Sunday, 25 June 2017

Don't Mow Your Hillside, Landscape It

Most home mowing accidents take place on steep hillsides. To avoid the possibility of accident, the best thing to do is terrace your hill or remove it all together by building a retaining wall.

If your backyard has a steep hillside, you may feel a bit daunted by the prospect of doing something with it.

Attempting to mow a steep hillside is one of the activities that frequently results in a lawnmower tumbling down the hill with the operator rolling after it.

By exercising great care at all times it is possible to mow a steep hillside, of course, but it's quite possible to remove the problem altogether with a little planning. It is imperative to have some type of growth on your hillside, to prevent erosion.

You've got two choices. The first is t o remove the grass from the hillside completely, and replace it with sturdy but attractive groundcover, from the dainty look provided by 3-inch "baby's tears" to the 2-foot tall Scotch heather. Different colors are available too, of course, from the deep green of English ivy to the bright yellow blossoms of moneywort.

The second choice is to actually change the shape of the hillside itself - to terrace it, or build a retaining wall.

First things first

If you're determined to do something with your hillside, the first thing to do is clear it of all undesirable material, from rocks to brush to weeds. Of course you'd do that if all you were going to do is mow it, as well. You never want to mow in an area that has rocks that can be thro wn up and back at you (and you should wear eye protection whenever you're mowing even a normal, flat lawn).

Do a few tests on the soil of the hillside to see what it's made of. Just like the rest of your yard the soil can vary, from dense clay to coarse sand. If you choose to place groundcover on your hillside, you'll have to choose the appropriate plants that will flourish in that type of soil. You'll also have to give a thought to how much water these plants will require.

Does the soil absorb water, or does it allow the water to pass through an d flood onto your lawn below? Again, you'll want to give some thought to the type of groundcover you use. The kind with good, deep roots is usually best. If you're planting shrubs, place them in staggered lines rather than in rows. The staggered design will prevent the water from rushing downward.

If you choose to terrace the hillside, or build a retaining wall, make sure you check the zoning laws in your area first. It is also imperative that you check with your local utilities such as electricity and water to ensure that you will not be digging into a buried power line.

You don't want to start excavating into your hillside without making a plan first and assembling all the materials you need so you can get started immediately. If you remove all the ground cover and then have to stop work for a week or so while you're waiting for a delivery of timber or stone, and a storm comes up, you might find that all that hillside will slide down into your back yard.

It's possible to build a retaining wall yourself, of course, but you must do considerable research to find out the best materials to use and exactly how to build it. The last thing you want to do is build an elegant-looking wall out of timber, only to have it collapse on you because you didn't build a trench in which to bury the first course of timbers, to anchor the wall solidly.

As with all things, research and planning are key.

By: Mr.Andrew Caxton -

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Andrew Caxton is a consultant who writes on many consumer topics for . A focused website that offers the best articles on landscaping and grass gardening.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Dodge Data and Analytics | Construction Projects and Bidding

By Anne Thompson, Economist

BEDFORD, MA - NOVEMBER 28, 2016 - Sales of existing homes improved more than expected in October to the highest level since February 2007. The National Association of Realtors reported last Tuesday that sales of previously owned homes rose 2.0% in October, to a seasonally adjusted annualized pace of 5.60 million units. Compared to a year earlier, homes resales jumped 5.9%.

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October's strong gains were widespread with expansion occurring across all regions. In the South, existing home sales rose 2.8% over the month to an annual pace of 2.22 million units. Growth in purchases also outpaced the nation in the Midwest, rising 2.3% to 1.36 million units. In the Northeast, sales improved 1.4% to 750,000 units. While sales in the West saw the smallest gain, rising just 0.8%, they reached a seven-year high of 1.27 million units. Year-over-year resales also rose across all regions. In the West (+10.4%) sales jumped by double-digits. The Midwest (+6.3%) and South (+4.7%) also posted healthy annual growth while sales improved by a more modest rate in the Northeast (+1.4%).

The national increase in October was solely due to a 2.3% rise in purchases of single family dwellings to a nine and a hal f year high of 4.99 million annualized units. Growth in single family resales outpaced the nation in the South (+3.1%) and Midwest (+2.4%). Expansion was softer in the Northeast (+1.4%) and West (+0.9%). All regions also saw sales improve over the year. Gains outpaced the nation in the West (+9.9%) and Midwest (+6.7%), but were also significant in the South (+5.9%) and Northeast (+3.3%).

