Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Differences Between Bracken Ferns and Maidenhairs

Print this articleFerns are among the most ancient of botanical species and among the simplest of plants. Not having flowers or seeds, ferns reproduce through the dispersion of spores by wind. Pteridium aquilinum, known as the bracken fern, and various species of adiantum, or maidenhair ferns, are both in this large related group of plants, yet they have noteworthy differences.

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Maidenhair ferns have lacy, delicate fan-shaped leaves growing from a shiny black or reddish-black stalk that generally grows up to 2 feet tall. The stalk divides at the top into two branches curving in opposite directions. Bracken fern leaves are larger than those of maidenhair ferns, and they consist of three triangular parts. Although coarse and leather-like, these leaves still have a lacy look. Bracken ferns can grow up to 6 feet tall. Both bracken and maidenhair ferns spread out and develop into large colonies.

Growing Areas

Like most ferns, maidenhair ferns grow best in moist or wet soil, in shade and in rocky areas. They are abundant along stream banks, in deep woods and in ravines. Bracken ferns are unusual because they grow well in dry areas. Look for bracken ferns not only in moist forests but in sandy soil, pastures with poor soil and in open sunny woodlands. Bracken ferns also spring back easily in areas that have burned.


For gardening or wooded areas of your yard, maidenhair ferns are good for ground cover and for adding low-maintenance natural features, as noted by "Fine Gardening" magazine. Bracken has these uses as well, but you may want to forego planting this fern if deer graze on your land. The fern can be poisonous when eaten in large amounts by ruminant animals such as deer and cows.


To care for bracken fern, grow it in any part of your yard that has some shade or full sun. Although bracken grows in dry soil, you'll see best results by keeping the soil moist. Maidenhair fern needs more shade and can even grow well in full shade. It does best in moist soil that drains well -- in other words, soil that doesn't have a high clay content.

ReferencesForest Preserve District of Cook County: Bracken, Maidenhair and Walking FernsMcDaniel College: FernsFine Gardening: Adiantum PedatumFine Gardening: Pteridium AquilinumRead Next:

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How to Install Plumbing Drains for a Bar Sink

Wet bars typically have deep, single-basin sinks.

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Residential wet bars typically contain a deep, single-basin sink with relatively simple plumbing requirements. In most cases, the bar sink's drainpipes connect to a nearby main drain inlet, which usually protrudes from the under-sink cabinet's rear face or the through the cabinet's bottom surface. Single-basin drain kits generally consist of slip-joint pipes and fittings. Slip-joint connections don't require gluing or complex joinery; you slip pipes into fittings and join the components with threaded nuts and plastic washers. Learn to plumb a basic bar sink, and you can apply your skills to more complex plumbing projects.

Related Searches:Difficulty:ModerateInstructions Things You'll NeedSink basin tailpieceP trapMarkerHacksawTape measureTrap extension pipeSuggest Edits1

Remove the strainer nut and accompanying washer from the underside of the bar sink's strainer. Slide the nut, threads facing up, over the smooth end of the sink basin tailpiece. Place the washer inside the flange-end of the tailpiece. Press the flange-end of the tailpiece into the strainer's bottom opening. Press the nut's threads against the strainer's threads and turn the nut clockwise to tighten. Tighten the nut until hand-tight to secure the tailpiece to the strainer.


Align the P trap's lower opening with the wall-drain inlet, usually located at the rear of the under-sink cabinet. Place the trap's upper opening against the side of the installed tailpiece. Use a marker to mark the location of the rim of the trap's upper opening on the side of the tailpiece.


Draw a second mark 1 to 2 inches below the first mark; the second mark indicates where you must cut the tailpiece to align the trap's lower opening with the wall-drain. The mark has to be 1 to 2 inches below the rim mark to allow for the length of tailpiece pipe that must protrude into the trap's upper opening. Lengths might differ according to tailpiece and P trap models; adjust the length to suit your components, if necessary.


Remove the tailpiece from the strainer. Cut the tailpiece to size at the lower mark, using a hacksaw. Reattach the tailpiece to the strainer. Remove the nut and washer from the trap's upper opening. Slide the nut, threads facing down, and then the washer over the open end of the tailpiece.


Slip the trap's upper opening over the tailpiece, slide the nut against the trap's rim and snug the nut against the trap's threads. Twist the nut clockwise to engage its threads with the trap's threads and join the tailpiece to the trap. Rotate the trap to align its lower opening with the wall-drain inlet. Use a tape measure to gauge the distance between the trap and inlet.


