Mosaics In Roman Baths

To say that the ancient Romans were obsessed with bathing would not be a great exaggeration. At it's heyday, around 100 AD, the city of Rome had over 30 public baths and a host of private establishments. Rome was extremely well watered, with eleven great aqueducts bringing a huge amount of water into the city – some estimates give a figure as high as 1000 liters per day per person (about four times as much water as a modern American would use). Water-borne sewage, in a vast network of sewers laid under the streets, kept the city clean and healthy. Much of this abundant water was allocated to the "thermae" or public bathing facilities.

A Roman public bath, in imperial times, was very impressive facility, in many respects a combination of a sports center or gym and a country club – although the larger ones would have dwarfed most similar modern facilities. Besides spacious rooms for the swimming pools, there were suites of rooms, containing the equivalent of modern Turkish Baths (steam) and Scandinavian style Saunas (dry heat), Jacuzzis (warm pools), ice-cold plunge pools as well as exercise halls, massage rooms, toilet facilities, lounges and even public libraries. Extensive gardens surrounded the main structures and there were exercise yards for the athletically inclined.

The prestigious public baths in Rome and in many of the other important cities were endowed personally by the reigning emperor and were a means of stressing his importance, status and power. A large portion of the water from the aqueducts was reserved for the baths and one aqueduct – the Aquis Alexandretta was built specifically for this purpose. What is interesting, is that the facilities were not limited to the use of the upper classes and were open to all free citizens of the empire, though there may have been a very nominal entrance fee of a couple of copper coins. Public decor was preserved and there were separate times set at the public baths for the bathing of women and men.

In order to embellish the massive halls, with their acres of concrete pavements and many enclosed suites of hot and cold rooms, the medium of choice was always mosaics. Artists were commissioned to create works on a huge scale and on a variety of themes – though water-related themes, such as playing dolphins, representations of waves and the depictions of water gods such as Neptune prevailed. Using mosaic motifs for floor and wall covering was both decorative and practical, for it not only added to the sense of luxury and elegance, but it also waterproofed and projected the base concrete and made the surfaces easy to keep clean. An important consideration was that the use of brilliant white marble or other light colored tesserae (mosaic blocks) for larger areas of background in the art work ensured that maximum use was made of reflected light to brighten up the rooms.

As an example of imperial splendor, the Baths of Caracalla at Rome remain the most impressive. They were built on a massive scale and, even in their ruined state, one can get a sense of the opulence and grandeur that they once represented. This was recognized by the Italian dictator Mussolini and since his time the great halls have been used as a most impressive backdrop for seasonal night time operational productions.

Millions of baked clay bricks and tons of concrete were used in the building of the Baths and the original mosaic floors would easily have covered several football fields. Most of the floors were covered with repetitive geometric patterns of colored tesserae, but there were also cheerful dichromatic works featuring dark figures of dolphins, charioteers, bulls and musicians, picked out skillfuly, against brilliant white marble backgrounds. The artists have managed to capture a great sense of movement and vivacity in their work, using just these two colors of tesserae.

One can not but be amazed at the planning and care that went into setting out artwork on such a scale to cover these huge areas of floor – Where did they get all the mosaic artists and artisans, capable of maintaining the unity and spirit of these intense pieces ?

Not far to the east of Rome, where the Tiber meets the sea is the ancient city of Ostia. This seaport was the entrepot of Rome and was a well laid out, compact port city of merchants, shipwrights, tavern keepers and prostitutes – an industrial / commercial city that had the responsibility of despatching food and produce to the mother city. It was primarily a functional trading town, but never owned, owned great public facilities.

There was a fine amphitheater, a forum and other public spaces, many splendid temples, water-borne toilets and, of course, well appointed public baths (thermae). The two preserved baths were lavish and spacious, with floor coverings of exquisite dichromatic mosaic art – much of it still in good condition. The baths took up a sizeable area of ​​the central city and were obviously of great importance to the hard working populace, who would have been mainly middle class merchants and dockyard workers.

In England an ancient Roman villa has been lovingly restored at Chedworth, near the town of Cirencester. There were two luxurious bathing suites attached to the buildings of this intensive homestead. Each of the bath houses had several beautiful mosaic floors, featuring geometric patterns and borders, but also displaying motifs such as figures, birds and flowers. A number of these bright floors were set up on stubby hippocaust columns and hot air was drawn through the space underneath, to provide central heating to chase away the winter chill. The floor mosaics themselves were set out with a small palette of whites, greys, yellows and browns, all cut from local stones.

Although the prominent terracotta red tesserae were re-cycled ceramics, from baked roof tiles. The villa was in a remote area, a great distance from the heart of the empire, and it is not plausible that the necessary artistic skills and mosaic techniques would have been found locally, in order to produce such impressive work. The owner's of the farm must have been wealthy enough to have imported the services of migrant professional mosaic workers, usually working under contract, to embellish their home. Incidentally it was the mosaics thatsselves that led to the re-discovery of the villa, which had become buried in time, following its abandonment in the fourth century. Burrowing rabbits had unearthed loose mosaic pieces (tesserae) and these colored blocks were not noticed by some woodsmen on a hunting expedition, who then informed the local squire.

