Micropile Drilling Rigs

Drill rigs have become a common site in the commercial construction foundation industry due to their advantages over conventional piling practices.

In a traditional commercial construction project, geotechnical engineers conduct a study that provides them with data that is pertinent to the base of the planned structure. Projects that need additional foundational support can be "shored up" utilizing piles. Piles are long objects made most often of concrete, steel, or lumber that are driven into the ground utilizing a machine known as a pile driver.

In large commercial operations, vibratory driver / extractor machines or diesel hammer pile drivers are often utilized due to their efficiency and effectiveness. These massive machines require vast areas to move and swing during their operation; vibratory driver / extractors require being mounted to a giant crane. Often in densely populated areas the large tracks of land necessary to operate these machines is not available. Fortunately for job sites that experience limitations regarding space, a viable alternative to conventional pile driving applications has evolved over the last few decades; micropile drill rigs.

Drill rigs can replace the effort typically performed by traditional piling machines. Drill rigs are much smaller than their counterparts, but still maintain the same conceptual design. Their versatility and power have made them a critical element in the development of micropile solutions.

One of the features that make a micropile drilling rig valuable is its ability to operate in confined spaces where larger machines would not be able to access. The machines are based on a set of tracks that permit it to move across job sites with ease. Recent advances in emissions technology allow for a low quantity of exhaust fumes; which is important when the machine is being operated in confined spaces or areas in close proxies to the general public. Some drill rigs are now capable of being operated by remote control.

Foundation support improvements also occurs on existing structures, to reinvent a failing foundation. Many times the challenges that are present may include limited headroom. Certain specialty drill rigs afford the operation in these limited areas. Detachable power units and 120 degree side-to-side mast rotation is designed to work in confined spaces that would typically prohibit operation in most situations. These attributes have allowed the reinforcement of countless older foundations with minimal impact on the existing structure.

International Construction Equipment (ICE) is located in Matthews, NC and has been manufacturing premiere construction equipment for over 25 years. Their product line includes a variety of top of the line pile driving equipment including drill rigs especially designed for micropile applications.

Squareheads, Blockheads and Other Epithets As Applied to German Soldiers of World War I

Here are some of the commonly used epithets for German soldiers during World War I:

Bosche–the pejorative French word for German is from the French “albosche,” and “caboche” (cabbage head or blockhead). This was very commonly applied to the German soldiers by the French. They hardly knew the World War I or II German soldier by any other name.

William Casselman, author of Canadian Words and Sayings has this to say concerning the expression Bosche:

“Boche is a French slang word for ‘rascal’ first applied to German soldiers during World War One, and borrowed during the early years of that conflict into British English.

A definition is given in Songs and Slang of the British Soldier: 1914-1918, edited by John Brophy and Eric Partridge, published in 1930. I have augmented their note.

Boche is the preferred and most common English spelling. Bosche is a rarer English alternative spelling.

The word was first used in the phrase tête de boche. The French philologist Albert Dauzat believed boche to be an abbreviation of caboche, playful French slang for ‘human head,’ very much like English comic synonyms for head such as ‘the old noodle,’ noggin, nut, numbskull.

One of the ways of saying ‘to be obstinate, to be pigheaded’ in French is avoir la caboche dure. The root of caboche in the old French province of Picardy is ultimately the Latin word caput ‘head.’ Our English word cabbage has the same origin, the compact head of leaves being a perfect ‘caboche.’

Tête de boche was used as early as 1862 of obstinate persons. It is in print in a document published at Metz . In 1874 French typographers applied it to German compositors. By 1883, states Alfred Delvau’s Dictionnaire de la langue Verte, the phrase had come to have the meaning of mauvais sujet and was so used especially by prostitutes.

The Germans, having among the French a reputation for obstinacy and being a bad lot, came to be named with a jesting version of allemande, namely allboche or alboche. About 1900 alboche was shortened to boche as a generic name for Germans. During the war, propaganda posters revived the term by using the phrase sale boche ‘dirty kraut.’

At the beginning of WWI boche had two meanings in continental French: (a) a German and (b) stubborn, hard-headed, obstinate. Quickly during the course of the war, this French slang word was taken up by the English press and public.

By the time of World War Two, while boche was still used in French, it had been replaced in continental French by other put-down terms, such as ‘maudit fritz,’ ‘fridolin,’ and ‘schleu.’ These three milder pejoratives were common during the German occupation of France from 1941 to 1945.” 3

Fritz–a common German given name.

Terms of disparagement in English during WWII used by British troops were ‘Jerry’ and ‘Fritz’ in the British army and navy, and ‘Hun’ in the RAF. Canadian and American troops generally preferred ‘Heinie,’ ‘Kraut’ or Fritz. 3

Heinie–probably a form of Heinz, another common German given name. Heinie or Hiney is dated by Lighter to Life in Sing Sing, a 1904 book and says it was in common usage during WWI to denote Germans. 1 Heinie is also defined in the dictionary as being slang for buttocks. 2

Hun–a throwback to the times of the barbaric German tribes known as the “Huns.”

The use of “Hun” in reference to German soldiers is a case of propaganda. In order to fully dehumanize the enemy he must first be thought of as patently different from you and yours. It was initially quite difficult to get “decent white people” of Blighty riled up over the “otherwise decent white people” of central Europe. The solution, then, was to transform them philosophically into rampaging Mongol hordes from the East. One look at the simian features applied to German soldiers portrayed on the Allied propaganda posters drives the point home. Who would you fear and hate more–a nice blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from Hamburg or an apelike, rapacious brute from some distant and dark land?”

“Huns” resulted from a remark made by Kaiser Wilhelm when he dispatched a German expeditionary corps to China during the Boxer Rebellion. He basically told his troops to show no mercy, saying that 1,000 years ago the Huns (an Asiatic nomad people, not Germanic in the least) led by Attila, had made such a name for themselves with their depredations that they were still considered synonymous with wanton destruction, and urging the German troops of 1900 in China to similarly make a name for themselves that would last 1,000 years. When the Germans were fighting the French and the British a mere 14 years later, this piece of ready-made propaganda was too good to pass up for the Allied side, particularly in view of the reports coming in from Belgium from the earliest days of the war.

Hun is defined in the dictionary as being a barbarous or destructive person and also as being offensive slang–used as a disparaging term for a German, especially a German soldier in World War I. 2

Dutch–used by the American soldiers, i.e., anyone who spoke with a guttural accent in America was commonly known as a “Dutchman.”

