Stack and Tilt – The Golf Swing of the Future

The Stack and Tilt golf swing has widely been acclaimed as the golf swing of the future. Many PGA tour players are adopting this swing mainly for the consistency it brings to their games. If PGA tour players are using this new swing, can it also help the recreational player?

The Stack and Tilt was developed by swing teachers Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett and is considered somewhat of a revolutionary golf swing that keeps your weight stacked over the ball for better ball contact.

The Stack and Tilt is based on simple concepts, but certainly deviates from conventional swing standards. The biggest difference between the two swings is weight shift. The conventional swing emphasizes a weight shift. The Stack and Tilt on the other hand, keeps the body over the ball and your weight stays on the front foot throughout the swing.

What does the Stack and Tilt swing bring to the table? As previously mentioned, consistency is the biggest benefit. Increased distance is another rave. A main component of this new swing is to "load up" on the left side. When you can fully load a shot and a good release follows, increased distance will be the result. Another aspect is a simpler golf swing with less moving parts. The conventional golf swing has been labeled complex and subsequently difficult to repeat.

So which PGA tour players made the switch to the Stack and Tilt? Aaron Baddeley and Mike Weir are two of the better known players to praise and change to the swing. Some others include Dean Wilson, Charlie Wi, and Eric Axley. But it certainly does not stop there. Many other tour players are beginning to see this as a swing that will bring a consistency to their games.

Recreational players can definitely benefit from this swing method. Simplifying the swing should be the goal of every golfer. Yes, it does introduce different mechanics to the swing. But a simpler, repeatable golf swing should in theory, be easier to learn and teach. If this can simply be another method of teaching the golf swing, it would become more widely accepted. Certainly not every golfer should go out and change their swing. Some golfers would benefit more than others from the Stack and Tilt while others would be better to learn the conventional swing. But allowing golfers to choose one method over another would in my opinion, provide a betterment for the game.

The Stack and Tilt swing definitely has a place in golf. Any golfer looking to add consistency and distance to their game, should seriously look at this swing method. It is certainly a swing of the future.

Smog and Acid Rain

Particularly for large metropolitan cities, smog and poor air quality is a pressing environmental problem. Smog primarily consists of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds chemically interacting with heat from sunlight forming ground level ozone. Smog is that familiar haze most commonly found surrounding large cities, particularly in the summer time. Smog and ground level ozone contribute to all kinds of respiratory problems ranging from temporary discomfort, asthma, to long-lasting, permanent lung damage. The pollutants in smog come from vehicle emissions, smokestack emissions, paints, and solvents – most of which started out as crude oil.

Much of the eastern United States is affected by another environmental problem known as acid rain. Acid rain can damage crops, forests, wildlife populations, and cause respiratory and other illnesses in humans. When sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides react with water vapor and other chemicals in the presence of sunlight, various acidic compounds form in the air and come to the earth as acid rain. The pollutants of acid rain are derived from coal fired power plants. Natural gas emits virtually no sulfur dioxide and up to 80 percent less nitrogen oxides than the combustion of coal. So the increased use of natural gas would provide for fewer acid rain causing emissions.

The source of energy to use for reducing pollution and maintaining a clean and healthy environment is natural gas. Natural gas is also domestically abundant making it a secure source of energy. The environmental benefits of using natural gas over other sources of energy, particularly other fossil fuels are numerous.

Since the use of natural gas emits only low levels of nitrogen oxides and virtually no particulate matter, it can be used to help combat smog formation in those areas where ground level air quality is poor. Electric utilities, motor vehicles, and industrial plants make up the main sources of nitrogen oxides. To combat smog production, especially in urban centers where it is needed the most, increased natural gas use in the electric generation sector, a shift to cleaner natural gas vehicles, and increased industrial natural gas use could all serve to improving the air quality. Summertime, when natural gas demand is at its lowest and smog problems are the greatest, would be a good time for industrial plants and electric generators to use natural gas to fuel their operations instead of using the more polluting fossil fuels. This would effectively reduce smog emissions resulting in clearer, healthier air around the urban centers.

A study conducted in 1995 by the Coalition for Gas-Based Environmental Solutions found that in the Northeast, smog and ozone-causing emissions could be reduced by 50 to 70 percent through the seasonal switching to natural gas.

Particulate emissions such as soot, ash, metals, and other airborne particles also cause the degradation of air quality in the United States. Natural gas emits virtually no particulates into the atmosphere. Emissions of particulates from natural gas combustion are 90 percent lower than from the combustion of oil, and 99 percent lower than burning coal. Increased natural gas use in place of other dirtier hydrocarbons can help to reduce particulate emissions in the United States.

Companies like Triple Diamond Energy Corporation are concerned about the levels of smog and acid rain. They look at increasing their supply of the more environmentally beneficial natural gas and to make it more accessible to the northeastern part of the United States.

