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A Greater Green Thumb

Make Your Garden Environmentally Green

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A Greater Green Thumb: Make Your Garden Environmentally Green We hear so much about "going green" in the news today that we sometimes forget that one of the best ways to be environmentally friendly is through a green thumb! Whether through careful design of a major landscape renovation or small changes to a few habits, making your garden green can be as simple or complex as you want. In fact, don't expect to make major changes in how you care for your yard overnight. Instead, consider some ideas you can implement now and then slowly add to them. As you begin to implement new gardening techniques you will also discover that making your landscape environmentally friendly is not just about saving mother nature - it can also save you money! Here are a few quick ideas to get you started on your new green garden: Pesky weeds: Yes, dousing them with weed killer is easier. However, most are not children, pet or nature friendly. Some old fashioned weed pulling can be great exercise or way to get the kids to earn their allowance. - Try to get weeds early in the year as this will mean less pulling later on. - Pulling a little at a time as you walk down a path is much better than a whole day of work. - Putting down mulch can help prevent weeds. - If you have an area that is overtaken by weeds instead of lawn, you might want to consider replanting the area with low native plants that need little attention. Return of the native: Using native plants in your landscaping is a great way of choosing plants that are accustomed to the climate and resistant to pests in your area. Although not foolproof, you will find native plants much easier to care for than many imports. - Also, many imports can be harmful to the native plants of the area. For example, English Ivy may look pretty when you care for it, but left on its own, it is a weed that quickly overtakes native plants and even trees! Research non-native plants beforehand to make certain they are not really noxious weeds for your environment. Homebrewed compost: Adding a compost bin is a great way to recycle food and yard waste and get something in return for it! Composting does take about 3-6 months before you get to use any results, but once you get the cycle going you will have a great way to decrease your garbage and increase your plants. - There are many styles of compost bins from indoor to outdoor, homemade to store bought - you can even find stylized ones that give character to your décor! - If you don't have a garden but have yard removal, check with your waste company's policies, many companies now offer to take the same items you would put in a compost bin (i.e. vegetable and fruit skins). They in turn use this to make compost for city parks. Even if you aren't using the compost, it is a great way to get this type of waste out of the landfill and to areas where it will be more beneficial. Harvest the rain: While your out picking up a compost bin, add a rain barrel too! These barrels can be placed directly under you gutter downspout or out from under the eaves. It is ideal to use the water regularly to keep it circulating. Overall this will help save on your water usage and bills! Water thoughtfully: Watering your plants properly will avoid unnecessary waste. - Use drip hoses for more even watering and to help decrease your water bill. - When watering plants, pay attention to their roots and water them before the sun is high so the plant has time to drink before it evaporates. - Using mulch around your plants can keep natural moisture in. Just make sure the mulch is not too deep and you leave some space at the base of the plant stem. Grow your groceries: What is more green then eating from your own garden? If you have never gardened before, start with a small plot and easier to grow veggies. For local advice, check out your neighborhood gardening associations which often offer free classes. Getting garden fresh foods on your table not only helps the environment but offers you better flavor and ease of mind as you know exactly what went into your produce. - Don't have a large yard? Urban community gardens are a fun way to build a sense of community, get free gardening help and again, harvest some great tasting produce. - Another way to garden in small spaces are through container gardens. Using containers to grow herbs and smaller vegetables like onions or spinach is a great alternative. - As you garden more, you will begin to start your veggies from seeds rather than buying starts at the store. When making starts of your own, use old milk cartons or other containers that you can recycle and use again and again. Invite the birds and the bees: Utilizing plants in your garden that are naturally appealing to beneficial insects and birds is a great way to improve the life of your plants. These good allies will help cut down on bad bug pests and can be fun to watch too! - Plant flowers and plants that are attractive to butterflies, bees and other naturally beneficial insects. Encouraging natural pollinators and cutting down your use of pesticides is a great combo for these natural little friends. - Some nurseries even sell lady bugs as they are a great natural defense for bug problems. - Invite birds into your yard with berry plants, flowers, and a water bath. Birds are some of your best pest reducers. - If you have berries you want to keep for yourself instead of the birds, there are safe netting options out there that don't trap birds but keep them off your berries! Plan your garden: As we have mentioned in earlier articles, planning out a garden can save you a lot of headache and money down the road. But it can also allow you to be more green. When planning your layout you may pay closer attention to what areas of the yard get more sun or rain and install plants that are suitable for different locations. - You can also minimize your gardening chores by planning certain "wild" areas or buffers using native plants that require little upkeep. Hardscapes: Finally, when planning or renovating your yard, consider the non-organic features. From the paths to the containers, consider what impacts the materials you use will have on the environment and your garden's health. - Recycled materials are becoming more readily available for constructing everything from paths to patios. Take a look at all the options and give these recycled materials a chance. - Try to get planters and containers made of recycled material. Some people get very creative with old items that they turn into planters (i.e. an old sink or wheelbarrow). - Try some of the new solar lights to add lighting features to your yard. They are earth friendly and can save you money! Useful Links EPA: Greenscapes www.epa.gov/epaoswer/non-hw/green/ Information about going green provided by the US Environmental Protection Agency. Includes ideas for homes, businesses and recreational areas. USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/ "This section of our Web site will help you find your nearest Cooperative Extension office. The Cooperative Extension System is a nationwide, non-credit educational network. Each U.S. state and territory has a state office at its land-grant university and a network of local or regional offices. These offices are staffed by one or more experts who provide useful, practical, and research-based information to agricultural producers, small business owners, youth, consumers, and others in rural areas and communities of all sizes." This resource will help you find state specific plant information. American Horticultural Society List of Mater Gardeners www.ahs.org/master_gardeners/ "The map below links to Master Gardener websites in the United States. Links to Master Gardener programs in three Canadian provinces are listed below as well. Clicking on the map and links below will connect you to some of the best, regionally-specific advice you can get on gardening." To find out more about classes, gardening tips and the best plants for your area, check out these state sites. Buy Green, Going Green, Green Savvy, Eco Products Green Cleaning Products http://www.buygreensavvy.com Quality green and eco friendly products at the best prices!

Galvanized Pipes in Older Homes

My husband and I are buying an 80 year old home in Columbia, South Carolina, but we are not sure about the galvanized water pipes under the house, What is the life expectancy of these pipes?

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Galvanized pipes have a general life expectancy of 50 years, but this can be shortened considerably by the amount of minerals in the water supply. Columbia has naturally soft water, and galvanized pipes here tend to last longer. Other areas of the country such as Southern California have rather hard water, and as a consequence, galvanized pipes won’t last as long there. Two things happen to galvanized pipes as they age.

First, minerals tend to slowly build up on the inner walls of the pipe decreasing the inside diameter. In extreme cases, this can slow the water flow to a trickle.

The other common problem with galvanized pipes is corrosion at the joints. In the process of cutting the threads for the pipe fittings, the protective galvanizing is cut away exposing bare metal. Over time, these threaded joints will corrode and eventually break. In the case of your 80 year old house, if the pipes are original I would definitely consider replacing them. If you are not sure how old they are, I recommend that a qualified home inspector examine them and look for signs of corrosion at the fittings, and check for low water flow at all of the faucets.

Famous Haunted Houses

It is time to dust off one of our more popular seasonal articles - Famous Haunted Houses!

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It is time to dust off one of our more popular seasonal articles - Famous Haunted Houses! This year we have expanded our list of spooky places to visit! Have fun and enjoy!

Perhaps it wasn't the wind that slammed the door shut? Doesn't that really sound like footsteps down the hall? Or maybe it is a great marketing ploy for bed and breakfast inns and historical societies? Maybe people just enjoy the idea of hauntings? Okay, so not all of us believe in ghosts, but the stories and histories behind many haunted houses can be just as unique as their "spiritual" residents. For a little fun and change of pace, we have compiled a list of famous haunted houses and buildings in America. Dim the lights, sit back and enjoy a little Halloween-flavored fun and learn a little history too!

AlabamaSelma - Sturdivant Hall

The History: This mansion was built in 1853 for Colonel Edward T. Watts and his family as a town residence. It was later purchased by John Parkman who became President of the First National Bank of Selma in 1866. After cotton speculation ruined the bank, Parkman was arrested and was then killed in an attempted escape. His wife and two daughters sold the house to a local merchant, Emile Gillman whose family kept the home until it was purchased by the city in 1957. The house was turned into a city museum with funds from Daniel Sturdivant's estate (and why it is known as Sturdivant Hall today).

The Haunting: The young bank President, John Parkman, proclaimed his innocence and said he would fight to clear his name. Fellow citizens believed he was honest and helped him break out of jail. However, either shot or drowned, Parkman died after the attempted escape. Many believe it is his spirit that haunts the home he was forced to leave. Parkman likes to move objects around and has even been seen as a full apparition in 19th century dress. He is a benign ghost and in general just checks in on the place to see who is about.

The Viewing: Sturdivant Hall is now a museum which offers tours highlighting the architecture and furnished setting of a late 19th century home. The museum also houses a collection of paintings by Clara Weaver Parish, famously known for her stained glass at the turn of the 20th century. The museum itself is open Tues-Sat or by appointment.  C, click here for more information. To join the Selma haunted tour which includes Sturdivant Hall among other ghostly sites, take a look at the Haunted History Tour in October. More on this spooky site...http://sturdivanthall.comYouTube Video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=05SVV2fwZmc

AlaskaSeward - Jesse Lee Home

The History: This site opened as an orphanage in 1925 for rural children who lost their parents to influenza and tuberculosis. It closed after suffering damage in the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake. Today mostly the outer wall shells still stand for two buildings of the complex. Benny Benson, who designed the Alaskan state flag grew up here.

The Haunting: There are reports of children's laughter around the site and the rhythm of a jump rope. There have also been a few apparitions spotted including a small boy and a priest. However, the stories that might shed light on the reason for their attachment to this house are only speculative as they are not identified with individuals known to have died in the home.

The Viewing: The site is not open to visitors at this time. An effort is underway to reconstruct the buildings, for more information click here. More on this spooky site...www.jesseleehome.netYouTube Video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHCGKZ4Rujw&feature=related

