Remember to “spring ahead” and change the clocks on Sunday, March 10. It’s also time to make sure to change the batteries in all of your smoke alarms. Even with replacing the batteries, it’s still very important to conduct your monthly test of your smoke alarms. It could save a life!
Did you know that having a working smoke alarm reduces a person’s chance of dying in a fire by half?
For the best protection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home, outside every sleeping area, and in every bedroom. Smoke alarms should be mounted high on walls or ceilings and tested monthly.
It’s important to replace smoke alarm batteries at least once a year, unless they’re 10-year lithium batteries. If your smoke alarms are hard-wired, they still have batteries in case of a power outage; replace the batteries.
Smoke alarms sensors do not last forever. The maximum life span is 8-10 years. After that time, the entire unit should be replaced. Check the manufacture date on the back of the unit. If there is no manufacture date, definitely replace the entire unit NOW. If the unit does not respond properly when tested, it needs to be replaced immediately. Consider replacing your smoke alarms with the combination smoke and Carbon Monoxide alarms.
Springing forward one hour also means it will be darker later in the morning. Sun-up in my part of Vermont isn’t until 7:10 AM on Monday. It will not be full light until sometime later. At this time of day, many children are out waiting for the bus; please be extra careful on your commute.
The weather in Vermont is supposed to be wonderful this weekend; looks like perfect sugaring weather; I may just have to get some sugar-on-snow………………..Enjoy your weekend!
This week we had a Carbon Monoxide death; a 17-year-old man lost his life. Remembering Logan Newell at a candlelight vigil, the group was encouraged to share memories. “He loved everybody so much. He was always the one to say ‘Hey bud, I love you – because he did.” There were stories about his sense of humor, his generosity, his loyalty and his mischief. He was a hard worker, he loved barbecue and he loved to work on his car. Logan’s mother told the crowd: “Let everyone say you love each other right before you go to bed.”
Logan Newell had been snowboarding with a friend. His friend dropped him off at the Park and Ride, and was the last one to see him alive. Logan was found unresponsive at the Park and Ride; it’s speculated that he was letting his car warm up when he succumbed. He had an exhaust leak in his 2002 VW Jetta, which was allowing Carbon Monoxide to leak into the passenger compartment. He knew he had an exhaust leak. He had made plans to fix it this weekend. This weekend will never come for Logan.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless poisonous gas. It is a byproduct of combustion, so is found in the exhaust system of cars. In cold weather, the CO emissions in cars rises dramatically since it takes more fuel to start in the cold and some emission control devices don’t work as well in the cold. Symptoms of CO poisoning – drowsiness, fatigue and slight nausea are not alarming – that’s why it’s sometimes called the silent killer.
This got me thinking about all the old “beater” cars out there. They’re inexpensive to buy, for some they’re an exciting challenge to fix up. An exhaust leak can happen in any car, but I expect that older cars are more susceptible to having it leak into the passenger area. How can we keep this tragedy from repeating itself?
Did you catch last night’s Super Bowl ad for Dodge Ram Trucks*? The voice is the late Paul Harvey Aurandt, better known as Paul Harvey. I expect he is best remembered for his The Rest of the Story radio broadcasts.
Paul Harvey delivered a speech “So God Made a Farmer” to the National Future Farmers of America Convention in 1978. Portions of it were used for the Dodge Ram’s Super Bowl ad. I find the words to be very moving; makes me proud to be a farm wife and reaffirms how lucky I am to work with our farming community.
I went online and found a recording of the speech to the National FFA Convention; it is slightly different, a bit longer than in the advertisement. The original recording, paired with farm pictures is in a YouTube video.
I couldn’t find the original poem, but Paul Harvey wasn’t the author. He printed it in his newspaper column in 1986, disclaiming authorship It had shown up in his mailbag, unsigned. He tried in vain to find the author’s identity, speculated that it may have been a farmer or farm wife and admitted to embellishing and editing the original poem to his version.
I hope you take the time to listen to both versions; I prefer the original and am interested in your favorite. Please let me know in the “Comments” section below.
