In 1944 the first outbreak of Oak Wilt was seen in the state of Wisconsin. Since then the deadly disease has killed oak trees in 25 states.

What Is Oak Wilt

Oak wilt is a disease caused by a fungus that can bring down an oak tree in short order. It can move between an infected tree and an uninfected tree both above ground and beneath ground. When it moves underground, it does so when the two trees graft together.  Generally speaking, grafts happen when the trees are the same species. But with oak trees, root graft happens even when the oak trees are of different species.

Then there’s this pesky beetle that eats the sap of an infected oak tree, makes it way to a healthy oak tree and tranfers the fungus to the clean oak.  The oak wilt fungus is most commonly spread by the beetle between April and July.

Symptoms of Oak Wilt Disease

If you have Oak trees on your property you’ll want to watch for symptoms of oak wilt disease. When a tree is infected, it wilts from the top down, a few branches at a time. The branches, when infected, have brown streaks in the wood just beneath the bark.  The tree’s leaves drop fast and they are usually brown, green or a combination of the two colors. In Red Oaks and Bur Oaks the leaves look wet and they curl around the midrib.  The Minnesota DNR describes what happens as oak wilt disease spreads. “An infection pocket is created with dead trees at the center and infected trees with  wilting crowns around the edges in a bull’s-eye pattern.”

Red Oaks, Black Oaks, Eastern Pin Oaks, Northern Pin Oaks and Scarlet Oaks often die 4-6 weeks after being infected by oak wilt. White Oaks, Swamp White Oaks, Bur Oaks generally live longer but they also succumb to the disease.

Once you see symptoms of Oak Wilt disease, your first call should be to a local tree care expert. They’ll likely need to have the tree removed. Best to do this rather than let the disease spread and kill all your trees.

Discuss Tow Truck Plans With New Teen Drivers

Put Tow Truck Phone Number in Your Teen’s Cell

If you have a new teen driver in your home, I’m sure you’ve discussed wearing the seatbelt, not driving with too many people in the car, being home by curfew, keeping the car filled with gas, looking in all directions when at a four-way stop, etc. But I’ll bet discussing a tow truck is the farthest thing from your mind. But it shouldn’t be.

Research shows that 73% of young drivers experienced a breakdown last year. Perhaps this is because newer drivers tend to drive older cars. Or perhaps because teen drivers haven’t developed the skills necessary to avoid accidents or mishaps. And this is why you should develop a plan with your teen driver BEFORE they have an accident, run out of gas, end up in a snow bank, or even encounter a dead battery at the Mall of America, or your local mall.

The last thing you want your teen to do is called their boyfriend of BFF when they encounter a car problem. But they may think they’ll be in trouble with you if you don’t discuss what to do ahead of time.  Here’s what we told our teen when he got his license:

The chances of you needing roadside assistance at some point are pretty high. Every driver does. In fact, 95% of drivers break down at least once in their lives.

Your Dad and I have both broken down in our lives. Your Dad had a flat tire when he was on I-94. That was scary because it blew out while he was driving. But he steered to the shoulder and called a tow truck.  Mine was scary too. I hit a patch of ice, did a 360 and ended up sliding into a guardrail. I needed a tow truck too.

That’s why your Dad and I have Smitty Big Tow’s phone number in our cell phone. And we want you to put Smitty’s number in your phone as well. It’s 651-955-6475. I’d put it under “Tow Truck” instead of “Smitty” in case you don’t remember the tow truck company name.

That should be your first call if:

  • You have a dead battery
  • You run out of gas
  • You have a flat tire
  • You lock your keys in the car
  • You end up in a ditch or snow bank

If you have an accident, you should first call us. We won’t be mad. If your car isn’t driveable, after you call us, we want you to call Smitty and tell him to drive your car to Tuan Auto Shop. While Smitty is on his way, here’s what you’ll do next:

Write down

  • Driver and passenger names of all cars involved
  • License plate numbers of all cars involved
  • Makes and models of all vehicles involved
  • Location of the accident
  • The name and badge number of any responding police officers

You also need to exchange insurance info with all drivers. They’ll give you their insurance company, phone number and policy number. You will give them the same information off of your insurance card. That’s why we always remind you to keep a copy of your insurance card in your wallet and in the glove box.