ArizonaJerome - Jerome Grand Hotel

The History: Built in 1926, this building was originally the United Verde Hospital. The hospital was built to be fireproof and withstand blasts from the dynamite mining nearby. One of the best hospitals in the west, it was phased out when the mining in the area began to slow down and closed by 1950. The building stood empty until 1994; it had been a time capsule and was unchanged for 44 years. It is now being restored as a hotel with many of the rooms already completed and open for guests.The Haunting: Being a hospital, there were many patients that perished in its walls. However, there were deaths of two orderlies that many believed was murder. There is also one recorded suicide. When the building lay dormant for 44 years, locals claimed they would still see lights burning in the vacant building. Since being reopened, more paranormal activities have been noticed. The most common is for guests to feel temperature drops and hear coughing or labored breathing in empty rooms or corners of their own guestroom. One ghost is said to be a woman who died in childbirth. She is upset that her child was buried in an unmarked grave and prowls the grounds looking for the babe.The Viewing: You may stay in the hotel today. Room rates begin at $110 and go up from there. Being the highest point in the Verde Valley, it offers some great views. And if you're lucky, maybe a glance at a ghost or two! To spend the night, click here. More on this spooky site...www.jeromegrandhotel.netwww.hauntedhouses.comwww.prairieghosts.com/jerome.htmlwww.sgha.net/az/jerome/jeromegrand2.htmlBack to Top Ghost ImageArkansasFort Smith - Clayton House The History: Although built in the 1850s, the namesake attached to this home, William Henry Harrison Clayton purchased the home in 1876. By this time Clayton was a US District attorney who had a reputation for efficiently prosecuting murderers and lawless scoundrels that were giving Fort Smith a poor reputation. The Haunting: Clayton may have had a reputation for getting rid of trouble makers in town while alive, but it seems he is staying around for a little mischief. Upstairs doors slam and someone in boots stomps around. There is also a woman who appears downstairs who may be Clayton's daughter Ann.The Viewing: Today this museum offers a glimpse at elegant living in the 1880s with period furniture, landscaping and decor. For a historic tour and more information please click here. If you want more ghost stories, then try the Spirit of the Past Tour run on Friday evenings, for more information click here. More on this spooky site...www.claytonhousefortsmith.comhttp://claytonhouse.art.officelive.com/default.aspxBack to TopCaliforniaSan Diego - Whaley House The History: This house was a home, granary, court house, theater, ballroom, billiard hall, school and polling center. It was also the site where criminals were hanged before the house was built. Once built, it also had the tragic history of one of the Whaley girls committing suicide inside.The Haunting: There are many ghosts in the Whaley House. There is "Yankee Jim" who was one of the criminals hanged at the site. He now stomps around the house with a heavy step and even the first family, the Whaley's, reported hearing him in the house. Thomas Whaley, the first owner of the house has been seen lingering around the upper landing. Thomas' wife, Anna, also wanders the downstairs and the garden. There are a few other apparitions and even a little fox terrier ghost dog that is seen on occasion!The Viewing: This house is now a museum and is open for tours on most days. Their website has more details about times and price; click here for details. More on this spooky site...www.whaleyhouse.orgwww.viewzone.com/whaleyhouse.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.comBack to TopSan Francisco Bay - Alcatraz Island The History: Not a house per se, but people "lived" there right? Anyway, Alcatraz started as a military fort in 1850. It was used as a military prison and then a federal prison after 1934. In 1963 the prison was closed due to the cost of operations. As a prison, Alcatraz had a reputation of being a hard place to live in which prisoners were there to be shut away rather than rehabilitated. Punishments could be harsh such as restricted diet, solitary confinement, and hard labor. There were the now infamous solitary cells like the "strip cell" and the "hole" that even made the most hardened prisoners think twice about breaking any rules. The Haunting: This place was creating ghost stories before being shut down. Guards retell odd tales of ghosts attacking inmates or making noises. Today, there are still many haunting "hot spots" on the island. There is the utility corridor where three escapees were gunned down; this doorway is now welded shut but many say there is the sound of clanging against the door; perhaps something wants out... There are also reports of running in the corridors, voices in the cells and medical ward and screams from the dungeons and isolation units.The Viewing: Tours are available of the island and complex. Depending on the time of year, you may have to use different ferry systems to access the island. For more information click here. More on this spooky site...www.nps.gov/alcatraz/ www.cr.nps.gov/museum/exhibits/alca/www.alcatrazhistory.com/mainpg.htm www.prairieghosts.com/gpalcatraz.html www.legendsofamerica.com/CA-Alcatraz.htmlBack to TopSan Jose - Winchester Mystery House The History: Sarah Winchester, daughter-in-law of Oliver Winchester, manufacturer of the Winchester rifle, began the construction of this house in 1884 and kept the project going until her death 38 years later. The legend says she constructed the house continuously to confuse the bad spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. In the end it had 160 rooms, 47 fireplaces and various oddities such as doors leading to a sudden outside drop or staircases leading to the ceiling. The Haunting: Some of the ghosts are said to have been invited by Sarah Winchester as she is said to have held a séance with them every night to determine the construction for the next day. Reports of footsteps, doors closing and opening, cold spots, and other paranormal behavior have been reported. However, some skeptics in the ghost hunting world believe the mansion is more of an oddity than a true haunting ground. Guess you'll just have to go to find out for yourself!The Viewing: The mansion is open to tours today. You can select a standard tour and see 110 rooms and their various oddities and details or you can also do a behind the scenes tour to see how the house functioned. For more information click here. More on this spooky site...www.winchestermysteryhouse.comwww.prairieghosts.com/winchester.html http://mysteryhouseguide.com

ColoradoSt Elmo - St Elmo The History: St Elmo is a Colorado ghost town that was built in 1878. Originally called Forest City, this mining town reached 2000 souls at its peak. Silver, gold, copper and iron ore were all mined in the area. Starting out moral, it soon degraded to a 'Saturday Night Hangout' for the over abundance of men in the mining community. In 1890 a fire destroyed the business section of town and by 1910 the mines began to close. By 1922 most everyone had left but the affluent Stark family. They remained and tried to cash in on tourism still running the hotel and general store. Finally the post office closed (and therefore the town) in 1952. The last brother and sister of the Stark family fell into despair and she was the last of their family to die in 1960. The Haunting: After the death of the Stark family, a friend who had remained kind to them inherited their holdings in St Elmo. When their grandchildren were playing in the hotel, the doors slammed shut and the temperature radically dropped, they refused to play there anymore. Another grandchild tried to take the hotel on as a project. She started to lock away her cleaning and repair tools because they kept moving. Regardless of her efforts, the tools still appeared mysteriously in the middle of the room every morning. Annabelle Stark, the last of the Stark family to die, is said to keep a lookout for the the town from the Hotel. A skier said she saw a woman in the window who was looking off in the distance. When she followed her gaze she saw snowmobilers in the area. The skier told them that it was illegal to snowmobile in St Elmo. After they left the woman in the hotel nodded to the skier and vanished.The Viewing: St Elmo lies just west of Bueno Vista. It is considered the best preserved ghost town in Colorado and worth a stop if you are in the area. More on this spooky site...www.ghosttowns.com/states/co/saintelmo.htmlwww.ghosttowngallery.com/htme/stelmo.htmwww.legendsofamerica.com/CP-StElmo1.htmlwww.prairieghosts.com/stelmo.htmlBack to TopConnecticutNew London - Lighthouse Inn The History: Originally known as Meadow Court, this home was a summer retreat for Charles Guthrie. Built in 1902, it was turned into an Inn in 1927. Among such famous guests as Bette Davis and Joan Crawford was Harry Rodvogin, a resident artist who lived at the Inn after his old friends Bill and Al Ronnick spotted him painting portraits on the street. Rodvogin is now recognized for the paintings he created and you can see his work in the local museums.The Haunting: One guest who hasn't left is the spirit of a bride who died falling down the main stairway on her wedding day. But she is rather harmless, she hangs out in guestrooms reading a book or walks around the halls looking a bit forlorn. Strange noises are also heard around the Inn on occasion but shouldn't disrupt a good nights sleep.The Viewing: This Inn is now a resort offering such amenities as its own private beach and in-room spa services. To make your reservations, click here. More on this spooky site...www.lighthouseinn-ct.comwww.associatedcontent.com/article/682437/

DelawareBethany Beach - The Addy Sea The History: Built in 1902 by John Addy, this Inn was originally a family residence. After a wicked storm in 1927, the house was actually moved further back from the seashore. The original foundations were used as a BBQ pit and hang out until they were covered by sand over the years. John Addy was a plumbing supplier and made the Addy house and his neighbors homes some of the most efficient and convenient in the area. This made it popular when it first became a boarding house in 1935. The boarding house was run by the Addy family until it was sold in 1975.The Haunting: Room 1 had a haunted copper tub - well, until it went missing. The original Victorian tub was originally used by the Addy family. During renovations in the 1980s the tub was stored in a garage but went missing. The thief may have gotten more then they expected as the bathtub is supposedly haunted and rocks and shakes violently at times. But no fear, even with the haunted bathtub gone, there are still specters wandering the halls, random sounds and footsteps, strange whiffs of perfume and even haunting music all keeping the place "spiritually" active.The Viewing: Enjoy the Victorian trappings, walk the beach or sit on the veranda on a rocking chair - who knows, maybe the empty one next to you will rock too? To find out more about staying, click here. More on this spooky site...www.addysea.com/addyseainfo.htmlwww.addysea.com/history.htmlBack to Top Ghost ImageFloridaFort Pierce - Boston House The History: William Turpin Jones worked for the railroad and after an accident on the job was able to pay for his home, Cresthaven, in 1909. Jones used the house as collateral during the depression in an agreement with Irving Whitney. However, Whitney died and his sister Rose forced the Jones family to move out in 1932 and renamed the home Boston House. When she died in 1954 the home was rezoned by the city for commercial use after if failed to sell as a residence.The Haunting: There was a tragic shooting accident when Clifford Jones, then 10 years old, accidently shot his friend, 9 year old William Fee. However, the ghost sightings revolve around sightings of women in the window, perfume in the morning and laughter of the unpleasant kind. There have also been reports of items moving and cold spots. None of the sightings are clearly related to one event. Instead see the article by the Grim Society who reviewed the historical archives and found many of the tales of ghosts do not match the actual history of the building.The Viewing: A law firm currently occupies this old residence, sorry, no tours. More on this spooky site...http://thegrimsociety.com/2007/10/14/the-historic-boston-house/www.examiner.com/paranormal-travel-in-west-palm-beach/

GeorgiaSavannah - 17-Hundred-90 Restaurant & Inn The History: This inn was actually built in 1820, not 1790. First a boarding house and later an inn, this home has had many owners and guests. One of these guests was Anne Powell. The legend says she was unhappily married at sixteen to an Englishman. She fell in love with a German sailor who left her "in the family way." She watched his boat sail away and then committed suicide by jumping from the window, landing on the brick pavement below.The Haunting: Anne Powell is the most famous ghost, believed to haunt guest room 204 from where it is said she jumped to her death. She doesn't seem to be a menacing spirit: she sits beside the fire, lays out guests' clothes on the bed or plays pranks on guests waking them up in wee hours of the morning by setting off the radio alarm. Another ghost in the basement kitchen and restaurant doesn't like women very much and likes to shove them around. But this ghost is countered by the ghost of a merchant marine who will help the staff turn the lights off at closing.The Viewing: Savannah ghost tours stop here for a drink but you can go to the restaurant yourself and have a bite to eat. Or if you really dare, spend the night instead - ask for room 204! More on this spooky site...www.17hundred90.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/ga/17hundred90.cfmBack to TopSavannah - Kehoe House The History: This home was built in 1892 for William Kehoe and his family. The large family (they had 10 children!) kept the home until 1930. After that the home became a boarding house, funeral parlor, and a private residence. In 1992 the home opened as a B&B, it changed ownership in 2003, but remains an inn with a B&B atmosphere.The Haunting: The main tragedy of the house (that we know of) was the death of the Kehoe twins who died when playing around the chimney. Children can be heard running the halls and some guests have even had children check in on them in their rooms. But if you don't see the children, their mother Annie is reputed to still wander the rooms, making sure to tuck in all the guests at night!The Viewing: Why not spend the night? Ask for rooms 201 or 203. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...www.kehoehouse.comwww.hauntedhouses.comwww.associatedcontent.comBack to Top Ghost ImageHawaiiKailua-Kona, Big Island - Hulihe'e Palace The History: This summer home for Hawaiian royalty was built by governor John Adams Kuakini in 1838 and was used until 1914.The Haunting: Different members of the royal family are said to haunt this place, both the grand staircase and the grounds. The ghosts don't mind visitors and generally keep to themselves. There is also a young boy who has been spotted, but his relation to the family, if any, is unknown.The Viewing: The palace became a museum in 1927 and is still open for limited tours which highlight the Victorian furniture and decor from the reign of King Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani. The gift shop is also open. More on this spooky site...http://huliheepalace.com/index.htmlwww.gohawaii.com/big-island/regions-neighborhoods/kona/hulihee-palacehttp://lovingthebigisland.wordpress.com/2009/11/01/konas-fscinating-history-hulihee-palace/

