Many a nature enthusiast enjoys seeing wildlife in their own back yard. To this end, many set up bird feeders and other devices to lure animals to their homes. While this is fine and dandy, and does not necessarily have a negative impact on the environment, there are a few things you should be aware of in order to make sure you’re not doing more harm than good.
The biggest concern when it comes to bird feeders is the spread of diseases. Because feeders are feeding grounds for multiple birds, they are also breeding grounds for diseases. Avian pox, eye diseases, bacterial infections, and parasites can all run rampant at feeders if left unchecked. Here are a few tips for keeping your feeder disease free.
In order to become effective at something, you have to make it a habit. Cleaning your feeder on a regular basis goes a long way to preventing diseases. Infected birds can have trouble swallowing seeds. This leads to them dropping seeds that are now infected due to contact. If other birds pick up these seeds, they will get infected as well. In order to prevent this, simply keep your feeder clean of excess seed and faecal matter.
Every week or two, depending on how much your feeder is used, clean feeder trays with warm soapy water, or a light bleach mixture. Hummingbird feeders should be washed every time you refill them, which will probably be once or twice a week. Not only does this promote good hygiene, but washing it every time makes it part of your routine, making it less likely you’ll forget.
Rake the ground beneath your feeders so that excess food and waste does not accumulate. This will also reduce the number of rodents attracted to the feeder area. If you notice sickly birds around your feeder, take it down for a week or two in order to give the birds a chance to disperse. This way you can be sure that you’re not aiding in the spread of diseases.
It is a good practice to move your feeder occasionally as well so that waste doesn’t build up in one area. It is also important to make sure that your birds have plenty of space in which to feed. The more crowded conditions are, the more likely sick birds will infect healthy ones. So make sure that there is plenty of room for your birds. Add more feeders if necessary and strategically place them throughout your yard.
Birds need a varied diet just like everyone else. Providing seed and prepared nectar is great, but fostering a natural environment that grows needed dietary elements is even better. Supplement your bird feeders with nectar-producing plants that are native to your area. Find out what the local birds need in their diet and which plants provide those items. This will also attract a greater variety of birds to your lawn and promote a beautiful, natural landscape.
If you use a packaged seed, look closely at the ingredients. Some companies till get away with putting harmful pesticides in their products for birds and fish. Make sure the food you are providing is safe for consumption. By providing a variety of food sources, you give more opportunities for birds to obtain what they need to stay healthy. Planting items that attract certain bugs such as caterpillars will also add protein to their diet. If your landscape is varied and healthy, your avian visitors will be as well.
Ernie Allison is a bird geek who loves the outdoors. He spends most of the spring and summer outside, and most of the fall and winter writing about being outside. This year, he’s doing what he can to track migration patterns, so he’ll be staring at his hummingbird feeders even more than usual.
If your house dates from the beginning of the last century, or even from just before or after World War II, it is highly likely that you do not have enough switches or sockets installed. Only in the last few decades have households discovered the need for the vast range of appliances in use nowadays. In addition, the earlier houses usually had only one type of light — the kind that hangs from the ceiling — so there was probably only one switch per room.
If you decide you do not have enough power outlets and need more, there are a number of safety considerations you have to be aware of, especially if the house is older. For a start, remember that fixtures and wiring can, and almost certainly will, deteriorate over time. It is vitally important that you have your wiring checked before you even think of installing additional fixtures or outlets.
The other temptation you have to avoid is just deciding to rely on a forest of extension leads. Plugging in large numbers of leads into an adaptor on one socket is likely to overload the circuit, and this can lead to electrical fires, which are not only expensive, but extremely dangerous. Apart from this, it can also be dangerous to have lots of cables trailing round a room, not to mention the fact that it looks untidy and unsightly. Install extra sockets instead — it is safer and tidier.
