Friday, December 19, 2014

Before Lumbersexuals, there were just Lumberjacks

By Adrian Flygt, 

By now, even the casual observer must be aware there is a storm brewing. Across America, men are trading in their tight pants, horn rimmed glasses, and single speed bicycles for flannel pants, shaggy beards and work boots. The storm is not just hitting the mountain west, not just in Boulder, Portland and Seattle where the people understand style. As chronicled heremen between the ages of 18 and 30 are changing their style to look like a "lumbersexual."

There is only one problem with this. Not all men with flannel shirts, relaxed trousers and the bulge of an axe in their backpack are smooth-palmed pretenders actively choosing a style to better represent their domination of the outdoors. While the lumbersexual chooses to let his beard grow ragged, wear flannel and dress like an old time logger to prove something, some of the people who look this way are not choosing a style. Some are just living the good life, choosing their "style" out of necessity, as a matter of survival.

When the winter winds whip through Washington, a beard keeps your face warm, a raised collar on your Free-Swinging Flannel keeps your ears on, and that strong smell is the musk of man, the receipt for a job well done. Without a slightly haggard appearance, a flannel shirt and pants that allow them to work, these men would get nothing done. It's awful hard to pull choker cables or run a yarder with skinny jeans on.

Others who have a #lumbersexual appearance may not work as loggers; instead they work as rebels against the nine to five by ripping through white pine on the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series. While competitors like Dave Jewett, Laurence O'Toole,Nathan Waterfield and Stirling Hart may sometimes be mistaken for models in their work boots and flannels, they are actually ferocious lumberjacks. Cut two holes in a springboard pole and climb seven feet in the air with a six-pound razor before cutting a log in half in 45 seconds? No problem at all. Run a chainsaw made from a snowmobile engine; done. Rip off a 19" wood cookie using only a piece of steel and man-made horsepower; give me 14 seconds.

Don’t assume they know the closest source of free-range coffee or how to roll up a yoga mat mid Sun salutation. These men, and the rest of the contestants on the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS® Series, are fierce athletes and competitors. They look like fearsome, hairy, manly men because that is what they are. Know that all who wear flannel and look a bit feral are not mere #lumbersexuals. A select few are #lumberjacks, #loggers, and competitors, not selectors of a style. These are the real manliest of men who walk among us.
Adrian Flygt is a STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series athlete, and Series commentator.  Learn more about Adrian on his athlete profile

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Superior Service with STIHL MasterWrench Service®

No matter how well manufactured a piece of equipment may be, to keep it operating at peak performance you should have it serviced regularly.  But who do you trust with your equipment?  The answer is a STIHL MasterWrench Service®  qualified technician.  
STIHL dealers stand behind the equipment and service what they sell. The STIHL MasterWrench Service® is a designation recognizing select STIHL dealers and technicians who have continually exceeded expectations through extensive training and a proven record of accomplishment of customer satisfaction.

