Front Porch Swings Make a Porch

How we loved to swing as children. That feeling of going back and forth, our feet coming off the ground and flying like a bird.

Outdoor porch swings have become a highly desirable furniture piece for various areas. They have a wide variety of uses from providing comfortable living, a quiet place to chat with a friend, a special nest to curl up next to your sweetheart for a romantic evening, a small nook for reading a book and drinking a cup of tea, or a place for enjoyment of a nap.

There are porch swings for every type of house and every type of swinger. Like most furniture, they come in all sizes, materials, colors and styles. It just depends on what you like, how many bodies you want to accommodate, and how much you are willing to spend.

Hard to believe that outdoor porch swings come in a variety of materials. The classic porch swing is made of domestic woods like cedar and cypress, and tropical woods and their special qualities. Which wood you choose is going to be based upon exposure to the elements and use. For example, wood has to be stored and maintained to keep its magnificent look. Left untreated, it will slowly dry up, with wood splintering and the color turning to a dismal gray potentially. Yet, selecting an ideal outdoor stain with the proper application, and your swing can enjoy a long and lustrous life.

The thought of a wicker swing is certainly inviting. Yet, there is always that worry with wicket and how it will hold up. Most wicker outdoor swing and furniture manufacturers now offer all-weather or resin wicker instead of natural fiber wicker. This type of wicker can remain outdoors all the time, is UV resistant, and is much simpler to clean.

For something more durable, Polywood is one of the most popular recycled materials on the market. It is a high-density polyethylene resin product, formed to resemble painted "lumber" and comes in a variety of colors.

How you hang a porch swing is really not the issue. It is like hanging a heavy potted plant. The trick is getting the proper hardware. There are hardware kits available that include the screw hooks and chain. Be sure to get either galvanized or stainless steel. Otherwise, you will be switching hardware out every year because of rusting.

If possible, use four chains to hang your swing from its hooks: two chains from each hook / eye bolt, one to the back of the swing and one to the front. You want the height from the ground to be between 17-and 19 inches. (Most folks opt for 17 inches – unless they are taller in which 19 inches is preferred.) Your height from the ground is what determines the length of each piece of chain.

While you will be in a hurry to get your front porch swing up and functional, take your time to ensure that it is safe and secure. This will give you a piece of mind the more it is used.

Outdoor swings can be placed anywhere around your property, but there is something to be said about a front porch swing and the pleasure it brings.

Affordable and Sustainable DIY Earthbag Homes

Earthbag building (sometimes called sandbag building) is surely one of the lowest cost, most practical building methods. First used by the military for building durable, bullet and blast resistant structures, this building method has recently experienced a surge of interest among do-it-yourself builders. There are now an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 earthbag structures, including homes, offices, shops, schools, temples, clinics, orphanages and even ecovillages.

One of the strongest selling points is affordability. A simple earthbag dome, for example, using recycled grain bags and earth can be built for around $100. A larger, more comfortable home can be built for around $500-$1000. The EarthDome House at Terrasante Village in Tucson, Arizona is just one example.

Earthbags are ideal for owner-builders. The necessary skills for each step of construction can be learned in a few minutes. It boils down to simply filling bags with an appropriate fill material (typically subsoil or gravel) and tamping them solid. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. Also, few tools are required – shovels, buckets, garden hose. The few additional tools needed (tamper, slider) can be made cheaply and easily.

Earthbag buildings are sustainable since they are made primarily of earth from or near the building site. Earthbag domes do not require wood, thereby reducing pressure on our forests. Expensive concrete foundations are not required if you use gravel-filled bags. In addition, these structures are safe, quiet, nontoxic, rodent proof, and fire, hurricane and flood resistant.

Energy efficiency is another strong plus in favor of building with bags. The massive earth walls stabilize interior temperatures in hot climates. In cold and hot climates, earthbags can be filled with an insulating material, such as lava rock, pumice, vermiculite or perlite. Some builders are experimenting with rice hulls for insulation, which are often free for the taking. In general, lightweight insulating materials (such as those just mentioned) require far less labor than those of tamped earth and provide comfort through the harshest winters or hottest summers.

Earthbags can also be used to create underground (root/storm cellars, etc.) or earth-bermed structures, privacy and retaining walls, planters, furniture (built-in benches, etc.), and many other uses. Earthbags are very adaptable and work just as well for domes as they do for structures with vertical walls. They also excel at creating free-form, curving structures.