Styles And Types
If your electrics have remained the same for some decades, you may not be aware of the wide choice in sockets and switches available nowadays. Instead of sockets having to be inconveniently placed down near the floor, they can be at a height to suit you, and can have shutter mechanisms to make them child safe. Far from being in the same old style, sockets can now come in all sorts of different styles to match your décor. In fact switches and sockets can come in matching sets — for instance in period style, or brushed chrome.
In addition, there is now a very wide variety in the kinds of switch you can have installed. Many householders nowadays are going for dimmer switches, which can both enhance the ambience of a room, and lead to greater energy efficiency. Bathroom switches are also much more varied, and you are no longer obliged to settle for the old pull cord.
Call The Experts
If you decide you would like your electrics to be more modern and exciting, the best thing you can do is to call on electricians north London. They are experts in this area, and can advise you on exactly what is right for each room. Even more importantly, they can ensure all your installations keep to the essential safety guidelines.
Professional Electrical Installation Is Paramount Announces Builder Guide
RealWire (press release), on Mon, 20 Aug 2012 00:46:19 -0700
Builder Guide is getting behind the results of a recent study published by the Electrical Safety Council to highlight the importance of checking the electrics within your home are safe
Firm fined after workers exposed to risk of electric shock
Health and Safety Executive (press release), on Fri, 17 Aug 2012 09:01:16 -0700
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted the company after its investigation found that an employee of Coolcheck Refrigeration Ltd had disconnected the unit and placed electrical tape over the switch of the circuit breaker to indicate that the …
The history of industrial and home lighting is nothing short of fascinating and mankind’s ability to harness the power of light was a powerful driver in society’s evolution over the ages. Without it, we would still be living according to the natural sun cycles – sleeping when dark, awake when bright, with very little flexibility in between.
The first ever lamp
We have to travel right back to around 70,000 BC to find the world’s first ever lamp. It was created by filling a shell, hollow rock or another natural object with moss, soaked with animal fat and then set alight. Humans rapidly became to imitate the natural shapes they found with metal, pottery and alabaster lamps for the very earliest forms of lighting. Later on, wicks were added to place control over the burn rate. By the seventh century BC, the Greeks were making terracotta lamps in place of their handhold torches. In fact, the very word ‘lamp’, is derived from the Greek, ‘lampas’, which means ‘torch’.
By the eighteenth century, lighting had progressed further, with the central burner. The fuel source could now be enclosed tightly in metal and an adjustable tube was employed to control the fuel burning intensity and the strength of the resulting light. Within the same period, small chimneys made of glass were added to oil lamps – both to protect the flame and also to control the air flow rate to the flame. A Swiss chemist, Ami Argand, is largely credited with first creating the principle of using oil lamps with circular, hollow wicks, covered by a glass chimney, back in 1783.
The early lighting fuels
Before electricity, the earliest fuels for lighting were beeswax, olive oil, sesame oil, whale oil, fish oil, nut oil and similar natural substances and these were used until late in the eighteenth century. However, the Chinese were a step ahead, using lined skins to collect natural gas and use it for their lighting.
By 1859, petroleum drilling had begun and kerosene lamps became very popular, being first introduced in Germany in 1853. Natural gas and coal lamps also become widely used – in fact, coal gas was being used for lighting fuel as far back as 1784.
By 1792, gas lighting was starting to be used commercially, when William Murdoch used coal gas to light his home in Cornwall. The German Investor, Friedrich Winsor was first to patent coal gas lighting, in 1804 and then in 1799, a type of wood-distilled gas was patented as the ‘thermolampe’. The first patent for the gas light was in 1810, in the US.
By the early nineteenth century, most cities in Europe and the US were using gaslights to illuminate their streets at night. This type of lighting became replaced with high-pressure mercury lights and low pressure sodium in the 1930s, then again being replaced by electric lighting in the nineteenth century, as this became the choice of home lighting and industry alike.
