Canine Couture

10 Mar

By Robert Bundy, Editor

Our classic Subaru blue bandana has long been a fashion fave for dogs and their humans. So why stop there? Fearless clothing designer Jennifer Weidman leads the pack with these trendy new dog outfits she created out of different pieces of Subaru Gear. While her own doggie designs are not available for purchase, we encourage you to buy some cool Subaru Gear and assemble your own ensemble. Your style-conscious dog will thank you. (Some assembly required.)  

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Subaru Interesting Facts

16 Feb

1. Always a boxer engine
The innovative boxer engine has been the core of every Subaru model for the past 45 years. It’s a fundamental of the brand. Unlike a typical engine, the boxer engine is equipped with horizontal thrusting pistons, which allow the engine output to move directly into the transmission. The flat design allows for a lower center of gravity, which means better responsiveness and control. Better yet, in the event of a front-end collision, the flatter engine is designed to move under the passenger compartment, making it much safer than typical engine models.

2. Made for symmetrical all-wheel drive
While AWD is a luxury in some cars, every Subaru has AWD standard. Subaru vehicles are the only cars on the market with symmetrical all-wheel drive. This system allows a peerless balance of power to all four wheels while power from the engine moves in one simple straight line through the transmission and to the drive train such that both sides are symmetrical. Symmetrical AWD means better traction, balance and control. Not to mention, Subaru drivers tend to worry a lot less about driving through snow drifts during the unpredictable New England winters.

3. A rally racing legend
With so much focus on AWD and performance, it’s no wonder Subaru is one of the better known names in the world of rally racing. Subaru vehicles have been tearing down the dirt raceway for decades. In fact, Subaru has claimed 47 manufacturer wins in the World Rally Championships since 1973, according to Motorsports Etc.

4. Shooting for the stars
The six stars in the Subaru logo are a reference to the Taurus constellation, which is particularly easy to spot in the night sky above Japan, according to Business Insider. Moreover, the name of Taurus in Japanese is Subaru. The particular six-star cluster is called Pleiades.

5. The best cars in America?
Subaru vehicles don’t just have a reputation for high-performance driving and tearing up dirt roads. The brand’s vehicles have been called some of the most reliable, safe and value-packed choices in the American car market. Here are just some of the distinctions Subaru has achieved.

  • According to Fortune Magazine, Consumer Reports ranked Subaru above Mercedes-Benz, BMW and every other manufacturer in performance, comfort, reliability and utility. The organization said Subaru makes some of the best cars in America.
  • While some manufacturers have just one vehicle with a Highway Safety Top Safety Pick Award, every model vehicle in Subaru’s arsenal has the award.
  • Fortune Magazine also reported that ALG named Subaru as the industry leader in retained value when it comes to popular car brands.

6. Built to last
If you’re looking for a car that will deliver for years to come, there’s no option better than a Subaru. That’s because the boxer engine helps reduce vibration, which helps the car run more efficiently and smoothly. That can help boost the lifespan of the vehicle, too. According to the car manufacturing company, 96 percent of Subarus built within the last 12 years can still be found on the road to this day.

Items You Should Always Have In Your Car

18 Jan

Traveling by car is fun, but it also smart to be prepared for the unexpected.

 

We hope you’ll never have to use this emergency kit, but having it in the car at all times can make a world of difference. And you can always use the items to help someone else in need, too!

 

 

#2: Warm Clothing

Regardless of the season, keeping extra layers on hand is a great idea.

Look for hats and scarves that are lightweight and warm, and gloves that will allow your hands to move freely.

#3: Light Sources

If you get stranded in the dark, you’ll need a way to see. Matches and candles are great and don’t need power.

A flashlight is another must-have tool. If yours is battery-powered, be sure to stock some extra batteries.

You can also opt for a hand-powered flashlight that uses the energy from your hands’ motion to stay lit, meaning it’ll never run out of juice.

#4: First Aid Kit

A first aid kit is something every car should have.

 

#5: Food And Water

Depending on how long you’re stuck, you’ll need to keep your energy up.

Non-perishable snacks like granola bars, nuts, and dried fruit in sealed containers are all great choices.

Have a couple of bottles of water too.

#6: Car Supplies And Tools

A mini shovel is a great item to have in the trunk.

Your car likely has its own spare tire and jack, but you should also have a small toolkit with some basic tools like a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench.

Jumper cables, tape, and extra motor oil are also good things to pack away.

An emergency escape tool, which can break windows and cut through seat belts is worth having in the glove compartment.

#7: Heat Sources

In addition to scarves and gloves, it’s a good idea to pack some items that will keep you warm and dry.

Emergency Mylar thermal blankets and hand warmers are great ways to keep warm — and both come in small packaging, so they won’t take up much room.

If you have to go outside in inclement weather, a plastic rain poncho is also a good idea to keep handy.

#8: Communication Tools

To call for help, your first step will probably be reaching for your cell phone — so be sure to keep your battery full with a car charger.