Dutch is defined in the dictionary as being a term of or related to any of the Germanic peoples or languages. 2

Kraut–an obviously abbreviated form of sauerkraut. Kraut, krout, crout as in use in America by the 1840’s to refer to Dutchmen and by American soldiers during WWI and II to refer to Germans with its origin found in sauerkraut. 1 Kraut is defined in the dictionary as being offensive slang and used as a disparaging term for a German. Among Americans this is the principal recognized use of the word. 2

Squarehead or Blockhead– Most interesting of all was the appellation of “Squarehead,” or “Blockhead,” as applied to the German soldiers and mostly by the American soldiers. I have often wondered if these two appellations had any anthropological origin. There are numerous references in literature and by American soldiers to the effect that the shape of the skulls of the German soldiers appeared to be “blocked,” or “squared.” One doughboy states that he made an amateur study of the shape of the skulls of German soldiers and that, to his eye, they definitely were ‘blocked,’ or ‘squared’ in configuration. I can understand the expression to have one’s “block knocked off,” or “I’ll knock your block off,” – “block” being the slang for one’s head. Seemingly there was a causual relationship between these two latter expressions and “blockheads,” or “squareheads. Possibly there was an anthropological origin for German male skulls being more ‘blocked,’ or ‘squared’ in shape. Could it be that the appearance of German male skulls had some relationship to the physical positions in which they slept as infants? Let us look at some of the origins of “squarehead” and “blockhead.”

The idea has been ventured that “squarehead” and “blockhead” resulted from the shape of the German steel helmet of World War I. No evidence has so far been gathered to support this observation.

Blockhead goes back to the 1500’s and defines a stupid person, a block of wood for a head. I think it was probably mistakenly applied to Germans because of its similarity to blockhead and eventually the words became synonymous. Squarehead has been used to describe Germans and Scandinavians and was used as a mild pejorative for Danes and Swedes in the American midwest. It is believed to be of Austrian origin from the late 1800’s. It does define an ethnic physical characteristic of a squarish-shaped face exhibited by some Northern Europeans. Its genetic, not from how one slept. The similar boxhead appeared in the early 1900’s before WWI.

Squarehead is listed in The Slang of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, 1917-1919: An Historical Glossary by Jonathan Lighter, American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic Usage, Vol. 47, Numbers 1-2, Spring/Summer 1972 as in use in America to describe Germans and Scandinavians before WWI. Lighter does not mention blockhead and offers no origin for that term.

The standard German military haircut seemed to produce the “square” or “block” look. This would also be in line with the term “jarhead” for a US Marine, again because of this style of hair. “Squarehead,” at least, remained a term in vogue in the postwar era for anyone of German origin. Of course, every race and/or nationality had its own terms by which it was described, most of which would today be considered derogatory or racist.

Of course, when one considers the word-origins of “Squarehead,” and “Blockhead,” the logical question arises, ‘What about “Roundheads,” an expression that gained popularity during the English Civil War? Is this more in the way of physical anthropology or how the ’round’ skull was formed in infancy?

Actually, the term “Roundheads” for the Parliamentarians was a derogatory (and, it seems, class-based) reference to the very short hair worn by the London apprentices, with whom the Royalists apparently lumped all their opponents. (The counter-insult, “Cavalier,” likened the Royalists to caballeros–i.e., the servants of Catholic authoritarian Spain.) see Martyn Bennett, The Civil Wars in Britain and Ireland 1638-1651, Blackwell, 1997, pp. 104-5.

Roundheads” from the English Civil War refers to the haircuts of the more Puritan members of the Parliament forces–your basic bowl look, close-cropped and very conservative. It distinguished them from the often elegantly-coiffed “cavaliers,” (Royalists), gentlemen of noble birth, and often of considerable wealth–on the other side, with their long and flamboyant locks.

“Roundhead” as a propaganda epithet for Parliamentarian troopers appears to originate in the fact that they kept their hair cut short as against the archetypal flowing locks of Royalist cavalrymen. While this was not always the case (indeed there is a famous van Dyke portrait of George, Lord Digby and William, Lord Russell, the former in the dandified ‘Cavalier’ outfit and flowing main, the other in the sombre Puritan black–the former fought for Parliament, the latter for the King) it was enough of a stereotype for both ‘Roundhead’ and ‘Cavalier’ to be used by propagandists as terms of insult although this did not stop both sets of troopers from taking the terms to their hearts as compliment. If one is to believe those two great historians Walter Carruthers Seller and Robert Julian Yeatman: The Roundheads, of course, were so called because Cromwell had all their heads made perfectly round, in order that they should present a uniform appearance when drawn up in line. Besides this, if any man lost his head in action, it could be used as a cannon ball by the artillery (which was done at the siege of Worcester).

As to appellations, we see that the German was less affectionately referred to as Huns, Boche and Jerries. American soldiers were referred to as Yanks and Doughboys, while the British were referred to as Brits or Tommys, and the French as Poilus.” 4


1. “The Slang of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, 1917-1919: An Historical Glossary,” by Jonathan Lighter, American Speech: A Quarterly of Linguistic Usage, Vol. 47, Numbers 1-2, Spring/Summer 1972.

2. The Free Dictionary, http://www.thefreedictionary.com

3. http://www.billcasselman.com and specifically his web site http://www.billcasselman.com/wording_room/boche.htm. Material used with the permission of Mr. Casselman.

4. Chenoweth, H. Avery & Brooke Nihart, Semper Fi: The Definitive Illustrated History of the U. S. Marines. NY: Main Street, 2005, page 142.

My Grandmother's Advice That's Still Relevant Today

My grandmother never had a lot of money, but she always managed to have enough to put food on the table and to pay every bill on time.

Here are a few of the things I Learnt from her. Not all of them have to do with money, but they're all drawn from an everyday life of hard work, thrift and "keeping the wolf from the door"!

Save for a "rainy day"

Have an emergency fund. Unexpected things happen. My grandmother could not go running to the bank for an emergency loan or overdraft. Always have something to "tide you over" in the food cupboard and the money pot.


The most important things every month are our savings and to pay the rent or mortgage. The rest is a luxury. There's always a new way to spend money, but the secret is in making-do with the things around us which we already have or which do not cost much.

"Waste not, want not"

"Want" in the sense of not having something that you need. Cook at home, use left-overs, never throw food away, learn basic recipes that are cheap to prepare and filling and nutritious. Do not throw money away on anything unnecessary.

"Look after the pennies, and the pounds will look after themselves"

It's all those small expenditures that we might think are nothing that can really add up and make the difference between staying within budget or blowing it out of the water! "A penny saved is a penny earned."

"Do not go throwing your money around"

Let's not go around thinking we're millionaires and spending as though we were! Let's not "live a life of luxury" that we can not afford. Otherwise we'll never be a millionaire!

"It's not what you spend, it's what you do not spend"

Spending money does not make you rich, even though it might make you feel rich … for a while. It's all about what you do not spend!

"While you're getting, you're not spending"

Keep yourself busy at work, and you'll have less time to go out spending money on things in the shops, meals out, etc. Double positive effect on your finances. Many people with partners who do not work do not worry so much about the loss of income, but rather the extra expenses from them having so much free time on their hands!

"Never put things on the never-never"

In other words, do not buy things that you can not afford to pay for in cash. Never take credit for anything except a mortgage.

"Pay for everything in cash. It's cheaper!"

Paying interest when you buy something makes it an expensive purchase.

"You have to earn your keep"

Nothing is for free, and free-loading is not allowed. It's unfair on the rest.