What makes a STIHL MasterWrench Service®  technician?
Multi-level service training
The voluntary program involves three stages of training; designated as Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum STIHL MasterWrench Service®  training courses. Each stage of training is designed to incrementally increase the technician’s level of knowledge. The technician must pass an exam based on the content of the training curriculum before advancing to the next level of service training.
Bronze: The STIHL service technician can complete the Bronze level training course online at their own pace and covers the basic knowledge necessary to service outdoor power equipment. Qualification is received after completing all Bronze level training modules and the respective tests.
Silver: STIHL Silver level training consists of hands-on training. A technician must be Bronze level qualified before applying to attend a Silver level STIHL MasterWrench Service® training course. Training is conducted by a qualified representative of one of STIHL's regional distributors.
Gold: STIHL Gold level training is the third step in the STIHL technical education program. After achieving both Bronze and Silver level qualification status, a STIHL dealer may have their technician apply to attend a four-day Gold level STIHL MasterWrench Service® training course conducted at STIHL Inc.’s manufacturing and training facility located in Virginia Beach, Va. STIHL MasterWrench Service® certification is granted exclusively to technicians who are able to pass the knowledge and practical application exams.
Platinum: STIHL MasterWrench Service® Platinum level certification recognizes STIHL certified service technicians and dealers who have achieved levels of service competence above and beyond that of other STIHL MasterWrench Service® dealers. Dealers and service technicians must meet the STIHL Platinum criteria and the technician must successfully complete  the three-day advanced course at STIHL Incorporated in Virginia Beach, Va. The curriculum includes service training related to practical failure analysis and advanced troubleshooting and repair procedures for STIHL gasoline and electric powered products.
Professional service area environment
In addition to the personal technician qualifications, dealerships that have achieved the STIHL MasterWrench Service® designation have service areas that meet STIHL's standards for cleanliness, efficiency and are fully stocked with all the service tools required to maintain and repair even our most advanced equipment.
Why choose a STIHL MasterWrench Service®  dealership?
When you choose a STIHL MasterWrench Service® dealer you get piece of mind. Because of their mastery of the craft, STIHL MasterWrench Service® technicians can provide efficient repairs and maintenance on all your STIHL equipment, and offer expert advice on the proper care and upkeep to keep your STIHL running at peak performance, and protecting your investment.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Carve the Best Pumpkin on the Block with a Stencil from STIHL

This Halloween, impress your neighbors and trick-or-treaters with the best pumpkin carving around, by using this chainsaw stencil.  Simply print it out and use it as a guide on your pumpkin.

When you're finished, snap a picture and send it in to and we just may feature it on our social media pages!

Click here to download your stencil!

Home Heating Safety Tips

by Amy J. Valdez, Battalion Chief, Virginia Beach Fire Department

Photo by Retired Master Firefighter/
VBFD Photographer Ray Smith.
Each year fire claims the lives of 3,400 Americans, injures 17,500, and causes billions of dollars worth of damage. People living in rural areas are more than twice as likely to die in a fire than those living in mid-sized cities or suburban areas. The misuse of wood stoves, portable space heaters and kerosene heaters are especially common risks in rural areas or after a significant storm.
All heating equipment needs space. Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away. Supervise children whenever a wood stove or space heater is being used. Have a three-foot "kid-free" zone around open fires and space heaters.

Fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys. They need to be cleaned out frequently and chimneys should be inspected for obstructions and cracks to prevent deadly chimney and roof fires.

Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace. These materials cause heavy creosote buildup and are difficult to control. Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks. Don't wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame. Make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed. Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.

Photo by Virginia Beach Fire Deparment
Wood Stoves
Wood stoves cause over 4,000 residential fires every year. Carefully follow the manufacturer's installation and maintenance instructions. Look for solid construction, such as plate steel or cast iron metal. Check for cracks and inspect legs, hinges and door seals for smooth joints and seams. Use only seasoned wood for fuel, not green wood, artificial logs, or trash. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets. Inspect and clean your pipes and chimneys annually and check monthly for damage or obstructions.

Electric Space Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check to make sure it has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over. Heaters are not dryers or tables; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of your heater. Plug space heaters directly into wall outlets and never into an extension cord or power strip. Always unplug your electric space heater when not in use.

Kerosene Heaters
Buy only heaters evaluated by a nationally recognized laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL), and check with your local fire department on the legality of kerosene heater use in your community. Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare-up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene. When refueling, allow the appliance to cool first and then refuel outside. Never overfill any portable heater. Use the kerosene heater in a well ventilated room.

Photo by Virginia Beach Fire Department
Finally, having a working smoke alarm dramatically increases your chances of surviving a fire. And remember to practice a home escape plan frequently with your family.

For more fire prevention  tips, visit the U.S. Fire Administration
The Install. Inspect. Protect. Campaign is part of the United States Fire Administration’s effort to reduce fire deaths and injuries across the nation. More than 3,000 people die in home fires each year in the United States; most of which are in homes without a working smoke alarm. A working, properly installed smoke alarm lowers your chances of dying in a fire.