Mark the distance on the trap extension pipe with a marker, adding 1 to 2 inches to accommodate the portion of the pipe that must extend into the inlet's opening. Cut the pipe to size with a hacksaw. Remove the nut and washer from the trap's lower opening.


Slide the washer and then the nut over the smooth end of the extension; position the nut's threads facing the curved end of the pipe. Insert the curved end of the pipe into the trap's opening, press the nut's threads against the trap's threads and twist the nut clockwise to join the separate components.


Remove the nut and washer from the wall-drain inlet fitting. Slide the nut and then the washer over the pipe's open end. Position the nut's threads facing the pipe's open end. Twist and gently bend the trap to slip the pipe's open end into the drain inlet's opening. Slide the washer and nut against the inlet's threads.


Twist the nut clockwise to tighten and join the components. Tighten all of the drain assembly's nuts approximately one-quarter rotation past hand-tight. Run water through the bar sink's drain to check the joints for leaks.

Tips & Warnings

If your wall-drain inlet doesn't have a threaded fitting, install a pipe-to-slip-joint adapter fitting to prepare for drain installation.

Don't use pipe dope or thread seal tape on slip-joint fittings; the compression of the fittings' washers creates a watertight seal.

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Handmade Water Bottle Dog Toys

Print this articleThe average dog owner spends about $43 a year on dog toys, according to the American Pet Products Association. With 78.2 million dog owners in the United States, that makes this industry big business. However, pet toys don’t have to be expensive. You can keep your canine amused with a stick or even a water bottle.

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Plastic water bottles are among the everyday items that some dogs adore. Creating a handmade toy from a plastic water bottle takes just seconds. Give the bottle to your dog after you remove the label, cap and ring from the water bottle. Removing these items will protect your dog from choking on these small parts.


Adding to your homemade plastic water bottle dog toy is easy. For example, put a few pieces of food or a treat into the bottle to create a puzzle for your dog to solve. This also adds to the sound the bottle will make when your dog plays with it. Alternately, place a plastic water bottle in a long sock and tie the sock off atop the bottle. You also may leave the sock untied and let your pet work the bottle out of the sock.

Making Noise and Monitoring

If you want your toy to be noisy, place a few pieces of macaroni in the plastic water bottle and secure the lid tightly. You will have to monitor your dog as he plays with this version of the homemade plastic water bottle toy. Since dogs like to chase plastic water bottles around, bite them and gnaw on them, you need to monitor your dog when it plays with any type of homemade plastic water bottle toy -- especially if your dog is an aggressive chewer. You’ll need to take the bottle toy away when the dog chews it up enough to bite off and possibly swallow pieces.

Training Considerations

If your dog has a strong affinity for plastic water bottles you can use one when you are training your pet, according to “Knack Dog Tricks,” a dog training book by Carina MacDonald. For example, use the bottle to keep your dog’s attention as you wait for other dogs to perform tasks during an obedience class. This works best if you designate the bottle to be your dog’s special toy, used solely for training. When training with a toy, keep sessions short and end them before your dog loses interest in the toy.

ReferencesAmerican Pet Products Association: Industry Statistics and TrendsThe Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know; Tracie HotchnerKnack Dog Tricks: A Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Your Pet to Sit, Catch ...; Carina MacDonald, et al.San Diego Humane Society: Affordable Homemade Pet ToysRead Next:

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Shrimp Boil Party Ideas

Provide plenty of napkins at your party.

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Shrimp boils are a popular summertime party staple in the South. They're called low country boils along the coasts of Georgia and South Carolina, but whether you follow that tradition or spice things up with Louisiana flair, it's a simple matter to hold a boil no matter where you live. A basic shrimp boil consists of potatoes, corn, smoked sausage and shrimp boiled together in one pot with seasonings. It's the perfect food for a casual backyard party and doesn't require a lot of equipment or fancy decorations.

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The star of your party will be the shrimp boil, but a few additions add interest and variety. Accompany your boil with rustic baguettes in baskets with herbed butter or platters of garlic bread. If you hold your party outside, kick up the color on your table and the health of your meal with grilled vegetable kabobs, while keeping to the theme of finger food. Include plenty of appropriate condiments for the boil, including hot sauce, lemon slices, mustard, cocktail sauce, butter and malt vinegar.


