Posts Tagged ‘cybergreenrealty’

It’s Almost Halloween – Carve A Pumpkin!

Scary jack-o-lantern with frowny face

Spook up a new craft project!

Fall is officially here and with it comes the changing of the leaves, sunny autumn days, and most importantly Halloween! Below are some tips for fun and safe pumpkin carving.

  • Draw your design on the pumpkin with a water-based marker beforehand. Mistakes are easily erased with a damp sponge.
  • Cut the top and any large areas with a sharp, straight-edged knife. A dull blade is not a safe alternative.
  • Carve away from yourself and remember – children should carve only under adult supervision.
  • Cut the lid at an angle so the outside diameter is larger than the inside. This prevents the top from falling into the pumpkin when it shrinks.
  • Scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh with a large spoon or ice cream scooper. Remember to save the seeds! Wash them, then toast them in the oven for a delicious, healthy snack!
  • Carve the facial features closest to the center first and work outward. Cut out the larger features in sections.
  • Use an X-Acto knife for details and utilize the tip of a potato peeler to make small circles and curves.
  • Reattach a section that is accidentally removed by using a toothpick to pin it back in place.
  • Flatten a spot in the base of the pumpkin for the candle but avoid digging too deep because the pumpkin becomes prone to rot.
  • To prolong the life of your new Jack-O-Lantern, seal in moisture by coating all the surfaces with a petroleum jelly or vegetable oil, or cover it with a damp towel when not on display.

You can find more fun craft-type ideas and tips at Disney’s Family Fun web site, including some great design ideas for your next Jack-O-Latern project.

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Seven Tips for Improving (or Creating) Your Organic Garden

Whether you have a large vegetable garden, border flower beds, or a small herb garden, you can easily introduce organic gardening techniques into your current gardening maintenance routine. Here are some easy tips on improving your organic garden:

1. Develop Quality Garden Soil – Amend the soil generously with organic compost and use other organic fertilizers as necessary to increase specific nutrient levels.
2. Buy Plants for the Site – Gardeners who buy plants well-suited to their garden conditions increase their chances for success.
3. Choose Healthy Plants – A cheap plant isn’t a bargain if it’s baked in the hot sun in a pot it outgrew three months ago. Also check all plant purchases for pest hitchhikers and stress before bringing them home.
4. Care for Plants – The maintenance free garden is a myth. All gardens need some degree of maintenance, so make time to tend your garden.
5. Keep a Garden Journal – Record keeping is informative and motivational. Write down how long seeds take to germinate, when pests appear, the dates of the first and last frosts, and favorite flower and vegetable varieties.
6. Monitor for Garden Pests Regularly – It’s easier to control a few harmful beetles with handpicking than it is to stem the tide of the third generation of pests laying eggs. Control problems early and often.
7. Relax and enjoy your garden – Don’t stress over a few pests. It’s OK to allow a minimal threshold of pest damage in the garden. If all the pests are gone, the ladybugs won’t have a reason to set up house in the garden.

You can read more green living tips at my Home Green Home blog: https://cybergreenrealty.wordpress.com

Enjoy your garden!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Tim Cahill
MBA, Certified EcoBroker, Realtor
Web site: CyberGreenRealty | Blog: Home Green Home
T: 617.599.2775
E: timcahill@avenue3re.com

Five FREE Things (or almost free) To Do After an Open House

Summer is a great time to consider buying a home or condo in the greater Arlington MA area, and an Open House is the perfect way to view a home without any pressure from either your Buyer Agent or the Listing Agent. And since it is summer, why not make it even more fun by doing something FREE (or almost free) in the city after the open house?  Who knows, you might just find the house of your dreams AND learn something new about the Boston, MA area.

Here are a couple of suggestions:

  1. Tour the State House: Tours last approximately 30-45 minutes and include an overview of the history and architecture of the State Capitol.  Weekdays from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.  Closed on weekends and holidays. Admission:  FREE
  2. Climb Bunker Hill Monument: Climb the 294 steps to the top of the Monument for great views of Boston.  Daily:  9 am – 5 pm.  Monument closes to climbing at 4:30pm. Admission:  FREE
  3. Visit The Museum of Fine Arts: With approximately 450,000 objects in the collection, there’s always something new on view.  No general admission fee required every WEDNESDAY, 4 pm – 9:45 pm. Admission: Variable
  4. Visit The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston:  Enjoy the stimulation of contemporary culture at their new waterfront location.  No general admission fee required every THURSDAY, 5 pm – 9:00 pm.  Every THURSDAY night
  5. Ride the Ferry: Take the ferry from Long Wharf to the Charlestown Navy Yard to visit the USS Constitution $.70 each way.  Free guided tours of the USS Constitution.