Ghost ImageIdahoBoise - Old Idaho Penitentiary The History: Although not a house, this prison was the home to many inmates beginning in 1872, two years after construction began. Many of the buildings on the site were added and built by the inmates as part of their daily labor. The prison functioned for 101 years and housed both dangerous men and women.The Haunting: A fully functioning prison with isolation cells and a gallows, there are more than a few places to attract negative post mortem energies. Both the isolation cells and the rose garden (where the first gallows were located) have cold spots and apparitions. A death row inmate who committed suicide is also known to haunt the maximum security prison in a eerie green hue.The Viewing: The penitentiary buildings now house a museum run by the Idaho State Historic Society. In addition to a history of the prison and the inmates, there are also exhibits on weapons and transportation. For added fun, the penitentiary now hosts Halloween events, ghost tours and night tours. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...http://history.idaho.gov/oldpen.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/id/idaho_state_penitentiary.cfmYouTube Video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITi8SB39J8EBack to TopIllinoisBull Valley - George Stickney House This History: George and Sylvia Stickney built this home in 1849. As spiritualists, they specifically requested the design of the home not to have square corners. It was believed the square corners could trap spirits. The family was reputed to have preformed séances regularly in their upstairs ballroom. Having 12 children, but only 3 that survived, perhaps the need to connect with the lost loved ones encouraged their continual searches into the beyond. The Haunting: The police stationed in the home today have shared stories of paranormal activity. They have heard footsteps and human voices when alone. Some have seen apparitions and had objects move on them after they left the room. Other more dramatic events such as doors opening on their own have also been seen.The Viewing: The house is registered on the National Registry of Historic Places. Efforts are underway to restore the home and eventually offer tours. However, as of today there is not much for the public to see. To prevent vandalism to the vacated structure, the Bull Valley Police Department has their headquarters on the lower floor. Take a look at the video from the Northwest Herald to see more. More on this spooky site...www.prairieghosts.com/stickney.htmlhttp://ssm.nwherald.com/northwest-herald/video/20071030StickneyMansion/stickney-mansion/http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Stickney_HouseBack to TopEquality - Hickory Hill House The History: This house was built in 1842 by John Crenshaw. Although it was illegal to own slaves in the state of Illinois, it was legal to lease slaves from slave states to work in salt mines. John Crenshaw leased slaves from nearby states to work in his salt mines. It is also said that he would kidnap free blacks and force them to work in his mines and eventually sell them into slavery. All the slaves where kept in the upstairs attic in horse stall-like cells that opened to one large corridor. John Crenshaw had a particularly nasty reputation for cruelty and abuse.The Haunting: The house opened as a tourist attraction in 1930 and many claimed to hear the rattling of chains and muffled cries from the attic. The home had the reputation that no one could spend the night. In 1978, a reporter named David Rogers was the first to spend a whole night in the house.The Viewing: Currently the house is protected by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and closed to the public. A grant was received in late spring 2006, hopefully it will be able to reopen soon! More on this spooky site...www.prairieghosts.com/slave.html www.illinoishistory.com/oshpage.html www.hauntedhouses.comhttp://illinoishistory.blogspot.com/2006/10/old-slave-house-closed-10-years-ago.htmlBack to Top Ghost ImageIndianaIndianapolis - Hannah House The History: This home was built by Alexander Hannah in 1858. Hannah used his basement to house runaway slaves before the Civil War. After the war he expanded the house for his new wife, Elizabeth. Four years after his death in 1895 the home was sold to Roman Oehler and the house remains owned by the Oehler family today.The Haunting: The legend is that some of the slaves seeking sanctuary in the cellar perished one night from smoke inhalation and burns after a lamp fell over. Their bodies were buried in the same cellar so the underground railroad location would not be discovered. Today cold spots, shattering glass and moaning can be heard in the cellar. A few apparitions have also been spotted. Upstairs, items move, footsteps are heard, doors open on their own and odd odors permeate the room. Even Hannah and possibly his wife have been spotted, still watching over the home and its secrets.The Viewing: The Hannah House is rented for special events and conferences today. However, overnight ghost packages are available for both inexperienced enthusiasts and professional ghost hunting teams alike. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...www.thehannahmansion.orgwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/in/hannah_house.cfmBack to TopIowaBentonsport - Mason House Inn The History: This hotel was built in 1846 for steamboat travelers along the Des Moines River. Later, the Mason House was used as a 'holding hospital' during the Civil War for soldiers being transferred to Keokuk. It also served as a 'station' along the underground railroad. Mason House gets its name from the Mason family who owned the property for 99 years.The Haunting: Three of the owners have died in the building and there was also one murder in a guest room. In 1860 poor Mr. Knapp had been drinking and accidentally went to the wrong room. The occupant thought he was being robbed and stabbed Mr. Knapp in self-defense. The home had also been a 'holding hospital' in the Civil War and some patients may have died in the home. Also a Doctor renting a room in the 1940s died in the building. All in all, a great hangout for ghosts. The ghosts come in many forms. There are wisps of fog and cold spots to actual figures who appear and disappear from sight. There is a boy that plays tricks; he likes to rustle sheets and tug at guests as they sleep. There are footsteps, thuds and a woman in white. An abundance of ghosts and paranormal events for all!The Viewing: Today you may stay at this B&B for about $80/night ($125 if you are staying in the restored caboose!). Request to stay in the main house on the 2nd floor (rooms 5 & 7) for the best chance of paranormal dreams! Ghost Hunting 101 and 102 classes are also available about twice a year and a Halloween Ghost Walk around Oct 31st. To spend the night, click here. More on this spooky site...www.masonhouseinn.comhotels.about.comBack to TopVillisca - Villisca Ax Murder House The History: On June 10, 1912, the Moore family and two overnight guests were brutally murdered. The ax murder of two adults and six children horrified the community and its story still horrifies people today. Regardless of the unprecedented effort of police, detectives and neighboring departments at the time, the case remains unsolved to this day. The Haunting: The most common account seems to be of children's voices in the house. Things will also move unexpectedly and lamps won't stay lit regardless that there is no breeze in the home. The Viewing: Tours of the home are available through the Olson Linn Museum. They also offer night tours, but these must be arranged in advance. For current hours click here. More on this spooky site...www.villiscaiowa.comwww.prairieghosts.com/villisca.html www.villiscamovie.com/emporium.htm YouTube Video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=T54lLMJ17kkBack to Top Ghost ImageKansasKansas City - Strawberry Hill Mansion The History: Architect John G. Braecklein designed this Queen Ann style home in 1887. Margaret Cruise Scroggs and John B. Scroggs were the first to occupy the house. Margaret had surviving children in her previous marriage and her daughter Emma McFadden and her husband inherited the home in 1915. But in 1919 the home was purchased by Sister Bonaventure and turned into an orphanage for children who had lost their parents to the influenza epidemic. The orphanage remained open until 1988 and cared for over 3000 orphans. The building was then turned into a museum by the Strawberry Hill Ethnic Cultural Society who still run the property today.The Haunting: There is an unknown male ghost who haunts the third floor and will chase visitors from the ballroom. A Lady in Red haunts the house but is not associated with the families or the nuns, instead she is believed to be the spirit of a homeless woman who died under the nuns' care. Apparently she likes to join in the tours and ask questions, she usually inquires after the location of the priest's house. There are other female and child entities around the house. Sometimes music and footsteps can be heard or the scent of baby powder will fill the air.The Viewing: Strawberry Hill is now a museum celebrating Slavic immigrant history in Kansas City. It offers museum tours and the Tea Room is open on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and provide a little taste of the past. For more information and visiting hours, click here. More on this spooky site...www.strawberryhillmuseum.orgwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/ks/strawberry_hill.cfmwww.associatedcontent.com/article/379111/

KentuckyLouisville - Waverly Hills Sanitarium The History: Okay, this is not a house, but since it has such a grand reputation of being haunted, we thought to include it. Waverly Hills opened as a hospital for tuberculosis patients in 1926. Tuberculosis was a dreaded killer of the time and most of the patients who entered would die there. It is estimated that at the height of the epidemic a patient died every hour. This large complex had a long tunnel nicknamed the "body chute" where the bodies were transferred to a train at the bottom of the hill. It was covered so patients would not be disheartened by seeing the number of dead being removed from the hospital. Because Tuberculosis was not well understood, there were many experiments that occurred, some were beneficial and some were more brutal leading to tales of mistreatment and abuse. In 1982, the hospital was shut down under allegations of abuse. The Haunting: The tales of a haunting started after the hospital was shut down and allowed into disrepair. Transients, vandals and kids would break in. Stories began to spread of small children playing in the halls, lights going on when there was not power, doors being slammed, voices crying out, and various other ghoulish activities. One specific spot, room 502, is on the floor where the mentally ill tuberculosis patients were housed. This room was the nurses station where two nurses committed suicide on separate occasions for reasons unknown.The Viewing: There are tours run by the Waverly Hills Historical Society. Tours must be arranged as this is a private site and trespassers will be prosecuted. Overnight tours can also be arranged in advance. To find out more click here. More on this spooky site...www.therealwaverlyhills.comwww.prairieghosts.com/waverly_tb.html http://whsmemorial.tripod.com/YouTube Video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Tcl3eRoNUkBack to TopLouisianaNew Orleans - Magnolia Mansion The History: This home was built in 1857 by Alexander Harris. After Alexander died of yellow fever his widow remarried and sold the home to the Maginnis family. John Maginnis owned a cotton mill and it was whispered he was struck by lightning because of the cruel way he treated his employees. In 1939, John's daughter inherited the home and willed it to the Red Cross. The Red Cross used the home to train nurses for WWII and the Korean War. In 1954 the home was again sold into private ownership. Magnolia Mansion was renovated in 2001 and opened as a B&B in 2002.The Haunting: When renovating the home, the crew had to stop as an oily substance appeared over the walls. The owner then verbalized her plans for the place out loud so the ghosts would know exactly what she was up to. She told them she was improving the home and the ghosts would not be able to scare the guests away. This appeased them for awhile. However, ghosts are still reputed to slam doors and snuggle into bed with guests on occasion. Many guests have photos of orbs and a few extra faces from their visits as well.The Viewing: This adult catering B&B offers a great escape to any non-smoker over 21 years of age. Specializing in romance with Elopement and Wedding packages, the B&B also has fun with their ghosts offering a Romantic Ghostly Getaway Package which includes a room, treats and ghost walking tours. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...www.magnoliamansion.comVideo - http://video.msn.com

