Cat Vs Dog – Which Is Right for You?

Choosing between a cat and a dog isn’t always a straightforward process. In short, cats are generally cheaper to own and easier to care for because of their independent nature, while dogs are more social creatures, but require a lot more money, attention and time. Here are a few things to consider before introducing a cat or a dog to your home:

Cats

Cats are a perfect choice for people in search of an independent pet or those with a busy lifestyle and limited indoor space. Most cats are able to entertain themselves and will be happy to be left alone to sleep. The ability to venture outside and explore by themselves means there is no need for walking. This is certain to benefit the pet owner that is less active. However, cats do enjoy being played with and like social interaction so shouldn’t simply be left to their own devices at all times. A certain degree of care is required for cats, especially long-haired breeds. Some need daily grooming to avoid issues with matted coats.

Cat owners do not need a lot of space inside the home. However, a safe garden or similar area is certain to be appreciated. A cat can stay content even if kept in the home provided it is given a clean litter box and fed an appropriate diet. Also, they are easier for a neighbor or friend to look after when you are away for a few days. Overall, cats can make the entertaining, relaxing, affectionate and loving pets.

Dogs

Dogs are a practical choice for the active and energetic person or simply those that love to spend a lot of time outdoors. A dog needs regular walks, fresh air and stimulation. Any home with a safe and secure garden is certain to be ideal, although easy access to open spaces like local parks it just as well. Also, dogs are great when travelling and on days out. But, it is important to give appropriate training. This should include being comfortable when travelling in a vehicle if needed. Dogs are a solitary animal, so cannot be left alone all day like cats. They need a lot more attention, so this can impact those with the long and demanding jobs. A further time related issue is putting in the effort to provide proper training and grooming.

Also, individual differences in dog breeds must be considered. Dogs vary in relation to size, hairiness, temperament and shape, so careful consideration is needed to identify the perfect companion.…

Tips for Preparing Your Garden for Winter

Some people believe that when the weather starts getting colder and the leaves start to fall, it is time to put away the gardening tools and wait until next spring to work on their garden again. Wrong.

Winter is an important time to maintain your garden’s health and assure yourself a good crop for next year. You may think that might take too long to prepare your garden, but the truth is that it takes less than one day to prepare your garden for the upcoming winter. When the nighttime temperatures drop to less than forty-five degrees Fahrenheit for more than four days in a row, or frost is forecast for your area (usually around late October or November) you know its time to begin preparing your garden. You should begin by evaluating your garden design, check which plants grew well in the past season, and which plants did not do well.

Fall is a good time to decide which plants will remain in you garden next year, and which ones should go. It is also a good time to decide which new plants you want to grow. To make your garden more colorful and healthy, be sure only to plant the more hardy plants during the fall so that they can withstand the winter.

Some plants that will do fine being planted in fall are: rudbeckia, Aster Novi-belgii, Anemone Japonica, panicle hyandea, endive, escarole, and Brussels sprouts. You can find all of these and more in gardening magazines or your local nursery. After you have finished this you should begin cleaning up your garden. Begin by pulling out weeds that may have cropped up, and raking fallen leaves. Weeds and rotten leaves can carry insects and diseases that might be harmful to your garden. You should also rid your garden of spent annual plants, and harvest your vegetables and other plants that cannot withstand the winter weather.

After fall has come and gone, the leaves will be off your trees and you can see the rotten branches. Trimming off the unwanted branches from your trees isn’t necessary to your gardens health, but may help later on by not dropping branches on your plants and not blocking too much of the sun. If you have younger trees you should consider wrapping them and supporting them with stakes to help them survive the winter wind and cold.

Putting mulch over your garden for the winter can be a helpful way to protect plants from sudden temperature changes and heavy snow. For mulch you can use about five inches of shredded bark, pine needles, or a variety of other materials. You have to be careful not to mulch too early, because some insects may still be alive and able to take shelter in it for the winter.