"Everyone has to do their bit"

Everyone in the family has to do what they can, whether it's helping around the house or bringing in a bit of extra income to put on the table every month add to the family savings account.

"There's no such thing as a free lunch"

Do not expect anything for free in this life. You have to work for it!

"Rome was not built in a day."

It takes patience to acquire the comforts of life. You probably will not get rich quickly, but if you're careful, you might just get rich slowly.

"Where there's a will, there's a way"

If you really want to achieve something, you'll find a way to do it. whatever the obstacles.

"If at first you do not succeed, try, try, try again"

Do not give up, even if you fail a few times to start with. If you keep trying, you'll succeed in the end.

"If a thing's worth doing, it's worth doing well."

Do not waste your time doing things "half-heartedly".

"Do not do things by halves."

If you're going to do something, give it your all! Otherwise, what's the point!

"There's a time and a place for everything."

Doing the right things at the right times is crucial. This involves prioritizing and focusing on one thing at a time.

"A miss is as good as a mile."

If you narrowly fail, you've still failed! Make sure you succeed by working on whatever you're doing as hard as possible. And never give up!

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be."

This actually comes from 'Hamlet' which my grandmother probably never read, but this quotation was very much in use in her generation. It speaks for itself.

"Lend your money and lose the friend."

Lending money to other people is fraught with difficulties. It's better to help them find a job or give them good, solid financial advice. If a loan comes too easily, your friend could well be in the same or greater difficulties later on and then you'll never get your money back, which will sour the friendship forever.

"Do not put all your eggs in one basket."

Do not bank everything on one thing! Diversify!

"Pull yourself up by your bootstraps."

This is the old philosophy of self-help to get ahead in life. Still very valid today.

"You got yourself into it, you get yourself out of it."

As far as I can tell, this one was my grandmother's own invention. Do not expect other people to bail you out of problems of your own making.

"Beware of Greekes bearing gifts."

If someone gives you something, the chances are they want something (usually a lot more) in return. Beware! Look what happened to Troy!

"In the olden days …"

My grandmother used to use this phrase when she was telling me how good things were now compared to when she was growing up during and after the First World War. Tough times!

"Having a whale of a time."

For my grandmother, this mean the simple joys in life like having the family round for a few hours, playing cards or a board game, going for a walk in the park … None of these things really cost anything. No flashy cars or expensive jewelry for her! Sometimes, she would even spoil herself and buy an ice cream!

I'm sure there are loads more adages and common sense sayings out there that our grandmothers taught us. Please feel free to send us yours and we'll add them to this article and give you credit for them.

Home Improvement Contractors – What Homeowners Should Know

With home improvement fraud and scams on the rise in the United States, homeowners must take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming victims of "fly by night contractors." For those who still own their properties after seeing the rise in foreclosures across this nation, it is incumbent on you the homeowner to do the following before you go in search of a Home Improvement Contractor.

Home Improvement Contractors (HIC) in most jurisdictions in the United States is regulated by City, State or County Agencies. For example, in New York City, Nassau and Suffolk County in New York, the Department of Consumer Affairs regulates the operations of Home Improvement Contractors and Home Improvement Salesmen (HIS). These are representatives or sales persons who negotiate contracts on behalf of Home Improvement Contractors (HIC).

There are basically three (3) stages of the home improvement process, namely: The Negotiation Stage; The Contract Stage and The Work In Progress and Completion Stage. In the Negotiation Stage, a homeowner should perform a "due diligence" on prospective Home Improvement Contractors and Home Improvement Salesmen, hereinafter referred to as HIC and HIS respectively. This is where you research and check to see if the HIC is a bona fide and legitimate operator. You start by calling the Agency that regulates HIC and HIS in your area. Ask HIC and HIS for proof of licenses, workmen compensation, general liability insurance, performance bonds, and references.

You should also check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​with respect to the reputation of such businesses. Check to see any history of complaints and how they were expedited. Make sure that the HIC / HIS has a physical business address, business telephone, fax, email address, website, etc. Beware of "fly by night contractors" that operate out of their trucks, vans, SUV. It is very important also for you the homeowners to get at least 3-5 free written estimates from HIC and HIS. Some HIC / HIS may charge a reasonable fee depending on the size of the job estimate. For example, those estimates that understands blue prints specifications, plans, zoning, etc. However, you should try and negotiate a free written estimate that express state in black and white prices, brand names, colors, designs, start date, completion date, etc. Keep in mind that "word of mouth" is the best recommendation. Get references from HIC / HIS and invest the time to check the jobs and speak to the homeowners directly. Ask questions!

In the Contract Stage, before you sign or execute a contract, make sure that you obtain copies of HIC / HIS licenses, workmen compensation, general liability insurance, performance bond (applicable for large projects), and inquire whether the HIC participates in a Home Improvement Trust Fund. This is a trust fund that the Agency requires HIC to pay into so as to protect homeowners from HIC who takes off before a job is completed. You are also required to make sure that all brand names, styles, colors, any oral promises (some high powered HIC / HIS will promise you the moon to get your signature), along with manufacturer's and labor warranties to be expressly written in your contract . Most importantly, make sure that the HIC / HIS express put in writing a start date and completion date, along with giving you your right to cancel (recession rights).

Most contract laws allow you three (3) business days from the date of a contract to withdraw or cancel the contract without any penalty or obligations. So if youave a deposit to the HIC / HIS, you are entitled to a full refund within a reasonable period of time not to exceed 10 days. Check with your jurisdiction to make sure of this right. With respect to deposits, some HIC / HIS may require a deposit upon the execution of a contract. Be very careful of HIC and HIS who ask for large deposits up front. Beware of HIC and HIS who wants cash or have checks written out to his or her name. Make checks payable to the Business name only. It is advisable to pay using a credit card. If the HIC is a legitimate operator, it is very likely that they accept credit card as a Merchant. However, the Rule is: Do not give a deposit more than what you can afford to lose. In other words, give a very, very small deposit. A bona fide, reputable and legitimate HIC will not ask for a deposit up front. Such HIC has credit accounts with Home Depot, Lowe's, and other suppliers who will not rely on your money / deposit to buy materials.

If you are not financing the work through the HIC or a third party lender, it is recommended that you pay progress payments to the HIC. Progress payments are incremental payments. In other words, you pay as the work progresses. For example, if you are getting a roof job done, you may want to give a percentage down (one third third of contract price) only on delivery of materials and start of work. Then you give another one third payment when the roof is completed and the final one third when the construction debris is removed from your property. It is advisable to hold back at least 10 per cent of the total contract price for at least 90 days to ensure that the work was done properly. For those homeowners who wish to finance their projects through the HIC or a third party lender, make sure that you do not sign any blank bank papers. You should also ask the HIC / HIS whether the amount you finance will cause a lien or second mortgage to be placed on your property. Make sure that the bank does a visual inspection of the work before you sign a completion certificate allowing the bank to pay the HIC.

