We have a winner - of sorts.
A few weeks back, in response to a reader's request, I put out a call for a thatcher in the Philadelphia area.
A thatcher - you know, someone who knows how to thatch roofs.
Two came to my attention, neither from this area but close enough.
William Cahill of Cincinnati, who did a roof-thatching job in Phoenixville back in 1987, is a seventh-generation thatcher from County Galway, Ireland, where they still do a lot of it, and not just for tourists.
His website is at Roofthatch.com.
My thanks to Eamon McCluskey of Jeffersonville for contacting Cahill after reading the column.
Polly Bart, president of Greenbuilders in Sparks, Md., said, "We could give a thatching class here in Baltimore County (northern area) if there were enough interest."
For photos of the company's work, go to greenbuilders.com. A recent thatching project is shown there.
For new homeowners comes this advice, courtesy of the U.S. Fire Safety Administration:
Fire is fast, hot, and deadly. It takes only minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house. A smoke alarm can give you the extra minute or two you need to get out of your home.
Have working smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement. Put smoke alarms inside each bedroom and outside all sleeping areas. Push the test button until the alarm sounds. Do this each month. Interconnected smoke alarms provide the best protection. When one smoke alarm sounds, they all sound.
Half of home fire deaths happen late at night. A working smoke alarm can wake you up.
Make an escape plan. Know two ways out of each room. Plan escapes around the abilities of children and older adults.
Electrical problems are a leading cause of home fires. Plug major appliances such as refrigerators and stoves directly into the wall outlet. Plug only one heat-producing appliance into an outlet at a time.
Extension cords are for temporary use only. Throw away cracked, frayed, or damaged electrical cords before you move.