Meanwhile, existing condominium sales were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units - unchanged from September and from a year ago. Sales over the month were also flat across all regions. In contrast, year-over-year sales varied widely across the country. As with the nation, condominium resales were flat in the Midwest. Sales slumped 7.7% in the Northeast and dropped 3.8% in the South. These large declines were offset by a 14.3% surge in resales in the West.

The inventory of existing homes available for sale rose a modest 3.0% over the month to 1.76 million seasonally adjusted annualized units. Still, strong sales kept the months' supply nearly flat at 4.3 months. A six-month supply is typically considered a healthy balance between supply and demand. The median home price inched up 0.5% over the month but gained 6.3% over the year to a seasonally adjusted $223,000, marking the fifty-eighth consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

The positive news about existing home sales was dampened on Wednesday by the Commerce Depart ment's report on new single family home sales. Sales dipped 1.9% in October to a four-month low of 563,000 annualized units. While the report was disappointing, new home sales represent less than ten percent of all sales and are traditionally a volatile series. Year-over-year purchases, which are a better indicator of the general trend, improved by double-digits for the seventh straight month in October jumping 17.8%.

Regionally, sales were down from September across most regions. In the Midwest sales slumped 13.7%, while in the Northeast (-9.1%) and South (-3.0%) the declines were more moderate. Meanwhile, sales in the West leapt 8.8% over the month. The 17.8% gain in national sales over the year was driven by the West (+28.7%) and South (+17.9%). Sales in the Midwest rose 8.6% from October 2015 while sales in the Northeast fell 6.3%.

Weak sales forced the number of new homes available for sale to climb 2.9% from September to a seven-year high of 246,000 units. At the current pace of sales, it would take 5.2 months to deplete the available inventory. A 1.3% increase brought the median price of a new home to a seasonally adjusted $310,000. The median price of new homes is now 31% above the median price of existing single family homes.

The outlook for the housing market in the coming months is shaky. On the positive side, wages will inch up as the labor market nears full employment. More millennials will become homeowners as they continue to settle down and start families. However, while the gap between rising home prices and wages is narrowing, inventories will continue to shrink putting upward pressure on prices. Compounding this issue is rising mortgage interest rates. Over the past month, mortgage rates have surged 50 basis points to a fifteen-month high of 4.03%. In addition, the Federal Reserve appears on track to raise interest rates in December and rates are likely to continue to increase alongside inflation.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

9 Stunning Landscapes of Vietnam

At just three percent of the land mass of the United States, what most surprised me during our time in Vietnam was the diversity of the scenery. From white sand beaches and turquoise water to black rock forests and mountains that hug the clouds, here are some of the most amazing landscapes we came across.

With a coastline of over 2025 miles, it's no surprise that Vietnam has a ton of beautiful beaches. And when the rest stop during your bus trip looks like this, you don't have much to complain about.

rest stops in Vietnam are sometimes on beautiful beaches

The biggest beach destination in Vietnam is likely the town of Nha Trang, which boasts all day boat tours and all night parties. If you're missing Miami while in SE Asia, this is the closest we found. The beach in the main tow n is pretty nice, but the offshore islands are where you want to head if you're looking to snorkel or dive. With perfect visibility, good quality coral, and thousands of multicolored fish flitting about, having a great day is easy, especially since the all day island-hopping tour costs approximately $6.

great beach for snorkeling near Nha Trang

But Vietnam's coastline isn't all sparkling white sand and clear blue water. Our favorite coastal landscape was the sand dunes around Mui Ne, which come in both red and white varieties. Whether you Sprinkler System jump, run, or slide, it's hard not to let the beauty of the dunes overwhelm you. Stretching for what seems like miles, the dunes are something you'd expect to find in Africa. Instead, they're here, only a few minutes away from one of the best plac es in the world to learn to kitesurf.

red sand dunes of Mui Ne

Most countries with a coastline have beaches, but they don't all have rice terraces, especially ones that look like this.

rice terraces of Sapa

The terraces in Sapa were carved over two thousand years ago by hand and are still inhabited primarily by the Black Hmong tribespeople. These mountain dwellers live off the land, planting and harvesting rice year in and year out in order to sustain their families.

a Black Hmong man takes a break from working in the rice terraces outside of Sapa

Tourists can explore the terraces by taking a multiday tr ekking tour with a Hmong guide. You'll stay in homestays run by the local villagers, get knee deep in mud, and appreciate rice way more than you ever have.

