Fall Tree Trimming Tips

Trees can make the outside of your home beautiful. Having trees in your yard may create opportunities for a shaded lounge area, a place to hang a tire swing and somewhere to build a tree house. As much as trees can add to your property, maintaining them is an important step to helping protect your property.


Why Do It?

Trees need to be trimmed or pruned regularly, and sometimes branches must be cut off to help ensure the health of the tree and your family’s safety. There are many reasons tree trimming can be a vital part of yard maintenance. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), trees need to pruned first for safety, next for health and finally for aesthetics. Let’s look at each of these benefits:

  • Safety: Removing branches that may cause damage to property or people if they fall can be a primary reason for tree trimming.
  • Tree Health: Cutting dead or diseased branches may help benefit the overall health of the tree. In addition, pruning may also encourage trees to develop stronger core structures to help withstand the elements.
  • Aesthetics: Trimming a tree may help accentuate its physical appearance and improve flower or fruit production.


How Often?

The Arbor Day Foundation suggests pruning or trimming trees once per year during the dormant season. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, circumstances such as these may prompt an immediate trimming:

  • The tree’s growth obstructs visibility for pedestrians or vehicles.
  • A storm causes limbs to fall onto power lines. Make sure to contact your local utility company to handle the job as it’s simply too dangerous to even get close to power lines.
  • The tree’s growth may threaten your home or property. If you feel a tree needs to be pruned because it may cause damage to your home, it’s important to contact an arborist to help with the trimming.


DIY Trimming

The most important rule when cutting a tree, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is personal safety. The best way to help ensure safety is to hire an arborist to clip back your trees. Trimming may often require a ladder and sometimes puts the trimmer in close proximity to power lines posing a potential danger, and the safest course of action is to always leave it up to a professional.


However, if you do decide to trim your own trees the USDA provides the following size guide to help you determine if it’s safe or not to cut the branches:

  • Under 2 inches in diameter, proceed.
  • Between 2 and 4 inches in diameter, think it over.
  • Greater than 4 inches, contact an arborist.


Once again, if you have any doubt in your ability to properly assess the situation and conduct the pruning, call an arborist. An arborist has many years of experience and can complete the job in a safe and fast manner.

Overall, yearly tree trimming may help ensure your yard may be beautiful and safe for years to come.

Visit us at http://www.myagentknows.com for insurance needs in Ohio and Pennsylvania or call us at 440-964-2222 or 814-774-4080 for questions or a quote.

Credit to the Allstate Blog for textual content.



Time to Sell Your Bike?

Motorcycle owners sometimes come to a time when they need to sell their beloved bike. Selling any type of vehicle, including a motorcycle, can be difficult, but you can help minimize that stress through research and preparation. While you might need to do more than simply clean your bike and put the word out, these simple steps may help you create a smooth selling experience.


bikeindianOne of the first things you need to do when selling your motorcycle is to determine its value. While you might love it, maybe that particular model or style isn’t currently popular among buyers. You may think it’s in good condition, but maybe on closer inspection there are some imperfections like dents, scratches or minor mechanical issues. The paint job might be extremely desirable, or maybe it’s too flamboyant for potential buyers. Whatever the case, do a little research on comparable bikes in your city, state or region.

You can find market values of motorcycles in your local newspaper (or its associated website) and also at websites like nadaguides.com. If you have a custom bike, this can be a bit more difficult. You may have to use your judgment and make reasonable estimates. You can consult online classified ad listing websites to get a feel for what comparable bikes are selling for.

Prepping Your Bike

Before you advertise and market your motorcycle, you’ll need to prepare your bike to be seen and inspected by prospective buyers. Start by cleaning your motorcycle. Give it the usual once-over to remove everyday grit and grime, but then consider a more in-depth cleansing of often overlooked areas. Motorbikewriter.com suggests you clean under your seat where dirt may accumulate, scrub battery terminals to remove any calcium buildup and eliminate any surface rust from chrome or metal parts.

At this stage, it may be a good idea to apply some touch-up paint to particularly worn areas, but work with your paint retailer to match the color and sheen as closely as possible. In addition, tune up your bike so it starts quickly and easily. Run through the T-CLOCS checklist provided by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation to help ensure that the bike is in safe riding condition. This checklist covers tires and wheels; controls; lights and electrics; oil and other fluids; chassis; and stands.

