Sunday, February 23, 2020


English: Abraham Lincoln, the sixteenth Presid...
Abraham Lincoln,
the sixteenth President of the United States.
(Photo credit: 
We would like to think all of our presidents of the United States were truly great men and to be sure, just handling the awesome responsibility of the presidency takes a special kind of individual.  One of the unique and great things about the system of government in America is the concept of citizen leadership.  This is the idea of an ordinary citizen rising up and becoming president for a while and then returning to private life.

But of the handful of men who have held that office, a few have stood out for their great achievements and leadership in a time that changed the country forever.  And one of these truly great presidents was Abraham Lincoln.  Probably more than any other president, Lincoln had to handle an internal civil war that was far more than shouting and name-calling.  This was a dispute that could have torn the country in half and starting a rupturing that could have resulted in dozens of small weak independent states instead of the powerful nation we know as America today.

It was Lincoln’s leadership, his commitment to values and his strong moral fiber that made it possible for America to find its way through that war and then to begin the healing process that would eventually lead the nation back to unity once again.  Lincoln’s term of service from 1860 until his death was one of considerable challenge.  If he only had the problem of dealing with the attempt by the south to succeed from the union and his ability to keep those states as part of the American national territory, he would be lauded as a great American indeed.

One of the little known leadership styles that Lincoln used to his advantage in the organization of his presidency was his appointment of talented national figures from opposing political parties to be part of his cabinet.  Lincoln felt that he needed to have close advisors from the opposing viewpoint to keep from having his presidency become insulated from the American people and one-sided.  By gathering members of the “loyal opposition” into his trusted inner circle, Lincoln was always aware of both sides of every issue which made him a stronger leader.

Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lin...
Lithograph of the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
From left to right: Henry Rathbone, Clara Harris,
 Mary Todd Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln, and
John Wilkes Booth.
(Photo credit: 
But that is not even his greatest accomplishment or the one that we remember him for the most.  His bold and unchanging opposition to slavery is without any doubt his greatest contribution to the history of America and indeed to world history as well.  When he was willing to put everything on the line to stop this barbaric social sin, Lincoln made a stand, against the popular opinion of the time in many cases that he would be the figure to bring slavery to an end.

It was not a stand that came without cost. The civil war was one of the bloodiest and costliest in the nation’s history if for no other reason than all casualties; on both sides were casualties of America.  It would take many decades for the ravages of that horrible war to be repaired.  The schism between north and south continued for decades and is still a part of our national personality in this country.

But the end result was what Lincoln wanted to be his legacy.  By issuing the Emancipation Proclamation to make the end of slavery permanent, Lincoln followed that up with the passing of the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments which made permanent the freedoms that were hard-fought and won in the Civil War.  

The freedom that was won for so many black Americans in that war permanently enshrined the memory of Abraham Lincoln as one of our greatest presidents in the hearts and minds of all Americans.  Small wonder the monument honoring him on Washington’s national mall is one of the most revered spots in the nation and one that thousands flock to each year to give respect for this great president that made liberty and freedom a reality for all Americans, not just a few.  And his face on Mount Rushmore is well deserved so the very mountain itself shouts out, this is one of the greatest leaders in the history of this great country.

Monday, January 27, 2020

How to Coax Fresh Vegetables From the GARDEN All Winter Long

English: Early morning hoar frost In the back ...
Early morning hoar frost In the back garden on a misty, cold December morning. 

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Autumn typically signals the end of homegrown vegetables from the garden, but with a little ingenuity, you can harvest garden-fresh produce well into the winter months. My Central Pennsylvania garden continues to supply fresh vegetables during the fall and winter when most gardeners in my growing region are content to dream about next summer’s bounty. Read on to discover simple tricks that will fortify your garden against the onslaught of frigid weather.

Fall often delivers brief cold spells with a few frost filled mornings, sandwiched between weeks of milder, frost-free conditions. The problem is that a single touch of frost can wipe out every tender annual growing in the garden. Fortunately, a little protection will enable frost-sensitive vegetables and herbs to survive a cold snap, and reward the resourceful gardener with an opportunity to enjoy extended harvests.

