AND LIGHTING BILLS

Keeping your home toasty warm in the winter, and pleasantly cool in the spring and summer, just makes life more enjoyable. And when you’re relaxing inside with your family, you create a cozy, welcoming atmosphere with your interior lighting and accent lamps. However, your comfortable, well-lit home could be contributing to a higher electric bill. Fortunately, you can make several small changes that will help to get your electric expenses under control.

Fine-Tune the Climate Control System. To stay warmer during the winter, set your ceiling fans to rotate in a clockwise direction. Reversing the air flow helps to push warm air downward toward your living space. And while blades are stopped, wipe them down to eliminate any dust. Also, turning the thermostat down to 55 degrees at night will give your heat pump (and your budget) a break.

During the warmer months, minimize your air conditioning expenses by setting the thermostat at 78 degrees, especially when you’re away from home. Or, if it’s not excessively warm, run your ceiling fans instead to maximize air flow without placing demands on the heat pump.

Turn Down Your Light Consumption. To quickly and painlessly decrease your lighting costs, simply turn off the lights when you leave a room. If you’ve been leaving lights on when you’re away from home, consider putting them on easily managed timers.

In addition, consider trading your incandescent light bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), the curly-shaped bulbs derived from tube-shaped fluorescent lights. An Energy Star-compliant CFL uses one-fourth the energy, and lasts ten times longer, than a similar incandescent bulb that emits the same amount of light. Although each CFL costs more than an incandescent bulb, you’ll typically recoup that cost in less than nine months,

DECREASE YOUR HOME’S POWER USAGE

Powering up your computer, TV, and household appliances is as easy as flipping a switch. When you’re finished, you hit the “Off” button and walk away, assuming that the device’s power consumption has stopped.

However, if each piece of equipment is still plugged in, it’s racking up charges on your electric meter. This “standby power” usage costs you more than you realize. In fact, standby power makes up 5 percent to 10 percent of residential energy usage, with the average American household shelling out $100 per year. However, here’s some good news: you can easily reduce your standby power consumption, which will translate into savings over time.

Use a Switch-Equipped Power Strip. Install a power strip with On/Off switches for your electronic devices and other equipment. In your living room, for example, use a power strip for the TV and DVD player. Place another power strip near your computer, printer, paper shredder, and desk lamp. By plugging all equipment into an adjacent power strip, and turning off the power strip switch when those devices are idle, you’ll stop their electrical power consumption.

Unplug Your Power-Consuming Products. By simply unplugging your household devices when they’re not needed, you guarantee that they won’t add to the electric bill. While you wouldn’t want to unplug the refrigerator or home alarm system, for example, consider using this tactic on the microwave or bread machine.

Run Full Loads in the Washer and Dishwasher. Washers and dishwashers are the epitome of convenience. Several times a week, you hit the “On” switch, and clean clothes, dishes, and flatware appear in a couple of hours. However, if you run your appliances without full loads, it reduces their efficiency and costs you considerable money.

First, let’s say you throw a few things into the washer, and choose the appliance’s “Small Load” setting. Surprisingly, the machine will use almost as much water and energy as a full load of clothes. By running full laundry loads rather than half loads, your household could save up to 3,400 gallons of water annually, according to the United States Department of Energy. Speaking of energy savings, running one large load of laundry saves you roughly 25 percent to 50 percent of the energy used by two small loads. Even better, these water and energy savings translate into extra cash for your family.

Use a similar strategy to operate the dishwasher more efficiently. Although one full load consumes more water and energy than a half load, that single large load uses considerably less water and energy compared to two half loads. So, consistently pack the dishwasher full, and you’ll gradually reduce your water and energy expenses over time.

With this easy-to-follow blueprint, you can make your Murphy, NC home more energy efficient. Over time, you’ll likely see a smaller electric bill, giving you extra cash for home projects and enjoyable family activities.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

County Courthouse Lantern Repairs Grab Residents’ and Visitors’ Attention

Historic buildings are always good candidates for repairs and restorations. In cities and towns across the country, you’ll find workers shoring up sagging floors, replacing peeling paint, and even beefing up the building’s structure. However, here in Murphy, NC, the Cherokee County Courthouse recently received a rather unusual type of facelift.