Once you are finished with your gardening tools you should clean them and make sure they are in a safe place where they won’t rust and you know where they’ll be for next year. Before …

How To Make Gourd Bird Houses In 9 Easy Steps

Bird houses can be a great way to attract birds to your yard and if you want a unique natural look, the gourd bird houses may be the way to go. The first thing that comes into mind when it comes to creating bird houses is to find the perfect gourd. This can certainly help in saving effort and money.

Gourds can be easily found or grown in the garden. Gourds are distinctly identified by their eye-catching colors and markings. They can even be said to resemble alien forms. This happens especially during the late summer and they can be very entertaining to the eyes.

Gourds will usually be something that have to be intentionally grown. To grow one, certain steps have to be taken and regular tending must be done. Apply fertilizer in the soil where you plan to plant the gourd. For a plant grown in the space of the garden, a half dozen seeds should be placed. Then follow properly the directions in the seed packet. Thereafter, the plant should be regularly watered and the fertilizer reapplied every month. For creating bird houses, a large gourd has to be cultured. This type normally takes 130 days to mature.

Turning the Gourd into a Bird House

Once you have the right gourd at hand, it can be easily crafted to make a good bird house that you can put in your yard or garden space to attract the birds.

Working with the gourd is relatively easy. It is just like working with the wood. However, doing so will require some tasks to be fulfilled. These steps are necessary to make a bird house successfully out of the gourd.

1. Put hot water with soap in a pail. Get the gourds and soak them. When at least 30 minutes have passed, take out the gourd and clean it.

2. Cleaning the gourd will require the use of a scrub. Do this until the gourd is entirely clean. Just take into account the possibility of discolorations in the gourd. This will not normally take off so do not fret over the stains.

Dry the gourds after cleaning.

3. Select the treated gourds that have the right length for your bird house. a diameter of 8 to 14 inches will be proper enough.

4. Make sure that the walls of the gourds are properly measured so as to make it most comfortable for the birds. It should be at least quarter of an inch thick so as not to make the bird house too warm.

5. Next detail to work on is the hole for the birds to enter. Most of the gourd bird houses are created for martin birds. A hole of two and a half inch are typically sufficient for the martins to enter into.

Drill a hole also at the bottom of the cage for the drainage system.

6. Clean out the insides of the gourd. Scrape out the seeds inside. You can also pour water inside to …

Home Kitchen Garden – Twelve Tips to Help You Grow a Successful Organic Garden the First Time!

As a novice in home kitchen gardening, there are a few things that you must learn and understand. Here are some tips to help make sure that your attempt at gardening is successful right from the beginning.

Do …
* Look for a space that catches a lot of sunlight, plants need sunlight to produce their food to help them stay alive.
* Make sure that the soil is fertile and well cultivated, most of the nutrients are found in the soil so this is really a must.
* Plant crops that is in season, this will help you maximize your yield.
* Water the crops on a regular basis; water is needed in photosynthesis just like sunlight
* Protect your plants from stray animals by setting up defense such as gaps or walls
* Remove weeds and unwanted grass for they steal the nutrients that should be going to your plants.
* Fertilize the soil by adding natural fertilizers; this will make the soil healthier due to the abundance of nutrients.

Do not …
* Over water the plants for they may wither and die
* Eliminate all insects for most of those found in the home kitchen garden help the crops grow
* Do not use chemical based fertilizers, make your foods as safe as it can be, there are a lot of organic fertilizers that you can use as substitute
* Forget to harvest the crops regularly; this will help them become more productive
* Despair if you fail on your first try because as they say, practice makes perfect, so just keeping trying.

A home kitchen garden is very beneficial for it does not only provide fresh, healthy and safe foods on your table, it can also be a means of recreation for you and your family and a source of additional income. So, considering all of these benefits it is well worth the time and effort! …

Get Your Garden Growing With The Help Of An Organic Garden Center

In the quest to get healthy, more and more people are turning to organic food. Free of chemical additives and pesticides, organic produce offers only pure and natural nutrients. But for those people who do not have ready access to organic produce at their local markets, or do not wish to pay the high prices associated with organic produce, starting their own organic garden allows them access at any time to fresh, wholesome produce at a fraction of the price it would cost to buy at the store. For those interested in beginning such a garden, an organic garden center can give you all the tools and education you need to start off right.

