All About Road Reflectors

Road reflectors are used to control traffic and encourage safe driving conditions. They are made from ceramic, plastic, and sometimes metal. They are also known as traffic delineators, raised pavement marks, road marks, cat's eyes, road studs, and Botts' dots. Botts' dots refer to round dots, usually 4 "-6", that do not have reflective lenses on them. Some types of road markers have a reflective lens that reflects the light from vehicle headlights.

Raised paving markers are used for a variety of purposes, and are especially important for making traffic lanes visible to drivers at night. The usage depends on the color, and colors have different meanings depending on the country.

Color Meanings in North America

  • Yellow / Amber: Used to mark the double lane in the center of roads with two way direction traffic. Also used to mark the left edge on one way streets.
  • White: Marks the right edge of the street or general lane divisions.
  • Blue: Marks fire hydrants.
  • Red: Used for restrictive markings such as "do not enter".

Installation Recommendations

Road reflectors can be installed by different methods depending on the level of traffic and type of climate. For temporary applications or areas with low to medium volume traffic, the easiest way to install is with a self adhesive butyl pad. For areas with more traffic or for a more permanent application, epoxy or bituminous adhesive is a better way to adhere the reflector to the asphalt. For regions with significant snowfall, there are reflectors that are specially designed to be used on roads frequented by snowplows. One of the best ways to install raised pavement marks is with a thermoplastic adhesive.

Other Uses

Road marks can be installed in specific patterns to create various traffic control solutions. When ceramic road reflectors are placed close together in rows, spanning the width of a road, they can form a traffic calming rumble strip. When assembled in the shape of a diamond, road reflectors can be used to design a HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane. Pedestrian crossing zones are also sometimes created with reflectors.

The Rise of Online LPN to RN Bridge Programs

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of Nursing provides the greatest number of jobs in the health care industry. It continues to be a highly regarded, unwavering, and yet very accommodating career opportunity for non-traditional college students who cope with employment and domestic commitments.

In 2006, the US Department of Education and Federal Student Aid reported that forty percent of all college students in the United States were above the age of 25, placing them in the category of the non-traditional student. Based on current economic hardships and increased unemployment rates it is highly probable that this number has amplified since that time. As a result, there is no better period than the present to pursue higher education in the field of nursing.

For most non-traditional nursing students, family obligations and financial necessities do not easily permit attendance in a conventional college setting; therefore, innovative learning opportunities become essential. Traditional nursing programs comprise a rigid schedule with time constraints, which drastically extinguishing the student's ability to attend to other important external commitments such as effectively taking care of the home, preparing meals, or meeting religious devotions. Additionally, the strenuous theory and clinical requirements monopolize the prime hours of the workday, preventing consistent employment. Uncompromising lecturing methods habitually neglect to acclimate to the various styles of learning used by diverse students. Sadly, these are only a small number of the types of barriers, which impedes the achievements of the non-traditional student.

Fortunately, current educational trends are acknowledging and eliminating countless hindrances to accommodate non-traditional adult students. The World Wide Web supplies immeasurable benefits for distance learning LPN to RN bridge programs, particularly in the specific areas of convenience, flexibility, accessibility and affordability.

Non-traditional learning conveniently provides the student security of being able to work at support their families financially while pursuing higher learning.

In most cases, the student is able to work from the comfort of their own homes, giving them optimum reassurance of consistently addressing domestic matters. With minimized time constraints, the student is able to adapt material to their particular learning style. Internet instruction is accessible from many different places at the student discretion. Additionally, it provides the students access to reputable colleges in different parts of the country without the hassle of relocating. The curtailed gas expenses are noticeable because the reduced need for commuting to different areas of the community. The excess cost of additional childcare needs during irregular instruction hours is obsolescent for single parent households, already in financial restrictions. The advantages of non-traditional learning opportunities are priceless.

What does this paradigm shift in education signify for the nursing profession?

It promotes an increase in availability of competent nurses on hand to provide adequate healthcare. It supports desirable relief for reducing the gap between the aging baby boomer population and the reportedly reported shortage of professional nurses. It also indicates a decrease in the number of nurses who succumb to leaving the practice in pursuit of higher learning. It reinforces the ability of medical facilities to aide their nursers in keeping abreast of new information and medical technologies that are available. It also eliminates much of the obstacles, which interfere with successful completion of an educational program.