We can still see many of these wonderful mosaics of the Roman world looking as bright and cheerful, as the day they were first laid out. A 2000 year testimony to the durability of this versatile medium. For some photographs of mosaics in Roman baths, you can visit the site .

Gardening Tools You Can not Do Without

A garden is a piece of land or space that can be used to cultivate flowers, herbs or fruits. This piece of land or space could be your backyard, a hydroponic shed or small flower bed at the corner of your property. Gardening is therapeutic, it can help ease stress and provides and opportunity for self enhancement and increase in self worth through the process of bringing crops to life from just seedlings.

When considering the idea of ​​setting up a garden, it is important you take note of the required tools to help make the job easier or if you already setup your own garden getting to know the right tools for the right purpose will also enhance your gardening experience. I will be talking you through some of the ideal tools that is required to setup and make your gardening experience a blast.

Before we conviction, I would want to say that when picking garden tools, make sure to invest only in quality and trusted tools, it is no gain saying that you invest in tools that can not stand the test of work. Also ensure that all tools have a proper place for storage and also they are properly maintained to promote their useful lifespan. Establish a regular maintenance routine and make sure to have your tools kept oiled up to avoid rust. Remove all tools from area that are prone to dampness, let your tools be kept in clean and dry places just as the doctor ordered. There are some key tools required to guarantee an amazing gardening experience, I have issued a few key tools below;


A hand rake is an inevitable tool for every gardener. The rake plays a vital role in loosing the top soil to allow the plant retrieve maximum nutrient from the soil. The rake is also used to clean up the garden of loose dirt and or dried leaves. It is important that you invest in rakes that are metal and hand comfortable handles, this would make the activity of cleaning and raking easy and less stressful.

Garden hose

Every home should have at least one garden hose, they serve multiple purposes. They could be used to water a lawn or wash the car. Rubber hoses have more flexibility and are less susceptibility to cuts and abrasions but are usually more expensive. A garden hose connects to a source of water by means of plastic couplings or of brass fittings. Layers make up hoses and their strength increases with each additional layer. When you have thicker hoses, the likelihood of kinking decreases and this ensures for constant flow of water. Typically, the length of a hose determines the weight. Treat your hose properly so it could serve you well. Avoid leaving pressure on it unnecessarily and running hot water through it. During purchase, make sure you ask the right questions before making your purchase. Avoid light hoses and hoses without adequate thickness.


A shovel is an essential tool for gardening. They come in different sizes, shapes and a variety of forms. Shovels are made from metal with some having wood or plastic handles. A shovel is used for scooping, digging and shoveling of soil or dirt. The shovel is important in any garden setup, it helps you save strength on other difficult task of digging.

Garden Fork

A garden fork resembles a shovel only that it is pointed spikes like that of a rake. Garden forks are usually required in larger gardens and small farms to move large bales of dirt or grass. They are the most ideal tool for moving hay for livestock feed. The garden fork is usually metal and has wooden handles which makes usage easy. It is important that safety measures are observed at all times to avoid injury when making use of the fork and all gardening tools.

Pruning Saws

A pruning saw is a hand tool that has the same serrated blade as a normal saw and it's used to trim live shrubs and trees. There are different pruning saws for different purposes and type of shrub or trees. We have the arborist saw and the curved hand cut saw to name a few. A pruning saw is an ideal tool to have in your tool shed, it allows you to take care of renegade shrubs and tree branches.

Pruning saws comes in different sizes and types. Just like every tool, for a pruning saw to be keep functioning, it need to be maintained. Ensure to clean it after every use and oil the blades at intervals, sharpen the blades when necessary and use the different pruning saw correctly for their required purpose.

Hand Trowels

A garden trowel is a small hand tool that is used For weeding and cultivation. They usually have wooden, plastic or metal handled covered with rubber. Garden trowels that do not have the metal handles are either to breaking or bending. It hand trowel is very useful for most gardens, I am still to see a garden tool that does not have a hand trowel. It's one of the mist basic gardening tool.

Like all gardening tool, it is important to have a proper maintenance routine. Your hand trowel should be kept clean, sanitized and wiped dry after every use. Infected trowels is harmful to your garden as they can spread disease from one plant to another. The best way to store this trowels is by hanging them up. Most garden trowels are built with a hole at the end of the handle which can be used to hang them.

Pruning shears

Pruning shears are sometimes called hand prunes. They are used for cutting and trimming of any unwanted branches and weeds. They can also be used to shape out your plants to allow for effective growth, pruning a tree at intervals helping to improve its overall growth potential by wiping off old and unwanted parts. Pruning shears are small and handy just as they are quite inexpensive. After every use, rinse your pruning shears with water, dry them and cover them with their protective cover before placing them back in your toolbox.