Wide view of Sapa's rice terraces

Further north and to the east of Sapa lies the unexplored Vietnam of the Ha Giang province. You need a permit to stay the night and a camera with lots of battery power to take all of the photos of the immense scenery that surrounds you as you drive by on your motorbike. The most beautiful part of the road, and arguably one of the most beautiful drives in the world, is the leg between Dong Van Sprinkler System Rockwall and Meo Vac. Here the road darts in and out of rock crevices and up and down mountains and valleys.

Windy road in Northern Vietnam

Children in traditional tribal outfits scream "hello" from above and below as they carry double their weight of sticks in bamboo baskets. Men wear high-necked black tunics and matching berets and women wrap electric pink scarves over their hair, giving the game of "I Spot" a whole new meaning.

Rock forest in Northern Vietnam

Perhaps the most quintessential scene of Vietnam is the floating limestone karst formations of Halong Bay. Best seen on a multi-day boat tour, these rocks rise out of the still water and emerge through the mist forming, if you look hard enough, the shape of a descending dragon. At least that's what the locals tell you, and how Halong Bay gets its name. Kayaking through some of these formations is a must, as is sitting back on your boat tour and letting the scenery and mist envelop you.

Kayaking on Halong Bay

Did you enjoy these photos and stories? Let me know in the comments and visit our site for more information or advice on planning a budget trip to Vietnam. oh/vietnam-travel-photos_b_3840522.html

Friday, 16 June 2017

Benefits of Sinus Irrigation

Sinus irrigation comes in other different names such as sinus wash, sinus rinse or sinus flushing. But just the same, sinus irrigation is the process of flushing excess mucus, bacteria and other debris out of the nose and sinuses. The principle is quite simple: a solution made from a combination of water and salt is allowed to enter through one nostril and drain out of the other. This can be done by snorting the solution from cupped hands or by squirting the solution using a syringe with the needle removed. An object called a neti-pot, which looks something like a combination of a miniature teapot and Aladdin's magical lamp, can also be used.

The neti-pot has already been in existence for centuries, in fact its origins can be traced back to the Ayurvedic/yoga medical tradition. Using a neti-pot, half of the saline solution is poured through one nostril while the head is tilted sideways to allow the liquid to drain through the opposite nostril. The process is then repeated wit h the other half of the solution made to enter through the other nostril. Whichever technique is used, it sure does sound, look and actually feel uncomfortable at first, but done properly, sinus irrigation can be beneficial not only for those suffering from sinus infections but also from sufferers of common colds, asthma and rhinitis.

It's Sinus Irrigation, Only Much Better

Because sinus irrigation is so effective, medical and pharmaceutical companies have been keen to develop products that can carry-out this process sans the inconveniences and discomfort associated with the other traditional techniques. Some have developed state-of-the-art irrigators that even allow pulsating action of the solution in order to enhance the natural movement of cilia. Unfortunately, they can be quite bulky and expensive for home use. On the other hand, there are irrigators now available that offer portability, as they are merely the size of a spray bottle.

Indeed, sinus irrigation , as it is, is already very helpful in getting rid of sinus infections. However, sometimes, the saline solution is just not enough to treat the inflammation or Sprinkler Installation Denton to kill the bacteria causing the infection. That is why your doctor prescribes decongestants or antibiotics. This is where medicated sinus irrigation comes in. One product which can allow you to do medicated sinus irrigation is ActiveSinus. At Sinus Dynamics, a leading pharmaceutical company in the treatment of sinusitis and rhinitis, they are able to compound your prescribed medications in forms suitable for use with your ActiveSinus irrigator. With medicated sinus irrigation, prescribed medications are not taken orally, thus systemic side effects are prevented. Infusing the medication into the irrigating solution allows the active ingredient in the drug to come immediately in direct contact with the membranes of the nasal and sinus passages, just like in using nasal sprays. However, a sinus irrigator works even better because it is designed to deliver the irrigating solution even through congested sinus passages, and not merely through the section of the nasal cavity proximal to the Sprinkler System Installation Denton nozzle or spray.

You can ask your doctor for more information if you are interested about the advantages of medicated sinus irrigation.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Why You Should Put Permeable Paving In Your Back Yard

By Kathleen Brenzel


Photograph by Eric Brandon Gomez

Big expanses of solid paving just don't make sense in the dry West. They allow rainwater to run off down streets and into gutters and beyond. A better choice is porous paving, which allows water to pass through it to plant roots.

An example: Crushed rock covers much of the yard behind this tiny patio in West Hollywood, California. Designer Eric Brandon Gomez used a circle of decomposed granite to define the firepit area. This idea and the following, are from the new Sunset Western Garden Book of Easy Care Plantings.