As earthbag building grows by leaps and bounds, NGOs and other organizations are exploring their use for emergency shelters. Millions of victims of wars and natural disasters need low cost housing and temporary shelter. More durable than tarps and more comfortable than tents, earthbags work perfectly since even unskilled workers can build their own shelters – all without destroying local resources.

Plastic Model Kits Building – Assemble the Model

The task of assembling a scale model kit may seem difficult or tough to most of us at first. However, with a well plan and predetermined sequence of stages, you should be able to get the job done with ease and comfort. The difficulty level of assembly will greatly depend on the complexity of the chosen model. Plastic models that have more parts and details tend to take a longer time to assemble.

Here is a brief guide to assemble a typical plastic model kit:

1. Find a work place where you will not be disturbed or distracted. The area should be well ventilated and lighted. A large and flat top working table is recommended.

2. Read through the installation sheet carefully. Take your time to study and understand in details the sequence of building the model in stages.

3. Carefully check the individual part against the installation sheet. If the installation sheet includes a parts layout diagram, verify each part against it. This step is to avoid having any missing part prior to starting. Do not remove any part from its runner until it is required for assembly.

4. Remove each part as it is called for in the installation sheet. Use a cutter to remove the part instead of breaking it by hand. Sand away any rough edges from the cutting or unwanted mold lines.

5. Ensure the parts fit properly before assembling them with cement. At times, you are required to trim a part slightly to make a perfect fit.

6. Seam is a line formed when joining two parts together. To solve this problem, use a liberal amount of cement during assembly. Squeeze the joint hard until a bead of molten plastic appears along the seam. Wait till the bead is thoroughly dry and scrap it off to achieve a smooth and invisible seam.

7. Put aside small parts which require painting prior to assemble. These painted small parts are to be added after the rest of the assembled model is painted.

8. When your model is completely assembled, confirm again that there are no outstanding parts and all are installed as per the installation sheet.

9. Carefully inspect the completed model for things you might have overlooked such as molding lines you forgot to clean or seams that bought to be filled.

10. Once you thoroughly corrected all flaws, the assembly of your model is finally completed.

The entire process may take a while based on your experienced, skills and the chosen model. Take your time and do not rush the job and be rewarded with a piece of work you can be proud of.

Scaffold Towers

Scaffold Towers have been around for hundreds and thousands of years, dating as far back as the Egyptians using them for the pyramids, and the Chinese using them for the Great Wall of China, for use by people to build houses and all different types of buildings . Scaffolds are also used for repair on said buildings, cleaning, and other jobs that one may need to reach higher than one story. Scaffold towers are used on almost every construction site today, and are made mostly of metal, making them strong, light weight, and easy to assemble, compared to the wooden scaffolds that were used before the 1930s.

The smallest scaffold towers are approximately five feet tall, they are good for doing work on the outside of a house or other small building. Scaffold towers can get much taller than five feet however, and can be built to accommodate just about any buildings needs. The largest scaffold recorded was 650 feet tall, it was built around the New York City Municipal Building by Regional Scaffolding & Hoisting Company, and stood in place from the years 1988 to 1992. Another set of famous scaffold towers were the towers used to repair the Statue of Liberty, and they were just over 150 feet tall. Scaffolds are not only used for building, cleaning or repairing buildings, they are also sometimes used on apartment or office buildings, as fire escape routes.

Scaffolds can be bought through companies that sell pre-made scaffolds, which tend to be on the smaller side, or through companies that sell the parts to put your own scaffold together. There are kits with instructions on how to build particular scaffolds, or you can also purchase piece by piece and construct your own scaffold, depending on your needs and know how. Scaffolds can have little to no flooring, or they can have huge sections with floors on them which you can walk upon or set tools and other items on for your convenience. Always remember when you are around a scaffold tower, or using one, your safety is of utmost importance, always exercise caution and care. Please wear safety equipment at all times.

An Introduction to Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring is becoming increasingly popular due to its appearance and
durability. The heavy duty construction and ease of installation make laminate a
wise choice for any home or business.

Every individual who has watched a home improvement show or considered
replacing his matted carpet has heard of laminate flooring. Laminate is the
latest entrant into the flooring industry, and arrived by way of Europe.
Europeans developed the original laminate products, and use of the flooring has
been widespread throughout the continent. Now, as is customary with European
innovations, the United States has done on to the idea and is quickly making
laminate a staple in most flooring stores.