St. Francisville - Myrtles Plantation The History: This home was built by David Bradford in 1794 but stories of haunting did not start until the 1950's. The house had a long history with many different owners. There is only one recorded murder of William Winter in 1871. However, there are many tales that are told about the home to justify the haunting. Most of these seem to be fabricated tales, but many say that is just because the house is so haunted, people needed to make up some kind of explanation.The Haunting: Among the haunting activity is the ghost of a woman in a green turban who some believe to be the ghost of a slave killed for poisoning the head mistress and her two daughters. Others claim this ghost is not a young slave but an older, unknown woman. There is also a little girl who has appeared as well as a frustrated piano player who continuously practices the same cord over and over on the old piano.The Viewing: You can dine in the restaurant, take a tour or spend the night. The choice is up to you. Click here for more information. More on this spooky site...www.myrtlesplantation.comwww.prairieghosts.com/myrtles.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.comYouTube Video - www.youtube.com/watch?v=OIMAXKBOMp8Back to TopMaineSearsport - Watchtide The History: Built in the early 1790s, ownership transferred to Brigadier General Henry Knox in 1794. He was a trusted ally to George Washington and was the first Secretary of War for the U.S. After General Knox sold the property, it went through many owners, many of them sea captains who were involved in the shipping industry of the area. The house was an inn starting in 1917 to the 1940s when it then became a private home again. In 1994, the inn reopened and is still family operated today.The Haunting: Guests and a previous owner have reported seeing phantoms in period appropriate dress floating around the home. There are reports of music heard without a "source." Footsteps have also been heard. However, the new B&B owner says there does not seem to be as much activity of late. Perhaps it was the recent remodel that chased away or appeased the spirits.The Viewing: Recently renovated, this B&B offers a great quiet getaway as well as easy access to many of the great sites around Maine. To make your reservation, click here. More on this spooky site...www.watchtide.comwww.fabuloustravel.comBack to Top Ghost ImageMarylandFrederick - Schifferstadt The History: This German colonial house was built in 1758 by Joseph Bruner. Built during the French and Indian War, the house was made to double as a refuge for colonials in the country. Originally tenant farmers and recent immigrants from Germany, the Bruner families and others like them fought to be able to purchase their land from crooked landlords. They eventually prevailed. The home would remain a family residence until it was sold to the Frederick County Landmark Foundation in 1974. The Haunting: Although apparitions are not reported, the sound of footsteps and activity can be heard. Interestingly, voices have been heard in English and, of course, German!The Viewing: Today the museum highlights early German colonial life and the experiences during the French and Indian War. The museum is open on Saturdays or by appointment. Although the museum hosts special events, most of them are historical and cultural - why not enjoy Oktoberfest while peaking for ghosts? More on this spooky site...www.frederickcountylandmarksfoundation.org/fclf_schiffgen.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/md/schifferstadt.cfmBack to TopMassachusettsFall River - Lizzy Borden House The History: As with so many haunted homes, this story begins with a murder. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered by ax in their home. Their eldest daughter, Lizzy, was tried and latter acquitted of the murders. However, she was ostracized from the community for the rest of her life. Some consider that she had a split personality, even those close to her recall erratic and violent behavior. And of course there was the creation of the rhyme:Lizzie Borden took an axGave her mother forty whacks;When she saw what she had doneGave her father forty-one!The Haunting: There is a strange woman who tucks guests into bed and perhaps the same woman can be heard weeping in the night. Objects move on their own and electrical equipment such as lights and cameras have some interference. Many claim the most active room is Lizzy's old bedroom - which you can stay in if you want...The Viewing: The home is now a bed and breakfast. You may spend the night, take a tour or even spend a weekend at Ghost Hunter University! To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.lizzie-borden.comwww.hauntedhamilton.com/gotw_lizzieborden.html www.prairieghosts.com/lizzie.htmlBack to Top Ghost ImageMichiganMarshall - National House Inn The History: Originally as stage stop between Detroit and Chicago, this inn was built in 1835 by Colonel Andrew Mann. The inn continued to serve passengers as a railroad hotel until business slowed and it was sold and turned into a windmill and wagon factory. In 1902 the inn was converted into apartments and during prohibition offered a secret room to buy and consume alcohol. By 1976 the building was in need of repair and was remodeled into a bed and breakfast.The Haunting: This inn is still the home to a lady in red. Her connection with the place is unknown but she likes to make her presence known by popping up on the living now and again.The Viewing: The oldest inn in Michigan still operates today as a bed and breakfast. Although not promoting their ghosts, they offer weekend getaway packages as well as a historical home tour. For more information on spending the night click here. More on this spooky site...www.nationalhouseinn.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/mi/national_house_inn.cfmBack to TopMinnesotaSt. Paul - Forepaugh's Victorian Mansion The History: Joseph Forepaugh had the home built in 1870 for his family. It is rumored he had an affair with one of the servants, Molly, who hung herself after they broke it off. Joseph later also committed suicide, rumors stating that it was his loss of Molly driving him into depression.The Haunting: Molly is still seen floating about the mansion. She seems to reside on the 3rd floor but enjoys coming down and checking out wedding events on occasion. Although Joseph shot himself in a nearby park, he is said to wander the mansion as well.The Viewing: Today the home has been renovated and turned into a nice French restaurant. Weddings are also popular at the mansion. To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.forepaughs.comwww.hauntedhouses.comwww.prairieghosts.com/forep.htmlBack to TopMississippiNatchez - Monmouth Plantation The History: Originally built in 1818, the mansion was purchased by General Quitman, a Mexican War hero, in 1826. The home was almost burned to the ground during the Civil War when the Union won this area of Mississippi. However, Quitman's daughters pleaded loyalty to the Union to save their home (their father was a staunch secessionist). The house stayed in the family until 1914. The home then went into disrepair until it was recently restored after 1978.The Haunting: The General himself stomps around the halls and makes many feel his presence as guests and staff cannot shake the thought that someone is staring at them. He also shows up as a specter to let all know he has an eye on things. Since the new owners have restored the home to its antebellum decor, there seems to be less stomping by the imposing General.The Viewing: Regardless of the haunts, this hotel offers luxury accommodation and a great escape. To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.monmouthplantation.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/ms/monmouth.cfmBack to TopMissouriSt. Louis - Lemp Mansion The History: This house was purchased by William Lemp around 1864 to use as a residence and office for the family brewery. William's father had used a family recipe/method to create a lager beer. This beer quickly became popular and William's father abandoned his grocery store to become a full time brewer. The beer continued to be made by the family until 1922 when family mishap and prohibition forced them to shut down and sell for good. The mansion itself has a sorrowful history with one brother dying under mysterious circumstances and three other men of the family committing suicide inside. The Haunting: With three suicides one can easily guess where the idea of ghosts haunting the mansion started. However, the families odd history also adds fuel to the imagination. There is the rumor that William Lemp had an illegitimate son with Down syndrome who was kept hidden in the mansion attic his whole life. He is now said to be seen haunting the mansion and has the nickname "Monkey Face Boy." Tales of haunting first started after 1949 when the mansion was sold and turned into a boarding house. Strange knocking and footsteps throughout the mansion scared the tenants away so the house started to run into disrepair. In 1975, the mansion was saved and renovated and turned into a restaurant and inn. All types of sights and sounds have continued and are still reported today. The Viewing: Spend the night! Or take a tour if you're too scared... The mansion is a bed and breakfast that offers tours and a restaurant to those who don't want to spend the night. They also host a Halloween Party and Murder Mystery Dinner Theater. To find out more click here. More on this spooky site...www.lempmansion.comwww.legendsofamerica.com/MO-LempMansion.htmlBack to TopMontanaPray - Chico Hot Springs Resort & Day Spa The History: In 1894 Percie and Bill Knowles inherited a home near the hot springs and opened their doors as a boarding house as there were not any accommodations in the area yet. They built a hotel in 1900. In 1912, Percie teamed with Dr. Townsend and turned the hotel into a hospital. It would remain a hospital until the 1940s when it would begin to change hands. In 1974, it was renovated and again opened as a B&B.The Haunting: There is a woman in white who likes to wander the halls and spook the security guards. She also likes room 349 where she makes sure the rocking chair is always facing the window. Many think it is Percie making certain everyone is minding their manners and running her hotel/hospital efficiently. The Viewing: Relax your spooked nerves in the day spa or natural hot springs. Or get some more adventure on a trail ride or a dog sled trek in the winter. To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.chicohotsprings.comwww.chicohotsprings.com/publications/big_sky_ghosts.htmlwww.spiritsociety.org/report.php?HauntID=65Back to Top Ghost ImageNebraskaOmaha - White House Apartments The History: Part of the Little Italy neighborhood, this home was built at the turn of the 20th century. Before being converted to the apartments it still is today, this Victorian home was also altered into a hospital for a while.The Haunting: A woman in white supposedly still lives here and keeps the new residents company.The Viewing: These apartments are still listed as low income housing, a.k.a. private property so enjoy from a distance. More on this spooky site...www.hauntedhouses.com/states/ne/white_house_apartments.cfmBack to Top Ghost ImageNevadaCarson City - Abraham Curry House The History: Abraham Curry was the founder of Carson City and was involved with everything from the mint to acting as prison warden. It is convenient then that the sandstone for his home built around 1869 was quarried by the prisoners. Curry died shortly after the building was complete.The Haunting: Curry was not ready to leave the house so recently built before his death so he has stayed on. He has been seen as a full apparition and appears to be looking for someone before he disappears again.The Viewing: Sorry, not going to happen; this home is now a law office. More on this spooky site...www.nps.gov/nr/travel/nevada/abr.htmwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/nv/abraham_curry_house.cfmBack to TopNew HampshireDurham - Three Chimneys Inn The History: The Three Chimneys Inn was built in 1649 as a residence for Valentine Hill. The home was used during the Revolutionary War to house munitions stolen from the British. The house stayed relatively privately owned and within about four different families. Extensive renovations were done recently in the 1990s.The Haunting: It is possible one of the ghosts is that of Hill's daughter, Hannah, who drowned nearby. Hannah seems to like to hang out in the dining areas and there is an unidentified gentleman spirit that hangs out there as well. The spirits here like to play with electrical equipment - many things just don't work in certain rooms. Furniture will be heard moving about in guestrooms where no one is staying. Also, there will be music heard from the dining rooms. The gentleman has been heard stomping around pacing and one of the spirits even shattered a water glass in the dining hall while dinner was being served.The Viewing: Although built in the 17th century, you won't have to rough it here. An elegant stay along the coast and you might get to meet Hannah as well. Click here for more information. More on this spooky site...www.threechimneysinn.comwww.associatedcontent.com/article/433780/

