Posts Tagged ‘acreages’

Garbage Disposal in Parkland County

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Garbage Disposal in Parkland County | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamWhether you call it waste management or taking out the trash, disposing of your garbage when you live on an acreage in Parkland County or elsewhere is not usually as simple as leaving it at the curb as you would in Spruce Grove or Stony Plain or Parkland County’s hamlet of Entwhistle.

Luckily, country residents are not left entirely to their own devices. The days of burying or burning your garbage are, thankfully, long over. Parkland County has systems in place along with strict guidelines as to what you may or may not do, and how and where unwanted items are to be disposed of.

Parkland County residents are provided with a Solid Waste Disposal Access card  that allows them to drop off their regular household waste and recyclables at no charge at any of the County’s transfer stations. Charges apply for items not considered regular household waste (such as demolition or construction materials, commercial waste, large appliances and the like). Parkland County no longer maintains landfill sites or dumps. Instead, in 2008, these sites were converted to transfer stations which provide a wide range of waste disposal services. For a full list of the County’s transfer stations, their locations and hours of operation, what they’ll accept, charges, and the like, visit the webpage Transfer Station Locations & Information.

For people who don’t have the time or ability to take their waste and recyclable items to a facility, curbside pickup is available for a price through private contractors in some areas of Parkland County. Contact Public Works at 780-968-8448 for more information.

The County also maintains a Take It Or Leave It facility at the Parkland County Transfer Station and Recycle Centre (located at 52514 Range Road 11, South of Hwy 16A on Range Road 11). Residents of Parkland County can bring items that they believe other people might have a use for, or take possession of items other residents have donated. Read about this unique service, and what items are acceptable, on the webpage Take It Or Leave It.

To learn about all aspects of living in Parkland County, browse through their website.

I’m always happy to help you with questions related to acreage living. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Well Water Testing in Alberta: Why, Where and How | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamTesting Well Water Before Buying an Acreage

If you are thinking of buying an acreage in Parkland County near Spruce Grove, Stony Plain or Edmonton, or elsewhere in Alberta, you probably know that you’ll be responsible for your own water supply and sewage system. When you write an offer to purchase an acreage home, one of your Buyer’s Conditions will likely be a Water Condition, which will require the seller to prove that the acreage’s water is potable and free of bacteria. Your mortgage lender will also want to see this proof. How does the seller in the deal go about meeting this condition?

Luckily, for people in our area, DynaLifeDX (the medical lab located in the Queen St. Centre in Spruce Grove), will test the water for real estate purposes, and your REALTOR® can arrange for the testing. DynaLife supplies the container in which the specimen is collected, and processes it for a fee of $60. Please visit DynaLife’s Well Water Testing webpage for the details.

Living on an Acreage with a Well

If you are new to acreage living in our area, take a look at the Parkland County webpage on Water Systems to learn about how water can be accessed by acreage owners.  As you’ll see, a well on your property is just one possibility.

My blog article of April 2011 entitled “Well Water Testing” notes how critical it is to maintain the health of the well on your acreage property. Today’s article updates and expands the information in that article.

The Provincial Government’s Role: Getting well water tested for real estate and mortgage purposes comes at a cost, is limited in scope and must be done by a private agency, as noted above, but testing of water for human consumption once you live on the property can be done for free by the provincial government and includes more in-depth analyses. It is currently recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis every 2 to 5 years. For more details about this, please read Alberta Health Services helpful pamphlet “Frequently Asked Questions About Well Water Testing”.  This pamphlet also lists the circumstances when testing will not be done by the province.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton (Walter Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre, 8440-112 St, Edmonton AB T6G 2J2 – water testing done in the Environmental Microbiology Laboratory), and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary (3030 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary AB T2N 4W4 – water testing done in the Environmental Waters Laboratory). ProvLab’s Guide to Services is a large publication detailing the many public health services they offer, with water sampling being one of them.

You don’t have to travel to either of ProvLab’s locations for this service. Spruce Grove’s Environmental Public Health Office is located in the Stan Woloshyn Building at 205 Diamond Avenue. Here, you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and drop them off. Hours of operation are weekdays 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM. BUT, note that drop-in service is not available so be sure to call them first at 780-342-1380.