An organic garden is defined by produce that is grown without the addition of chemicals and pesticides normally used to ward off bugs and weeds, as well as stimulate growth in a traditional growing environment. In order to truly grow organically it is necessary to fully commit to using only products that are 100% certified organic. And in order to get those products you are best to visit an organic garden center.

As its name suggests, an organic garden center offers products for sale that are only certified organic. From soil to fertilizer, the organic garden center will ensure that you have all that you need to grow a delicious and beautiful organic garden. Best of all, most centers have knowledgeable employees on hand who are just as committed to organic gardening. They can be incredibly helpful in showing you how to begin, as well as pointing out those products that will work best in your particular space.

Begin with the proper fertilizer and choose those sees that you want to plant in your garden. The organic garden center should be able to help you find those products that will thrive in your particular climate, as well as in the type of sun that your garden receives on a daily basis.

Be sure to do your research regarding the type of maintenance that your seeds will require. The organic garden center can also offer literature and other information about helping your garden grow successfully. Taking the time beforehand to determine what factors will most contribute to your success will help you realize your gardening dreams. …

Growing an Indoor Herb Garden Year-Round

If you love fresh spaghetti sauce or pesto, than you’ve just got to have fresh basil and other herbs all year round! Sure, a nice 1 X 4 window garden getting at least 4 or 5 hours of direct light from a sunny window will give you something to pinch here and there. Gardens with mint, rosemary, bay leaf, savory, oregano, chervil, sand thyme are some of the easiest to grow this way.

But what if you need your basil…and lots of it? Basil and cilantro need just a bit more light, and really prefer 8 hours or more of direct light each day. In addition to this if you want fresh pesto, just a pinch here and there is not going to cut it. Here’s what you can do about it.

The goal is a vegatative light cycle (18 hours on), with eight or more direct sun or bright artificial light.

Whenever the light levels are low, give them a boost. Two or three fluorescent lights above your plants will greatly increase their growth and yield. You can grow enough basil for a few servings of pesto now and then, and still have enough always at your fingertips.

Or, with a small metal halide light you would have a larger area with better lighting. You could surely produce an abundance of any herbs you choose for your culinary and aromatic delights. Basil would take well to the bright conditions under a metal halide, as it is a Mediterranean, sun loving herb.

It has been said that some herbs grow better, or should be grown in, poor soil. The oils in herbs make them special. Very fast growing herbs often grow plain leaves and stems more quickly than they can produce tasty essential oils. Often you will hear “basil grows better in poor soil” or “your basil will taste better if you don’t fertalize”. What these people really mean is “don’t grow your basil too fast” (sorry to pick on basil).

When growing in a container, it is a little different. The plant still needs some food to grow, and when that food runs out you will need to fertalize. However, as you will see in the next two sections, this is all taken into consideration together with the growth habbits of your herbs.

To keep initial growth rates in control, I use a soil mix with just enough nutrients. Mix 2 parts sphagnum peat to 1 part perlite, and than add 20 percent worm castings. Adjust the Ph of any mix using sphagnum peat moss by adding 2 teaspoons of hydrated lime for every gallon of soil mix. or You can substitute peat with coconut coir or vermiculite, which do not need Ph adjusting. Finally, I add 1 tablespoon of kelp meal for each gallon of soil to add plant hormones and to give beneficial micro-orgnisms something to feed on. Use this mix whenever you transplant.

If you feel the top of the soil and it is dry, than …

Making Her Valentine's Day Special One Step at a Time

When you want her to know she fills your soul, makes you a better person and that words fall short in expressing your undying love, the overwhelming feelings can sometimes leave you without any good ideas for your Valentine's Day. But there is hope in delivering a satisfying, personal and romantic Valentine's Day tailored just for her if you plan ahead and do it all one step at a time.

Step One: Determining Her Wants and Needs

The first step to creating an amazing Valentine's Day for the special woman in your life, is knowing who she is and what she needs. Does she prefer to be active on a day off? Is she more relaxed and prefers to lounge? What types of things does she need in her life right now? A pedicure? A massage? A new movie that was just released on DVD? That necklace she's been talking about?
You should even try to think of things she may have told you about, like where she used to go to get away when she needed to be alone.

