Enhancing Your Outdoor Living Space


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On July 8th, WGLT broadcasted a July To-Do List for the garden from Don Schmidt, the “Dean of Green” on WGLT Radio.  Dean-o said we should be doing a lot of things in the garden this month—from planting more green beans and kitchen herbs to weeding and ordering bulbs for the Fall.  His wife Carol, on the other hand, said   you should “invite a friend over to your house, pour a glass of nice white wine, go out and ENJOY your garden!” 

For many people, an outdoor patio or lawn is like a second living and dining room,    perfect for summertime entertaining and family time. 

Once you’ve got your tables and chairs in place, consider getting creative with outdoor lighting design that will enhance your outdoor space for years to come.  Motion lights could fade in and out along pathways to light the way for guests. Gentle uplighting could highlight your big trees or your home’s architectural details. Carefully chosen fixtures for downlighting could also    augment the candles and lanterns on your tables without overpowering the scene or creating light pollution. 

No patio or garden project is too small to schedule a complementary appointment at IPE to browse lighting  design catalogues and speak with one of our experienced electricians about your creative vision.  For an appointment, call 309-664-0162 or email info@ipelec.biz.

Toolbox Talk: Hearing & Eye Protection


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With the busy summer season approaching, Illinois Prairie Electric is concentrating on safety—and so should you!

Even small projects in the house or yard have the potential for mishaps. 

A properly-equipped tool bag includes safety glasses and ear plugs or ear muffs.

Ear and eye protection is necessary equipment when using lawn mowers, chain saws, and power tools. 

Consider the many things you do that involve flying particles: chipping, grinding, sanding, sawing, and hammering.  Even a tiny speck of dust flying from a power tool can injure your eye. 

Do you dislike wearing safety glasses?  There are many models and sizes available to fit the needs of your activity and comfort preferences.  If your goggles fog up, try a model with more ventilation, or coat them with an antifog liquid.  Side shields and wrap-around goggles may not be appropriate if you have to watch to your sides for heavy equipment.   

Keep lenses clean and replace them when scratched or cracked.  These not only interfere with your vision, but they weaken the glasses so that they may not withstand the heavy impacts they were designed for.

Never think that you can “get used to” noise and can afford to ignore it.  If you have to shout to be heard by someone three feet away, the noise around you is high enough to cause hearing damage.

Like glasses, ear plugs and muffs are available in many styles.  Some are even designed to be worn with eyeglasses, hard hats, or face masks.  Earmuffs must form a complete seal around the ear.  If using ear plugs, follow the directions carefully when inserting them.  If they are reusable, keep them clean to prevent ear infections.

More safety tips and printable flyers can be found at www.ipelec.biz/safety

**Post a photo of the safety supplies in your toolbag as a response to this post and win a FREE pair of safety glasses!


Donations Needed for Home Sweet Home Ministries


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Illinois Prairie Electric, Inc. is holding a food/supplies drive for Home Sweet Home Ministries through the end of August. 

Here are 5 Reasons to Donate:

1. WGLT recently reported that food pantries in the Bloomington-Normal area have been scraping by for the last year and a half with slower donations and     increased demand. 

2) Sabrina Burkiewicz of the Home Sweet Home Mission says now they are even struggling to find enough chairs for people to sit and eat. 

3) The thousand plus meals they offered last month is the most since 1917—that’s 94 years!  

4) Walk-in numbers doubled in May. 

5) The Pantagraph reported that the Illinois General Assembly is slated to cut $6 million from emergency housing and homeless programs.  Home Sweet Home could lose $30,000. 

For every donation brought to our office at 1605 G.E. Road, donors will receive an entry into a drawing for exciting and useful prizes, including baseball tickets and various tools. The drawing will take place on August 1st, 2011. 

Lists of needed food and nonfood items can also be found at http://www.hshministries.org.



Summer Recipes from Our Family to Yours


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With picnics and cookouts in full swing, our family is breaking out our tried-and-true recipes. 

This month we are featuring our best apple recipes looking forward to ripe apples in September. A  recipe for Caramel Apple Salad is also featured on our Facebook Page under our Notes. 

