Container Gardening – A Solution to Limited Space For Growing Plants

Due to rapid urbanization, spaces for gardening have been sacrificed. For gardening aficionados, limited space is not a problem. Gone are the days when gardening is only for landowners. Anyone can still have his dream garden even if he does not own large size of lots.

If you are resourceful and creative, you can use available spaces in your house such as patio, balcony, deck, or sunny window. You can do container gardening and grow several types of plants.

As the name implies, container gardening is growing plants in a container. This type of gardening is very easy to maintain and does not require regular mowing. With this type of plant growing, you can grow annuals, perennials, and small trees. You can also raise vegetables in a container.

Just like any other type of gardening, this also requires planning. First, you have to identify the variety of plants suited in your area and the amount of sunlight your house is receiving. Then you can choose the variety of plant you can grow.

It is recommended that you buy grown up plants at the nearest nursery in your local area. If you prefer to buy seedlings, you should have the proper conditions in your house for growing them. Never keep plants that are still tender outside if the temperature is below 45oF or in strong winds. You should not also let the plants exposed to frosts.

You should not worry about spending a lot of money in container gardening as it only requires a little budget when starting. In the long run, you will find it satisfying and rewarding. It has also a low maintenance as it requires little fertilizer and water depending on the needs of specific variety of plants. You can also use for planting any container with holes where water can drain out.

As mentioned earlier, you can also grow varieties of vegetables in this type of planting. If you can only provide the right amount of water and sunlight to your vegetable plants, you can get good harvests for your salad and for cooking.

You can make sure that the vegetables grown in your container garden and nurtured by your loving hands are fresher, healthier and sweeter compared to those being bought at the market.

If you do not have balcony or patio, you can still use your window plant boxes and do a modern type of container gardening. You do not need to discontinue gardening when frosts occur. You may grow plants that can withstand frost such as Mexican feather grass, Eulalia grasses, Lavender cottons, Cornflowers, Million bells, Jasmine, and many others.

If your plants cannot survive in other climate conditions, you can always replant to extend the life of your garden. You can always ask for advice from experienced gardeners as to what plant variety you can grow in your area. You can also go online and get ideas for container gardening. The Internet offers a wide range of information such as choosing for pots, tips on growing roses, succulents and other plants in containers.

Air Condition Company – Consider Reasons To Contact One

Whether you are considering getting an AC installed, or already have a unit, you may need the help of an air condition company. This is because this type of business can offer various services, including initial installation, repairs, and maintenance. Find out more about each service before deciding whether you may need it.

If you think it is finally time to get an air conditioner in your home, you should call a professional to install one. There are products that you can purchase and install on your own, but these are typically small, and only cool off one room. If you need to cool down your whole house, you should have an air condition company to put a central unit in your home. This is usually a complex task, so be sure to hire a particularly experienced business to do the job.

Perhaps you already have this kind of unit but want to keep it in the best shape possible. This is especially wise if you live in a hot area and could not deal with a sudden inability to use this product. An air condition company can make sure that it is working to the best of its ability, which can save you money on your utility bills since an efficient AC tends to use less energy. In addition, this kind of business can clean your ducts, which is important both for your health and the wellbeing of your AC. In fact, this should be done periodically, such as a few times per year if you use the unit often.

Of course, you should call an expert if your AC breaks, particularly in the middle of a hot summer. A broken system can make conditions uncomfortable, and may even lead to health problems if you live in an area that gets very hot. Thus, knowing where to turn for repairs is crucial, and getting them from a qualified business is also important. This will ensure that your unit gets fixed the first time around, eliminating repeat visits from companies that do not know what they are doing.

Clearly, anyone with an AC, as well as those considering getting one, can use the help of an air condition company at some point. You will need the contact information of an expert in order to quickly get assistance for anything related to this system. Therefore, it is helpful to begin researching local companies as soon as possible.

Black and Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter With Built-In Air Compressor

When you are looking for a wonderful add-on to your car then the Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor is the right thing. It works at 450 amps and you can immediately jump start without needing any other vehicle like you would have otherwise needed. This is the best as it has a built in ultra bright LED. This is the kind of work light that is needed for a roadside emergency and you can whip it out and use it instantly.

The Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor comes along with its very own dedicated built in 120 volt AC charger. This will enable you to be able to use the ordinary household extension cord when you want to recharge it.

Black & Decker VEC026BD Electromate 400 Jump-Starter with Built-In Air Compressor comes along with a reverse hook up that ensures that you go ahead and prevent any kind of damage that might occur to the vehicles or electronics when you use it. This offers you the right kind of security and safety so as to be able to make certain that you are able to use the product and yet safeguard the other things.