Arc Welding Process in a Nutshell

There has been an increase in the affordability and availability of arc welders that most of the people have a welder of their own. Many hobbyists also own portable arc welders. Before purchasing an arc welder, you need to know the requirements and the product that best suit the needs. Basically arc welding is one of the strongest methods of joining metals. During the welding process, an electric current allows an electric arc to melt the two metal pieces. A strong and solid bond is formed when a filler material mixes with the two metals. This process is inexpensive and it may vary depending on the shielding and filler material.

It must be noted that intense heat is used in all arc welder methods. An electrode or welding wire dispenses the heat in most of the cases. Usually electrode is more preferred as it is comparatively to change them by popping them out of the electrode holders. However there are advantages with each welding processes. In shielded metal arc welding, a welding rode in an electronic holder would be used. Shielded metal arc welding is also called as stick welding and it the most common and portable arc welder. In SMAW welding, an electrode with a metal core would be used. The flux around the core melts with the pieces that you are working on and fuse the metals.

If you are planning to weld thin metals, use gas metal arc weldings (GMAW). During the gas metal arc welder process, a gaseous shield would be used around the melted metal. Generally carbon dioxide and oxygen are the common gases used in GMAW welding. Hence there is another name for the welding; metal inert gas welding or MIG welding. In gas tungsten arc weldings, you need to apply the arc between a tungsten electrode and the work pieces. Tungsten inert gas welding is otherwise known as TIG welding. One of the advantages of TIG welding is that it doesn’t always require the use of a filler material.

In flux core arc welding (FCAW), the welder fuses metal together with the arc welder. This is done by directing the high temperature arc between the filler metal electrode and the metals. In plasma arc welding (PAW), the metals are heated using a plasma gas from a torch and if necessary, additional shielding gas is used. If you want to produce fusion of metals, use submerged arc welding (SAW) process by heating metals between the arc and the work piece.

During any arc weldings process, the welder should take necessary precautions and wear protective clothing. Burns that is caused by the sparks while electric current enters the metal is the most common injury for welders. So the welder should wear protective clothing particularly wool clothing for safety. The light that the electrode produces is also dangerous as it emits significant amount of radiation. So it is necessary to wear a protective shield over the faces. Large quantity of heat is also produced when current passes into the metal. This heat generates fumes that can be hazardous. So welder should wear masks for protection.

Pros and Cons of Bow Hunting vs Rifle Hunting

Most rifle hunters say that bow hunters should rifle hunt while bow hunters say that rifle hunters should pick a bow. In the end do what makes you most happy and most comfortable.

1. Pros-Bow Hunting: Bow hunters definitely don’t have the crowd that rifle hunters have to deal with. Bow hunters rarely see anyone else and being surprised if they do happen upon another bow hunter. Your chances of seeing bigger and more animals increases by 3 times. During the bow season elk and mule deer tend to stay out longer during the morning and come out earlier in the evenings increasing your odds for success. Hunting with a bow requires skill on many levels therefore making it more rewarding in a bow hunters eyes. The weather is better during this season.

2. Cons-Bow Hunting: Bow hunting is difficult. Your percentage for success is much lower than a rifle hunter. Bow equipment is more expensive than a rifle equipment. It can be very frustrating at times, I’ve talked to bow hunters who have spent all day stalking a trophy buck only to get within 70 yards and have the deer catch wind of the hunter and they vanish like a fart in the wind.

1. Pros-Rifle Hunting: Shooting a rifle through a scope at long range is fun and can be challenging especially if you’ve got buck fever. Your success for harvesting an animal increases greatly because of the distance the rifle has that the bow doesn’t. Rifle hunting doesn’t take as much practice as a bow does. It’s cheaper and more people can enjoy and go rifle hunting. The leaves have fallen off the trees making it easier to see the game from longer distances.

2. Cons-Rifle Hunting: Lots of people. Last year I counted 50 trucks coming into the mountain where I was hunting mule deer. Luckily I was already sitting in my position when the rest of the hunters started up the hill. The weather can be horrible and nasty. Many hunters love the cold, snowy, freezing weather because it brings out the deer however some people beg to differ.

Clear Drainage – Cleaner Homes

Our home is perhaps one of our most precious possessions. But is it enough to boast of a beautifully decorated interior? Think again! The external look of our dwelling place appeals visually but what’s going on underneath the foundation is often much more important. The drainage system of any abode needs equal attention in order to provide sustainability and safety.

Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area.

A smart drainage solution is mandatory to dissipate surplus water both in farming lands and in residential areas. Untreated excess water abets the chances of erosion of the foundation, making the structure of your home unstable. On the other hand agricultural soil needs drainage to enhance production or to manage water supplies.