Easy Home Automation Projects for the Weekend Warrior: Part One
PC Advisor, on Thu, 16 Aug 2012 06:52:30 -0700
People have long viewed home automation–the ability to monitor, program, and control your home’s lighting and entry locks, its heating and air conditioning, and other systems–as a technology that’s “just around the corner.” The Home of Tomorrow has …
Home Lighting There are a number of homeowners who choose to have special features custom built into their houses. These features can be enhanced through the use of custom home lighting. Built in display cases can have lights added to the shelves to highlight the items displayed. Modern homes are …
A modern take on treasure chests or a fresh approach to moving crates! You decide.
So what exactly is a treasure chest?
Strip these two words of all the romantic associations that go with them. Discard the images of pirates, battle ships, maps, buried wealth, pearl-incrusted necklaces and tiaras stolen from breathtaking beauties of noble birth and so on and so forth. What are you left with? A box, be it wooden or metal, used to safely store and transport objects with great financial or sentimental value. Nothing more.
Yes, I know I`m a real buzz-killer, but there`s nothing I can do about it, that`s just the way my brain works. You should hear me go on and on about why we should have invented time travel by now, that`d give you something to complain about.
How is a treasure chest any different from a moving crate?
That`s exactly it, it isn’t. Not much, anyway. If anything, treasure chests are the proud great-grandfathers of contemporary moving crates. Here are the family resemblances. They`re both made of the most durable, yet easily portable materials available. A few centuries ago those happened to be wood and metals, now it`s industrial plastic. Once upon a time peoples’ treasures consisted of gold coins, marble figures, silk fabrics, precious stones and handmade jewelry, now they`re mostly electronics and papers. Whether it`s because they`re of a sensitive nature, or because we`re sensitive about them, the fact remains that we want our belongings to be protected while being transported from point A to point B.
Having said that, I must admit that although I`m sorry I missed out on the splendid dresses and huge wigs of the old days, I wouldn’t switch the 21st century for the 18th. Speaking strictly in terms of storage, that is. And medicine, and personal hygiene, and entertainment, oh well, you get my drift.
Treasure chest vs. moving crate
Every pirate worth his salt will tell you that treasure chests have a few nasty streaks to them. Even empty, these things are so darned heavy and carrying them gives you such back pain, that if you weren’t`t afraid of being thrown overboard you`d just leave them alone and call it a day. Not only that, but the wooden ones swell up and start to rot as soon as the salt water and air hit them. Let`s not forget the rats that love to chew on them and their cargo. Metal ones get all rusty and you have to polish them far too often to not complain about it. And if you`re unlucky enough to get you hand crushed by the lid, you might as well kiss it goodbye and visit the blacksmith at the next port for an upgrade.
On the other hand, oh the irony, I`m willing to bet that`s how legends were born back then. Most of the times pirates didn’t`t get the scary hook prosthesis because they were injured in battle, but because they were too hung over to watch what they were doing. Oddly enough, these accidents didn’t impress them enough to lay off the cheap rum. Go figure.
Now on moving crates. When empty, they weigh significantly less than their ancestors. When full, you can simply stack them up on a skate and roll them to where they need to go. No back pain, no heavy breathing, no sweat- the name of the game is comfort. The plastic they`re made of doesn’t care much for water and pests, so you can count on them not to fall apart and to keep whatever it is you put in them perfectly safe.
I’ll sign off here- it`s pretty clear who the winner is. Plus, moving crates know a thing or two about respecting their elders and feel very awkward with me ranting about their superiority over the previous generations of storage boxes.
When she`s not chanting “yo-ho, yo-ho, the pirates life for me”, Beant Bajwa writes for PHS Teacrate. The company every ship captain would buy his moving crates from, maybe even a few bread trays as well if the cook`s been good all year.
Many people make history through the things they say and the things they do. From conquering distant lands and winning wars against all odds to burning cakes and sitting on the seashore forlornly issuing commands to an indifferent tide, the annuls of time are marked by tales of events that range from the defining to the seemingly inconsequential. Napoleon Bonaparte famously declined the attentions of his first wife on the eve of battle, Winston Churchill offered to fight his foes on the beaches of England and an American Vice-President pondered the correct spelling of “tomato”. All of these words and sayings will be passed down to our children, to their children and to the generations yet unborn.
