THE MASONRY MONTHLY
2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | www.bostonbrick.com
Things You Didn’t Know About
ST. PATRICK’S DAY
St. Patrick’s Day is the best day of the year to let your Irish colors fly. Traditional celebrations include dressing in green, attending parades, and eating green food. However, these weren’t always the holiday traditions. It might come as a surprise, but the patron saint of Ireland wasn’t even born Irish! Who Was St. Patrick? Not much is known about the man, and even his place of birth is subject to dispute among experts. We do know that he was born in a village called Bannavem Taberniae, which could have been somewhere in England, Scotland, or Wales. When he was 16 years old, he was kidnapped by Irish raiders and brought to Ireland for the first time. He was held prisoner for the next six years, and he worked as a shepherd until he was finally able to escape. After such a rough introduction to the Emerald Isle, it might be a little hard to understand how Patrick became the patron saint of Ireland. Alone and scared in a foreign country, he turned to his faith for comfort. While his family was indeed Christian, Patrick had shown little to no interest in the practice up until that point. After being held captive for so long, he felt compelled by God to leave Ireland, so that’s what he did. Patrick walked 200 miles to the coast, where he was able to board a ship and successfully make it back to his home country and his family. Although he had escaped the country, he couldn’t forget it or the people living there. After being told to travel back to Ireland by an angel in his dreams, he studied for the next 15 years to become an ordained priest. Then, he returned to Ireland. He spent the next 40 years spreading the Christian faith among the Protestant people until he died on March 17, around 460 A.D. His life has been celebrated ever since. Holiday Celebration For a long time, St. Patrick’s Day was seen as an exclusively religious holiday in Ireland. Irish law went so far as to order pubs closed on March 17. It wasn’t until 1995 that the Irish government saw an opportunity to use the holiday as a way to increase tourism and spread the joy of Ireland’s customs and culture around the world.
Surprisingly, most of the traditions we associate with St. Patrick’s Day began in the United States. In fact, the first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York was in 1762. Irish soldiers serving the British army marched a few blocks through the city to a tavern. Not only did this help the Irish reconnect with their roots, but it also brought them together with the other Irishmen serving in the army. Today, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the largest in the United States, with 200,000 participates and over 3 million audience members. Wait, That’s a Myth? If learning that St. Patrick wasn’t even Irish or that the holiday’s seemingly traditional celebration didn’t even come from Ireland, there are a few other mind-boggling facts that surround both the saint and the holiday. Many of the stories told about St. Patrick are legends or myths. One of his best- known roles as the saint who drove out the snakes from Ireland was used as a symbol to exaggerate how St. Patrick “cleansed” Ireland from paganism. Another legend revolves around the shamrock. It’s said that St. Patrick used the shamrock to teach the Irish people about the Holy Trinity. After his death, people would pin clovers to their clothing to celebrate what St. Patrick stood for. This eventually led to people wearing green in their clothes instead of wearing the clover. Speaking of green, you might also be surprised to learn that the color wasn’t always used to symbolize St. Patrick’s Day. A shade of blue called “St. Patrick’s Blue” was the color many followers of St. Patrick wore. You can still see St. Patrick’s blue in paintings of him, shown underneath the green we’ve all come to love. Now when celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, you can enjoy the festivities with a better idea of where the traditions came from. Don your favorite Irish gear and enjoy the celebrations!
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SWEEPING SUCCESS The Importance of Yearly Chimney Cleaning
Like every other part of the home, the chimney needs yearly TLC. In the spring as homeowners clean and organize, the chimney doesn’t always make it onto the spring cleaning checklist — but it should. Whether or not a fireplace is used during the winter months, the chimney can still accumulate debris. Here are a few reasons why a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning is so important.
Here’s how the chimney sweeping process looks.
“They just replaced two chimneys in our home. They’re the best crew ever, led by Anthony Baer. I would not do it without him! They had seamless execution, permitting, and clean-up. I sell real estate and have used BB&S for inspections and chimney work, but never in my own home. I can honestly recommend them highly to everyone, having experienced their professionalism firsthand. Thank you for making this such a nice experience!” – Marcy M., California “We had our patio and rear yard hardscape rebuilt by Boston Brick & Stone, and we could not be happier! Their mason, Sammy, has been with them forever, he and started every day with a smile and a commitment to craftsmanship, Anthony oversaw the project with a keen eye for finish and quality, Mark designed the project beautifully, and Dave, the owner, was frequently on site and a pleasure to work with. Boston Brick & Stone will never be the cheapest bid, but paying for quality only hurts once! That being said, we feel like we got 110 percent value for the price paid!” – Roland W., Pasadena, California TESTIMONIALS Before we begin, we always cover the fireplace opening with heavy plastic. We also cover nearby furniture and household items to ensure cleanliness. While 100 percent grime-free cleaning is impossible, we make every effort to protect the home. We do recommend homeowners schedule a chimney cleaning before painting, replacing drapes, or hiring other house-cleaning services in order to maximize cleanliness. Once the fireplace is covered, our highly trained technicians go to the roof and sweep the chimney. After the thorough initial sweep, the team pauses to let loose material settle, then they sweep a second time. With everything settled in the fireplace, we carefully remove the plastic and vacuum the remaining debris. The technicians conclude with a brushing out of the fireplace and a second vacuuming. When the cleaning is complete, the inspector can go to work, looking for potential issues or leaving the chimney with a clean bill of health. If you can’t remember the last time your chimney was cleaned, it’s time to call in the pros.