Finally, the Work in Progress and Completion Stage; This is the most crucial stage of the work. The HIC is ready to walk away from your project, but you want to make sure that the work was done in accordance with municipal building codes and all of your manufacturer's warranties, warranty on labor, etc., are given to you in writing. This is where you will be asked by the HIC or HIS to release final payment. If you finance the work, the HIC / HIS will ask you to sign a completion certificate which they will take to the bank to get a release of the funds at your permission. Some banks will do a visual inspection to make sure that the work was done. However, it is very critical that you make sure that the Municipal Building Inspectors give a green light for your project. In other words, they must sign off on the job stating that all work was done professionally and in accordance with municipal building codes. Some jobs may require a certificate of occupancy (CO).

Make sure that you have this CO in your hands before you release final payments to a HIC / HIS. Last but not least, if the HIC hires Sub Contractors such as an electrician or plumber to do work on your property, make sure that they are paid by the HIC. Failure to pay them may result in the Sub Contractors filing a mechanic's lien against your property. This is legal. While the work is in progress, make sure that the workers are on time on the site. A normal work day for construction workers are from 8:00 am to 6:00 PM. Some industrious workers will work until it gets dark. Beware of workers that show up for a few minutes and take off. There are many HIC who start 20 jobs and can not finish one. Some HIC take from "Peter to pay Paul" and stop your job in the process. This is why it is critical that you get a start date and completion date in writing.

If the HIC fails to complete the job within that time, you the homeowner may legally hold back money or charge the HIC for each day that elapsed. If your work is an exterior job that involves ladders, scaffold, etc., make sure that they are properly identified and reasonable standard of care is practiced by the workers. In other words, if a scaffold or ladder fall and injure a neighbor or passerby, they may have a civil claim or lawsuit against you the homeowner. This is why you must ensure that the HIC has proper insurance such as general liability insurance before they start work on your project. If you the homeowner permit the HIC to advertise their companies by tracking a sign on your property, you may request a discount on your contract for such favor.

I hope that this post will help you to select the right Home Improvement Contractor for your project, and most of all, you will not become a victim to the criminals out there who masquerade as Home Improvement Contractors.

Oak Furniture Online: Tips For Buying Outdoor Furniture

Patios and outdoor spaces, when the weather gets hotter will suddenly get crowds of people flocking to them. Firstly, these spaces often cover wide, large areas and secondly they hold a big potential for entertaining, relaxation and general enjoyment. Purchasing outdoor furniture involves the same steps as buying indoor furniture, but there are some extra things that you need to keep in mind.

Consider Your Weather

Do you live near the sea? Is the weather hot and dry? Does it rain there frequently?

All these are essential questions that need to be answered before selecting outdoor furniture, as they will dictate what elements the furniture you buy will need. Hot and dry weather can make some wood crack or splinter. Strong winds have the potential to make aluminium furniture fly away, and wicker will not be able to withstand continuous exposure to moisture.

Measure Your Space

Consider how much space you have, and how that space is laid out. Is it a narrow and long gallery or a full and broad deck? Utilise the area and state of your balcony, yard or patio to decide the extent of your outside furniture. Try to leave enough space around your oak furniture to have the capacity to walk comfortably. Apply a similar strategy when designing your inside furniture as well.

For a little space, a bar table set may work better to something like a general feasting set, since bar tables are smaller, and stools consume up to less space than full seats. You can likewise investigate bistro tables and chairs as they are often designed to fit into smaller spaces and to pack in as many people as possible.

Figure Out Where You Will Set Your Oak Furniture

Is your porch outside and open to the elements, or do you have any overhead covering? Will your oak furniture lay on delicate ground and grass or a hard surface, for example, a wooden deck or a cleared porch? This will cause you to pick materials that are a conventional counterpart for your condition and environment.

Try not to put delicate woods, for example, pine on a green surface and in open territory. The dampness coming up from the soil will start to make the wood spoil and will do it quickly. Humidity can likewise make a few metals rust and decay. All of this needs to be considered so that you don’t buy furniture that won’t even last all summer.

Consider porch umbrellas for shade on the off chance that you get excessive sun.

Select The Right Material

What sort of materials do you like for outdoor furniture? When deciding, there are three elements that you should consider: the climate of your area, the amount of care and maintenance required and the appearance. As mentioned before, your climate assumes a significant part in deciding whether a material is a solid match. You don’t need a material that won’t face your climate conditions, as it will be a huge waste of money.

The measure of care that a material needs is additionally something you need to consider. Some open-air materials like aluminium, teak or resin don’t require excessive care. Cast iron can keep going for an incredibly lengthy timespan and can take warmth and dampness with ease.

Resin furniture is likewise impenetrable to soggy conditions and is accessible in a wide range of looks and styles.

Care For Comfort

You will be using your outdoor furniture to relax in, so make it enjoyable. It doesn’t matter if your seats do or don’t require cushioning as you can purchase or make your own. Just make it a high-priority point to ensure a high-quality texture that won’t gain a moisture build-up.

Your cushions will remain to look awesome if you store them inside when not using them (in winter months for example)

Chaise parlours, rockers, and chairs are likewise incredible for unwinding outside. Try to experiment with your furniture before you get it; make sure that you enjoy the feel and the look of it.

How to Start a Plumbing Business

So, you want to start a plumbing business. This could be a terrific decision, or, it could be the worst idea ever. Starting a plumbing business, or any business really, involves a certain amount of structured thinking to put everything in place, and making sure that you have thought of everything. By following this strategy planning process, you will have covered all the important aspects of getting your planning and strategy in the right place, and this will make the starting of your own plumbing business some 450% more successful.

The Strategy Required to Start Any Business

Starting a plumbing business, a bakery, or a high-tech company all requires the same basic thinking strategy. To remember it best, use the EASI acronym. In this case, E stands for emotion, A for achieving a win, S for simple and straightforward and I for the implementation.

Everybody wanting to start a business should be aware that it is going to involve plenty of challenges, hardships, stress, worry, and a multitude of other issues. The process of starting a business has often been likened to jumping off a cliff, and building an aeroplane on the way down. It will mean sleepless nights, long working hours and the unwavering support of family and friends around you. This is real, and the reason so many start-up businesses fail.

The first step, therefore, is to examine the reasons that you want to start the business in the first place. This involves an examination of the emotions, or feeling behind the rationale of starting your own plumbing business. Everyone will have their own reasons for wanting to start their business. It may be as a last resort as they are unable to find employment in the field, it may be that they hate having a boss, it may be that they want to become extraordinarily wealthy. Whatever the reason, it is essential that the owners of the business, if there are more than one, are aware of the strength of their emotions regarding the venture. This will determine the power of the motivation, the real forces behind the venture, and, with the aid of a skilled consultant, allow the prospective business owners to determine if their vessel will survive the storms on the ocean, or if there needs to be some additional emotional management included.

The second item speaks to the vision, or goal of the organisation. A prospective plumbing business may have as its goal to be a loss leader and therefore a tax write-off. It may be that achieving a win with the business would be familial survival, or putting children through school. Either way, all the owners need to be able, collaboratively, to understand what the goal is and to have a combined vision of the business that everyone can buy into. Without this shared vision, any subsequent planning and strategizing will ultimately be negated and sporadic, with everyone involved having different goals and aims, instead of pulling together in the right direction.