An underground drainage system comprises of pipes and storage tanks made from perforated wall modules to form the desired size and configuration. They are wrapped in a water permeable geotextile. The system is preferably buried in clean sand, whereby rainwater and runoff water is directed to flow through the water permeable geotextile.

Drainage can be either natural or artificial. Many areas have some natural drainage which means that excess water flows from the farmers’ fields to swamps or to lakes and rivers. Natural drainage, however, is often inadequate and artificial or man-made drainage is required.

Types of artificial drainage:

Surface drainage is the process of removal of excess water from the surface of the land. This is normally accomplished by shallow ditches which are also called open drains. The shallow ditches discharge into larger and deeper collector drains. In order to facilitate the flow of excess water towards the drains, the field is given an artificial slope by means of land grading.

Subsurface drainage is the removal of water from the root zone. It is accomplished by deep open drains or buried pipe drains. Excess water from the root zone flows into the deep open drains. The disadvantage of this type of subsurface drainage is that it makes the use of machinery difficult. Pipe drains are buried pipes with openings through which the soil water can enter. The pipes convey the water to a collector drain.

Drainage system that lies beneath your home works hard at all time to keep your abode prim and proper. Not only does it have to process water waste that is created by bathing and washing dishes, but it also handles sewage waste and outside water that is draining off your home. This is a tough set of responsibilities for the residential underground drainage system to handle so you might want to think proactively about keeping this system in working order.

Drain Cleaning: Tips to Avoid Major Clogs

It can be a source of great irritation and annoyance to constantly have to wait for a sink or tub to empty itself of water. If clogs get bad enough, the water may never dissipate. It's at that point that you have to either do something about it yourself or hire an expensive drain cleaning service. While it can be an overall boost to your plumbing system to have professionals come out and clean out your pipes, it is not something you want to do because you failed to adhere to some basic maintenance tips. Maintaining your plumbing does not need to be difficult or expensive. Here are some tips you can use to avoid major clogs.

Keep Your Stopper Clean

Most sinks and tubs are fitted with a metal stopper that allows you to stop the flow of water down the pipes when you need to do so. But these stoppers are also a common source of clogs. Hair and other forms of debris have a tendency to get wrapped around the plug and can prevent water from flowing freely. Examine your stopper every now and then and clean out some of this debris. Hair, especially, is a common source of problems.

Dispose of Your Grease Elsewhere

It's the easiest thing to do to just pour your grease right down the kitchen sink. Unfortunately, doing that on a regular basis can and will bring your pipes to a standstill. Grease will cool quickly and when it does, it turns into a white, congealed mess that will stick to the edges of your pipes. Most drain cleaning specialists will tell you that this is one of the most common problems they run into. Instead of pouring grease down the sink, pour it into a jar or can and throw it in the trash.

Use Your Hot Water

One thing many homeowners have found success with is getting into the habit of pouring hot water down the sink every week or so. For best results, actually boil some water on the stove so that it's hot enough to get rid of some of the stickier substances on the edges of your pipes. While this may not be enough to clear major clogs, doing it on a regular basis could prevent them from forming in the first place.

Avoid Chemicals

While more expensive, you may be better off hiring drain cleaning specialists than buying chemicals at the store for clogs. These chemicals work, but they also damage your pipes with their corrosive nature. Using them occasionally is not so bad, but if you're in the habit of using them often, you should contact a plumber.

All You Need to Know About Drills

Drills are most commonly used for construction and do-it-yourself projects. Drills can be used in wood and even metal. There are even specialized drills created for the medical industry and a variety of other uses. A drill is perhaps one of the most common household tools, and extremely easy to use. Their convenience cannot be argued, and a toolbox is not complete without a drill!

Most drills are handheld and are powered by electricity. There are some that are powered manually, or using compressed air, such as the auger. Drills that are powered using compressed air are called pneumatic drills. Drills with a strong percussive action are usually used in major construction for drilling through very hard materials. Some of these types of drills are jackhammers, pneumatic drills and hammer drills. There are even huge drills that are used to obtain oil or water from deep inside the earth. Oil rigs built in the ocean are centered around a huge drill.

Here are some examples of drills used for construction:

Diamond Drilling Rig:

The Diamond Drilling Rig has a powerful 3000 watt motor that is strong enough to tackle the biggest construction jobs. It can be used for chemical and mechanical anchoring and is useful for penetrating through floors and waste pipes. This drill is popularly used in the plumbing and fire industries.


The Earth Auger can be used for drilling holes into the ground and taking soil samples. Most Augers are equipped with a quick stop drill brake, which is convenient with such a rapid moving drill.

Rotary Hammer:

A rotary hammer is used for the heavy duty breaking and drilling of concrete and rock. It is normally powered by electricity. This machine only needs to be guided gently when breaking and drilling, and should never be leaned on. It is always advisable that when drilling large holes, you should use a smaller drill bit first as a pilot.