Step Two: Combination Needs with Location

Now that you've taken some time to really think about who your lover is and what she needs this Valentine's Day, choosing a location should not be so difficult.

If she's active and used to love getting away out in the country, take her to the zoo for a quiet picnic for two and some animal sight seeing. If she prefers to lounge around and has fond memories of cuddling by the fireplace, set up a love nest with blankets, pillows and mattress pillows in the loft or living room. Consider a portable DVD player as a gift to make your hide-away evening amazing with some romantic films and a backpack full of snacks, sandwiches and of course, chocolate.

Maybe your partner is a very busy woman, however, and has expressed a strong desire to be kept up in life. These women usually usually work very hard while trying to juggle a home and children. For this kind of Valentine's Day need, I would suggest taking Valentine's Day off, seeing the lovely woman off to work, hiring a housekeeper and asking grandma to come get the kids. This leaves you with ample time to plan reservations at an elegant restaurant or an indoor picnic near the fireplace or television. You could also have a hot bath ready for the moment she steps in the door, complete with red rose petals floating gently atop the water, bath oil already mixed in and lovely, aromatic candles lit about the clean bathroom. This is an excellent precursor to a simplistic but tasty dinner like the ones listed at the end of this article.

For those men who love the woman with a wild or unpredictable streak, choosing a location may be more difficult. Which is why you are the kind of man who should not make reservations too far in advance. Choose two locations which do not …

Myths About Taj Mahal

From the time of the construction of the building it has been the source of an appreciation transcends traditions and geography, and so private and emotional responses have constantly been harming the educational review of the monument.

Very old myths hold that Shah Jahan was planning a monument to be constructed in black marble crossways the Yamuna River. The thought originates from imaginary writings of Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a European tourist who came to Agra in the year 1665. It was said that Shah Jahan was removed from power by his son Aurangzeb before the construction was over. Remains of blackened marble crosswise the rivers in Moonlight Garden, Mahtab Bagh, appear to sustain this myth. Nevertheless, excavations performed out in the 1990s bring into being that they were stained white stones that had looked black. A more convincing hypothesis for the origins of the black tomb was confirmed in 2006 by archeologists who renovated portion of the pool in the Moonlight Garden. A dim reflection of the white mausoleum could evidently be seen, proving Shah Jahan’s fascination with equilibrium and the positioning of the pool its

There are many details that describe the deaths, dismemberments and mutilations which Shah Jahan allegedly imposed on several architects and craftsmen connected with the tomb. Some tales claim that those occupied in construction signed declarations committing themselves to have no involvement in any similar design. Related claims are made for many renowned buildings. No proofs subsist for claim that Lord William Bentinck, governor-general of India in the 1830s, apparently planned to knock down the Taj Mahal and sale off the marble. Bentinck’s writer John Rosselli declared that the story arose from Bentinck’s thought of raising the money by the auction of discarded marble from Agra Fort.

In the year 2000, India’s Supreme Court discharged P.N. Oak’s appeal to announce that a Hindu king constructed the Taj Mahal. Oak maintained that beginning of the Taj, in addition with other historic constructions in the nation presently credited to Muslim sultan’s pre-date Muslim profession of India and therefore have a Hindu origin. A more graceful tale narrate that once a year, at the time of the monsoons, a single drop of water falls on the monument, as enthused and stimulated by Rabindranath Tagore’s explanation of the tomb One more fable suggests that pounding the outline of the finial will cause water to come forward. Till today, officials find traces of broken bangles close to the silhouette.…

How to Start a Community Garden

After years of over-industrialization and economic hardship, many inner city communities are undergoing a Renaissance of sorts. Urban dwellers are reclaiming their neighborhoods, supporting local businesses and courting responsible development. Part of this movement is the inclusion of community gardens. Increasing urban green space not only infuses the community with natural beauty, but it can reverse ecological damage, improve property values, and impart a sense of community and connectedness.

The following is a quick 10 step guide to starting your own community garden using ecologically sound methods.

