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Saturday, August 28, 2010

Baby's Coming?

Some things in life are just fun. Sending out happy types of announcements to relatives such as those for engagements and weddings, anniversaries or even birthdays are joyous and exciting, but none... none can compare to sending out baby announcements. Baby's give their parents 9 months of sheer joy in anticipation, and announcing their expectant family addition. Then after they are born, the fun of letting everyone know about the arrival accompanied by all the vital statistics is a thrill. Whether you write your own, or buy pre-made announcements, or send out fancy emails complete with HTML pictures and frills the announcements end up being an extension of you and your joy that friends and family will cherish as they feel your happiness through the expressions of the announcement.

Decide on the Right Septic System for Your Home

A septic tank is never going to be the focal center of your décor, set the mood in a room, or make a lovely accent for your yard. It is, however, a vital piece of equipment for your home if you live in an area without sewers. A septic system allows you to control the waste products from your home in a safe and sanitary manner while keeping it all out of view and pleasant. There are some things to know in order to make the best decisions for your selection of a good septic system for your property.

Make sure the zoning in your area allows use of septic systems.

Find out what regulations exist for your land in regard to septic system placement. Besides local restrictions, the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, has regulations regarding where tanks drain or “soakaway,” as well as drainage that is illegal.

Determine what type of leech field is right for you. Most properties are fine with a conventional leech field made of a dug out section of land, bedded with rock for filtering, and lined with perforated piping coming from the septic tank. This allows the liquid waste to filter out into the ground before it gets to the water table below. Another type uses solid piping to move the liquid waste to a designated area before changing to perforated hose. This is useful if your septic tank is too close to the water table, or several shared properties close together all use one main leech field. More advanced strategies may be necessary and require the advice of a professional to perform properly.

Pick the right size septic system for the number of people in the household. Because the solid wastes remain in the tank, separating to the bottom while the water floats out, septic tanks require regular pumping to keep them functioning properly. However, the first step in maintaining proper function without having to pump the tank out more than the suggested bi-annual cleaning, get the right size. Local regulations may determine the minimum size capacity allowed. Other methods of choosing are how much water your household uses per day, or the number of bedrooms in your home. A healthy septic system should be able to hold twice as much water (in any form) as the household puts out per day.

Use the bedroom computation to choose the right size based on the number of people living in the home. One to two bedrooms uses a 750 gallon tank, three bedrooms a 1000 gallon tank, four bedrooms a 1200 gallon tank, and five to six bedrooms a 1500 gallon tank. While 750 gallons would be plenty for a small home, it may not be big enough to meet local minimums so be careful before buying this size tank.

Get a Handle On It

Most of the handles and rails on our boat are industrial style. They are strong, usually u-shaped, or sometimes a crank style handle. The crank style handles are seen a lot on trailer winches, anchor winches or even the umbrella handle that raises and lowers the patio umbrella we have bolted to the dock alongside the boat. The heavy-duty life of marine equipment, and even comfort utility, or toy items mandates the use of strong, easy to grip handles like you get from an industrial handle. You'd think manufacturers would know that, but there are plenty of times I am surprised to see a lesser quality or impractically frilly handle, grip, or crank where strength counts just for the sake of 'pretty.' Pretty is nice, of course, and some industrial handles look nice too, but pretty doesn't beat out functionality. Personally, I wouldn't want to be stuck in the middle of the river with a barge coming at me, unable to lift my anchor because a pretty gadget crank tore apart in my hands... would you?

What States use E10

One of the first states, Minnesota, demanded the use of E10 at the local pumps as early as 2003. In 2010 there are at least 32 states that now implement some E10 regulations on gasoline. While many states use the product, the degree of use and public knowledge is very uneven with some states not even required to tell a customer they are using a product containing ethanol in their tanks.

Legislative Acts

Over the years many policies have attempted to bring ethanol to the consumer fuel supply. These acts were met with varying degrees of success, but they built upon each other to get us to the point where nearly every state in the United States uses some form of ethanol enhanced fuel. These acts were the Alternative Motor Fuels Act, the Clean Air Act, the Energy Policy Act and finally, in 2006, the Renewable Fuel Standard Program.