Like the hand Trowels, hand prunes are very important garden tool for every toolbox. It expected that every garden should have a pruning tool. Hand prunes come in various sizes and shapes for performing different types of pruning. Sometimes the differentiating attribute is the material used in forging it and the manufacturer. Invest only in quality prunes forged from stainless steel to ensure it last longer for the purpose.

Green House

A green house is a protected growing environment created for the purpose of growing tender plants and seeds or cultivating crops that requires an all year round protection. They are beautiful and useful structures used by gardeners. It serves as a shield between nature and what you intend to grow or are growing and allow for plants to be improved and growing seasons to be extended artificially.

Green Houses serves as a shelter from excess cold, heat and pests. In making a buying decision of a green house, take into cognizance, the area you live and what you intend growing. The use of a green house can make you grow things you would not otherwise be able to grow, you have more time to concentrate on the successful growth of your crops as you no longer battle with pests. The price of your green house varies and it is most times a function of size and material used in its construction. Ultimately, before making a purchase, understand the benefits of a green house, conduct a little research to determine if a green house is right for you and which one works best for you for the purpose you intend for it. Examine your environment to decide the type of green house that works best as these factors will help you make the right decision.

Garden pots and plantera

There's a large variety of pots and planters on the market. If you are looking to buy some, you should definitely get what suits your needs and purpose in terms of functionality, color and style. The kind of pot or planter you use depends on your needs, climate and the kind of plant you intend growing on the pot. Planters are made from different materials to serve different purposes. Some common choices include Concrete, clay, metal plastic or wood. Planters and pots are great ways to bring nature indoors, on your balcony or evn onto your patio.

The list of gardening tools is not exhaustive but I have chosen to educate you on this few, it is my hope that you have learned a few things. I wish you a happy gardening.

Hiring a House Painter

If you have just bought a house and need to start work on it where should you begin? After the exterior and civil work it's time for house painting. The interiors need to be tackled after basic electric fitting and floor work but has to be done before the furniture, especially before those pieces that need to be built into the wall.

If you think house painting is too much of a task for you and you do not know where to begin, hire a professional painter. It is hassle free and saves time. Here are some things to keep in mind while choosing a commercial painter for exterior and interior painting.

o Mark out all the areas that need a fresh coat of paint. If you are remodeling your home you will realize that some areas need immediate attention and some do not need a fresh coat of paint at all. So survey your property and priority.

o Look for a good professional painter that will help you out. Ask for references from family and friends. You may have liked something you saw at the neighbor's or at your sister's place. Ask them for referrals and their experiences. Many people hire young students on their summer break to paint their home but this has some risks. You never know how the final opportunity will be and if the kids are experienced enough to handle the job. You can also ask your local paint store for some information on house painters in the vicinity.

o Once you have short listed the house painters it's time to meet and evaluate them. Find out about their previous work, is inputs on the job at hand and time needed for completion. After you explain your requirements ask them for a detailed quote.

o Make sure you know if the quote is inclusive of hardware, paint supplies and taxes. Make a calculation of the materials you require from the painter. If it adds up and fits in your budget, talk about payment terms. The contract you sign with the commercial painter should be fool proof and include number of coats, brand and type of paint to be used, their responsibilities in terms of cleaning up after the job and scraping of old paint before they begin.

o Before they begin with interior or exterior painting make sure minor repairs and water leakages are taken care off to avoid any mishaps in the job. All you have to do now is select the colors or textures you need, cover up all the furniture while interior painting and get ready to be surprised.

If you need more information on house painting and other painting services you can visit . You can also find out everything you need to know about painting and decorating.

Unique Chandeliers – 3 Different Kinds of Chandeliers to Give Character to Your Home

There are many kinds of unique chandeliers out there, made from all sorts of different materials, each giving a room something different, something unique. And with all the different mediums out there to create such things, you pretty much have infinite possibilities. All you have to do is determine the style you want, and make sure that it suits your current theme, even if they can be injected into your home with ease.

Crystal Chandeliers

These kinds of chandeliers can have a multitude of colors, and if the lights are placed at exactly the right place, can cast a rainbow of colors all around you, bathing you in a multitude of lights. This can create some pretty impressive illusions, that can be watched all day, never seeing the same thing twice. The candles, or lights are usually placed in reduced locations, to get the best lighting effect possible.

Wrought Iron Chandeliers

Can be created into just about any kind of shape, or size. If you can find a superb craftsman who specializes in iron work, then you could easily come back with anything you wanted. You like planes? Well, get a good enough crafter and you could have your very own f-19 fighter jet wrought iron chandelier.

Do you see where I am going with this? You could easily create a house theme, and then have the theme put into every room in your room. Sometimes you just need to have fun and mix it up every once in awhile.

