Bet You Didn't Know!
The Do Not Call Registry was formed by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) to offer consumers an option on how they receive telemarketing calls. It was formed in 2003 and telemarketers now have only 31 days from registration to stop calling numbers from the list.
The sign up process is relatively easy and can be used for both land lines and cell phones. You can either call 888.382.1222 from the phone you wish to register or visit their website at www.donotcall.gov. If you register online, you will need to provide an email address to complete your registration. Once you have registered up to 3 phone’s (at a time), it can take up to 31 days for the calls to stop.
As with many things, scammers have attached themselves to this registry. The most prevalent is that they will call you and offer to sign you up for the Do Not Call list. According to the FTC, the only way you should be signing up for this service is by calling the number above or going to the website listed above. You only have to register your phone numbers once. If you move or change phone numbers you will have to register the new # but the FTC purging system will take care of your old disconnected number. Due to an improvement act signed in 2007 the purging of reassigned and disconnected numbers now happens several times a month. As a test I checked on the do not call website to see if I had registered both my home phone and cell phone and sure enough I was sent 2 emails stating that both numbers were on the list and when they were registered. To check your status just click on the verify a registration button on the webpage.
Telemarketers have some very specific guidelines that they must follow when making calls. The most important is probably the hours of the day that they can call. Those hours are 8a-9p. There are some exceptions to the types of calls that will be blocked. These exceptions include: Political organizations (as we are all tired of by now); not for profit organizations; companies conducting surveys, businesses where you have done business in the past 18 months unless you specifically request to be put on their internal do not call list and bill collectors. Also note that calls coming from overseas are regulated by these rules as well because they are calling US consumers.
If you feel that you have received calls from anyone not on the above list or the call is outside of the permitted hours then you do have the right to file a complaint with the FTC. Keep in mind however this one work around that some companies have found. They will call you conducting a survey then ask if they can make a follow up call and when they do, they will try to sell you a product or service. One company that tried this was slapped with a restraining order but you know that if they can find the gray area of the rules they will. Some journalists and victims of fraudulent calls and Do Not Call list violations have reported widespread inaction and lack of enforcement from the FTC. In fact in the last 2 years, complaints have jumped from 65,000 to more than 212,000
So if you are tired of having your phone ring at 8:55pm then do yourself a favor and register all your phones for this free service.
If you can answer yes to that question, then this might not be the blog to read. In honor of Halloween next week, I decided to tackle some of the haunted places, according to legend & folklore, here in North Carolina. These range from the Biltmore in Asheville to Wilmington’s bobbing lights.
Let’s go from west to east. Asheville’s Biltmore Estate has been empty for quite some time and several witnesses have seen or heard some uncommon occurrences. When George Vanderbilt passed away from complications of an appendectomy, his wife would sit in the library and talk to him as if he were still there and some say those conversations can be heard today. There are also reports of sounds of laughing and screaming throughout the house. Some have also seen a headless orange cat roaming the gardens and bass pond.
While travelling through the Blue Ridge Parkway, you may witness the Brown Mountain Lights which were first reported by Native Americans. These lights appear after sunset and rise up off the mountain. One legend has it the lights come from the maidens looking for their lost warriors after a battle between the Cherokee & Catawba had taken place here.
Jamestown brings us a story of a vanishing hitchhiker. Allegedly on a dark rainy night in 1923, a young woman by the name of Lydia was killed while coming home from a dance. Many years later the story happens that a young man driving down US70A is flagged down by a young lady in a white dress who asks for a ride. Once he delivers her home, he opens the door only to find she is not in the back. He approaches the home and is told by an elderly lady that “Lydia” was her daughter and she was killed on that bridge. Evidently Lydia is still trying to get home.
On the South side of Siler City in Southern Chatham County lies what many consider one of North Carolina's most haunted places. What do you call a perfectly round and absolutely barren circle about 40 feet in diameter? The locals call it the Devil’s Tramping Ground. Absolutely nothing will grow within the limits of the circle. As the story was told by generation to generation, this area was where the Devil himself spends night after night pacing in a circle coming up with nefarious ways to torment human souls.
On the North Carolina coast, in Wilmington there is a story about a ghost that has become one of the state’s greatest stories. It is about the Maco light, a mysterious light that has been seen and photographed bobbing up and down along railroad tracks near Maco station. The Legend of Maco light goes back to a sad night in 1867 when a signalman named Joe Baldwin was asleep in a caboose. Joe was awoken by a violent jerk that was the caboose becoming detached from his train. While standing on a platform, swinging his light to and fro to warn an oncoming passenger train, young Joe was decapitated. He head fell in the swamp never to be found while his headless body was later buried. The legend of the light says that it is young Joe himself walking along trying to locate his missing head.
There are many more fascinating tales of ghosts and odd occurrences to be found in North Carolina and I hope you have enjoyed the few here.
Last month’s hobby portion of this blog featured Ken Vanhoy and his sustainably grown goodness business, well this month it is his partner Laura Frazier’s turn. When I drove out to talk to Ken, Laura told me he wasn’t home and then we started talking. Well come to find out she has her own business that I decided would be a perfect topic for this blog.
Do you know what needle felting is? Or have you ever seen it done? Well Laura, a clay sculptor originally, learned about this craft when she went looking for uses for the wool from the sheep that Ken’s family was raising. She came across a technique where you take the wool and poke it until it becomes a more condensed material. Of course I am sure there are more technical terms for this, but for me this is the basic concept. What Laura can do with some reference pictures and some wool is truly an art form. Laura started sculpting years ago and has transferred that talent into the business of sculpting animals and pet recreations that she sells today.