Leading States

Of the initial states to join in the E10 program for developing an Renewable Fuel Standard Program, RFS, only 37 require labels on the pump to let the public know what they are using. Those states are Alabama, Arizona, Alaska, California, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Idaho, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, Nebraska, Montana, New York, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Vermont, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, Wyoming and Wisconsin.


Many of those states that require E10 use only require a label if the percentage of ethanol is more than 1 or 1.5% or higher. Colorado and South Dakota only require a label if the product is 2% or higher. Seven of the states require a label regardless of the amount. The District of Columbia, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Ohio do not require any signage on the pumps regarding ethanol or alcohol gasoline contents.

Fighting Demand

Wisconsin, Colorado and Indiana all actively fight RFS, the Renewable Fuel Standard program. Legislation in the past fails to get support or ends up being vetoed by the governor.

Finding Their Own

Some states such as Kansas, Hawaii, Florida, Iowa, Louisiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Oregon, Montana, Washington and Pennsylvania passed state specific programs to promote RFS. Those states use variations of low-carbon fuel such as cellulosic ethanol in Pennsylvania.

Ethanol Bans

There are some situations where ethanol can’t be used. Aircraft are forbidden to use any ethanol products by the FAA since 1960. Ethanol is not banned in marine engines, but there are some problems introduced by blended fuel especially where fiberglass gasoline storage tanks hold the fuel. Older automobiles, motorcycles or gas-powered motors in non vehicle items will not work properly with E10 or other ethanol blends.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Finding Top Level Jobs

Jobs are pretty hard to find now. With so many people out of work, worried about losing jobs, the need to find a job is sometimes desperate. Finding a good management jobs is even tricker than a run-of-the-mill job. You have to use all your resources to get a high quality job. The Internet is one of the best resources for anyone job hunting in today's market. Especially for those looking for high-end jobs, looking outside the local is important. That is difficult to do in person, but you can find openings all over the state, and even across the country.

Whale Watching on the East Coast in New York

When you first think of New York, your first thought may not be whales, but according to USA Today Travel, New York is a top destination for whale watchers. The coastal waters lend themselves to the big sea creatures of the deep, and spectators can see the underwater giants using several different methods.


The simplest method is to stand on the shores of common whale movement areas. The beaches of Long Island are a good place to watch for whales moving between the harbor and the open ocean. There are also whale watching tour companies where guests can ride out into Long Island Sound, or New York Harbor and get up close to the huge ocean mammals.


CRESLI, The Coastal Research and Education Society of Long Island, estimates that somewhere around 25 species of whales congregate in the waters around New York. Some of those species include the humpback whale, sperm whale, blue whales, pilot whales, and fin whales.

Where to Watch

Anywhere along the ocean coastline, or any water connected to the ocean is fair game as a location for spotting whales. New York has no shortage of those types of waterways. The best areas noted by whale watching groups is off of Long Island in the Long Island Sound. Other areas whales inhabit include New York Bight, a spot of shallow water at the juncture of Long Island and New Jersey, Gardiner’s Bay, and Block Island Sound.

Whale Watching Seasons

Whales do not really have a season. The waters are open all year round. However, whales inhabit the area when food will be there, and July through September are prime months for the schools of fish and krill fill the water. The tour schedule by CRESLI offers a good guide to the best times to see whales in their natural habitat. The peak times are in July and August when food is plentiful, and near the surface.

What to Wear

The height of the whale watching season is in the heart of the summer months, so it is likely to be warm. However, ocean air, cool breezes, and rain are common occurrences so dress in layers to accommodate any conditions. It’s a good idea to wear sunglasses. The sun’s glare on water is much harsher than on land. Wear a hat to prevent sunburn, and bring plenty of sun block.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Agricultural Importance of Big Drainage and Irrigation

Irrigation and drainage to a homeowner usually means a hose and good soil. However, industrial, agricultural, and community irrigation and drainage are much bigger endeavors. They help keep water available and land in useable condition. Much thought, planning and money go into a well-developed large-scale irrigation and drainage system.