Other information about water quality

Health Canada: What’s in Your Well? A Guide to Well Water Treatment and Maintenance  (an excellent and concise article about well health)

Western Direct Insurance: Check Your Water Quality

Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development: New online tool for water well owners

Environmental Public Health Field Manual for Private, Public and Communal Drinking Water Systems in Alberta (how to sample, how to interpret the results, how to design, construct, manage and maintain wells, dugouts and cisterns, water treatment, etc.)

Health Canada:  Guidelines for Canadian Drinking Water Quality

Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development: Water Quality Testing

Looking to buy an acreage? Let me help! Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Plan Ahead for Spring With the Lazy Person’s Guide to Building Your Own Deck

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Plan Ahead for Spring With the Lazy Person's Guide to Building Your Own Deck | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSo, you’ve just moved into your new home in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or the Edmonton region and you’ve decided the best way to enjoy all of that lush scenery is to build a new deck. In fact, you’ve decided to build the deck yourself. This might seem like a lot of hard work at first, but building your own deck can be a pretty simple job with the right plan of action.

Pick a Design

The amount of work you’ll need to do all depends on the style of deck you want. If you’re strapped for ideas or you’re having trouble trying to visualize your dream deck, try using the deck plans simulator at Once you’ve settled on a design, you’ll need to figure out what size the deck will be. If your deck is free standing, you’ll have complete flexibility when it comes to the shape and size. If you plan on building a deck that sits against your house, you’ll have to be aware of wall lengths, shrubbery, and other obstacles the might limit the space available for the deck.

Order Your Materials

The best part about using a deck plans simulator is that most will assemble a materials list for you, but be sure to order extra parts just in case. Here’s a brief overview of those materials:

– 2×6 planks treated lumber

– 4×4 or 4×6 treated lumber

– deck screws

– joist hangers

– block piers or concrete and pier tubes

– J bolts or anchor bolts

– mason’s string

– carriage bolts

You’ll also need to pick up a few tools:

– water level

– measuring tape

– circular saw

– sand paper

– hammer

– shovel

– safety clothing (goggles, gloves, etc.)

– hammer drill (you might not need this depending on what bolt system you use for the posts)

Building a Deck: The Basics

Step 1: Lay out the frame for the deck with string and put down markers for where the support posts will go.

Step 2: Dig holes for the concrete piers. Keep in mind the desired height of your deck.

Step 3: Pour your concrete for the piers if you’re making your own, and place the J-bolts in the centre of each. Leave them to dry. If you’re using block piers, place the blocks and prep each for an anchor bolt with the hammer drill.

Step 4: Place the piers. Use a level throughout the process to make you don’t end up with a wonky deck.  Secure your posts to the piers and make sure they sit at the right height.

Step 5: Use carriage bolts and lumber to build the border. Place joists along the flat side of the lumber to secure the support planks that run underneath the floor planks.

Step 6: Lay down the floorboards by hammering them into the support planks.

Step 7: Use sand paper to smooth down any chips or split wood. You’ll also need to go over any areas you sand down with a deck sealant for waterproofing.

Building your own deck doesn’t have to be hard. A basic deck can be built in as little time as a few afternoons. A deck can be a beautiful addition that raises the value of Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, or Edmonton real estate. Homes in Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages offer a spectacular view, so why not enjoy it on your very own deck?

P.S.  Before you do any of the above, check with the local municipality about whether you’ll need a building permit for your deck!

Have questions about owning a home in these areas? Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

This is the Dream Home You’ve Been Looking For

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Every once in a while, a home comes on the market that is so outstanding, it deserves to be highlighted in a special way.  If you are in the market for an acreage home in the Spruce Grove-Stony Plain-Edmonton region, this incredible property needs to be seen to be appreciated.This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam44, 53305 Range Road 273, Parkland County is a 4-bedroom (2 up, 2 down), 1,991 sq ft custom-designed bungalow (built in 2006) situated on a 1.14 acre lot in the prestigious subdivision of Atim Creek Springs 12 minutes west of Edmonton.  Adjectives like stunning, gorgeous, breathtaking, incredible sound like clichés but in this case every one of them fits!  There is nothing lacking in either the superb finishing of the home or the spectacular landscaping of the park-like lot. 