I found the Budweiser* Clydesdale advertisement to be a tear-jerker for me as well. From what I could find, most of it was based on truth. The last part was not true, and filmed in Los Angeles, not Chicago. I wish they’d used the real trainer in the ad; that was an actor playing the trainer.
I’ve been around a Budweiser Clydesdale team a few times; they are such gorgeous, majestic animals – they fill me with a sense of awe. There is a team at the brewery in Merrimack, New Hampshire, a fun place to visit, tour and sample beer. It’s a fun day trip!
I can’t remember what year it was, but a Budweiser Clydesdale team came to Burlington to be in a parade. They parked the rig at the UVM farm and let the horses out into the paddocks alongside Spear Street to give them a chance to stretch their legs and get some fresh air after being cooped up inside. There was quite a bit of excitement when the horses easily stepped over the fences and headed down Spear Street!
Let me know what your favorites were!
* Any reference to commercial products, trade names, or brand names is for information only, and no endorsement or approval is intended.
“We need more tractor safety classes.” “Do you know where we can sign up for a tractor safety class?” “We’ve been looking for a tractor safety class…”
When UVM Extension 4-H started the Youth Farm Safety Project, parents, employers, educators, and farm service providers let us know what they were looking for. The number one request was tractor safety. It’s not surprising. According to the 2010 Journal of the American Medical Association, agriculture has the second highest fatality rate among youth workers. The leading cause of these fatalities? Machinery related injury. Skilled operators of any age need to recognize risks and develop habits that protect themselves and others.
We’ve got a course starting March 2nd.
The Youth Farm Safety Project is partnering with the Environmental Resource Management Program of Randolph Technical Career Center (RTCC) to offer a four-session Tractor and Machinery Safety Certification course for teens 14-19 years old. This course will provide hands-on instruction for operating tractors over 20 horsepower and other farm equipment. We’ll cover general farm safety principles and practices and how to recognize and correct potential hazards on the farm. At the end of the program, participants will take a written test and a driving test for National Safe Tractor and Machinery Operation certification.
While the certification is a legal requirement for 14- and 15-year-olds who are employed on a farm other than that of their parents or guardians, the training is recommended for all youths, ages 14-19, working in agriculture.
Sessions will be held at RTCC, located at 17 Forest St., Randolph, on March 2, 9 and 23 and April 13 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Registration is $60 and covers all sessions, lunches, materials and the testing fee. Scholarships are available.
To register, visit http://www.uvm.edu/extension/4-Hevents.
Want more information? Contact Kristen Mullins at (802) 656-2034 or email at: email@example.com.
Teens from neighboring states are welcome to participate in the course.
I have my holiday decorations up earlier than usual this year – due to my hosting the holiday party for a women’s group I have belonged to since I was pregnant with our 32-year old. Some years I’m wishy-washy about decorating, but this year I enjoyed it. New this year in my decorating scheme is timers. I bought battery-powered candles for the windows, and battery-powered lights for the wreaths as well. What do they have in common? They are all LED and all have internal timers. When you start them, they are on for 6 hours, off for 18 hours, then on again….I have to admit I was a bit of a skeptic, since they were very reasonably priced. So far, they are are working wonderfully.
The Christmas tree grower we support grows a variety of trees. I know I shouldn’t like it, since it’s not a native species, but I love the Concolor Fir. Hey, I’m doing Vermont a favor by cutting it down, right? The Concolor Firs are very full, with longer needles than the Balsam Fir and a lovely aroma. Within 2 hours of cutting it down, it was in the stand and having its first drink. It is amazing how much water this tree drinks – the better part of a fifth (a wine bottle’s long neck reaches in there perfectly, so that’s how I measure!) twice a day.
A number of years ago we invested in strings of LED lights for the tree. This year I bought a timer for the tree as well and have synched the tree with the window candles and the wreaths. I have them come on shortly before I come home from work; it’s very inviting as I come in the driveway. I feel very safe in having these lit with no one home because they are LED. LEDs, or Light-Emitting Diodes do not get hot like incandescent lights do. They are always cool to the touch. They use about 90% less electricity than incandescent as well; I am not worried about overloading plugs. The LEDs are far less breakable than the incandescent; there’s no metallic filament to burn out or break, the diode is protected by a durable plastic, not breakable glass. The lifespan is expected to be 10X the incandescent lifespan. The wiring of the lights we bought is much higher quality than many incandescent sets out there; these may be the last sets of lights we need to buy.