Do you have suggestions of your own for free, or low-cost, things to do in the Boston area?  If so, why not share them here?

To view of a listing of open houses in the Arlington, Cambridge and Boston, MA areas, check out my Trulia.com Open House search and then visit my CyberGreenRealty.com web site for more details on each listing.  Finally, don’t forget to check the latest weather forecast for the area before heading out.

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Arlington MA Farmer’s Market Update – July 2010

Picture of Farm Fresh Produce in Arlington, MA

Can you say "healthy"? Picture courtesy Arlington Farmer's Market web site

The Arlington MA Farmer’s Market opened its 2010 season on June 9th and it’s been a heck of a great month! I’ve had the opportunity to visit every week, picking up something fresh, succulent, and locally-grown each time. My best purchase to date, I have to say, was the tomato plant I purchased on the first day for $1.50. And yes I’ll admit it, I planted it in one of those “Topsy Turvy” upside-down planters. But I’m not ashamed to brag about how it’s tripled in size in just three weeks and it’s already starting to produce some big tomato blossoms. I can’t wait to taste that first home-grown tomato of the season!

If you haven’t yet visited the Arlington Farmer’s Market web site, I highly suggest you do and while you’re there, sign up for the weekly email update newsletter. Karen Blair, the newsletter editor, sends out a great weekly update on what to expect that week. But not only does she let you know about some of the new produce coming in, she includes some great recipes you’ll be tempted to make.

Here’s a preview of what she has to say in this week’s letter:

The market is filled with summer fruits and veggies so stop in to say hello to our farmers and Buy Local!

Bounty of the Season: Cherries, blueberries, tomatoes, peas, lettuce, green beans, cucumbers, squash, radishes, kolrabi, garlic, onions, greens, kale, chard, herbs, summer squashes & beets…and be on the lookout for corn & peaches coming very soon…The market also features meat, cheese, fish, eggs, pasta, maple products, baked goods and local prepared foods….

The Farmer’s Market runs from now through mid-October every Wednesday, 2:00 pm – 6:30 pm, rain or shine.  Conveniently located in Arlington Center, just of Route 60, the market is located in the Russell Common (public) parking lot.  If you have any questions about the market or are looking to share ideas with the organizers, send them in an email to Patsy at manager@farmersmarketarlington.org.

If you don’t happen to live in the Arlington MA or surrounding areas, but you live in Massachusetts, check out the Massachusetts Grown…and Fresher web site for a listing of all Farmer’s Markets in MA.

Before heading out to the market, though, be sure to check the weather forecast on my About Arlington page of my CyberGreenRealty web site.  You never know when a surprise thunderstorm might pass by and the one thing I haven’t seen at the market (yet!) is an umbrella vendor. So be prepared!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Arlington MA Farmer’s Market Opens June 9, 2010

Picture of produce truck delivering fresh produce to Arlington

Yummy, yummy in my tummy!

Summer is finally here! And all the fresh produce (seasonal, of course), will be in abundance at the opening of Arlington’s Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, June 9th. The new hours for this year will be 2:00pm – 6:30pm, at the usual location in Arlington Center in the Russell Common Parking Lot behind Park Terrace and just off Route 60.

The market has one of the areas largest selections of farm fresh produce and locally raised, meat, local cheese, eggs, fish, honey, maple syrup, and flowers. They also have wonderful baked goods from local area bakeries and restaurants, so you’re bound to find something to whet your appetite.

For more information and to sign up for their mailing list, visit the Arlington Farmer’s Market web site for more details.  And for other eco-friendly vendors and businesses in the Arlington area, visit my Eco-Friendly Vendors web page at CyberGreenRealty.com.

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

Do YOU plan on attending the Farmer’s Market? 

Thinking of Investing in a Cambridge, MA Condo?

External picture of 31 Concord Ave in Cambridge, MA

Cozy Condos in Cambridge

If you’ve been thinking about purchasing a condo in Cambridge, MA as an investment property, now would be a good time to make your move! With the end of the first-time homebuyer tax credit, those who were renting and motivated to purchase have already done so and will be closing between now and July 1st. This will result in more rentals coming on the market over the next couple of months, which is prime rental season for the next influx of college students this fall. College students will most likely be your target tenant, given the preponderance of students and other academics throughout Cambridge. So not only will you want to act fast on purchasing that investment, you’ll want to differentiate yourself, somehow, from the “competition” and make your particular unit the most attractive option available.

