Author: Cowgirl Western Warehouse

If you mentioned pyramids, ancient temples and sacred ruins to anyone, they are likely to mention Egypt, Rome and South America as places to see. However you don’t need to join the crowds at Giza and dodge the pick pockets in the Forum or to see spectacular ancient ruins.

Mexico has a proud and ancient cultural history that has left its mark on the people and on the landscape. Mexico has been blessed with an abundance of temples and pyramids that have survived to the present day that rival anything in Europe.

Uxmal, Yucutan.

The Uxmal complex covers over 150 acres and was built during the late-Classical Mayan period. Built in a style known as Puuc architecture, Uxmal is considered one of the finest examples of this style know for its distinctive elaborate stoneworks.

The highlight of any visit to Uxmal is the fancifully named Pyramid of the Magician. This 35m high, smooth-sided pyramid was so-named due to the legend of a magical dwarf who hatched from an egg and built the structure in the same day. Be sure to also visit the Governor’s Palace, a three-story high 97m long façade of intricately carved mosaics including 103 stone masks of Chac, the Mayan rain god.

Mexico Ancient Treasures

Palenque, Chiapas

Set in the dense jungle, Paleque rivals Uxmal for the quality of the carvings, architecture and sculpture on display. Palenque thrived in the 7th century as an important religious and ceremonial centre. Despite serious damage done to the site when Spaniards rediscovered it in the 18th century in search of gold, the site is tremendously impressive, doubly so since its estimated two-thirds of it is still hidden by the jungle.

The tomb of King Pakal is located deep underneath the Temple of Inscriptions, believed to be the only temple built to be used as a tomb. Across the way is the surprisingly-oriental looking Palace itself with its four towers and many fine sculptures and bas-relief carvings. The equally impressive Temples of the Cross group of step-pyramids feature stunningly carved inner chambers.

Click here to get more information about Mexico Ancient Treasures.

Tips for tourists

While most of the sights described above as well regulated and maintained, you will be visiting some out of the way places. As such, be sure to carry any medication you might need in an emergency, wear sturdy walking shoes and a hat, take plenty of fluids and be aware of any loose or unstable rocks. Archaeological sites in South America are not as visitor-friendly as they are in Europe and elsewhere so a little extra caution is advisable. Generally speaking, make sure your travel insuranceis up to date and keep your wits about you and you should be fine.

Palenque and Uxmal are only two of the dozen or so ancient Mayan ruins that Mexico is rightly proud of. The Yucantan peninsula has several other sites, Chichen Itza, Coba and Tulum not too mention Tikal and Copan in other parts of the country. Mexico is truly an oft-overlooked gem for those interested in the ancient world. So grab your boots, book your flights and insurance policy and hit the road!

Winter brings an uptick in the number of structural fires reported to the U.S. Fire Administration. It’s no surprise that a season that inspires people to crank up their heaters and fireplaces will lead to more fires, but there are also less obvious causes for these blazes. To avoid a tragedy before it occurs, homeowners should regularly check their homes for fire risks and eliminate potential issues. Here are some specific elements you should be sure to look at:

Electrical systems

While summer usually prompts a rise in electrical usage as people crank up air conditioners and fans to stay cool, winter puts its own pressure on a home’s electrical wiring. Holiday decorations and space heaters can tax aging wiring and lead to dangerous fires. You should have a home inspection to check your house’s wiring about every 10 years and take care when plugging in temporary appliances or decorations.

Many fires begin when people chain together extension cords as a permanent solution to wiring issues, so take care when running cords around your home to power holiday lights or other items. Never leave items on top of extension cords and check connection points frequently to make sure plugs are still firmly connected. Get more details about home fire on www.ready.gov/home-fires

Common home fire hazards to avoid

Kitchen dangers

The majority of home fires in the U.S. are caused by cooking accidents, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. Given how much food is prepared during the holidays, it’s crucial for homeowners to properly prepare their kitchens and evaluate any potential risks. 

Clutter poses one of the biggest dangers for chefs, and it’s easy to let flammable items like towels and cookbooks pile up near hot areas. While it might be convenient to keep some items close at hand, maintaining a 3-foot space around the stove or oven is a prudent way to keep your possessions from getting scorched. 

In many cases, a kitchen fire quickly grows out of hand because people deal with it improperly. Grease fires are a particular danger because they spread when in contact with water. A fire extinguisher is the best way to combat grease flames, so make sure your home’s extinguisher is up to date before you start cooking this holiday.