• If any animals have settled in and made nests, we can clear them out.
If the interior of the chimney is damaged, we can
diagnose and determine the best next step.
• If any other debris from the fireplace or nearby trees has accumulated in the chimney, we can remove it.
In each case, inspecting and cleaning your chimney not only improves functionality, but it improves safety, as well. At Boston Brick & Stone, safety is
•Inspection •Restoration and repair •Construction •Sweeping
•Inspection, restoration, or repair of an existing structure •Installation or reconstruction of new structures
•Backyard patios •Outdoor kitchens and barbecues •Outdoor steps, walkways, and paths •Retaining walls •Outdoor fireplaces •Driveways
HISTORICAL RESTORATION Our previous restoration work includes:
•Restoration of the main lobby chimney system of the El Tovar Hotel on the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. •Repair and restoration of chimneys in 56 original historic cabins on the Grand Canyon’s North Rim. •Historical chimney restoration for the lodge in Bryce Canyon National Park. •Faithful restoration of the chimneys on the Nottingham and Arden properties in Beverly Hills.
BRICK RESTORATION AND CONSTRUCTION DRIVEWAY CONSTRUCTION
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5 Fireplace Questions to Consider
BEFORE A RENOVATION
Springtime is often when homeowners begin thinking about remodeling and renovation projects. If a project includes a fireplace, a chimney, or both, here are some questions to consider before getting started. Is it true that you cannot build masonry chimneys in Los Angeles anymore? Boston Brick & Stone, Inc. builds masonry chimneys almost daily. We understand the building codes and the engineering required. We have no problem getting the permits to construct a full masonry chimney. Can we still install a wood-burning fireplace? In 2008, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) adopted Rule 445 governing wood-burning devices. Although this rule should be read in full to understand the implications, it basically affects all buildings which began construction after March 9, 2009. If a fireplace began construction prior to this date, it can still be operated as a wood-burning device as long as it abides by certain restrictions. In a new development according to Rule 445, a masonry fireplace and chimney system can be constructed as long as it has a dedicated gas appliance permanently affixed to the new system.
Should all prefabricated chimneys be inspected? Prefabricated chimneys are manufactured and UL tested. They must be installed to exact manufacturer specifications. A simple mistake made during its
installation could result in disaster. If the pipe comes apart inside the wood-frame chase, a fire is possible. Most chimney fires are caused by prefabricated systems. What is a top-mounted damper? A damper is at the top of your chimney. It is a part added to a chimney cap. A cable runs down the chimney to a metal L-shaped bracket which is mounted on the side of the firebox. This cable comes down and runs through the bracket. To close the damper at the top, pull down on the cable and lock it in the bracket. This pulls the stainless steel plate down over the top of the flue, sealing it off. Is it a good idea to have a rain cap installed on my chimney? Yes, always. A chimney cap prevents rain and animals from coming in, as well as preventing embers from flying out onto the roof.
Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetables
• 1 tablespoon olive oil • 8 small bone-in chicken thighs • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth • 12 radishes, halved
• 4 large carrots, cut into sticks • 1 tablespoon sugar • 2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped • Salt and pepper
1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium- high heat. 2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in pan for 6 to 7 minutes per side. 3. Remove chicken from pan and scrape off excess fat. Add broth and stir in radishes, carrots, and sugar. 4. Return chicken to pan, placing on top of vegetables. Gently simmer with lid on pan for 15 to 20 minutes. Finish with chives.
[Recipe inspired by Real Simple]
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2005 Lincoln Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103 | 626-296-7700 | www.bostonbrick.com
St. Patrick Wasn’t Irish
Put ‘Clean Chimney’ on Your Spring Checklist
5 Fireplace Questions to Consider Before a Renovation
Braised Chicken and Spring Vegetables
The 3 Best Places to See Beautiful Flowers
Flower Displays Earth’s Most Beautiful
Spring is here, which means flora will soon be in full bloom. Flowers can be an easy pick-me-up or a great way to add color to your home, but some people take their flower obsession to the next level by planning botanical-themed vacations. Here are some of the most impressive gardens and flower displays in the world. Netherlands Holland, most famous for its tulips, always draws visitors at the first sign of spring. One of its most famous destinations, Keukenhof, located in Lisse, is among the world’s largest flower gardens. The park is 79 acres and boasts approximately 7 million flowers each year. This colorful garden is open annually from mid-March to mid-May, but mid-April is the ideal time to see the tulips. Washington, D.C. Besides the monuments and historic buildings, one of the biggest attractions in Washington, D.C. is the cherry tree blossoms. Travelers who visit the Tidal Basin during the spring can witness 3,000 trees, which were a gift from Tokyo in 1912, flaunt their beautiful pink blossoms. The best time to see the spectacle is from the end of March through the end of April.
Anza-Borrego Desert State Park Desert lavender, flowering cacti, pygmy poppies, and rock daisies are just a few of the many wildflowers decorating Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. The various native species are often seen weaved together to form a colorful carpet over any barren patch in the park, which is located just two hours from San Diego. In addition to flowers, visitors often spot bighorn sheep. Wildflower blossoms vary in intensity each year, but they typically begin to bloom in late February or early March.
Next time you’re planning a spring trip, consider visiting one of the world’s most beautiful flower displays. No green thumb required.
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