Climbing the Stairs in a Stair Lift

It is often difficult, if not impossible, for those who afflicted by arthritis to use the stairs. There are many other health related issues that can make it difficult to climb the stairs, but among those over the age of sixty-five, arthritis is one of the leading preventive diseases that can affect stair use.

The reason that the sixty-five and older group is so important, is due to the fact that falling down the stairs is all too common and is the leading reason for hospitalization and unintentional death. To help prevent this risk, it is a good idea to install a stair lift.

Using a stair lift has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of injury or death as a result of a fall while on the stairs. Most people are able to operate a stairway lift independently and without relying on outside assistance. They are designed to safely move a person up and down the stairway, without subjecting them to the risk of falling.

A stair lift usually consist of a metal track, which is most frequently secured directly to the stairs, and some sort of car unit, which travels along the track. For safety reasons, a chair is usually used to transport the occupant, but a few models are available that use a small platform instead of a chair. The units that use a chair are called stair chairs and the types that use a platform are called perch lifts.

Stairway lifts that use a perch are a little riskier and can be dangerous. This is because the rider will have to remain in an upright standing position as the car moves up or down the track. They do serve a purpose though, because some people can not safely bend their dogs enough to allow them to safely sit in a stair chair.

Overall, you will want to avoid perch lifts unless they are absolutely necessary. The stair chair is much safer and as an added safety feature many come with seat belts and optional chest restraints. As an added safety feature, the chair on most stair chairs is able to swivel. This ensures that when you enter or exit the lift you are not forced to touch the stairs at all.

These types of lifting aids are most often seen on the inside of a home, but they are also available for outdoor use. If you intend to use the device outdoors, it will be necessary to make sure that the lift is an outdoor lift. You can not just place any stair chair outdoors, because it is necessary for it to be one that is rated to be completely weather resistant. Outdoor stair chairs cost a little extra, but are completely sealed against moisture and covered with paint and materials that are resistant to rust.

Even though outdoor lifts are built to be weather resistant, you will want to take measures to protect it from the environment. If it is installed under an overhang, ensure that there are gutters installed to deflect rain away from the lift. This is important so that you do not slip when entering or exiting the lift. It is also advised to trim any branches that might hang over the lift.

People who use a stair lift are able to confidently climb the stairs without fear of falling. They allow independent stair use and can easily be operated with either hand.

Precautions For Scaffolding

Construction work for buildings can be pretty hazardous and scaffolding is used as a temporary framework to give support to the workers and the building materials. It is almost like a rolling ladder and is immensely useful especially for very tall buildings as the height can be adjusted and it can hold many people and materials at one go. It is also comparatively safer than other means used in construction because of its lockable wheels. Neverheless, it is always better to err on the side of precaution and proper maintenance and usage is imperative to ensure the safety of the construction workers. This will help prevent any types of accidents and related injuries. Staircase towers are also commonly used as scaffolds.

Scaffolding enterprises of three main parts, namely, tubes, boards and couplers. Tubes can be of steel or aluminum although aluminum is preferred as it is both light and durable and is also flexible. Couplers are used to join the tubes and the boards provide a support for human access. Boards are made of wood which is seasoned and the standard size is usually 50mm – 63mm.

Scaffolding are usually attached to buildings with ties and are more stable than independent scaffolding. A type of independent scaffold is the mobile type which is mounted on wheels or castors which swivel and can be wheeled around from location to location.

Scaffolding safety is crucial for workers and the setting up and pulling down of the scaffold should always be done under the correct guidance and the supervision of a competent supervisor. It is best to follow the manufacturer's guidelines as each one may have some small differences in its set-up which may be serious to properly and safely putting up and dismounting the scaffold.

The guidelines specifying the usage of the scaffold should also be strictly followed. Even though the management team is directly responsible for the proper workings and safe usage of the scaffolding, the workers should also be vigilant and inspect the scaffolding before and after every use. Any fault or deficiency, however minor, should be immediately reported to the concerned authorities. Even if you are simply in the scaffolding rental business it makes sense to provide for insurance for your company.

For further precautions, safety harnesses and guard rails for construction workers are highly recommended as they will buffer the fall, if any. Anyone working at a height of more than six feet above the ground should wear safety harnesses. Many an unfortunate accident on construction sites could have been avoided, if only proper precautionary measures had been taken and stringent inspection rules followed. Both management and the workers have to work in cohesion and joint responsibility to ensure the smooth and safe usage of scaffolding.

Laminate Wood Flooring

Stylish, durable and economic, laminate wood flooring is immensely helpful in changing the look and feel of a home. Although laminate flooring is not real wood, it is extremely impact and scratch resistant. Laminate flooring is also highly resistant to sunlight, stains and burns and is easy to maintain. These benefits motivate many homeowners to use laminate wood flooring while renovating their homes. Laminate flooring cost less than wood flooring and also involves less installation time as compared to a hardwood floor.