The Install. Inspect. Protect. fire safety campaign will help encourage Americans to practice fire safety, to protect themselves and their families, and to protect the firefighters who work each day to save lives. Research has proven that the following fire safety practices work:

1. installing and maintaining smoke alarms and residential fire sprinklers;
2. practicing fire escape plans; and,
3. performing a home safety walk-through to remove fire hazards from homes.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Four Fall Plantings for a Beautiful Spring

by Kelly Dowell

Do you suffer from spring landscape envy? Does it seem like every time the weather starts warming up from winter, your neighbors have bursts of colorful blooms in their garden and you don’t? Fall plantings must take place months prior to spring so that you can reap the rewards after the chilly months.

1. Trees

Fall is the ideal season for planting trees because it encourages root growth through the winter to establish a firm underground foundation before the heat of the summer returns.

The fall season naturally brings more rainfall and cooler temperatures, so your new tree will require less watering.

However, there is a time when it becomes too late to plant trees. Trees should be planted approximately 4-6 weeks prior to the first hard frost so the roots can actually penetrate the soil before the ground becomes too frozen. For instance in St. Louis the perfect time for fall plantings is between September and November. A good resource for trees is the Arbor Day Foundation.

Another benefit of planting trees in the fall is realized with spring blooming specimens. Trees such as Redbuds, flowering Cherries, and Dogwoods show their greatest features in the early spring months and if you plant in the spring, you run the chance of missing their display.

Nurseries are prepared for a lot of fall demand and will have many trees in stock to choose from in the fall. Some popular varieties that are recommended for fall planting include Spruce, Pine, Maple, Hawthorn, Crabapple, and Honey Locust.

Proper tree installation is essential. Balled and burlaped trees tend to be extremely heavy and need to be transplanted with good technique. Call your local nursery or landscaper for a quote on planting trees this fall.

2. Spring blooming shrubs

Many people often request a flowering shrub or perennial in their landscape that they’ve seen in their neighbor’s landscape. But, by the time you decide on a location, specimen, and color, there is a good chance that the blooming period of that plant has expired!

Planning in the fall is essential when it comes to planting spring bloomers such as Azaleas, Rhododendrons, Ninebark, Weigela and Forsythia. Plan now to get full enjoyment from your spring bloomers.

3. Bulbs

Fall is the ONLY time to plant spring-blooming bulbs.
There are several popular varieties that are successful in our area here in St. Louis including:
·         Hyacinth
·         Tulip
·         Daffodil/Jonquil
·         Allium
·         Iris
·         Crocus
It is fun to plant several different varieties because they all come with different bloom times and you will enjoy your hard work all spring long! A good rule of thumb is to plant a few extra in case some do not come up.
4. Grass Seed

Over time, grass plants reach their peak and need to be replaced. Different factors contribute to the breakdown of the grass including foot traffic, heat, lack of water/nutrition, environmental conditions, pet waste, etc.

The best time to over-seed is in the fall. Mother Nature provides us with more precipitation and cooler weather, diseases are less active, and the soil is still warm.

Spring does not produce satisfactory results. Spring is the time to apply pre-emergents and your desirable grass seeds typically lose the battle against pre-emergents. Additionally, aerating is an important factor prior to over-seeding and the aeration plugs will break the barrier provided by the crabgrass pre-emergent.

Overall, the young seedlings often do not have enough time to reach maturity before the heat of the summer hits.

If you plant your grass seed in early fall, you will still have time to enjoy your lush turf during the fall! Grass seed will begin to germinate within 7-10 days!
Contact your local landscaper today if you need ideas, suggestions, or a quote for your fall plantings that produce a beautiful spring landscape!  Good resources to find one include and
Kelly Dowell is the Business Developer at Dowco Enterprises Inc. Dowco is a premier provider of lawn and landscape maintenance in the Chesterfield, MO area.