Photograph by Chris Leschinsky

"Permeable" Can Be Cooling

Cool blue Dymondia margarete fills the spaces between pavers in this path, in a California Central Coast Garden designed by Ryan Fortini. Senecio mandraliscae and gray-green Agave attenuata grow on either side.


Photograph by Jennifer Cheung

"Permeable" Can Be Graphic

Before a redesign, this 700-square-foot front yard in Venice, California, consisted of one mature palm tree and a lawn. Designer Naomi Sanders ditched the lawn, and replaced it with a wide walkway, of concrete pavers and gravel, from the street to the front door. 'Fringing it are Big Red' kangaroo paw, threadleaf Japanese maple, feathery grasses, dark flax (Phormium tenax 'Bronze') and a purple-leaf plum.


Photograph by Thomas Story

"Permeable" Can Be Sleek And Modern

An irregular patchwork of precut pavers juts into a free-form path of decomposed granite in this Palm Springs-inspired patio designed by Lauren Dunec Hoang and Joha nna Silver. Succulents fringe a small water trough in foreground; Yucca recurvifolia fills low bowls on the seat wall, and a giant boxed agave accents one corner.


Photograph by David Duncan Livingston

It Can Also Be Crunchy Underfoot

A gravel covers the ground in this Mediterranean-style San Francisco garden, designed by Katharine Webster. The permeable surface and smart plant choices keep this garden drought- tolerant. The mostly green border around it includes a 50-year-old olive tree, screens of English laurel, and chartreuse Choisya ternata 'Sundance.'

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Also on HuffPost:

Hang String Lights

Not only is it easy to install, but ambient lighting will set the perfect mood for your outdoor parties. The key to getting them to stay up? Screw-in (or use heavy duty adhesive) hooks. Just drape lights between hooks, making sure that the end plug is near an electrical source. To see more details, head over to Home & Garden Ideas.

Flickr photo by johnclarkemills

New homes burn faster, but states resist sprinklers| Reuters

By Melanie Hicken


NEW YORK In Scottsdale, Arizona, any new home must come equipped with fire sprinklers, a decades-old rule lauded by fire safety advocates nationwide. But 12 miles away in Phoenix, city officials are not even allowed to discuss adopting a requirement like Scottsdale's, because of a state law passed last year.

The same is true in Texas, Alabama, Kansas and Hawaii, where in the past four years state governments have enacted bills forbidding cities and towns from requiring sprinklers in new homes. A dozen have forbidden statewide building code councils from including the requirement in their guidelines.

Advocates -- including firefighters, fire safety groups and the sprinkler industry -- say sprinklers are needed more than ever in new homes because of builders' heavy use of prefabricated construction materials. The materials burn faster, firefighters say, causing more destruction and making rescue attempts more difficult.

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The state laws forbidding sprinkler requirements are unprecedented, public-safety advocates say, and underscore the political clout of the home-building and real estate industries. A Reuters review of lobbying records from five states that considered sprinkler legislation since 2009 shows the groups grossly outspent fire sprinkler advocates.

"This is the only code provision that I'm aware of in 30 years of being in this business, where we've seen a preemptive strike that says, 'You can't even consider it. It's not allowed,'" said Gary Keith, vice president of field operations for the National Fire Protection Association, a nonprofit advocacy organization. "That's unheard of with any other kind of provision."


Four years ago the landscape looked strikingly different. Coming off the housing market's peak years, scores of cities adopted fire sprinkler rules despite opposition from builders. And in 2009 sprinkler advocates cheered when the International Code Council, a nonprofit organization that develops national model building codes, voted that fire sprinklers should be required in all new one- and two-family homes.

Then came the worst housing market in U.S. history and a fragile economic recovery. Against that backdrop, lobbyists for the home-building industry, which opposes mandatory sprinklers, gained traction with lawmakers. Even as home building picks up after years of stagnation -- the U.S. Census Bureau projects more than 500,000 single-family housing starts this year -- many lawmakers remai n wary of sprinkler regulations.

"When you start mandating a fire sprinkler system, you are going to price a lot of people out of these new homes," said Ned Munoz, vice president of regulatory affairs for the Texas Association of Home Builders, which lobbied heavily for anti-sprinkler legislation.

Although preemptive state laws have been imposed in other public-health policy areas, laws preempting building or fire safety regulations are unheard of, said Mark Pertschuk, an expert on preemptive laws with the Prevention Institute, a California nonprofit organization funded by private health foundations, government agencies and public health groups.