Bottom line, online LPN to RN bridge programs are a practical option for self-disciplined adults actively seeking this gratifying occupation.

What Computer Hardware Grants Internet?

One may use a computer to create photos, make music, drawings, games. The list goes on and on. A computer is an amazing tool when used on its own; however, there is one utility that makes it extraordinary: the Internet.

And there is one device that can connect you to the Internet Service Providers that grant you access to the Internet: Modems.

What is a modem?
A Modem (Modulator-Demodulator) is a device that modulates an analog carrier signal to encode digital information, and also demodulates such a carrier signal to decode the transmitted information. The goal is to produce a signal that can be transmitted easily and decoded to reproduce the original digital data. These signals can be transferred over telephone lines.

Modem in Laymen's Terms
Basically what that means is, as long as you have a modem and an analog output from the wall that it can connect you to, you can attain Internet access very simply, just but calling an Internet Service Provider. There are many ISP's and they will hook you up with all this just by sending a service technician out.

One of the big reasons anyone owns a computer is the ability to access the Internet. The internet is a way to stay connected to anyone else who can access it, whether it is someone in the next room over or someone connected all the way across the world. A modem allows this resource available in the comfort of your own home.

What's Great about the Internet?
The Internet allows news to be broadcast and everyone to hear it. It allows you to communicate with friends, family, co-workers, and bosses. You may make a career out of the internet, post blogs such as this for others to read, create videos others can view, watch television or movies or listen to music. The possibilities are seamlessly endless.

The days of researching in the library for information are in the past and the future is communication over the Internet. All it takes is a simple search term in a web browser search engine and you can find loads of information on just about any topic you enter in. It really is one of the greatest resources of information as of today.

Connect Wirelessly
A modem can conjoin and connect with a device called a Router. These Routers allow access to the Internet Wirelessly, so long as any computer is fit with a Wireless Adapter (or Wireless Network Interface Card). These little gadgets fit promptly in your computer and use their built in antennas to communicate through microwaves, which are output from the routers.

If you have more than one computer in your household or business, you may want to invest in a Router to broadcast these microwaves to your other computers so if they are fit with a Wi-Fi adapter, they may access the internet from any location within radius. So long as this Router is connected to the Modem, the ability to access something so vast is a simple exercise.

Bottom Line
Modems allow the access to the Internet through Internet Service Providers, so long as there is some sort of connection to the computer and the Modem, whether it is directly connected, or whether there is a Router and Wi-Fi adapters involved. The Internet is filled with an intense amount of information, and it may become complex, but the more you utilize it, the easier it gets, much like anything else you do.

There is a lot more information on these devices and how to connect them and it can become quite involved. There should not be too much information though; just to get the gist of the significance of how Modems work and coordinate with making wireless connections should be enough. We will save these complexes for another time.

Characteristics and Qualities of Metal for Jewelry Making

When you want to make jewelry, sometimes the toughest part is deciding which metal you would like to use. I doesn’t necessarily come down to just the look of the material that you want to utilize but what you can do with it. There are very specific terms to give a jewelry maker a complete understanding of what they can and can not do with the chosen material, A jewelry maker must be familiar with the basic properties, characteristics, and inherent qualities of the various metals they use, which consists of malleability, ductility, tensile strength, fusibility, brittleness and elasticity.

Malleability is the quality that allows the metal to be worked easily by hammering or pressure without crumbling. Gold is considered to be the most malleable metal; silver second and copper third.

Ductility is the quality of a metal such as is inherent in gold, where one ounce of pure gold can be drawn into a fine wire that can be as long as fifty miles. Ductility and malleability are similar qualities, but malleable metals like lead, cannot not be drawn into wire.

Tensile strength is the degree of tenacity that enables a metal when worked to withstand longitudinal (up and down) stress without breaking. The tensile strength is measured by the minimum amount of the longitudinal stress required to snap the metal.

Fusibility refers to the capability of a metal to be combined with other metals to produce alloys, such as brass. All elements and alloys become liquids when heated at different temperatures and return to a solid state when cooled. Mercury is the one exception to this and remains liquid at room temperature. Mercury only becomes a solid when it reaches a temperature of minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brittleness is the opposite of ductility. This term indicates sudden breaking without warning. For the most part, very hard metals are usually brittle. The reason being is that they don’t “give” or are not “malleable”, hence giving no warning of when they are going to snap.