Be sure whenever you’re outside of the car that you stay on the side of the car where there are no cars passing.

My husband I felt that by discussing these scenarios ahead of time it would demystify the process for our son while not minimizing the worst case scenario.

However you choose to discuss with your teen driver what to do when things go wrong in a car — and they will — we just hope you will have the discussion.



Towing companies are Making a Killing

Breaking news! I just found out that towing companies are making a killing with storage companies. Apparently they have devised a way to help empty storage units that have been seized.

John and Charlie of http://www.stpaultowingcompany.com/ thought of a way to make extra money by using their flat bed trucks as trash haulers.

We have all seen a typical dump truck where when it is lifted the contents come spilling out right? Well a tow truck does the same thing when it has to load and unload a car.

John is pretty handy with a torch and steel and he constructed a low level dumpster that can be lifted and dropped onto the flat bed. Then it gets tied down by heavy duty strapping. Magic! It is now a dump truck!

John told me that they were always looking for ways to utilize their trucks for more than just hauling cars and this makes it happen.

They told me they 3 to 5 storage units a month and are looking to lock up a few more storage companies to work with.

What a novel idea that truly is a American idea.

Is it all just crap?

I often wonder this. Does all the stuff we carry around just really a load of crap? I know if it is something that is desired or rare it makes it valuable but I mean a playing card can be worth millions? It is just a piece of paper.

I was watching a storage wars they were filming in Tampa Florida and they were saying at one point that 90% of the storage units they went through literally went into the trash. My how much money went down the drain storing all that crap.

I have been thinking of maybe redirecting this site differently and making it into a support group for chronic storage folks. I think it would probably get some traction and help some people possibly.

Anyway it is something to ponder. Crap is something we deal with.

One man’s junk is another man’s………

Our definition of junk can have many variations. I see a case with tubes in it while a musician sees age and rarity that makes it valuable to him. Can I use it as a table?

We all like certain things that others don’t. My good friend loves old bikes. He always means to restore them but he is too busy with his business. Since I am not that subject let’s give him some more! You can find him at  http://www.stpaulbestcarpetcleaners.com/.  He does an amazing job at cleaning carpet and tile.

Anyway he has these bikes all filling up his garage and it is insane because they are not worth the space they are taking. But he won’t get rid of them. To him they are a treasure. I am afraid to ask him if that is the only place he is storing junk, I mean treasure.

My Mom is the worst. She is so bad that I have thrown away things of hers on occasion and she never missed it or mentioned it again. She has stuff that is so old and decrepit that she has paid to keep in storage for years. The amount of money it staggering. 5 years of storage. Do you know how many living room sets you can buy with that? A new car even!

There is some kind of psychological issue going on in our heads here. And what about me?

Everything that is important to me is all in two bins. Yep that’s it. Two rubber made bins. Sure I have stashes of things laying around but but all could disappear and I would be fine with it.

One thing is for certain is I will never allow myself to get to the point where I need a storage unit unless I get a muscle car to restore.

I have heard that it is something detrimental to health when considering getting rid of stuff. But consider what it is doing to your health hanging onto it.

In the end it is your choice. Place a real value number on it and make the hard choice. You only live once and no matter how you like to believe it is different for you, it isn’t.

Welcome Storage Junkies!

storage unitHey you all thanks for stopping by and seeing what this is all about.

It has become clear to me that as a society we have become very attached to our possessions. Especially in the western more industrialized world. I wonder why this is? What kind of cerebral thing is going on here?

In my next post I want to get into some statistics and share a little of what I think may be the issue. It will be fun and fascinating. Stay Tuned!

In the meantime save this site to your favorites and keep checking in.

Till next time you storage fanatics!