Something as simple as the transparent, fleecy, floating row covers used to shield plants from harmful insects can also prevent frost damage. Row covers trap the warmth that radiates up from the earth much like the way that a cloud cover holds temperatures and prevents frost from forming. Row covers offer a few degrees of protection, keeping tender annuals safe from light frost. Use the thicker grade covers for maximum benefit.

Late summer is the ideal time to sow cold-tolerant vegetables that will flourish in the fall and endure cold weather without complaint. Examples of hardy vegetables for fall gardening include kale, spinach, collards, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, kohlrabi, turnips, cabbages, oriental greens, rutabagas, and some varieties of lettuce.

Once freezing conditions arrive, even cold-hardy crops will appreciate some protection if they remain in the garden. Cardboard boxes and fruit baskets can provide shelter to individual plants, while old sheets, blankets, and heavy plastic tarps will protect entire rows or beds of plants. Apply the coverings in the evening when freezes are forecast and remove them the following morning after the sun warms the air.

Another effective solution is to use a commercial variety of cloche or to set up a portable cold frame over the garden bed. Cloches include the heavy glass, bell-shaped jars, or variously styled and shaped rigid plastic devices.

One style of the cold frame consists of a tubular frame covered by a woven poly material with flaps for venting. You can also obtain sturdier cold frames made with aluminum framing and twin wall polycarbonate panels that lift up for venting. Regardless of the type of protection used to cover your plants you must remove it or provide venting during the day as temperatures rise.

Resourceful gardeners can combine a few discarded window sashes and bales of straw to create a simple makeshift cold frame. Just arrange the straw bales into a rectangular shape around a garden bed and lay the windows across the top to form an enclosed and insulated growing area. This setup will work great to keep a bed of leafy greens growing further into the winter.

Oddly enough, water can protect and insulate plants from the cold. Commercial orchards actually spray water and mist onto their trees to prevent frost damage.
In the home garden, you can employ plastic gallon jugs filled with water to provide protection. Place the containers around plants, under floating row covers or tarps, and inside of your cold frames.

The water will absorb and store heat during the day and release it at night to provide warmth for your plants. You’ll get the best results by painting the jugs black so that they’ll absorb more energy from the sun during the day. Incredibly, even if the water in the container freezes, it will continue to release a significant amount of heat energy into the surrounding area.

Certain vegetables will survive on their own in the garden through bitterly cold conditions. Leeks, kale, and collards frequently withstand harsh winters without any protection. Fall planted garlic and shallots will develop strong root systems in the fall, spend the winter underground, and then spring up at the earliest signs of the arrival of spring.

Many root crops including beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, and parsnips can be left in the garden protected with a thick layer of shredded leaves or straw. You can then continue harvesting as needed, provided that the ground doesn’t freeze and prevent digging. Complete your harvesting before spring arrives though since the quality will degrade once the roots resume growing and switch into seed production mode.

With proper planning and a little extra care, you can easily grow and harvest vegetables beyond the normal spring and summer seasons. Simply implement a few of the ideas presented in this article and you’ll soon enjoy your own homegrown, fresh produce much longer than usual, possibly even year-round.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Discovering the Beauty of MEXICO Through a Travel Adventure

English: Across Towers, Mexico City
Across Towers, Mexico City
(Photo credit: 
Do you love to travel? Would you love to go to a place which you are unsure if it has something to offer? Will you take a risk just to experience new things? 

If your answer is yes, then your next stop should be Mexico. 

Think of 22 million people at only one place, wouldn’t it be amazing? Thus, for most people, appreciating the heart and soul of Mexico is just the same as the overwhelming scheme. 

Mexico is a federal district like the Washington D.C. of the United States. This is roughly 700 years old and is the main city on the continent of North America. It has been a successful cosmopolitan center for nine centuries since the time it was founded as the primeval capital of the Aztec Empire. It is the oldest constantly populated city in the Western part of Hemisphere. 

Today, it is a lively cultural and business center in the modern world of the 21st century. But it still maintains its radiant historic and architectural inheritance. 

It is a tourist spot. Mexico is not as intimidating as what others usually think. As a matter of fact, most of the sceneries, cultural and historical spots are small and independent. Just think of it as the Manhattan of Latin America with just similar outstanding attractions and promises. 