Elasticity is the ability of a metal to return to its original form when the force being applied to bend it is removed.

By understanding the characteristics of different metals, you will be able to better decide which materials to utilize when you start to make jewelry pieces. This will also lead you to have the ability to tackle more complicated jewelry designs. By doing so you can take your craft to the next level.

Defining Abstract Art

The term "abstract art" is like the term "modern music" in the sense that it is a very broad umbrella sheltering a wide variety of art. But like "abstract math," the general sense of the term is that it is the opposite of the concrete, or "realism." At one end of the continuum is a painting of a violin so perfectly rendered that we feel we could reach into the frame, pick up the instrument, and play it. At the other end is a canvas painted pure white or black all over. There is nothing in it to reach in and touch.

A simple, common definition of "abstract art" is "not realistic." Yet many artists who call their work abstract, actually do have a subject in mind when they paint. They take a figure or landscape and simplify it, exaggerate it, or stylize it in some way. They are not trying to imitate nature, but to use nature as a starting off point. Color, line, and form are more important to them than the details of the actual subject matter. They want to give a sense or feel for the subject rather than an exact replication.

Historically, the term "abstract" has been associated with a variety of art movements. The Cubism of Picasso, Braque and Cezanne was a geometric abstraction. In the United States, a group also known as the New York school of action painters was defined by critics as "abstract expressionists." Yet the individuals in this group varied greatly in their approaches. Jackson Pollock did overall drip paintings. Mark Rothko painted shimmering color field canvases based on a simple square pattern. Willem de Kooning did not abandon subject matter like the others, but abstained the female figure in much of his work.

Art that has no intentional beginnings in any subject matter is sometimes referred to as "non-objective," or "non-representative." A related term is "minimalism," or the tendency to take as much away from the painterly surface of the canvas as possible. A white square painted on a white background is an example of minimalism. The end result is not so much the point as the dunning it took to get there.

"Modern art" is another term commonly used to refer to abstract art, although originally this term was used to differentiate the experimenters of the twenty century from the traditional European painters and sculptors. Thus, "modern art" began over seventy years ago, and is no longer new. Many movements in art have come and gone since then. For example, "pop art" incorporates popular culture such as comics and movie stars. Well-known artists of this genre include Andy Warhol, who painted Campbell's soup cans and portraits of Marilyn Monroe; and Jasper Johns, who did a series of flag paintings.

"Contemporary art" is another one of those terms that covers a wide variety of art. The best definition of "contemporary" is the work of any living artist, although the term has also been used to mean art that you would hang in a contemporary home. This sense of contemporary is more like the term "modern," in that it means the opposite of "traditional." Thus, "contemporary art" is also sometimes used to mean "abstract art."

Another way to define the term "abstract art" is to enter it as a search term on Google or Yahoo and look at the results. There will be millions of them, providing that the term is used today to cover a vast amount of art. I use the term "abstract art" to define my own painting because I know that people who love my art tend to define it this way. They often find me by entering the term on Google. Others use the term "modern art" or "contemporary art" to find me.

So where does that leave us in our definition of abstract art? Like most definitions of art movements, the answer is complex. We can look at it historically from an art critic's perspective, or use it as the general public would, to mean something other than traditional realistic representation.

Copyright 2006 Lynne Taetzsch

Crystal Chandeliers – How to Make Them Really Sparkle

A crystal chandelier can add a touch of elegance to any room, wherever you place it in your foyer, over your dining table, in your bedroom, or even in your bathroom! Of course, to be sure that your chandelier retains this elegance, it is going to need to be kept clean. The difference between a gleaming crystal and a dusty crystal on a chandelier can great.

So, how do you go about cleaning a crystal chandelier? Here are some helpful tips:

For a quick clean, or if you are unable to take your chandelier down from the ceiling, start out by putting newspaper or towels or a drop cloth benefit it (there is not a reason to dirty the rest of your home just because you are cleaning one part of it!) You can then reach up with a long-handled feather duster and clean off as much as possible. Then go ahead and take a glass cleaner and spray your chandelier. In fact, feel free to drench your crystal chandelier with your glass cleaner. Then, simply let the everything drip off. Voila! Your crystal chandelier is sparkling and shiny again, with very little work.