Unlike wood flooring, which is composed exclusively of hardwood, laminate wood flooring is made from a combination of synthetic and non-synthetic materials. Laminate wood flooring is made by pressing the synthetic and non-synthetic materials together under high heat and pressure. It is then finished with an extremely hard, clear coating made from a special resin-coated cellulose. This coating acts as a protective layer that prevails scratches and abrasions from appearing on the surface. Laminate wood flooring is environment-friendly as it makes use of more fiber material than wood.

Laminate wood flooring is a versatile flooring product and can be installed in any room of a house except a bathroom. This is because laminate flooring can be damaged quite easily if moisture seeps into the core of the flooring. It is very cumbersome to open up the planks of laminate flooring if it gets damaged due to moisture and may require professional help.

Laminate wood flooring is suitable for families who live in high-traffic areas. They do not need wax or polish and do not fade with time. Many homeowners in the US have shifted over to using laminate wood flooring because it costs lessthan authentic hardwood flooring but conveys a similar look and feel. Laminate wood flooring can be purchased at wholesale prices over the internet or at home trade shows.

Tips in Applying Lacquer Finish

For centuries, people have been applying lacquer finish to their woodworking projects to create a durable, water resistant, and clear finish. Today, you can use the traditional brush-on types or even use a spray to apply it. Both have been known for being the fastest in drying time among all the woodworking finishes. Brushing on a lacquer may take up more of your time and a bit of effort but it is a cleaner option compared to spraying.

What is Lacquer?

Although there are similar similarities between shellac and lacquer, they're different from one another. Lacquer is created out of the resin from a type of tree commonly known as a "varnish tree". This resin is harvested from tree sap, refined, and mixed with a thinner to create the woodworking finish we know today. Lacquer is also used in some types of pain to give it a strong and durable finish.

Lacquer today typically contains another type of resin known as nitrocellulose and is mixed with other ingredients. This allows each coat of lacquer to just dissolve with a previous application. After you've created a number of lacquer coats, you'll find that the finish is quite hard and even a bit flexible. The only problem you have with the nitrocellulose is that it can be more susceptible to ultra-violet light and you've got to protect it from the sun.

Applying Lacquer Finish

Again, you may choose to apply lacquer using a brush or spray. However, it is not good if you'd try both methods on just one project because lacquer that is sprayed dries faster. Although the brush-on type of lacquer also dries fast, you need a bit more time before you can apply another coat and even out the finish. For this case, use high-quality brush with natural bristles to apply the lacquer and be sure you work quickly and make a thin coat. Remember that you should never over-brush your work because you can always apply more coats as needed to help you even things out.

If you're using a spray to apply the lacquer finish, these come in aerosol spray cans which can be bought directly or you could also use a pneumatic (airless) sprayer. Although the aerosol cans are a bit expensive, these will do the job if you're working on smaller projects. When spraying lacquer on a project, be sure that you're working in a well-ventilated are as the solvents are known to be flammable and have a strong odor.

Lacquer vs. Polyurethane Finishes

Compared to polyurethanes, lacquer finishes are a lot easier to use because they're a bit more forgiving, especially when you're brushing them on. Lacquer finishes however, are not as durable compared to polyurethanes but are easier to repair and maintain if the surface gets damaged. As a bonus, you get to use lacquer finishes for all of your projects, an even protect metals too. Finally, an important thing you must always remember is that, polyurethanes and lacquer finishes will not blend correctly. That said, in applying lacquer finish, do not even try to apply a coat of polyurethane on the project because it just will not do you any good.

How To Install Outdoor Carpet

Remember the 1970s when the only choice available in indoor – outdoor carpet was that wonderful [not] golf course green turf. It’s no wonder that the word outdoor carpet sends shudders down a person’s spine. But those days are gone.

Today there are a wide selection of both colors and textures from the very plush to the basic. You can even choose varying grades of carpet. So all that’s left to know is how to install outdoor carpet.

Before we get into how to install outdoor carpet let’s have a look at the tools you’ll need. 50 lb Carpet Roller – optional but well worth the rental fee because of the nice tight seal it provides.

– Utility Knife – make sure the blade is sharp

– Straight Edge

– Adhesive Spreader

– Scissors

– Tape Measure

You will require the following materials

– Double faced carpet tape

– Adhesive

– Adhesive solvent [mild]

– Seam Adhesive

– Solvent To Ensure The Surface is Clean

Some things you should be aware of.

– If you are buying outdoor carpet that is going to be prone to dampness or serious wetness be sure the carpet has an all weather marine backing that is resistant to moisture.

– Outdoor carpet can be purchased in either 6 foot or 12 foot widths.

– Sundecks or areas that get a large amount of sun should be installed using a quality outdoor carpet adhesive to ensure there are no problems with rot or mildew.

– Adhesives are flammable so do not use around open flames, cigarettes, pilot lights, or any other source of flame.

Now to the main attraction, how to install outdoor carpet

1. Prepare your surface

Make sure you have properly prepared your surface by using a solvent to remove all grime and dirt. Let it dry out completely before installing the carpet. The best conditions for installing your carpet are in a humidity range from 10% to 65%, and temperatures between 55 F and 95 F.

2. Unroll

Unroll the carpet in the location where you are going to install it. Let is sit for an hour or two to allow for expansion.