A shrimp boil generally means very few dishes for the host to wash because the food is served directly on the table. When the food is done cooking, scatter it along the length of a picnic table interspersed with condiments and side dishes for your guests to enjoy a hands-on meal. Newspaper is commonly used to protect the table, but white butcher paper is a little more festive. If you need to protect the table underneath, line it with newspaper and lay long strips of freezer paper on top. Offer plenty of napkins for this messy meal.


For a casual party like a shrimp boil, set out big metal tubs filled with ice to hold bottles of beer and wine coolers. White wine also pairs well with a shrimp boil and the bottles can be set in the tubs. If someone is available to do bar duty, margaritas and mojitos add to the festive atmosphere. For something a little fancier, and without alcohol so that kids can enjoy it, make a citrus punch with sparkling water and plenty of oranges and lemons. For a fun and casual touch, serve drinks in jelly jars.


Traditionally, a shrimp boil is held outside, where guests don't need to worry about making a mess with their food. To add more ambience to your party, string funky palm tree lights, or just plain white lights, in the trees around your table or patio. Tiki torches aren't traditional but help provide a festive atmosphere as the sun goes down. Play upbeat music in the background, such as southern rock classics or old tunes from The Beach Boys.

ReferencesFood Network: Low Country BoilSouthern Living: Southern Shrimp Boil SongsSkip to my Lou: How to Host a Shrimp BoilHGTV: Summertime Clambake PartyPhoto Credit Zedcor Wholly Owned/ ImagesRead Next:

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Clicking Noise on a Foreman Grill

Print this articleGeorge Foreman grills can run on gas fuel, using small tanks of propane or connections to a home's gas lines. When using these grills, clicking noises are to be expected because they're part of the gas firing process. However, erratic clicking can indicate grill problems, and clicking that's not associated with the burners may be a sign that something else is wrong with the grill and needs to be addressed.

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The ignition system of the Foreman gas grill uses a small spark to light the gas flowing into the burner. Just like an indoor gas oven, the burners will automatically click as they start to light. This clicking is a sign that the burner is functioning correctly. It's only when the burner doesn't light, or keeps clicking even after the burner is lit, that the sound indicates a serious issue.

Slow Clicking

If your grill ignition system is clicking slowly and your burners are slow to light, the problem could be the battery that your ignitor is using, which can fail or corrode over time. Check your battery and replace it if it's old. Also take the time to check your ignitor and clean its probes and attachments carefully to remove any dust or corrosion, which may also cause your burners to delay lighting.

Continual Clicking

If you hear continual clicking coming from your burners but your grill is operating correctly, the ignitor is not sensing that the burner has lit. This problem can occur when the ignitor becomes misaligned with the grill or when your wiring fails. Realign the ignitor probe according to your Foreman manual's instructions and check your burner wiring for any obvious signs of damage.

Other Types of Clicking

If clicking noises are coming from other parts of your grill, shut down the burners, turn off the gas valve, and see if you can locate the source of the sound. Sometimes in cold weather the expansion of the metal as you use your grill can cause normal clicking and popping noises. Oils or sugars may have spilled on your burner and started to crackle. But it can also mean that a supply valve for your gas line is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced before you use your grill again.

ReferencesKalamazooGourmet: Grill Performance TroubleshootingBarbequLovers: 5 Tips for Troubleshooting Low Flame Output on your BBQ GrillGeorge Foreman: Grill Plate TroubleshootingRead Next:

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The Difference Between Masonry and Zero Clearance (ZC) Fireplaces

ZC fireplaces include freestanding and wall-mounted models.

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The main difference between masonry and zero clearance fireplaces is how they insulate the surrounding walls from the high temperatures inside the fireplace. Masonry fireplaces follow the traditional style of insulating the walls from the fire by using a thick layer of brick or stone. Zero clearance models have a pair of metal walls that create an insulating air pocket around the fire, protecting the walls of your home.

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Masonry fireplaces insulate the walls and frame of your home with thick layers of stone or brick. This type of fireplace is built partially or completely within the frame of the home. These fireplaces consist of a firebox, throat and chimney. The firebox is a chamber made of firebrick that contains the fire. The firebox is open to the interior of the home. Smoke from the firebox is drawn into the throat, which connects the firebox and chimney. A damper controls the amount of air flowing into the chimney.

Zero Clearance Fireplaces

Zero clearance fireplaces are designed to work inside wood-framed walls in close proximity to flammable materials. The firebox of a zero clearance chimney uses firebrick surrounded with a double-walled metal box that creates a pocket of insulating air. Zero clearance fireplaces have a forced air system with fans to vent the warm air from around the fireplace into your home. Smoke from the firebox is vented through an insulated vertical pipe that connects directly to the firebox.