Of course, while this is an excellent and easy way to clean your crystal chandelier, you may sometimes prefer a clean cleaning (at least once a year). Unfortunately, a deep cleaner does require some disassembly and a little bit of scrubbing. Here is how to go about it.

  1. Turn off the power. 
2. Gently and steadily remove your lamp from the fixtures. If you are at all worried about this step, be sure to have some extra help. Chandeliers can be very heavy, depending on their size. If you prefer to leave your chandelier attached, that is perfectly fine - just step up and remove the crystals as you need to clean them.
3. Take out all of the bulbs.
4. Protect your chandelier crystals by laying down a folded towel across the bottom of the sink, wash pan, or whichever basin you decide to use.
5. Fill up the basin with hot (but bearable) water and add soap or detergent of your choice.
6. Remove the crystals a few at a time and wash them in your soapy water, and then rinse them with hot water (you may even wish to have a hot water rinsing pan with a little ammonia in it).
7. Wipe them dry, and then immediately place them back onto your chandelier.
8. Do not take off all of the crystals at once! You may have trouble remembering their proper places on the chandelier. Just choose a place to start, and work methodically around that point.
9. Wipe off the arms of your chandelier with a non-sudsy cloth.
10. Wipe down the bulbs and then put them back into their sockets.

The difference between your pre-washed chandelier and your post-wash chandelier may surprise you. Sometimes it is hard to tell how dirty something is until you see it sparkling clean again.

What Are the Current Fashion Trends in Designer Eyeglass Wear?

Today's eyeglasses are as diverse and colorful as any fashion accessory and they can come in a variety of shapes colors and styles. Whether or not it was the advent of the soft contact lens that caused this evolution, one thing is for sure. People who have to pass up contacts to wear glasses do not have to worry about being fitted with unattractive frames – even bi-focal lenses have gotten an overhaul!

Gone are the boxy and unbecoming spectacles of yesteryear, replaced by frames that can compliment any face shape, with shapes sizes and hues for almost every occasion!

Aviator sunglasses

Once a male dominated territory, aviator sunglasses are now hip for women to wear too! Well known for their "wrap around" style, they were originally created to meet the needs of plane pilots in the 1920's. Now they come in a diverse range of shades and are even available by prescription. Modern aviators are even a bit sleeker than their ancestors, primarily because they no longer serve the primary need of being protective. This means that they can fit almost any facial frame.

Glasses for eveningwear

You can still be the belle of the ball and wear a pair of eye glasses. Sophisticated lenses can offer a sexy silhouette that will compliment velvet, satin, silk or lace. You may even be able to find a pair that matches a particular dress or accessories, for example, diamond studded frames can go along with diamond studded earrings and necklaces. The added appeal of wearing such glasses is that you will look both seductive and intelligent simultaneously – something that will turn heads. For men, such glasses could make them appear stately and distinguished.

Rhinestones and Funky colors

Glamor and sparkle can jazz up any outfit which is why eyeglasses that offer these accents are being bought up like hotcakes! These glasses are usually casuals and can be dressed up or down depending on the size and shape. If you are going to buy lenses that are funky or zany in style, do not spend a ton of money on them. Why? Well, you would hate to spend $ 300 dollars on a pair of corrective eyewear that you can only pull out with certain outfits. Fun decorative glasses should be inexpensive, unless you know you will be wearing them quite often.

Designer names and labels

Liz Claiborne, Gucci, Modo, Ray-Bans are among the many well known names on the designer eyewear market. Although bit on the pricier end, such designer eye glasses and lenses offer great comfort and classic style. When looking for eyeglasses make sure you put an emphasis on the "classic" aspect of your purchases. Trends can come and go and you would hate to pay a lot of money for something that goes out of style in less than a year.

No matter the style, the designer, or the trend, be sure that you locate and buy a pair of eyeglasses that fits your face. You do not want to walk around with a pair of glasses that is too big for you. This tends to make a person look a bit owlish. Likewise, a small spectacle on a large face just looks odd.

When in doubt, have your ophthalmologist help you try on frames until you are satisfied. You may find that the ones that look and feel the best are on the higher end price wise, but their purchase will be well worth it.

It was once said that boys do not make passes at girls who wear glasses. With today's choices, a lady can fashionably correct her vision in a way that makes this outdated sentiment a thing of the past!