3. Tape room

Take your two sided double tape and place the tape around the outer edge of the room on the sub floor. Make sure there is no more than a 2 foot spacing between each strip of tape. Leave the protective paper on the top side of the tape so as not to loose the adhesion.

4. Center It

Next center the carpet in the room. Position it so the edges are able to curl up against the wall. Allow at least 3″ on each side. You can trim excess away later.

5. Cut A Ways

Trim around protrusion and outside corner edges by making a vertical slice down the carpet. Remember cutting a corner correctly makes installing your carpet much easier.

6. Inside Corners

To fit your carpet on inside corners you need to do a V cut where it over laps. Move slow and carefully when making these cuts so that you do not cut too far.

7. Seams

If your room needs to be seamed be sure you have the pile running in the same direction so that the seam is the least noticeable. You should overlap from 2 to 3 inches.

To make a double cut seam take your straight edge and utility knife and cut through both layers at exactly the same time using the tools together.

8. Wall To Center

Start against the wall and then fold the carpet back half way but don’t move the half that still down.

9. Apply Adhesive

If you are doing a permanent installation this is when you will use your adhesive [make sure the room is well ventilated]. Take a notched spreader, apply adhesive, and then apply the adhesive to the sub floor. Follow instructions on the adhesive.

10. Unroll

Now slowly roll the carpet you rolled back earlier back into place. Smooth out any bumps and make sure you’ve got it lined up properly. If you were careful rolling it back all should be fine.

11. Repeat

Repeat the entire process above for the other side of the room now.

12. Carpet Roller

Now take your carpet roller [if you rented one] and run it across the entire carpet to get the adhesive to properly adhere all over the carpet.

13. Trim

Now is the time to use that sharp utility knife and trim away the excess on the edges around the outside of the room. Now is the time to clip any threads you see as well so that they don’t start to unravel.

14. Clean Up

Clean away any excessive adhesive using a mild solvent. Follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

15. Connect The Dots

Or in this case connect the rooms. If you are laying outdoor carpet in more than one room use metal binder strips to cover the join.

That’s it! If you followed these how to install outdoor carpet steps you should be an outdoor carpet layer pro by now! And think of all the money you saved not having to call in the pros. So what’s your next project?

Xylophones and Glockenspiels For Children

Xylophones and glockenspiels are ideal instruments for a young child’s early music making and exploration.

What are percussion instruments?

Xylophones and glockenspiels belong to the percussion family. Percussion instruments are those musical instruments that are shaken or played with the hands, or tapped or scraped with a mallet or beater to produce a sound. Percussion instruments can be non-tuned with random pitches like maracas or tambourines, or tuned so a melody can be played.

Xylophones and glockenspiels are tuned percussion instruments consisting of a collection of bars of differing lengths, each producing a different pitch. The piano is also classified as a percussion instrument.

Tuning of xylophones and glockenspiels

Xylophones and glockenspiels are generally tuned to a scale similar to the keys on a piano. Some ethnic instruments are tuned to other non-western scale systems. Xylophones and glockenspiels can have the entire range of chromatic bars, just like the white and black keys on the piano or some just have the bars equivalent to the white keys on the piano. A good range for early childhood is one and a half octaves. The inclusion of an F sharp and B flat bar allows a wider range of melodies to be played.

Some instruments do not have scale tuning at all such as the stir xylophone with bars of differing lengths forming a circle shape like a little tub. A wooden mallet or spoon is stirred around the inside of the bowl to produce the sound (hence the name stir xylophone). There are also a number of children’s xylophones that are not tuned to concert pitch but have a random set of pitches so a variety of sounds can be made. Recognizable tunes cannot be played on them but they do encourage exploration and creativity and an awareness of differing pitches. The Voila Smiley Xylophone is an example of this type. It is a good quality wooden instrument but it is not tuned to concert pitch. Then there are those instruments of lesser quality that simply have poor tuning and a poor quality of sound. There are many examples of this type that can be found in toys stores usually for less than $20. An example of a good quality glockenspiel that is tuned to concert pitch is the Sonor Kindermusik glockenspiel. The Halilit Baby Xylophone is also a reliably tuned instrument suitable for little ones although it is a misnomer as the bars are made of metal. The Tatiri glockenspiel is also a good colorful instrument with lots of appeal to children.

What is the difference between a xylophone and a glockenspiel?

The important thing about the difference between these instruments is that xylophones have bars that are made of wood and glockenspiels have bars made of metal. The word glockenspiel comes from the German and means to play the bells. The word xylophone comes from the Greek and means wooden sound. Individual bars are also available. These are called chime bars or tone bars and sometimes they are available in sets of bars.

Xylophones and glockenspiels are ideal starting instruments

Learning to play simple tunes on a xylophone or glockenspiel is a good forerunner to learning to play a musical instrument, particularly the piano. They encourage spatial awareness and eye – hand coordination. Xylophones and glockenspiels are widely used in early childhood and primary school classrooms for ensemble playing and creative musical activities. They are the foundation instruments in the Orff Schulwerk approach to music education.