The best thing is that this product comes to you at a cost effective rate and also with a two year warranty. This give the buyer, the right amount of peace of mind to know that if anything were to go wrong they would be able to rectify it! This is a portable product as it weighs less than 25 pounds. There is a comprehensive user manual that explains all the things and the way to go about it. This will ensure that you are able to operate this starter compressor with the safest possibility. Therefore, with this product under your belt if your battery ever goes dead you need not worry as you will have a backup plan to fall back on. You will not have to go about hunting for someone to help you as you will be able to do it yourself. This will certainly go on to give you the right amount of empowerment.

It can be put to a multitude of uses as well. It is an extremely versatile product and can help you to inflate the tires and other sports equipment as well.

The next time you have a roadside emergency which can be possible at any point of time you will not be left wringing your hands in despair. All that you need to do is to remove the starter compressor and relax as it gets about doing its work. Once you are done with it you can recharge it easily and keep it ready for the next time that you want to use it. The plug in is really easy and simple and so is the operating of this product.

Memory Enhancement

When I first think of memory enhancement, I am thinking of recalling facts as needed, getting prepared for an exam, for example.

But these days my 62 year old brain is occasionally not pulling up the perfect word for the situation it is in, perhaps a counseling situation, or a teaching situation, which is worrisome, because counseling can be very much about subtle shadings of concepts and experiences.

So while there are professional concerns, I also have small children, a boy 11, and my daughter is 5. I do not want this recent word recall issue to impact my ability to be a father to them, so of course I am researching what is out there to enhance memory, and there is a lot more than there used to be, starting with this whole notion of brain fitness, and the   pillars  of brain fitness.

Some of this memory enhancement through brain fitness material is quite exciting.

What are Neurogenesis and Neuroplasticity?

When I was an undergraduate attempting to become the next memory enhancement superstar, no one knew that we grew new brain cells every day, which is called neurogenesis, and no one could describe how plastic the brain is, or how fast the neurons in your brain could form new connections.

That plasticity can occur within minutes of the brain being presented with new data.

However, neurogenesis and neuroplasticity are not guaranteed.

Even though the brain grows new neurons daily, and those new neurons migrate to the hippocampus, which is an important part of the memory apparatus, they are killed by stress hormones and by environmental poisons like booze.

Those new connections are not kept, nor are circuits in the brain which fall into disuse kept, because the brain is a very energy efficient organ, and will not burn fuel unnecessarily.

So it turns out that the best memory enhancement is brain fitness first, and if you are looking for an overview of what brain fitness is, then by all means read an excellent e-book called Brainfit for Life by Simon Evans,Ph.D. and Paul Burghardt,Ph.D, who are neuroscientists at the University of Michigan. They have culled the neuroscientific literature for tools that you and I can use to enhance memory, and they have left the jargon in the lab.

I can understand and consume the knowledge as a layperson.

 Pillars  of Brain Fitness

Evans and Burghardt say that brain fitness and memory enhancement require taking care of the  pillars  of brain fitness, which are physical activity/exercise, nutrition including omega 3 fatty acid and antioxidants, lots of good sleep, which is very important in memory consolidation, stress management, and novel learning experience, which means to the experts the kind of learning my brain gets when I learn a new language or a new musical instrument, or perhaps the kind of learning that happens with emerging computerized brain fitness programs.

Not sure about you, but I do not have time, even though I am closing in on retirement, to learn a new language or instrument, so I am looking to the computerized brain fitness programs to help with brain fitness, and if you like to read research, then I recommend the PNAS and IMPACT studies to get you going.

There are three computerized brain fitness programs that I have tried which have made a difference in my word recall issue, and a stress management program which teaches heart rate variability biofeedback that I recommend to my clients.

The nice thing about those tools is that they are convenient, easy to implement, fit within the brain fitness parameter, and are affordable. Evans and Burghardt discuss research about the dual n back task in their book, so I first looked for a program based on the dual n back task, and found a program which is by turns frustrating and addictive, and it will very rapidly teach you how fast your attention wanders, which impacts your memory. If I can pay attention longer I can keep move short term to long term memory if I want. This dual n back practice requires 1/2 hour for 19 days with maintenance practices as needed.

There is one nice side effect, which is increased I.Q. Not sure about you but bigger is better as far as I am concerned.

The next program, researched in the IMPACT study mentioned above, works wonders for Senior Citizens. That program exercises auditory circuits and on average helps Seniors recapture about 10 years of memory ability, so just like anything if we exercise it, we get more of it.