  1. No Man is an Island – Organize a Community Garden Group
    A group as small as 3 can start a community garden, but – in general – the more individuals you involve, the more the community will support the project. With permission, post notices in local coffee shops and business windows. Invite neighbors, local tenants, business owners and the like. Utilize existing organizations and civic groups. Some great volunteer resources include neighborhood centers, youth groups, schools, seniors groups, congregations, homeless shelters and even rehabilitation / treatment centers. Look for folks invested in the community and looking to make a difference.
  2. Get Organized – Determine the Project’s Leadership and Scope
    Determine who will lead / plan the initiative. This should be a group of 3 to 5 people who have the organization skills, time and enthusiasm to make the project a success. They will be responsible for fund-raising, scheduling, delegation, construction planning and overall communication, so they should be up to the task at hand. The leaders should also organize collective meetings where the project scope is hammered out.
  3. Define Who You Are – What Kind of Community Garden Will You Create?
    Determine the type of garden the community requires. Should it be a vegetable or flower garden? Perhaps a combination of both? What purpose does the garden serve? Is it purely a beautification project? Or should it be a place to teach children about sustainable agriculture? Will it be organic? If it produces foodstuff, who should benefit from the harvests? Next, brainstorm ideas for fund-raising and set rules for the garden’s use and participation.
  4. Take Root – Choose a Garden Site
    Contact your local municipal planners about possible sites. Visit each site and determine the best location. Some things to consider when you visit a site include sunshine exposure, water access, and soil quality. I recommend testing the soil for prohibitive levels of pollution. Once you decide on a location, find out who owns the land. Will they allow your community garden team to lease for at least three years? (Often they will for virtually nothing… especially if the prospective garden space is adjacent to an income-generating building – as a garden almost always enhances the building’s attractiveness.) Lastly, find out if public liability insurance will be necessary.
  5. Find Your Strength – Identify What Resources the Neighborhood Has At Your Disposal
    Contact local horticultural societies and see if they can provide information on the best plants for the region and garden conditions. Call

Building On A Difficult Terrain

Adjusting the house to the landscape is the first task to be solved when building on difficult terrain. If your block of land has slopes up to 20% – it's rather regular terrain. The difficulties start to appear on slopes that are steeper than that.

Main problems can be divided into 3 categories:

1) Some additional research to determine the danger of dirt slipping down should be done

2) The foundations and plumbing will require some additional work

3) Some additional work to level the soil might be necessary

And of course any of above translates into additional expenses.

If the allotment is in a real danger of soil slip, for example the soil has a steep rocky slope underneath and gets lots of rainfall or has ground water – it makes no sense to build on it.

However, if that's not the case, then building on steep slope might produce very interesting output. History has many examples of people, who had to deal with difficult conditions, created the most magnificent structures, some of which we can still see in these days. They include the Machu Picchu city in Peru, great castles of Europe, Svan's watchtowers in high mountains of Georgia, and fort Metsada in Israel.

To make the idea of ​​building on difficult terrain a reality, several things need to fall together:

1) The wish to build on this particular block of land and the ability to finance the process

2) A talented architect and engineer who can fit the house into the relief while making it secure, safe and sound

3) Qualified builders who can implement everything according to the plans

So what are the advantages of building on a slope? First, nothing compares to the panoramic view from your terrace. Also, it is possible to create several levels: the garage on the upper level, the bedrooms and living areas below and the back yard and garden on the lowest level. The best thing about this setting is that the road and the driveway – with all the noise and the dust – are left on top, while the house is located below. More of the house is now exposed to the sun light. The garden can have many picturesque features such as little terraces, steps, miniature walls, cozy spots.

The whole presence of the house is improved, as this unique facade is created. The interior of the house benefit from larger windows and various open staircases, they look "weightless" and mix in harmony with the nature.

Another issue to address is the soundness of the house built on a slope. In many ways it depends on the soil underneath the foundations. If the soil is mostly sand or mud, then it makes sense to create terraced foundations, made of concrete bands and retaining walls, anchored in the soil.

If the foundations are to be built on rocks, concrete piles are better. The necessary diameter of a pile for 2 -3 level house is 35 – 40 cm, …