Miss Brick House

At nineteen, in 1975, I was selling advertising for the OSU college paper, The Lantern, and submitting stories and getting published in the student “fringe” paper: Our Choking Times. The one where I won their respect as a budding radical, then went flying over the lines of professionalism to date Gil Scott-Heron.

I not only wrote about the older and otherworldly genius radical rapper, I threw caution in my hometown wind, hit the road with him, and well, you know. Ditching college for nearly a week, I boarded a tour bus with Gil, soaking up his celebrity and smiling a smug smile, when other girls stared with hungry eyes. Mostly I watched him read and read and read.

Now I knew why his lyrics were so intriguing. He devoured news magazines and books, speed-reading, thoughts on fire. I tried to be ready with an intelligent comment or witticism, while keeping the goal of my article in mind.

“I like talking to you,” he once said approvingly, eyes smiling as he looked up from U.S. News and World Report. And well my heart did little flips as the bus clipped along.

In 1976, I would have flashbacks of our recent time together: Gil, handsome, angular-faced and charmingly disheveled sat backwards on a chair across from me, as I lay robed in his hotel bed and dreamily drank wine. He enthusiastically entertained his enraptured audience of one. I alternated between laughter and awe, as he tossed off brilliant dialogue and humor with an upturned finger, woven in with his trademark political rhapsody and a wacked, uncombed, uncared-about afro.

My merriment only slightly dimmed by an shadowy sense of foreboding when Gil made a point of taking frequent “artistic time-outs” to do copious lines of cocaine from an album cover on The Holiday Inn hotel dresser. Credit to him, he didn’t corrupt me with his coke, which I had turned down the first day. I was still terrified by cocaine–then. And he let me stay happily “in my cups”, replenishing my drink stash at every rest stop. Back in that day, a man who never let my drink run out, was the epitome of a gentleman to me, which made it hard to focus on diamonds and more upscale amenities.

Wrenching myself away from that rendezvous for a season, I became the sometimes-faux, oft-times truly-dedicated student again and dove into my college classes for another year or so.

Mostly I wrote from the soul, without getting intimately involved–all in preparation for my coming career in broadcast journalism. That is until I got sidetracked again, but by this time I was twenty-one. Hey, I was grown! But my grown self was running a semester behind my scheduled graduation date. My degree had to wait for spells of heavy drinking, the local party scene and manic depression hovering in the wings.

At least school was out for a season, because it was the smoking-hot Summer of 77″!! A friend of a friend, a concert promoter, borderline dirty old man. (he was late 40’s which at 21 seemed pretty ancient.) This guy submitted my name to a contest, then told my friend that I’d be perfect with some coaching and could probably win.

It was a beauty contest, but sort of an invented one for publicity to launch Lionel Richie and The Commodores’ concert tour and promote the hit record du jour. The song soaring up the charts was “Brick House”–helping to make The Commodores one of Motown’s hottest groups. The contest was for Miss Columbus (Ohio) Brick House.

The winner at the national level it was promised, would also snag a movie role with the exceedingly cool, Billy Dee Williams in his next movie. I was jazzed beyond rhythm-and-blues. Fifteen girls competed at “Ciro’s”, the popular Columbus dance club, sort of Miss America style, in swimsuits and heels and then revealed their “intellect” or “wit” when asked a serious question.

To be honest, there was a girl who was a Brick House bombshell, with a sensational eye-popping figure, judging by the collective stares of the men in the audience, but the dear bombshell appeared dumb as a bag of hammers! (She wasn’t, just shy.) I was pretty adept at stringing a sentence together, and she fumbled over her name. Since they wanted a kind of spokesmodel winner, I won.

Sandi, the Bombshell, became the runner-up and we became fast friends, because at that point, The Commodore’s management closed down the contest and picked the two of us to go on Tour with the group.

We won gift certificates and free travel, limo rides, meals, money for clothes. We stood behind barricades in record stores in swimsuits, high heels and fake furs and signed autographs, along with The Commodores. I always wore a pair of slacks over my swimsuits in public when offstage, because I didn’t want to look sluttish. I was actually aiming for something sophisticated, sexy and upscale. Years later, Beyonce’ pulled it off.

Sandi and I roomed together, giggled, gossiped and drank champagne while we traveled to Philadelphia, Hartford, Connecticut, Boston, and made a pit stop in Dayton before the tour was to have a huge concert at Madison Square Garden in New York City.

It was at a packed arena in Philadelphia that I was “crowned” the official stage dancer on tour and I was ecstatic to be onstage with Lionel Richie and The Commodores.

“She’s a Brick House–she’s mighty, mighty!” they sung in snug, glittering military-style suits–a vision for testosterone-deprived eyes. And I’d do a wham-bam funky yet feminine, hip thrust as I wound my provocative dance to position myself in between Lionel Richie and William King.

“A-A-O-O-W”, I would think while William Orange actually sang it.

I was developing a serious crush on Lionel, but would try to reign it in whenever his pretty wife, Brenda, stage left, arms folded, looked at us, sullen from the sidelines. I was told by the road manager, she had been doing that for the last two years, but now it seemed definitely directed at me. That angst and heady excitement became a combustible mix that changed the show’s routine it seemed during one concert.