Having experienced a barn fire has changed our lives; the woodstove hasn’t been used since before the fire. The only candles we use are battery-powered. You might say that I’m overly cautious, but the inexpensive strings of incandescent holiday lights that are out there just plain scare me. A neighbor had an incandescent window candle light fall off the sill and melt a hole in her rug; this could have easily led to a house fire. Be safe, keep that tree watered (if it’s a real tree), do check the wiring of your lights before they go on the tree, don’t overload your plugs, use candles safely and have a Happy Holiday season.
Obviously, we are not ready for winter yet! This morning’s commute was a nightmare for many in Chittenden county. A little bit of snow as well as black ice are the culprits. A co-worker called in to say she was on her fourth detour, and was once again at a standstill. Her commute is usually 40 minutes; this morning was 2 hours!!
Usually the first snow doesn’t come with black ice, but often the results are the same – multiple fender-benders and cars sliding off the road. Looks like we need a quick lesson on driving in snowy and possibly icy weather. These rules are pretty basic, but we all see people not following them:
- Make sure your tires are inflated to the correct pressure and that you have good tread. To be safe in snow, it is recommended to have at least 6/32″ of tread. An easy way to measure is with a penny. Put the penny in the tread (at several places around the tire); if the top of the Lincoln Memorial is always covered by the tread, you have more than 6/32″ of tread depth remaining.
- Clear your car of snow and ice. This includes your headlights and taillights. Make sure the windows are defrosted. Turn your headlights on. You need to see and be seen. Is your windshield washer reservoir filled with non-freezing washer solution? That snow and ice brush that you took out of your car in the spring needs to go back in the car.
- Slow down and leave extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you – at least 3 times as much! On icy roads, you need 3 to 12 times the normal braking distance to stop.
- When stopping, ease off the accelerator, avoid braking suddenly. ABS (Anti-Lock Braking System) will help with vehicle control, but may increase the stopping distance. If you are one of the few without ABS brakes, you may need to pump your brakes to keep the brakes from locking up in slippery conditions.
- Don’t use cruise control.
- Approach bridges, overpasses and shady areas with caution; they may be icy while the rest of the road is not.
- If your vehicle is 4-wheel-drive, don’t assume that it can handle any conditions. Over the years I’ve seen many 4 WD vehicles that slid off the road. No vehicle is good on ice, although studded tires definitely have an advantage on ice.
It’s just 32º here, it’s been sunny for quite a while; the road appears clear. Wishing you all a safe commute home.
Having grown up on a small farm with no running water or electricity, I gained a true appreciation for the hard work and value of family farming. I knew farming was dangerous, especially after my father lost his finger in a haying machine. But I didn’t know that farmers are 800% more likely to die on the job then the average worker. Most of these deaths are due to tractor rollovers.
Now, as coordinator of the VT Rebates for Roll Bars Program, it really concerns me that we have 35 Vermont farm families who are ready to protect themselves, but funding is short. Our program provides rebates to VT farmers to install roll bars on their tractors.
The Roll Bars, like the one above the rear tire in this photograph, give farmers 99% protection from death in the event of a rollover. Your donation on this site will help us move 35 farmers off our wait list for a rebate, protecting their families for years to come.
This donation will also protect Vermont farms. 7 of 10 farms go out of business within a year of a fatal rollover. These farms and farmers keep our working landscape open in Vermont and bring us healthy food every day. They need our help.
I would hate to see one of the 35 farmers on our wait list die before we can get funding to them. Please donate to keep these folks alive and healthy and our community farms strong!
Go to www.Indiegogo.com/vtfarmer to show your support and learn more.
Spread the word! Share by email and Facebook to friends and colleagues!
Program Coordinator, VT Rebates for Roll Bars, UVM Extension