Even if you’ve tuned up your bike and know it’s road ready, you might want to have your bike checked by a mechanic.


According to Instructables.com, one of the easiest ways to advertise your motorcycle to potential buyers is with an online classified ad listing website. The website may ask for pictures of your motorcycle and information like your make, model, price, mileage, bike details, your contact information, and possibly additional details. Instructables.com suggests you avoid providing your street address to help protect yourself against thieves.

Photos of your bike can be extremely important, as they’re often the first opportunity to grab the attention of online shoppers. Photograph your bike against a simple background, says Motorbikewriter.com. To help avoid shadows and take advantage of consistent lighting, shoot the photos outside on a clear day and use the flash if needed. Photograph your motorcycle from all sides and it can also be a good idea to highlight some of the selling points such as the odometer and any particularly notable accessories.

Working with Buyers

Transparency is key, so be up front with your prospective buyers. Even if you’ve tuned up your bike and know it’s road ready, you might want to have your bike checked by a mechanic. That way, you’ll have a receipt showing the recent service and inspection to include with your other documentation, including proof of ownership, finance details (if relevant), remaining warranty and previous service or maintenance history. Chances are, potential buyers will want to see these types of documents, says Motorbikewriter.com.

After your buyer has seen the bike, it’s up to you whether you’ll allow a test ride. If so, check with your insurance company to determine if you have the proper coverage. If your buyer makes an offer, some simple negotiating can be expected. Once you arrive at an agreed-upon price, finalize the sale by filling out a bill of sale and transfer the title. Check with your state’s requirements regarding bill of sale and title transfer to help ensure you’re in compliance. Then, make sure your vehicle registration is removed from the bike and arrange for payment.

With proper planning and attention to detail, the process of selling your motorcycle can be just as enjoyable as buying it in the first place.

Preparedness Basics – the first aid kit


I have always had a small fascination with first aid kits.  As a Boy Scout we were taught to “Be Prepared”, to help others and ourselves.  I took that to heart and used any container I could procure to act as the vessel for water purification pills, fishing supplies, waterproof matches, and anything else that would help me survive in the  wild country of North Kingsville, OH.

First aid kits are a must-have in any emergency plan. Even though you can buy these pre-made, if you go this route, it’s a good idea to check the kit contents and the expiration dates, just to make sure you have everything you need.

You can, of course, also make your own. Ready.gov says that your first aid kit should include:

  • Two pairs of sterile gloves
  • Sterile dressings (to stop bleeding)
  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Petroleum jelly (for minor cuts/burns)
  • Cleansing agent/soap and antibiotic towelettes
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Burn ointment
  • Adhesive bandages in a variety of sizes
  • Eye wash solution to flush the eyes or as general decontaminant
  • Thermometer
  • Prescription medications and supplies
  • Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
  • Anti-diarrhea medication
  • Antacid
  • Laxative

Store items in a sturdy container that’s easy to open. A tackle box or an art supply container might be good options; they are typically lightweight and have handles for easy carrying. You might also consider taking a first-aid class, because knowing what to actually do with all the supplies in your first aid kit can make all the difference in an emergency, you may also consider taking a first aid class.

Jeff Spring, Agent/Owner of Spring Family Insurance Agency, Premier Exclusive Agent for Allstate Insurance

http://www.myagentknows.com 814-774-4080 jeffspring@allstate.com

100 Years of Motorcycle Advancements

For many motorcycle riders, the classic bikes will always be the best — there’s even a Motorcycle Hall of Fame in Pickerington, Ohio, celebrating some of history’s most iconic motorcycles. But innovation in motorcycle design has not stood still, and today’s motorcycles consistently deploy improvements in technology and performance. Here’s a brief look back at some of the major advancements of the past 100 years, plus a glimpse of what might be coming next.

Past Advancements (1916-1980s)1930 motorcycle

While motorcycles of various types have been around since the late 1800s, many of the important safety and performance features were added within the past 100 years. Things like lines painted on the roads and stop signs helped make roads safer in the 1910s, but it was the 1920s that saw a major advancement in the technology of stopping.