Appearance

There is a great deal more to laminate than what meets the eye – literally.
The surface of laminate flooring is designed to appear like hardwood, and
recently some laminates are designed to appear as stone or tile, complete with
the presence of grout. Laminate is designed to imitate almost every wood grain
from maple to mahogany. High quality laminates, at first glance, appear almost
identical to hardwood as they are designed in planks complete with the grains
characteristic of real wood.

But what the eye sees as it sweeps the broad expande of smooth laminate
flooring is actually only the top two layers of laminate – the decorative layer
which contains the desired appearance, and the prefinished top coat which
offers the outstanding durability laminate is known for.

Manufacture

Laminate flooring is comprised of four layers. As previously discussed, the
top two layers offer the desired appearance and the protective coating. The
center, or core, of each plank or section is comprated of high or medium density
fiberboard. This center layer offers the support necessary for high volumes of
foot traffic. The final layer, or backing, binds the laminate together and
provides additional strength and durability.

When examining a section of laminate flooring for quality, take notice of these
layers. High quality laminates will have thicker individual layers than its less
desirable counterparts.

Benefits

The most touted benefits of laminate flooring are ease of installation and
durability.

Installation is simple with most brands of laminate flooring. Unlike
hardwoods which typically require glue or nails, laminate
is assembled by fitting sections together in a snap lock. This means the
laminate is designed to fit together like a large puzzle and sits directly on
the sub floor. These factors make it simple to install and a great home
improvement project for any individual with basic carpentry skills.

Durability is the key selling point of laminate flooring worldwide. The
unique construction and tough top layer make laminate almost indestructible.
High quality laminates are almost impossible to scratch or stain. Most can
withstand burns, and they are water resistant. The prefinishing of laminate makes
it tough enough to withstand extensive amounts of foot traffic,
and does not warp or fade with age. Laminate is quickly becoming a timeless
addition to any home.

Danish Oil Vs Sprayed Lacquer

Danish oil is a hard drying oil used in wood finishing. It is made of either Tung oil or Polymerized Linseed oil. It gives a hard, water-resistant finish to wood products by soaking into the wood and hardening. It is used as a finishing product, but can also be used to seal wood or prime it before painting or varnishing.

Spray lacquer is another type of protective finish for wood. It is made with a combination of hardening oil mixed with resin and also a solvent. The solvent evaporates hardening and curing the lacquer to the wood. The ratio of oil to resin will determine drying times and the hardness of the finish.

Spray lacquer can be used as a sealant for wood, much like Danish oil. If you’re only using spray lacquer, the first layer will act as the sealant and primer. There are not a lot of solid components to spray lacquer, so several coats are often needed. Spray lacquer often gives a glossy finish that is desired for some projects. However, it is not as scratch resistant as a Danish oil finish.

Danish oil penetrates into wood, so there is no need to sand your project with a high-grit sandpaper. A little roughness makes it easier for the oil to penetrate. Oil finishes take a little more work to apply than a spray finish. Apply the oil so that it looks very wet and let it soak in for about half an hour. Rubbing it in will also help to keep it even and penetrate more deeply. You’ll have to keep applying to dry looking areas as you go for about half an hour. When the oil starts to feel sticky, you’ll wipe off any excess.

Danish oil finishes are very smooth and give a nice, nearly matte finish. However, you can’t apply Danish oils over stains or lacquers because they need to soak in to work. Tinted versions are available if you don’t want the natural color of the wood to be your finished product.

Wood will push oil out of itself for a few hours after application, so you’ll need to check it and wipe away excess oils every fifteen to twenty minutes over several hours until it stops. Drying your woodworking project in a cool area will help control leaking. Heat makes it worse, so rubbing vigorously will make it bleed more, too.

Spray lacquer finishes are done when they are dry, making them a little less labor intensive than Danish oil finishes. Danish oil finishes are sealed with lemon oil or a type of solvent wax as the last finish. This helps to protect the oil from drying out and also gives it a nice sheen. Oils and wax finishes can be reapplied every couple of years to restore the shine to your project.

How to Choose Carpeting For Stairs

Most manufacturers rate their carpeting for light, medium, and heavy wear. Heavy-wear rating is best for stairs. If a carpet is not rated, you can judge its durability by the density of the fibers.