"They haven't just taken away local control," Pertschuk said. "They've stopped the community debate about public safety and health."

Most cities have required sprinklers in larger multifamily residences for decades. Fire safety advocates want to extend the requirement to all single-family homes, often citing the w idespread use of lightweight construction, a building technique that relies on prefabricated and engineered wood products.

Designed to carry a greater load with less material, the prefabricated components are made from real or man-made wood fragments held together by glue or metal fasteners. The materials are commonly used to frame roofs and flooring. Assembled in factories and shipped to construction sites, these building components significantly cut down on construction time and cost. Builders also say the materials are better for the environment, because they use less wood, reducing deforestation.

But both real-life and test fires have shown that structures with lightweight construction burn much faster and collapse sooner than traditional solid-wood frame construction. That, firefighters say, makes fires harder to fight and shortens the time occupants have to escape a blaze.

"Not only is that second floor going to come down on your head in a very short perio d of time, the roof is going to collapse," said Danny Hunt, fire marshal in Nashville, Tennessee, where he said roughly 90 percent of new homes use lightweight construction.

Lightweight construction was introduced in the 1960s, and became popular in ensuing decades. Today, by their own accounts, the nation's largest builders use the materials extensively in new homes, as do many custom home builders. Firefighters say most homes built in at least the last 20 years contain the materials.

The numbers of fires, deaths and injuries related to lightweight construction are unknown, experts say, because most fire reports don't record the construction method.

Firefighters reported more than 1,300 incidents from 2006 to 2010 in which lightweight construction hurt their ability to suppress fires in single-family or multifamily homes, according to a Reuters analysis of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's National Fire Incident Reporting System, the nation's largest fi re database. At least 90 percent of those homes did not have sprinklers installed. Twenty civilians were killed and at least 260 firefighters and civilians were injured in those fires.

An additional Reuters review of federal and local firefighter fatality investigations found at least nine firefighters killed since 2000 while battling residential lightweight construction fires.

In May a police captain, his wife and two teenage daughters were killed in a Carmel, New York, house fire started by his son's cigarette butt, tossed in mulch. The fire spread so quickly that the house collapsed within 10 minutes, which fire officials attributed to the home's lightweight construction.

"I was there the morning of the fire," said Eric Gross, a Carmel resident who serves as public information officer for the Putnam County Bureau of Emergency Services. "It was horrible. The firemen got there within a matter of minutes, but seconds later the whole roof collapsed. Once the thin g came down, that was the end of it. There was nothing they could do."


Sprinkler systems would offset the danger created by lightweight construction, firefighters say. A 2008 survey by the Fire Protection Research Foundation found the systems add an average $1.61 per square foot, or $3,864, to Sprinkler System Installation Richardson the cost of a new 2,400-square-foot home. Some insurance companies offer policy discounts as high as 10 percent for homes with fire sprinklers.

California and Maryland are the only states that require sprinklers in all new homes.

In many states, builders have successfully argued that sprinklers are not only expensive but also unnecessary, thanks to a drop in fire fatalities related to the widespread installation of fire alarms in the past 30 years. Installing sprinklers, they say, should be a homeowner's choice.

"I'm for fire safety," said Texas State Representative John Otto, a Republican. "But you're taking the decision out of the hands of the homeowner, and you're mandating something that ought to be left to the homeowners."

Otto sponsored the Texas legislation, passed in 2009, forbidding local jurisdictions from requiring sprinklers in new one- and two-family homes. The law's greatest proponents, builder and Realtor trade groups, spent between $1.7 million and $3 million lobbying that year -- at least four times what sprinkler advocates spent.

In Florida, home builders enlisted the political muscle of a former political director for ex-Governor Jeb Bush to lobby state legislators against sprinkler requirements. In 2010 lawmakers voted to block the state code-making body from adopting any sprinkler mandates.

"There's nothing to stop Sprinkler Installati on somebody from having a fire sprinkler system installed in their house," said Jack Glenn, technical director for the Florida Home Builders Association. "But to mandate it for the entire population is a very expensive proposition."

(Editing by Lee Aitken, Janet Roberts and Douglas Royalty)

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

The 12 Most Talented And Tiny Child Prodigies Of 2013

As this tumultuous year comes to a close, we'd like to take a moment to look back on 2013's most precocious child prodigies. From breakdancers to pianists to pint-sized photographers, these are the young spirits who awed us with their talent, slayed us with their cuteness and made us feel painfully inadequate with their accomplishments.