Front Brakes: In the early 1900s, motorcycles had brakes on the rear wheel only, which worked just fine on the bikes of the time. But in the mid- to late-1920s as motorcycles got faster and more powerful, additional stopping power became more of a priority. According to the National Highway Transport Safety Association (NHTSA), Harley-Davidson was the first motorcycle manufacturer to add front-wheel brakes in 1928. The company’s Model JH boasted a front brake operated by a hand lever to provide riders “double safety” and “smooth and velvety” stopping, according to Harley-Davidson.com.

Standardized Controls: Before the 1970s, there were no federally mandated standards for motorcycle controls, according to the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). Manufacturers designed motorcycles with the clutch, brakes, turn signals and other controls that could be positioned in various places. Since 1972, Federal regulation has set out where motorcycle controls must be placed, helping to make it easier and safer to switch from one motorcycle to another.

Fuel Injection Systems: American cars began to feature fuel injection systems in the 1950s, according to the Petersen Automotive Museum. It took much longer for electronic fuel injection technology to be deployed in motorcycles, which continued to rely on traditional carburetors. In the early 1980s, the prospect of tighter emissions regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency caused motorcycle manufacturers to turn to fuel injection systems, which use sensors to help ensure fuel is burned more efficiently, according to RideApart.com.

Antilock Braking Systems (ABS): The NHTSA explains that Antilock Braking Systems (ABS) automatically control motorcycle brakes to help prevent the wheels from locking up during sudden braking. RideApart.com says that ABS technology was applied to bikes in the late 1980s — not long after it was developed in cars. A more recent development in motorcycle technology is “cornering ABS,” a type of ABS that BMW made available on production bikes in 2014 that helps prevent wheels from locking even when brakes are applied quickly on corners, says MotorbikeWriter.com. 

Recent Advancements (1990s-2016)Harley-Davidson-Bike

Dual Compound Tires: Motorcycle tires can wear unevenly, according to Rider Magazine. Because most bikes spend more time traveling straight, the center of the tire typically wears faster than the shoulders. Harder tires generally last longer, but may not give as good a grip when turning.

Developed in 1994 by Michelin for use on its racing motorcycles, dual-compound tires combine harder rubber in the center of the tire, improving durability and tire life, with softer rubber on the shoulders that typically grips better on corners, according to goodbikers.net.

Airbags: The introduction of airbags to cars was a major safety advancement. However, creating an airbag for a motorcycle presents some obvious challenges. MotorbikeWriter.com explains motorcycles airbags are being developed, but the technology hasn’t spread widely. Other motorcycle and safety equipment manufacturers are working on vests, worn by the rider, that use sensors to deploy a wearable personal airbag in the event of a collision. But, as of 2016, these technologies have not yet been widely adopted.

Traction Control: Traction control is another relatively recent safety innovation for motorcycles, which can provide some additional protection against skidding, according to AutoEvolution.com. In 2008, Ducati was the first motorcycle manufacturer to introduce traction control in a production motorcycle, says motorcycle.com. Traction control uses the sensors in a motorcycle’s ABS to measure the speed at which the two wheels are spinning. If the two wheels are running at significantly different speeds, traction control reduces power to the rear wheel (which is most likely to lose traction because it’s powered by the engine), helping to improve stability for the rider.

Dynamic Brake Lights: Dynamic brake lights are meant to help indicate how hard a motorcycle is braking by utilizing a two-stage brake light system, according to the British Motorcyclists Federation. In many dynamic brake light systems, one set of lights is engaged during ordinary braking, while another set is turned on when the bike gets closer to a standstill. This provides an additional warning to trailing vehicles that the motorcycle is decelerating very quickly and/or coming to a complete stop. In 2015, BMW introduced dynamic brake lights for six of its 2016 models.

The Future (2016 and Beyond)2020-harley-davidson-3_600x0w

Hubless Wheels: Missing the spokes we normally associate with motorcycle wheels, hubless wheels look futuristic. Jalopnik.com explains that instead of spokes, hubless wheels have a rigid inner ring attached to the rotating part of the wheel. It’s not all for show, either — the advantages of hubless wheels include reduced stress on the motorcycle’s structure, improved steering accuracy and less vibration, so they may catch on more widely, according to Jalopnik.com.