Rustic Chandeliers

Usually created from antlers, branches, and even twigs. These kinds of chandeliers can even considered a trophy chandelier, because of the fact that the most common kind are deer, elk, and moose antlers that make up the bulk of them. If you have enough pieces, and patience, you can create a work of art to be honest, and then add the candles, and melted wax, and you add a certain charge to the room its in.

These are just 3 unique chandeliers out of a potential of thousands, maybe even tens of thousands. You just need to make the choice of how you want that room to look, and want you even maybe want to say about yourself, and the way you think.

Just remember, these tend to be the main focal point, and should definitely hold some charm, and give that room its only style, and story.

And Here's Another – Candle Chandeliers – FREE Information and Prices!

Does a Cat's Behavior Change After Being Spayed?

Some people believe that after spaying a cat that they will become more defensive or even aggressive. But this is simply not true, if anything spaying your cat will make their quality of life much better.

The belief that cats become more aggressive after spaying may be due to the fact that after they come home from the veterinary clinic, they may act out for a few hours upon returning home. The cause of this is unknown, but this behavior quickly disappears.

One of the main benefits of having your cat spayed is that they will not go into heat at all, so you do not have to worry about them meowing and looking out the windows and trying to escape through open doors whenever they are in season. Also male cats will stop coming around your house.

Also spayed cats are actually healthy. You do not have to worry about certain types of cancers, and on average they live slightly longer.

Another common concern that people have after staying their cats is that they will gain weight. Some people think that this might happen because of slower metabolism.

This is actually proved not to be true. Regardless of whether the cat is spayed or not most house cats are overweight and obese, simply because lack of exercise and too many treasures.

If you are still debating on whether or not to have your cat spayed please talk to your veterinarian. You'll see that the benefits far outweigh any possible risks that your cat might experience.

Seven Steps to Becoming a 'Shovel Ready' Leader

We've heard quite a bit about "shovel ready" projects usually framed as "construction projects ready-to-go" but just in need of a bit of "stimulus."

Well, in these difficult times, with perhaps more to come, the hour as arrived for our leaders to become shovel ready. It's time for you to get shovel ready. It's time for all of us to become part of the stimulus.

To me, the term shovel ready means that some advanced thought and effort has precipitated the ability to be ready.

With that in mind, I have devised Seven Steps to becoming a Shovel Ready Leader.

1. Passion: Even amid all the chaos swirling around you, your family or your organization, you must find a few moments to reflect on what you really are passionate about. Ask yourself why you care about this? Without knowing this key ingredient, you might dig in the wrong direction. Write your responses down. Reflect on them often, especially during moments of hesitation.

2. Presence: This does not mean propping yourself up with your shovel as others do the work or popping behind your desk in your favorite pinstripes. Leadership is a moment-to-moment choice. To be a Shovel Ready Leader you must be authentically present to those around you at all times. You need to completely close the gap between your beliefs and behaviors. To do this you must be aware of what you stand for and why. Your core values ​​are key to your success. Dig too far away from your core and a bottomless pit of dismal results awaits you. Please note, presence includes listening, not just hearing. Shovel Ready Leaders are active listeners. They use questions as teaching tools. When you listen deeply, you create a credibility path so others not only want to join with you, but lobby for the honor.

3. Voice: This is not about raising your voice over the din. It's about discovering your true voice and helping others find theirs. Storytelling is the key. Shovel Ready Leaders find elements from past stories about overcoming adversity that help him or her make sense of what is ahead and how to frame the future Vision Story. Moreover, your Vision Story must offer a terrain map of a positive future and everyone's role in it. Speaking from your heart will attract others who will join you in this new quest moving them away from chaos and towards commitment. However, in your workplace, where change may be greeted with anything but open arms, people may need to be personally and warmly invited. Just because they work in the same organization does not mean that they feel a part of what's next. Invite them personally and share the benefits of picking up a shovel with you.

4. Action: Grab your shovel, dig a deep trench and shove those "never been helpful" limiting thoughts deep into the ditch and bury them for good. Your mind is your most valuable ally. Yet, it can be your most ardent adverse. When you take charge of your mind, you begin to take charge of your life. Shovel Ready Leaders understand leading is about doing not just talking. Question everything, especially those redundant systems and those deep potholes potentially masked as your policies and procedures. When you do that, you will help others see obstacles as opportunities.

5. Service: Being of service is a way of life. Choose it. Being a Shovel Ready Leader means not looking at those around you as tools in your "Tim The Tool Man" belt. You do not call them "my people." You are not the "boss" of them; you are their servant leader. You honor them as individuals and refuse to use them as a "mosh pit" of automatons. You purposely create a diverse cast of talented fellow leaders. Many of them should be smarter than you and preparing to succeed you if you're lucky. When you recognize and reward, you think about it in advance. You do not just toss thank you bouquets to the masses as you mosey down the hallway. You acknowledge them meaningfully, and not with an "Attaperson" print out from the copy machine either. Learn about the people who have roled up their sleeves alongside you and acknowledge them personally. Your goals should include focusing on helping them create their masterpiece.