Roll a corner of the carpet around your fingers. Little or no backing should be visible at the base of the fibers. Look too for a strong backing to which fibers are firmly attached.

One needs to consider how the carpet will look when it gets lots of day-to-day traffic.

Good choices are tweeds, patterns, and tightly looped or highly twisted textures in medium colors.

Any of these will show fewer footprints and less soil than plush or velvet. If you do buy plush or velvet carpet, choose one with a lower pile. Avoid light and dark colors and piles with extreme variations in height. Back your carpet choice with the best quality of padding available.

To prolong carpet life, vacuum stairs frequently and shampoo them about every 6 months. To attain additional life, you can have an extra foot folded under the front of the top or the bottom riser when the carpeting is installed. Then, before heavy wear at the front of each stair tread becomes obvious, move the carpet up or down by a few inches or so.

An important tip to remember is when you are carpeting any stairs; make sure it is a tight installation because loose fitting carpet on steps can be dangerous and potentially cause harm if someone should slip or trip due to poor installation.

Playing the Bones of the Xylophone

The xylophone was first created in Indonesia and is a member of the percussion family. The instrument has a set of different sized bars that are made out of wood and are each made to make a particular note when stuck. The different bars are stuck with wood, rubber or plastic mallets to make different sounds. This particular percussion instrument has been around for thousands of years. This has been proven by artifacts found from as far back as 2000 BC. Throughout history, there have also been other variations of xylophones made, including ones that were made and used by ancient temples in China.

It must also be noted that xylophones are not always created in a single row of low notes to high notes. There have been xylophones found that have the bars hanging, where the musician will strike the vertical bars with the mallet. Michael Gusikov played a xylophone that had three rows of the bars located in the shape of a triangle. It would appear that like many other instruments, the xylophone went through a number of changes and modifications over time.

While it is uncertain when exactly the xylophone made it to Europe, it is suggested that it could have arrived there sometime during the 1500s. Although, it was not until the early 1800s that people in the west were becoming familiar with the xylophone. Michael Josef Gusikov can be credited with making the instrument known. He had an interest in the instrument and performed with the xylophone around Europe on tours. It was not long before this musician became known for his music and gained some decent recognition for it. In fact, there were other well- known musicians who spoke well of the Michael Gusikov's performances, including Frederic Chopin, who was a well-known pianist.

When most people think about playing an instrument, few will immediately think of the xylophone; instead, many will think about taking up guitar, piano, or saxophone before thinking of playing something like the xylophone. Xylophones are not an overly common instrument in the western world and are forgotten as a result, though this is not to say that no one plays it. Many people play the xylophone because they enjoy the sound and they are aware of the unique and natural sound it has. The xylophone is sometimes best known by the sharp and bright tone the bars have when stuck with the mallet, especially the modern xylophones that have been created with resonating tubes placed under the wooden bars to enhance the sound of each note. The frames of the xylophone are made of wood or steel tubing and the more expensive, higher end models have the ability to have their height adjusted to fit the musician.

The higher quality xylophones also have more stability, while the cheaper ones do not have as much stability. Musicians who are serious about playing the xylophone in concerts and other performances will most likely spend more money on the higher quality instruments, while younger students who are simply looking to try it out will go for the cheaper, used xylophones.

Painting Brick – Hidden Cost You Should Know About

Homeowners often update the appearance of their homes with a coat of fresh paint. However if you are considering painting the ‘bricks’ on your home then there are a few things you should consider before you break out the spray guns and throw a party!

Permanence – The most important word to remember about painting brick is: permanence. That’s right. It’s a one way road. It is permanent and you can’t remove it once it has been applied. Now I know that some of you will say that you can get strippers and restoration cleaners to remove the paint if you really need to and that is true.

Remember though, you are entering a very expensive restoration process that is usually limited to very high end or very valuable masonry buildings with large amounts of funding. Practically speaking, restoration cleaning cost would simply be out of the range for all but the most affluent homeowner. (tens of thousands of dollars)

On-Going Maintenance – The day you apply the last coat of paint to the bricks on your home, is the first day paint degradation begins. Sooner or later the bricks will have to be painted again.

It has now become a never ending process. You will spend far more in the long run painting your brick over and over again then you would ever have spent in up-grading to brick work on your home in the first place. So a quick fix, like painting bricks you don’t particularly like, can often be an expensive mistake. Bricks will need to be re-painted more frequently than the rest of your home as well because of the risk of water entry which can cause severe damage.

