Dwarf Fireweed graces the foreground on Rainbow Ridge. Photo Courtesy Cindy Lou Aillaud
Archives for July 2016
What a poser! Marmot along the Richardson Highway
Photo Couresty Scott Skaleski
I took a photo of this young hunter waiting for a black bear to return to his presumed to be den.
Summer vacation is upon us and many of us are planning a trip. But are you ready financially for the costs? How are you planning to pay for this year’s getaway?
Most of us think ahead and plan for summer vacation. In fact, a recent survey found that eight in 10 Americans have saved at least part of the money needed for their summer vacation. However, 15 percent say that they will use their credit card. Of those using the credit card, two-thirds are planning to pay for the trip within a month, while 11 percent say it will take four months or more to pay for their trip.
The same research also showed that less than half of Americans (44 percent) are planning to take a trip at all this summer. This shows that some people are trying hard to not add any additional debt load to their credit cards.
But everyone wants to have a little bit of a break. What can we do to reduce costs, yet still have that much-needed break?
Take a staycation. Instead of jetting off to Florida or Europe, vacation close to home. How about a camping trip at a state park near Fairbanks? Or for that matter, just unplug from work and stay home. Try being a tourist in our own town. Spend a day walking through Pioneer Park or picnicking at Chena Lakes. It’s a great way to have a break and keep the vacation costs down.
Consider your lodging costs. We all know how expensive a hotel room can be. Take a look at some of the popular websites for vacation rentals. In February, we spent a week in Hawaii and rented a whole house for the same amount of money that two rooms would have cost. We had four bedrooms, a big kitchen, hangout space and lots of opportunities for family togetherness.
Meals are the next big cost. The best option to save money is to not eat out. Have a picnic or hit the grocery store for takeout. Many rooms have free breakfast, snacks at night and even free happy hour. You might pay more for the room, but will save on food. If your room comes equipped with a kitchen or even just a microwave, you can save real money by preparing your own meals.
If you are renting a car, think about prepaying for your rental. Recently, I prepaid for a car rental and found that it saved me several hundred dollars. You can’t always save this much, so be sure to check on the car rental website to review the prices for both the prepaid and regular rentals.
Do what the locals do. Check out what is happening locally in a newspaper or take a while to visit with people and find out where they are going. Local festivals are often low cost and tons of fun. Whether you take in a fair, music festival, or other local event, it is bound to be less expensive that tickets to Disney or a cruise.
If you can, choose to go off-season. Summer is a beautiful time to be in Alaska, so put your vacation off for a different time of year. Everyone wants to get out of Fairbanks in the coldest part of the winter, so that time is often expensive. Try a fall or spring trip. Plane tickets, hotels and events are less expensive at those times of year.
Avoid souvenirs. A plastic replica of the Eiffel Tower will not add a lot of value to your home furnishings when you get home. If you want to buy a remembrance of your trip, make sure it is something that you will use and enjoy later.
A vacation break is important for your mental state of mind, but it doesn’t have to break the bank.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at email@example.com or by calling 907-474-7201.
Junction Readers Book Club cancelled; meetings resume Monday, August 15 @ 7:00 in the Delta Library.
The Delta Library Baby Laptime program is taking a break until mid-September. Watch the Delta News Web for a starting date.
The Delta Library Preschool Story Hour program is taking a break until mid-September. Watch the Delta News Web for a starting date.
Thursday, July 28: Delta Community Library closed today for maintenance and staff training.
Photo of recreational gold seeker near Black Rapids. Won’t usually pay off the mortgage, but beats sitting around the house.
Rebecca will receive a $10 gift certificate from the Buffalo Center Drive In.
Thank you BJ Sloan.
Remember to play along this week. You could be the lucky winner. Click here for detailed rules and additional information.
The Environmental Protection Agency says that the average family does nearly 400 loads of laundry each year. And those 400 loads mean hundreds of dollars spent on electricity, water and laundry supplies, but there are ways to keep those costs down.
Laundry supplies are the first step. Examine what you are using and how much you use. Most of us use more detergent than needed. The old saying “If a little is good, more is better” is at work here. However, that extra detergent is hard on the washing machine and costs you money. Using too much detergent ties up the water and keeps it from doing its job to release dirt and stains. Sometimes it is a matter of not being able to see the measurements on those little detergent measuring cups. Use a marker to highlight the marks so you can easily see the lines on the cups.
What about fabric softener? Again, it really isn’t necessary. If you are concerned about static, hang the clothes up to dry. It is the action of rubbing synthetic fabrics together in the dryer that creates static. Hanging to dry avoids this problem. If you feel your clothing is too stiff, use ½ cup baking soda or ½ cup white vinegar in the rinse. Both soften your fabrics, don’t add extra smells and come in at a fraction of the cost of commercial softener formulations.