These are some of the drills that are used in construction, and vary greatly from your regular do-it-yourself at home drill. All these drills have very different drills bits, or heads, to each other. Drills bits are the type of metal head that you will fasten into your drill. Drill bits come in many different shapes and sizes, some are twisted, like for the Auger drill, and some are smooth with a flat head. Some look like very thick needles. The most common drill bit used for drills in the home is the masonry drill bit. The drill bit will vary according to the type of material it will drill into – this being wood, metal, tiles, plastic, stone and even glass. The type of drill bit used is very important, especially when using it on glass and tiles, as you will need a drill bit that will prevent the material from cracking whilst you are drilling into it.

The safety clothing you will need to wear when operating a drill varies. With most large drills used in construction, you will need to wear safety goggles, gloves, ear muffs and protective clothing. When using the drill at home you would probably not need to worry about wearing any protective clothing, unless you are drilling through wood. Sometimes the wood will emit dust and shavings, and it is advisable that you wear safety goggles or glasses to protect your eyes.

Timber Used in Woodturning

A woodturner will always try to use the most interesting and beautiful hardwood varieties for making wooden bowls. Some of the best turning timber cannot be bought, it has to be found.

Look out for timber with burrs or spalting, which can make specially attractive pieces. Burrs are the twiggy, lumpy growths sometimes found on the side of a tree. The wood here has very small, tightly packed knots, giving a very striking and complex figure, though very often with small cracks and fissures.

Spalted timber can have spectacular patterns, with dark lines and areas of different colour made by the harmless organisms that once grew in the log. Different kinds of spalting give different effects – sometimes single crisp black lines, or pairs of closely-spaced parallel lines wandering over the wood, sometimes a cloudy variation in colour without sharp boundaries. Spalt colours may include patches of chocolate brown, white, green, black, orange, red or yellow. Often the colours are clearly defined and separate. Because of the great variation even within one piece of selected turning timber, there can be considerable differences in appearance between two similar items made from that piece. Some timber may have small bark inclusions, where the wood has grown over part of the bark. Sometimes there are meandering tracks or holes, the evidence of past insect attack.

Garden trees often have coloured streaks in the wood caused by nails. The tree grows over the nails, which may be completely hidden in the middle of the log. They do not make the turning any easier. Depending on the species, the streaks may be black or purple.

Sometimes the wood has ripple figure – beautiful undulating grain that catches the light. It can appear almost as if you are looking beneath the surface, and as if the grain has somehow been folded, even though the polished surface is smooth and flat. The waves in the grain are real, and can be seen clearly when the log is split. Ripple can form where branches join, but occasionally the whole trunk is rippled. Sometimes, for example in sycamore, the ripples can be seen as small ridges on the surface of the bark of the standing tree.

Crotch figure forms where the trunk divides, or a large branch joins. Depending how the log is cut, there may be a single feathery line going across the bowl that is made from it, or a large area might be affected. Crotch figure can be spectacular and, like ripple, can shimmer as the light catches it.

All trees have heartwood in the centre of the trunk and sapwood under the bark. Often the two are similar, but sometimes there is a colour contrast, the sapwood usually being lighter. Laburnum, yew and whitebeam are species with a particularly strong contrast. Some species such as ash may have coloured streaks in the heartwood.

All these natural features can add interest and enhance the beauty of the wood and make it very suitable for decorative pieces. Such timber is fine for fruit bowls, but a wood bowl that is heavily spalted or burred or has bark inclusions is not recommended for moist food.

Sometimes, the turner will add colour, carving or other decoration to the finished item.

But good turning does not depend on colourful timber. Satisfying though it is to use highly decorative materials, many turners also enjoy using timbers such as holly or hornbeam, which may be pale in colour and without prominent grain. They give greater emphasis to the turned shape of the piece.

Green Picnic Table Options

If you are in the market for a picnic table, times have evolved past the day of the classic wooden picnic tables. Americans have become more concerned with the condition of our planet, and more people are "going green." A result of this trend is a rise in the popularity of recycled plastic picnic tables. Constructed from recycled milk jugs or other similar plastic containers, these tables are an environmentally friendly alternative to wood. Many plastic tables are built with "plastic lumber," which mimics the image of a wooden table, while others are created in brilliant, playful hues.

This plastic lumber is manufactured in several different ways. The most basic lumber is composed entirely of polyethylene. However, it is often combined with other resources to enhance certain attributes of the lumber. For example, when polyethylene is mixed with wood, it creates a better surface.

