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Buttertart Recipe in the US

Buttertart Recipe in the US.

When you live in a certain area or country you don’t realize that many things that you think are “normal” are actually very specific to where you’re at. I grew up East of Toronto, Ontario, Canada outside the Town of Brooklin.The rabbit ears on our tv picked up more US stations from Buffalo than local stations. Cable and satellite were not options at that time. One advantage was the Saturday morning cartoons and the tidbits of US history that we absorbed. It took a long time before Canadian TV realized that history needed to be interesting and in short bits to get to the kids. And don’t forget about the classical music in the Bugs Bunny cartoons. But back to the story. I just assumed that the world knew about Buttertarts. They were always a treat and just seemed like something every kid got when their mom’s or aunts did some baking.

Then I started finding out some of my friends had had some but there were normally store bought. What? Why would you bother.

The next step was my cousins making them and selling the Buttertarts with the pies at the roadside stand. This expanded into orchards and sweet corn and golf courses and is still strong today. I would stop by and buy some of the Buttertarts and take them to some people I worked with.

Finally after many years I moved to the US and was unable to get my hands on them. On a trip back to Canada I got the recipe from mom and got some hints from my cousin and then it was my turn. I searched for all of the hardware I would need and cleaned off the counter. There are a few different methods and I had to think back to my job as a kid when mom was making them to remember some of the steps. As in most good family recipes what’s written on the paper only covers part of what you need to do. Also just because it’s on the paper doesn’t mean that’s actually the ingredients. After a couple of hours and a lot of flour on the counter and me and the floor I had a batch of Canadian sweetness.

Although they are never quite the same as moms I feel like I held my own. So beware America. Deep in the Heart of Dixie is a Canadian guy making Buttertarts You can look up some recipes on line but unfortunately this family secret is staying in the family.

Should you still be in Ontario the place to go for this family recipe is Hy-Hope Farm. Check them out and tell them Ken sent you for the Buttertarts.

If you have any comments please post them below.



Dehydrating herbs and spices!- Oregano

Oregano like all spices can be dried. It’s also best to separate the parts for different uses. One is dried leaves the other is the buds. The buds are for soups and leaves for seasonings, especially spaghetti and homemade pizzas.


Often referred to as the “pizza spice” or a Greek herb. In Greek, the word “oregano” means “joy of the mountain.”


* Also your can add a small amount of oregano along with basil and other herbs to steamed seafood dishes, such as mussels and clams.

* Create an appetizer by covering crostini, or toasted bread, with a thin layer of provolone cheese. Sprinkle fresh, diced oregano leaves on top of the cheese and place in the grill or broiler for 5 minutes. Serve immediately

* Add oregano after you sautee or cook broccoli, zucchini, onion, eggplant or cauliflower. You may also want to add it earlier in stewed dishes with these strong-flavored vegetables. Both the vegetable and the herb pair well with olive oil.

* Substitute oregano for marjoram or thyme if you lack those ingredients. Marjoram is a type of oregano and thyme has a similar flavor, so they can be used to almost the same culinary effect. 

* Make a marinade or sauce with other ingredients that pair well with oregano. These include olive oil, vinegar, garlic, basil, onion, parsley and thyme. They make an excellent marinade for lamb, beef or chicken.

* Add 1/2 tsp. (0.25 g) of dried oregano or 1/2 tsp. (0.3 g) of fresh oregano to a vinaigrette to create an Italian or Greek-style vinaigrette. Serve it on a bed of fresh greens with tomatoes, cucumbers, Kalamata olives and feta cheese.

NOTE: Use oregano in pizza and pasta sauces. Oregano pairs very well with tomatoes and other Mediterranean herbs, such as basil. Add the oregano toward the end of the cooking process to help maximize its natural flavor. 

So start growing some plants and dry them in a solar dryer. A small one is good for herbs.

If you have any comments please post them below.


BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robot Competitions.

Today was the regional Championships for the BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robot Competitions.

Hope Academy in Talladega Al , where our son goes to school, placed second and will be headed to Auburn University in December for the South’s Best Competition.

It was tough job for the Judges to score but they did a great job.

Congratulations to all of the competing teams.

If you have any comments please post them below.


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After The Theft

Today was spent installing a new change machine. They are not something that is kept on the shelf at your local Big Box store. I spent Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday morning talking to distributors in three states trying to find a new or used one that would fit my budget.

           Most deliveries are one and a half to two weeks. Fortunately I found a distributor that had one from a recent open house. The overnight delivery worked well and I was able to get it before lunch on Thursday.