6. Evolve: Incremental or giant leaps. You choose. The Shovel Ready Leader is a rabid learner. SRL's never plateau. They are always stretching themselves and others. Read voraciously and encourage others to do the same. Seek out other learners as well. Create a Book Club at work and use all types of books (like my book, The Offsite: A Leadership Challenge Fable) to ignite a leadership conversation with your team. Always be ready to try new things. "It's the way we've always done things" is not the battle cry of Shovel Ready Leaders.

7. Demonstrate: Exhibit the above behaviors every moment by using my simple but effective The Sixteen Sources of Leadership and The Four Commitments (TM) "What Can I Do? What Can I Stop Doing? " Commit to this new way of living. Without commitment, nothing changes. Not you. Not them. Nothing.

Inner Thigh Workout

Inner thigh workout is an integral body exercising activity. It helps one get slimmed thighs; thighs that are simply gorgeous and healthy. However, accessing and activating the thigh area (that is the hamstrings and the quadriceps) is a very difficult exercise. There are some ways of exposing these areas when working out. For starters, you can use some gym equipment such as the leg stretching machines and hip abductors. These machines are ideal for creating slim yet strong inner thighs. Furthermore, you can use the following inner thigh workout tips and exercises:

Blading and Skating:
Roller blading and ice skating are enjoyable yet effective ways of working out your thighs. While ice skating, make sure you take long strides bending your knees and crouching while skating works on your hip area as well as your quadriceps. However, you should not spend the whole day blading and skating. Prolonging these exercises results in muscle cramps. Therefore, when you are doing these exercises, spend around 20-40 minutes.

Side Lunging
Make sure have a pair of dumbbells when doing this kind of lunging. When you are lowering your body for a side lunge, hold the dumbbells at an arm's length. Bend forward while lowering the dumbbells to the floor. Do this without raising your feet. Do not force this exercise. Just keep going low as possible. If this is too hard, then do not touch the floor but continue using the dumbbells. Alternately, you can do the side lunges without the dumbbells.

Leg Circles
They are also good inner thigh workout exercises. To perform leg circles, you must first be on sidewalk position while lying on the floor. Prop the rest of your body using your elbow. Gently lift the top leg. Rotate the top leg in clockwise manner and after 40 seconds, switch directions. Make sure the toes are pointing forward. Do this for the other leg as well. Repeat this process 10-15times.

Exercises for Thigh Isolation
There are some exercises specifically designed for the thighs. To start these exercises, lie on your side, stack your legs and bend your knees. Make sure your chest is stacked over the ribcage. Using your hand, cradle your head. When you are cradling, bend your bottom elbow. On one side, do at least two sets of 10-15 repetitions. Do this for the other side as well.

Hip Abductor Machines
These machines are the basic requisite for inner thigh workout exercises. There are various exercise modes installed on the machines. Select the desired exercise and follow the instructions. There are cases where the thighs come together. If you are experiencing this, gently squeeze the thighs. After that, you can resume your exercises.

Take Dance Classes
This may sound weird but some dance classes are ideal for inner thigh workout exercises. A good example is ballet classes. Taking ballet classes once a week gives one sleek inner thighs. Their classes revolved around work out exercises such as footwork, stretching and floor exercises. You can start with a beginner's class if you are skeptical.

Elevator Companies – Which Is The Best?

See how easily you can get the best elevator for your building plan!

Contractors need not search for elevator companies in various places since because of the information that can be acquired from the internet. Do you wish to get the best elevator for your building project? Then you have come to the right place because I will give you a run-down of the elevator names that you might want to consider.

Almost all elevators come in the same appearance: automatic doors, buttons that light up, lifts that go up and down, and other things. However, there are still differences in elevators for every brand in the market like energy consumption, aesthetic qualities, capacity, speed, durability, etc. That's why it's important that contractors seek out the best ones that will fit the needs of the people in the building.

Elevators are said to consume 2-10% of the entire building's energy bill, because the need nowdays to look for the energy-friendly ones. Brands like Schindler, Otis, and Thyssenkrupp offer elevators that do not make use much energy.

Also, another thing that one should consider is the size of the elevator; the people (or freight weight) capacity and the space it needs for the shaft or cabs and the internal ranges. Be sure to look into the details like this one because it's very important to coordinate the best size for the elevator, that is, according to how it will be used.

Aside from the size, also mind the number of floors your elevator will travel as some elevators are compatible for smaller buildings and some are actually made for buildings like the Petronas.

Select the quality products, those which are rated and more typically used and the ones which offer exactly the specifications for your ideal elevator.

