347 Ramapo Valley Road,
Oakland, NJ 07436
Minutes off Routes 287 & 208




Portable Generators and What You Should Know Before Using Them

portable generators, electric generators, Generac
Portable Generators Can Be Very Useful

When big storms strike the area, one of the most useful pieces of equipment you can own is a portable generator. It keeps your refrigerator running saving your food. Of course the family also enjoys the TV and internet still operating.

But before you use one, here are some important facts about portable generators you should know. Using a generator indoors can kill you in minutes. Exhaust contains carbon monoxide, a deadly poison gas you cannot see or smell. NEVER run a generator indoors or in partly enclosed areas such as garages. Only use outdoors and far from windows, doors, vents, crawl spaces and in an area where adequate ventilation is available and will not accumulate deadly exhaust gas. Using a fan or opening doors and windows will not provide sufficient ventilation. It is recommended that you install battery operated Carbon Monoxide alarms/detectors indoors according to manufacturer’s instructions / recommendations.

Since your portable generator runs on gas, remember that gasoline is extremely flammable and explosive. If tank is over-filled, fuel can overflow onto a hot engine and cause fire or explosion. Do not overfill the fuel tank and always allow room for fuel expansion. Never add fuel while unit is running or hot. Allow generator and engine to cool entirely before adding fuel. Also never store a generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors might reach an open flame, spark or pilot light. Do not smoke near fuel or generator. Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation and while the generator is cooling after turning off. Avoid coming into contact with a hot generator.

Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others. A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can ‘back feed’ onto the power lines connected to your home and injure neighbors or utility workers. Do not connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring or into a regular household outlet. Always start or stop the generator only when no electrical loads are connected.

Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics. Do not overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.
Use the proper power cords. Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage. Do not use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding.

Do not operate the generator in wet conditions such as rain or snow. The generator must be properly grounded. If the generator is not grounded, you run the risk of electrocution. We strongly recommend that you check and adhere to all applicable federal, state and local regulations relating to grounding.

Keep children away from portable generators at all times. Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator when operating. Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures, but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting. Operate the generator only on level surfaces and where it will not be exposed to excessive moisture, dirt, dust or corrosive vapors.

How to Attract Unique Birds to Your Backyard

wild bird

Attracting birds to your backyard can be easy or complex, but these five steps can help you get started in attracting birds in simple, easy ways. In no time at all you’ll be sure to see new species, and you can start to enjoy the beauty, pest control and other benefits of attracting birds.

First, learn which types of birds are usually found in our area. Browse through a field guide and study bird range maps to discover your most likely backyard birds. Then you can start to adjust your backyard to satisfy to their needs. Also speak with neighbors who have backyard birds to learn about their most frequent bird guests. You can even contact a local bird club for a list of the most common backyard birds.

Next, offering different foods is the single best way to attract birds. It’s easy to get started feeding birds. A simple bird feeder or two, quality birdseed mix and a specialty feeder for suet, nectar, fruit or nuts will be a basic setup that can attract many different types of birds. Keep the feeders chockfull with fresh food and clean them regularly to make them most appealing to birds.

Not all birds like the foods you offer, but many more species will at least take advantage of water. Bird baths are easy to install and come in many styles, designs and sizes to accommodate different types of birds. For colder climates, consider a heated bird bath for fall and winter, or in warmer areas, opt for a solar bird bath that can attract birds with a small bubbler or fountain. Keep the bath filled with fresh water and clean it regularly to keep the birds coming back to drink and bathe.

Birdscaping your yard is easy and often less expensive than more ornamental, highly cultivated landscaping. Choose trees, shrubs, vines and flowers that can offer birds food, shelter and nesting sites, and plant in clumps and layers to provide good cover for different species. When choosing plants, be sure to add some evergreen species as well to keep attracting birds in all seasons.

Even the most bird-friendly yard won’t attract many species if the birds aren’t safe. There are many hazards birds face from diseases, predators and a wide variety of artificial threats, and backyard birders who take steps to minimize those hazards can enjoy more birds in their yard. At the same time, a safe yard is one where you won’t find so many dead or sick birds, and you can be more secure in your enjoyment of the birds you attract, knowing you’ve provided them a safe sanctuary.