While you’re waiting for help to arrive, you’ll need to stay visible on the side of the road. Use road flares outside the car and use an LED light inside.

#9: A Full Tank Of Gas

Whenever you’re traveling, no matter the distance, be sure you have gas in your tank.

Not only is running on empty bad for your car, but it can be dangerous if you’re ever lost or traveling through unfamiliar territory.

Also, whenever you travel, be sure to tell people where you’re going — and when you should be expected to arrive. Take your phone with you and make sure it’s charged.

Beekeeping is Taking Off Everywhere – from Suburban Backyards to Manhattan Rooftops

9 Jan

Jill McKenna Reed is a poet, writing instructor, and beekeeper living in Portland, Oregon. She is co-editor of Winged: New Writing on Bees, an anthology of modern literary writing. Along with her husband, McKenna Reed owns the beekeeping supply store Bee Thinking and drives a 2015 Subaru Outback.

As I prepare to open the lid of the beehive, I take a moment to control my breathing.

It’s a hot day at the height of summer, and bees can be particularly active at such times. Since honeybees are able to smell and then target the CO2 that we exhale via receptors in their antenna, keeping my breathing calm and steady helps minimize the disruptiveness of these routine inspections, so the bees stay focused on their work and pay less attention to me. When I’m ready, I gingerly remove the lid and uncover a busy world alive with fragrance, color, textures, and sound – so familiar, and yet always so mesmerizing to me.

A cloud of sweet-smelling pollen, nectar, and honey sighs out and up. The rich, sticky, rusty-red-and-brown propolis is everywhere, as is dark-amber-colored aged wax, and pure-white new wax. A soft whir like an engine idling rises up to greet me – the bees go on alert as they respond to the intrusion – but they stay relatively calm for now. One by one, I gently pry free the individual frames containing the honeycombs, lift them out, and carefully hold each up against the sun to examine the perfectly crafted hexagonal cells. Methodically inspecting to check on hive health, space needs, eggs, larvae, nectar, and honey stores is a contract between beekeeper and colony. Beekeepers are responsible for being good stewards to our bees, and the bees, in turn, owe us nothing. Beekeeping is often a lesson in humility and awe.

Jill McKenna Reed loads her Subaru Outback with beekeeping supplies.

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Frame containing honeycombs.

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A Swarming Trend

Beekeeping has undergone a remarkable renaissance in recent years. No longer confined to rural areas, beekeepers now can be found in suburban backyards, and even on the rooftops and balconies of densely populated cities, helped along by municipalities removing antiquated laws that have prohibited beekeeping in cities. New York City ended its ban on the practice in 2010 and has since registered more than 400 hives. Local beekeeping groups are forming around the country and continuing to add new members. This surge in interest is helping to promote pollination within communities, as well as bolstering honeybee populations, which have suffered drastically in recent decades. Bees have been facing what scientists call a “perfect storm” of chemical and biological threats, leading to significant honeybee decline, and researchers continue to find new factors contributing to the crisis. Honeybees have benefited from this heightened awareness, as more attention is focused on the vital role bees play in food production.

Subaru partner Greensgrow, an urban farm located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers classes in beekeeping  so you can learn how to “bee.”

Beekeeper holding tools of the trade, a smoker and hive tool. Photo: Daniel Grill / Tetra / Glow Image

Enter the Modern Beekeepers

“The interest in backyard beekeeping has really exploded,” says Bill Catherall, president of Portland Urban Beekeepers in Oregon. “I imagine, and I hope, this is just the beginning. Beekeeping and gardening go hand in hand. Both are seeing a big boom as more people want to take charge of their own food source.”

They say the bees choose you, and that’s what happened to my husband, Rob, and me. One day a swarm of honeybees landed in our garden and we were instantly swept into the world of beekeeping. We joined a local group of beekeepers called the ‘Backwards Beekeepers’ and started to learn everything we could by any means we could: books, YouTube videos, and mentoring with other local ‘beeks’. Now we have three bee yards – a second one in Los Angeles and a third in Washington state outside of Spokane – around 50 hives total.
I started with one hive. I started by buying woodenware locally, got on the swarm list, and ‘caught’ my first bees swarming on a low-hanging branch. I shook the bees into the box and stood in awe as they all regrouped into the box. The sun set, I put screen and duct tape over the entrance, drove the hive home, and put them in my backyard. I was HOOKED!
Beekeeping is a very rewarding and relaxing hobby. Most communities have local bee associations. These clubs provide a wealth of knowledge for any new apiarist looking to start their first hives.
Todd Lawrence, beekeeper and field marketing manager for Subaru of America, Inc.