And the last program I tried and use frequently while I am online is an internet based program which I can boot up and practice on demand, since it can be of shorter duration, so it is great to use between clients, when I need to clear the synapses, so to speak.

Just remember, the computerized brain fitness programs work best with a brain that is getting brain fitness  pillar  attention.

How To Start Your Own Wine Collection

One of the joys in life is to experience “ah-ha” moments, when you realize something new. I had a food and wine “ah-ha” moment about thirty years ago, when I experienced a meal with a tremendous food and wine pairing. That dinner sparked a passion for wine that eventually led to owning a wine cellar. If you have the desire to begin cellaring wines, now is a perfect time to begin.

This subject will be discussed in two columns. This month’s column will review why it is a good time to collect wines, where to store your collection and some simple storage tips. Next month’s column will offer specific wine collection suggestions.

Why Store Wines

Having a selection of properly stored wines on hand allows you to have a good glass of wine to pour when friends and family stop by for conversation or dinner. Stocking a cross section of whites, reds and sparklers allows you to broaden your offerings to your guests.

Why Collect Now

There is a glut of wine in the market due to worldwide overproduction and a global recession. Quantity is up while demand is down, creating an overabundance of wine. Wineries have had to resort to slashing their prices to the traditional wine distributors and making excess inventory available at a reduced price to secondary outlets, like the discount internet sites. Because of these deep discounts and abundant supply, now is a great time to either add to an existing collection or begin collecting wine.

Where to Store Your Collection

Wine is sensitive to temperature and light and ideally needs to be stored in a cool, dark area. Your basement may offer a suitable place to house your wine collection, if there is a section that stays moderately cool year ’round. Wine bottle storage can range from expensive redwood or mahogany racking to cardboard boxes. For the least expensive storing option, simply gather some empty cardboard wine boxes from your local wine merchant and place the boxes on their sides on heavy duty plastic shelving. Instant wine cellar for less than $100! Wire lattice racking is another affordable alternative that can hold approximately 100 bottles per rack for about $100 plus shipping. More elaborate racking and refrigeration options are certainly available at a wide range of pricing.

For those of you without a basement, consider purchasing a refrigerated wine cooler. Main floor or bedroom closets may provide darkness but do not provide a low enough temperature for long term aging.

As a general rule, when stocking your “cellar,” place white wines on the top shelves and red wines on the bottom shelves. As cold air drops, the lower shelving is cooler, making it the better location to store your longer aging wines – which tend to be your red wines. White wines tend to be consumed at a younger age, so they may not need the best shelving location. Consult your wine merchant for advice on the long term cellar potential of the wine you are purchasing.

Simple Wine Storage Tips

Wine is a natural, living beverage that is sensitive to storage conditions. Properly stored wine not only maintains the wine’s quality at purchase, but can allow the wine’s aromas and flavors to gracefully evolve into a more complex and enjoyable beverage as it matures. Here are the key storage issues:

– Temperature: Wine ages more slowly at lower temperatures and more rapidly at higher temperatures. While wine is stored from 45 – 64 degrees, I believe it is best to keep wine in the mid-fifties range. As a point of reference, wine cellars in France are approximately 55 degrees, and are ideal for long-term aging.

– Humidity: A moderately humid (versus dry) environment helps the top of the cork from drying out. Storing a wine bottle on its side allows the bottom of the cork (inside the bottle) to remain moist and maintain a good seal.

– Light: Ultraviolet light is wine’s enemy. Wine is intentionally bottled in colored glass and stored in dark places, to protect this living beverage from light’s harmful rays.

– Vibration: Wine is best left undisturbed. Shaking a bottle agitates the wine and can adversely affect the flavor. For best results, give wine a few days to settle after the ride home from the wine store.

What Wines To Collect

People drink what they like and what they are familiar with, at price points with which they are comfortable. So, it would be only natural to keep on hand some of your favorites. Next month’s column will help you build your wine collection by providing suggestions of different varietals to stock, some affordable labels and general food pairings for these wines. See you next month.

How to Purchase a Non-Stick BBQ Grill Mat – Tips and Tricks

Non-stick BBQ grill mats have recently seen a big surge in popularity, which is not surprising since they do bring some real conveniences and advantages to the process of barbecuing.

What are they?

Basically BBQ grill mats are constructed from a fiberglass cloth, covered with a non-stick, heat-resistant coating of polytetrafluoroethylene, more commonly known as PTFE, which is currently the only non-stick cooking surface approved by the FDA.