           Now to find the criminals that tore up the other one. Some video has been posted on the Washin Golden Springs Coin Laundry Facebook page. Hopefully someone will have some info and we can get the justice system to work.

If you have any comments please post them below.


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Reverse Mortgages


I just watched the video above from a Realtor I work with about reverse mortgages. I had received a call about the property from the seller as he was trying to find out what his options were and was hoping to get at least some money from his parents estate to help with his own bills.

We talked for awhile on the phone and I called my Realtor as it did not seem like we would be able to make a cash offer on the property

We met with him at the property and took a look around. As she mentioned in the video it was a different market in 2008 and they had no problem giving them a reverse mortgage even though their attorney advised against it

There was also lots of fees as well as the double digit interest rates.

Now he is in a position where they are going to take the house back as there is no equity left for him to sell it and pay the closing costs.

When signing up for a reverse mortgage please look at all your options and contact an attorney or a finacial planner and determine if this really is the right course for you and your family.

If you are looking to sell your property located in Central Alabama please contact us at TBark Property Solutions and we’ll take a look.

We also work with investors in other parts of the country so if you have a property somewhere else let me know and we will find you a contact in the area.

If you have any comments please post them below.


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The Beginning of Washin Golden Springs Coin Laundry

         The video above shows how we transformed Valley Plaza Laundry into Washin Golden Springs Coin Laundry.

I must start with a Thank You to our customers for the cooperation and understanding during the changes.

             All of the work you see was completed while the laundry was in operation. We only closed for one day to install the new air conditioning. On that day we also removed all of the existing ceiling tiles and lights. Installed new lights, repaired some wiring, installed insulation and all new ceiling tiles.

             During the time we had some people from FEMA using our Drop Off Service. They were in the area due to some storms that had passed through about a month previous. We were talking about the work we had to have done and they said there was no way we could finish that in a day. Well I’ll put my private sector, small business against their government organization any day.

                   When they came to pick up their stuff they couldn’t believe that everything was done and the place was spotless.

             Some hints wen working on projects. Make sure your contractors are fully aware of the timeframe from the start of discussions and make sure you have everything done you said you would when they arrive.

                By the time the contractors arrived at 7am I had covered all the equipment with plastic, removed all the ceiling tiles and went through the store with a leaf blower to get rid of all the old lint and dust. Shortly after they arrived the power went out for about an our but the timing was good as the electrician was removing all of the lights at that time.

              Once the renovations were complete it allowed us to meet the #1 customer requirement in every coin laundry survey ever done. Keep It Clean.

                 I got the most comments when we took out the carpeting. The area rugs were laid over the original wall to wall carpet. I still have 4 dryers sitting on the old carpet as they didn’t get moved during the renovation. I rolled up the area rugs, cut out sections of the carpet and vacuumed up years worth of sand. Then I put the area rugs back down. One morning I rolled up all the carpets and it looked like a new store.

                   We still have people coming in to use the big washers who haven’t been in for awhile and they stop just inside the door and say “Wow”.

Please Like our Facebook Page to keep up to date on our activities 

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The American Dream and The Guy With A Grinder

The American Dream and The Guy With  A Grinder

 It started out as a normal day and then I got a text message ” I was in your store and realized someone had ripped your changer apart”.

             The picture above is not something from Ghost Hunters or Ghost Adventures although I have some stories for them that might get on an episode. No this picture is a guy under a sheet using a grinder on the front of my change machine.

                    Instead of looking for a real job and putting his skills to work he has decided that is would be a better career choice to use this ability to steal from others.

As in most cases like this the damage that was done far outweighs the amount of money that was stolen. For a bit of cash he destryed a $1500 change machine.

              How ever you feel about big business, or any business we are all just trying to make a living, feed our families, provide jobs and at the end of the day have something to support our retirement. There is no company pension in a small business.

                    Due to insurance deductibles and impacts this cost will be straight from the business. Which means it gets passed on to the customers. Big or small business, that’s how it works.

                  A frustrating day at the laundry but we get the info to the police, update the facebook pages with pictures of the suspects (well I don’t consider them suspects) , order some parts and move on.

If you have any comments please post them below.


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How To Clean A Down Comforter

How To Clean A Down Comforter

         Have you ever thought about washing that down comforter that keeps you so warm? Your next question might be “Can I use my home washer? If I push it in my new front load washer it should fit. Don’t they get really small when they are wet?”

            Well the answer would be No, don’t try and use your home washer unless you are one of the few that has an industrial washer bolted to the basement floor. I have heard of this but that guy is in jail for fraud. But that’s another story.