Here are just a few of the features of this home that make it extraordinary:

Kitchen and Dining Areas:

Beautiful kitchen with tons of space, pot drawers, pecan-colored cabinets, glass-doored pantry, granite counter tops, breakfast bar

Stainless steel appliances

Dual-fuel stove, gas cooktop, gas convection oven

Beautiful backsplash, under-cabinet lighting, subtle above-cabinet lighting

Garden door to deck from dinette; 3-zone audio system in kitchen, basement and deck

3-sided gas fireplace separates dinette from living room

Intimate alcove formal dining room can seat 12-14 people; hardwood floor

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamMaster Suite:

Huge main floor master bedroom (more than 18’x13’)

Large walk-in closet

Luxurious master bath has 2-sided gas fireplace, Bain Ultra Air Deep 2-person bathtub, rain shower, 4-piece body spray and hand wand in shower, his/hers sinks

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam 

Flooring, Finishing, Comfort Features

Extensive use of ceramic tile, hardwood

Beautiful earth-tone colors throughout

11’ ceilings in entryway and living room, 9’ everywhere else including basement

In-floor heating in main floor ceramic tiles and throughout basement

Air conditioning

Security system

Low E windows and screens

Low-flow dual flush toilets in all 3 bathrooms

Main floor laundry room with upper cabinets, full-size sink with spray

Bench and large coat closet in mudroom access off garage

3700 gallon cistern; septic system to code

Easy Living Features in Basement:

Entertainment/media room (18’x30’) with grand entertainment unit and surround sound, plus games room or exercise room

Large wet bar with full-size fridge and sink, under-counter lighting

Basement bath has private shower with rain shower and hand wand, 2 sinks, ample storage in 2 banks of drawers and 2 very large upper mirrored cabinets

2 large bedrooms

Huge utility room with craft table and storage

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam Yard, Lot, Exterior Amenities:

Very private, beautifully landscaped natural treed lot with native and planted evergreen and seedlings

Loaded with trees, shrubs, perennials

Lovely greenhouse, raised herb garden

Stone walkways, fire pit, large stone patio, wood deck with maintenance-free decking

6-person hot tub and pergola

Huge shed and ½ shed for storage

Exposed aggregate walkway to front entry and stairs

4000 sq ft asphalt driveway and extra long RV parking

Fully fenced chain link with double gate for vehicle access to back yard

Cedar and lattice fence on neighbor side

This is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamThis is the Dream Home You've Been Looking For | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamGarage:

1200 sq ft insulated triple attached garage with 2 large windows for lots of light

Natural gas to garage; hot and cold water taps and floor drain

You’ll have difficult decisions to make about where to spend your time.  Do you whip up stellar meals in the gourmet’s delight kitchen?  Host elegant dinner parties in the formal dining room?  Have your friends over to watch sporting events and enjoy the hospitality of the wet bar in the magnificent downstairs entertainment room?  Soak up the beauty and serenity of the glorious backyard from the deck or patio, or in the hot tub under the pergola?  This home truly has everything you could ask for – the perfect place for family living and entertaining.

I would love to show you this wonderful home, or any other property in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or Edmonton region.  Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.



Seller’s Moving Out Checklist

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Seller's Moving Out Checklist | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam


You’ve sold your house or acreage in Parkland County, Stony Plain, Spruce Grove or the Edmonton area, and you’re moving out.  What should you do for your home’s new owners?