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Closeup of honeycomb

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The Learning Curve of Beekeeping

While the thrill of a first taste of beekeeping is certainly intoxicating – from sighting and catching a wild swarm, to carefully driving home from the post office with a mail-order package of live bees – there is definitely a learning curve to the practice. As with the responsible raising of any creature, it’s primarily about communication. “I think the biggest lesson we learn early on is that we really aren’t in control. Beekeeping is less about manipulation and more about learning to read the seasons, the bloom, and how all this affects the bees. Then our job is about anticipating the needs of the bees, how to time things right, and use their natural behavior to our advantage,” says Catherall. “The learning curve isn’t too steep; it’s constant though, and that’s what I love about it. I’ve spoken with people who have 40 years of experience and they agree. The bees are the best teachers; you just have to listen carefully.”

Extreme Weather Tips by Brandon Clement

5 Jan

How to Help Keep Mice Out of Your Car

26 Dec

from Nationwide

Chilly days and nights prompt rodents, especially mice, to seek heat – often under the hoods of cars. Mice in your car is more than just a nuisance, it can be dangerous. Here are some tips on how to help keep mice and other pests out of your car.

The dangers of pests in cars

Their choice of shelter is not just a nuisance. When they are under the hood they might build nests or chew belts or wires. The result can cause serious engine malfunctions and even car fires. A nest located in a fan or intake manifold can ignite. Wires that are frayed from chewing can also cause fires.

Don’t dismiss this warning as something that only occurs in cars that aren’t regularly driven. Just as people seek the handiest shelter during storms, so do these animals.
The National Fire Protection Association warns almost two-thirds of vehicle fires are caused by faulty electrical or mechanical systems. Animals aren’t the sole cause of these fires but auto technicians note that animals in engines are not unusual.

Consider these strategies to make sure you protect your car from possible fires, according to automotive experts including those at AAA.

Park under shelter

If you have a garage or other vehicle-appropriate shelter, use it. Although squirrels, mice and other small animals flourish in rural areas, they are common everywhere. Save time and money by taking the extra time to park your car in a sheltered area.

Honk to Scare Pests Away

Honk your horn before you start the engine. If your key fob has that function, you’ll be able to do that from a distance. Making loud noises will scare most mice, cats, and other animals away.

Of course, it’s important not to go overboard, lest you upset your neighbors. A few honks will do.

Wait a few extra seconds after you sound the horn before you start the car. Small animals can wedge themselves into tiny spaces within the engine and may need some extra time to extract themselves and escape.

Check your car and surroundings

Regularly look under the hood of your vehicle. Nests can easily be spotted and removed. Also, examine the wiring and mechanical systems for signs of chewing and fraying.

Scan the engine and driveway for leaks. Rodents like the taste of oil, gasoline and other automotive fluids, such leaks attract them. Leaking fluid can ignite leaves, trash and other debris in the roadway. In addition, leaks are dangerous to children, pets and the environment.

Listen for rattles. Flame-retardant materials are generally between the exhaust systems and floorboards of most vehicles. If you hear a rattle, a rodent or other animal may have loosened the materials.

If you see damaged wiring or suspect leaks, take the car for service. In fact, it’s a good idea to have mechanics check your car engine at least annually for such damage.

Don’t chance a fire. If you suspect or see a fire in your car as you drive, stop the car immediately, preferably on pavement rather than grass or other flammable materials. Turn off the ignition and abandon the vehicle. Then call for help.

Want to help prevent animals from getting under your hood? Put mothballs in fabric netting and hang it under the front of the hood. One caution: Make sure you don’t place the mothballs near the windshield washer area (where fluid is expelled) or the mothball smell will permeate the interior of the car.

Tips for Winter Driving

19 Dec

As Subaru drivers we never let the snow stop us, but we also don’t want to flake out and stay focused on the roads!

Before you head out make sure your tires are properly inflated and have at least half a tank of gas. When you know a storm is coming it is sensible to plan ahead.

Always, always, always err on the side of caution. You may drive a certain road everyday, but if a snowplow has covered up (or knocked down) road signs other drivers may make unintentional mistakes.

Slow and steady gives you lots of options. Not giving yourself a enough room to maneuver can put you in a situation that a little space could have saved you from. Driving slowly and smartly makes you a leader on the road.

Do not use cruise control in wintry conditions.

Even though wearing your seat belt should already be a no-brainer at all times, during the winter it’s even more critical. An alarming number of road ice fatalities occur with minor accidents where the vehicle occupants were not wearing seat belts.

When you approach a corner, slow down with plenty of time to spare before you arrive at the corner, and drive around it gently and carefully at a constant speed. Not only will this prevent you from unsettling the car, but it’ll give you more time to react if you come across an obstacle, such as a fallen branch, a snowdrift, or a slow-moving snowplow.

If someone does skid or slip on the snow, they could start moving toward you from a direction you’re not expecting. It pays to be aware of what’s going on not just in front of you, but to each side and behind you too.

And if another driver is following you too closely, don’t be tempted to react. It’s easier and more sensible to concentrate on your own driving, perhaps pulling over to let them go on their merry way if you’re able to, than to do something provocative that might cause them to crash into you.

Driving on winter roads is SNOW joke!