                 Also known as a duvet they are made out of real feathers so they need to be treated differently than other items.

                 A duvet cover should always be used. These can normally be washed with other sheets during your normal cleaning cycle.

Here are the steps to follow and things to look out for.

        1-    Take it to a Laundromat. There you will find the big machines that are actually bolted to the floor. For a list of laundries in your area the Coin Laundry Association has a website

         Hint: Ask if they have a drop off service. You will probably spend less money and time paying them to do it. You can expect to pay $4-$6 to wash it yourself and $7-$20 to dry. Our current rates for a King size is $20. We only dry on Medium for about a half hour and then low and cool for 2 to 3 hours. This is what needs to happen to get it dry, big and fluffy.

              2-    Wash on a gentle cycle with a mild or natural detergent. When you load it into the washer start with one corner and feed it in. If you put it in folded it may not clean as well.

              3-    Most washers are programmed with one wash and two rinse cycles to clean the soap out.

             4-    Avoid using softener as it will cause the feathers to stick together and clump.

              5-    Use a dryer that will seem too big at the start. The duvet needs room to fluff and tumble to dry correctly.

Hint: Don’t forget the tennis balls. These are used to bump the feathers and help break up clumps.

               6-    After about 15 minutes check to make sure it hasn’t rolled into a sausage. If it has, stop the dryer and loosen it up.

              7-    Once it’s dry pull it out and hold it up to the light. You should see an even distribution of light. If you see any dark spots that is the feathers clumped up. Grab the clump on each side and gently pull them apart. After they are all apart another 15 minutes in the dryer on Low or Cool will finish the fluffing.

                Hint: After removing from the dryer, lay on a table and feel for any cool spots. This will indicate if more dry time is needed. Don’t skimp on the dry time or it will smell like a wet duck is laying beside you.

                 Take it home, put the cover back on and head to bed early.

( About now you are daydreaming about a warm bed on a cool rainy morning)

Good Night and Sleep Tight

If you have any comments please post them below.




The Solar Dehydrator

I’ve always been a little fascinated by the power of the sun for heating, power and drying. The front door on our house faces South. We have a full glass door in front of the main door. In the winter ( well as close to winter that Alabama gets) the door handle heats up so much I can barely grab it to open the door. I while back I read some posts about solar dehydrators and the ability to dry food and keep it for later use. I picked up a copy of The Solar Food Dryer by Eben Fodor. This book contained a bunch of information on different types and styles and some good, basic information. The book also explains step by step how to build a small solar dehydrator with a back up heater. Some basic woodworking skills and tools and a bit more time then I thought I put one together. One hint, the main piece is the glass and all the measurements are based around it. Instead of buying one built to the dimensions I picked up one that was close from a building supply store. A Habitat For Humanity Restore would be a great resource as well. The other hard to find piece is the metal heat absorber. After I built the main box I headed to a local steel roof supplier and bought flat piece of black roof metal. Once it was all assembled and ready to go I gave it a test run to heat out any possible fumes etc. When the sun hit the glass it was at 170F in minutes. This is why you should never leave your animals or kids in the car. The back up heater is actually two 200w light bulbs. Due to the few hours of decent sun we get in the winter I put a timer on the heater so it shuts off when the sun is on the glass. So far I am seeing times of about 24 hours to dry the two screens of items. I have dried tomatoes, apples, carrots, celery, peppers and some bananas. The kids are slowly coming around to the idea that’s its kinda cool and I’m not too weird.

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What is this all about.

I own a few small laundromats and do some real estate investing so you are probably wondering  Why is this guy writing a blog?

There are a few reasons. Online marketing is not the way of the future it’s the way of the present. Sure most of my business is brick and mortar and is based on people walking in. You can’t do your laundry online. But what if I could pass on some tips and tricks to getting stains out or why you should wash your comforters and bedding at our coin laundry. Hint: We have hotter water then you so we can kill those dust mites you’re trying to get rid of.

It also gives me an opportunity to pass on some stories and opinions about other things that interest me and possibly others. I hope I’m not alone with all my crazy ideas. Or I may find somebody who has that piece of information I need to make something work.

Using this platform also gives me the opportunity to make some extra income while I tell the stories.

 My background covers everything from maintenance, building houses, sheds, engines, energy audits of homes, laundry and some corporate stuff mixed in as well.

This is also a place when my friends and family can keep up on things and throw in some comments along the way.

If you have any comments please post them below.


Stay tuned and stay clean.