Plate Hangers

Have you ever thought of how life would have been without such basic items as plates? How would food be served and how would the table settings be enhance? With these questions in mind, we can see that these are basic commodities in our homes, parties and restaurants. They come in different sizes and are made of various ceramic materials, plastic paper and glass. They fall under different categories depending on the food items that are served on them. To save you the agony of dish washing after a large part, manufactures have come up with disposable paper dishes.

How can you store your decorated plates safely, being careful to match them with the color of your home walls? Sometimes there is no space and you need to maximize the available space. To solve this problem, we have racks, stands and plate hangers to secure your flat dishes. Hangers are of different types like adhesive, wire, vertical, horizontal and classical ones.

The choice of plate hangers depends on size of the room and wall painting. To be able to blend properly with your wood boards and color, consult a professional interior designer to give you preferred options. This will help you meet both aesthetic and safety conditions. Horizontal hangers create border-like decorations on the wall. The hangers can also be put in kitchen doors. However, the dishes can also be kept in arch manner over buffets or cupboards but the variable storage method should adhere to precaution measures.

These hangers come along with safety precautions and this helps in installation and just as a piece of advice, you should follow the rules to safeguard your ceramic dishes. Plastic hangers are not the best during earthquakes and this leaves you with an option of using alternative ways of storing your dishes using adhesive hangers, shelves or stand.

Outdoor Wood Burning Stoves – There Are Many Options to Choose From

You are going to install an outdoor wood stove. Now you need to figure out which stove is going to serve you the best. Of the many different styles that are available, which one will be the best for you?

Outdoor wood burning stoves can be very different. Do not assume that they are all the same. The materials that they are made of can vary greatly. Some are made of regular steel plate. Some are boiler steel. Some may be stainless steel. Each of the different materials has its advantages. Each different material will affect the cost of the stove and the longevity of the stove. As with most anything, when you use a cheaper material it will usually mean that the longevity will also be less.

What type of fuel do you want to use? Are you sure that you will only burn wood, or will you want to burn coal at some point in time? If you will need to bank a fire for a couple of days, then you may want the coal option. Make sure that the stove that you purchase will also handle the coal. Coal will usually require special grates and air intake. The grates need to handle the extra heat from the coal and the air must enter the combustion chamber differently to burn coal.

What size pieces of wood do you want to handle? If you don’t mind lugging huge logs, then you will want a wood stove that will handle large long pieces. This will save time cutting the wood, but will make you pay later and also limit who can load your stove.

The upside is that these big logs will burn a long, long, time. Smaller pieces may take more time to cut, be easier to load and burn up faster. You need to figure out what is the best trade off for you.

How much water do you want the stove to hold? More water may not always be better. If you can use lower temperature, water than you may want to consider a large volume stove so that you may only have to fire it every couple of days. If you need to have high temperature water all the time then the large volume may not be beneficial to you. A larger stove may sound better, but if your stove never burns hot, then the creosote will continue to build up, possibly causing a flare up, and definitely insulating the firebox from the water and decreasing the efficiency of the stove.

Give yourself the time to consider all the options that you have a weigh out which will serve you the best before you make a commitment to buy a new wood burning stove.

Use a Pressure Cooker to Cook Quickly and Nutritiously

Pressure cookers have this terrible reputation of being very dangerous. In the past they have been known to burst and trigger a fire in the kitchen or leave burns all over the cook. It is not like that with newer models and they are very safe to use. Food is mixed with a little water inside the pan. The lid is different in that it clamps and locks shut once this is done the cooker is placed on a burner of a stove. The heat gets hotter and starts to create steam which, in turn, creates a pressure inside the cooker because it can not get out. Pressure will keep rising until it can not anymore for the area inside the pot and then a little valve on the cooker or a weight that is attached to the cooker will start to release this excess steam preventing an explosion. Food is cooked at a much higher temperature without any danger of being burned. It also cooks 70% faster than if you used the oven or a regular set of pots and pans.

When the requirements of the recipe are reached the cooker should be taken off the heat and it needs to sit for a little while. Each cooker has its own system of releasing the steam and most systems include a regulator that is lifted to release any steam that is left in the pot. When this steam is gone so is the pressure and it is time to remove the lid.

Often the cooker will be placed in a sink and cold water will be poured over it. Food is still cooking inside the cooker even though the heat has been turned off. The cold water will do the same as releasing the steam quickly by stopping the cooking process. This stops the food from being over cooked. It should be noted that if you do run cold water over a cooker you will still be required to release any steam or you will not be able to unlock the lid.

There are many benefits that come from cooking with a pressure cooker. Any bacteria or virus that may be on the food before will not come out alive because of the high temperature. The color of the food is kept because you are not using a great deal of water to cook it. If you have a tough cut of meat you can be assured it will come out tender and delicious when you use a pressure cooking machine. After the steam comes out the lid should be able to release easily. If it does not do not force it but wait a little longer and try again. Open the lid so the opening is away from your body so you can avoid any burns from steam or hot food.