  •   “Unattached goods” or chattels:  Your purchase contract may specify some of the things that you are leaving behind such as kitchen and laundry appliances, window coverings and the like.  As a bare minimum, make sure that these items are in place, clean, and in good working order.
  • Cleaning:  Your home should look much the same as it did during showings.  While you are under no legal obligation to leave your home spotless, it’s just a nice thing to do, if you can.  A good rule of thumb is to leave your home as clean as you’d like to find it!  If it’s not possible to give it the “mother-in-law white glove” test by washing windows, walls and light fixtures, steam-cleaning carpets and the like, at the very least do the following:
    • Thoroughly clean kitchen, bathrooms and laundry room (all fixtures, appliances, etc.)
    • Vacuum all carpets
    • Wash bare floors
    • Wipe out all cupboards
    • Tidy the yard, garage and shed
    • Get rid of all garbage
  • Keys:  Collect and label all keys – extra house keys, garage, shed, mailbox (leave info about mailbox number), etc.  Keys should be left in a conspicuous location but not one that is visible by someone looking through a window from the outside.
  • Garage door openers + codes
  • Security system info + codes
  • Instruction books, warranties, repair records for things like appliances, furnace, water heater, etc.
  • Info about upgrades:  For example, if you installed a new roof, leave a note about when, what materials were used, who installed it, the cost, etc.
  • Re-painting:  If any recent re-painting was done, leave leftover paint with info about brand, color name, etc.
  • Utility info Leave information about providers (water, power, gas, internet, etc. with contact info), approximate monthly costs (copies of bills would be great), garbage pickup (what days, where, any special instructions, etc.)
  • Utilities disconnect or transfer:  Have meters read.  Depending on the arrangement with the new owners, water and power may be turned off, furnace and hot water heater turned down, etc.  Your REALTOR® can help!
  • “Welcome to your new home”:  It’s a nice touch, if you are so inclined, to leave a card or personal note for the new owners.   A recent copy of the local newspaper might  also be appreciated.
  • Acreage owners:  Leave behind results of latest well water tests, well drillers’ report, upgrades to well and septic pump/system and the like
  • Make sure all windows and doors are locked before you leave.

I am always willing to answer any home-related questions you might have!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.

Who’s Who in a Real Estate Transaction

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011

Who's Who in a Real Estate Transaction | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamBuying or selling your Parkland County acreage or your Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, or Edmonton area home is likely to be the biggest financial transaction of your life.  Many different professionals may be involved, and it can be confusing to you, the client, as to what the roles of all these people are and how they can be helpful to you.

A short but very useful and informative video on YouTube entitled “The People to Know in a Real Estate Transaction” explains such things as:

  • the difference between a listing agent and a selling agent (and to whom they owe loyalty);
  • the difference between a mortgage broker and a mortgage banker;
  • what things a home inspector looks for, and how the role of a home inspector differs from that of a home appraiser;
  • why it pays to use a real estate attorney to complete your sale (required in Alberta when REALTORS® are involved).

Although the video is aimed at an American audience, the information is still mostly applicable to our situation in Alberta.

Need more information?  I’ll do what I can to find the answers to any of your questions.  Call me at 780-910-9669, email me, or contact me here.


Well Water Testing

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Well Water Testing |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIf you live on an acreage in Parkland County near Stony Plain or Spruce Grove, you may get your drinking water from a well on your property, and you know how critical maintaining the health of that well can be.  But did you know that you can (and should) get your well water tested regularly for free by the provincial government through Alberta Health Services?  It is recommended that bacteriological analyses be performed up to 4 times per year, and a chemical analysis once per year.

Testing for bacteria is done at the Provincial Laboratory of Public Health at the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, and chemical analyses are done at the Centre for Toxicology at the University of Calgary.  But you don’t have to travel to either of those locations for this service.  Spruce Grove is home to an Environmental Public Health Office located at 205 Diamond Avenue where you can pick up special containers in which to collect your samples and to drop them off.  Hours of operation are Monday to Thursday mornings.  Call them at 780-342-1380.

The following is an excerpt from the brochure published by Alberta Health Services (no longer available online) entitled “Evaluating Private Drinking Water Supplies and Sampling Instructions”.

A full evaluation of a private water supply involves sampling for both bacteriological and chemical analysis.

Bacteriological and chemical analysis and the evaluation of results against established standards are essential for determining the initial and ongoing safety of drinking water.  Other factors such as appearance, odor and field knowledge also assist in determining the presence of potential contamination or existing pollution.