If filled with glass-fiber, plastic lumber becomes sturdier, while plastic lumber created from recovered thermoplastics is cheaper. Polyethylene can also be combined with rubber, concrete, steel, and many other materials to build recycled plastic picnic tables. As more people jump on the plastic picnic table bandwagon, a larger variety of choices have become available. Recycled plastic tables can now be found in the standard 6 'and 8' rectangles, as well more unusual shapes. These options include oval tables, pedestal tables, hexagonal tables, and round tables. The more demands increase as people discover the advantages of plastic picnic tables, the more designs, colors, and other choices you will find.

The main benefit of recycled tables is environmental. Plastic table manufacturers are recycling plastic containers that would usually be tossed in a landfill, instead of cutting down trees and producing extra lumber waste. The American government is hoping to reduce the amount of recyclable materials in rapidly expanding landfills, and reusing resources is one of the best ways to do accomplish this goal. By creating plastic recycled lumber, manufacturers are redirecting plastic from garbage dumps and using them in a brand new way. Also, recycled plastic picnic tables can be recycled once they are done being used.

Not only do these tables save lumber and recycle plastic, they also have serious economic rewards. Recycled plastic tables need far less attention than wood tables require. Plastic picnic tables do not rot, fracture, or splinter like wood does. Plastic does not require paint, sealants, or other preservatives. They also can handle harsh storms, and are bug-resistant. Plastic lumber bends more easily than actual wooden lumber, and therefore can be shaped in many different ways.

Although they are more expensive to purchase, Plastic picnic tables may cost more money at the get-go, but their lack of maintenance requirements and longer durability end up costing less in the long run. Recycled plastic is an important option to consider when purchasing a picnic table, whether for your family or your workplace. Environmentally, recycled plastic picnic tables reuse discarded plastic and prevent overfilling of landfills. They also eliminate unnecessary treated and untreated excess lumber. The benefits of plastic picnic tables are also financial. Although they cost more than wooden ones, if you spend the extra money now, you will eventually save money on maintenance and replacements if you purchase a recycled plastic picnic table in lieu of a standard wood table.

Advantages of Board Games

Board games, being considered as a source of leisure have been pushed ahead making them one of the most favorite games among the other modern ones. These games are worth playing mainly because they give you a reason to spend valuable time while you play on board with your family and are extremely beneficial to childhood development. This wonderful tool not only engages players but also reinforces learning.

The lessons that one learns from board games are sportsmanship, patience, perseverance and the typical ups and downs of life’s joys and troubles. For instance, in the game of Scrabble you develop vocabulary and spelling skills while quiz or trivia games can enhance your general knowledge on a variety of topics. Young children can practice counting as they move their game piece around the board. Some games target specific skills, like counting, color recognition, and sorting that are played on board. Playing these games also promote your logical skills as well as the coordination of hand and eye. You learn to interact and socialize with others, to share, and to take turns. These games encourage fine motor skills and also help in for large muscle development.

Games played on board create a competition of spirit, creativity and skill enabling you to share your knowledge of different subjects. While it presents a unique approach to learning, players travel into a totally different environment of fun, thrill and action during the whole exercise. A number of board games require you to memorize specific clues. These types of games not only improve memory, but allow you to develop memory strategies for a good academic career. Since most of these games involve two to six people, the sharp interaction with players allows you to spend quality time with your near and dear ones too.

One of the most important advantages of playing these games is the interaction and bonding that gets us closer to our families. Board games are a great way for family members to unwind their stress and challenge their minds. Enjoying these games also help children in practicing logical reasoning and strategy planning. Older children will usually enjoy more intricate games that are based on tough challenge. Games like checkers or Clue help children develop preparation skills and an understanding of tactic. These types of games also develop a number of areas of cognitive thinking as well as the importance of persistency.

While playing and having fun, children also practice such skills as counting, interpretation, awareness and dexterity. They learn about healthy competition, verbal communication and to focus their attention. The different skills people practice while playing these games are as numerous as the different types of available ones. Chess is one of the most researched board games. There have been numerous studies advertising the academic benefits of chess playing. It is proved that playing chess increases reading performance, arithmetic ability and IQ, also it is beneficial regardless of sex, socioeconomic class, or age. A study concluded “Chess develops a new form of thinking, and this exercise is what contributes to increase the intelligence quotient.” Recent researchers conclude that the success of chess is due to the growth of new brain connections.

Besides the above benefits, these games are relatively easily to design, extremely portable, and are less space occupying. They can be designed for more than one type of game and can also be customized in terms of length of time needed for playing. Board games are connecting, inspiring and challenging and form the right blend of skill, chance and knowledge for an enjoyable gaming experience.

Front Porch Painting On An Old House

Many homes feature a wood porch area at the front door, and on older homes it is usually covered in many layers of paint from years of maintenance. It takes certain methods to do a good job of porch painting, and you must treat and prepare the old paint well if you want a long lasting and appealing finish.

