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Norm Merz

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Closing your cottage and protecting it for the winter months

Closing your cottage and protecting it for the winter months

September has arrived and, while we’re still enjoying warm, sunny days, the end of summer is inevitable and it will soon be time to close up the cottage for the frosty winter season. There are also a number of tasks that recreational property owners need to tackle in order to protect their cottage from the elements, wildlife and would-be thieves.

• Before turning off the electricity, go room to room to turn off and unplug all electrical devices.

• Drain the plumbing system to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting.

• Drain the water tank. Remember to turn off the power supply to the water heater before draining to avoid damage to the heating element.

• Leave the refrigerator door open slightly to avoid nasty smells come springtime. Be sure to remove all food from the cottage.

• Lock windows or board them and safely secure all entry points. Pay close attention to patio doors (use a security bar) and beef up your deadbolt and entry doors if they haven’t been replaced in decades.

• Remove all valuable possessions from your cottage. Prepare for the worst – do not keep jewelry, pricey electronics, family heirlooms or expensive artwork in your cottage during the off-season.

• Turn to any neighbours who remain up north all year long and ask them to keep an eye on your property and do a closer inspection every so often.

• Store boats, jet skis, paddle boats and any other recreational ‘toys’ in a secure, locked building. Add a couple motion-activated lights, which might help scare off unwanted visitors.

• A security system is an excellent deterrent to would-be thieves. Do some research to find out if there is a local monitoring station that covers your area.

By taking a few easy steps at the end of the season, you can ensure that your cottage will be just as you left it when you return next summer!

The Caledonia Fall Fair celebrates its 145th year

The Caledonia Fall Fair celebrates its 145th year

It’s that time of year again! Planning for the 2017 Caledonia Fall Fair has been underway for months and this year, it’s all about honouring this great country we call home! ‘Celebrating the Maple Leaf’ is the theme and there are a variety of special highlights that will help us do just that.

The Caledonia Fall Fair is celebrating its 145th year in 2017. Everyone can look forward to four, fun-filled days of excitement, entertainment, tasty food, crafts and more! The fair will be held September 28 through October 1 at the Caledonia Fairgrounds on Highway 54.

Other highlights include karaoke, horse and livestock competitions and demonstrations, magic shows, a demolition derby, baby and pet show, a Kids’ Zone, exhibits, craft and baking competitions, midway and so much more. Visit the website at www.caledoniafair.ca for a full schedule of events.

Camping in Haldimand

Camping in Haldimand

Looking for a great place to pitch a tent and make some family memories this month? You’re in luck! Haldimand and its surrounding areas boast dozens of excellent campgrounds, many that are ideal for first-timers and seasoned pros!

Knights Beach Resort was voted Campground of the Year in 2010, 2012 and 2015 by Camping in Ontario.  Overlooking Lake Erie, Knight’s Beach features 450 campsites for tents and trailers, a group picnic area, a 10,000 square foot recreation complex, a bar and grill, arcade, volleyball courts, ball diamonds and horseshoe pits. Visit the website at http://www.knightsbeach.com to book your site!

Brant Park is a great place to set up shop if you’re planning on exploring the area.  Situated at 119 Jennings Road in Brantford, this Grand River Conservation Authority site is a gem for outdoor enthusiasts.  Campers enjoy access to the 1.25-acre pool, canoeing, excellent fishing holes, trails for hiking and biking and much more!  Visit https://www.grandriver.ca for more information.

The Grand River Conservation Authority oversees eight parks offering various forms of family camping.  To find out more about the parks’ facilities, visit them online at https://www.grandriver.ca/en/outdoor-recreation/Camping.aspx

Just slightly west of Haldimand County, you’ll find Shore Acres Trailer Park in Port Dover. It is a great place to access the Norfolk County trail system and enjoy all the summer season has to offer. This private park is located minutes from downtown Port Dover, where you can visit the Lighthouse Festival Theatre, wineries, golf courses, shopping, recreational fishing, marinas, restaurants, beaches and more! They offer just over 20 overnight RV sites from April until mid-October – visit http://www.shoreacrespark.ca for more info.

Always wanted to visit Scotland, Ontario?  Willow Lake is a great spot for family campers and sports lovers!  Kids will have a blast playing baseball, horseshoes, swimming, watching live bands and enjoying long weekend entertainment all summer long. Visit http://www.willowlakervpark.com to book your site.

This summer, enjoy camping – just a short drive from home!