May we humbly present the 12 tiniest, and most talented, child prodigies who made a splash in the art world this year. Prepare yourself for lots of squeals, "awww"s and spurts of low self-esteem.

1. Avery Molek, 6 years old

Meet Avery Molek, a six-year-old drummer who experienced his 15 minutes of YouTube fame in 2013. In a video that made the rounds last March, the tiny drummer can be seen shredding his way through Van Halen's "Hot For Teacher," barely missing a beat as he p lays the classic song like a pro. Read more about Molek here.

2. Malik Kofi, 11 years old

At a height of just over five feet, an instrument like the cello nearly eclipses the body of 11-year-old child prodigy Malik Kofi. But that didn't stop the young musician from impressing the best of his adult contemporaries with his unbelievable classical music skills. "He's an extremely talented cellist," said Udi Bar-David, player for the Philadelphia Orchestra, "very creative, mature, has stage presence, is open to learning and has strong ideas of his own." Read more about Kofi here.

3. Hwang Min-woo, 7 years old

Although the seven-year-old boy's given name is Hwang Min-woo, you may know him as "Little PSY." The young dancing machine went viral this year after performing an impressive rendition of PSY's iconic pony dance alongside him in "Gangnam Style." He also released an electro, K-pop song on iTunes this year and is painfully adorable, especia lly when donning a suit and sunglasses. Read more about "Little PSY" here.

4. B-girl Terra, 6 years old

A six-year-old breakdancing prodigy named "B-girl Terra" put all adult dancers to shame in a YouTube video that circulated earlier this year. The miniature competitor took part in the Chelles Battle Pro competition in Paris, blowing away the rest of the contestants with her unbelievable windmills and headspins. Read more about the B-girl here.

5. Tyler Clemons, 4 years old

Like most four-year-olds, little Tyler Clemons enjoys banging on objects around the home. So what separates him from the rest of his destruction-prone peers? The answer: a pair of drum sticks and the label "child prodigy." In a video posted by Louisiana news outlet KPLC, Clemons grinned widely as his mother described him as a prodigious drummer. "He just wouldn't stop banging on things. All day, everyday," she says. Prodigy? We're not so sure, but we can't help but want to pinch his c heeks. Read more about Tyler here.

5. Autumn de Forest, 11 years old

autumn de forest

Autumn de Forest, "Jasper Map"

Child prodigy extraordinaire Autumn de Forest rose to fame a few years ago when, at the tender age of seven, the Discovery Channel labeled her a "child genius." Media outlets at the time were enamored with her painting abilities, praising the child for her tendency to create canvases that, well, looked like the work of established artists -- and the praise continued in 2013. An adult artist might get slapped with the ugly term "derivative," but how can one do that to a child? It's not fair. We're reminded of Joan Acocella's 1994 New Yorker piece, "Discussing the Undiscussable," where she writes of an artist being "beyond the reach of criticism." And yet, how can we approach the work if not critically? Read more about Autumn here.

6. Umi Garrett, 13 years old

If you know the name Umi Garrett, it's probably due to a certain performance of hers on the Ellen Degeneres show, which undoubtedly will go down in history as one of the cutest musical performances to ever be televised. Umi, who was only eight years old at the time, won our hearts with her gifted piano skills and enviable cotton candy frock. She also has a pretty adorable Twitter account. In 2013, five years after her big break, we checked in with Umi, who was preparing herself for teenage life. Update: she continues to tour and play piano and, in her spare time, rocks out to One Direction. Read an interview with Umi here.

7. Fuji, 3 years old

fuji photog

Nigerian photographer Onafujiri "Fuji" Remet made a name for himself earlier this summer when his work was showcased in a Lagos exhibition. Aside from his curious eye and ability to capture the color and mot ion of Nigerian street life, Remet received attention for his miniature stature -- he is three years old after all. Yes, you read that right. Little Fuji learned to man a Sony SLR before most of us could spell our names. His photos capture everything from street vendors to family portraits, from an unusually pint-sized vantage point. Fuji's early initiation to the art world can be attributed to his creative family. His father and two older sisters are artists as well. At present, the ambitious young photographer has 3,000 images to his name, according to Visual News. Not bad for a toddler. Read more about Fuji here.