Tourists can take a tour to the Historic center, some of the great museums, and significant historic areas. The control of Spanish can be felt and seen on the buildings and architectures. The center of Metropolitan Cathedral is also a nice place to go for tourists. The whole area of Mexico is loaded with sceneries, history, and fine restaurants and shopping. 

There is also the canal system which takes visitors on a trip using a flat bottom boat. Fruits and veggies are also on its abundant growth which gives the place some of the finest products and a unique attraction for tourists. 

Mexico is a true fortune only if you get time to appreciate it, recognize it and feel it.  If you decided to have a trip in this place, you will most likely feel that you have tripped to an agreeably amazing and fascinating haven. 

Tourists who love sophistication, culture and traditions, art and history, would possibly put this place on their top destination list.

A good tourist should not base their choice of destination to the opinion of others. Every traveler has his own taste and appreciation of things. What is annoying and awful to some might be wonderful and enjoyable to you. 

Traveling needs a lot of consideration. And your consideration should also include the right of some place to show its natural goodness to you.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

How to Make Mountains and Hills For Your MODEL RAILROAD

Diorama at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum
Diorama at the San Diego Model Railroad Museum
(Photo credit: 
Once you've got a train layout set up on a flat table, you might want to make it more interesting by adding some mountains and hills. There are a couple of ways to do this, and they are both easy.

Papier-Mâché Method
If your layout is temporary, or you don't want to spend much money, you can use the papier-mâché method. Basically, you just scrunch up some newspapers into the general shape of the hill or mountain, then cover them with sheets of newspaper dipped in papier-mâché paste.

The traditional method of making papier-mâché paste is to add one part water to one part flour. Some people prefer to boil the paste, saying that it makes the consistency smoother. Water to flour ratio is changed to five parts water to one part flour in this case. Other people use a three to one or a one to one ratio of water and polyvinyl acetate wood glue. Still, others say that starch makes a fine paste.

Adding a dash of cinnamon to the mixture gives the paste a pleasant smell; adding a dash of salt and sugar reduces the chances of the product developing mould.

You simply dip sheets of newspaper (fold them a couple of times to make them thicker) in the paste and drape them over the scrunched up newspapers. The sheets will be soft and pliable, so mould them into hills and valleys as you like. Let the papier-mâché dry overnight. You will find that it is hard and rigid, like a piñata.

Paint it with water-based paint in shades of green (for grass) and brown (for dirt) and grey (for rock). You can also use spray paint, but make sure it is matte, not glossy paint. While the paint is still wet, sprinkle some grass (available at the hobby shop) or green-coloured sawdust. When the paint is dry, add some lichen for bushes and trees (also available at any hobby shop).

Window Screening and Wooden Supports
If your train layout is permanent, a more durable method of making mountains and hills is to use screening and wooden supports. This also has the advantage that you can run tracks on the mountain itself, providing you make the appropriate supports. Basically, you cut wooden support blocks to the appropriate size, then drape window screening (called "fly screen" in Australia) over the blocks, stapling the screen to the blocks. You should fasten the blocks to the table with screws or nails first, so they don't move around.

If you want, you can build a second track bed around or through the mountain, elevated above the table. Simply use support blocks and plywood to make a rigid base for the track.

Once the screening is in place, pinch it in places to make rugged edges, ditches, and valleys. Then mix up some common household plaster (available at any hardware store to fix holes in a plaster wall) and slobber it over the screen. There is no need to be careful, just make sure all the screen is covered. A thicker plaster mix works much better than a thin mix, as the latter allows the screen to show through.

When you get to the rugged vertical bits, use horizontal strokes of a knife to simulate rock cuts. Let the plaster dry overnight and then paint as described above.

Finally, finish it off with lichen bushes and trees as appropriate.

Don't Forget Access
When you are deciding how big to make your mountain, and where to place it, also think about derailments. Murphy's Law guarantees that, at some point, your train is going to derail in the tunnel through your mountain. Make sure the tunnel entrance is large enough so you can reach in and get your train out.