Governing Bodies

In the USA, the Agricultural Research Service, or the ARS, governs national research, development, and oversight of water flow issues that affect the private, commercial and agricultural sectors. They are a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.


Drainage systems include sewers in cities and towns, drain tiles in agricultural fields, and even canals dug out to allow water flow to or away from areas into reservoirs or rivers. There are two basic types of draining systems: surface and subsurface. Surface systems include ditches, rivers, canals and field drains. Subsurface systems include sewers and drain tiles. Irrigation is any system designed to deliver water to a specific area. For a homeowner it might be as simple as a hose and sprinkler, for a farmer on a large agricultural spread it may have acres worth of piping and wheels to roll it across the fields and over crops while shooting water out of perforated piping running across the top. Some farmers use water trucks to shoot high-pressure blasts of water across fields. Other irrigation systems bring water from aqueducts and reservoirs to water plants for delivery to city homes. In rural areas a backyard well and pipe leading into the house brings in water from the underground water table.


Drainage systems allow governing agencies to prevent flooding of housing areas by diverting flood plains, compensating for above average rainfall, or preventing the flow of rivers. Irrigation gives people the power to keep land hydrated, and water available for use at all times, even during times of no rainfall through water storage, and direction.


Not providing proper drainage for a flood plain may cause loss of life, or living establishments during an unusually heavy rain accumulation. Snow can also affect the water levels even in the frozen months of winter, as when all the ice or snow melts, the resulting water has nowhere to go. Some aspects of drainage affect the shipping and pleasure sports industry as well. Dams built on rivers to maintain an equal and navigable height allow barges to move large loads of material on the water, and let recreational boaters cruise or enjoy water sports safely by holding water in during low water times, and letting water out when there are floods.


On the private side, there is a lot to do in order to winterize an irrigation or drainage system if you live in a cold climate where the weather freezes regularly for long periods. Usually if you expect the temperature to plummet below 32 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours, you should prepare your pipes against possible freezes. While public drain and irrigation systems are typically large enough to avoid the pitfalls of freezing weather, drastic measures are sometimes required to avoid problems. Ice buildups can melt and cause nearby communities to flood, so heavy machinery is often brought in to clear it away before the temperatures rise.

The Right Price on the Outer Banks

In the not-too-distant past properties on the Outer Banks in North Carolina around Kitty Hawk, Nags Head, Hatteras and Kill Devils Hill were affordable to only the very rich. Now anyone can get great deals by knowing where to look for foreclosures and jumping on great prices for land valued far above list price. The Outer Banks are home to fabulous water sports nearly all year round. The mild winters allow boating, fishing, and even direct water contact through out much of the winter. Whether you are a high-energy outdoors person, or just like to relax and enjoy the view, a home on the Outer Banks could be just the thing to fit your needs.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bring the Beach to Your Party

Whether a party is for a child, a teen or an adult, or if it’s a birthday or celebrating a life event, a beach party is easy, cheap, and fun. You can make your own beach party themed party even if you live miles from any water. You can create your own shores in the backyard, or even in the living room of a sixty story high rise. All you need are a few simple items to give your guests the feeling of hot sand and salty air.


Beach food is simple no matter where you have your party. An outdoor area can include a grill for hot dogs and hamburgers with bags of chips and some potato or macaroni salad. Inside, make the hamburgers and hotdogs on the stove, but the accompaniments remain the same.


The games you can play will depend on where you have your beach party. If you have a yard, set up a volleyball net for a traditional beach game. A Frisbee and/or beach ball flying through the air is all a part of the beach environment and play. Games for small areas use the items already on hand like everyone’s flip-flops. Have them put them in a pile, and give your guests two minutes to get as many pairs as they can put together. The one with the most pairs wins. Outdoor fun can include games like water glass relay, or an obstacle course. Create a toned down version of the outdoor games by putting a hardboiled egg on a spoon and doing an egg relay. If you are outdoors, have plenty of water balloons ready so your guests can get the real life feel of the surf splashing them. For small child parties, or to keep the younger crowds busy at adult parties, give them a basket full of colored chalk and let them decorate the driveway or sidewalks. The chalk washes right off with a hose.