What are your family’s  favorite summertime recipes? Share them as a reply to this post, vote on your favorites, and we’ll include the most popular recipe in our next print newsletter!

Grandma Gaddy’s Homemade Apple Pie
This recipe has been a  classic in the Gaddy family for generations, first documented on a hand-written card in our grandmother’s recipe box. 

Filling Ingredients:                            
6 c. Tart Apples.  Sugar to Taste (about 1-1.5 c.)   
Cinnamon /Apple Pie Spices to taste. 

Crust Ingredients:              
2 c. All-Purpose Flour, Sifted. 
1 tsp. Salt. 
2/3 c. Shortening  (or Vegetable Crisco). 

Wash, cut, and uniformly slice apples. Add sugar and spices to taste and let sit to get juicy, stirring occasionally. 

Fill a teacup with ice cubes and water. Set aside with a small spoon. 

Sift flour and salt together.  Cut in chilled (the colder the better!) shortening. Crumble into flour with fingers until pieces are pea-size or smaller. Divide in half and place both portions in fridge for 5 minutes. 

Lay out pastry mat. Coat mat and rolling pin with chilled flour. (Heat is the enemy in this pastry recipe.) Have extra chilled flour ready. 

Remove 1st portion from fridge. Slowly add teaspoons of water, turning dough with fingers. Allow it to clump together and make a single large ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in fridge and repeat with 2nd portion. 

When ready, remove 1st portion of dough from plastic wrap and begin to flatten with palms on mat. Recoat with flour as needed. Roll out with rolling pin, fixing cracks as needed with drops of water and flour. 

Place bottom crust in pie pan. Fill with apple filling. Dot with butter.  Roll out top crust, create desired design, and place on top.  Pinch together edges with thumbs and forefingers.   

Place pie in cool oven and preheat to 425F. Bake at 425F for 15 min.  Reduce to 350F and bake for 50-60min. Place a pan on the rack below to catch drippings. 

***Here’s a tip that wasn’t published in the print edition: When the crust has turned golden brown, and the filling has started to bubble over (after about an hour) it’s probably done. Instead of removing it from the oven immediately, simply turn it off and crack the oven door. (If it’s a really hot day, you can leave it closed.) We think that if the pastry crust cools gradually after baking, it will be flakier.

Toolbox Talk: Heat Stress & Sun Exposure


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This week has been so hot and steamy, we want to make sure you avoid the dangers of heat stress and sun exposure. 

According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC), heat related stress kills over 300 persons per year. 

To avoid heat stress, be sure to drink plenty of water.  Illinois Prairie Electric, Inc. employees are encouraged to begin their day at the shop fixing coolers of iced water or Gatorade.  Refillable bottles make a good companion for any tool bag.  Remember, soda and carbonated drinks may taste good, but they will only  dehydrate you more!

When working outdoors, be sure to scope the area for sources of shade.  Permanent structures such as trees, fixed overhangs, or pavilions may be nearby, and can serve as a good place to take your breaks.  If nothing like this is available, consider using a small portable canopy to shade your work area. 

Sun exposure also poses a substantial threat during the summer months.  Make   applying sunscreen lotion to your face, neck, ears, and arms part of your morning routine.  Many lotions require reapplication every few hours, so throw a bottle of it in your tool bag.  A hat and long sleeves in a light, breathable fabric can also help to block out harmful sun rays. 

Signs of overexposure include the sudden onset of confusion or forgetfulness, irritability, belligerence, lightheadedness, lack of coordination, fatigue, and paradoxical chills. 

When these signs appear, stop activity immediately, move to a cool, shady area, and drink some fluids. 

During the summer months, special care should also be taken with children and the elderly.  Check on your neighbors and loan them fans if they don’t have air conditioning. 

More safety tips and printable flyers can be found at www.ipelec.biz/safety

What other summer safety suggestions do you have?  Post them as a reply to this post! 



Welcome to The Current, Illinois Prairie Electric, Inc.’s online newsletter.  This blog is the digital companion to the print edition of The Current, but we will also be sharing information about important news and events in the electrical contracting industry. 

Thank you for visiting–we hope you’ll become a subscriber and participate in our online discussions.

-Kristina @ Illinois Prairie Electric, Inc.