Heating systems

Your home’s central heating system can pose a serious fire threat if it’s not properly cleaned and maintained. Optimally, have a professional inspect your heating system annually. Fires are likely to occur when vents are clogged and dust or other debris inside the ducts becomes too hot. Heating system fires can spread fast because they can move the vents of your home, so make sure that the ducts and filter are clean before you flip the system on for the first time each winter. 

Space heaters are far more dangerous than central heaters and must be treated with respect if you are to avoid dangerous situations. Never leave a space heater unattended and keep it places where it will always remain upright. If possible, put the space heater on a hard floor instead of carpet or a rug and never place it close to drapes or other hanging fabric. When you go to sleep, grab another blanket instead of leaving a space heater running. 

Alarms and plans

While you’re thinking about fire safety, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors and make sure that they’re functional. You should also ensure that you have enough fire detectors for the size of your home. As you check the alarm system, create a plan with family members for escape routes if a fire does occur. While the above tips should limit your risk of a blaze, it never hurts to be prepared.

March is often looked at as the month where many parts of the country finally begin  the transition into spring. Some will experience nicer weather sooner than others, but by the end of the month, temperatures will be bearable and rain plentiful.

Homes in the Midwest might beg to differ, as March is notorious for having nice weather one day, but then dumping one foot of snow a few days later. Even so, if you’re a homeowner, you can use March as the perfect opportunity to liven up your home for the spring.

The bitter cold and long nights of winter can take a toll on individuals. And depending on your location, spring maintenance could be a necessity if parts of your home were constantly buried under snow.

As soon as the weather allows for it, take a walk around the outside of your house and inspect certain areas for damage. Do the same on the inside and once you’ve assessed what needs to refreshed, it’s time to get to work.

A few areas in particular are worthy of close inspection.

Have an inspector come out

If you plan to use the spring season as a time to sell your home, you’re not alone. But this also means you have to ensure your property is in top shape, especially if you want to get close to your original asking price.

PREPARE YOUR HOME FOR SPRING

Before you put your house on the market, have a certified home inspection service come out examine the property. If the report turns up that isn’t right and needs to be addressed, it’s in your best interest to take that advice.

While you may have to spend money, the sales process will go by much more smoothly, particularly if and when an interested buyer asks to see inspection paperwork. If you don’t have internal issues sorted out before a sale, Zillow stated you may be on the hook for fixing the issues, which can potentially be more expensive than if you had acted earlier.

What to look for outside

After a long winter, your backyard and front yard is likely not the most pleasant to look at. But if this isn’t your first winter, you know the drill and what it takes to get your lawn looking green in no time.

However, you can’t ignore other areas outside. Leaky gutters are an issue that can cause thousands of dollars in damage if left unnoticed, HGTV stated. The runoff can potentially find its way into a basement or crawl space and if you don’t know about it, mold can start to form.

Next up is the roof. You don’t have to grab the tallest ladder to inspect the top of your home. Instead, glance up and see if any roof shingles are missing or badly damaged as a result of the winter. You’ll have an easier time spotting damage if the sun is shining. Margate Roofing Company can help you in spotting roof damage if you do not have a time yourself.

If you do discover missing shingles, it’s best to set aside an appropriate budget for a replacement. The money for a project will be easier to come by if you have an emergency savings account dedicated to similar matters.

Now it’s time to move to the chimney. A thorough chimney sweep will reveal any damage that may call for your attention, and don’t forget about cleaning the flue.

Take a walk around the yard and see if you notice any unusual dips in the lawn. These low areas should be taken care of immediately because if they linger around, you’ll have some nasty side effects. As everyone knows all too well, spring rains can cause serious water problems, and those low areas in the lawn can cause yard flooding, which may then lead to foundation damage. And if these low areas are still around come summertime, water pools will become a breeding ground for insects.

Inspect the AC and heating systems

Before the weather gets too hot, have a home inspection service come out to inspect the air conditioning unit. You don’t want to risk having the unit not work just before the weather seriously starts to heat up.

With spring quickly approaching, be ready to prepare your home for the weather and future buyers

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Common home fire hazards to avoid

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Winter brings an uptick in the number of structural fires reported to the U.S. Fire Administration. It’s no surprise that a season that inspires people to crank up their heaters... Read more →

Mexico Ancient Treasures

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If you mentioned pyramids, ancient temples and sacred ruins to anyone, they are likely to mention Egypt, Rome and South America as places to see. However you don’t need to... Read more →