Music in the Park continues in Caledonia!

Music in the Park continues in Caledonia!

Compliments of Tourism Caledonia, another series of free summer concerts in Caledonia Kinsmen Park will begin this month. Concerts start at 7 p.m. at the Tom Spratt Gazebo. Be sure to bring lawn chairs or blankets!

On July 23, don’t miss Naomi Bristow, performing all your country favourites. On August 20, Hype Band will be rocking to classic top 40 and finally, on August 27, Narissa Kay will get the crowds dancing to the best of Motown jazz!

For more information, call 905-765-0377.

Don’t miss all the action this month in Haldimand!

Don’t miss all the action this month in Haldimand!

It’s hard to believe that June has arrived already. With a season of sunny, warm days on the horizon, it’s the perfect time of year to get out and enjoy all that the area has to offer. Take a look at some of the upcoming events:

Dunnville Mudcat Festival June 8 – 11

‘Celebrating Canada’s 150th Birthday’ is the theme of this year’s Mudcat Festival! Highlights of this fun-filled weekend include a parade, children’s entertainment, live musical acts, amusement rides, a car show, street dance, vendors, a perch fry, food trucks and a fabulous fireworks show. Don’t forget to wear your red and white!

Blast to the Past Workshop for Kids – June 9

Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre will host this crafty workshop for kids. Creative Kids Blast to the Past is a fun way to spend the day painting, drawing and enjoying traditional games and crafts. Suitable for kids 6-10. Call 905-765-3134 to preregister. Cost is $24.95 per child per day.

Caledonia’s Diner’s Club – June 13

Head to Riviera Retirement Lodge at 339 Argyle Street on June 13 for the Caledonia Diners Club. Lunch will happen from 1 – 2 p.m. Call 905-765-0877 for more info.

16th Annual Fire & Ice Auction Night & Soiree – June 17

You’re invited to enjoy this special fundraising evening at Dunnville Community Lifespan Centre.  There will be a performance by Jace Martin, a live auction of award winning artwork, live glass working demos and an amazing array of donated silent auction packages! Appetizers and a light buffet will be provided by Deb’s Cuisine, and a cash bar is available. For more information call 905-772-7000.

High Tea: Downton Abbey Style – June 17

Enjoy a lovely afternoon at beautiful Cottonwood Mansion! Don your finest Victorian costume (not required) and relax in this Cayuga landmark with a pot of tea, sandwiches, sweets and more! Reservations required by June 10 – call 905-776-2538. Cost is $20 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under.

Spring maintenance for homeowners

Spring maintenance for homeowners

Spring has officially arrived! As a homeowner, the arrival of each new season usually brings with it a few maintenance chores that will need to be tackled, so wait for a nice, sunny day and check these jobs off your to-do list!

1. Repaint windows, siding and doors if needed. While wood will always be a popular material in home building, unfortunately it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and realizing its life span. As with any job, take the time to gather the proper materials before getting started – it will make things run smoothly. Scrape away old, chipped or peeling paint from window and door frames and wood siding. Sand if necessary and finish by pressure washing on a low setting. Prime and paint as needed with a good quality exterior paint.

2. Organize the garage. After a long winter, your garage may have become a drop-zone for gardening supplies, sporting equipment, toys, broken items, etc. Enlist the help of kids to help create piles, including one for items to throw out, one for items to sell and a third for items to keep. If storage is an issue, assemble some heavy duty shelving or hooks. If your garage floor has seen better days, consider sealing and painting the floor for a tidy, clean look that will also extend its lifespan.

3. It’s likely been a few months since your air conditioner saw the light of day, so remove the cover on your outdoor unit, shut off the power and give it a good cleaning, removing any dust and debris. Inside the house, you’ll want to change the air filter and check for any leaks in the ductwork. Almost every HVAC company offers maintenance packages, so if you’re not up to the challenge or just don’t have time, schedule an appointment with a professional. Proper A/C maintenance will extend the life of your cooling unit and keep your energy bills down all summer long!

4. Clean or pressure wash deck. Canadians certainly spend as much time as possible during the summer months enjoying their outdoor spaces, so start off the season with a fresh slate! Take great care when pressure washing soft wood surfaces – one would rarely need more than 1500 psi to complete this task – any more can damage the wood. You can skip the pressure washer and buy a good quality wood cleaner and use some good, old-fashioned elbow grease to get your deck gleaming for the season ahead!

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