Ghost ImageNew JerseyCape May - The Southern Mansion Inn The History: This home was built for George Allen in 1863 and would stay in his family for 83 years. A fire in 1979 destroyed many of the southern style mansions in the area; The Southern Mansion would survive as one of the few reminders of this connection with the south. In the 1940s the home was sold and turned into a boarding house. It slowly fell into disrepair until 1994 when Bray and Wildes bought it and began restoration.The Haunting: The last of the Allen family, Ester Mercur, is believed to haunt the halls. She is a happy ghost who looks after the action in the kitchen but is also seen dancing and laughing in other areas of the home. She also wears heavy perfume. There seem to be other entities there as well but all generally polite with the living.The Viewing: Spend the night! This Bed and Breakfast offers luxurious accommodations and close access to the beach. The ghosts here are friendly bunch and might provide a little extra amusement for your dollar. For more information about staying click here. More on this spooky site...www.southernmansion.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/nj/southern_mansion.cfmBack to Top Ghost ImageNew MexicoSanta Fe - La Posada Hotel The History: Abraham Staab built this home along the Santa Fe Trail in 1882. His wife, Julia, became a recluse in the home after she lost her seventh child. The Nason family bought the property in the 1930s and first turned it into a hotel which it has been ever since. The hotel has enjoyed popularity with the artistic community and is credited to providing a meeting ground for the leaders of the Santa Fe Arts Movement.The Haunting: Julia is still wandering the halls of the home. She can be a bit bipolar as a ghost; one minute she is running away from visitors down the hall, the next she is throwing the glasses from the bar shelves.The Viewing: La Posada is now a luxury resort offering everything from weekend getaways to romantic weddings. For information about spending the night click here. More on this spooky site...http://laposada.rockresorts.com/www.legendsofamerica.com/nm-laposadahotel.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/nm/la_posada.cfmBack to TopNew YorkAmityville - Amityville The History: On November 14, 1974 at 3 AM Ronald DeFeo took a rifle and systematically shot his parents, two brothers and two sisters. This is the ghastly beginning of the hauntings in this Amityville home. The fame of this home spread after the ownership of Lutz family who purchased the home in 1975. They stayed only 28 days before the supernatural pushed them back out.The Haunting: At first the Lutz family noticed cold spots and muffled spots where sound did not carry well. This they could ignore as unusual but not necessarily unnatural. However, soon other events began to happen. Mr. Lutz would hear loud noises or footsteps downstairs but when he went downstairs, it was quiet and the dog would be sleeping as if nothing had happened. Mrs. Lutz began to feel the presence of an older woman and began to show increased aging as if she was becoming the old woman herself. They then discovered a small store room painted red that did not appear on the original house plans. The room had a strong odor that did not have an identifiable source and the dog was scared of the room. The mysterious events and depressing feelings of the house kept adding up until the family decided to break free. The story of the haunting has been made into movies, but Mr. Lutz considered these to be exaggerated. The Viewing: This home is privately owned. The curious are asked to respect the owner's privacy and not visit the home. It is NOT open for tours. More on this spooky site...www.amityvillehorror.comwww.ghostvillage.comwww.amityvillehorrortruth.comBack to Top Ghost ImageNorth CarolinaRaleigh - Andrew Johnson's House The History: Andrew Johnson was born in this small house in 1808. His parents kept the home as employees of the Casso's Inn; his mother was a weaver and his father a hostler and janitor. The Haunting: Instead of a person a candle is seen in the window and moves from the first to second floor with uncanny speed before being snuffed out for the night.The Viewing: Andrew Johnson's house is now part of a larger park, the Mordecai Historic Park. There are tours Tuesday thru Sunday or by arrangement for groups. For times and entrance fees, click here. More on this spooky site...http://raleighnc.gov/mordecaihttp://ncpedia.org/biography/johnson-andrewwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/nc/andrew_johnson_home.cfmbooks.google.comBack to TopNorth DakotaAnamoose - Sage Hill Bed & Breakfast The History: First opened in 1928 and known as "White School," this bed and breakfast started history as a primary school. This model school set an example for the area. It used wind power and offered students hot meals and warm showers. The teachers and bus drivers stayed on site. There were two horse barns onsite to house the horses that pulled the school bus/wagons. At its peak, there were 100 students enrolled. The school closed in 1968 because of lack of enrollment.The Haunting: Legend has it that a superintendent and student died in a fire caused by a coal burning stove. The superintendent smoked cigars and the smell of cigar smoke still hangs in the air at times. Objects like to move by themselves around here and lights and even toilets work on their own.The Viewing: Sage Hill was recently converted to a bed and breakfast by the current owners in 1996. Even remodeled, it has the feel of the old schoolhouse. Want to spend the night? To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...http://sagehillnd.com/index.htmlhttp://hauntsofamerica.blogspot.com/2008/01/haunting-of-sage-hill-bed-and-breakfast.htmlBack to TopOhioCleveland - Franklin Castle The History: Hannes Tiedemann built this house in 1865. Unfortunately, they lost four children in a short amount of time leading to some speculation of unnatural deaths. The house architecture aids in the mystery of the house as there are secret passageways and hidden rooms throughout. There are also rumors of Tiedemann having affairs that lead to jealousy and, ultimately, to murder. One of the most tragic tales is that of Tiedemann hanging his niece to put her out of misery from her insanity or to punish her for her promiscuity.The Haunting: Past residents have heard a small child crying and heard footsteps out in the corridor. There is also claim that the tower room is haunted by the "woman in black" who can be heard choking. Lights also swing around and some objects have been moved or thrown.The Viewing: Today the mansion houses a private club restricted to members and their guests. It was rumored at one time they would eventually start tours to the building, however, nothing is posted on their website about this yet. More on this spooky site...www.franklincastleclub.comwww.prairieghosts.com/oh-frank.htmlBack to TopOklahomaGuthrie - The Stone Lion Inn The History: F.E. Houghton built this mansion in 1907. It served most of its years as a residence and later was turned into a funeral home. The only person to die in the home seems to be a young girl who died of whooping cough after receiving the wrong medicine.The Haunting: After turning this mansion into an inn, the new owners woke up at night to the sounds of footsteps and doors opening and closing. They called the police but no intruder was found. Soon after they realized they had their first "guest" who may be a small girl as she likes to take out the toys at night to play.The Viewing: Ready for some fun? From a murder mystery night or perhaps a chance to see a real ghost, click here for more information about how to stay. More on this spooky site...www.stonelioninn.comBack to TopOregonYachats - Heceta House The History: This house accompanies a lighthouse on the Oregon coast built in 1894. Many families occupied the house complex over time which included a post office, school and the light house. But it is only the keeper's house that has tales of hauntings. Many believe this is the mother of child who fell off the cliffs back at the turn of the century. The Haunting: The ghost named Rue is said to be an extra caretaker of the house. She makes it known if she is displeased with any activity in the house. One of the more humorous accounts was of her screaming in the middle of a card game, she didn't want them playing cards in her house! The Viewing: This house is now a bed and breakfast. It also has guided tours from its interpretive center. Although the current owners don't play up and advertise the ghost they have said guests have told them of strange encounters. To spend the night click here. More on this spooky site...www.hauntedhouses.comwww.hecetalighthouse.comBack to TopPennsylvaniaGettysburg - Farnsworth House Inn The History: A house was built here in 1810 and later changed to brick in 1833. During the Civil War, the Sweeney family lived in the home and the Confederates used the home as a shelter for their sharpshooters. The current owners purchased the home in 1972 and have worked on renovating the home keeping the early 19th century feel and history.The Haunting: Many ghosts haunt this home. Including Confederate soldiers who like to move furniture and stomp around the attic. Another soldier has been spotted carrying his wounded comrade to the cellar. He is heard singing to his dying friend as well. Mary, a midwife, likes to tend to anyone who is sick or distressed and may sit down on the bed next to anyone who seems to need the company. There is a small boy who died in a carriage accident out front and his grieving father who also haunt the halls.The Viewing: Whether a Civil War enthusiast who needs a place to stay or interested in meeting some of the wandering spirits, this inn will fit the bill. This inn has fun with history providing ghost stories in their tours and theater shows. To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.farnsworthhouseinn.comwww.scaryplace.com/FarnsworthFacts.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/pa/farnsworth_house.cfmBack to TopRhode IslandNewport - Belcourt Castle The History: This 60 room castle was completed in 1894 as a summer cottage for Oliver Belmont. This "bachelor pad" had only one bedroom, no guestrooms and the entire first floor was dedicated to Oliver's carriage horses and their carriages. Eventually it was renovated for Oliver's new wife, Alva (formerly Mrs. Vanderbilt) who enjoyed staying at this home. Belcourt was purchased by the Tinney family in 1956 who began giving tours in 1957. The Haunting: Unlike other homes where the house holds the spirits, it is believed the ghosts at Belcourt Castle come from the numerous antiques in its' collection. The most famous is "the monk" who seems to be connected to a 17th century German woodcarving. This shadowy figure appears next to the carving and then disappears. The Gothic ballroom contains some of the most haunted artifacts including possessed chairs!The Viewing: Belcourt Castle offers a 90 minutes ghost tour for $18/person. There are also other general tours, candlelight tours and teas. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...www.belcourtcastle.orgwww.quahog.org/attractions/index.php?id=1031www.associatedcontent.comBack to TopNewport - Castle Hill Inn & Resort The History: The location for Castle Hill originally had a watch house as early as 1740 when it was used to watch the sea for ships during the war between Britain and Spain. The Americans used the same location during the Revolutionary War to bombard British ships as they passed. In 1874, Alexander Agassiz, an explorer and scientist settled here to better study the marine life. It was not only his home but a lab that housed research students as well.The Haunting: There is a girl spirit here who may have some connection to the original owner, Agassiz. She throws a bit of a tantrum now and then and has trashed some of the china on occasion.The Viewing: This inn offers a luxury escape on the coast. For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...www.castlehillinn.comBack to TopSouth CarolinaCharleston - The Battery Carriage House Inn The History: This house was built in 1843 for Samuel Stevens, a prominent lender in the area who helped local cotton farms finance their farms. In 1870, after the Civil War had ended the local wealthy in Charleston, Col. Lathers (of the Union Army), bought the home and had it remodeled to the current New York fashion, Second Empire. However, Col. Lathers was told he wasn't welcome in Charleston and sold the home in 1874 to Andrew Simonds, the great-great grandfather of the current owner.The Haunting: There is a gentleman ghost who may be the son of a former owner who jumped off the roof to commit suicide. But he is a gentle ghost and just seems to enjoy the company. There is also a headless torso who makes many feel threatened by his creepy appearance and moaning. He might be the ghost a pirate as some were executed close to the hotel. However it is just as likely he is a soldier from the Civil War. Some guests report seeing energy orbs or have electronics turn on when they are really off. Overall it seems rooms 8 and 10 have the most activity.The Viewing: The owners of the hotel have not seen any of the ghosts themselves, but they don't mind if you want to try and catch a glimpse for yourself. Click here to find out more. More on this spooky site...www.batterycarriagehouse.comwww.batterycarriagehouse.com/ghosts.htmwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/sc/battery_carriage_house.cfmBack to Top Ghost ImageSouth DakotaDeadwood - Adams House The History: This home, built in 1892, came after Deadwood's colorful mining camp days. Harris and Anna Franklin had the home built and their family stayed in it until 1920 when it sold to W.E. and Alice Adams. This is the same W.E. Adams who started the first museum in Deadwood in 1930. His second wife, Mary, closed the door on Adams House after his death in 1934 and left everything intact; the house was a time capsule of everything from books on the shelves to cookies in the cookie jar. In 1987 the home was remodeled as became a bed and breakfast until it was sold to Deadwood’s Historic Preservation Commission in 1992.The Haunting: Of course this home didn't change much when closed up so W.E. Adams has continued to feel right at home in the afterlife. Rumors state that his widow heard his ghost walking around before she decided to leave. Cigar smoke can be smelled on the second floor and from time to time a tour will see objects move on their own.The Viewing: Now a museum, you can learn about Deadwood's history at the same time you peak for spooky apparitions. For more information on times and cost, click here. More on this spooky site...www.adamsmuseumandhouse.orgwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/sd/adams_house.cfmBack to TopTennesseeNashville - The Hermitage The History: Andrew Jackson purchased this farm and acreage in 1804 from his friend Nathaniel Hays. Using slave labor, he turned the 1000 acres into a grand plantation producing cotton, crops for local use and race horses. From 1829-1837, Andrew Jackson served as the 7th President of the United States. After serving office he returned to the Hermitage where he later died and was buried in 1845. President Jackson's son tried to keep the Hermitage together but in the end had to start selling portions of the now 1050 acre plantation. It was considered by the U.S. Congress whether to turn the Hermitage into an extension of West Point as a military academy. However, this was not adopted. By 1889 the Hermitage was in disrepair. The Tennessee Ladies Hermitage Association (LHA) formed and spearheaded the effort to save the landmark. They were able to get 25 acres which included the main mansion and other historic buildings. The other remaining 475 acres were given to the Tennessee Confederate Soldiers' Home and made into a hospital. When the hospital shut down in 1933, all 500 acres were returned to the LHA. The LHA continued to regain the land of the Hermitage and bring it under their care and restoration. Today, 1120 acres are run under the Hermitage as both a Historic landmark and Wildlife area.The Haunting: It is said that as the plantation fell into disrepair, the spirits became angry and restless. Caretakers refused to spend the night there. The ladies of the LHA would soon find out why when they decided to rotate staying there until a watchman could be hired. Loud noises kept them awake at night. One being of Andrew Jackson himself riding his horse on the stairway. The kitchen was also a ruckus with pots and pans pounding. In the morning they could see that nothing was disturbed. Other apparitions that have been seen are of slaves who are still bound in chains to the property.The Viewing: Today you can visit this museum which includes access to the Andrew Jackson Visitor Center, Hermitage Mansion, and Hermitage Grounds and Gardens. To find out more, click here. More on this spooky site...www.thehermitage.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/tn/hermitage.cfmwww.prairieghosts.com/hermitage.htmlBack to TopTexasAustin - Driskill Hotel The History: Jesse Lincoln Driskill opened this hotel in 1886. The hotel was grand and luxurious, funded by his success as a cattle baron. In 1888, the family lost its fortune due to drought and a cold winter that killed most of the cattle. The hotel then changed from owner to owner with the most recent change of hands in 1995. The Haunting: Driskill is claimed to still wander the hotel, puffing cigar smoke while he turns lights on and off. There is the ghost of a small girl, the daughter of a senator, who was left unattended and fell to her death while playing with her ball - she can still be heard bouncing the ball today. The Viewing: The hotel today offers all kinds of pampering. To find out more about staying, click here. More on this spooky site...www.driskillhotel.comwww.austinghosttours.comwww.hauntedtexas.comBack to TopUtahSalt Lake City - McCune Mansion The History: This mansion was built in 1900 by a railroad tycoon named Alfred W. McCune. After leaving for California in 1920, the McCune's donated the mansion to the Latter-Day Saint Church. It was then turned into the McCune School of Music. It later became a Brigham Young University Salk Lake City Center and Virginia Tanner Modern Dance School. In 1999 it was purchased by Phil McCarthy who worked to restore the mansion and open it as a hotel.The Haunting: Music is said to still haunt the McCune halls. A small room under the stairs was used by the McCune's as a stage for hired musicians. The whole house would be filled with music but their guests did not know from where it came. It is said this music still fills the air from here. Other happenings include doors locking that are not fit with locks, doors opening on their own and lights going on and off on their own.The Viewing: You can schedule a tour of the mansion through the Utah Heritage Foundation. To find out more about spending the night, click here. More on this spooky site...www.mccunemansion.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/ut/mccune_mansion.cfmwww.prairieghosts.com/mccune.htmlBack to TopVermontStowe - The Green Mountain Inn The History: This home was built in 1833 by Peter Lovejoy. The home changed hands and became a hotel in the later 19th century. Mark Lovejoy purchased the hotel in 1893 and renamed it The Green Mountain Inn. The inn stayed in service while having many different owners. In the 1980s massive renovations were done including the addition of clubhouses and townhouses with luxury suites.The Haunting: A tap dancer named Boots Berry haunts the third floor of this inn. Born in 1840, Boots was actually born in the servants quarters - now hotel room 302. He gained local notoriety after he stopped spooked horses from running away with the stagecoach. Boots was treated to one too many drinks and became a bit of an alcoholic and lost his job at the inn. Boots left the area and, as legend has it, was arrested in New Orleans where he learned to tap dance from his cellmate. After a life of a traveling vagrant he returned penniless. During a winter snow storm a girl was stranded on the roof of the inn. Since Boots was familiar with the area (right above the same servants quarters) he found a way to her and helped her to safety. He however slipped and fell to his death. Now it is said during winter storms you can hear Boots tap dancing on the third floor.The Viewing: There is lot to do in the area and at the inn itself. Ice cream, chocolate and wine tasting - yes please! Click here to find out more. More on this spooky site...www.greenmountaininn.comwww.greenmountaininn.com/bootsberry.htmlwww.associatedcontent.com/article/408542