A bacteriological analysis should be performed quarterly, or when contamination of the water supply is suspected.   Bacteriological analysis includes the presence of total coliforms and E. coli.

A chemical analysis should be performed on all new, redeveloped or unregistered wells and re-sampled annually.  Chemical analysis includes seventeen parameters as outlined in the Canadian Drinking Water Guidelines.  It is recommended that parents with newborn babies or young children submit drinking water samples for both analyses.

Note that this free service is available only for drinking water for human consumption from a raw water supply.   Alberta Health Services includes the following cautions in their brochure:

“Well water samples are NOT accepted for mortgage purposes, livestock consumption, Giardia analysis, fish disease or algae analysis, or to check the effectiveness of water treatment equipment.”

“Chemical analysis WILL NOT be performed on the following sources:

  • Municipal (licensed) water supplies
  • Water for mortgage approval
  • Bottled water
  • Water from private contractors (including water well drillers)
  • Water collected outside of the Province of Alberta
  • Water from other Government agencies”

You can, of course, hire private companies to test your water for the purposes which Alberta Health Services exclude from their free testing service.  DynaLifeDX Diagnostic Lab Services is one such company performing bacteriological analyses.

In addition to the above information about well water testing, it should be noted that:

  • If you have a shallow well that is close to a surface water body, such as a dugout, river, etc., it may require treatment to ensure its safety.
  • If you store water in a cistern, it should be pumped clean and disinfected with a bleach solution at least once a year to control bacteria and algae.  If a water hauler is used to fill the cistern, ensure the hauler is approved by Alberta Health Services.  Water should be tested for bacteriological quality twice per year.
  • Water from a dugout should not be used for drinking unless filtered and disinfected.  Treated water should be tested for bacteriological quality every three months, and for chemical quality once per year.

I always welcome your comments or questions!  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


Spring Cleaning the Natural Way

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Spring Cleaning the Natural Way |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamAfter the long hard winter we’ve had, most of us can’t wait to open all the windows in our Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton area homes and acreages to let in that great spring air and clean out the mustiness of winter.  But before you rush off to the store to stock up on the latest expensive chemical cleaners that promise to make your home cleaner and fresher than last year’s products, consider going green this spring, just in time for Earth Day on April 22.

Long before commercial cleaning products were available, people cleaned their homes with a few simple but effective ingredients.  These products are readily available, much less toxic to people and the environment, and easy on the wallet too!  A little caution though:  These products may be (mostly) “natural” but that doesn’t mean you can go nuts with them!  Vinegar and lemon juice, for example, being acidic, will not be kind to marble; use plain water instead.

A couple of dirty little secrets about cleaning that the makers of chemical cleaning products don’t want you to know:

  1. There is no magic formula or product that will make things clean.  Most cleaning comes from friction; that is, the application of good old elbow grease.
  2. If you clean as you go, wiping up spills as they occur, washing off grime before it has a chance to build up, you can leave those expensive and toxic chemical cleaners on the store shelves.

Here is what you’ll need to clean green:

Baking Soda

White Vinegar



Lemon Juice

Club soda

Olive oil


Rubbing (isopropyl) alcohol

Castile Soap [a plant-based soap, containing olive, palm and/or coconut oils; available from natural foods stores.  Look for Dr. Bronner’s brand.]

Microfiber cleaning cloths, sponges, lint-free rags

Glass and mirrors:

  • Slightly dampened microfiber cloths work better than the blue stuff!
  • Or, mix equal parts water and vinegar in a spray bottle.  Wipe with clean, lint-free rag.  (Some eco-cleaners suggest using newspaper for wiping but our experience says this just makes a mess!)
  • Or, spray windows with club soda; wipe with clean, lint-free rag.

All-purpose cleaning:

  • Mix vinegar with salt; scrub with sponge
  • Or, pour some baking soda and vinegar on a damp sponge to clean and deodorize kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
  • Plain full-strength vinegar is a great defense against mildew and its odors.  Works well on grease too.
  • Another recipe:  Combine ½ cup of pure soap, such as Castile, with one gallon of hot water and ¼  cup of lemon juice
  • Or try this:  Combine 1 tbsp Borax, 2 tbsp lemon juice and 1 cup hot water in a spray bottle to clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces.