Water Damage – The next point to remember is this: bricks need to breathe. What do I mean by that? Well bricks breathe naturally expelling moisture from the wall. When you coat them with paint you have effectively closed the pores of the bricks preventing them from breathing. In a perfect world this doesn’t sound like a bad idea because it effectively keeps the water out as well.

In real world situations though, paint will begin to crack fairly quickly. Minute hairline fissures will open allowing water to enter the masonry system with no way to escape. Unfortunately at this point it is hard for you to recognize or see the effects of the water entry, as it is hidden behind the paint.

As each freeze thaw cycle comes and goes real deterioration of the brick takes place and by the time the problem manifest the damage has already been done. Large portions of the wall area will have ‘brick face de-lamination’ and many more areas you can’t see will have de-lamination but will be held together by the paint. So a close inspection for damage will be necessary.

Now you not only have your ongoing paint maintenance to deal with but deteriorated brick repairs must be done as well.

So you can see how the seemingly simple remedy of painting your bricks to change its color can have far reaching implications and consequences. If you must go this route then I would suggest that you contact a local masonry repair expert for his advice on how to protect your masonry before painting and how to proceed with the painting process.

Basic Greenhouse Designs

Constructing a greenhouse requires you to finalize a design or style. A variety of greenhouse designs are available to choose from. You can take your pick according to your requirement, style, taste and budget. Greenhouse designs are broadly categorized into three types: attached, ridge or furrow, and detached.

Attached greenhouses

Lean-to greenhouse:  When space is limited and you want to save up on costs, an attached greenhouse is a good option. The lean-to greenhouse has a ridge line that is attached to one wall of your home. Usually, a connecting door provides direct access from your home to the interior of the greenhouse. Proximity with the main structure of your dwelling provides easy access to power sockets and water source. The lean-to comes with straight or curved eave design. The roof is always sloping to allow snow, rain and leaves to slide off.

Window greenhouse: The smallest of all the attached greenhouses are the window mounted variety with just two or three shelves that can accommodate a few of your favorite plants.

Even-span greenhouse: It can be put up as an attached or a free-standing structure. In the attached variety, one gable end is attached to the end wall of another building. It is the largest of the garden greenhouses and has the advantage of allowing you to lengthen it if you start on a budget and later decide to upgrade and upscale the structure.  It scores over the lean-to in having a design that is more efficient as far as heating, cooling, ventilation and optimum use of available space are concerned.

Ridge or furrow greenhouses 

These are generally free-standing structures with gabled or arched rooflines. These are attached only at a common gutter at the lower edges of the eaves of the roof with no division by walls of the structure under the canopy. The curved arches are preferred if you are planning to use flexible glazing material like polyethylene. The gabled roof can have more rigid material like glass or fiberglass.  Being relatively large, this type of greenhouse is usually built by commercial growers.

Detached greenhouses

These are independent or stand-alone free standing structures situated away from the home. They have the advantage of being larger and admit more sunshine as there are no shadows of an attached structure to hamper sunlight.

Quonset greenhouse or hoop house is a popular option because it is quite inexpensive and easy to put up. It is arched and uses light weight framing over which flexible glazing can be stretched.

The Gothic arch greenhousehas great aesthetic appeal. It consists of two separate curved pieces that meet at the ridge line of the roof. As the curvature is less pronounced than the Quonset, it provides more head room and usable space.

Classic A-Frames look like the alphabet ‘A’ when put up. They are easily assembled on the ground before being erected, but have relatively less usable space.

Modified A-Frame greenhouses are shaped typically like a house. With straight vertical walls topped by gabled roof without eaves, they have more usable space than the classic A-Frames.

Barn style greenhouse has greater usable space as the peaked roof slants to meet eaves on either side of the ridge line. The eaves at the roof’s edge connect it to the sidewalls. The sidewalls may be straight or slanted; the latter providing for greater sunny span.

Dome greenhouses are semi-circular. They are great for minimizing wind resistance and allowing maximum light transmission.

Each of these basic greenhouse designs has its own plus points as well as limitations. A little research would go a long way in allowing you to

How to Install Fireplace Doors

Anyone can make their fireplace look complete with a set of fireplace doors. Beside giving your room a finished look, fireplace doors serve other purposes. When burning a fire, the glass doors prevent sparks from escaping your fireplace, keeping your room safe. Glass doors are also an important amenity for safety reasons if you have small children or pets. The following is a general overview of two typical installations and is meant to give you a basic understanding of the process.