Zero clearance fireplaces are lighter, more compact and less expensive than masonry fireplaces. You can install zero clearance fireplaces in your home without needing to install a concrete footer and masonry chimney on the outside of your home. Zero clearance fireplaces can use either wood or gas fuel sources, while masonry fireplaces are typically designed only for solid fuel. Zero clearance models can substitute the large, outer hearth used in masonry fireplaces with glass doors to prevent flaming debris from damaging your floors.


Zero clearance fireplaces are lighter than masonry fireplaces, but they still need structural reinforcement. Most zero clearance fireplaces require doubled floor joists to support the firebox and concrete blocks to support the chimney. Masonry fireplaces need a solid concrete footer to support the fireplace and the chimney. Open masonry fireplaces also must have a substantial hearth in front of the firebox to prevent embers from damaging the floor. While zero clearance fireplaces with a forced air system will heat your home more effectively than an open masonry fireplace, you can install a fireplace insert in an existing masonry fireplace to get the same benefits as the zero clearance system.

ReferencesCharles Davidson College of Engineering: Specialty FeaturesDrexel University: FireplacesSwift Services: Fireplace Restoration and Construction:Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Difference Between P Channel and N Channel on MOSFET

MOSFET transistors are highly efficient amplifiers.

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A MOSFET is a transistor that uses the effects of an electric field to control the flow of current; it acts as a switch and a signal amplifier. Unlike a junction transistor, which controls a large current with a smaller one, a MOSFET controls current with a voltage. MOSFETs come in two polarities, P channel and N channel, where “P” stands for positive and “N” stands for negative.

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A MOSFET is a three-terminal device; the terminals are called the gate, drain and source. A voltage applied at the gate controls the flow of electrons from the source to the drain. As the gate voltage passes a threshold value, the transistor goes from non-conducting to conducting. The gate resistance is extremely high, on the order of millions of megohms. Because of this high resistance, the MOSFET’s current consumption at the gate is very low. The resistance between the source and drain becomes low when the device conducts; a MOSFET can handle tens of amps of current with very little loss.
In addition to P and N channel types, MOSFETs are made as enhancement-mode or depletion-mode devices. An enhancement-mode transistor is normally off and turns on with a voltage; a depletion-mode device is normally on and turns off with a voltage. The descriptions that follow apply to enhancement-mode MOSFETs.

P Channel

To turn a P channel MOSFET on, you apply a negative voltage to the gate. This voltage is negative relative to ground. In a circuit, you connect the P channel MOSFET’s source terminal to a positive voltage supply and the drain to a resistor connected to ground; the resistor limits the current flowing through the transistor. The circuit diagram symbol for a P channel MOSFET has an arrow pointing away from the gate.

N Channel

An N channel MOSFET turns on when you apply a positive voltage at its gate terminal. The voltage is greater than the positive voltage supply at the drain terminal. A resistor between the positive supply and the drain limits current; for an N channel MOSFET, the source terminal connects to ground. The circuit symbol for an N channel MOSFET has an arrow pointing toward the device’s gate.

Low Side and High Side

A circuit called a low side driver uses an N channel MOSFET; it is called “low side” because the transistor connects to the circuit ground connection. A positive supply voltage drives a device when the MOSFET turns on. A high side driver, on the other hand, has a P channel MOSFET connected to the positive supply, with the switched device connected to the transistor’s drain terminal and ground. The low side driver is a simpler circuit; the high side driver, however, lets you switch the direction of current through the device.

ReferencesAll About Circuits: Insulated-gate field-effect transistors (MOSFET)University of Delaware: N Channel MOSFET SwitchGeorgia Institute of Technology: Metal Oxide Semiconductor Field Effect TransistorPhoto Credit Hemera Technologies/ ImagesRead Next:

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Monday, November 28, 2011

Double your pleasure with food, drink at Twin's

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Food, drink, books: Perfect holiday mix

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Inexpensive ideas for holiday party food

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Downtown Diva: Food and drink and socializing — oh my — on McGregor

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Food + Drink: Austin's Eat Drink Local Week To Kick Off 12/3

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Today last day to enter RGJ cookie contest

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Higgins in Mongolia: Solving the Great Mongolian Sausage Conundrum

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Enter cookie creations in Food & Drink's contest

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Food and drink stolen

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Miami Sports Bar 'Champions' Offers Food and Drink Specials for Football Season

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