Or consider these alternatives: If you have made a papier-mâché mountain, and not glued it to the table, you can simply lift it off the table.

If you have made a permanent wood block and wire screen mountain, then consider cutting access holes in the table, below the mountain, so you can reach in and right the train or remove it. Don't make the holes too close to the track, because if the train does derail at that spot, you don't want it to fall through the hole onto the floor.

Friday, April 19, 2019

HORSES -The Paso Fino

English: a Drawing of the Famous Puerto Rican ...
Drawing of the Famous Puerto Rican Paso Fino Stallion Dulce Sueño, born in 1927 in Guayama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, he found a continent without horses.  After returning to Spain, upon his return to the Americas, he brought back mares and stallions from Andalusia and Cordelia.  These horses were a mixture of Andalusian, Barb, and the now-extinct Spanish Jennet.  The resulting offspring of this mixture was a horse with a very smooth and comfortable gait suitable for the varied terrains of the New World.  

Because of a trait contributed by the Jennet, of passing the most desirable characteristics along to its offspring, the horse quickly became favored by the Conquistadors.  This was the founding stock of the Paso Fino breed.  The breed established a place in the history of Western Civilization, being cited as instrumental in the conquest, exploration, and development of the Americas.

Over the 500 years since the introduction of the founding stock in the Western Hemisphere, the Paso Fino has been selectively bred and refined.  And although they can be found elsewhere Peru, in South America, claims the most famous and purest bloodlines of this breed.

The most outstanding characteristic which makes the Paso Fino unique is the pattern and even cadence of its instinctual 1-2-3-4 gait.  The hoofbeats are individually and distinctly heard as the horse moves.  The movement is smooth and lateral, rather than diagonal.  The rider feels very little, if any, up-and-down movement when the horse is in motion.  This most unusual gait is performed at three speeds:

Classic Fino - Used for show purposes only, this is the same forward speed as a slow walk.  The horse is collected and balanced.  Watching the leg motion is fascinating.

Paso Corto - this is similar in speed to a trot.  It's a moderate speed, yet allows one to cover a good distance in a leisurely fashion.  Because of the smoothness of the stride, both horse and riders can go for hours tirelessly.

Paso Largo - this is a faster speed with a longer stride.  The actual speed is different for each horse because it will reach its top speed in natural coordination with its tempo and stride.

Description and Conformation

The Paso Fino's colors run the gamut of the equine color range.  There is no one defining color assigned to this breed as being necessary for it being registered as a purebred horse and they can be with, or without, white markings.

This breed ranges in height from 13 to 15.2 hands (52 to 60.8 in,.  or 132 to 154 cm.), with the most typical being 13.3 to 14.2 hands (53.2 to 56.8 in., or 135 to 144.2 cm.), which is considered small to average height for a horse.  The weight ranges from 700 to 1100 pounds (49.7 to 78.1 stones).  The full size of the Paso Fino may not be reached until it is five years of age.

The Paso Fino is often described as being of noble appearance.  The immediate impression that one has is that of power, grace, and overall athletic balance in this horse.  Its mane and tail are luxurious and flowing.  The neck is sinuous, arched, and muscular.  The shoulders are well-defined, but not prominent.  The back is short and connects with slightly sloped hindquarters.  The legs appear short, but powerful.  The breed is naturally sure-footed with extremely durable hooves.  Unless the horse is habitually used on a rock or hard surfaces, it is rarely shod.

This beautiful breed of horse possesses a natural affection, is very intelligent, and is built for hard work.  It performs well in gaited events, for showing, trail riding, and for pleasure riding.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Activities For Radio Hobbyists

Amateur radio or ham is largely a hobby activity. The majority of the hobby time is spent on making contact and having conversations with people in distant regions and from different cultures. Two-way communications, identifying their location and station, zone, region and place is the usual custom. This is always followed by other casual communications. If the contact is made for a contest to make two-way communication with as many stations or ham radio operators as possible, this all the information that is shared.

DX-ing and DX-peditions:
An amateur radio operator’s main hobby is to make contact with as many stations as possible from as many parts of the world as possible. DX stands for Distant Stations. The DX-ing usually is followed with the QSO. (a Q code., see below) which means “a conversation”. 