Furniture polish:

Combine ½ cup olive oil, ¼ cup vinegar and 2 tsp lemon juice in a spray bottle.  Spray liberally on wood surfaces and wipe dry with a soft cloth.

Sinks and bathtubs, including tile:

  • Combine equal amounts of salt and baking soda; scrub with sponge.
  • Rust and other stains on porcelain can be handled by rubbing with a mixture of lemon juice and salt.
  • Spray vinegar full strength on soap scum and crusted scale from hard water.  Let soak and scrub off.


  • Clean with toothpaste and an old toothbrush.  Rinse and wipe dry.
  • Or, spray with full-strength vinegar to remove soap scum and hard water stains.

Drain cleaning:

Pour ¼ cup baking soda down the drain, followed by ½ cup vinegar.  Cover immediately, or close drain, and let sit 15 minutes.  Flush with hot water.

Toilet bowl cleaner:

  • Pour 1 cup vinegar into the toilet bowl; let stand for 30 minutes.  Sprinkle baking soda onto toilet brush and scour.  Flush.
  • To keep the bowl fresh, pour 1 cup of vinegar (or 1 cup of Borax) into the toilet bowl once or twice a month and let stand overnight.

Floors of all types:

Add ½ cup vinegar to a gallon of hot water.  Dirty floors may need to be scrubbed with a brush; most will only need to be mopped or wiped with a rag dampened in the mixture.  If cleaning hardwood or laminate floors, make sure your mop or rag is only slightly damp, as these types of floors don’t love excess moisture.

Hardwood floor cleaner:

Mix ½ cup lemon juice, ½ cup rubbing alcohol and ½ cup olive oil into a gallon of warm water; wipe with slightly dampened mop or rag.  This mixture also works great on wood furniture and kitchen cabinets.

Laminate floor cleaner:

Combine 1 cup vinegar, ½ cup lemon juice, 1 tbsp. mild dishwashing liquid and 1 gallon hot water; wipe with slightly dampened mop or rag.

Tips for appliances:

  • Run an empty dishwasher with a cup of white vinegar to remove food residue, limescale, built up detergent and grease.
  • Equal parts water and white vinegar boiled in a kettle or run through a coffee maker will remove limescale build-up.  Run another cycle using plain water to remove any trace of the vinegar.
  • Burned on food, whether on pots and pans or on the floor of an oven, can be removed with baking soda.  Make a paste of baking soda and water, spread it liberally over the area to be cleaned, let sit for at least 30 minutes.  Scour and rinse.  Or, try mixing 1 part cinnamon with 6 parts salt; pour on oven spill as soon as it occurs.  Wipe clean when oven is cool.
  • Oven cleaningMix together 2 tsp. Borax, 4 tbsp. white vinegar, 2 cups water and 2 tbsp. castile soap in a spray bottle.  Spray all over the oven walls and floor.  Cover the wet surface with baking soda.  Follow with a second layer of your homemade cleaner.  Let sit overnight and wipe clean in the morning.
  • Spills on glass stove-tops can be scoured off using baking soda and a slightly dampened sponge or non-scratching plastic scouring pad.
  • Clean your microwave by combining 2 tbsp baking soda or lemon juice or vinegar with a cup of water in a bowl.  Microwave for 5 minutes or until mixture boils and condensation builds up onside the microwave.  Wipe down.
  • Freshen the inside of your refrigerator by wiping it down with a mixture of equal parts vinegar and warm water.

Comments or questions about this article?  Please phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at or contact me here.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers

Thursday, February 17th, 2011

When it’s time to buy a house or acreage in Alberta, whether in Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County or elsewhere, do you choose a pre-owned home, or do you work with a builder to create a brand new model, modified to your custom specifications?  Whichever way you go, a great resource for all buyers, not just those thinking about building a home, is the Alberta New Home Warranty Program .