There are two different types of fireplace doors- steel and aluminum. Both types of doors will work for any fireplace – you will just need to find what will work best for you. Both types of doors will require a few tools:

o Cordless Drill
o Masonry Drill Bit
o Hex Head Drill Bit
o Level
o Felt Tip Marker

Aluminum fireplace doors are generally cheaper in price than steel doors. Aluminum is lightweight, yet a durable material. The aluminum doors arrive fully assembled; however, the four sides of the frame are individual pieces that have been bolted together. This makes the frame a bit more flexible than a solid steel frame. This flexibility requires additional adjustments of the glass doors after installation in order to align the frames.

The installation of your aluminum doors is quite easy. All aluminum doors mount on the face of your fireplace.

Step 1. Remove the glass doors and mesh screen / doors from the frame. This will allow for easier installation.

Step 2. Attach the installation brackets that come with the fireplace door to the back of the frame. There should be two for each side of the fireplace door.

Step 3. Position the frame against the fireplace face. Make sure that your frame is square to the fireplace. Use a level if necessary. Do not assume that the frame is completely lined up correctly because it is against the fireplace. Sometimes, the fireplace itself may not be completely square.

Step 4. Line up the bracket with a mortar joint, and using the melt tip marker, mark a spot where you will drill your hole. Do this on both sides of the fireplace door for all four brackets.

Step 5. Remove the frame and set it on the ground.

Step 6. Using a cordless or electric drill and your masonry bit, pre-drill a hole in the mortar joint where you marked the spot. Pre-drill all four holes.

Step 7. Set frame in place against fireplace face and line up bracket with the newly drilled holes.

Step 8. Insert screws through bracket and tighten.

Step 9. Once frame is secure, attach the screen mesh curtain / door and glass doors.

Step 10. Make necessary adjustments so the glass doors are aligned.

Often, installation for aluminum doors can be extra work due to the frames flexibility. Aluminum doors require adjustments in order for the door frames (also called styles) to be aligned.

Steel fireplace doors different from aluminum doors because the frame is one complete piece – it is laser cut from one solid sheet of steel. This means that the frame has no flexibility so the doors should always be properly aligned. They will also be fully assembled when they arrive.

Steel fireplace doors can overlap the opening, mounting on the face of the fireplace, or sit on the inside of the fireplace box. These directions only explain the installation of a steel door as an overlap fit.

Step 1. Before you attach the doors, you want to be sure to remove any glass doors or mesh screens that may be attached.

Step 2. Place the frame against the fireplace face, and locate the mounting holes on the back of each side of the frame.

Step 3. Using a felt tip marker, mark a spot on the inside of the fireplace through the slots of the mounting holes. Note: If the pre-drilled holes in the frame do not line up with a mortar joint, you can carefully drill a hole into the brick.

Step 4. Using a cordless or electric drill and your masonry bit, pre-drill a hole in the mortar joint where you marked the spot. Pre-drill all four holes.

Step 5. Once you have pre-drilled holes into the masonry, you can place your frame into the fireplace.

Step 6. Insert the screws through the mounting holes and into the pre-drilled holes and tighten.

Step 7. Once the frame is secure, attach the screen mesh curtain / door and glass doors.

The installation of your fireplace door may differ slightly from the above instructions depending on the manufacturer. WoodlandDirect.com features install documentation and videos specific to the fireplace door that you are considering to purchase. They also have staff available by phone that can walk you through the entire process from measuring to installation.

Installing a set of fireplace doors is a fairly straight forward process and should take you approximately 30 minutes to an hour. Whether you decide on aluminum or steel fireplace doors – you will not be disappointed!

Detached Retina Symptoms – Fast Action Can Save Your Eyes

Are you experiencing hazy vision or are you bothered by floating specks? These are symptoms of a detached retina which needs immediate attention from your doctor. If not attended to right away, then this condition can lead to blindness.

In order to properly function, the retina should receive oxygen and nutrients from the blood vessels underneath. When it separates from the blood vessels, the condition is called retinal detachment. In the United States alone, approximately 20,000 people annually suffer from retinal detachment. It is the result of an eye injury, cataract surgery, or an extreme case of nearsightedness.