Keep Things Simple and Straightforward

It does not take any real skill to make things more complex. The real genius in any situation is to make things more simple. This line of thinking is propagated by all the top entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. Albert Einstein often used to say that if you couldn’t explain a thing to a six-year-old, you didn’t understand it yourself. In light of this strategic thinking, the next piece of advice is to keep all your plans and strategies simple and straightforward. Set a goal that everyone involved, all the stakeholders, can buy into. See where you currently are, and plan a way to get to that goal that all concerned can understand, appreciate, and take ownership of.

The final step in setting up a new plumbing business is to implement the strategy. Without a rigorous implementation strategy and plan, all the goal-setting and personal examination of business vision and motivation will just become a distant wish. Implementation plans fall into five basic categories; overall business strategy, financial planning, human resources and communications, sales and marketing, and project management. All businesses must be able to conduct planning with respect to these five regions of business expertise in order to be successful.

Implementing Your Plumbing Business Strategy

The first step in initiating the plan within all the five sectors that need examination is to complete a real, practical, and genuine business plan. Having gone through the initial strategic thinking process as outlined above, compiling an overall business plan should be relatively easy. Nevertheless, failing to spend sufficient time aligning a business plan to the strategy will mean that the business is also likely to fail, because one of the well-known factors in determining business success is that more than 80% of successful businesses have determined their overall strategy in detail, aligned the business plan, gone into each aspect of the business plan in detail, and repeat this strategic thinking process regularly amongst all the stakeholders.

Once the business plan has been compiled in detail, with all the necessary inputs being not only realistic but pragmatic as well, then the detailed considerations in each of the five business aspects can begin. This should dovetail with the business plan, but expand on the details simply stated in the plan to some extent. In the case of a plumbing business as we are considering here, some of the parameters in these five aspects of the business will be examined. Not in an attempt to intimidate any prospective plumbing entrepreneurs, but rather in an attempt to illustrate the importance of this strategic thinking process, and the reasons why it should be conducted in detail, and why utilising effective and experienced business consultants will not only increase the chances of success, but probably save substantial money in the medium to long term.

Five Business Areas to Conduct Planning

These five business areas, as related to a plumbing business, are strategy, financial, sales and marketing, human resources and communications, and projects. Overall strategy has been discussed in some detail, and following the above instructions will guarantee success in this regard.

The financial planning aspect when starting a plumbing business is of crucial importance. A detailed understanding of potential income, and expenditures related to the running of the business need to be examined. Whereas these are obviously tied in the overall strategy, the practical aspects of a plumbing business will need to be added by the stakeholders, using their experience and knowledge of the field. Office premises, the maintenance of stock and supplies, transport, and the ability to survive until the income exceeds the costs needs to be determined. All potential financial considerations, such as stakeholder input, the possibility of generating loans and financial support and receiving up-front payments all need to be planned in great detail.

Income of a plumbing business is directly related to the amount of work undertaken and the charges levied on this work. In an overall sense, the amount of income must exceed the costs of the business, and the aim of any sales and marketing plan is to ensure that this is, in fact, the case. With the advent of social media and the internet, the avenues available to market a business have increased exponentially. The starting point for any plumbing business, like any service related business, is to determine in as much detail as possible who exactly the people are that would be providing the business with revenue. These people, as a whole, are called the buying persona of the business. A plumbing business may, for instance, decide to stay small and provide after-hours services to family and friends, or it may target large corporate projects and tenders. Or anything in between. The better any prospective plumbing organisation understands exactly the behaviour, like, needs, wants, and aims of their prospective market the better they will fare. The example here is that a plumber who caters to the lower end of the economic market would use more print media and posters to advertise the business, while a plumber catering to an upper market segment may elect to use social media more since richer people have smartphones and will be reachable using digital platforms.

Human resources and communications requires detailed planning on its own too. Depending on the structure of the plumbing organisation, and their unique selling points, there may be a customer service department required, or a marketing department if this is the determining factor of achieving business. Planning and structuring the organisation accordingly will depend on the overall aims and vision, but will need to take the entire business plan into consideration.

Plumbing services generally will require on-site operations and the effective management of these operations as individual projects. Good project management is key to any service industry and the basic principles of project management is going to be essential. Once again, though, project management should not be seen as a complex and difficult issue, but rather a simplified and straightforward way of dealing, and communicating with all the stakeholders involved in every project.

The Required Starting Blocks of a Plumbing Business

These steps, as outlined above, if conducted thoroughly and efficiently, with the businesses core vision in mind and a positive collaborative mindset as a starting point, will ensure that the business has a better than 80% chance of success. However, as stated numerous times during this discussion piece, this is not a 5-minute exercise. This is a detailed strategic thinking process that will require honesty and commitment. There are certain things, therefore, that should be borne in mind before even embarking on the strategy process.

The first is an audit of the emotional intelligence of the stakeholders in the plumbing business. Like any service industry, plumbing involves hard work and much on-site work where things can easily go wrong. A high emotional intelligence score amongst the business owners is the best possible indicator of success. Emotional intelligence means being able to cope and manage the stresses and challenges involved, it means training your mind to find solutions in the midst of chaos happening all around you, and it means being able to be an effective leadership team who can steer a business through uncertain times. On the other hand, it does not mean someone who succumbs to the influences of anger or vindictiveness. Emotional intelligence can be learned and improved upon, so it certainly can be developed, but it is key that this quality be determined before initiating any business.

Secondly, there needs to be an understanding that knowledge is vital. The prognosis for a baker who wakes up one morning and sees a plumber friend making lots of money and then decides to start a plumbing business is unfortunately not very good. Plumbing, in order to be successful, needs to be done well. In a highly competitive business environment such as there is today all over the world, any business needs to actually be good at their job to be successful. It is for this reason that it is a prerequisite of starting a plumbing business that the stakeholders at the very least have access to high quality plumbing services. This includes knowing all aspects of the work, the market potential, and the survival rates of their competition. Without this core knowledge, no matter how good the strategizing process and the plans that come out of it, there is no chance of success.

In conclusion, therefore, starting a plumbing business is easy. Starting a plumbing business that is successful and over the short, medium, and long term can deliver on the aims and requirements of the owners is less much less easy. The key differentiator here is having a good, well thought out and innovative strategy, and using this strategy to generate and compile effective implementation plans in the right areas. JFK always used to say that efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction, and so it is with many things, and starting a plumbing business is one of those things.

5 Quick & Easy Ways To Create Fast Selling Information Products

Information products sell and everyone should be
creating them actively. If you have not started
yet or do not know how to get started, these
simple steps will show you how embarrassingly
simple it is to create them and make explosive
profits from them.

1. Ask Existing Customers.

Most people fail to make as much profits as they
bought to because they either completely ignore
this unique money making secret or simply
because they feel it will never work!

The easiest person to sell to a second time is
someone to whatever you've sold to previously. The
question now is; what should you sell the
second, third or fourth time to that person.

