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Today is May 3

Paranormal Day

Haunted castles across the globe

Haunted buildings tend to garner more attention around Halloween. Some people believe in ghosts and haunted buildings while others feel apparitions are nothing more than a byproduct of superstitious imaginations running wild.

But even those who don’t subscribe to the idea that ghosts can linger on earth and haunt certain buildings no doubt enjoy a good story. The following castles are among the many buildings across the globe purported to be inhabited by spirits.

  • Predjama Castle, Slovenia: A cave castle situated in the middle of a cliff, Predjama Castle in Slovenia was once inhabited by the robber baron Erazem Lueger. After murdering a relative of Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III in 1483, Erazem managed to hole up and survive in the castle thanks to secret passageways in the cave that made it possible for him to secure food and other provisions. But Erazem was ultimately betrayed by one of his men, and legend has it he haunts the castle to this day.
  • Burg Eltz, Germany: Surrounded by the serene Eltz Forest, Burg Eltz has, somewhat incredibly, been owned and cared for by the same family for more than 800 years. Legend suggests it is haunted by Countess Agnes, who the legend states died while defending the castle from an unwanted suitor.
  • Chillingham Castle, England: Visitors to Chillingham Castle can visit its torture chamber, which includes a stretching rack, cages, a bed of nails and a spiked chair. A ghost tour of the castle teaches visitors about its extensive history of supposed paranormal activity.
  • Larnach Castle, New Zealand: Among the world’s more recently built castles, Larnach Castle was built in the 1880s to serve as the home of merchant and politician William Larnach. Legend suggests that Larnach’s daughter Kate, for whom he built the castle’s ballroom, has haunted the room since her death from typhoid at age 26. Larnach himself would ultimately commit suicide away from castle grounds.
  • Himeji Castle, Japan: Built in 1333, Himeji Castle is featured in various local legends. Among the most popular involves lost dishes. According to that legend, the character Okiku was falsely accused of losing dishes that were valuable to the family residing within Himeji Castle. That accusation would prove the undoing of Okiku, who was killed and thrown into a well, which Okiku haunts to this day.

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Raspberry Popover Day

1 Cup milk

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and divided

1 Tsp. grated fresh orange zest

1 Tsp. grated fresh lemon zest

1/2 Tsp. vanilla extract

1 Cup all-purpose flour

3 Tablespoons sugar

1/4 Tsp. salt

1 Package (6 ounces) Driscoll’s Raspberries

2 large eggs

1 large egg white

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Whisk together the eggs, egg white, milk, 1 tablespoon of the butter, orange zest, lemon zest and the vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a separate bowl. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until combined. Batter should be a little lumpy.

Place the popover pan in the oven and heat for 5 minutes. Remove the pan and carefully brush the cups with the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Divide the batter evenly among the 6 cups (about 1/3 of a cup per well). Sprinkle the raspberries over the batter (You can press a few into the batter if you need to).

Bake until the popovers are puffed and golden brown, about 28-30 minutes. Serve immediately.

For more recipes visit https://www.driscolls.com/.

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Sun Day

The benefits of choosing solar energy

Home improvement trends come and go. What’s popular among today’s homeowners may feel dated to prospective buyers a decade from now. But solar energy is one home improvement trend that does not figure to go the way of sunken living rooms or popcorn ceilings.

According to the Solar Energies Industry Association®, solar energy experienced a compound annual growth rate of more than 60 percent between 2006 and 2016. Solar energy has also done wonders to improve the employment rate. According to the Solar Foundation’s National Solar Jobs Census, in the United States there were more than 260,000 solar workers in 2016, an increase of 25 percent from the previous year. Things are equally rosy in Canada, where the Government of Canada reports installed capacity for solar thermal power has experienced a compound growth rate of nearly 14 percent since 2004.

The search for a renewable energy source has led many people to embrace solar energy, but there are many more reasons for homeowners to embrace going solar.

  • Return on investment: Many people considering solar energy for the first time may experience some sticker shock when they learn the cost of installing solar panels on their homes. But data from the EnergySage Solar Marketplace indicated that, in the first half of 2015, solar shoppers who compared their options achieved payback on their solar investments in 7.5 years. So in addition to the monthly savings on their utility bills, homeowners can expect to recoup their solar energy investments in a relatively short period of time.

 

  • Property value: Whether they plan to do so in the near or distant future, homeowners with an eye on selling their homes may be interested to learn that a recent study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab found that solar panels can significantly increase property value. The study analyzed the sales of more than 20,000 homes in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New York and Pennsylvania, suggesting the desire for solar energy among prospective buyers is not exclusive to a particular region of the country.

 

  • Energy independence: According to the U.S. Energy Administration, most of the energy consumed in the United States comes from fossil fuels like petroleum. The EIA also notes that, in 2016, the United States imported about 10.1 million barrels of petroleum per day. By embracing solar energy, Americans and citizens of any country that relies heavily on foreign oil imports, can take a big step toward increasing their energy independence.

 

The use of solar energy is on the rise, and there are many reasons for homeowners to embrace this increasingly popular energy source