It is important to note that the FDA allows PTFE-coated cooking utensils to be used only at temperatures below 500 degrees Fahrenheit. There are industrial applications in which PTFE can be exposed to temperatures up to 600 degrees for very short periods of time but that does not apply to food-grade products such as grill mats. Just so you know, PTFE will actually melt at 626 degrees Fahrenheit.

Gimmicks to avoid

Consequently, any ads you see for “Extra High Heat Mats” or “Military Grade High Heat Mats” or “Industrial Quality 600 degree Mats” are nothing more than advertising gimmicks. You never want to use any non-stick cookware above 500 degrees. For those of you who like to verify their sources, these restrictions are specified in the FDA regulations (EC) No.1935/2004 and (EC) No. 2023/2006.

In theory, then, all BBQ grill mats are basically the same – since they’re all made from identical materials. In practice, though, there are some important distinctions to be aware of when buying them.


The grill mats come in many different thicknesses. We have found that the ideal thickness is 2 mil. These are still thin enough to transfer heat quickly, but heavy enough to be long-lasting and durable.

Amount of PTFE

Another difference is the amount of PTFE coating on the fiberglass cloth. This is the most significant indicator of mat quality because it affects the durability of the mat, the surface quality and the ease of cleaning. Double-coated mats are generally sold as “Professional or Commercial Quality Mats,” and they are, indeed, a higher quality mat.

You can identify a professional mat because the tiny squares of fiberglass cloth are almost non-existent to both sight and touch. You can’t see them and you can’t feel them on the mat’s surface. On lower quality mats you can both feel and see the texture of the underlying fiberglass.

Mat size

Another consideration is the size of the mats. With mats, bigger is better because you can cut them down to any size you want. They generally come in a 13 inch width but the length varies from 13 inches up to about 17 inches, so look for the longer ones.

And that’s really it.

To summarize, when shopping for a non-stick BBQ grill mat, look for a large size, double-coated mat at least 2 mil thick. And avoid gimmicks that claim extra-heat resistance.

Carpet Finishes

Carpet finishes are not only important but also go a long way in determining how the carpet lasts. Finishes are of two types internal or external. The internal finishes are given in a way that they become a part of the fiber structure while the external ones alter the way the carpet looks, feels and its overall performance.

The finishes given to the carpets include

Flame retardants: Flame can destroy not only the carpet but the toxic fumes given off are extremely hazardous to health. Emission factors of a carpet including the flame spread and smoke factors should be given special attention during the purchase of the carpet. Lower the numbers better it is for the carpet. Flame retardant finish works on reducing flaming and charring and also the afterglow. Carpets at home are often exposed to flames or sparks from cigarettes, stoves or matches hence this finish is extremely important especially for homes with synthetic carpets.

Moth proofing: The first consideration while buying a wool carpet should be to check for moth proofing. Fibers of a wool carpet are very rich in protein making them susceptible to moth attacks. This finish is not meant for the synthetic carpets but it’s extremely required for the woolen ones, if the carpet is not moth proof then it should be kept very clean.

Anti-static Finish: Using an anti-static spray on the carpet can seem an option to you if you haven’t gone for one with this finish but the fact is that the sprays do not work well, they might pave way for the carpet to get more readily soiled and might also make it’s warranty void if you choose a brand which hasn’t been recommended by the manufacturers. Anti-static finish is required for all the carpet types as it reduces the chance of getting the electric shocks during the dry winter months, or other times of the year too. Also, a carpet devoid of this finish tends to get soiled far more easily hence make sure you check for this finish when you buy a carpet. Some finished needs to be applied again after a certain span of time as they loose their effect.

Stain/Soil resistant finishes: Another very important finish and about 90% of carpets do have it. This finish makes the carpet about 3-4 times more resistant towards soiling and staining. This finish makes the carpet fibers resist dirt by not allowing it to stick to the fibers. This finish is basically of two types, fluoro-chemicals and silicone, while the first one protect against both oil borne soils and water borne soils, the second treatment only makes the carpet resistant to watery soiling.

Fireplace Country Hearth Rugs – The Double Purpose Rugs

The fireplace became the center of home decorating revealing different personalities during its development as a luxurious accent of many homes. Since then, the popularity of fireplace country hearth rugs hit the rug markets. Fireplace country hearth rugs dramatically create a focal point in the fireplace area which defines space as well as creativity.

Many fireplaces feature gorgeous masonry and woodwork which already make it look beautiful and dramatic. Fireplace country hearth rugs should compliment everything, from the types of fireplace, furniture, and other room accents.