The unbelievable thing is this; these people are
ready to tell you what next they want to buy and
it is one super-smart, absolutely convenient way
to come up with a hit product.

So, if you are in doubt about what information
to sell next and you have a list of people with
what you've done business previously, just ask!

2. Change The Demographic Of A Product

Who does the info product sell to?

Find someone else who needs it in a different
market niche and sell to them. I once read of
how a marketer was trying to sell a certain type
of brief-case and was not making headway.

He then decided to try selling the same case to
magicians and "ooops" .. it started going out
faster than he thought possible.

Now, look around and try to see how you can sell
something already in the market to a new
demographic. Here is an example;

If you have this in the market;
"10 Quick Ways To Become Super Rich"

Notice this particular info product sells to a
general market. Now, you can pick up the same
product, change the niche and sell it for even
more profits.

"10 Quick Ways For Women To Become Super-Rich"
"10 Quick Ways To Become Super-Rich As A Footballer"

With that slight change, you can go ahead to
sell thousands of copies of the new info product
to a new niche and make yourself double rich.

3. Create A New Product Based On Stories

Do you know you can turn stories into giant
money spinners? People love stories. I do not
need to stress that point. This simple reason is
the back-bone of "giant sales" recorded from
magazines that dig into other people's lives,
gist columns etc.

With a good story, you can make millions. All
you need to do is turn the story into an
information package and sell it at a price you
name. If for example, you've known a man who
lives next door for 10 years and all he does is
feed his dogs (37 of them) every morning, then
take them for a walk later in the evening … yet
this man is a millionaire because he breeds

WOW .. what a money maker story. Put the man's
story into an information package, teaching the
rest of the world how he does what he does for
profits and you will also become a millionaire
faster than you ever thought possible.

4. Create A Video Or Audio For A Successful Product

Thousand of best selling information products
are out there, selling like crazy BUT are only
available in print form.

Why do not you just go ahead and create a video
for those best selling info products? You will
make millions just by repackaging the same old
thing in a new way.

Infact, just making a simple audio tape which is
a reading of a best selling, existing product
which people can listen to while driving will do
the trick for you.

5. Do A Celebrity Interview

There is a popular magazine in my side of town
selling so hard … The funny thing about this
magazine is that is just a collection of
pictures, showing celebrities and giving gist
about their latest parties … expensive houses
and stuff like that.

You need to see how people buy it!
If you are the type who does not want to do the
hard work of writing line after line and
creating an information product from scratch ..
just go out, find a celebrity, do an interview
and start selling.

You'd be amazed at how much demand for the
celebrity's interview you'll get from the
market .. just because people want those secrets
you overlooked during the interview.

Follow these simple, quick techniques and you'll
have a ton of fast selling info-products without
twisting an arm.

© Oluwafisayo A., 2006.

Pros and Cons of Using Play Mats

Play mats have been around for decades. They are an area for your child to occupy while the youngster plays with their toys. The use in the home is not very common, but most daycares use them in some form. The mat will come in almost every texture, color, and shape imaginable, but their primary advantages and disadvantages are pretty much the same between them.


There are three major advantages to using a activity mats. The first is they create boundaries for your children. They learn that there are places to play and places that are for other things. The world isn’t one large playground. Used properly the child will collect the toys they want to use, bring them to their play area, and not invade another child’s play area. The second advantage is the mat itself is often a source of entertainment with colors, letters, numbers, and mazes on them. The last major advantage to the mat is it minimizes fights between children because they are staying to themselves which is especially helpful before naps or bed time.


The primary disadvantage to a play mat is cleanliness. By concentrating a child’s play area you increase the germs, food, dust, etc in that area. If not sterilized properly you could increase illness. The other disadvantage is children who are already not social may use these as an escape from interaction with their playmates. You don’t want children isolating themselves all day long. If you have this problem removes the play mat for some portions of the day.

Using play mats or not shouldn’t require a doctorate degree in child psychology. Just use them appropriately and discourage children who actively break the play mat rule or runs to them for safety. Clean them everyday, and avoid fibrous mats because they wear quickly and are difficult to keep clean.

Professional Green Carpet Cleaning Method

Most people are familiar with the common process of professional carpet cleaning. However, they may not be completely familiar with the notion of green carpet-cleaning. There are a few reasons why people are not familiar with green cleaning. The most obvious reason is that it is a new concept. When something is new it can take a little while for it to catch on. Hopefully, green carpet-cleaning will catch on soon since it is just as effective as traditional carpet cleaning. The only difference is that the materials used in green carpet cleaning are more environmentally friendly.

Instead of using processed chemical ingredients to clean the carpet, green carpet cleaning uses organic products. These natural and organic products will not come with the fumes associated with chemical cleaners and they do not contribute to environmental harm. Additionally, there will be no degradation of the carpet since they will not be coming into contact with chemically enhanced cleaners.

Green cleaning may cost slightly more since it employs unique cleaning agents that must be special order. However, as the popularity of such a cleaning method increases, prices will come down. When this occurs, such a strategy of carpet cleaning will prove to be more accessible.

Of course, there will also be questions regarding the effectiveness of green carpeting cleaning services. The effectiveness is right on par with the traditional cleaning items so you can feel confident that the work performed on the carpet will be of the highest quality. So, when it comes to cleaning your carpet… go green!

Buying Beauty Gifts for Him or Her

Just a few years ago, it was very common for only women to buy beauty products, but recently it has become more acceptable for men to care about their appearance. This is a great step forward for the beauty industry, as now both men and women can buy beauty products or book certain trips and procedures without fear of ridicule. But when it comes to buying a beauty gift, how do you pick out the right present for your near and dearest? What do you buy them?

There was once a time when it was relatively difficult to buy a loved one a special beauty gift, but now, with the advent of new technology and better ingredients, more and more products are available to consumers. However, the explosion in popularity of the beauty market has made it much easier for those in the know to choose the right product for them – but if you are unaware or unsure of what to buy, where do you start?

First things first, if you've never done this before, then start doing some research; find out what your loved one likes to use and find out where you can buy these products. Then, try to find out if there are any products or even treatments that they have always wanted to use or do, and see if you can get hold of these for them. For example, you could have a friend who's never had their eyebrows threaded, or a partner that's always wanted to have a hot stone massage – really listen to them and find out what it is that they want, and where they can get that.

Another piece of research that is very important, is finding out if they are allergic to any common ingredients in beauty products, such as products used in perfume, make up, moisturiser, cleanser or toner. Finding this piece of information out early will help narrow your search, and also ensure that you do not cause any adverse allergic reactions by accident. Also, find out what scents they enjoy smelling, so for example, get them products with sandalwood in them if they love the scent of sandalwood, but avoid lavender products if they hate the smell of lavender, you will buy them a product that they love rather than utterly despise.

For certain products, you will have to find out where you can buy these. The answer to this question could be very simple; you could get them at the local pharmacy or drug store. However, the products that use could be more exclusive, and could only be available from certain salons, spas and websites. If the product is available through a spa, you could even see about buying them vouchers for a beauty treatment that they've always wanted to do, or find out if they sell do-it-yourself kits, such as a hot stone massage kit , so that you and your loved one can try out the treatment in your own home.