How to Revive That Rusty Shovel Sitting in Your Garage

Do you have an old shovel sitting in your garage that has a beat up wood handle and looks like it has been sitting there for a hundred years? Is it a sturdy, heavy duty shovel? Was it an expensive shovel back in its day? Has it just suffered the effects of neglect? All of us probably have a tool like this in our garage. There is a way to get it back into shape and provide you with several more years of service. Why spend $ 50 buying a new shovel.

Below are some steps to bring back your favorite shovel to prime condition.

1. Wash the shovel down with water to remove all the caked on dirt.

2. You need to then remove all the rust. Take a wire brush or heavy grit sand paper and remove as mush rust as you can. It does not need to be perfect. Clamp you shovel into a vise to help keep it locked down.

3. Having a sharp tip will make the shovel easier to use. Put you shovel in a vise and take a file and remove the blunt edge on the end. You're not trying to make it razor sharp. Use a file to the shovel end or sharpen using a grinding wheel.

4. Use common household oil like 3-In-One oil and rub down all the metal on the shovel and let it sit and absorb into it. After some time, rub the excess off with a cloth.

5. Take some 120 or 150 grit sandpaper and sand down the handle. Buy some boiled linseed oil and apply multiple coats on the handle. Wipe off extra oil with a rag.

Of course, you can use this strategy on any tool in your garage. Do not throw away those old tools and buy new ones ever again.

Bodybuilding Tips For Your Leg Muscle

If you want to have a strong leg muscle, you should do some bodybuilding workout. As we know, leg muscle plays vital role in supporting your upper body. It is the foundation of your whole body. If you get a strong basement, you can do anything for ever. To build up your body, you should do some leg muscle workout. It is essential for your body building workouts.

Generally speaking, there are numbers of workouts for your leg muscles. As we know from our physiology study, there are three muscles in our legs. It includes calves, quadriceps and hamstrings.

It's a good way to do some exercises like squats to build up strong and powerful legs. You could place a weight on a barbell and squat down. It's good for you to rests the weight on your neck because it could avoid some damage risk. The trainer may tell you that this is the best method to increase leg muscle strength as far. Of course, it is indeed. There are also some other training methods for leg muscle. It includes leg extensions, dumbbell lunges and so on. However, the best method is as told squatting down with barbell.

It's time for you to build up your hamstrings. There are three essential methods for hamstrings workout. You may need a leg curl machine to do this workout. You should lay your legs and curls your face down on a leg curl machine and lift up by several times. It's really a good way to practice your hamstrings. On the other hand, you could practice your leg muscle with other method which called stiff legged dead lifts.

As for your calves muscle, you could build up your calves muscle by doing other bodybuilding workouts. The calves muscle is about your leaping abilities. You could practice your calves muscle in a simple and easy way. You could do some work by standing on your toes and then raising your body with your calves muscle.

It's very useful for those who want to have strong and powerful leg.

The Advantages of a Residential Elevator System

With increasing age, stairs become seemingly insurmountable hurdles. That is when the advantages from a residential elevator system come to light. Residential elevator systems make life easy and comfortable by providing a newly added freedom through better mobility between the floors. Residential elevators not only help people travel between floors easily but also carry stuff. Leading manufacturers provide affordable as well as high end models of residential elevators.

An elevator for every budget

Home elevators incorporated several advanced features to secure safe and reliable transportation. Many of the basic security features are offered at no additional cost. The more advanced luxury features, such customized and stone and glass interiors come with more expensive models that are generally installed in large mansions. The major security features of home elevators include door interlocks, emergency stop with alarm, backup batteries, telephone, one touch screen controls, etc. Besides having technically advanced safety features high end home elevators are also designed to enhance the beauty of residences, while the more affordable elevators generally suit any interiors. In short, there's an elevator for any budget.

Practical mobility solution

Leading manufacturers provide a number of advanced home elevators varying in design, system, and other parameters. Lev, Rise, Signet, Volant Gearless and Minivator are some of the reliable residential elevators from ThyssenKrupp Access. Savaria Concord provides popular residential elevators such as the Prolift SCL, Prolift Voyager, Infinity Luxury, Eclipse and the Telecab. Federal Elevator provides residential elevators such as the Renaissance and the Panorama to suit various requirements of modern residences. Each model includes various features and options, making residential elevators a practical solution for secure and comfortable floor-to-floor mobility.