Many companies make good pressure cookers but you can find some of the best made by T-Fal Wearever. They have several different sizes including 4, 6, 8 and 12 quart models that run USD $ 35 for the 4 quart and USD $ 65 for the 12 quart cookers. The handle is long and narrow and is made of durable plastic and the pot is made from aluminum that is polished out and natural aluminum on the inside. The 12 quart is a little different having 2 handles that lock at each side of the cooker. All models are equipped with safety valves and all gaskets can be replaced to ensure safety. The 12 quart cooker may go under the name of Mirro and can be used in the canning process. They can be placed in a dishwasher and are rust free. You will never get burned because they can not be opened without all the steam and pressure is gone from inside the cooker. Pressure gauges are included and readable. These cookers come with a 10 year warranty.

Megafesa USA makes another pressure cooker called the 8 Quart Super Fast Pressure cooker for USD $ 90. This one cooks faster than the others because of the material used in making the base of the cooker. There are three different levels of cooking and heat 'slow that cooks at 6 psi, then the medium that cooks at 9 psi and the super fast at a swift 15 psi. The lid will not be able to be removed without all steam is released. This cooker has a safety valve, valve to release over pressure and a safety edged lid window. It is also made of aluminum with stainless steel. It must be hand washed.

If you need to make meals in a hurry you need a pressure cooker. Remember that they do help the environment because less energy is used in order to make a meal. The are very safe because you are unable to remove lids until all danger is past. Prepare a nutritious meal using a pressure cooker tonight.

Installing Vinyl Replacement Windows on the Second Floor

If you have a two story house, and you are going to replace the windows on both the first and second floor, there are little tricks that you can use to make the upper floor job a bit safer and easier. If the windows are replacement style frames, you install them from inside the house, so the only thing that you will do different than the first floor windows is to use an extension ladder to caulk the exterior. So, let’s talk about doing retrofit style windows on the second floor. You can usually remove the old window from inside the house, but if you have a picture window, you have to use the extension ladder to remove the stops holding the glass in place. Then, you can go inside the house and cut the glass free from the frame using a utility knife. Put a tarp on the ground below the window, to catch any glass pieces that may fall during the removal. Also, don’t forget to keep people and animals away from the area below the window.

Once you are ready to install the new window, you can do it from inside the house. Remember, when installing retrofit style frames, you install them from outside and raise them into place. Instead, carry the window upstairs. If it’s a slider, remove the screen and sliding panel. Then, using a helper, you can angle the window frame through the opening, extending the retrofit lip completely outside of the opening before pulling the window back toward you, and installing the window as if you were outside. Have your helper hold the center bar while you put a screw into the top center to hold the frame in place. You can do the entire installation from inside. The only time you will need to go on the extension ladder is when you’re ready to caulk the exterior. Make sure you put a generous amount of caulk where the top of the frame meets the stucco or exterior material. You don’t want any water getting past the new frame, otherwise it can work it’s way through the wall and down through the ceiling or the walls. You would be surprised how easily two people can install an 8′ wide by 5′ tall sliding window on the second floor if you remove the sliding panels and screens. In fact, my helper and I did one 10′ wide and 5′ high. That was the biggest one I ever did on the second floor. You can run a bead of caulk on the outside face of the old frame before installing the new frame right from inside the room.

Now, if you are installing a picture window, it’s a little tougher. You can’t remove any panels to lighten the load, and it’s tougher to get as firm a grip on the frame. But, on the positive side, picture windows aren’t usually much larger than 3′ by 5′ on the second floor. If you have a large picture window, or if you have several to install, I have access to suction cups that are used in the glass industry. You can attach them to the glass and use them as handles when extending the frame outside through the opening. Contact me on my website at How to install windows if you want to get pricing on suction cups. You can get the smaller, inexpensive models for around $40 each.

So, if you are hesitating to replace your old windows yourself because you didn’t think you could do the upstairs windows, now you know you can. Next week’s topic is going to be about replacing the rollers on your patio door. If you can’t hardly open your sliding glass door anymore, a couple of new rollers can make all the difference in the world.

Proven Plyometric Program Exercises to Jump Higher

You have heard of the amazing power of plyometrics and the increased jumping ability and speed it offers. You have even gone online in an effort to find some plyometric workout you could start to immediately see results. If you type “plyometric program” into Google search, you are returned with over 100,000 results. Do you really have the time to sift through all those articles? And once you start you realize that many of these articles are written for targeting areas of the body that do not affect your jumping ability. Wow, what a waste of time! If only there were some free exercises you could practice right now, that were part of a complete, proven plyometric program guaranteed to get a higher vertical, you would get started today.

Well dear reader, you are in luck. If you practice the three exercises below you will see an increase in your vertical. These were developed as the beginning stage of a complete plyometric program whose users have reported has increased their vertical up to ten inches. You know your body, so use these accordingly. For beginners a couple of reps two or three times a week is plenty. For advanced physical specimens, every other day is your goal.