Courthouse Lantern Removal & Repair

On the morning of Thursday, January 12, two huge hydraulic cranes lumbered into action on Murphy’s Peachtree Street, just outside the courthouse. Managed by Cannon Roofing Company, the cranes had a highly challenging task: remove the super-heavy copper lantern from atop the courthouse’s large dome. The word “lantern” is an architectural term, in this case referring to the ornamental structure that has topped the Cherokee County Courthouse since its 1926 construction.

First, a crane operator gently lowered the lantern’s dome to the street. Once workers examined the dome, they found that it was only secured by one solder joint, where up to eight joints had originally held it in place. In other words, the dome could have given way at any time, crashing onto the pedestrians and court patrons below. What had caused the joints to work themselves loose? Most likely, the dome’s waving American flag, followed by a copper American eagle, had created sufficient windage to negatively affect the dome’s structural integrity.

Next, an even larger crane plucked the much taller lantern from atop the building’s dome, and brought it safely to the ground. Constructed of eight 10-foot-high hollow copper Greek columns, the metal lantern is certainly a grand-looking structure. However, it’s also the subject of a mystery: the lantern is chock full of rifle bullet holes.

Cherokee County Courthouse’s Colorful History
The lantern repair’s unusual nature is the latest chapter in the courthouse’s unconventional history. In fact, the current building is the latest in a series of structures, the first of which was supposedly burned by Federal troops during the Civil War. Two more courthouses suffered the same fate, with the last one falling victim to fire in 1924.

In 1926, Cherokee County commissioners approved construction of the current courthouse. Designed by James J. Baldwin, and built with a veneer of imposing Blue Marble from nearby Marble (of course), the two-story Neo-Classical Revival-style courthouse easily commands your attention. Inside, the ground floor is home to numerous offices, while the expansive second-floor courtroom features finely crafted woodwork and plaster furnishings.

However, the Cherokee County Courthouse’s most dramatic feature is the two-story cupola that soars high above the entrance pavilion. Above the cupola’s lower stage, you’d normally see a striking large domed roof, topped by the lantern and smaller dome. With the lantern and small dome missing, though, the building looks strangely out of proportion.

What’s Next for the Lantern Repair Project
Of course, getting the lantern on the ground was only half the battle. To safely contain the cumbersome structure, Cannon Roofing workers had constructed a massive wooden box, which arrived atop a flatbed truck. After workers buttoned up the lantern for transport, the truck headed for Andrews-Murphy Airport, where skilled craftsmen would perform repairs inside an aircraft hangar.

Not surprisingly, fixing the 91-year-old copper lantern will be quite expensive. The Cherokee County government will soon issue a request for repair estimates, which should be the subject of much discussion around town. After the lantern repairs have been completed, workers will carefully reattach the copper eagle to the dome. Fittingly, this symbol of American liberty and freedom will soon resume its watch over downtown Murphy, NC.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

 

New Year’s Resolution #2 for Your Home: Improve the Air Quality

As 2017 gets underway, you’re becoming well acquainted with New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you concocted a personal resolution (or two). Or, you decided to focus on getting your Murphy, NC house shipshape this year. If that’s the case, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. First, let’s assume you’re taking steps to minimize your home’s hazards. That’s certainly a worthwhile way to spend your time and resources.

However, you might not realize that your home’s indoor air can also leave much to be desired. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency has designated indoor air quality as a primary environmental health hazard. Think about it: your home’s air contains dust, pollen, mold spores, and maybe even viruses. You’re especially at risk during the winter, when your doors and windows are tightly closed to keep out the cold. But here’s some good news: by adopting four easy-to-follow home maintenance strategies, you can greatly reduce dangerous lung irritants and improve your home’s air quality.

Keep Your HVAC System Maintained
Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) System just seems to run itself. When you flip a switch or adjust the thermostat, the heat pump jumps into action and provides you with heated or cooled air on demand. In other words, you expect a lot from this essential home system.

Just like your car or truck, maintaining your HVAC system will help to protect this expensive piece of equipment – and might help to improve your home’s indoor air quality. So, change your system’s furnace and/or air conditioning filters regularly. In fact, during the peak heating and cooling months, change your filter every month. Stock up on filters so you can keep the preventive maintenance on track.