Hearth rugs are small throw rugs shaped often like half circles placed in front of hearths or fireplaces. These are made of treated wool with higher fire resistance and even allow burn out of fires. This is to ensure safety and prevent damages to wood floors or carpets during accidental sparks of fire from the fireplace. This is a new innovation changing the old ways of protecting the floors such as using strewing herbs for freshening airs, absorbing animal wastes and fallen foods, and keeping down bugs. But now, fireplaces are built up with brick or stone enclosures for preventing fires from hitting household flammables.

There are different variations of fireplace country hearth rugs you could choose from. The best place for shopping these products is on the internet. Just make sure that you compare prices, qualities, read reviews, and most of all shop from reputable online stores.

Fireplace Country Hearth Rugs are purchased purposely for protecting the entire wall carpeting, wood stained floorings, or area rugs from burns and singes usually associated with shattering fire logs which sends live coals within the surrounding areas. In case live coals accidentally hit the rugs, the portion that was singed can be brushed off leaving no trace of black marks. It keeps the area clean and beautiful.

Lime Pure Essential Oil

The  lime  tree is native to India. The Moors first introduced it to Europe. Then, in the sixteenth century, the Spanish explorers travelled across the Atlantic Ocean, bringing the  lime  tree to North America. The main reason the  lime  was brought on the boats was to help prevent scurvy, which we all know is a disease brought on by a serious deficiency in vitamin C.

The  lime  tree is a member of the Rutaceae family. The essential oil from the  lime  has a sweet, tangy scent. It is also used now medicinally to help enhance the nervous system. The oil also has antiseptic properties.

The therapeutic properties of  lime  pure essential oil are refreshing and uplifting. The main constituents in  lime  essential oil are limonene, bergapten, citral, camphene, and linalool. All of these substances are antiseptic and astringent. This allows  lime  essential oil to help with many conditions.

One of the external uses of  lime  pure essential oil is to help clear up pimples. All you need to do is take a cotton ball or cotton tip, and apply a mixture of one drop of  lime  essential oil and two tablespoons of witch hazel to the affected area. This mixture helps to preserve the protective layer of oil on the skin and will also help minimize scarring.

Another condition  lime  oil is know to assist with is opening up your bronchial tubes and helping with your breathing. Since  lime  essential oils is disinfecting and cleansing, it is an excellent addition to your bath, shower, or sauna. Just mix two drops each of  lime  oil, pine oil, and rosemary oil. Then add these to the water. It is this mixture of oils, which will help make the bronchial tubes stronger and fortified, opening them up and making it easier to breath. You can also use this same blend in a diffuser.

 Lime  pure essential oil is an excellent method of self-care and well-being. Aromatherapy is more than just breathing in scents. It is about achieving the perfect balance and harmony in ones life and it is the combination of certain scents, or oils, which help achieve this. Blend 2 ounces of safflower oil, 5 drops of  lime  pure essential oil, and 3 drops of orange pure essential oil, and then use this as a massage applied daily. This blend of oils will help improve the circulation and also help to keep your skin moisturized in the process.  Lime  oil can also be used to help relieve and cure a sore throat. Mix 1 teaspoon of cider vinegar, and 1 drop of  lime  oil in a glass of warm water and gargle with this mixture twice daily. Most essential oils are not meant to be taken internally, but there are a few of them where it is feasible.  Lime  oil is one of them. Really,  lime  oil is even added to soft drinks.

Safety Conditions

 Lime  is from the citrus family. It contains furo-coumarin, which makes it photosensitive. If you decide to use this on your skin, make sure not to go out in direct sunlight for at least 6 hours (some say 3 hours is long enough, but I recommend 6 hours). This will prevent the brownish spots from appearing on your skin.

As you can see,  lime  pure essential oil is an excellent antiseptic oil. It has been used for many conditions, from breathing, to acne, and just for self-care and well-being. With its pleasantly citrus scent, it is a must for everyday well-being.

Common Types of a Basement Bar Design

When given much attention, your basement can become one of the favorite rooms in your house. Basements make great recreational and entertainment spaces. If this is what you have been planning for your basement, this article is for you.

You might want to start with a basement bar design that is most appropriate for your basement. There are so many you could find. Below is a list of bar descriptions that are commonly used in households:

1. Straight-Bar Design. As its name implies, this basement bar design is the simplest of all. It looks similar to a front desk in hotel lobbies. The difference is its features and functionality. Like a typical bar, it has a little space for the sink on top, a foot rest on the stool side, a gutter area where you mix the drinks, an arm rail, and a space for the cooler or ref. The width for this type of bar can vary from 6 feet (or less) and up to 10 or maybe more. Make sure that when designing, you have investigated the measurements properly.

