29th Year for the Annual Ducky Wucky River Race

29th Year for the Annual Ducky Wucky River Race

The Rotary Club of Ayer, Harvard, Shirley, and Devens presents the 67th Annual Apple Blossom Festival on May 11th to include the ever-popular Ducky Wucky River Race! Participants who “adopt” yellow rubber duckies have an opportunity to win the most sought-after prize – a dinner for two ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!

Get Your Own Rubber Ducky

If your adopted rubber ducky is the first to cross the finish line, you win the grand prize – airfare and a two-night stay at a hotel and dinner anywhere you choose! All proceeds go to the charitable causes supported by the Rotary Club of Ayer, Harvard, Shirley, and Devens.

Tickets for rubber duckies can be purchased from any Rotarian or at Union Coffee Roaster or Gervais Ford in Ayer or in Shirley from Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce and The Bull Run Restaurant. The race takes place at the Apple Blossom Festival which is held at the Common in Harvard from 10 am – 3 pm on Saturday, May 11th.

Family Fun for All

A day of family fun activities, the festival features crafts, gifts for Mother’s Day, food and live entertainment, which this year includes:

Matt Rimkus at 10 am, the Nashoba Valley Band at 11 am, John Weisner and Blue Taxi at noon, and Amanda Cote at 1 pm.

Often described as a folksy crooner, Groton’s Matt Rimkus will share some of his favorite old time covers and originals on his 12-string guitar. His booming baritone voice has been a popular draw in coffee houses throughout the area for the past 20 years. You can find Matt on the Reverbnation website.

John Weisner and his Band, Blue Taxi, also hail from Groton MA and play groove jazz, blues, American roots, Latin, and Reggae. Band members include Charlie Peterson on sax; Larry Prestia, percussion; Andy Peterson, bass guitar; and John Wiesner, keyboards, guitar, and vocals.

From Fitchburg, Amanda Cote’s brand of music can best be described as a seamless blend of blues, jazz, rock, soul, R&B, and folk with a little of her own unique sound thrown in thanks to her incredibly strong vocals. Amanda has been making waves in New England, playing solo shows across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Her mix of folksy Americana originals and covers are soulful, emotional, and sometimes fabulously comical while accompanying herself on guitar.

Karen Strickland, President of Ayer Moving and Storage and Entertainment Chair for this year’s Apple Blossom Festival, stated, “We are so pleased to have been able to secure these top entertainers this year. They are among the most sought-after bands in our area and are guaranteed to get your toes tapping and singing along!”

Learn More

For more information about the Apple Blossom Festival and the Ducky Wucky Race visit the Rotary’s Festival website. Potential vendors can find information about exhibiting here.

Top Consumer Growth Agent Awarded for Second Year

Top Consumer Growth Agent Awarded for Second Year

For the second year in a row, Ayer Moving & Storage was presented with the Top Consumer Growth Agent Award by northAmerican Van Lines.

Karen Strickland, President of Ayer Moving & Storage thanked Andy Kroll, Vice President and General manager of northAmerican Van Lines, saying “We are so proud to be given this award which recognizes the hard work and dedication of our entire staff. We are doubly pleased as it was awarded to us on the heels of our 65th anniversary as an agent for northAmerican.”

65 Years as northAmerican Van Lines Agent

Family-owned and operated since 1951, Ayer Moving & Storage was founded by Karen Strickland’s dad, Eldon Strickland, who, although retired, can still be counted on to add his opinion and expertise when needed. Karen and her brother Philip lead the Ayer Moving & Storage team, with Philip supervising operations and Karen heading up marketing and sales.

“The last two years have been especially good ones for us and we continue to do all we can to meet the expectations of our customers,” Karen explained. “Philip and I are grateful to our staff and moving crews, and to our community, which has been so supportive of us.”

Congratulating Ayer Moving and Storage on their 65 years with northAmerican, Andy Kroll said, “We know that the growth and success of our company is dependent on having strong and capable agents, such as Ayer Moving & Storage and appreciate the contributions they have made in making North American Van Lines a recognized and respected name in the industry.”