The routine was that Sandi would dance solo from stage right and I’d dance solo from stage left. Once during a concert the air charged with anti-matter, the routine was interrupted at the pit stop in Dayton. There was a rustling, a din, and then complete clamor and chaos.

Suddenly a “boo” erupted from the back. What had started as a tiny disturbance, quickly became something monstrous. 10,000 people packed in the arena began booing in a huge roar for almost a full, tortuous minute.

I was mortified, spinning dizzily as I finally stumbled offstage when the song was over, almost tripping over my sky-high heels. Try hiding wearing a neon-orange bathing suit. I ran into a photographer who was stage side, who became one of my best friends over the years.

“Why did they boo?” I broke out in little-girl sobs, heaving in-between blurted words, “I was thinking I did my best Chaka Khan dance moves,”

“I was in the back of the arena earlier,” Chuckie laughed, “and I heard a loud, crazy protest, people complaining—Miss Brick House is white! Miss Brick House is white!”. Then everyone started booing, not even knowing why they were booing,” he said. “Just really stupid.”

“But I’m not white!” I wailed, “I’m a black woman, a light-skinned black woman.” (African-American was not yet in vogue.)

“Oh, of course I can see that,” said Chuckie, “but wa-a-ay in the back with bright lights washing out your skin tone and the fact that you sometimes wear that straightened Farrah Fawcett-looking hairdo—well, I guess they just couldn’t tell.” Tears of laughter brimmed Chuckie’s eyes and he wiped them away with his knuckles.

I found it hard to laugh with him or even chuckle. To be booed by 10,000 people in a roar of disapproval back then, made me wish the earth would quake, open up and consume me quickly, no matter what the reason.

The next morning on the road again, I had washed and curled and frizzed my hair, letting it dry naturally. But I continued to whimper about the night before. Yet it seemed to disturb nobody but me, which I found amazing. I thought they would send me home. Then I remembered the performer’s mantra:

“The show must go on.”

I also thought of Lionel Richie’s smile. Did I care he was married? Only when I examined his wife’s face did I feel a wave of guilt. She seemed so unhappy about the nightly crush of women. Yet I wasn’t a groupie, I sniffed to myself. ‘Hey, I’m Miss Brick House! I’m not only with the band, I’m in the show!’

That sense of entitlement combined with the bitter-sweetness of an early hallway smile beamed in my direction. And light conversation between Lionel and me–and I only cared for my own selfish joy.

That summed up a 21-year old woman-child, with a dusty Bible and a neon orange bathing suit strutting nightly onstage with a supergroup, led by a friendly, incredibly talented, rich and famous man. I was dancing a dream and anything seemed possible. And so I danced.

How to Prevent Barn Swallows From Building Nests on Your House

A swallow lovingly watching you from under the eaves of your barn-style remodelled house might not be such a big problem, quite the contrary, it might just delight your senses. Also, when we gaze upon the agitation of a swallows’ nest built by your neighbour in one of the trees in his orchard, it is not a problem, but a charming sight. Still, what do you do when a family of rapidly multiplying swallows have suddenly made an appearance right on top of the vents under your eaves? The joy of watching such a bird can quickly turn into frustration, the kind that is hard to be rid of. Some might say I am harsh or unloving of nature. I say it is just an opinion.

Swallows are small-sized migratory birds which generally feed on insects. They nest as closely as possible to less forested areas, where they can find an abundance of insects and the moist soil required to build their nests. The places where swallows prefer to build their nests include sheds, roof eaves, vents on the side of walls, beam joints in attics or abandoned hay lofts. At first glance the bird seems harmless. Furthermore, this bird is protected by law in the US and also certain European countries, as it is considered beneficial to society thanks to its high insect consumption levels. This might be for the best, if we consider the increase of insect invasion of our homes, workplaces and leisure areas.

Nevertheless, swallows annually cause great disservice to owners of homes, pole barns, horse stables, grain storage silos or agricultural equipment, even construction material storage spaces. A swallow’s nest is made up of moist soil, gravel, straws and bird down feathers. Building a nest can take up to a week.

The presence of a swallow under the eaves of a house can attract predatory birds that are dangerous to the inhabitants of said house. The materials going into the making of a nest attack the protective layer of the wall, while the faeces produced by the birds become unpleasant and may act as carriers of dangerous disease. Last but not least, a nest fallen on the ground can also be dangerous due to the fact that it can spread ticks, fleas or other perilous creatures among the domesticated animals or inhabitants of the house. Another sensitive issue is the fact that once settled in, the swallow and her family can no longer be easily removed from the premise, one of the reasons behinds this being that we are inclined to be fined by the authorities.

Your old house, remodelled in a barn-style, with a stable and garage at ground level can be a great joy for you and your family. However, if a swallow has settled in under your eaves at the beginning of spring, it is time to make serious plans to keep the bird away, though not by shooting it, as it is a pleasure to watch it and listen to it. There is no need for you to kill it or throw rocks at it, as the action will not solve the problem. Leave it until autumn, when it prepares to travel almost 10 thousand kilometres to reach other locations that will provide it with a climate suitable for its survival. Once gone, remove the nest carefully so as not to cause any damage greater than the previous. Use protective gloves and a scarf tied over your mouth. Do some restoration work and make sure last summer’s swallows will not be able to settle in again, even if you feel badly about it.