Ghost ImageVirginiaYorktown - Moore House The History: The land was first inhabited by colonists in the 1630s but the home was likely built in the 1730s when it, along with 500 acres, was called Temple Farm. Augustine Moor purchased the property in 1760. During the siege of Yorktown in 1781 he and his family fled the area. In their absence, their home was used to negotiate the surrender of British troops with General George Washington. After the Revolutionary War the house changed hands frequently. During the Civil War it was damaged. In 1881 the house was refurbished to celebrate the centennial of the British surrender at Yorktown. In 1931 another round of restoration by the National Park Service (one of the first of its kind), restored the house to its former condition.The Haunting: It seems that Augustine Moore Jr. still sleeps in the beds and can be also felt following group tours around the house. There may also be other entities as other areas of the house also show ruffled sheets or depressed cushions from unseen loungers. Perhaps these ghosts are just a bit tired.The Viewing: The Moore House is now part of the Yorktown Battlefield National Park. You can tour the park for a nominal fee, for more information click here. More on this spooky site...www.nps.gov/york/historyculture/moore-house.htmwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/va/moore_house.cfmBack to TopWashingtonLakewood - Thornwood Castle The History: Thornewood Castle was built for Chester Thorne, a successful founder of the Port of Tacoma. This Tudor/Gothic estate was completed in 1911. Inspired by the estates in Britain, the stained glass windows were even imported from a castle in Europe. The castle has many different imports that add to the structure and contents of the building. One of the more interesting aspects is the "wishbone sticks" left by the Native American workers who helped in the construction. These sticks help to ward off evil and are found at the foundation in the basement.The Haunting: There are multiple photographs taken of orbs throughout the castle and reports of objects moving on their own. Tape recorders have picked up voices, one of an unknown child. One child did drown in the lake and is said to haunt its shore, perhaps they visit the house as well? Overall, the spirits at Thornwood seem to be a good natured sort. There is not a violent history attached to this home. Although the wife of Mr. Thorne is said to haunt the halls, this is more because she likes the place rather than she is out to get anyone. In fact, some believe Thornwood Castle acts as a vortex and can attract ghosts from the other side. Some guests have reported making contact with loved ones from their lives who have no connection with the castle.The Viewing: You may stay in the castle as it is now a B&B. There are Candle Light Tours: for $100 and the cost of a room you can spend the night exploring the haunted halls with a small group of ghost hunters. To spend the night, click here. More on this spooky site...www.thornewoodcastle.comwww.legendsofamerica.com/WA-ThornewoodCastle.htmlwww.prairieghosts.com/rosered.htmlBack to TopWashington, D.C.The White House The History: The White House became the home to our presidents in 1800 with President John Adams being the first resident. There have been many presidents and first ladies in the home and some have decided not to leave... The Haunting: President Abraham Lincoln is the most popular ghost with the most sightings. The first to see him was First Lady, Grace Coolidge. He has also been spotted by guards and guests. Other presidents that like to make an appearance are President Benjamin Harrison, President Andrew Johnson, President John Tyler and President Andrew Jackson. First Ladies that have made appearances include Abigail Adams and Dorothea Madison. There is also the apparition of a black cat which has been said to be seen before national tragedies such as the stock market crash of 1929 and before the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The Viewing: Of course you can still visit the White House today. For information about tours or for a virtual tour, click here. More on this spooky site...www.whitehouse.govhttp://paranormal.about.com/library/weekly/aa022100a.htm http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/ghosts/

Ghost ImageWest VirginiaHarpers Ferry The History: Known mostly for its connection with John Brown and his failed slave rebellion, this town offers a unique look at 19th century history. In 1799 a US Arsenal and Armory factory was built here and industry grew in the area. In 1859 John Brown tried to seize the arsenal to arm slaves and begin a revolution for their freedom. His raid failed and he was found guilty of treason. During the Civil War (between 1861-1865) the town suffered from its strategic location and changed hand between the North and South eight times. In 1867 Storer College was started here with the mission to educate freed slaves but was also open to any student of both genders. However, segregation later etched away at the school's initial universal intent. The Haunting: Despite the fact that many park volunteers dress in period garb, park employees, volunteers and guests have also seen 19th century dressed apparitions around the town. Considering his violent end, John Brown has been seen around town and in the Kennedy Farmhouse (his old headquarters) and appears rather friendly and smiles at visitors on the street. However, there are some sad spirits in this war scarred town. A unknown man in the National Park Service Guest House glares at visitors and even pushed one. A young drummer boy who was tossed out of a window still can be heard crying for his mother and the crash of a chimney that killed a small baby during bombardment can still be felt to shake another house.The Viewing: Run by the National Park Service today, Harpers Ferry is a unique combination of Civil War time capsule, living history museum and general tourist destination. For information on visiting, click here. More on this spooky site...www.nps.gov/hafe/www.harpersferryghost.20m.comwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/wv/harpers_ferry.cfmwww.prairieghosts.com/ferry.htmlBack to TopWisconsinMilwaukee - Brumder Mansion The History: George Brumder had the home built in 1910 for his son, George Jr. After they sold the home, the house was everything from a boarding house to an activity center for a Lutheran church. They used the home for office space, a theater, and later opened a coffee house with a live music venue. The current owners purchased the home in 1997 and opened the renovated space as a B&B in 1998. The Haunting: The Gold Room was once the room of one of the Brumder daughters who never married after suffering a broken heart early in life. She is said to still stay in the room, in fact she was quite appalled and upset when the current owner spent the night in this room with her dogs - no dogs allowed! Your dreams will be haunted if any dogs sleep on the bed!The Viewing: It's a Bed & Breakfast, so take the plunge and spend the night - request the Gold Suite! You can even join a ghost hunting seminar or enjoy a haunted history dinner! For more information, click here. More on this spooky site...http://milwaukeebedbreakfast.com/www.milwaukeeghosts.comwww.hauntedhouses.comBack to Top Ghost ImageWyomingLaramie - Wyoming Territorial Prison The History: Built in 1872, this prison was one of the few in this broad territory but it did not house the most notorious killers as these were sent to Cheyenne. The most famous resident was Butch Cassidy. It only housed about 1000 prisoners as after 1890 a new prison was founded in Rawlins and the University of Wyoming took over the Territorial Prison for stock yard training and experiments. No prisoners were executed here or even died here as they were sent home to die to save the state the trouble of burying them. One inmate did die of a heart attack, Julius Greenwich and it is said his ghost now haunts the place.The Haunting: Julius was convicted of 2nd degree murder because he murdered his wife in a rage after he found her working in a brothel he frequented. He was a cigar salesman and even set up a cigar factory in the prison so yes, you guessed it, cigar smoke often fills the air mysteriously. He has also been spotted standing in the doorway that used to be his cell.The Viewing: This site was restored in 1989 and includes exhibits about Laramie and frontier living as well as the history of the prison. For more information about visiting, click here. More on this spooky site...http://wyoparks.state.wy.us/Site/SiteInfo.asp?siteID=25www.wyomingterritorialprison.comwww.wyomingheritage.org/territorialPrison.htmlwww.hauntedhouses.com/states/wy/wyoming-territorial-prison.cfmBack to Top Still can't get enough? No problem! Here are some websites that list even more haunted hotels, inns, castles, historical sites, cemeteries, tours, and other ghostly fun. Just a quick note: many haunted houses seem to get their start from murder or untimely death. Although we have not gone into graphic details here, please note that some of these sites do go into much more (sometimes gruesome) detail!American Hauntingshttp://www.prairieghosts.com/This site is a bit busy, but if you look through it there are some great excerpts from their books and fun ghost tours they run.Haunted Accommodations.comhttp://www.hauntedaccommodations.com/A ghostly list of haunted hotels, tours, and city sites in the U.S. and abroad.Haunted Houses.comhttp://hauntedhouses.com/A great selection about haunted homes, places, movies, ghost towns and more! The site is very well done with good pictures and fun stories.Haunted World.comhttp://www.hauntworld.com/ This site lists and reviews haunted houses but also has other tales and ghost hangouts listed by state. A little bit of everything, it is a fun site.Real Hauntshttp://www.realhaunts.com/Another fun collection of haunted and spooky places to stay or see on your vacation. Attractions listed by state.The Shadowlands: Ghosts & Hauntingshttp://theshadowlands.net/ghost/This site lists all the stories that exist about spooky places in your neighborhood. Entries are short and to the point.Still want more? How about a Haunted Vacation? Check out our list of Haunted Hotels, Inns and Castles!Looking for a little adventure, but it's too wet outside to play? Why not snuggle indoors and thrill your imagination with a haunted vacation? Many hotels, inns, and even castles offer spooky weekend getaways. Perhaps a friendly ghost will fold your clothes and lay them out on the bed; a mischievous one might turn on the lights and radio at 2:00AM; or perhaps one with a chip on his shoulder might give you a little "bump in the night" to remind you he is there. You might find it a good laugh or a little fun to shake up the fall and winter humdrums. Click on the banner below to read our previous article that lists scary places to stay for a haunted vacation. We tried to collect from across the U.S. and added in a few international destinations just in case you prefer a ghost with an accent! Enjoy and have some fun!

Pet Friendly Home

Making your Home and Yard Perfect for your Pet!

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For many, bringing a pet home is the same as bringing home new family. Pets easily find their way in our hearts with their playful antics and friendly companionship. When you first bring a new pet into your home it is imperative that you are willing to make some adjustments to your living space. This article is aimed at giving hints for all who have pets or will have pets in their home. Preparing your home and yard for your new pet is important to their well being and your ease of mind. The focus will be discussing animals that are out most of the time, like cats and dogs, that are more likely to get into some mischievous fun. However, many of these tips and hints will work for most of the four legged friends we bring into our home. Most of the tips will seem like common sense, however, when the new pet is roaming around it may slip our mind to check for common place hazards. Many times we take for granted that things are safe or wouldn't interest animals. However the puppy running down the hall with a roll of toilet paper would beg to differ!

So let's get your home and yard ready so it is safe for your pets (and also not a free going playground waiting for destruction and mayhem)!

Part I: Preparing Your Home

When bringing a new pet to the home the last thing anyone wants to think about is cleaning and proofing their home. However, taking a little time to do so will prevent headaches and possible heartaches. It will keep your pet, prized possessions and your sanity intact. This is true whether you are bringing home a new pet or adjusting an older one to a new home. Or, perhaps, you find your self in the unfortunate situation of losing possessions to a pet who has never had boundaries set up in your home. Whatever your reason, these tips will help proof your home for the new, old and mischievous pets in your life.

Think Below the Knees 
Get down on all fours and look around at the same level as your pet. There is a whole other world down at their viewpoint!

  • Think low! Remove objects on low shelves, coffee tables, and anywhere else that is easy access. Anything destructible, such as paper, books, anything made of cloth (i.e. laundry). It is much easier to 'chew train' a pet if they do not learn a bad habit of "where to look" for destructible goodies when you aren't looking.
  • Also think about food and snacks. Don't leave pop cans, candy wrappers, crumbs or anything else on a low counter. Leaving out these delicious tidbits can easily lead to "counter surfing".
  • Since kittens and ferrets may actually have the ability to walk on your counters, make certain to keep an eye on them when cooking. You may have food on the counter and the stove burners on - both can be dangerous. If you are a messy chef you may have a very happy kitty, but it could be dangerous if you don't keep an eye on them!
  • Speaking of food and snacks, make sure if you have smaller pets, like mice, that they are out of reach to your new puppy or kitten. Don't forget your fish - sometimes the idea that the aquarium is invincible can be tested.
  • Smokers - do not leave cigarette butts where pets may reach them. If eaten it can lead to nicotine poisoning and the filters aren't good on the digestive system.
  • Children's toys can be great fun for pets too! Make sure your kids realize they may loose their toy if it is left out and unattended. Also many toys may have small parts or can be easily broken into small parts by your pet which can be dangerous.
  • Overall keep you place picked up of daily messes. For example: Newspaper whether read or not is still fun to shred and eat. (Same goes for the mail!) Just got home from shopping? Put away the bags! Plastic bags can be either chewed and swallowed (pups) or can suffocate some pets accidentally (kittens & ferrets).
  • Sometimes pets will eat something that will require surgery to remove. Small objects to watch out for include rubber bands, balloons, beads, buttons, Q-tips, sewing needles, thread, staples, string, pantyhose and coins - to name a few!
  • Medication should never be left around the house. Make sure it is secure - just like with children!
  • Keep heating vents covered. Many pets love to snuggle up to these and you don't want your pet falling in.
  • Smaller pets like ferrets should be blocked off from holes and other hideaways - you don't want them to find a comfy spot and not come out! Also be certain to check under recliners before moving them as your pet may find it a nice place to hide out.
  • Plants should be moved to higher ground or blocked. Watch out for vine plants that your pet might grab and bring the whole thing down. * Some household plants are poisonous to pets. Here are a few: aloe vera, amaryllis, caladium, holly berries, lilies, mistletoe, mums, and poinsettias. For a complete listing check out the Poisonous Plants resource links.