Karen says she and her brother look forward to many more years of growth with northAmerican.

Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, northAmerican Van Lines was established in 1933 and has more than 500 agents worldwide.  It handles corporate, government, military, and private relocations, and operates in the US., Canada, and more than 100 countries worldwide. northAmerican Van Lines is the official mover of the Gary Sinise Foundation and Richard Petty Motorsports and is a sponsor of Habitat for Humanity ReStore resale outlets.

How to Pack and Move your Holiday Decorations

How to Pack and Move your Holiday Decorations

Home decorations really make the holidays come alive in a home. Be it colored lights, ornaments on a Christmas tree, a Menorah for Hanukkah, or paper snowflakes on the window for the solstice, these bright and colorful heirlooms bring out the spirit of the season. Most people have a system to store them for the offseason, but what do you do when it’s time to move? Packing holiday decorations takes a little more care, but with the right approach, they will be in perfect condition for next year.


Use durable containers

Worn-out boxes with the ends flapping open are a normal way to pack holiday decorations when moving them from the living room to the back of a closet, but those decade-old boxes are too soft and fragile for a moving truck where they could be stacked four deep. Invest in a strong, crisp, new packing box to weather the coming road bumps and brake taps from the truck.


Keep things separate

Most of us can remember growing up with that big cardboard box with all the decorations heaped into the center. That may cut it when you have a handful of decorations that all need to come out at the same time, but the risk of individual items chipping, cracking, and breaking goes up when the box is moved across several states.

Keep an open mind for potential storage solutions that will help you keep ornaments separated and organized, such as egg cartons and muffin tins. Strings of lights can be wrapped around a spool, even if it’s just an H-shaped piece of cardboard. Don’t reuse old newspapers, as the ink can rub off and stain light-colored decorations.


Prepare for travel

Remember, you’re not just setting your delicate decorations in a box in an attic undisturbed for another 11 months, you’re putting them into the back of a truck and they will need more support and protection. Bubble wrap, foam sheets and pieces of cloth can keep hard times from contacting one another and fragile ornaments from breaking under pressure.

Make sure you label your decoration boxes, as they will likely be moving with many other boxes. That way, if you want to decorate immediately after moving in, you will have no trouble finding them.

Labeling will also come in handy when the holiday is over and you want to put the decorations away in the same boxes you moved with.


Retire with honors

Getting new holiday decorations can be addictive, and it’s common for people to give little ornaments as gifts. Preparing for a move is often a time to purge needless belongings, and that is especially true for holiday decorations. If you’re not sure if you can part with a particular item, consider taking a digital photo of it and save backup copies in a few places. That way you can look at it whenever you feel nostalgic, but still have more space in your house.

If you need some packing supplies to protect your holiday decorations or any other items, stop by our location on Central Avenue in Ayer or give us a call at 1 (800) 233-MOVE.



Picking a Moving Date That’s Right For Your Needs

Picking a Moving Date That’s Right For Your Needs

Deciding when you’re going to move is stressful. There are so many factors to consider to come up with the perfect date and you want to make your move as easy as you can on everyone involved. With a move already putting a strain on your everyday life, it is important to pick the perfect moving day that suits all of your needs.

Here’s what you need to consider:

If You Have Kids

If you have kids you’ll want to consider when is best for them. Most kids find it more difficult to move in the middle of the school year because curriculums are unlikely to line up at both schools. The stress of starting school in the middle of the year with no friends can often be overwhelming and result in a lot of stress and low grades. Because of this, it is a good idea to move during the summer.

You may be eager to get going right after your child completes a grade but it is likely they don’t feel the same way. Give them a week or two to say goodbye to all their friends, in and out of the neighborhood, and to allow them to adapt to the idea of moving. If you want to move at the end of the summer, be sure that it is a few weeks before school starts back up for your kid. Give them some time to get acquainted with the new house and the people in the neighborhood before throwing them back into school.