2. L-Shaped Bar. This is a basement bar design that is shaped like the letter L. There is no difference in the materials used and its features are the same as the standard straight bar. Simply put, the big notable difference is its design. Your friends can also enjoy a better conversation while sitting in this bar because the distance from other seats is closer. Again the measurements vary depending on the size of your basement but usually the lengths are symmetrical.

3. A Keggar Bar Design. This bar is very popularly used. Its design is shaped like two L-shaped bars joint with the straight type in the middle. Viewing from the top, it usually looks like a one-third of a square is cut and used. This basement bar design accommodates a perfect space for the refrigerator and a beer keg. Hence its name.

4. The Monster Bar. This is a very huge bar that can accommodate plenty of seats, a big space for the drinking area, equipped with a keg and beer gutter and all other basic bar features. Think of this basement bar design as a combination of the L-shaped and the Keggar but a lot bigger. A monster bar can also be designed in the shape of a letter U.

5. A Portable Bar Design. If you plan to bring your basement bar elsewhere in you home, this type could be what you want. Basement bars are usually huge and sturdy so weight can be a major concern. And considering that basements have low head room clearance, you may have some difficulty in moving a bar. The portable bar can be disassembled. This is what makes it unique. Probably the latest innovation in the basement bar design industry.

Of course, there are more designs for you to choose from. There are no limits to a basement bar design. You could even design a unique one yourself. You just have to know the common features in a bar, its functionality and usability, compartments, etc. What makes a basement bar enjoyable aside from the drinks is the good conversation with your friends. Align your designing in the light. Whether you are buying or building one, having this as a guide will surely give your home basement a pleasing and friendly atmosphere.

Your Cockatiel’s Body and How it Works

Cockatiels are hardy birds and rarely get sick. Even if they do, it can sometimes be difficult to tell, as they continue to act normally. But with a little education, early detection and good care, the odds for recovery are great.

The cockatiel’s body is similar to any mammals body. Cockatiels and mammals both have skin, skeletons, respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular, excretory and nervous systems, as well as sensory organs. Let us take a brief look at how these systems work together.

The cockatiel’s skin is difficult to see under all the feathers, but if you part the feathers gently, you will see a thin almost translucent skin beneath. Birds don’t have sweat glands, so they have to cool themselves off by holding their wings slightly open and holding the beak open. Make sure never to leave your cockatiel in the heat of the sun, as they can overheat very quickly, and if he gets heat stroke will require veterinary care.

Birds are the only animals that have feathers. Feathers serve many purposes. They help birds to fly, keep them warm, attract the attention of potential mates, and birds also use their feathers to scare away predators. A cockatiel has between 5 000 and 6 000 feathers on its body. Cockatiels have different types of feathers – contour feathers, down feathers, semi plume feathers and flight feathers. Cockatiels keep their feathers looking good by spending a great deal of time fluffing themselves out and preening. If you cockatiel looks as though she is picking on the base of his feathers, he is actually removing oil from the preen gland and spreading it down his feathers.

Birds have bones, but did you know that some bird bones are hollow. This aids in making the bird lighter to enable it to fly. Cockatiels also have air sacks in some of their bones for more buoyancy in flight. Parrots also have ten neck vertebrae in comparison to a humans seven. This enables a parrot to turn its head 180 degrees. This enables cockatiels to spot food or predators in the wild.

The cockatiel has a very efficient respiratory and cardiovascular system. The cockatiels digestive system is very effective in making fuel from it’s food. The cockatiel’s body temperature is higher than a humans. It’s digestion begins with a highly effective beak that breaks down tough seeds like little nut crackers. A cockatiel doesn’t have saliva to break down the food as we do and the majority of the digestive juices are found in its crop. Unlike mammals birds do not have a bladder or urethra.

The cockatiel’s sense of taste is not good, and they taste food on the roof of their mouths and not on the tongues. Cockatiels have excellent vision and see color. They cannot rotate their eyes, but do have necks that help to give them all round vision. The sense of hearing is good, but they cannot hear very high or very low pitched tones as well as humans do. A cockatiel’s sense of smell is not well developed, but they have a good sense of touch using their beaks and feet for this purpose.

For more on how the cockatiel is made up, visit:

Slime Recipe Favorites


2 Cups Water

1/2 Cup Cornstarch

Food Coloring

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add cornstarch, then food coloring while stirring constantly. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. This makes a messy slime that goes from liquid to solid, and is great fun to play with.



1/4 cup White Glue

1 1/4 cup Water, divided

1 tbsp. Borax – found in the laundry detergent aisle of your grocery store

Food Coloring

Borax is available in the laundry section of your local grocery store. Add 1 tbsp. Borax to one cup of warm water. Stir until completely dissolved.