DX-peditions are different in the sense that they are expeditions organized/planned solely for the purpose of making contacts with some special or rare stations and regions. Some people travel a long distance just to make contact with some unrepresented region or place.

Radio Frequency scanners available nowadays form the tool of great use in these attempts. The radio scanner scans for signals until a strong signal is found and so on.

QSL cards:
The Q code is a standardized collection of three-letter message encodings, all starting with the letter "Q", initially developed for commercial radiotelegraph communication, and later adopted by other radio services, especially amateur radio. In today’s audio signal transmission age, the Q codes are not essential. but still in use and are viewed as a sort of tradition.

As a part of DX-ing and DX-peditions, the QSL card or the proof of contact card is shared. QSL is one such Q-code that means “I acknowledge receipt”. The common practice was that the ones who made contact at a particular frequency exchange a QSL card in the mail to confirm their contact and conversations. These QSL cards can be used as a proof of their making contact and amateur operators who make contact with a certain number of other amateur radio operators in a specified time is awarded. Moreover, they are distinguished and honored since they are deemed to be efficient amateur radio operators.

Remote region contacting:
Some countries have less amateur radio operators, and making contact with these are considered special. So, when a radio amateur from these regions makes contact, other ham operators flock to make communication with this / these hams. Making contact with these less represented places has its awards and special considerations in the award programs.

Social events for ham families and friends. It’s something akin to the family-oriented social fests where there are sales, exchanges, meetings and fun. Similarly, the fest is filled with selling and exchanging hams, meeting real-life ham friends and fun events for a day or sometimes over a few days.

Discussion groups and Nets:
Ham operators form a discussion group based on common interests other than ham or it can also be a ham related discussion group and they can form nets or networks.

If a radio hobbyist gets involved with all of these different activities, he or she is sure to never be bored. Look into some of them, and see if you would like to get involved.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dietary LOSS SUPPLEMENT Weight Controversy

English: This bodybuilding supplement contains...
This bodybuilding supplement contains whey protein and creatine monohydrate, as well as vitamins and other supplements. 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the world of bodybuilding, the dietary loss supplement weight controversy is huge. If you are serious about bodybuilding, this is an issue that you cannot avoid - especially if you have body fat. So, what is the deal with the dietary loss supplement weight controversy?

In recent years, many weight loss dietary supplements have been pulled off of store shelves by the FDA. It seems that they have horrendous side effects, such as heart attacks, strokes, and liver damage. But weight loss is still important in the bodybuilding world, so what should you do?

You should use the most miraculous bodybuilding supplement known to man - creatine. Creatine has an incredible number of benefits, it is safe, and it is highly recommended by doctors, scientists, and bodybuilding experts - and even weight loss experts these days.

It is amazing that there are still so many different dietary loss supplement weight products out there being used by bodybuilders - most of which do not work, and others of which are absolutely dangerous - when we have creatine which is highly approved of, incredibly effective, easily affordable, and simply proven to work.

Creatine occurs naturally in the body, and it consists of three amino acids, which include Methionine, Arginine, and Glycine. Once in the liver, these three amino acids are combined, and they produce creatine.

What scientists have found is that when you have plenty of creatine in your system, your muscles use more adenosine triphosphate during exercise. This is important because this is what gives the muscles energy to perform the exercises that you are doing. The more creatine you have in your system, the more ATP you have, and the more exercises you can do.

Creatine is so effective in the process of building muscles that it has been deemed the legal steroid - even though it isn't actually a steroid. Creatine is perfectly safe, and it does not change your estrogen or testosterone levels in any way.

In terms of weight loss, creatine is effective in that it has been proven to burn off excess fat while building lean muscle mass. This happens very easily. The idea is to absolutely drench your muscles with creatine, by taking a creatine supplement. This, in turn, will attract water to those muscles. When this happens, the muscles must expand, which makes them bigger.

Bigger muscles require more energy than smaller muscles. When they cannot find that excess energy anywhere else, the muscles will start using stored body fat for energy. Note that exercise is still required; however this is incredibly beneficial for bodybuilders, and in recent years has settled the great dietary loss supplement weight controversy.