If you are looking to build a new home, this website can guide you through the entire process.   Click on sections entitled:

  • Choose the Right Builder
  • Understanding the Building Process (with emphasis on the building inspection)
  • Your Warranty Coverage (explains the various consumer protections for new home buyers) and
  • Finding Solutions & Settling Issues.

A Useful Website for Home Buyers |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry Twynam


While the primary focus of this website is on brand new homes, all buyers can benefit from several of the publications:

  • Clicking on Single Family Guidebook takes you to a publication entitled Your Purchase to Possession Guidebook.   This guidebook is loaded with details and answers every question a new home purchaser might have.
  •  If your new home is a condo, click on The Way Home Condominium Guide for a road map to the purchase process from first notion, through construction, possession, and after you move in.
  • The Care and Maintenance Guidebook provides a very comprehensive tour of the physical structure of a residence and what you can do to keep your home looking like new.
  • For information on every aspect of the acceptable standards for “bricks and mortar” of home construction, click on the Workmanship & Material Reference Guide – great for new home buyers, but also an excellent resource for home renovators.

Questions or comments about this article, or about any aspect of purchasing a home?  I’d be happy to help.  Contact me here, phone me at 780-910-9669, or email me at

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy!

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

It’s no secret that the Edmonton area has world-class shopping, but some of the best items for sale are not found in any mall.

If, like me, you’re a big fan of fresh, locally grown produce and home-made goodies, you’ll be happy to learn about the Farmers’ Markets, U-Pick farming operations and market gardens found in the Tri-Municipal area of Spruce Grove, Stony Plain and Parkland County.  At all of these venues, consumers have the opportunity to make personal contact with the people who actually produce the goods.

(Google Maps feature is available for some addresses below:  Click on the addresses for a map of the location of the facility.) 

Local Farmers’ Markets

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamFarmers’ Markets are not just a great place to get some of the best and freshest fruits and vegetables; they are also the spot to find home baking and wonderful fruity jams and other preserves (organic, no chemicals, no preservatives), along with special hand-crafted gift items.  A little tip about Farmers’ Markets:  For the best selection, it is always a good idea to get there early!  The “regulars” know which vendors sell the best in each category, and those vendors are usually among the first to sell out.

Spruce Grove Farmers’ MarketLocated at the Grain Elevator on the south side of Highway 16A :  120 Railway Avenue, Spruce Grove.  Saturdays, 9:30 AM to 2:30 PM.  In 2010, operates indoors from April 17 to December 18.  For more information contact:  Lisa Lohr,  Phone 780-960-9380.

Heritage Farmers’ MarketToby Kazeil Pavilion, 4202 – 50 Street, Stony Plain (Stony Plain Exhibition Grounds).    Saturdays, 9 AM to 1 PM.  In 2010, operates indoors from March 20 to October 9.  For more information contact:  Lisa Wood,  Phone 780-963-2777.

Stony Plain Farmers’ MarketLocated in the Stony Plain Community Centre, 5008 – 51 Avenue, Stony Plain.  Saturdays, 9 AM to 1 PM.  In 2010, operates April 10 to December 18.  For more information contact Joanne Blicq,  Phone 780-963-3028.


Tips from U-Pick veterans:

  • For berries, bring your own plastic 4-litre ice cream pails with handles and lids (light, easy to carry, handle can loop over a wrist or be tied onto a belt to leave hands free for picking).
  • Always phone ahead to make sure field conditions are right for picking.
  • Wear a hat and proper footwear, and remember your bottled water, sunscreen, bug repellent and cash (many U-Pick operations are not set up for debit/credit cards). You may wish to bring gardening gloves and wear long sleeves to protect against scratches from prickly bushes.
  • Bring a cooler with ice packs for transporting your freshly picked produce.
  • Many U-Pick farms can accommodate large groups and often have picnic and barbecue facilities; phone and ask.
  • A website with more useful tips:

Grove Berry Patch:   52430 Range Road 265, Spruce Grove (1.5 km south off Highway 16A on Spruce Valley Road aka Range Road 265).    Kameron and Carol Jones welcome you to their 20 acres of saskatoon bushes and 1 acre of raspberries, chokecherries, black currants, high bush cranberries and vegetables.  Open daily 9 AM to 6 PM and evenings by appointment.  Open 9 AM till dusk during saskatoon season (July and August).  Wheelchair accessible.  Phone ahead to check on conditions and availability:  780-962-5824.