Pie chart of Cambridge MA neighborhood rental rates for March thru  May 2010

Cambridge, MA Rent Rates by Neighborhood

Looking at the previous two months rental statistics in Cambridge, the news is encouraging. The average rent compared to the same time last year rose by 10.44% for all of Cambridge (from $2,116 in 2009 to $2,337 in 2010), with some neighborhoods reporting larger gains than others. The two Cambridge neighborhoods with the biggest increases were Cambridgeport with a 65.17% increase in monthly rental amount ($1,750/mo in 2009 to $2,900/mo this year) and East Cambridge with a 17.18% increase ($2,400/mo in 2009 to $2,812.50/mo this year).

Check the chart to the right to see an average neighborhood rental rate for a 1-2 bed condominium with 1 or 2 bathrooms.  As you can see, Kendall Square, East Cambridge, and Cambridgeport are the neighborhoods currently commanding the highest rents, while the most affordable areas remain mid-Cambridge and North Cambridge.  Harvard Square has actually decreased slightly to $1,925/month this year from $2,050/month last year.  Remember, however, these are average prices, and some condos in Harvard Square have recently rented as high as $2,500/month.

Of course, there are other areas in Cambridge that are highly popular, such as Central Square or Inman Square, but they are not always indicated as such in the Multiple Listing Service (my source for this data).  These areas, along with the remainder of Cambridge rentals, are included in the “other” category of the chart.

As you prepare your new condo purchase for rental, you’ll want to somehow differentiate yourself from the other rental units available on the market at that time.  Doing so will definitely help to reduce the average days on market (which most recently was 51.7 days) and get you a paying tenant as soon as possible.  So consider this – a potential tenant, such as a student, will not have a car and may rely heavily on public transit.  So one idea you might consider is to purchase a bicycle and make it part of the rental agreement.  If the tenant agrees and wants to use the bike, you can simply give them the lock combo and off they go.  If they’re not interested, you can always keep the bike parked in the condo basement (most have bicycle storage) and rent it out to other tenants in the building.  This is a great way to “go green” while also being a landlord!

First step, though – find a good condo in a nice neighborhood.  Start by visiting my CyberGreenRealty web site and searching for condos in Cambridge.  If you see anything you like, give me a call and we’ll take a look!

Until next time, Peace!

-TMC

6th Annual Arlington MA Spy Pond Trails Day

Engraving of ice cutting on Spy Pond in Arlington MA

Ice Made Arlington Hot!

One of Arlington, MA’s most treasured spots for both residents and visitors alike is Spy Pond, located just south of Mass Ave. and east of Pleasant St. in East Arlington. Spy Pond was originally formed during the last great ice age, about 50,000 years ago, when it was covered by the Wisconsin Glacier. As it melted, between 13,000 and 10,000 years ago, the glacier left a depression in the ground known as a “kettle hole,” which then filled with water and formed the pond we know today.

As part of its rich history, Spy Pond was notable as an ice harvesting spot, supplying ice to the greater Boston area and exporting it as far as India. This prompted the building of the local railroad and an increase of manufacturing in the area, primarily ice-cutting tools. As the area expanded and became known as “West Cambridge,” the pond became a source of potable water for local residents. Eventually West Cambridge was incorporated as Arlington, MA and Spy Pond was officially named.

Today Spy Pond is one of the most relaxing and peaceful places to visit in Arlington. But it needs help to remain so. To that end, this coming Saturday, May 8, 2010, local residents in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club will gather to clean up the shores of Spy Pond. Volunteers are asked to meet along the Route 2 path from 9:00am until 1:00pm. Volunteers will spend time picking up trash, cleaning debris from trails, pruning, planting, and weeding out some of the invasive weeds that have infiltrated the area.

If you want to take part, all you need is some time, gloves, and a few garden tools (rakes, shovels, pruning shears, etc.). If you don’t have any equipment to bring, don’t worry. Everyone is welcome and snacks will be provided (free food always attracts more people, doesn’t it?).

If you’d like more information on how you can help, contact either Elizabeth Karpati at 781.643.4172 (email: ekarpati@juno.com) or Stroker Rogovin at 781.641.2506 (email: stroker@alumni.clarku.edu). You may also visit the Spy Pond Vision 2020 Committee web site at www.arlingtonma.gov/spypond.

Read more about Arlington’s history and get more information on the local area at these web resources:

I hope to see some of you there!  Until next time, Peace!

-TMC