The bottom line is that motorcycle are constantly evolving, just as they have for the past century. New technologies and creative engineering have helped improve both the safety and performance of motorcycles, and will continue to do so in the future. What will be the next big thing? We can’t wait to find out.

Five Ways to Save Money on Everyday Expenditures

save money coffee

save money coffee I love bargain shopping and it’s easy to save money by only shopping the sale racks or shopping at online sample sale sites. What is more challenging, however, is finding ways to save money on everyday life – those little things you do day in and day out. Here are my favorite five ways to save money on a daily basis.

1. Join Facebook

If you’re not on Facebook yet, sign up now. In addition to reconnecting with long-lost friends, Facebook gives you the ability to connect with businesses. “Like” your favorite companies and you’ll find that they often offer coupons, discounts, and freebies just for their fans. I’ve enjoyed free food and beverages, candy and even free nail polish!

2. Print Coupons from Online Sources

It’s easier than ever to get your hands on coupons, thanks to the internet. Not only is Facebook a great source, but sites like Coupons.com exist solely to let you print out coupons to redeem at the grocery store! Coupons.com is free and easy to use – just indicate which coupons you’d like and then print them out. Even stores like Target have a coupon section on their website, and they’re not all grocery-related. For instance, they recently had a coupon that would save users $5 off the purchase of a pair of jeans.

3. Make Your Coffee at Home

If you’re anything like me you need a cup of coffee in the morning to get yourself up and going. Stopping to pick up coffee every day can add up quickly. Last year I spent more than $20 per week on coffee! I was a little appalled when I took the time to do the math, and committed then and there to make a small pot of coffee each morning, and I haven’t looked back since. Not only do I save time each morning by not making an extra stop on the way to the office, but now I only spend about $20 per month on coffee.

4. Look for Dining Discounts

It used to be that it was difficult to save money when dining out unless you wanted to eat at a chain restaurant. Those days are over now, thanks to the advent of sites like Restaurant.com. Using Restaurant.com you can snag gift certificates to your favorite restaurants and pay a fraction of the full-price bill. For instance, you can often buy $25 gift certificates for just $2. You will need to spend $50 to use the gift certificate, but consider the savings: Instead of paying $50 for $50 worth of food, you will pay just $27for $50 worth of food. The Facebook rule above applies for restaurants, too – they will often provide special discounts just for their Facebook fans!

5. Use Cash Back Shopping Sites

Over the past couple of years there has been a rise in the number of websites that don’t offer coupons toward your online purchases, but instead offer a certain percentage of actual cash back based on what you spend! Sites like ShopatHomeEbates, and Mr.Rebates are fantastic because not only can you still use your online promotional codes, but you can also earn cash back for double the savings. Here’s an insider’s tip: look for special days when they offer double or triple cash back at certain stores. For instance, a couple of times last year I saw that Ebates offered 20% cash back at Gap, but the offer was good for just two days so if you weren’t quick you would miss out.

This content courtesy of The Allstate Blog

Call us for a free insurance review – we can help you find ways to save.  In PA call (or text) 814-774-4080 and in OH 440-964-2222.  jeffspring@allstate.com



Beneficial Insects for Your Garden

When you think of bugs, you may think of insects that crawl across your walls and buzz around your head. Some of them bite, some sting and others make annoying sounds. Then there are the ones that wreak havoc on your garden or landscaping. But while many bugs do cause inconveniences for humans, you may find there are also beneficial insects for your yard and garden.

These good insects can prey on bugs that destroy your crops, pollinate plants or serve as a parasite to other insects, says KidsGardening.org. So before you start spraying or swatting all of the pests away, consider whether you may want to keep some of them around.


Most people recognize ladybugs as round insects with the red or orange backs adorned with black spots. According to Better Homes and Gardens, ladybugs are a great defense against aphids. The Mother Nature Network describes aphids as soft-bodied insects that are destructive to both vegetable and ornamental plants.

Both adult ladybugs and their larvae can feed on thousands of aphids in a single summer, Better Homes and Gardens says. They also prey on mites, scale insects and mealybugs. Mother Nature Network adds that ladybugs are a natural pest deterrent and can usually be purchased for your garden or attracted to your yard with angelica or scented geranium plants.