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamRoy‘s Raspberries26421 Hwy 16A, Acheson:   located just east of Spruce Grove, south of Hwy 16A on Range Road 265.   20 acres of raspberry bushes, 10 varieties of red raspberries, 2 varieties of golden.  Open daily 8 AM to 8 PM until Labour Day; after Labour Day, open reduced hours until severe frost.  For more information contact manager Harvey Boyko at 780-962-3959 or email

Dunvegan Gardens:  Located at 215 St (aka Winterburn Road) and 23 Ave, Edmonton.  Raspberries, saskatoons, black currants.  No pesticides used.  Open May to August Monday to Friday 9 AM to 8 PM, Saturdays 9 AM to 6 PM, Sundays noon to 5 PM; September to April Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM.  Also operates a greenhouse and garden centre.  For more information phone 780-470-0565 or email

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamSaskatoon Valley OrchardsBox 19, Site 502, RR 5, Stony Plain:  6 km south of Stony Plain to Secondary Hwy 627; 13 km west on 627 to RR 22; 1 km south.  11,000 saskatoon bushes:  Smoky, Northline, Thiesson, Honeywood varities.  Open July and August, 8 AM to 9 PM.  For more information phone 780-963-8311 or email

Happy Acres U-Pick:  1 52225 Range Road 273, Spruce Grove:  5 km south of Spruce Grove on Golden Spike Road.  Chemical-free strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, rhubarb, apples, currants, Nanking cherries + wide variety of vegetables.  Also offer farm eggs and honey.  Open Wednesday to Sunday 10AM to 9 PM.  Phone 780-968-0099, or email

Market Gardens

Fresh, Wholesome and Yummy! |Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamInspired Market Gardens:  Located at 52207 Range Road 25 near Carvel (35 minutes west of Edmonton).  Specializing in culinary herbs, edible flowers, and salad greens raised using all-natural growing conditions and sustainable agriculture methods, and naturally organic pastured poultry.  Hours for 2010:  May 1 to June 27, Wednesday to Saturday 10 AM to 5:30 PM, Sunday noon to 5 PM.  July to September, Saturdays noon to 5 PM.  Home of the World Bassett Hound Races!  For more information phone 780-968-4648 or 1-877-874-4455, or email

B.A.’s Market Garden:  Box 31, Site 460, RR 4, Stony Plain:  ½  mile south of Stony Plain, west on 524, follow to the end. At the entrance to Hasse Lake Park.  Barry Altheim markets fresh vegetables all year round.  Phone 780-963-0574.

Garden Valley Organic Orchards:  27212 SH 627, Spruce Grove:  3 km west of Edmonton on Hwy 16A; 10 km south on Hwy 60; 9 km west on secondary hwy 627 (Garden Valley Road), or 10 km south of Spruce Grove on Golden Spike Road aka secondary hwy 788 to secondary hwy 627; 1 km east.  Available for u-pick:  strawberries, raspberries, saskatoons, apples, chokecherries, black currants, rhubarb + wide variety of fresh vegetables.  Spring/summer Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 8 PM, Sunday 9 AM to 3 PM.  Phone 780-963-9370.

Home Grown Food & AgriProducts10 – 19 Granite Drive, Stony Plain.   Phone 780-963-5305.  Open Monday to Saturday, 10 AM to 6 PM.  While technically not a “market garden”, this health food store is included in this list because of its commitment to fresh, locally grown, organic products.  From their website:  Homegrown Foods is here to provide you with the finest quality fresh, natural, organic, whole foods, nutritional products, body care products and health information in a fun comfortable clean, safe environment. We also have an extensive gluten free product line along with organic/hormone free meats & a large assortment of wild fish. 

 Did we miss some facilities that should be included in this list?  Phone me at 780-910-9669, email me at or contact me here.

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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