Each small animal can take up to 30 hours of work manipulating the fiber, much like you would with clay, and creating a form that looks more real than not. The wool Laura uses goes through quite a process before it is ready for her creative mind. Before the wool is sent to Michigan for washing and straightening, Laura raises the sheep, shears them, sells them and once she gets the cleaned wool back, she then spins it and sells it. As she puts it, “I’m one of the lucky folks who get to make a living at something they LOVE doing and would do anyway”. I was witness to a horse she was working on and looking at the raw material turning into a sculpted horse leg was amazing. The needle used for this is barbed and as you poke at it, the wool becomes smaller and tighter. Laura can take different colors of wool and blend them in to which ever animal she is making. There are pictures of her work and a video on how it all happens on her website www.farmgirlarts.com. One of the fascinating things I discovered about this technique is that the entire body is made of wool; there is no internal structure to which you adhere the wool.
Laura’s talent for this has certainly shown to be remarkable and brings a whole new outlook for a material that is usually used for commercial items. If you would like to see more of her work, visit her website as listed above or her facebook page FarmGirl Arts.
Thank you Laura for bringing this art to my attention.
Sustainably Grown Goodness. Those are the words on the front of the brochure from Rail Fence Farm. Our insured Ken Vanhoy is a member of the family that owns Rail Fence Farm and as such, he grew up raising sheep, growing Christmas trees and growing vegetables. Ken is the subject of this month’s Hobby portion of my blog.
I met with Ken and his partner Laura recently to learn what goes into organic gardening. I was corrected about being an organic gardener by Ken, who says without approval and certification from the USDA, you cannot classify your produce as organic. This is where the words sustainably grown goodness comes in. Another word used to describe Ken and his gardening would be naturally grown or chemical free. Ken first got into the natural part of gardening about 15 years ago. He and his partner try to use as many naturally grown foods as they can. This includes everything from the side of beef he gets from his cousin to the chickens from his own farm to the sheep he gets from the family farm.
Ken grows a myriad of produce every year and for the last 3 years he has attempted to be self-containing. Times however did get tough so he took a job as a school bus driver in the winter. This is perfect because there is not much farming that needs done during the winter months. Ken & Laura have a full time operation between all the planting seasons and greenhouse seedlings that he grows for the local hardware store to sell. Laura raises Icelandic sheep for her needle felting business. You will hear more about her and her business in next month’s Hobby Blog.
Ken has recently been selling his wares at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem. My husband and I had the chance to go this past weekend and were very pleased to see the interest in home grown natural produce. I did notice that Ken’s booth was one of the busiest. He was selling everything from hot banana peppers to eggplant to tomatoes. I know for a fact that in a short time, he will also be offering beans. I did see those in his garden. The Cobblestone market is for growers only and most are local to Winston Salem. The Market runs until the middle of November so it is a good bet that whatever the seasonal produce is, you will find Ken & possibly Laura there to sell their results.
Come spring if you are interested in some home grown seedlings, visit Webster Bros Hardware in Walkertown as that is where Ken sells the starter plants that have come from his greenhouse.
I want to thank both Ken & Laura for their hospitality as well as their donation of some patty pan squash. It was excellent, as was the eggplant we bought from his stand. So, if you enjoy supporting local farmers, take yourself down to Old Salem on a Saturday morning and look for the Rail Fence Farm Banner. Tell Ken that Gina sent you.
If you haven’t noticed, today June 21, 2012 is the first full day of summer and mother nature is giving us a full blast of hot humid air. This time of year, you are going to hear about the elderly having heat strokes, infant and children left in cars, even pets can suffer from heat. I hope to enlighten you about some of the ways you can cool off even without air conditioning. As most of our grandparents would say, “back in the day there was no air conditioning”, well there are still a lot of older homes out there that either don’t have AC or the families living in them can’t afford to turn the air on. So here are some tips to cooling off without touching the AC.
One of the biggest and easiest things to do is to invest in some ceiling or floor fans. Position your floor fan so it sucks up the cooler air from the floor and blows it toward the ceiling. For ceiling fans, make sure that the fan is not blowing the hot air down from the ceiling. Another REALLY easy fix is to place foil on your windows. This will help reflect the sun off of your house. After a recent trip to Louisiana staying with a friend, I discovered just how well this works. She has all of her windows covered and you can feel the coolness in the house. You can also freeze water in some 2 liter bottles then place those in a
metal bowl in front of your fan causing the cooled air to blow your direction.
When the weather starts heating up early in the morning, the best thing to do is close your blinds and curtains. Do this as soon as the sun hits your house and avoid opening them until the cooler hours of the evening or when the sun is no longer hitting your house. You should also turn off all heat sources, including: lights, computers, TV and some power adapters. Try to save cooking, laundry and running the dishwasher until late into the day. We have all heard of brownouts and blackouts because the power company gets overloaded, the reason is all of the air conditioners running. Think in terms of a power surge in your home when a circuit is overloaded.
Now for some tips on how to keep your internal temperatures cool. Drink plenty of fluids. Avoid sugary or alcoholic beverages. For a quick cool down snack try freezing chunks of your favorite fruits. Can’t sleep at night due to the heat, try placing a small pillow in a plastic bag, and then place it in the freezer. I know I am a fan of cool or cold pillows. If all else fails, fill a bathtub with cool water and sit down slowly so your body can acclimate. Remember that as you age, your body does not regulate temperature as quickly as it used to, even if you are physically fit. A temperature of 104 or higher can be life threateni
ng. Many people do not realize they are suffering from heat stroke. Some signs include, dizziness, clammy skin, slow or confused or if they claim to be cold. Getting them out of the sun and in an air conditioned room can save their lives.
I hope this has helped. Remember to stay cool and stay hydrated.