Playtime!
Unless they are sleeping, or eating, they are playing!! Some tips to make this non-stop action fun and safe for both of you!

  • Keep an eye on your pet at play with certain toys. Some toys don't hold up to your pets hunting prowess and become shredded in no time. Toys with squeakers are fun but many pets will work hard to remove them if your not watching. Just keep in mind if you are in the other room, you may never see them devour their cut up prey! A solution would be have toys for when you can see them and more durable toys for when they are in the yard, other room, or you are not at home.
  • Also watch older toys. If they don't fall apart they may actually be warn into sharp edges, don't let your pet play with damaged toys, they can cut themselves easily. Look before you step when playing with all our small pets. Try this pattern "Turn, Look, Step"
  • Some small animals such as rabbits are chewers and it normal to give them various chew toys such as: Cardboard boxes, empty oatmeal containers, bird toys, cardboard paper towel rolls, things to shred. Try to keep them away from your wooden furniture - they love wood! Instead wood sticks are available at pet stores.

Road Blocks
If they can't reach it, they can't eat it, scratch it, or all out destroy it!

  • Don't forget the garbage! Take the garbage outside or make sure you can close it away in a closet/room where pets cannot reach it. Not only will they make a mess rifling through all the goodies they can also hurt themselves if there are any rough objects they rifle through.
  • Keep some rooms closed. It is perfectly reasonable for there to be certain rooms that pets may not visit unless supervised. One obvious choice would be the bathroom (remember that puppy running down the hall with toilet paper - cute - but after the 20th time said pup turns from cutie to lil'-demon). If you don't have a door to a particular area look into getting a child gate or blocking it off with other materials. If you have a mixture of pets you may not want them to be able to access certain areas of each others space. A prime example is keeping kitty litter from dogs, some seem to find the "deposits" tasty snacks. In this instance you can set up a roadblock for the dog that the cat can still easily climb over.
  • If your pet is especially good with its nose or paws you may want to get childproof latches. They will work well to keep them out of lower cabinets in your home.
  • Keep the lid down on the toilet, especially if you use strong cleaners. Small, curious pets may fall in and pets taking a drink can be poisoned by cleaners - some of them even contain anti-freeze!
  • Speaking of cleaners, here are some examples of cleaners that are really dangerous to your pets (to name a few!): ammonia, bleach, disinfectants, drain cleaner, oven cleaner, paint, rat/bug poison.
  • Keep electric cords out of reach or secure them to baseboards. When first home keep an eye on where your pet is at all times. Some may try chewing on the cords. You can deter this with a taste deterrent like "Bitter Apple", a mix of vinegar and water, or hot sauce. Or even better, block access to them altogether.
  • Speaking of cords, watch those drapery cords as well. Tie them up so all your window treatments aren't pulled to the ground.
  • Many animals are attracted to fire. The light of a candle or the heat of a fireplace will peak their interest. Make sure candles are never left unattended. For the fireplace make sure Fluffy knows just how close they are allowed to get for a good snooze - warm is good, singed is bad.
  • Keep the upstairs windows and any cellar doors shut. Young pets are just like children with their curiosity but can easily misstep and fall.
  • Be careful when working in the garage. It is best to keep them out and make sure you clean up thoroughly! Such toxins like anti-freeze are very lethal to pets - a drop the size of a dime can be lethal! (You hear a lot about anti-freeze, not only is a small amount incredibly lethal, anti-freeze is also sweet smelling and tasting to pets - they will seek it out!!)
  • Watch our for open dresser drawers, closets and other nice dark places, kittens are especially curious and many are drawn to these make-shift dens. Have you heard about the kitten jumping in the dryer? Its not a urban legend, be alert and check before you shut the door.
  • Another warm place kittens like to snuggle is on a car engine. If your kitten has access to your car (or the neighborhood cat for that matter) it may help pound on the hood of your car and honk you horn. If you don't want to do this every day try to limit access to your car.
  • One of my favorite words of advice when watching out for the sleeping kitten: "Locate your kitten before you sit down on the sofa or use the recliner." (Of course, depending on your house rules, that may go for your other pets too!)

Table Manners
Don't feed table scraps to your pets. Many times people don't realize that some foods okay for us can be toxic or hard on the system for animals.

Some foods to be aware of: Alcohol, Chicken & Turkey Bones, Nutmeg, Apples (stems & seeds), Chocolate, Onion Apricots (seeds), Coffee (grinds & beans), Peaches (seeds),  Avocados, Dairy Products (large amounts), Pears, Baking Powder, Fatty Foods, Plums,  Baking Soda, Garlic, Potatoes (peelings & green,) Broccoli (large amounts, )Grapes, Raisins, Cherries (stems & seeds), Macadamia Nuts, Yeast, **Tobacco, although not a food, ingestion can be poisonous

Holiday Playground
The holidays are fun for everyone - including your pets!

  • Decorations should be up high or in rooms that pets have limited access.
  • Any holiday lights should be treated the same as other electrical cords. Get it out of the way or secured so your pets don't accidentally trip over them. Also keep a lookout and make sure they do not chew on them; again a taste deterrent like "Bitter Apple" will work.
  • Other holiday items to keep from you pets include: metal ornament hooks, popcorn strands, tinsel, angel hair (it is spun glass), and decorative artificial snow or tree flocking - to name a few.
  • Don't forget that holiday plants like holly berries, mistletoe, and poinsettias are poisonous!
  • Fourth of July fireworks are fun for us but many pets find all the racket frightening. One suggestion is to have treats nearby and give them treats whenever there is "Boom!" so they associate the noise with happier things (mostly used for dogs). Another thing to keep in mind if you are leaving for the festivities, don't leave pets alone out in the backyard. They may panic and do things they normally wouldn't do like digging their way out!
  • Many holidays include house guests that are not familiar with your pet or household rules. After introducing your guest to your pet, make certain you let your guests know not to leave doors open, feed table scraps or any other important household rules. If there are a lot of guests you may want to arrange a quiet place for your pet to retreat.

Home Alone
What do they do when you leave the home? Preferably it doesn't involve eating the couch!

  • Before you leave for a long day at work it is important your pet is calm. For dogs a good walk in the morning may be necessary. For cats a little play time will help with bonus energy. Teach your pet tricks and have them perform for you before you head out. Our pets sleep more then we do and getting rid of morning energy will help them settle for a nap while your out earning money to spend on them.
  • If you have a really active breed you may want to look into a dog daycare or walking service for a couple days out of the week. Taking your dog to a pet daycare is like taking them to camp. They get to romp with other dogs and usually come home tired and ready for a good night sleep. Many find that a few days out of the week is enough to hold them over on the days in-between.
  • Crates can be lifesaver when you are gone. If you have pet that is still undergoing training and is not sure of all the rules, a crate or restricted room is a must.

Cautionary tale on the restricted room - we placed one of our pups in a room in our house as we went out to get a bite to eat. There was no furniture in the room except for her crate with her toys. When we came back she had climbed the crate and chewed the metal blinds on the window and also proceeded to dig up part of the carpet!

Part II: Preparing

Your yard is fun place for you and your pet to enjoy the outdoors. Maintaining your yard for your pet is relatively easy. There are some hazards that you will want to watch for and prevent. Not all of your pets may enjoy your yard to its fullest, some may stay in pens or restricted kennel/runs. The tips below address pets that have more freedom. These pets roam a fenced backyard or around the perimeter of your house (i.e. Dogs & Cats). In addition to proofing tips we offer some ideas about making your yard more enjoyable. Sometimes you may have a small space or areas you really don't want Fido to excavate. Read on for a checklist of ways to make your yard safe and entertaining for your pets.

Yard Maintenance
When maintaining your yard you want to keep your pets in mind.

  • When working on the yard keep pets indoors. Our dogs like to chase the lawnmower - bad idea - so they now watch from inside. Some pets may be just the opposite and try either to attack the mower or try to escape in a panic - equally bad idea. Besides the lawnmowers, trimmers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and other loud tools should not be used when pets are around.
  • Be careful with other tools such as shovels, rakes, spades, etc. Some pets may try to "help" you do the yard work and can inadvertently be struck by these items.
  • Review the chemicals you use on your yard. Weed killers, bug killers/bait and other chemicals can be poisonous to your pets as well. Some you may still be able to use, however, you may need to let the yard sit for x amount of hours before letting your pets back out. Symptoms of poisoning usually include: vomiting, diarrhea and sometimes convulsions or unconsciousness.
  • Keep your yard clean of waste. Especially with puppies, they can get in the habit of eating their waste. Besides, you will both enjoy your yard much better if it is not covered in poo mines! For cats you should have an outdoor litter box. This will be easier to clean and prevent the cat from laying waste to your (or your neighbor's) flowerbeds.
  • Remove any ladders, tools or stacked piles (i.e. wood), etc. that young pets may try to climb or knock over. If you do keep the stacks in your yard, check that they are secure and cannot roll onto your pet. Consider carefully what you plant in your yard. Plants that can cause complications include: Rhododendron, Japanese Yew, Lilly of the Valley, Peach and Cherry Trees (pits) to name a few. See our links to Poisonous Plants for more details.
  • You may want to try to keep your yard clear of the bee family by getting rid of nests on your property. Your dog cannot escape bees flying through the yard, but cutting down their numbers may help. All dogs are naturally allergic to bee stings. Depending on the location of the sting they may have to visit the vet for medication. If it is on the mouth/head it can lead to swelling and difficulty breathing.

The Kingdom 
Your pets will make your yard into their own domain. Make sure their kingdom is safe and enjoyable. 

  • Check the fence of the yard for holes or gaps that may be an easy escape. Make sure your gates are locked and secured and guests and children know to do so as well.
  • It is best not to have any young pets around water unattended. If you have a pool or pond make sure to watch them around this area carefully. Some trainers even suggest teaching pets how to get out of the pool or pond early on, sort of a "Swimming 101" for the pet in case they get into trouble when your back is turned. If your pet does get into a pool, make sure they get a bath so none of the harsh chemicals can effect their skin and coat.
  • Most pets are sun lovers. If your pet likes to "sunbathe" keep an eye that they don't get too hot. Signs of heat exhaustion include: restlessness, panting excessively and drooling. The worst case scenario is the pet collapsing and eventually falling into a coma. To counter it, wrap them in a damp cool (not cold) towel and go to your vet or animal hospital. In hot weather keep plenty of water. Refresh and refill it often. If you keep food outside as well make sure it does not sit too long. The heat may cause it to spoil and flies may contaminate it.
  • Make sure you have shade in your yard. You may even want to add a structure such as a doghouse for your pup to rest
  • Ask your vet to recommend a flea & tick prevention plan right for your pet. Depending on how much your pet is outside, where it goes, etc. you may need more preventive tools. It is imperative you ask your vet as many medicinal solutions are measured by your pets size, weight, age, etc.
  • Your pet may like to make or find a burrow to rest in. Block off crawl spaces under sheds or decks. You don't want them to get trapped or hurt by any debris you cannot see underneath.

Ideas for your Pet Friendly
Yard Below are just a few ideas of things you may do to improve your yard for your pet.

  • Placing markers around your yard for your dog to potty on or for your cat to scratch on can help save some of your other trees. Start by blocking the trees you want to save and place toys or treats by the markers you want them to use. Eventually you can train you pet to have a habitual like for that particular log(s)!
  • Prepare digging spots for your pets. For your dog it can be a small area of dirt and sand where you keep toys to encourage him to be there. For cats you can have one container/pot with catnip or another enticement. By keeping them interested in their designated digging spot they will learn to have fun there and leave the rest of your yard alone (most of the time!).
  • If you don't want your dog in your flower bed try a wooden or stone fence. Some dogs will learn to stay out of the area due to the road block, however you may need to supplement the roadblocks with additional training.
  • Dogs are going to do their rounds around "their" territory. This will leave worn paths in the grass. You may want to lay a nice stone path on their route to beautify it.
  • Continuing with a dogs tendency to make paths, for smaller yards you can make a maze path for them. Using placing flowerbeds and other structures you can create a winding route for them for their territorial routine.