8. Caesar Sant, 4 years old

Caesar Sant is a four-year-old child prodigy with a gift for playing the violin. He started learning the instrument just over a year ago and, as you can see in the video that circulated this past year, is already impressing instructors with his adorable renditions of "The Star Spangled Banner." However, beyond his talent for the violin and knack for reading complicated sheet music, the young genius suffers from a rare form of sickle cell anemia that's caused Caesar to have two strokes in a period of six months, one of which resulted in the temporary loss of mobility in his bowing arm. According to the Winston Salem Journal, his family, including neuroscientist father Lucas Santos, have turned to a stem cell bone marrow transplant -- a $500,000 procedure offered through Johns Hopkins University -- as the "only cure" for the young boy. Read more about Cesar here.

9. Rhema Marvanne, 11 years old

Rhema Marvanne's solo rendition of "O Holy Night" is heartbreakingly moving, and she was just seven years old when she recorded it. The tiny songstress has a heavenly voice, and she takes inspiration from someone that she believes is up above as well-- her mother Wendi, who died from ovarian cancer in 2008, just one year before this song was recorded. Marvanne told the Fort Hood Sentinel, "When I sing, it makes me think of my mother, which makes me happy. I want to take my gift that makes me happy and share with those who are still sad and try to make them happy again." Read more about Rhema, who we covered in 2013, here.

10. Ryan Wang, 5 years old

Ryan Wang, the adorable five-year-old piano prodigy who captured Ellen Degeneres' heart earlier this year, has another unexpected admirer. Her name is Dorothy Landry, and she's 101 years old. Thanks to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Landry was recently able to enjoy her very own private recital captured in the video above. Although she'd seen Wang perform before, she's hard of hearing, so this up-close experience was invaluable. Read more about Ryan here.

11. Amira Willighagen, 9 years old

When nine-year-old Amira Willighagen from Nijmegen in the Netherlands stepped onto the "Holland's Got Talent" stage, no one was expecting such a big voice to come out of such a very little girl. Her incredible rendition of Puccini's "O Mio Babbino Caro" from the opera "Gianni Schicchi" earned her a Golden Ticket from the judges that would take her straight to the live show. It's hard to believe how young Amira is, but even more surprising to learn that she is completely self-taught, and used only YouTube tutorials to learn how to sing. Read more about Amira here.

12. Malachi Samedy, 9 years old

Nine-year-old Malachi Samedy has been drumming since before he could walk. He got his first drum set at 24 months, was admitted to music school at age four, and by the time he was seven, was close to realizing his dream of performing for President Obama. "When he was younger, he would just bang on everything," Malachi's father, Nasser Samedy, says in this HooplaHa video, "My wife was saying, 'You know, he's a drummer.'" Malachi has been wowing older professional musicians with his talent ever since. What's more, he's using his talent to bring attention to causes that matter, commonly visiting children's locations to share his music and positive message. Read more about Malachi here.

Electrician jobs in South Africa

Underground Electrician

Mass Staffing Projects


Mopani, Limpopo

R29,166 per month

: Limpopo Job Type: Permanent A Mine based in Limpopo is looking for an Underground Electrician who possesses previous mining operational... Matric certificate Minimum of 3 Years' Electrical Experience as an Electrician in a Mining Environment Will Be Required Conveyor Experience...

Lead Mine Electrician. R Highly Neg. Cullinan

Omnistaff PTY Ltd


Pretoria, Gauteng

5 June Salary * Negotiable Province * Cullinan, City of Tshwane, Gauteng Description Leading Mining Co seeks yr 5 yrs senior mechanized trackless block cave mining electician exp. Strong installations, faultfing, maintenance & repairs skills + expert knowl of MV Switchgear...

Auto Electrician

Network Engineering Menlyn


Pretoria, Gauteng

R30 0,000-350,000 per year

Job & Company Description:I am a mechanical engineering specialist recruitment consultant and I am looking for an auto electrician... seal auto electrician)Completed apprenticeship3-5 years' experience in construction working on commercial vehiclesMechanical workshop...

Auto Electrician (mccain)

McCain Foods


South Africa

The ideal candidate will install, maintain and repair electrical wiring and computer-based equipment in motor vehicles, tractors, trailers and agricultural equipment. Must be wil ling to work overtime and away from home. KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATOR Inspect machines for faults and re...

lead electrician

optev human capital


Pretoria, Gauteng

-outs should the need arise Minimum Requirements: 1.Qualified Electrician with Trade Certificate at recognized /accredited institution** 2....Valid Public Driver's License Code EB (08) 3.5 years' experience as an Electrician in a plant/project environment 4. At least 3 years...

Underground Electrician

Mass Staffing Projects


South Africa

Underground Electrician needed for a leading mining company in Free StateThis is a fantastic opportunity for Underground Electrician... metalliferous mining, Trade Test Electrician Section 13 and minimum of an N3 certificate. Should you meet the requirements for this position, you can...