These long, skinny bugs are natural assassins and will eat any other insect, says DIY Network. They may prey on caterpillars munching through your plants or budworms aggravating your yard. These useful insects are always hungry, says Better Homes and Gardens, and will also consume smaller bugs, such as flies, crickets, grasshoppers, moths and even other praying mantises.


Rove beetles are usually gray or brown with short wings and narrow bodies, says Mother Nature Network. They are often drawn to decaying organic matter, such as produce on the ground, loose bark, leaf litter, manure and compost piles in your backyard. Rove beetles eat some of the most irritating bugs, such as flies, mosquitoes, fleas, maggots and mites.


Most people are quite familiar with this fuzzy, black and yellow bee. That’s because honeybees tend to be a critical element of any garden, says Better Homes and Gardens, as they are pollinators. In fact, honeybees can carry as much as half of their weight in pollen while flying from plant to plant.

Without honeybees in your garden, says Better Homes and Gardens, fruits, flowers and vegetables may not get fertilized effectively. Make sure you leave them alone, though, advises Better Homes and Gardens, as honeybees generally won’t sting you unless you get in the way of their work.


Spined soldier bugs are a predator that other insects may not want to cross paths with. They have spines on their backs, says Mother Nature Network, and they may release an unpleasant odor when they are bothered. The odor is not the only thing keeping other pests away, though.

Spined soldier bugs eat more than 100 species of insects. But they don’t just eat them; these predators harpoon their prey, such as beetle larvae, hornworms, grubs, armyworms and gypsy moth caterpillars, inject a substance in them to paralyze them, and then suck out their insides.

Beneficial garden bugs can offer your yard protection and help your plants thrive. Even though the sight of them may make you cringe, KidsGardening.org recommends welcoming beneficial insects to your garden. You just may wind up with a more beautiful and fruitful backyard.

Content by Cristel Mohrman for the Allstate Blog


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Tradition Alternatives for Our Independence Day

This year, freshen up your Fourth of July by ditching the holiday crowds and noisy bottle rockets for a less stressful celebration with friends and family. Whether it’s setting up camp in your backyard or hitting the road to explore a national park, check out our ideas to make this year’s July Fourth celebration red, white and new.

flag and fireworksPlan your own block party. If you’re looking to bring the festivities to your neighborhood, planning a block party doesn’t have a to be a huge endeavor. First, meet with your neighbors to see if they’re into the idea, then check with your local municipality about permits and noise regulations. If you plan far enough ahead, you may even be allowed to block off the street to through traffic. Once everyone’s on board, you get to plan the fun stuff like music, sports, games (water balloon toss, relay race, horseshoes and limbo), a pet parade and the most important part — food. Planning a potluck-style block party is a good way cut down on costs and stress. It’s also a good way get to know new people on your block.
Set up a backyard camp-out. This July 4, there’s no need to book a campsite; you’ve got one in your backyard. If space allows, pitch tents and spend the weekend outside. Fire up the grill and prepare cookout meals, sing songs, tell scary stories and be sure everyone has their own flashlight (most necessary for those late-night trips back to the house).

4th-of-July-Picnic-2Declare a kid-friendly craft day. If rain is predicted, declare the July Fourth a craft day. Depending on kids’ ages, you can craft something simple like a Lady Liberty crown, patriotic flag luminaries, or you could work on a more complex project, like a Fourth of July wreath. When it comes to crafting, the possibilities are endless. Just be sure to get your project supplies before the big craft day.

Take a weekend road trip. There’s no better way to celebrate our country than to explore it. Sure, traffic and crowds might be a headache this time of year, so instead of hitting the most popular destinations, opt for the least crowded ones. The National Park Service tracked down the least crowded U.S. parks so you can get more nature and less crowds. If you find yourself in the northern Midwest, explore Isle Royale National Park — the fourth least-crowded national park in America — with entrances in Michigan and Minnesota. If you’re in the Northwest, take the family to North Cascades National Park (it’s less than three hours northeast of Seattle). In the west there’s Great Basin National Park in Nevada, and in South Carolina, there’s Congaree National Park. If you want to visit a battle site where colonists fought for independence from Britain, you can also visit one of our country’s many Revolutionary War historic sites.

liberty2July 4 is fast approaching, and this year you can show your patriotic pride with a brand new plan for the day. Happy Independence Day and have a not so ho-hum fourth.

This content is courtesy of the Allstate Blog