Remember, buying a beauty product for a loved one, whether they're a man or a woman, does not have top be hard, you just need to know where to start, and then move on from there.

Non Toxic, Do it Yourself – How to Get Rid of Carpet Ants Fast!

Ants are not welcome in our picnic trips and definitely not into your carpet! Many people are faced with the situation of these crawlers on their carpets. They bite, they are dirty, and they are very tiny but many in numbers. Not to mention, they look disgusting when they steal your food! Compared to other pests like rats or termites, they can be eliminated by your personal efforts. You would want to preserve your delicate carpet so using strong chemicals is a no-no for you. You can easily get rid of a handful of them but they still keep coming back. This means, you must deal with the source of the carpet ants to prevent the problem. So you ask yourself how to get rid of carpet ants without using toxins to your pricey carpets? Read below for some tips from people who had encountered and successfully put an end to their ant problems.

1. Learn the habits of ants

Ants still belong to a colony that explains their great numbers. The ant colony your ants can belong to are millions in number. Take time to study the type of ants in your carpet to know their behavior like if they hunt for food at night, eating behavior, etc. You could work out a schedule of how to get rid of carpet ants using the information.

2. Locating their nest.

Almost always, ant colonies are usually located outside of your place. This is a harder than those nest found inside because it could be everywhere. Just remain patient and you will get some clues by the little crawlers themselves. Some nests are found within wooden walls or frames inside your own house making it easier in how to get rid of carpet ants. You usually spot a nest inside the house by the wood powder or dusty crud that the ants produce when they gnaw on the wood. Make sure to have spot the right place. When you do, apply methods in number 4.

3. Block the ants way of getting into your place

Find out how they get into your house by following the trail they follow. If possible, plug holes or crevices with sturdy materials to prevent them from coming back in. But also understand that ants are will still find ways to get into your house as long as there is free food. So better clean up your place and prevent food crumbs on your carpet to keep them from going back there.

4. Coming face to face with the ants the natural way

Option One. Sprinkle baby powder, cinnamon, pepper, and bay leaves. Yes, some powder sprinkled in the paths of the ants can repel them away because of their strong repulsive smell to most ants. Powder on your carpet will go unnoticed. Place some powder as well around your pantry and sweet jars to keep them away.

Option Two. Use vinegar solution. Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts of water in a spray bottle and spray away. Be careful not to soak the carpet wet a little spritz goes a long way. It might smell acidic but when the vinegar solution dries up, it goes away but still remain effective in getting rid of carpet ants.

Option Three. Bait them with cornmeal. Ants will eat cornmeal and when they drink water the cornmeal in their bellies will burst their guts open. It sounds gruesome but it is effective.

Of course, cleaning up the bodies of dead ants comes next to your natural methods. Just repeat these steps and the ants will get the idea that your carpet is no place to party. Nature will always be in control when it comes to pests in our homes. But minimizing and managing these pests can be solved using earth friendly methods like the ones suggested above in how to get rid of carpet ants. Chemicals can do harm than good in the long run. And you can be sure that your carpet will not be ruined by their toxic and strong chemicals.

Using Automate Scripts to Improve the Productivity of your Web Site

There are two types of web sites on the Internet. The die-hard SEO managers still favor static pages, because they are easier to crawl and more visible to search engines, and it is fairly easy to add a few hundred pages to a website by copying and pasting or creating a template. The new trend is to use content management systems like Mambo or PHPNuke, but these dynamic systems can cause optimization problems. Even the simplest CMS, content management system, requires extensive knowledge of programming in PERL or PHP. Never fear – there is a solution!

CGI and Javascripts can be copied and pasted into most templates, are hosted on both Unix and Linux, and require no programming knowledge. They can improve the productivity of a CMS or a static website.

These scripts can link part of a static web page to a SQL database improving the productivity of the site without losing the benefits of a static page. This can be as simple as including a password protect section to the website to installing a shopping cart on static web pages.

Security scripts protect personal information keeping it away from the eyes of the competitors. The biggest benefit is found in web analytics.

Web analytics uses scripts on web sites to collect data. Google has an excellent web analytics program for their Google Account subscribers. This is different from an AdWord or AdSense account. Their system promises to tell you everything except the names of the people who visited the web site. This provides invaluable marketing information in a format that anyone can understand.

Google’s new AP key is in its infancy, but programmers and developers around the globe are rushing to create methods of using the AP key to provide services and information to web masters.

Most scripts run at the server level and require some programming skill. A great resource for ready made scripts that will reduce a web site’s work load and increase productivity is at http://www.cgiexpo.com/. They provide scripts, tutorials, forums, resource guides, and even a job bank to find a programmer to offer some assistance. Scripts are made to increase productivity and decrease time load. The most important thing for a webmaster to remember is that not all scripts are created equal. Avoid free scripts and stick with a script provider that offers customer service.

Business Stationery

Business Stationery is meant for commercial and official correspondence and usage. It can range from paper products like letterheads, business cards, notes, labels, memos, computer sheets, typewriter stationery, checks and forms to other items like pens, folders, writing pads, clips, adhesives, tapes and highlighters.

Most of the Business Stationery is ordered in basic and subdued colors like white, cream, gray or light blue. In some cases, where Business Stationery might need to reflect aggressiveness or brightness depending on its line of work, it could have procured in other colors also. It is for the business head to decide what kind of impression needs to be conveyed through its stationery. No doubt it is a very important decision, because this mode of communication would be sent to almost all business associates. One also needs to be clear beforehand as to what stationery requirements are there in the business, and what quantity needs to be ordered.

The quality of stationery items and its prints should be of good standard since it also reflects the company's image. The paper used for stationery should be of firm strength and its size should be easy to handle. Before printing the stationery, write down the information, like name, address, phone numbers, logo and so forth, that needs to be put on the stationery. Sometimes you need to print some notifications due to legal requirements, depending on what is the line of business. For the placement of information, one can get hold of ready-made templates available for letterheads, envelopes and business cards, or have the stationery designed by professional consultants especially for your business needs.

Last but not least, the cost factor comes into play. Ask for quotes from multiple stationers and printers. It is a good idea to check references before placing your order. Since Business Stationery is something that can contribute towards building a distinct identity for the business, one needs to be extra careful while designing and ordering it. Most of the time, Business Stationery is the first contact with a prospective client or agency. Quality stationery can make a good impression for your business.

Reducing Phosphorous in Water Systems

A great deal of recent media attention has been paid to phosphorus as a pollutant; this article is intended as a primer on that topic. Specifically, this article will explore what phosphorus is, why it is used and how it enters the water system. Beyond that, the problems created by excess phosphorus will be examined along with the constructive ways that states and communities have deal with the issues.