Is It Time to Sealcoat Your Driveway?

driveway sealcoat, paving
Now is the time to sealcoat your driveway.

















Asphalt driveways take a serious beating from the elements. Without proper upkeep, your driveway will fade and deteriorate from its exposure to sun, freeze and thaw cycles, and exposure to chemicals. Filling in holes and cracks and seal-coating it will help to prolong the life of your asphalt driveway.
Before you can crack open your pail of driveway sealer, you need to watch the weather forecast and plan accordingly. The sealer should not be applied if the night time temperatures will fall below 50°F or if rain is predicted within 24 hours of application. Irreparable damage to the curing film may result. Best results are achieved with temperatures of 70°F to 90°F during application. Cooler temperatures and/or high humidity may lengthen the overall cure time. To optimize drying during daylight hours, it is helpful to apply the sealer early in the day.
Each 5 gallon pail will cover approximately 350–450 square feet. Please note that if you get too much coverage, you are applying too thinly; conversely, too little coverage may mean you applied too thick, unless your surface is very rough or very porous.
Always buy more sealer than you need, for a few important reasons:
1) If you run short and need to stop to get more, the sealer already applied will cure and there will be a visible line where you stopped to get more sealer.
2) The application temperature and other conditions will be different when you re-start, creating another “change” in the appearance of the sealer.
3) If you stop to buy more, you risk getting product from different batches or different brands than you started with.
Finally, seal-coating is definitely a dirty job, so wear footwear and clothing that you won’t weep over after having to toss out.


Some Great Tips for Fall Landscaping

fall, autumn, New Jersey, NJ
Make your lawn look great this fall using these landscaping ideas.

Fall landscaping is kind of a celebration, a rite of the harvest and a great time to be active in the yard. But it also means that there’s a lot of work to be done. Mostly there are tasks that will prepare your yard for winter — and for the following spring.
Overseeding your lawn is one idea for fall depending on the condition of your current lawn. It means sowing seed over existing grass, in order to fill in the bare patches. Therefore, such a sowing makes sense only if the existing grass is healthy enough and abundant enough to be worth keeping. But if you have only 50% coverage, then you need to tear up the old lawn and start a new lawn from seed.
When all the plants in fall vegetable gardens and annual flower gardens have been harvested or are dead, fall is a good time for garden mulching. But prior to mulching gardens, take the following steps: 1. Remove debris and if the debris is disease-free, you should compost it; 2. Remove the weeds; 3. Rototilling the soil and mix in some lime.
Another important task during autumn is raking leaves. The question is: when should you rake leaves? The general consensus is that leaving leaves on the lawn for more than three or four days is not a good idea. But there are other factors that must be taken into account. How thick is the layer of leaves? Have the leaves been matted down by rain? The thicker the layer and/or the wetter the leaves, the sooner you should rake or otherwise remove them.
Fall is a great time to plant your spring bulbs but don’t wait to late autumn. If you look forward to spring flowers like daffodils, tulips and hyacinths, fall is the time to plant them. In our area, the best time to plant is September and October.
We’re often asked when is the best time to plant trees? In general, the best time for planting trees is late winter or early spring. If that doesn’t fit your schedule, then aim for autumn (late September and October). Summer’s a bad choice, because the weather’s too hot and the actively growing plants too susceptible to damage.

How to Make “Real Barbecue” on Your Grill

Many people wonder – How do I create real barbecue? We’re talking about cooking slowly over low heat with that special wood flavor that real barbecue has.
When you cook “low and slow”, it breaks down the connective tissue and tenderizes tough, usually less expensive cuts of meat like beef brisket, pork butt, pork shoulder, and spare ribs. When you smoke these kinds of meats, cooking times are measured in hours not minutes. We can assure you it is well worth it!
The result is a succulent dish with a fall-off-the-bone tenderness. It features a tangy, complex combination of spices, smoke and natural meat flavors. Keep in mind that you can smoke other types of foods that don’t necessarily fit the standard profile. Fish, poultry and vegetables do not have to be slow-cooked to be tenderized, but they taste great when they’re smoked.
When all said and done, it’s all about serving great food!