Unfortunately, the almost universal desire to avoid breaking up a school year leads most families to prefer to pick a moving date during summer break, and this means…


If You’re Worried About Cost

The summer is the most costly time of the year to move because it’s the busiest. With most people moving in late May to early October, and the absolute busiest days at the end of June and July, the rush of people hiring moving trucks in the summer results in higher rates. There’s only so many moving companies and vehicles to hire and the demand pushes up prices.

The weekends are also an expensive time to move with most people trying to make the switch when they aren’t working. It is best to avoid the holidays when it comes to moving because any time off will result in an influx of people trying to hire companies. The most cost effective time of the year is likely to be late fall before Christmas and Hannukah and winter.

Don’t wait until the last minute to hire your moving company. If you really need a specific day, you are going to want to hire them weeks ahead of time to ensure that you get the day and the company you want.


If You’re Renting

Most people try to rent during spring and summer. This is when people get off of work and out of school so you have many college students leaving their apartments. This means that there will be a lot on the market during these busy months so you will have the most options.

However, with so many people looking for a place, it gives you less time to decide if you really want to rent. You will likely not have the time to negotiate a lower price so renting in the spring and summer will be the most expensive.

The winter can be a very good time to rent because fewer people have a desire to move in the cold. Renters will be eager to get their places under contract and therefore will be much more likely to negotiate a lower cost.


If You’re Worried About The Weather

The weather is a very big factor when considering when you want to move. If you don’t want to get caught in the rain or snow or are incredibly opposed to moving in the cold, then you will want to schedule your move for summer. If you have wooden or even some plastic items that are very important to you, special preparations may be needed to protect them from the elements.

Moving somewhere cold to somewhere warm and vice versa can damage some of your belongings if the temperature changes are very extreme, so consider a summer moving date when temperatures are more forgiving might be a good idea. However, you’ll want to take into account that, in addition to moving companies costing more because of the number of people hiring them in the summer, they will also charge more due to the extreme heat.


If You’re Worried About Traffic

While during the day on the weekends there are fewer people out and about, moving between Monday and Thursday will be your best bet. Not only will it save you money because it is during the week but, if you go at the right times, you can also avoid rush hour. The best time of day to move is early to late morning.

Although you may run into some morning traffic with people rushing to work if you leave early, it will also give you ample time to get where you’re going. Leaving mid to late morning will allow you to avoid morning traffic and rush hour so you’ll arrive at your destination faster and not have to deal with the frustration of traffic.


How to move your stove (and a few other big objects)

How to move your stove (and a few other big objects)

The first piece of advice on moving a stove, refrigerator, dishwasher, washing machine or dryer is don’t do it by yourself. Hiring a moving company is your best bet, especially for a gas stove which will need to be disconnected safely. But even if you don’t want professional help, you will still need at least one extra set of hands. These appliances are large objects that can hurt you if they fall over while you try to tip them or lift them by yourself.

Once the appliances are unplugged and disconnected, pull them away from the wall and clean them inside and out. Things that fill up with water like a dishwasher or washing machine should be left ajar for 24 hours to let any moisture dry. While you’re at it, make sure the path from the appliance to the trailer or truck is as clean as possible to avoid any slips or accidental sliding.

Use tape to secure all cords to the body of the appliance and hold any doors shut so they don’t flap open while you’re loading it. If there are any parts that can be removed, like the drawers of a refrigerator or oven racks, pull them out.

The most effective way to physically move the large appliance is with a special hand truck that is both wide enough to accommodate the machine and has a strap to secure it in place. Load the appliance onto the hand truck with the help of an assistant and tip it back so all the weight falls onto the wheels. If you encounter any stairs, make sure you have someone there to help you slowly and safely descend with your heavy load.