The residential elevator enables the elderly and physically challenged members of your home to lead a normal life. Established suppliers offer many elevator models along with excellent installation and maintenance services to help you better experience the advantages from a residential elevator system.

Democracy on a Silver Plate

Democracy is like a good meal, a satisfying meal that makes you burp. If you feel happy with your meal it is most certainly that you want more of it. This good food makes you sit straight and get excited. A good meal is made of all the organic and quality raw ingredients. The taste of your food would be the most appetizing one, still this food should culturally be digestible.

It is not only preparing this meal, it is about serving it and it is about how people see this food being adequate to their desires of that day. One of the major points of going to a restaurant is that you are being served properly. Having your food in a nice plate makes the food look tastier, a silver plate, well; it gives the food more of a cultural value.

In contrast to how food on a silver plate can increase the value of the moment, democracy can not be served on such a plate. The all-you-can-eat version of this meal, if it is called Democracy has to be cooked accordingly to each nation taste and aptitudes. A real buffet gives you the option of choosing your own favorite meal. You can eat all you want if you desire. Still, you enjoy that food when the look and the taste are more congruent to your culturally based values.
A real problem is that when we have aptitude for food, but we do not have the good components or we do not know the art of mixing ingredients together. Another challenge is that when we tell people to cook the same food as we did. With all the best cook books and the instructions for how-to-cook your-own-food, sometimes our recipe is not correspondingly to the social context of the individuals.

We have to consider the right tools for our cooking instructions. What is significant is that a meal and the details around preparing that food, has to be established and rooted in a culture.

Democracy can not be served on a silver plate, nor will it taste good when it is not an internalized, familiar, and known taste.

We can not burp on an unfamiliar taste because we are not really evaluating that food. We digest a food and we enjoy it, when we have been part of providing for all aspects of preparation and completion of that food. We value things that we are part of creating it. This is our human nature, we are born to create our own food and destiny.

In every culture we use various spices and flavors. No one would enjoy a food that is not having the cultural appropriate texture, consistency, and nutritional properties. Once you are a good gardener and you raise your own vegetable, cooking your own food with your own ingredients is the most enjoyable activity.

In our new world and the new trend, we talk about healthy and nutritious food. It is possibly healthy to first learn to create your own unique recipe that can result in a good food based on your reality and expectations. This is the only way we can have appetite for Democracy as food.

Poran Poregbal
July 29, 2008
Vancouver, BC

Where To Buy Wood Stoves

Wood stoves are used for household cooking needs as well as for heating purposes. Wood stoves are available in various local stores and markets and consist of a variety of types, depending on their operating methods. The usage of wood stoves is very economical in this age of costy oil and gas fuels.

Wood stoves may vary depending on the kind of fuel used, the kind of material used for their manufacture and the different designs used for their making. Local furniture stores, household goods showrooms and antique stores are some popular place where a person can purchase a stove.

Different local stores have a variety of wood stoves available for sale. Customers can go and have a look at these wood stoves and check their functionality. These wood stoves come in many colors, shades and in beautiful designs. Customers can chose a qualified colored wood stove matching their home d├ęcor. It creates a perfect ambience in their house. Local and household stores often offer similar prices. Here, the buyer should visit various stores in order to get the best deal. Bargaining is also permitted at such stores, improving the chances of getting a better deal.

Another important place where customers can buy wood stoves are antique showrooms. These showrooms have a variety of antique pieces on sale. Many rare and old wood stoves also available at these stores. Although these wood stoves are priced slightly higher considering their rarity and uniqueness, the quality customers get from them is very remarkable.

Online stores are another popular shopping option. The spread of the Internet has made the world a smaller market and has enabled shoppers to choose the objects they desire from the convenience of their home or office. Online stores selling wood stoves have catalogs that display features and compare different stoves. They offer some of the best discounts possible and may even provide free shipping within a limited area.

Slow Cooker Method Ideal for Freezer Burned Flank Steak

When meat goes on sale I stock up for the weeks ahead. We have a chest freezer and food items at the bottom can be forgotten. The other day I found a flank steak, (a pricey cut of meat) and saw, to my dismay, that it had freezer burn.