Make a 50% water 50% white glue solution. Take 1/4 cup of each and mix thoroughly.

In a ziploc bag, add equal parts of the borax solution to equal parts of the glue solution. (Half cup of each will make a cup of slime.)

Add a couple drops of food coloring. Seal bag and knead the mixture.

If slime is too sticky, add a little more borax. If slime is too slippery, add a little more white glue solution.


Less rubbery & more transparent slime: Try a 4% solution of polyvinyl alcohol instead of the glue mixture

Different Consistencies: Add shaving cream or baby powder to the mixture.

Glow in the Dark Slime: Add several drops of glow-in-the-dark paint during mixing.



1 tbsp. White Glue

½ tsp. Epsom Salts

½ tsp. Water

In small cup, put ½ tsp. Epsom salt and ½ tsp water. Stir till salt is all or mostly dissolved. Add one tbsp. Glue to another small cup. Add Epsom salt water to the glue and stir. When  putty  has formed, experiment with it on waxed paper. Store in Ziploc bag.



Store in a ziploc bag in the refrigerator for maximum life.

A few drops of Lysol can be added to the Slime to minimize formation of mold and extend the lifetime of the Slime.

Wash hands before using slime to minimize mold growth as well.

Keep off carpets and furniture as it can stain.

Borax is toxic in large doses, so keep out of reach of children under 3.

Trapped Inside a Cabin in the Snow

What makes for the best suspense novel and a riveting mystery drama? A master like Stephen King has been dazzling readers for decades with his uncanny ability to keep them glued to his stories. But what are the real secrets to creating suspense and tension?

I think that it starts with characters who are put into situations of uncertainty. I want to really get to know a character and imagine the nightmare situation he or she is in, so that I can feel the same sense of fear and desperation. When I can relate with someone who has to deal with and overcome insurmountable odds, it’s scary. I often ask myself what I would do if I was in the same situation.

In his book “The Shining,” King builds a story of a woman who is isolated, trapped, and in fear for her life. He also connects the reader with the character of her husband, who is slowly driven into madness. The story becomes a game of survival where the wife has to protect herself and her young child from his own father. I felt the morbid fear that this woman had and her complete sense of desperation, at the same time believing in the man’s total disconnection from reality.

The other key component of the best suspense novels are plot twists that are unforeseen and completely stun the reader. I don’t want a story to be predictable. I would rather be left guessing as to what will happen and reading from the edge of my seat. The best suspense writers use our intuition against us so that what we think will happen in a story is far from the truth and what actually does happen amazes and yet convinces us.

In my debut thriller novel, I use King as a model for story telling that brings the reader inside the mind of the lead character. I create a greedy, sociopathic woman who has a diabolical plan to murder her wealthy husband. She has crafted every detail so that when his car crashes over the mountainside in Colorado during a snowstorm, it will seem like an accident.

But when her husband’s body is not found in the car and he goes missing, the once fearless murderer and heartless hunter becomes the helpless prey. Trapped inside an isolated cabin in the snow, this woman takes the reader with her in her descent into madness. Could her seemingly innocent husband really have known all along about her plan to murder him, and plotted a revenge even more sinister? The reader will be left hanging, guessing, and using every ounce of their imagination. This is a story where nothing is quite as it seems and everything is uncertain until the final chapter. If you like riveting suspense and a true challenge of the mind, then this novel is for you.

Fencing Lessons – The Warm Up Lesson

The Warm Up Lesson brings the student to the peak of readiness for combat at either the start of competition or at successive points within a competition when an extended break in  fencing  activity has occurred (for example, between the pool and direct elimination rounds). The warm up lesson is tailored to the individual needs of the fencer and may address physical, technical, psychological, or tactical readiness or any combination of these factors.

Generally the optimum length for a warm up lesson is 10-15 minutes, delivered before the start of the pool round and direct elimination bouts. However, this may be adjusted based on the flow of the competition. Well managed large competitions normally have only a minimal delay between the pool and direct elimination rounds, and very little delay between individual direct elimination bouts.

In general, the warm up lesson should focus on preparing actions the fencer knows well and can use effectively in competition. This is not the time to try to teach the fencer new techniques. However, it also may be important to use the warm up to prepare tactics and techniques for a specific known opponent or to regain confidence in an action with which the fencer has had difficulty in a previous bout.