Knee Tuck Jumps
This one is pretty simple, and can help tune your body up for the bigger exercises. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Now squat down slowly and explode upward in a standard jump, but while you are in the air, bring your knees up to your chest. You want to eventually do 2 to 3 sets, at 10 to 15 reps per set.

Box Jumps
You can use a set of plyometric boxes made specifically for this exercise, and any stable platform. Stand in front of the box or platform, making certain it is stable and sturdy. Simple squat, and then jump onto this platform and back down. Starting out, only jump onto something 8 to 12 inches high, increasing height over time. Use the same reps as the above example.

Drop Jumps
You need to stand on a low step or porch for this one. Again plyometric boxes can be used and were made specifically for a plyometric program. Simply step off of the platform and as soon as you land on the lower surface, squat and explode into the air. 2 sets of 10 reps is plenty.

These are three plyo exercises you can use right now to improve your vertical, but they are only 3 tools in a proven toolbox of leaping power contained in a plyometric program custom fit to your specifications. Check the link below when you are ready for the plan proven to add 10 inches to your vertical leap.

I Need A Hosting Plan

Web Hosting

Without web hosting, no one can see your website on the internet. For browsers to see your site, you have to link it to a hosting account with your domain name. Let’s put it this way, hosting and website is like your furniture and your house. Without the house, where would you place the furniture? Both have to be in sync in order to complete a living environment.

If someone wondered how they got to use a free website without paying a buck for hosting, that happens because the provider of the website, hosts that person on a shared plan where thousands of users are attached. We will share more on web hosting in the categories below:

Shared Hosting

In this article we compare the hosting plan to living in a residential apartment. Shared Hosting includes all users on one server. When using the above apartment analogy, shared hosting allows residents in the complex to share or use the resources of the apartment. This does not preclude using the entire apartment facilities.

So in a nutshell, a shared hosting account shares the space of the server with other users. One must bear in mind that a shared hosting plan utilizes all the CPU time, memory and disk space. Therefore, depending on the purpose of your website, selecting a hosting account is extremely important.

Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

Virtual Private Servers is a hosting environment that act as a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment. It is technically both shared hosting and dedicated hosting and runs its own operating system. If we are using the above apartment analogy, it means that VPS is part of the apartment but shares separate living arrangements. It only pulls or utilize facilities that becomes critical to its operating functions. No one has access to that section of the apartment except the one who has a special key or password to get inside.

Dedicated Server

A dedicated server is a single system reserved for serving the needs of the network. As the name suggests, it is dedicated or set aside to manage work that requires additional help. It can also run separate from the complete operating system. It manages the communication of other computers on a network. An example of a dedicated server is managing the printer resources and system admin functions in an office or organised network.

When compared to the apartment scenario above, a dedicated server would be like the security post that monitors access and manages the security needs of the facility. This department is detached from the complete building and can operate independently.

Dedicated Hosting IP

Dedicated Hosting is critically important when considering hosting your plan. It becomes more complex and advanced in its operation. In our apartment example, residents are allowed access to all resources of the complex but each also has their private space which is not accessible to the public.

Artificial Plants To Replace Dying House Plants

I was visiting a friend the other day and I noticed in his family room was a very sickly looking house plant. The plant clearly did not get enough light or attention. To be honest, it detracted from the entire room. So I asked him why he did not get rid of it and he explained that the corner always looked so bare.

I told him how he could replace the sickly plant with an artificial version of the same plant and then I told him about the benefits of artificial plants. I told him how they do not leave a mess and they do not need watering. I told him the best part was they did not need much maintenance. Well it did not take much convincing and by the time we had finished talking, he was on-line an ordering a Silk Fern to replace the dye plant. I left his house feeling like I had helped in out.

Artificial Plants can make a huge difference for people who are busy or in spots in your house that just do not get enough light to sustain a real plant. Silk plants are very low maintenance and they come without all the hassle of live plants. They do not need watering, pruning, plant food, re-potting and they do not die or drop their leaves. Beside ferns, you can find most popular house plants in a good quality fake plant. Modern manufacturing techniques have really helped to make silk plants look like the real thing.

A few days later my friend called me and he was laughing as he told me the following. It sees his artificial plant came the week after he talked. He had purchased an unspotted plant so when it arrived he was certainly pulled the dying plant out of the planter it was in and then he just pressed the new plant into the soil (I recommend using landscape rock for this but soil will work). At first no one in his house really noticed it, but one day his wife came up and commented; "Can you believe how well that was going to die and now it looks great." My friend told this drawn out fabrication (he is very good at that) about how he was really taking care of it and watering it everyday. Turns out his wife bought the story and patted him on the back.

Today he was sitting in the family room when his wife came out and started watering the artificial plants. He started laughing and finally came clean about his switch.

Artificial plants are a great idea, but you may want to let the caretakers of the house know if you are making a similar switch.