What is freezer burn anyway? It happens after food has been frozen for a long time. Meat develops white spots and the texture and flavor are changed. In fact, red meat may look gray or pale brown. These discolored areas are dry and one of the best ways to cook the meat is with a method that adds moisture — braising or using a slow cooker.

Seeing dry, discolored meat may make you worry about food safety. Don’t worry. According to the USDA, freezer-urned meat is still safe to eat. One edge of the flank steak was burned, but it was such a small area that I left it alone. But the USDA recommends cutting away badly burned sections. “Heavily freezer-burned foods may have to be discarded for quality reasons,” notes the USDA.

Though I had stored the steak i a heavy plastic bag with a zipper closing, over time, it had still developed freezer burn. To add moisture, I decided to cook the steak in seasoned broth. I defrosted the steak in the microwave and cut it in half to fit in my slow cooker. (I have the smallest size.) As it cooks the steak shrinks a bit, so you need to keep this in mind when you plan your meal.

A few hours later, my husband and I were feasting on some of the tastiest steaks we have ever eaten. The slow cooker method will work with balltips, round steak, and other tougher cuts of meat. Usually flank steak is sliced across the grain. With the slow cooking method, however, you cut with the grain or shred the meat. Everyone in the family will enjoy this flavorful recipe.

Ingredients

1 flank steak (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds)

2 cups no-salt beef stock

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tomato, chopped

3-4 green onions, white and green parts, chopped

4 ounces mushrooms, sliced

1/4 cup gravy flour (approximate – you may need more)

Water

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepared mashed potatoes

Method

Place cooking bag in slow cooker. Stir ketchup into beef stock. Lay flank steak in cooker. Pour stock mixture over meat and scatter vegetables on top. Cover and cook on high setting for 3 1/2 hours on low or 5 hours on high setting. Remove meat and set on cutting board. Whisk water into flour to make a slurry, making sure there are no lumps. With cooker in high, stir slurry into liquid, and cook until sauce thickens. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Put lid back on slow cooker to keep sauce hot. Shred meat and lay on top of mashed potatoes. Top each serving with a generous amount of sauce. Serve with a green vegetable or salad. Makes 4 generous servings.

Copyright 2013 by Harriet Hodgson

Tips for Replacing A Deck Plank

Have a bad board / plank on your deck? Do not panic! It's easy to repair if you have the right tools and a little courage. There are several options depending on the amount of damage to the plank.

Before you buy new boards there are several options to consider. First, is your board just badly weathered but still sturdy or completely rotted? If it is not rotted, consider just taking the board up and flipping it over. You'll have a great looking board on the other side! (In fact, if you have the time, energy and inclination you can re-do an entire deck this way and end up with a deck that looks like new.) Secondly, if the damage is restricted to a small area, it is not necessary to replace the whole board but only the damaged section. This is a fast, easy and inexpensive repair. Take these factors into consideration, then measure the length of board you actually wish to replace.

You will also need the following tools: tape measure, pry bar, T square, pencil jig saw or keyhole saw, a wood chisel, drill, galvanized nails or screws and a nail set. Beware of nails and screws made in China! They bend and break very easily. You will need to have extra on hand. It is also easier to work with screws than nails.

The process for removing the board is more or less the same regardless of how much you are removing. If you are replacing a section of board, mark the section to be replaced to either side of a joist replace with a T square and pencil. Next, using your jig saw cut the board along the line. You may need to drill a hole in order to have enough space to begin your jig saw. Back the screws out with a power drill set on reverse or pry the board out with a pry bar. If it is badly rotted you may need to use your chisel and any means necessary to remove it. When removing an entire board it can be helpful to cut it into smaller sections before removing.

Cut your replacement board to fit the area being replaced and attach it to the existing joists using screws or nails. Place the nails / screws a bit below the surface using a nail set for the nails. If a joist is damaged or rotted you will need to reinforce it with a "sister board". To do this cut a section of 2 by (the size will depend on the existing joist size) several inches longer than the damaged section. Attach this board to the side of the existing joist to reinforce it. Then attach the new decking board to the new section of the joist.

If you are replacing a board that extends to the edge of the deck and hangs over a side joist, cut the board a few inches longer. After it is in place, trim the board to match existing.

To finish your project, sand any areas that may be uneven and apply decking stain or paint to match your existing deck.