Because warm up lessons address a variety of factors, the content of the lesson must address the specific need, but at the same time it cannot inhibit those components of readiness which it does not address. The warm up lesson has to address:

(1) Confidence building – the warm up should build the fencer’s confidence in his or her ability to win. The Master should do nothing to cause the fencer to lose confidence in the ability to execute actions on the piste. Actions presented should be ones the fencer knows and is likely to be able to execute under combat conditions. Imperfect performance should be guided to better performance, not chastised. The Master must focus on pulling the best performance out of the student. This requires movement from simple to complex, slow to fast, easy to difficult. If a student makes a mistake or is unable to perform a movement quickly enough, the Master must immediately adjust to a level at which the student can perform. Success by the fencer is critical to confidence in techniques and tactics.

(2) Management of excitation – some fencers become overly excited, whether physically or psychologically, in preparation for competition. The highly excited fencer may have difficulty concentrating on the tactical problem of the bout. The physically overly excited student may actually lose fine motor control and have difficulties such as locking up the arm, over-lunging, or being unable to recover to guard. These fencers pose a difficult problem because the lesson must simultaneously reduce stress and increase performance. In this case it may help to do the warm up at a slower than normal pace, with an emphasis on relaxed, controlled movement. On the other hand, some fencers may be too calm and may require a warm-up that increases the level of excitation.

(3) No new material – a warm up lesson is not a teaching lesson. The Master should be preparing the fencer to execute actions which the fencer has already mastered, not introducing new actions in which the fencer will not have sufficient time to gain proficiency.

(4) Endurance – the warm up should not reduce the overall energy reserves of the fencer so that he or she will fade in the midst of the competition. Fencers who are in relatively poor physical condition should not be challenged at a level that will expend their capability before the  fencing  starts. On the other hand, highly conditioned fencers should be worked to activate that level of conditioning in the context of their best game.

(5) Phase of competition – warm up lessons at a competition are not single events, but rather a continuum of lessons delivered prior to the pool round and subsequently during breaks and delays. Each warm up lesson expends some energy, and therefore they must be managed so as to not expend energy needed for combat in the bouts. The initial warm up prepares the fencer to the level needed to gain the desired placing from the pool round. Subsequent warm ups may have to deal with the excitation and crash cycle inherent in pool to direct elimination transitions, especially in poorly managed competitions or those with long delays because of inadequate numbers of strips and officials.

Although the technical and training lessons typically receive more attention, the warm up lesson may actually be the most difficult lesson to give. The Master must balance the state of the competition, the fencer’s physical and psychological readiness, and the need for immediate result to send the fencer out on the strip with the right level of fighting spirit to gain victories. The warm up lesson becomes the culmination of all the lessons taught, and the Master must make that culmination a success.

Garden Fencing

I made my very first garden when I was six in a small corner at the end of my grandmother’s garden. It was a small patch, not more than six rows by 10 plants long, but it was MINE, with the flowers I picked and the dirt that I dug. And I knew that it was mine when Nana helped me put up the sections of wire  fencing  that set it off from HER garden.

Garden  fencing  can serve many purposes, but one of the best is to accent and define areas of your garden. Whether you choose a six or twelve inch high border edging, or stand a section of post and rail garden  fencing  in the center of a sweep of lawn, garden  fencing  can add a beautiful accent to your landscaping. Take a look at some novel, unusual ways to use garden  fencing  to make your garden a showplace that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Wood Garden  Fencing 

Wood lattice makes attractive garden  fencing  that affords some privacy while allowing glimpses of the garden. Lattice boards set into a wooden privacy  fence  add a whole new design dimension to the frontage of your garden. A single width of lattice  fencing  can provide a screen or windbreak, and support for any climbing vines. Set a lattice panel at the edge of the garden nearest the house and train morning glories to climb it to provide a scenery wall outside a kitchen or bedroom window, or create a simple arbor with two full height lattice panels set six to eight feet apart. Use thick garden twine to create a ‘bridge’ for vines to climb across and form a living ‘roof’.

Border Edging Garden  Fencing 

Border edging is another extremely versatile garden  fencing  option. Think outside the perimeter. You can use wire garden  fencing  to create smaller accents within a garden plot, or outline one corner or end of a garden with cast iron border edging. Cedar shakes or redwood blocks can be used to create curved borders for slightly raised garden beds, or serve as a backdrop over which to spill indigo lobelia or white alyssum. Create a zigzag border of decorative low picket garden  fencing  and plant zinnias or marigolds in the V-shaped ‘teeth’ for a unique look.

Patio Wall of Garden  Fencing 

Garden  fencing  can be used to create a beautiful background for patio dining. Choose a metal trellis and install it just off the patio edge behind the table and dining set. Twine climbing roses up over it to create an accent that defines the edge of the patio and creates an elegant, tasteful accent to your patio and garden at the same time.