Most porches can be divided into four main components: the deck and steps, the railing and spindles, the posts or columns, and the overhang (which includes the ceiling and rest of the trim). Chances are the current paint is an oil-based product. This is likely just based on the age and how long its been since the porch was last painted. Another clue is that oil for floors is quite glossy, and it has a hard and smooth finish.

A porch needs to be clean to be re-painted, so it is advisable to power-wash, rather than clean by hand. This will be great for getting dirt out of the cracks between floor-boards, and also remove some of the loose paint.

The deck gets the most traffic so we want to prepare it well. The most important step is to scrape and scuff sand to remove any loose paint and get rid of the gloss. If you sand well, you may not need to prime depending on the floor paint you purchase, as many are self-priming. You want a dull, rough surface for the paint to “bite” into. You must also thoroughly clean and remove all sanding dust prior to painting the finish coat.

The railings and spindles will follow the same guidelines, but these are hard to scrape and sand, due to their shape and complexity. You need to devote extra time here and remove all the loose paint. Once that is done, a great tip is to fill gouges and depressions with a premium filling compound. This will conceal the uneven texture where paint was scraped off. Allow the filler to dry, then sand flush with the existing surface, and prime to seal the compound before painting.

Posts are a focal point so they should also be well prepared and filled to achieve an even finish. You can make good use of caulking by filling all cracks in the trim. Caulking can vastly improve the look of a painted beadboard ceiling by filling all the cracks. The caulking can be painted over directly after a few hours of drying.

It is important to paint your porch in the right order as well. Always work top to bottom and paint the upper areas completely before starting the deck and steps, so you don’t need to walk on them. Make sure to allow a good 24 hours of dry time before foot traffic.

Many paint manufacturers have a water-based “Porch and Floor” product which is designed for porch decks and can be used for the rest of the porch as well. Since oil paints are being phased out this is the best option, and will be easy to re-coat in the future. Remember that prep is the most important step in any painting project. Porches get a lot of wear and tear, so its all the more important to do it well.

Contractor Advertising

Contractor advertising requires a few foundational elements in order to be successful. These elements are message, methods, and consistency. Employing these principles into a contractor marketing plan will increase the number of bids and ultimately the number of new jobs.

Any contractor that has worked at his craft for a considerable time understands his limits. Some painters only perform interior jobs while others prefer the outside work. A few carpenters like to work on small repair and remodel jobs while others will focus on new construction. Regardless of the chosen field, the contractor has to identify the area of ​​his greatest strength. From this he can develop his message such as "Best interior painters west of the Mississippi".

Once the contractor has formed his message he then must decide how to broadcast that message. Radio ads, press releases, newspaper ads, websites, blogs and social media sites are just a few examples of how to reach out the prospective clients. Most experts suggest using multiple methods until it can be determined which form of advertising works best.

Finally, the contractor needs to be diligent in getting out the message. One radio ad will not bring a ton of new business. Nor will one press release or one mail out of postcards. Contractors need to have a contractor marketing calendar that lists which form of advertising will be used at different times of the year. And they need to stick with the calendar. Getting the message out and developing strong referrals will take time and these proactive efforts will help build up new business in the short run.

Potatoes – How to Cook Roast Potatoes

Roast potatoes are a treat when prepared correctly.

They should be golden crisp on the outside, with a soft creamy fluffy centre.

Take your pick from the techniques and recipes below to do them perfectly every time.

General Cooking tips for Roast potatoes

  • Choose the right potato. You need a ‘floury’ potato, and not a ‘waxy’ potato.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut them into evenly sized pieces. L:arge pieces are better than small. 2-3 inch chunks are perfect (5-7cm)
  • Pre heat the oven. Or If cooking a roast, add the potatoes during the last 40 minutes of cooking time.
  • Allow 40 minutes to 1 hour to cook
  • Oven temperature of 160 degrees C (320F) to 180 degrees C (356F) is perfect. No more than 200 degrees C.(392F)
  • Time the potatoes to be ready just before serving. They will lose their appeal if left to stand around too long

Choose the right fat to roast with

Never Roast Potatoes only in oil. The colour will be imperfect and the taste will be bland.

  • For perfect colour, use butter.
  • For taste, use dripping, bacon fat or lard.
  • For a luxurious roast potato use Duck fat or Goose Fat
  • For a Mediterranean feel, use Olive oil and butter
  • For great taste and colour use a combination of butter and the fat or dripping from the roast.