Save empty bottles and place paper napkin “notes” in them. Spread beach towels on the ground/floor. Buy a “Sounds of the Ocean” mood tape and play it in the background, even with other music playing. Make custom invitations shaped like bucket and shovel, starfish or picnic basket and let guests know to wear bathing suits, sunscreen, sunglasses, sandals or flip-flops, bring beach towels and any other beachwear they’d normally use at the beach. Sit on lawn chairs around the living room, or the backyard.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Managing Memory

I understand why companies use numbers, letters, or a combination of the two to keep their inventory in order. It gets a little difficult to associate what you need with a part number, however, when you're just an average person. Buying a color cartridge refill is easier to remember than 108R00725, but the bottom line is, they're the same thing. For businesses it's easy enough, just have forms to list everything in the office and check off a box when it is time to re-stock the supply cabinet. If you have a machine, or other gadget that takes a refill labeled with a number, see if you can keep a portion of the package it comes in flattened out in a file marked supplies, or folded up in a side drawer. I even carry around the ID cards that come inside the cartridge box for my black, and color cartridges on my printer right in my wallet so I have them handy when I happen to be near an office supply store. Numbers make it a little more difficult to remember a part name, but little tricks make it manageable even for civilians like us.

Not Fair

I'm a little upset. I lost several articles I had written for on here on my old computer that recently died a violent virus attack death. That is the second attack on a computer in the time I've been using them and both times I had full virus and spyware protection--supposedly. It really makes you wonder. Now I know that it's virtually impossible for the virus protection companies to stay ahead of the virus creators, and they can't 'block' something they don't know exits until it makes itself known... but really. There has to be some way to stop the whole virus/scam thing. I know it sounds like whining, but it's just not fair, or nice.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Keeping it Cool

I've been concentrating on the need for an air conditioner on the boat, but recently came to realize that another very important element might be even more important. The ability to breathe at night because of the humidity on the water is what made me realize that a dehumidifier might be an even better first step. The heavy-duty fans do a good job of circulating the air and making it cool enough, but even then it is hard to breathe sometimes. Being directly on the water doesn't help the overall humidity problem in the cabin of the boat. Fans and air conditioners don't really do much to combat that problem so even if it were cooled down to the 70's it would still be stuffy and sticky. They make dehumidifiers that are very compact and would fit in the small spaces we have available on the boat.

Patching a Tube

When you get a flat tire on an inflatable tube tire such as those on bicycles, a quick fix can save you money, and get you back on the road again quick. You’ll need one of the many patch kits available at any local store. They come in several varieties, but they all contain the same basic materials you’ll need to fix your tire. Once you have the kit you are just a few quick steps away from being ready to ride.

Find the location of the puncture. There are several ways to find the source of the leak. The first, easiest way if the hole is pronounced enough is to listen for the hiss of air escaping. Fill the inner tube and apply pressure so that air is forced out of the leak. The next way is to feel around the tube as air is forced out to see if you can detect the draft of escaping air. Finally, if all else fails, fill a spray bottle with warm water and a couple of drops of dish soap. Shake well and spray the liquid on the tube. Look for bubbles where the air is escaping. If you have a big enough tub, or basin you can submerge the inner tube in it and watch for bubbles escaping.

Dry the inner tube well and mark it with a marker. Lay the inner tube flat on a firm surface. Prepare the inner tube by roughing the rubber surface to give the adhesives something to grab on and stick to. Take a piece of sandpaper and scrape the inner tube about 1 inch to 1.5 inches around the puncture area.

Spread the adhesive from a patch kit evenly across the roughed surface. Open the patch and remove any foil or paper from the sticking surface. Cut the patch to size if necessary, so that it covers the entire roughed area. Place the patch over the adhesives. Remove any backing present on the patch.

Put the inner tube back in the tire and re-inflate.