Ninety percent of the cost of washing clothes comes the energy needed to heat the water. The latest research on laundry tells us that hot water isn’t always necessary for complete cleaning. Hot water should be used for towels, washcloths and those clothes that fit next to the body, such as undergarments. The hot water kills any bacteria that might be in these garments. The greasiest, dirtiest garments need hot water for cleaning. Otherwise, opt for a warm water wash. The water has to be warm enough to dissolve the detergent, but other than that, cooler water works as well for cleaning as hotter temperatures. Always use cold water in the rinse cycle for additional savings.
Make sure that you are using the right amount of water. Match the level of water to the size of the load. Extra water doesn’t help the cleaning process and just costs you money.
You might want to spring for a new washer and/or dryer. Replacing a machine that is more than 10 years old will save you $55 per year. New equipment uses less electricity and water. When purchasing new appliances, opt for an Energy Star-certified model. They are more efficient than conventional washers.
New technology is always on the horizon. There is a new invention that you’ll want to watch for — self-cleaning clothes. Researchers at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in Australia have found a way to grow self-cleaning nanostructures on textiles. These nanostructures degrade organic compounds when exposed to light. If your clothing gets dirty, you simply walk outside or stand under fluorescent lighting and your clothing will quickly be clean.
The nanostructures are copper and silver-based and readily absorb light, which in turn breaks down organic matter. In as little as six minutes, your clothing will be clean once again.
Though the experimentation on these new technologies is being carried on right now, for now we are stuck with the common water, detergent and mechanical action to clean our clothes. But it doesn’t have to break the bank. Adjust the way you do your laundry to keep that money in your pocket.
Roxie Rodgers Dinstel is associate director of Cooperative Extension Service, a part of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, working in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Questions or column requests can be e-mailed to her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org by calling 907-474-7201.
A recent posting on Facebook pointed out that thirty percent of college freshmen didn’t know how to boil an egg, 52% of American teens can’t change a tire, and 70% had no idea how to sew on a button.
A quick online search found a 1933 Harper’s magazine article titled “Skills Every Man Should Know.” Eighty years later the list is a bit out-dated, listing items such as, How to Dance, How to Drink (yep you heard it right), How to Swim, Ride a Horse and the list goes on. Certain European countries historically required driver’s license applicants to demonstrate their ability to change a tire and clean spark plugs. Most countries no longer require these skills with the wane of 2-cycle engines and modern tire quality upgrades.
I have a friend who calls the handyman to hang a picture in his office. I don’t necessarily advocate that every person be proficient in handyman skills depending on their individual situation. If you live in the city, you might not need to have chainsaw skills, nor have developed the ability to do your own fix-it jobs around the house, but in the event of a disaster, Y.O.Y.O. (You’re on your own.) It will be difficult to hire someone to screw plywood over your busted window, or to repair your fractured plumbing. You get the picture.
I recall some years ago, we were in a caravan headed to Mexico to help some folks. One of the vehicles lost the lights to their cargo trailer. I handed my son a screwdriver, knife and a roll of electrical tape. He got right on it. The car’s owner asked, “How did you learn to do that?” I looked at him with a look of, “doesn’t everyone know this?” No, not everyone does. Some think these skills are beneath them. Some think these things are too difficult to learn, and yet some think they will just magically learn this stuff when the time comes.
So if there’s a chance you might need a chainsaw, get one and learn to use it. How about a battery powered drill for screwing that plywood over your window? Some basic PVC plumbing pieces and a can of glue will make you a hero when the pipes break.
First aid skills are always in need during a disaster. What you know may save a life, maybe even your own or that of a family member. Now’s a great time to upgrade your knowledge. Check out the training available on www.redcross.org. Take a look at your first aid kit, make sure it’s well-stocked.
If you lack skills, then it is important you connect with your neighbors and combine your resources. I’m willing to bet there’s someone in your neighborhood that has the skills you may lack. Mapping your neighborhood will not only help you get acquainted, but will combine the skills and knowledge of your neighbors in the event of a disaster. If you want more information on Mapping Your Neighborhood, contact me by email and I will forward information to you.
As always, send your comments and questions to email@example.com. Previous columns may be found on my blog at www.disasterprepdave.blogspot.com. Dave Robinson is the Postmaster in Bandon, Oregon, and the author of “Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us” available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and other online booksellers.
BA RA ROO – A True Mystery from Dogworld
A Mystery Musical Comedy by John Paul Kohler
Directed by Peggy Ferguson
Catering by SMG Carlson Center, No-Host Bar Available
Call (907)456-7529 to make reservations
Only 225 tickets will be sold. Reservation deadline: July 5th at 5pm