There are numerous methods and tools to assist you in your attempt to prevent barn swallows from settling in under the eaves of your house. For instance, there are ultrasound machines created specifically to repel birds. These can be used in urban areas, especially if there are alarm systems which produce loud noises, as well as in industrial environments with storage spaces, where birds trigger volumetric alarm systems or their faeces cause serious damage. These machines keep the birds away from the area you want to protect. The sounds emitted by bird-repellent devices are faintly perceived by humans. Some devices in this category rely on reproducing the hunting song of birds of prey. This method solves the issue of unwanted birds without harming them or any other creatures.

If you have no interest in investing certain amounts of money in modern equipment which can repel damaging birds without direct human involvement, you can use more rudimentary methods, such as: the places preferred for building nests can be fitted with various slippery panels which do not bond with the moist soil; if you have a passion for DIY and enjoy building things, you can apply netting or wrought iron grates, which will serve two purposes – resolving the bird issue and giving your house a rustic feel.

Finally, you should keep in mind that it is easier to prevent swallows from building nests on the walls of your house, rather than fight them off afterwards. Consequently, if you appreciate swallows and truly want to have them around the house, you should put your imagination to work and start building some bird houses for the big families of swallows.

How to Take Care of Your Violin Bow Or Cello Bow

If you own a violin or a cello, you actually own two instruments: a violin and a violin bow, or a cello and a cello bow. Many people do not realae this, but a well selected and well taken care bow is as important as a violin or a cello. A good, hand made quality bow will appreciate in value over time, very much like a quality hand crafted violin or cello. Here, I will outline the important points you need to be aware of in taking care of your bow.

1. Hold your bow correctly

There is a correct way to hold this when you are not playing it, to ensure that you do not accidently damage it if you do drop it. The safe way of holding your bow is at its pointed end. This way, if you accidently drop it, it will land on the grip end which is stronger.

If you drop your bow with the pointed end down, the end will likely crack or split. This may alter the tone of the instrument. In extreme cases, the value of the bow will depreciate by 90%.

2. Loosen the bow when not in play

After playing, always loosen the horse hair so the tension does not damage the bow. Remember to turn the bow screw left to loosen the horse hair. A bow that is always on tight tension will cause it to arch and damage the structure of the bow.

3. Never touch the bow hair with your hands

Our hands and fingers are naturally oily. Never touch the horse hair with your hands as this will stain it and affect the playability of the instrument.

4. Do not expose your bow to the elements

Like violins or cellos, bows are also made of wood and hence organic. Do not expose it to harsh elements like extreme heat or cold. A good temperature gauge is what our body is used to.

5. Do not over rosin your bow

While rosins are required for the bow, do not over rosin it as this will cause an excessive build up of white powder on the horse hair. Too much rosin will also produce a harsh tone. Always wipe your bow clean with a soft cloth after playing.

From time to time, you will also need to engage the services of a professional luthier to rehair your bow. A good bow if well taken care of will last you a lifetime.

Fireplace Grates

Fireplace grates raise the wood or coal off the fireplace to provide the necessary air to circulate the source of the fire. They can be made from steel, iron or grate heaters. Each of these materials affects the fire in one way or another. The steel grate has pipe like structures that hold the burning woods in place. They allow cinders to fall and burn the fire from below, so making the fire urn for a longer period of time.

Once the hollow tubes used to make grate heaters sizzle, warm air spreads into the entire house. Iron grates are built like containers but with small holes benefit them which allow air to spread through the firewood. In this case, the cinders do not fall out, this is what makes them excellent to use for some types of firewood.

The fireplace grates are used for preventing the warmth from the fire to be circulated all around the house and by spreading it out back into the entire house. They also allow the fire to burn much longer, meaning that you can enjoy the heat for as long as you like. However, there are people who have them in their homes because they are pleasing to the eye.

To ensure that you have fireplace grates that are not only of high quality, but will also help you benefit from them, be certain that the manufacture that will make one for you has the necessary experience. Otherwise if it is of low quality, how will you get to enjoy the benefit it provides?

A Brief History of The Art and Benefits of Masonry Construction

Masonry construction is one of the oldest building techniques known to man. The birth of masonry dates back to the Neolithic Revolution. According to oldest known Masonic text, The Halliwell Manuscript, the “craft of masonry” began with Euclid in Egypt, and came to England in the reign of King Athelstan. From this time onward, masonry would become the building method of choice for civilization. While the advent of wood-based construction would eventually eclipse the popularity of stonemasonry, the craft is still used extensively in both commercial and residential structures. From installing brick walls and stone patios to bathroom tile and concrete blocks, there are dozens of viable applications for the craft of masonry.

Masonry construction has long been regarded as a noble trade. During the medieval ages, a stonemason’s guild was formed and a 7-year apprenticeship program became the status quo for entry into the profession. Modern day masons are typically required to have at least four years of apprenticeship experience.