Conclusion

Pets are a wonderful addition to the family and home. Taking time to proof your house and yard will make both of your lives a lot easier. It may seem daunting at first that there are so many things to do for or keep away from your pets. However, after a while your pets will learn the house rules. You may even be able to reclaim certain areas of the house as your pet matures and understands not to destroy your things. For example, our dogs don't touch the laundry anymore and we can leave books on low shelves without them getting even a sniff of interest. You will find many of the hazards you watch for you will begin to do so naturally. Eventually you won't even realize your new habits. It is simply part of the lifestyle change that happens as it is always an adjustment to bring animals into our home. Just know that you can be pro-active, you'll have far fewer headaches in the long run and in the end you will have great company and lots of fun!

The Cleaner Home

Make your home environmentally green

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The old days of harsh bleach and chemicals used to clean around the house are slowly fading out. Along with this trend is a desire of many consumers to adopt more environmentally friendly products for their home. This can be anything from the new countertops and floors to the groceries bought at the local supermarket. In addition to what you bring in (and take out) of your home, the maintenance of your home can is a way to become more green. According to the energysavers.gov website, "Americans spend more than $160 billion a year to heat, cool, light, and live" in their homes. Everyone may not try every option or may find their budget does not allow for all of the products available. However, a few home improvements and informed purchases can not only save you money in the long run, but these changes can also provide a healthier home for your family and the planet. Initially, all the options to create a greener home can be overwhelming. But some tasks are good home maintenance and a few only need to be done once. The headings below is just one way to break down some of the improvements and updates you may make to your home which will effect its impact and performance. Did we say performance? You bet! Making sure your home is running efficiently and smoothly is the number one way to helping the environment! How efficient is your home? Making your home work efficiently to keep you warm, cool and provide you with creature comforts is the perfect way to help other creatures of the world. Taking time to keep your home updated will help reduce the amount of energy you need and ultimately be easier on your wallet as well. Lighting: You can cut electricity costs by taking advantage of natural lighting and choosing carefully the lighting you purchase. Natural light is a great way to improve your home's efficiency. Skylights and easy to open window treatments can help you better regulate where you get your light during the day. Windows facing north and south can offer a great source of natural light and heat. West and east windows will offer light but may produce too much glare as the sun rises and sets. Choose your artificial lights carefully. Selecting a few accent lights and then a concentrated task light for an activity such as reading is a better alternative to lighting up every square inch of the room with florescent bulbs! Using environmentally efficient light bulbs can help reduce energy costs. However, research the bulbs you buy. Some may not work as well for task lighting. Others may not work with your older lamps and you may be better buying a new lighting fixture at the same time. Keep your artificial lights working at their best. Even the simple task of keeping your lamp shades free of dust can improve the light quality in your home. Windows: The windows of your home can be a great ally. Getting the right type of window treatments can help regulate your home temperatures. Drapes: Drawn closed in the winter, these window treatments can help prevent heat from escaping by as much as 10%! Drapes can also help decrease heat coming into the home if closed against direct sunlight in the summer. Blinds or Shades: These can help reduce the amount of heat coming through the window because of direct sunlight. Dual shades can be very useful. Use the light side to help reflect and keep out the warming sun in the summer and the dark side can be used in the winter to draw in more heat. Shutters: Both exterior and interior shutters can be used to keep heat out in the summer. They do not work as well at keeping heat in during the winter. Another perk of having exterior shutters is that they can provide extra security for your home as well. Window Panel: Similar to a shutter, a window panel is a product that pops into the window frame and provides extra insulation in the winter. An inexpensive addition, this may be ideal for windows not used for their light in the winter. Screens: Although these don't really keep any heat in place, using screens on your windows allows for better cooling and airing of your home in the summer. Screens allow you to keep windows and doors open encouraging a natural movement of the air. Using open windows well in the morning and evening can drastically reduce your air conditioning bill. Thankfully this can be done without letting in all the bugs and critters! Awnings: Window awnings can help keep the house cooler in the summer by reducing the amount of heat that is adsorbed. Air Leaks: Get rid of air leaks! Insulation works to improve both the heating and cooling of your home. Check around your doors and windows first. Many leaks escape through these portals the most. Replace weather stripping and caulk where needed. Besides the doors and windows, also check for air leaks around vents, fans, phone and cable lines, and electrical lines. Depending on the materials used in your home, you may also need to check any brick, stucco or cement construction for needed repairs. Not sure if you have a leak? One option is to use an incense stick. The smoke will show any movement caused by air leaks. Another method is to have someone stand on the other side of the possible leak source while you shine a flashlight at the edges. If they can see the light on the other side then some updates should be made. Insulation: Updating or adding insulation to your home, especially an older one, can help reduce costs associated with heating and cooling your home. The attic, crawl space, basement, exterior walls and space around service ducts are the areas that will need the most attention or improvement. Reduce Water Usage: There are many ways to reduce your water consumption around the home. The hot water heater can be an energy hog. Try insulating it if it does not already have at least R-24 insulation. You can also lower the temperature of the water from 140°F to 120°F to save on cost. Make certain to fix any leaky pipes or faucets. Over time these will not only consume water but will also cause damage to the surrounding area. To get better use of water for your money, consider installing low-flow water faucets and showerheads. You may also consider a water (and energy) efficient clothes washer. What do you bring into your home? Whether building a new home or shopping for the weekly groceries, the products you choose to bring home have a great impact on the environment. Taking some time to consider your choices before you buy is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Renewable Construction: If building or remodeling a home, consider renewable sources for some of your construction needs. You do not have to use all or any of them, however, if you take the time to research some of these options, you may be surprised and find a good fit. Hardwood floors are great in that they keep allergies as bay and are easier on the environment then synthetic carpet manufacture. However, a renewable wood is key here. Renewable floors such as bamboo or cork are much easier to replenish. Another option that has gained in popularity is reclaimed wood. This product is taken from demolition sites - everything from an old house to an old gymnasium floor. Research the product's history as some sealants and paints used on the wood may be toxic. There are more renewable sources available. From recycled glass used as tile to recycled jeans used as insulation. Take a look at our links to the right for more information about these items and possible vendors in your area. Buy Local: There has been a lot of encouragement for consumers to buy local recently. Buying locally should help cut down on shipping and packaging costs. Doing so can also help local farmers and businesses. Not always the cheaper option, trying to purposely buy some items locally can help the economy and ultimately the environment. In fact, some believe buying groceries from local sources provides fresher produce that ultimately could be better for your health. Quality of Product: Being a savvy consumer who expects the best quality in their products is helpful to the environment as well as your pocketbook. Move away from cheaply made items; instead research your purchases and get ones that will perform well for a long time to come. Check Labels: On anything you buy, take time to check the labels and be aware of any impact it may have on your environment - including at home. Consider carefully your choice in chemicals used for cleaning. When working on home improvement projects consider the options you have for glues, paints and other possible hazardous materials. THERMOSTAT: Lower your thermostat by a few degrees. Get a controller where you can specify different temperatures for day and night. LIGHTS: Turn off incandescent lights when not in use. Turn off florescent lights if you will be gone for more than 15 minutes. Optimize your use of natural light with work or reading places near northern or southern windows away from eastern and western sun glare. ELECTRONICS: Turn off power strips if nothing on the strip is in use. Unplug unused electronics. COMPUTERS: Turn off your computer monitor if you will be gone for more than 20 minutes. Turn off both your computer and computer monitor if you will be gone for more than 2 hours. Use the sleep mode if your computer has one. ENERGY: Consider purchasing green energy from your power company such as solar power, wind power, biomass power, geothermal energy or hydropower. If your power company does not have one of these options available, you may still be able to invest in future programs. LAUNDRY: Wash your clothes in cold water when possible. Clothesline dry your laundry on sunny days. Shop for detergents that list which toxic chemicals are not in the product. A generic statement such as "non-toxic" may be gimmick so read the label carefully. GROCERIES: Shop locally. Use a cloth reusable bag for groceries. COOKING: Use cookware that cooks at lower temperatures such as cast iron or clay. Save your baking for cooler hours. DISHES: Only run the dishwasher when it is full. Run the dishwasher at night. GARDEN GREEN: Check out our article on environmentally green gardening. Or see our article about pet safe gardening.

Setting Your Budget

Your next step is to create a project budget.

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You have evaluated the neighborhood and find that your improvement is consistent with general aesthetic and size parameters. You plan to remain in the house for some time. You find that a second mortgage payment will not strain your current monthly budget. You feel you can devote a certain amount of time towards planning the project. And finally, you are really sick of waiting in line to go to the bathroom in your own house!

Your next step is to create a project budget. Decide how long you plan on staying in your home. The length of time you intend to stay in a home will affect how much money you should invest in it. If you are going to stay in the home for more than ten years, you should spend as much as you are able to create the home of your dreams. Make a list of all your debts. You should include any debts you pay on a monthly basis, such as mortgages, car loans, credit cards, and any other items with a fixed monthly payment. This list should not include payments for groceries, utilities, telephone services, or other general expenses. Call this list your monthly expenses. Determine your total gross monthly income. Include all sources of income that you would list on a loan application.

You are ready to determine a project budget. Use the following steps for this process; I have plugged numbers into the formulas to demonstrate how each works.

STEP 1
Lenders use a simple Debt-to-Income (DTI) ratio to determine if a homeowner can afford the additional debt of a remodeling project. DTI Enter Your Total Monthly Expenses $2,860.00 Add the Estimated Monthly Payment for the Project +$775.67 Total $3,635.67 Divide the Total by Your Gross Monthly Income $7,950.00 DTI = 45.7% Each lender will approve loans at a specific DTI percentage (most lenders will tell you what their set DTI ratio is, if you ask). In this example, let us assume that the lender accepts DTI ratios of 45 percent. You are right at the cusp of qualifying. Provided your credit rating is good and you have plenty of equity in your home you will most likely be approved for this loan.

STEP 2
The next step is to determine the maximum monthly payment you can afford for remodeling. Multiply your monthly gross income amount by the lender's maximum DTI allowance, and subtract your current total monthly expenses, excluding the estimated remodeling payment. Gross Monthly Income $7,950.00 Lender's DTI ratio x.45 Subtotal $3,577.50 Less Total Monthly Expenses -$2,860.00 Maximum Affordable Payment = $717.50 Use this figure to determine the maximum available to you to borrow. In this case we assume that the home improvement loan is a fifteen year note at seven percent. The maximum you can borrow is forty-seven thousand dollars for your project given this monthly payment. There are many different options you can explore with your lender during this process. These options can sometimes increase the amount you can borrow; it is best to discuss this thoroughly with lenders. We discuss financing in more detail in the next section.

STEP 3
The final consideration for your budget is if there is any available cash to supplement what you borrow for the project. These are funds not being set aside for future financial obligations such as retirement, college, or other major purchases (like a new car). They are not required for monthly or general expenses as well. In this example let us assume that you have three thousand dollars in excess funds available for the project. This brings your maximum project budget to fifty thousand dollars. The budget now becomes the overriding parameter that drives the project. Every decision from this point forward is made according to the limits set by the budget. The next thing to consider is the percentage of the budget necessary for contingencies. Contingencies are unexpected items that present themselves during the course of the project. The guideline is to set aside between five and twenty percent of your budget for contingencies. The actual percentage depends upon the complexity of the project. For instance, a new roof generally does not require other ancillary items be repaired or altered in order to install the roof. Therefore the minimum contingency of five percent is usually sufficient. On the other hand, a large addition to your home involves many more trades and materials that likely require the maximum contingency of twenty percent. As a rule if any portion of your existing walls, floors, or ceilings must be demolished or opened up in order to install the new materials you need a contingency towards the maximum. Although a professional architect and/or contractor have vast knowledge of the construction process he or she does not have X-ray vision. Often times there are situations that complicate construction contained within these areas that cannot possibly be known about until the area is opened. For our example we will assume you are putting on a small kitchen addition (referred to as a “bump-out”). Since you will have to open up an existing wall but the work area is concentrated to a small portion of the house a contingency of fifteen percent should suffice.

This means that the budget for actual construction that you present to the architect is forty-two thousand five hundred dollars. This is the parameter you want your design professional to use. You hold the seven thousand five hundred dollars in reserve to address any unforeseen expenses that occur once the project begins. You protect yourself from scrambling for extra funds in the middle of the upgrade; if you do not use all of the contingency, and there is no rule that says you have to, then you complete your project under budget (heretofore an unheard of occurrence in remodeling)!