Men are more prone to having this condition than their female counterparts and its sunset is higher in people with eye tumor and hypertension. Genetics also play a crucial factor in the development of the condition as it has the tendency to run in families. Doctors characterize it as a medical emergency which requires immediate surgery because it could lead to the permanent loss of vision in the affected eye.

Although the condition is painless, detached retina symptoms manifest themselves prior to the detachment. It involves the shrinking and sagging of the vitreous fluid within the eyesballs. The tugging of the retina results to the sensation of flashing images. When strong enough, this may cause the retinal tear and consequential damage the small blood vessels paving the way for blood to see into the vitreous.

Whether or not surgical procedures will help is determined by the condition of the patient. For example, if there is only retinal teething but no detachment from the blood vessels below is involved, laser treatment or photocoagulation can undo the damage. Likewise, performing cryopexy, which involves application of cold temperature to produce a scar which holds the retina in place, can also repair the damaged retina.

Surgical procedures are only saved to when there is a detachment of the retina. The treatment should be performed at once because rods and cones die when detached from their source of nourishment for an extended period of time. This could lead to permanent blindness and nothing can bring back the loss vision.

Detached retina symptoms are usually treated using one of three surgical methods, some of which are integrated with photocoagulation or cryopexy. These surgical procedures are designed to close retinal holes or tears in order to minimize the tugging of the retina from a shrinking vitreous. The kind of procedure to be recommended by the surgeon is dependent on the kind, size, and position of the detached retina. These procedures can successfully treat over 90 percent of retinal detachment patients although another treatment is sometimes needed.

Foam Insulation Is Green Insulation

These days, everyone's building green. There are lots of ways to build that are both friendly to the environment, and more energy efficient than traditional building techniques. These not only do right by planet earth; they also save you money.

Insulation is a major concern in house building. Using green materials to isolate your house is more efficient and healthier than potentially potentially toxic substances. Green is the way to go!

Done With That Newspaper?

If you want to insulate your house with green materials, there are several green products available. One of the most common is fiber insulation, which is recycled paper that is used as to insulate your home. This is not fiberglass, which some studies have shown to be bad for your lungs.

Most of the paper for fiber insulation comes from newspapers, but cardboard and other paper materials are used as well. This material is just as effective, if not better, than traditional materials.

Fiber insulation is often referred to as "loose fill." Bags of loose fill, or recycled paper, are blown into the spaces between walls and complected until it is solid. This technique is always being improved, and in the future it may be an even more efficient means of keeping your house insulated. It's also a good way to re-use those Sunday papers.

Good Old Fashioned Cotton

What happens to all those clothes that you can not hand-me-down anymore? Some of it is used to insulate houses. Recycled cotton, a material that has been used for centuries to keep warm, is a great way of insulating your house.

Recycled cotton is very energy efficient. The process of getting the cotton ready for insulation takes less energy than most other recycling processes. It is blown into the area between the walls and packed there. This is a particularly good choice for those who live in colder climates.

Expanding Spray Foam

By far, the best and most efficient green product is polyurethane spray foam insulation. This is a vegetable oil based substance that is sprayed in, and then expanses and hardens. It is the most efficient way of insulating a house because, as it expands, it fills all the cracks and holes completely.

In addition to providing excellent insulation, it is the only way to keep water and moisture completely out of your home. It is effective at keeping out pests as well, and is naturally fire resistant unlike other kinds of insulation.

Spray foam is environmentally friendly and saves homeowners anywhere from 20% to 40% of their utility bill every month, depending on where they live. This saves you money, and it also helps save the planet.

You may also be surprised to know that using green products are almost always cheaper than installing insulation the old fashioned way. And of course, it saves you money in the long run by providing superior energy efficiency.

Look into green insulation products today, whether you are building a home or thinking about remodeling and going green.

Matchbox's Stinky the Garbage Truck – An Awesome Children's Toy!

Meet Matchbox Stinky the Garbage Truck! He's the hot new addition to the Big Rig Buddies interactive toy line this year.

Geared for children 3 years and up, they will fall in love with his feisty personality and silly antics. This Matchbox Garbage Truck has over ninety clever phrases and sounds that children listened to while they play. His parts are oversized and it is easy to manipulate his cab, body and wheels into different positions.

Stinky can be played with like any normal toy when turned off. When turned on he has 5 interactive modes of play. There are a few sensors located in the smokestack, rear door and the bottom of the truck that when triggered make Stinky speak. When he's pushed or pulled, it triggers his head-like cab to turn and the lights blink!