Another approach is to use a square of carpet to slide the appliance across a surface of plywood. You only need a few pieces of cardboard and some heavy lifting to move the appliance onto the upside-down carpet, but the wooly carpet surface will slide easily across the plywood. Once you come to the edge of your plywood surface, pick up the plywood from behind you and continue the path until you reach the loading vehicle.

If you don’t have a power lift like a hydraulic tailgate on your truck or trailer, you will need a ramp to load the appliance. A longer ramp is preferred to decrease the amount of strength needed. Once on board, strap the large appliance down to keep it upright during the journey.

If it’s heavy enough and you’re driving the truck, please remember that the additional mass will give the vehicle more momentum and reduce your stopping time. Once you arrive at the destination, be it a new home or a storage facility, simply repeat the steps in reverse and you’re done.

How to tip a mover like a pro

How to tip a mover like a pro

For most people, moving to a new home is an irregular experience. The average American moves about 11 times in their entire life, and because of that irregularity, it can be difficult to pick up all of the social customs and routine practices associate with moving. Compare that to more common activities like going to a restaurant or getting a haircut that people do over and over again. They have plenty of chances to learn how and when to tip at a coffee shop, but little when moving.

As a result, most people don’t know what to tip their movers, or even if they should tip at all.

Tipping is common in the moving world, but it is never mandatory. If you don’t like the service you received, don’t leave a tip and contact the company to make sure your message gets through. If the service was acceptable but not above and beyond, it’s entirely your call if you should tip or not.

Remember, it’s your gift as a sign of satisfaction. It is not a requirement.

If you decide you do want to tip, you should do so at the tail-end of the job when all the work has been completed. The standard for a local move is around 15% to 20% for the entire crew. Try to give it when they are all together as a group and if you don’t have small bills to divide up on the spot, don’t worry, they’ll be happy to break them up on their own.

If you are moving a few states away or even cross country, consider upping the tip. Remember that when the movers are tied up with your move, they can’t be working on another one. A long enough move could keep them from doing several small jobs in the local area, so try looking at it from their perspective.

Also consider punching up your tip a little if you threw some difficult tasks at them, such as moving a grand piano. If your hot tub arrived at your new home without a dent or scuff, dig a little deeper.

It’s also common to buy the crew food around lunchtime. Pizza is a common choice, so if you decide to go this route ask them if there’s any specific takeout food they’re hankering for, like Indian cuisine or Italian sandwiches.

Halloween is a great time to connect to the new neighbors

Halloween is a great time to connect to the new neighbors

Fewer and fewer people know the folks in their neighborhood today. If you want to be the exception and get to know the people who live near you, then Halloween is a great time to reach out and meet the neighbors.

If you just moved into a new neighborhood and would like an excuse to knock on the doors of a few neighbors you have a good opportunity. Your neighbors are the best source of information on how many trick-or-treaters to expect and how much candy to stock up on, and how elaborate the decorations can get. Try sharing something about your own Halloween experiences with them and a good conversation might follow.

Try going all-out on your yard decorations or even building a haunted house in your garage. This will help draw some positive attention from your neighbors and they may engage you in a conversation that leads to a friendship. Just don’t make your display audibly loud or include bright lights that may annoy your neighbors.

If you find that some of your neighbors don’t want to associate with you because of your tasteful Halloween display, well, those are the grumps you’d want to avoid anyway.

Consider holding a costume party on one of the nights near Halloween and inviting the people in your neighborhood. This will give you a good chance to meet people on your terms and a plausible reason to knock on doors to give out the invites. Just be careful that nothing valuable is on display in your home that can easily be stolen. If the weather is good it might be best to hold a gathering outdoors.

If you have kids of the right ages then tag along with them as they go trick-or-treating. You’ll get to see the neighborhood and meet all the people who live in it.

Today’s a different world and not enough people know who they live near, but with a little courage Halloween provides a lot of great opportunities to break the ice and meet the neighbors. That’s especially important when you’ve just moved into a new area, but it’s also helpful when you’ve lived in your current home for years and never found a chance to meet anyone nearby.