In addition to offering natural beauty, there are many functional benefits of masonry work. Brick and stone are well established as excellent insulators, and may help reduce energy bills when compared to other building materials. Masonry proves superior in the categories of fire and termite resistance when compared to wood. Masonry, the assembly of larger structures through the use of bricks or stone and mortar is an environmentally friendly medium for your construction project.

Today’s mason constructs, maintains, and repairs surfaces and structures made from concrete, brick, stone, blocks and related materials. Masons work with other construction professionals to plan and implement projects. While the process of masonry may seem simple, the truth is that much experience is needed to deliver an appealing structure that offers long lasting strength and durability. For this reason, a master mason is much more skilled than the average bricklayer. Whether you are planning new construction, remodel or repair, you want to look for an experienced mason with demonstrated experience and skill in the trade of masonry.

The best mason will bring to the table “old school” tradition in addition to knowledge of modern innovations. It is important to keep credentials in mind when hiring a masonry contractor to ensure that your project will be completed in an efficient and sound manner. To minimize problems interview several masons and review photos of their completed projects to find the contractor that best meets your needs.

Best Contemporary Home Design

Contemporary home designs are very different from traditional designs for homes. Traditionally, the space available for homes was very abundant and bulky furniture and intricate interiors were the main features of the houses. With the passage of time, houses have been modified to be designed for nuclear families with less space. With the space being an issue, furniture that requires too much room can not be used and too much of intricate design of the interiors will look too showy. Here, modern homes have contemporary furniture that is not too heavy and that makes the home look more spacious.

The furniture used in such homes is generally very easy to maintain, sleek and classy and at the same time durable enough to last for a long time. The most striking features of the modern designs are the simple look with minimal clutter. Since there is not too much room for furniture in such homes, they are made attractive by painting the walls with a combination of light colors with a splash of one or more vibrant colors. All the furniture used must provide comfort and at the same time require least space and look stylish. Small houses look great with a modern form of designing.

One of the most important aspects of modern designing is the optimum utilization of available space and using furniture having multiple uses. For example, the bed must have a low platform and along with that, it can have a storage compartment. This avoids the storage of things in places like lofts, etc which do not look elegant. Another example of such utility is to use desks that are formed by making use of stylish console tables. The use of a sofa bed can solve the purpose of a sofa during the day and a bed during night time. The beds could also metal designed requiring little space and giving maximum comfort.

Contemporary home designs put to use economic yet elegant lighting in the house. Instead of the traditional system of using chandeliers, low power consuming LED lights are used. This solves the purpose of lighting up the house stylishly and the same time consuming little power possible. The lights in the living room can be sleek and simple to complement the simple furniture. Those of the kitchen should be put in areas like above the sink and on the top of the counters. This gives a very light feel to the environment.

Retinal Detachment – Understanding This Surgical Emergency

The retina is an important layer in the back of the eye, whose function is to absorb and process light that enters the eye, very much like the film which captures images in a camera.

The retina contains millions of photoreceptors called rods and cones. The rods are mainly found in the outer parts of the retina, and are important for night vision and seeing movement. The cones are found mainly in the central part of the retina (around a region called the macula), and they are primarily responsible for color vision and fine vision.

What is Retinal Detachment?

Retinal detachment occurs when there is a hole or tear in the retina. When this happens, the aqueous humor, which is the fluid within the eyeball, can pass through this tear, and underneath the retinal layer. This causes the retina to get detached from the under wall of the eye. Vision in the detached part of the retina is severely affect, and is typically seen as a "veil" or "dark curtain" that comes across the visual field.

What are the Symptoms?

Retinal detachment is considered a medical emergency, and if you should experience any of the following symptoms, you should immediately consult your doctor:

• Sudden dramatic increase in the number of floaters
• Flashes of light
• Sudden decrease in vision
• A "veil" or "dark curtain" that obscures part or all of your vision
• Slight feeling of heaviness or pressure in the eye

What are the Risk Factors?

• Having several short sightedness. Myopia is associated with over 60% of cases of retinal detachment.
• Having retinal detachment in one eye, increases the risk of retinal detachment in the other eye.
• Retinal detachment occurs slightly more frequently after cataract surgery.
• Having proliferative diabetic retinopathy or proliferative retinopathy of sickle cell disease.
• Injury to the eyeball can potentially increase the risk of retinal detachment.

How is it Diagnosed?

Your eye doctor / ophthalmologist will make the diagnosis of retinal detachment based on your symptoms and physical examination. Some of the following tests are done as part of the eye examination:

• Visual acuity
• Visual field testing
• Examination of the retina to look for tears in the retina, or examined areas. This is done using a magnifying instrument with a powerful light source.

How is it Treated?

A retinal detachment is considered a surgical emergency, and should be treated with an ophthalmologist immediately to repair it, or stop it from getting worse.

The most common methods of repairing a detached retina include:

1. Scleral buckling surgery

In this form of surgery, a band of plastic, known as a scleral buckle, is placed around the eyeball to indent it. This relieves trauma on the retina, so preventing retinal tears from getting worse. This is often combined with pneumatic retinopexy, in which a gas bubble is injected into the eye, to help press gently against the retinal tear, and help keep the previously washed retina in place. The ophthalmologist then uses a laser or freezing probe to seal off the tear in the retina.