Method 1 – the fryer method

  1. Wash, peel, then re-wash the potatoes
  2. Cut into even sized pieces so they cook at the same rate
  3. Heat some clean vegetable or frying / cooking oil in a pot to deep frying temp (180 degrees C – 360F)
  4. Dry the potatoes off and ‘blanch’ in the deep fryer for 1 -2 minutes only. The oil should start bubbling briskly and frying straight away. If not much movement, it’s not hot enough. You DO NOT want any colour on the potatoes. You just want to give them a slight head-start and form a slight skin on the potatoes so they don’t stick in the oven
  5. Toss with melted butter, or a combination of butter/lard, butter/duck fat, butter/olive oil or butter/dripping.
  6. Season with salt, pepper, and put into the hot oven in a roasting pan, frying pan or baking dish. DO NOT overload the tray. It’s nice to have a dish that fits the quantity of potatoes. If they are stacked deep, only the outsides will crisp up. Cook at 170-180 degrees C (340-360F)
  7. After 15 minutes, remove from oven, toss them or turn them a bit, and re-baste / re-coat them with the butter in the bottom of the dish. This makes the crispy skin. Return to the oven
  8. Every 10 minutes, take from the oven and toss/turn and re-baste quickly, then return to the oven
  9. When the potatoes are golden brown and crispy on all sides, take a skewer or a paring knife or fork and try one. The outside should be crispy and golden, and the inside should be so soft, offering no resistance at all.
  10. Re-check seasoning and serve immediately.
  11. Season lightly with salt and pepper

Method 2 – the fast method

  1. Wash, peel, then re-wash the potatoes
  2. Cut into even sized pieces so they cook at the same rate
  3. Put the potatoes into a pot of cold water.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then simmer until almost cooked through. allow 15 minutes or a bit longer for large chunks, or 10-15 for medium. They should be ALMOST cooked, but not cooked enough to be fully done. They will need to finish in the oven and develop a crispy crust.
  5. Drain well. DO NOT run under water or cool down. Allow to drain in a colander, rack or sieve
  6. Brush with soft butter, or toss lightly with soft butter or hard butter cubes.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and put into the hot oven in a roasting pan, frying pan or baking dish. DO NOT overload the tray. It’s nice to have a dish that fits the quantity of potatoes. If they are stacked deep, only the outsides will crisp up. Cook at 170-180 degrees C (340-360F)
  8. After 15 minutes, remove from oven, toss them or turn them a bit, and re-baste / re-coat them with the butter in the bottom of the dish. This makes the crispy skin. Return to the oven
  9. Every 10 minutes, take from the oven and toss/turn and re-baste quickly, then return to the oven
  10. When the potatoes are golden brown and crispy on all sides, take a skewer or a paring knife or fork and try one. The outside should be crispy and golden, and the inside should be so soft, offering no resistance at all.
  11. Re-check seasoning and serve immediately.

Method 3 – The traditional method

  1. Wash, peel, then re-wash the potatoes
  2. Cut into even sized pieces so they cook at the same rate
  3. Add them into the roasting tray around your roast, which should have about 45 minutes to 1 hour left to roast.
  4. Baste them with the fat or dripping from your roast.
  5. A roast should cook at 150 to 170 degrees C to avoid too much shrinkage in the meat. This means it takes a little longer to cook the potatoes.
  6. Every 10-15 minutes, open the oven and baste the potatoes with fat or dripping from the roast.
  7. When they are crisp and golden on the outside and soft & fluffy on the inside, they’re ready

If you have any questions or feedback, please visit me on my website, chef-a-gogo listed below and drop me a comment.

I normally respond pretty quickly. I’d love your feedback, your success stories, or your problems to solve.

Enjoy your roasting.

Strain Relief Bushing: A Small But Essential Accessory

When your expensive electrical, electronic and communications equipment is connected up and you begin using it, you may find that the cabling undergoes high amounts of stretching, bending, twisting etc. which are known collectively as “strain.” In due course of time wires and cables get damaged due to abrasion and continuous flexing. To prevent such damage and also ensure the safety of your equipment, home or work-space, it’s essential to provide adequate strain-relief protection to your cables and wires. This accessory, which can provide such protection, is known as a strain relief bushing.

Cables and wires can bend, crack, split or break away from the plug or connector with repeated movement. The point where the wire/cable meets the connector is usually the point of highest strain and a device which can prevent such strain is to be attached at this spot.

Strain relief bushings are usually made of tough, heat and strain-resistant plastic or polyethylene material. They can be used to protect both round and flat wires. Since they absorb the strain felt at the connecting point, your power supply cable remains flexible and efficient.

The bushing holds the wires in place securely and can withstand bending, twisting and knotting of the cable, without passing the strain onto the connectors or the point where they meet the power source. If there are sharp surfaces or edges, the bushing prevents the wires or cables from getting damaged or split. Often cables can get strained or stretched when they are repeatedly pulled out of power sockets and the strain relief bushings can help to prevent such damage. Strain relief bushings can also have a locking facility to keep the cable in position.