Stinky gets hungry! His mouth is the grille on the front of the cab. Feed Stinky little toys and then watch him dump them out. Children can also drop small items in the top compartment, pull on the smoke stack and Stinky will discharge them out of the back end. He makes a cute sound and says "Excuse Me." Children will have fun for hours from this goofy antics.

Stinky the Garbage Truck can perform! Push or pull his smoke stack and he will dance and sing. He can stand up on his back two wheels and sing a silly song.

This toy will save on the batteries by shutting itself off and going into sleep mode when left untouched for a period of time.

Here's what is included with Stinky the Garbage Truck:

– Matchbox Big Rig Buddies DVD – this DVD features Stinky and the Big Rig Buddies gang in 2 exciting adventures that impress the virtues of friendship, teamwork and heroism.

– 4 C batteries- these are just for demonstration so you can see what he says and does. Be sure to pick up extra batteries.

– Tough and durable frame. He can take the rough and tumble play from the 3+ age group.

– Interactive play- Stinky is a cool buddy that tells jokes, talks, eats, sings and even exercises!

– He loves to gobble garbage.

– Stinky is an indoor toy. Water, sand and dirt can cause malfunctions in the sensors, so keep him out of the sandbox.

Stinky is a lovable, fun and safe interactive toy. This is expected to be a hot toy for 2010 so avoid the hassle and order as soon as possible. It is a durable, tough toy with a lovable personality. You can be assured that your child will love Matchbox Stinky the Garbage Truck. The bonus DVD is an awesome addition that all kids will enjoy!

Timber Transport Information – Technology and Safety Go Hand-In-Hand!

Timber transport is an important part of a forest management program. The need to haul lumber after tree harvesting must be implemented in order to get the wood to its final destination – sawmills or plants that process the wood products.

Conventional Transportation

Long ago, rivers were used to ship timber. The current of the water naturally propelled the wood down the river and a log driver with long poles was employed to push the trees or free them when they jammed. The transferring of cut trees through natural waterways was very risky since the workers would have to walk across the floating timbers to prevent the development of log jams. It can not be denied that water transportation was a cost-effective way of moving wood from the forest to the mills.

Transportation by Roads and Highways

Another method of moving wood was to build permanent roads that could have been used by trucks to haul the filled trees. The specific road construction was determined by forest engineers to meet the long-term goals of forest management. These roads were historically re-made into the roads and highways of today and easily facilitate the shipping of harvested wood from the forest to processing plants.

Another means of transportation was through the logging railway by which steam locomotives or diesel-driven locomotives were used to haul filled timber to sawmill and other processing locations.

Because of the development of today's modern technological advances in building roads, the opportunity to utilize roads and highways in moving harvested lumber has only continued to expand. Other countries, such as Romania and some parts of Russia are still using railways for shipping wood. Water transportation is rarely used because of environmental concerns and too much product loss due to sinking.

Modern Technological Advances

Today, the most common way to rapidly and efficiently ship heavy timber of various sizes is through the use of log trucks. Forestry equipment, such as front-end loaders and cranes, are used to load the wood onto the transportation vehicles. Before the timber is able to be hauled, it is frequently processed and sorted. The timber is filled, bucked and de-limbed before it is loaded onto a truck to be delivered to the mills. Logs are categorized based on their grade and tree species before being hauled to the mills.

Loading and hauling is a hazardous and risky procedure on the part of the workers. This fact encourages operators and contractors to provide personal protective equipment to their employees to maintain a safe working environment and to ensure that the workers' safety is not overlooked.

Safety Concerns

To maintain safety procedures during the entire operation, general log safety loading procedures must be observed. Timber must be securely fastened to the bed of the transport truck to prevent the risk of it falling off onto the road during travel across public roads and highways. The loaders and drivers must make sure that the loads are safe by checking the top of the loads, looking for any dislodged or protruding timber prior to transportation. All timber should be loaded onto the trucks correctly so that the drivers will not risk being penalized for carrying unsafe loads.

Forestry workers can be very productive if the loading and transportation of the harvested wood is done correctly with a great amount of consideration given to the overall safety of the workers. To strengthen the safety program, each employee must wear protective equipment during the operation. It must be remembered that just because employees are using safety equipment, not all hazards can be completely eliminated. Workers must always be mindful of their own safety when working in this hazardous industry.