Use Adequate Ventilation Systems
When you cook up a batch of bacon, or fry some chicken for dinner, you don’t want to smell those leftover cooking fumes for hours. An above-the-stove range hood fan should vacuum up those smells and remove them from your kitchen. Next, quickly (and safely) dispose of the used bacon grease or cooking oil (but don’t wash it down the sink). Finally, wash or soak your frying pan and/or cooking pots so the smell of cooked food doesn’t linger in the house.

In the bathroom, install a powerful exhaust fan to remove unpleasant odors and unwelcome humidity. Ensure that the fan (and all ventilation systems) transport air to the outdoors – and not into your attic crawl space or gaps between ceiling joists. Note: If you aren’t comfortable installing the fan yourself, hire an experienced professional to complete the project.

Burn Real Firewood (not Synthetic Wood)
When you crank up your fireplace or wood stove, you look forward to soaking up the rustic ambience while you watch a show or enjoy a hot drink. Warming your toes would certainly be an added bonus.

Although you might be tempted to burn some super-convenient, low-debris pressed wood logs, make the decision to burn real firewood instead. By putting several nicely seasoned hardwood logs on the fire, you’ll avoid exposure to formaldehyde, a hazardous substance often found in synthetic wood products.

Stick to Low-VOC Interior Paints
If your remodeling plans include painting your home’s interior, plan to put low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints on your materials list. VOCs are harmful chemical substances emitted by varied gases and solids, including paints and lacquers. As you might expect, you should minimize your exposure to these nasty compounds, which have been linked to respiratory illnesses and memory problems.

To find low-VOC paints, browse the paint aisle in your local hardware and/or home improvement store. Chances are, you’ll see low-VOC products from several manufacturers. To make a better-informed buying decision, research your favorite brand’s paints before visiting the store.

Now that you have a plan to improve your Murphy, NC home’s indoor air quality, you’ve taken a step toward improving your family’s health. As an added bonus, you’ve also made your home a more pleasant place to live.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team

New Year’s Resolution #1 for Your Home: Decrease the Hazards

imagesThis time of year, the New Year’s resolutions are flying thick and fast. You’ve seen them all before. Lose weight, get your finances in order, and snag a better job. And while the resolutions are easy to make, they’re often much tougher to keep. So for 2017, why not switch gears and resolve to get your Murphy, NC house in better working order? If that grabs your attention, consider making resolutions that apply regardless of your home’s size or operating budget.

For starters, you certainly don’t want to live in a home filled with health and fire risks. To reduce your chances of a negative outcome, follow these five preventive strategies applicable to any home.

Detect the Carbon Monoxide: Your home’s smoke detectors can alert you to developing fire danger. To increase your protection factor, install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor that contains a bedroom. This affordable little device can alert you to a blocked or leaking furnace vent or chimney flue. Without this detector, either malfunction can cause carbon monoxide to collect in your house and kill you and your family.

Find the Radon: This odorless, colorless gas can trap radioactive particles in your lungs, potentially leading to the development of lung cancer. To learn if your home has elevated radon levels, buy an inexpensive test kit at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Reduce Potential Mold: If your bathroom and/or attic aren’t vented to the outdoors, you greatly increase your home’s chances of becoming a mold factory. If you can’t easily install the vent(s) yourself, hire a competent professional to do the job.

Dig Out All the Dryer Lint: Although you frequently clean the dryer lint trap, highly combustible lint can also collect in the ducts and vents behind the dryer. Clean these areas often to knock down the fire hazard.

Older Home Remodeling Reminder: If your home was built or remodeled before 1978, you could be living with asbestos flooring and/or lead paint. If that’s the case, and you have future remodeling plans, handle these harmful substances carefully when removing them. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the job yourself, hire a specialist who will bring the proper gear.

While some projects just require a one-time effort, plan to change your smoke and carbon monoxide detector batteries on a regular basis. Develop a dryer lint removal schedule, too. By working to reduce your Murphy, NC home’s hazards, your house will be a healthier place for you and your family.

The Poltrock Team – REMAX Mountain Properties – Murphy NC – ilovemurphy.com – Call us Toll Free at 1-866-Murphy-NC or 1-866-687-7496 – Murphy’s #1 Real Estate Team