Some manufacturers offer a kit with several bushes designed to fit various wire diameters and these may come with a list of specifications and also a pair of bushing pliers for easy assembly. Such bushings kits are also available for prototype designing and lab work in electronics and electrical design departments, educational institutions etc. and come with an array of different types of strain relief bushings for experimental work in laboratories.

Important factors to keep in mind while choosing the bushings are:

Wire/Cable type: whether round or flat type. The bushings for each one will differ. The thickness, gauge and dimensions of the wire are also important factors.

Function: How much strain do the wires or connectors have to take? The kind of strain should also be assessed, whether pulling, stretching, twisting or knotting. The panel thickness is also to be assessed before purchasing the bushings.

The Pros and Cons of Having a Ferret For a Pet

My ferrets “dook,” do the war dance, and “skitter” between my feet, and make my husband, kids, and I smile. For my family, ferrets are excellent pets. My husband thinks they’re better than dogs, and the whole lot of us prefer ferrets to cats. Ferrets are very different from cats and dogs, however.Their behavior, smell, motivations, and shape are all different from cats and dogs. They are classified as exotic pets, and it is important that you consider the pros and cons of ferret parenthood before adopting one of these wonderful weasels.

The differences between ferrets and other pets create the pros and cons of having a pet ferret

Intelligence: I hesitate to say that cats and dogs are smarter than ferrets, but I readily acknowledge that ferrets have a significantly different kind of intelligence. Ferrets are pretty good problem solvers. As an example, for Christmas one year, I put an apple in a stocking for my ferret. (The ferret liked to steal apples and hide them. He didn’t actually eat them.) The apple was just a tad smaller in diameter as the stocking. Ernie put his head in the stocking, grabbed the apple, and pulled. It didn’t work. After only two tries he crawled out of the stocking and got on top of it. He pushed the apple out.

Tenacity: Every ferret I have ever seen has been far more tenacious than the most dedicated cat or dog. Ferrets are intensely curious. They must know what is behind closed doors. They must know what is behind a barrier. They need to study the backside of a dishwasher and the inside of a sofa. If a ferret somehow manages to get in your pots and pans cabinet, don’t be surprised to find them later in with your silverware. This tenacity makes it difficult to “ferret proof” and make your house safe for your beloved pets.

Thievery: Dogs tend to steal shoes and socks as puppies, but they outgrow the behavior. Ferrets “steal” throughout their lives. If an object appeals to a ferret, it will snatch that object and hide it in their stash. Ferrets do not grow out of this–humans learn to put up their keys and shoes.

Diet (Input): While dogs are omnivores, ferrets are like cats. They are carnivores. In fact, ferrets are obligate carnivores and they eat meat and fat. Ferrets need ferret food, and ferret food is a little more expensive than cat food.

Output: Ferrets don’t bury their excrement in a litter box. Dogs are easily trained to go outside. Ferrets, on the other hand, generally do their business in corners. While they can be trained to use litter boxes, it’s rare to find a ferret that will walk to another room to use a litter box.

Names: Cats and dogs quickly learn their names and dogs are easily trained to come to their name. Few ferrets know their names. Only two of my ferrets know their names. A woman I know who has operated a ferret shelter for 18 years tells me she has only ever seen one ferret demonstrate knowledge of her name.

Which of these are pros and which are cons? Well, the answer to that question is different for each person.

Before you get a ferret for a pet, ask yourself the following questions.

  1. If your pet ferret steals your keys, is it cute? If your pet ferret steals your keys twenty times, is it still cute?
  2. Are you willing to re-arrange your house to ferret-proof it?
  3. Are you willing to deal with magnetic locks on your cabinets?
  4. Are you willing to get rid of your recliners?
  5. Do you get bent out of shape if the bottoms of your doors have scratch marks on them?
  6. Do you mind cleaning litter boxes?
  7. Do you mind cleaning up areas that aren’t the litter box?
  8. Can you get over a two-foot tall Plexiglas barrier?
  9. Do you have a sensitive nose?
  10. If you leave a glass out, will you mind if it gets tilted over and a nose in it?

It’s not all bad though. As yourself these questions too.

  1. Do you like watching curious animals?
  2. Do you like playing with your animals?
  3. Do you like pets that will play with you and play on their own?
  4. Do you like cute animals?

Ferrets are not for everyone, but they are wonderful for some people

Ferrets can seem chaotic at times, but once you get to know the species, they aren’t.

Are you still considering a pet ferret?

Please visit a ferret shelter close to you and talk with the shelter workers. Besides the fact that almost every ferret shelter is overflowing right now, the shelter people can help you understand a specific ferret’s personality. The shelter people also have a vested interested in doing what it takes to make your home the ferret’s forever home. The American Ferret Association and Ferret Life both have directories for ferret shelters.