Underground Electrician

Mass Staffing Projects


Emalahleni, Mpumalanga

R400,000-450,000 per year

A well-known Mining company based in Mpumalanga is looking for an Underground Electrician.Minimum Requirements o Trade Test Electriciano N3... unsuccessful Trade Test Electriciano 5 years' experience in the mining industry...

Site Manager - Installation Electrician

Table View, Western Cape - Blouberg, Limpopo

Looking for a qualified Site Manager / Intallation Electrician Cape Town. 3 Month contract but possible permanent position. Management... of staff Quality Controll Attendance of Staff Safety Standard uphold Overall site managment Qualified installation Electrician Paper...



Client in the Engineering Industry requires the services of an Electrician in KZN as soon as possible PLEASE TAKE NOTE... THAT CV'S SHOULD BE SUBMITTED IN A WORD FORMAT ONLY The Electrician reports to the Technical Manager as part of the Technical Team. Primary Purpose The...

Automotive Electrician

Skilltech Recruitment


Midrand, Johannesburg

R20,000 per month

*NON EE. An excellent opportunity currently exist for a Trade Tested Auto Electrician near Chloorkop. You duties and responsibilities...

Semi-skilled Electrician

5 Star Job Solutions (PTY)Ltd


Capricorn, Limpopo

R8,000 per month

Our client in Limpopo area is looking for a semi-skilled electrician. To be successful in this role, you will have Grade 12/N4...

Auto Electrician

Advtech Main Account


Pretoria, Gauteng

R300,000 per year

Job & Company Description: I am a mechanical engineering specialist recruitment consultant and I am looking for an auto electrician.../ red seal auto electrician) Completed apprentices hip 3-5 years' experience in construction working on commercial vehicles Mechanical...


Tinga Consulting Agency


Pretoria, Gauteng

R90 per hour



Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal - Richards Bay, KwaZulu-Natal

Bidvest Tank Terminals Richards Bay is recruiting for an Electrician to keep the sites in full working order by attending to breakdowns... CLOSE: 14 June 2017 Matric / NTC4 Master Electrician License advantageous Wiremen's License required Qualified Electrician - LT and H T & trade...

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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

How to landscape on a budget

Eye-pleasing landscaping has the potential to improve the way you feel about your home and make your property more appealing to potential buyers. And your landscaping project doesn't have to set you back hundreds of thousands of dollars. Here are some ways to landscape on a budget.

Have a plan

Visualize the kind of landscaping you want and work on ways to achieve that final result. Examine your financial situation and determine a realistic landscaping budget. Figure out the best way to allocate the money you have set aside for your landscaping project. Remember to steer clear of impulse purchases during the whole project.

Do your research

If it is not in your budget to hire a landscape architect, you may be able to swing a consultation with one for a reduced price. See what kind of fees the professional landscapes charge in your area.

Get inspiration from the Internet and magazines.Ask the people at the local nursery for suggestions. You might even be able to tap ahorticulturalistfrom a local university for advice. Do keep in mind that you have the final say, so make sure you make decisions based on what you want, not just what the person at the garden center was raving about.

Choose the right plants

Mandy Buck Rhoades, who does sales and public relations at Buck & Sons Landscaping Service, Inc. in Columbus, Ohio, suggests using plants that are native to your area.

"These will require less water and overall care in general," she says.

Perennial plants come back every year, so you can save both time and money by choosing to plant them over annuals, which need to be replanted every year, Rhoades says.

Before you plant your first seed, test your soil to find deficiencies. You should be able to find a home soil test kit at a garden center, and the results will both save you from purchasing unnecessary additives and help Sprinkler System Mckinney you determine the best plants for the present type of soil.

According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, mulch reduces weed growth and conserves water, helping you save money on irrigation and weedkillers. Mulch is often cheaper if you buy it in bulk, too.

Make smart decisions

Know what is worth buying on the cheap and what may end of costing you big bucks in the long-run. Rhoades says that a larger upfront investment may result in spending less on annual maintenance.

"Hire professionals to do the more skilled labor such as hardscaping and paver installation to save headaches and money to fix it later," she suggests.

But don't be afraid to get your hands dirty. If you are confident that something can be done properly and realistically, do i t yourself.

See what you can reuse or repurpose. Consider repainting your old lawn furniture with leftover paint from another project. Find new cushions for your lawn chairs, and Sprinkler Installation see if you can find anything inside your house that would add to the overall look of your new landscaping.