Even things that people wear are sometimes remembered. Elvis Presley sported a white Pharao jumpsuit, El Cid a chainmail coif, Harold Wilson a Gannex raincoat. The Emperor from a famous tale didn’t wear anything at all.
But even famous people are seldom remembered by the things they sit on. Yet nevertheless a journey of recollection through the world of film, television, sci-fi, politics and religion conjures up some fascinating images as well as some interesting little pieces of history.
One of the most popular films of recent decades, Forrest Gump, features the central character sitting on a bench relating the story of his life to a series of passers-by as they demonstrate varying levels of disinterest. Amazingly the bench in question belongs not to Hollywood but to a walkway in Savannah, Georgia, USA where it is used by scores of people every day.
Star-Trek has the very all-purpose Captain’s Chair, Doctor Who the Keeper’s Chair and the Return of the Jedi the Ewok Throne.
Introducing the famous Fatboy
But the most famous chair may well be the one used by His Holiness the Pope in St. Peter’s Basilica as he addresses his faithful, performs Mass and takes some of the most important decisions affecting the Roman Catholic Church.
By comparison these outdoor beanbags by Fatboy may preach to a more modest audience, but they still are amongst the most popular of their kind due to their innovative and versatile design, as well as their proud reputation.
The outdoor beanbag includes a special strap with a fitted sail ring enabling the beanbag to be secured into a sitting position. What is more it is rain, stain and UV resistant.
Stupid is as stupid does, but there is nothing stupid about these superbly comfortable and durable designs, which is why they are amongst the best sellers of their kind today.
The Aga range cooker is a superb beast, a beautiful addition to any kitchen. But if you prefer something a little more contemporary in the heart of your home, Wolf appliances are some of the best on the market – they manufacture an exciting choice of yummy kitchen eye candy.
Wolf Built-in ovens combine the latest in simple yet highly effective technology with striking design. The gorgeous, dramatic black glass E series single and double ovens, for example, are a stylish alternative to Wolf’s classic stainless steel models. Their dual fuel ranges are wonderfully controllable, with special dual stacked sealed gas burners and a host of exciting extras including char broilers and griddles. Their dual convection ovens are self-cleaning with four elements, ten different cooking modes and nine gas top configurations.
Wolf’s electric cooktops are high-performance masterpieces with pinpoint-accuracy control and a huge single heating space that’s perfect for cooking for loads of people and creating complex dishes. And it’s an exercise in minimalism taken to the nth degree… beautiful.
Dual-stacked sealed burner gas cooktops are the last word in precision, a dream to control. Turn the burners as low as 0.1Kw and you’ll get the tiniest flame, perfect for melting and simmering. Turn it up and the burners deliver an impressive 4.7Kw of heat, ideal for searing succulent meats.
The modular Wolf gas range is available in four widths and seven surface configurations, so it’ll fit almost any size or shape of kitchen as well as delivering the top class performance you’d expect from a premium brand. Expect an infrared grill and convection baking as standard. They do microwaves too, and they’re beauties. No longer a sure-fire way to massacre your food, today’s ‘nukes’ are masters of cooking performance, fast and efficient with delicious results. Wolf microwaves’ super-refined controls and sleek looks make them a leader in their field.
Nasty cooking smells? Wolf’s ventilation systems are powerful stuff, designed to keep your kitchen and adjoining rooms free from smoke and odours. They’re made from study, attractive welded steel, and their sculptured lines are an asset to any home. Their warming drawers are a great way to preserve prepared food in perfect nick until you’re ready to serve it. And last but not least, take a look at Wolf induction cookers, 90-95% energy efficient with a great-looking minimalist exterior.