To be academically correct, phosphorus is actually an element; as it is commonly used in the water management industry and in the media, however, it refers to compounds of phosphorus, or phosphates (PO4). In its elemental form, phosphorus is highly toxic, yet its compounds are critical for life on Earth. In fact, phosphorus is the 'glue' that binds the sugars that form the backbone of DNA.

Additionally, in plants, phosphates are key in nutrient uptake, flower formation and photosynthesis. Three types of phosphates exist – orthophosphates, polyphosphates (also called metaphosphates) and organophosphates. Orthophosphates are associated with natural processes, human-made fertilizers and sewage treatment. Polyphosphates are commonly used in detergents but when introduced to water, polyphosphates will change to the ortho-form. Organophosphates are the phosphates that are actually being used and effectively bound in the plant material, so they are rarely found 'free' in water systems.

In addition to detergents (mentioned above) that can enter the water system via semi-treated household and industrial sewage and phosphates that naturally leech out of rocks and soil, a major introduction of phosphates into watersheds comes from agricultural and urban runoff; more specifically, agricultural fertilizers and lawn-care products breakdown to release phosphates into the soil. Because plant growth can be limited by the amount of phosphorus available in the soil, it has become common practice to apply fertilizers which enhance the amount of phosphorus available and thus increase the crop yield. Because they are soluble in water, phosphates that have not been picked up by plants will tend to "runoff" with the rainwater after a heavy rain. It is often by this means that phosphates enter creeks, rivers, streams and, in urban areas, storm sewers. While the use of phosphate-enriching products is aimed at noble end-goals, most notably increasing food availability, problems arise when excess phosphates enter the water system.

In terrestrial plant systems, phosphates are necessary, but nitrogen is the primary nutrient that limits plant growth; in aquatic systems, however, phosphorus is the primary limiter of growth. Essentially, when aquatic plants have consumed all of the available phosphorus, all growth will stop; as a result, excess phosphorus will lead to rapid and prolific aquatic plant growth. Most commonly, this growth comes in the form of algae blooms and it is often these algae blooms that are the first obvious indication that there is a problem. While the growth of algae can be a problem by itself, when the algae begins to die, the microorganisms that consume the dead algae also

remove dissolved oxygen from the water in a process called eutrophication. If left unchecked, the water will become highly eutrophic, essentially devoid of oxygen; in this state, higher aquatic life such fish, worms, frogs or turtles can not survive. Additionally, the algae itself can pose a threat; blue-green algae produces natural toxins that can be lethal when consumed by livestock or wildlife who drink from a contaminated source

The problems that result when excess phosphates enter the water system are obvious; what may not be as obvious is that fairly simple practices can mitigate the problem. Many states are encouraging the use of 'buffer strips' where agricultural land abuts creeks, streams and rivers. These strips of land are not tilled or planted and are essentially left to 'go wild'; the resulting effect is typically a zone of high grasses and wildflowers. These tall grasses and plants are barriers to the rainy runoff from the agricultural field and serve to slow the velocity of the water. By slowing the runoff velocity, the phosphate-rich water has more of an opportunity to leech into the soil where it will be bound by the roots of plants in the buffer strip. This practice has been shown to be effective in numerous studies by the Army Corp of Engineers, the US EPA and multiple state EPAs. Additional reductions in amount of phosphates that can enter a body of water can be achieved by encouraging tree and shrub growth in these strips. These simple techniques can reduce overall phosphate runoff by well over 50%. Farmers seem willing to adopt these techniques as the zones near creeks and streams are often naturally difficult to cultivate. In addition state governments have encouraged this practice by offering credits or outright paying farmers to adopt the practice; Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio and several other states have specific programs aimed at encouraging this practice.

Wetlands, whether natural or man-made, also offer a means to reduce phosphorus entry into a watershed. Typically shallow and rich in plant life, wetlands are an effective means of slowing the runoff water while simultaneously offering abundant plant life

that can assist in the rapid uptake of the phosphates. Wetlands are often viewed as wildlife sanctuaries but, in fact, they are a vital player in maintaining the health of freshwater systems. Wetlands, often referred to as 'the kidneys' of the watersheds, serve to filter and prevent entry of many pollutants into the water systems of the world. Beyond states encouraging the creation of filter zones and buffers, some cities have developed plans of their own. New York City's water system, managed by the nonprofit Watershed Agricultural Council (WAC), serves nearly 10 million people. To combat the problem of phosphates and other runoff-related pollutants, WAC partnered with the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and soil and water conservation districts to develop "whole-farm" plans to help farmers reduce harmful farm runoff and protect the watershed. Also, in the state of Vermont, the state government directs the municipal governments to develop local runoff abatement plans.

Aside from taking active steps to reduce the amount of phosphates entering the water system, there is significant effort focused on monitoring phosphate levels and tracking phosphate entry into watersheds. The Phosphate Index (P Index) has been widely

adopted as a means of quantifying the potential of agricultural phosphate to enter surface water. In states such as Minnesota and Iowa, the P Index is used to identify areas where the state needs to take quick action to prevent phosphate migration into a watershed. In New York and other states, active monitoring of the phosphate levels in the water itself helps to avoid excess phosphates making it into a drinking water reservoir.

The use of phosphates is widespread in both industry and agriculture and it is likely that phosphates will remain in use for many years to come. While problems that excess phosphates create in fresh water systems are serious, solutions exist to manage and mitigate these problems. Through effective education and outreach programs, monitoring and active remediation, the states and the federal government can begin to deal with the issue of phosphates.

Home Interiors

Most of us live in homes that were designed and built for a population which had a lifestyle which was poles apart from our own modern lives which although we have endless modern appliances to make housework so much easier we lack the time to live our lives in such a way as to be most beneficial to our souls and that is why our homes are so important as the very lynchpin / hub of our lives – it should be a nest / retreat for the whole family that no matter what life throws at us there is somewhere to escape to which is both comfortable and functional.

Imagine you are a stranger in your home for the first time what are your impressions? Is your home welcoming? Is it fresh and light? No two people have identical tastes and preferences. In rooms that have personal meaning, awareness of space and ease of access we experience uplifted spirits

Rooms should follow a basic theme to function most effectively such as eating and sleeping. In the comfort of your room, the room is comfortable and comfortable. The reality of interior design is that that very few of us can afford to change all our furniture and accessories every time we re-decorate or move or would even want to.

The secret to making the most of an interior scheme is being able to place all the odd ball collection of furniture and soft furnishings and pictures that you would not be without in such positions as best suit both the appearance of the room and your lifestyle so you will have not only an attractive but functional room.

There is no such thing as the perfect house. When you were looking for a new property and decided on the one you are living in there would almost certainly have been an area or some part of it which you were not happy with but had been prepared to compromise on the basis that it fulfilled most of what you needed. There are certain things that can not be changed such as transforming a terraced house into a detached property but there are ways in which you can expand your house upwards, downwards or even backwards. By simply using different colors you can create symmetry and space in a room or re-arranging the furniture. Good storage, decorating and lighting tricks can make a world of difference without going to the expense and inconvenience of moving.

One thing you can be sure of, if you leave everything exactly how it is year on year you will fail to see it in the end.