2. Vitrectomy

In this procedure, tiny instruments are inserted into the vitreous cavity (back part of the eye), to remove the vitreous gel and reposition the detached retina from the inside of the eyeball. Vitrectomy gives ophthalmologists better access to the retina to repair large tears, and it is often also combined with laser treatments and gas injections to help repair the damaged retina.

Finished Basements – Subfloor & Insulation

Whether renovating or finishing a new concrete basement, it can be a tough job. Worse yet, having to select the proper building materials in order to avoid mold from forming later on. This article will cover the points necessary to complete a worry free basement for many years to come.

Subfloors

– One of the major problems with subfloors in concrete basements is the moisture which builds up over time beneath the subfloor itself. Concrete is a very porous material which absorbs water out of the earth that surrounds it and then finding its way underneath your subfloor. Wood subfloors can be used effectively with proper vapor barrier. I prefer to use 100% plastic floor tiles which snap together and create a guaranteed water vapor tight seal. Another benefit of this subfloor are its mold resistance qualities.

Insulation

– When finishing your basement insurance is one of the most important factors if you are trying to achieve a comfortable basement. If a finished basement is still cool in winter, it is not a very comfortable space to occupy. However when finished properly it really does not even feel like your in the basement of a house. Fiberglass or rock-wool are the most common insulation's used. Common problems with these insulation's in a basement are:

-insulation's fit too tight or too loose

-insulation installed against unsealed concrete (I recommend certified vapor barrier against concrete wall and wrap to underneath subfloor)

-cold air from the concrete walls infiltrates into the insulation, giving less R value (measure of thermal resistance)

-difficult to insulate and seal with vapor barrier and batt. insulation around main floor end plates

Spray foam is by far the best insulation to use for any application. It fills all cavities leaving absolutely no room for moisture. Closed cell spray foam is certified for use in Canada for insulation, however a CSA certified vapor barrier should still need to be used according to many different building codes. It also adds structural rigidity to the house. Another plus of spray foam is the gener Soy based spray foam. It contains polyurethane and recycled plastics and soy oils. It offers approximately the same R value factors as the original polyurethane spray foams. With Less Volatile Organic Compounds

Insulation R Values

-locked cell spray foam – R-6.33 per inch

-fiberglass insulation – R-3.42 per inch

-rock-wool insulation – R-4 per inch

What Foods Promote Estrogen Production in Men and Why?

There are quite a few foods that promote estrogen production in men. Estrogen production in men can lead to manboobs which may have different consequences. A lot of men are not comfortable with the idea of manboobs. As such it is important for you to know the foods that can cause manboobs through their concentration of estrogen. Let’s take a look.

Phytoestrogens

These are present in a lot of food items. Soy is one of them. There are quite a few fruits that contain huge sources of phytoestrogens. These include grape fruit and flax seed. Grape food that can boost estrogen production due to the high quantity of naringenin present in it (this is also present in various other citrus fruits).

Flaxseed can promote estrogen production in men because it contains phytoestrogens as soy does. But there are a lot of products that have low amounts of phytoestrogens even though they contain soy. Soy protein powder is an exception in this list.

The work of phytoestrogens is to bind together certain tissues. They can also compete with estrogens at times. But this does not hamper the estrogenic effect. Rather, this might increase the estrogenic effects. In women, for instance, this can lead to hot flashes during menopause. In men, it could lead to manboobs.

This competition with estrogen however can also reduce estrogenic effects when compared to “estradiol”. More of estrogen in men is also a sign that their testosterone production is decreasing as estrogen provides negative feedback to HPTA regarding the manufacture of testosterone.

Basically phytoestrogens are the estrogen sources we find in our diet through animal and plant sources. Phytoestrogens are divided into two main categories- Isoflavones and Lignans. There is a third category which is known as Coumestans.

Food rich in Phytoestrogens

Dairy products like butter, cottage cheese, yoghurt, cheese and milk have natural estrogens. Legumes are also rich in estrogen. Except for soy, peas also help in promoting estrogen production in men. These are also rich in protein, fiber and Vitamin B. Beans are also another example of legumes that can promote estrogen production in men.

Then there is a whole group of seeds that aid in estrogen production like the seeds of sunflower, sesame and anise. They are very rich in estrogen. Several fruits like cherries, dates, plums, tomatoes and apples also contain high doses of estrogen.

There are quite a few vegetables that offer the same services as fruits except for the fact that they are not sweet like them. Vegetables high in estrogen include yams, potatoes, carrots, peppers, beets and celery. Rice, barley, wheat and oats are some grains that promote estrogen production in men. Eggs are also known to have high quantities of estrogen. Now I’m not saying to cut these foods out because a lot of these foods also have fat burning properties (and taste pretty good) like apples, but these are the foods that contain or promote estrogen so just don’t go crazy on any of them. So if you have a fetish for any of the previous just reign it in a little. Balance is always the key.

Seb