If you want your kitchen to look fantastic and the appliances in it to work as beautifully as they appear, you can’t go far wrong with Wolf!
Many homeowners find that they have a water pressure problem, whether that’s from tap flow or from shower heads. Low water pressure can be a huge annoyance and is one of those things that can really make life difficult.
But you don’t have to suffer from low water pressure! You may be able to fix the problem yourself, or if you can’t you should be able to employ a plumber to solve the problem for you.
Here are the steps you should take to try and resolve your low water pressure problem if you have one.
Firstly, check that your mains water valve is properly switched on. If you’ve had maintenance done to your plumbing which involved switching the water off at the mains you may find that the mains valve has not been fully opened once the maintenance has been complete so solving the problem could be as simple as switching it on properly.
If you live in a hard water area then your problem could in fact be limescale and not low water pressure. The best way to find out if you have limescale is to check your kettle. If there are chalky deposits stuck to the filament in your kettle then you have limescale which can cause your water pressure to drop because it obstructs pipes. To get rid of limescale use a chemical or magnetic descaler in your water tank which will dissolve the limescale and stop more from forming. You should also soak your shower head in limescale remover as it forms in the nozzles which restricts water flow.
If you have low pressure in your taps then unscrew the tap handle and check for obstructions as a very small piece of grit or dirt can make a big difference to your water pressure.
Consult your neighbours to find out if they also have low water pressure as if they do then the problem could be street wide and may need to be addressed by your local council.
If you live in a block of flats it can be common to suffer from low water pressure the higher up you get. This is because the pressurised water that feeds your taps has further to travel. If you think this is the problem then consult your buildings manager as the problem can be solved by fitting a more efficient pumping system to the mains supply.
If none of these ideas solve the problem then consult a plumber who will be able to use a water pressure test kit to find the reason for the low pressure. This could be a fault in your pipes or something else but in most cases is quite easy to solve.
One of the trends occurring in the market of late is for households to stop looking to move upwards all the time and focus instead on creating their ideal home with what they’ve got. Until the recession kicked in, many people were focusing on their next upward move and constantly aiming to progress up the housing ladder to bigger and better houses, stretching their mortgages and only decorating their existing homes in a way that was likely to attract buyers. This tended to mean keeping decor as minimal and plain as possible, regardless of whether that suited the individual tastes and preferences of the family living there.
Nowadays, the trend is to make more of the homes we’re living in. This means forgetting about bland and neutral colour schemes that are likely to increase our buyer appeal in a sale situation. It means instead embracing individuality, style, colour and having fun with our home’s decor.
There are a great many ways to do this too, which don’t mean spending great sums of money. For example, you can look at getting your home lighting right and refreshing tired lighting schemes. You’ll be amazed at what a difference this can make!
The trick with effective home lighting is to get the ‘trinity’ of lights correct for your room. Firstly, you need to create an overall soft ambient lighting. This will provide an overall comfortable light to illuminate the room. On top of this, you need areas of functional and specific lighting. This might include a floor lamp for reading and watching television or a study lamp to brightly illuminate a table. These lights will provide specific pools of light to illuminate certain tasks and they won’t be on all the time.
Alongside these lights, you add wall lights, often with beautiful elements of your home highlighted, such as works of art, architectural features or other things you want to make the most of. You can also use recessed wall lights to make the most of dark corners and make them brighter.
There is one other type of light that people often use too, which is chandelier lighting and this is very good in bedrooms, dining rooms and living rooms for creating very sparkling and attractive pools of ambient light. Chandeliers can also work very well in hallways to create a stunningly bright and dazzling effect.
Remember that you can also save money on your home lighting by buying energy efficient models and light bulbs. These have come along quite a way since the original lines were launched and they now offer the same brightness and speed of lighting as most old-fashioned glass bulbs. They are also longer lasting and far more durable, often saving the average household around £7 a year per switched light bulb. When you multiply this over a home, you’ll find that the savings can really stack up – and also there are now far wider ranges of energy efficient light bulbs available too, including screw and bayonet types and various finishes, shades, brightness’s and tones, so you can create the finish and atmosphere that you’re seeking, without sacrificing energy efficiency.
It was long believed that dogs, like some other animals, could only see the world in black and white.
Most modern research seems to fly in the face of this belief. The confusion appears to have come from the fact that dogs in fact are colour blind. This was taken to mean that they could only see in shades of grey. Not so.
Colour blindness does not describe, in the commonly understood use of the term, an inability to see any colour. It quite simply means an inability to see colours in the same way that most humans do.
It is all about rods and cones. Both, apparently, are contained in the eye and they determine what it is our eyes can see. Rods enable us to see black and white images, cones are for perceiving colour images. Humans have both, which is why we are able to see in full colour. But dogs have both too, suggesting that they also have colour vision.
This was actually put to the test by an academic in a Pavlov-style test. Jay Neitz at the University of California showed a number of dogs three light panels in a row, two of them being of the same colour and the third a different colour. The dog had to locate the odd one out and press the panel concerned. If the dog got it right it was rewarded with a treat.
Neitz confirmed beyond doubt that dogs do see colour, but that their ability to discriminate between the various colours was inferior to ours. Dogs, it would seem, are indeed colour blind. But they can still see, and distinguish between, colours.
The dog beds are in effect bean bags, but especially designed for our canine friends. Which means they are more than just bags full of beans, or PVC pellets as the case my be. All of them are made from a practical nylon that is simple to clean. Specially designed to repel moisture and prevent unpleasant odours from being absorbed, the cover is machine washable although any minor stains can easily be removed with a damp cloth.
From shocking pink to sensible brown to lime green, you can treat your dog to a touch of the comfort that your faithful friend truly deserves.
Any room that isn’t a perfect rectangle or square is generally considered to be oddly shaped. Decorating an unusually shaped kitchen may seem like quite a challenge at first, but provided one secures the help of bespoke kitchen designers for such a project, an odd shaped room can add plenty of character and style to a home.
Bespoke kitchen designers can help you to make decisions about wall colours and specialist furniture, as well as countertops and flooring. It’s important to call in an expert if you’re feeling unsure about a major decision regarding the kitchen, as a mistake made during a renovation project could end up costing a small fortune to fix. For those on a budget, hiring a designer may seem excessive, however it could save you quite a sum of money; a professional designer will help you to research and visualise potential decor themes so that you don’t end up with any costly mistakes.
If the kitchen is on the large size and has some unusual features such as two doorways, an angled ceiling or a protruding wall section, then it might be best to divide the room into individual spaces, provided the dimensions of the kitchen allow for it. For instance, you could create a separate dining area that is closed off from the food preparation area by, for example, a kitchen island. By creating a cosy eating area where the ceiling is angled, it will look as if the odd shape of the space is intentional rather than the result of poor design. If the corner is too small for use as a dining area, you could always create a little reading nook by adding a small armchair and some colourful cushions. Another option for this type of challenging space is to soften up the harsher angles of the room with furniture. Use pieces that have round edges and place them in the corners of the kitchen; this will help to distract the eye from any unattractive sharp angles in the room.
If the kitchen has an asymmetrical shape, then make sure to use matching soft furnishings and decorative pieces on repeating elements such as windows and shelving. By doing this you can ensure that the space doesn’t feel too disjointed, as the soft furnishings will create a better sense of continuity.
One very simple and straightforward way to bring balance to an odd shaped kitchen is to place a brightly coloured rug in the middle of the room. This will help to draw the eye towards the centre of the space, rather than the uneven or angular sides of the kitchen.
Some kitchen designers prefer to highlight, rather than distract from odd shapes in the kitchen; sometimes, attempting to disguise unusual shapes in the room can make the space feel awkward and visually unappealing. Instead, you can make a feature of a crooked wall by painting it a bold colour, or hanging a series of family photographs on it.