Brickwork Around Your Home

Build Your Own Brick Barbecue and Planter

brick bbqPick a suitable spot to build your barbecue and remember to consider the late afternoon and early evening sun before deciding on a site. Begin by dry laying the bricks to establish a basic shape. Ensure the final barbecue design fits your barbecue coal pan and grill by placing it within the design.

Now is the time to make any adjustments. Once you’ve decided on the final shape you can remove the bricks and begin to lay them with a sand and cement mortar mix made of one part cement to three parts sand.

When laying your first course of bricks, make sure they’re all well embedded into the mortar. This can be done by sharply tapping the bricks with the edge of your brick laying trowel. It’s important to lay your first course of bricks with care, as these are the main foundation of your barbecue. If you’re unhappy with any of the bricks you’ve laid, don’t be afraid to take them up and re-lay them. After completing your first course of bricks you must make sure all your horizontals and verticals are true. Use a good quality level to achieve this. This is especially important if you plan on adding other components to your barbeque area, such as an ice maker or small refrigerator for drinks. An uneven surface for a refrigerator may lead to premature need for an appliance repair, so it’s worth getting it right.

Now remove any excess mortar. Make sure that the legs extend from the back wall to exactly the same distance. Any fine adjustments can be made at this stage. By using the level, you can align the faces of the bricks by hand or by using the edge of your trowel. Measure the width of the rear wall and transfer this measurement to the front. Adjust the front if the two measurements aren’t the same. This coupled with your previous adjustments will make for a completely square base. Once you’ve completed the barbecue base you may want to think about customizing the main design. This can involve extending any side to provide a useful shelf.

At some point during the construction, you’ll need to cut a brick. It’s very important that you follow this procedure. One, mark your brick allowing for the mortar joint. Two, always wear eye protection. Three, make sure the brick is on a sandy surface, use a wide bladed chisel and strike it with a lump hammer. Finally, neaten out the cut edges with a chisel and hammer. Always lay the cut edge of a brick inwards leaving its natural face outwards. Remove any excess mortar.

Continue to lay further courses, remember under no circumstances should the joint in one course of bricks be matched up to another joint on the next course. Joints must always be staggered for optimal strength. Spread the mortar over a few bricks and tidy up to minimize any spillage when tamping down your next brick. Then, form a “V” down the center of the mortar. This allows for easier adjustment and leveling of the brick to be laid on top. After you’ve laid a few courses, check your vertical and horizontal alignments with the level. Make any adjustments required now. This should be done to all laid faces, sides, backs, and so on.

We’ve now reached a point where the support for a barbecue pan is required. In this instance, we’ve used a full brick and rotated it 90 degrees to the side walls. When laying one break on top of or next to each other, make sure that the joint is full and that there are no air pockets in the mortar. This will stop any water building up in bad weather which would eventually lead to cracking should there be a frost. Remember to level off as you go along. At various stages during the construction check your verticals and horizontals, making minor adjustments when necessary.

In some instances, you want to leave a joint to dry by putting no mortar between two bricks. This will allow for reasonable air flow, which will help out when lighting barbecue coals. Now you can lay the last few courses to finish off the barbecue. Always remember with a project like this, there’s no hard and fast rules for design so feel free to be individual about your projects!

When the mortar is firm to the touch it’s time to start pointing. You’ll notice a pointing trowel is smaller than a brick laying trowel. This enables you to reach the corners and generally makes the job a lot easier. Pointing is a fairly simple process. It enhances the final effect and also improves resistance to water penetration. Never attempt the pointing process when the mortar is still wet. This will only make the job more difficult and can spoil the professionalism of your job. Any gaps can be filled with small amounts of mortar.

Now clean out any of the mortar that may have blocked the air hole you made earlier. Brush down your brickwork with a soft bristle brush to clean up any loose bits of mortar after pointing. You can also decide at this point to include an integral wine rack with your barbecue using land drains.

First lay a bed of mortar to build a support wall but leave enough space for the wine rack between here and the barbecue wall. Lay your bricks as before. You may need a quantity of half bricks so you can pre-cut these in advance of building this addition. After laying a couple of courses, lay mortar to start laying the wine rack. Make sure you achieve a tight fit and use the same procedure to lay as many drains as you like.

It’s advisable to cap these off with a garden slab or something similar. This wine rack can now be leveled out. Next to the barbecue, you can also build a brick planter by removing a slab from the patio. Dry lay the bricks as before to determine your size. You may wish to remove two or three slabs. Lay your bricks on a mortar bed and use the same exact process you used to lay your bricks for your barbecue with the staggered joints and so on. Even though this is a small structure it’s still important to level out your horizontals and verticals with the level.

Tips on How To Train A Puppy in Tucson

Today we’d like to talk to you about how to avoid making the same common mistakes that everyone else does when training a puppy, so that you can start to focus on how to do things RIGHT.

It’s not your fault Many dog owners make mistakes without knowing it — maybe they got bad advice, grew up doing it one way with a family dog, or read something somewhere that wasn’t quite right. So let’s get started!

Mistake #1 Calling your dog over to you and then doing something he doesn’t like

Your dog is having lots of fun in the yard, playing around and having a good time. You call him in and immediately begin to clean his ears or put him in the bath. Or, he’s running around at the puppy park, you call him over, and put a leash on him because it’s time to go home. Even worse, your dog is being naughty in the lounge room so you call him to you, and yell at him for his bad behavior. Is it a surprise that your dog doesn’t come to you any more when called?

In his mind, coming to you results in something not very pleasant! Never call your dog to you and punish him. This will kill any enthusiasm he has for coming to you when you ask him to. Besides, to effectively punish a dog for a behavior, you need to catch him in the act. Any later is too late.

To help resolve the other two scenarios, call your dog over sometimes while he’s in the middle of playing. Give him a snack, pet him, cuddle him … and then tell him to go play again. This will teach him that coming to you doesn’t mean it’s the end of the game.

Mistake #2 Not Staying Consistent

Dogs learn best by repetition. They learn by doing something and experiencing the same outcome over and over again.  If you let your dog jump up on you when you’re in your weekend shorts and tee shirt, don’t get upset if he does it when you’re in a suit. He can’t tell the difference.

If you are inconsistent and do things haphazardly, or only hold the dog accountable sometimes, your dog isn’t going to learn anything. He’ll be more confused than anything else.

Mistake #3 – Expecting Too Much

Dogs learn at different rates. This is affected by their breed, their age and their individual temperament. If you put expectations on your dog, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. You may also get frustrated at your dog for not performing, and he’ll recognize this.

Take it easy, and enjoy the training process. Most dogs get there in the end It’s not a race, and if your dog takes a little longer, that’s not a problem.

Mistake #4 Not Enough Positive Reinforcement

When your dog is learning, he needs regular rewards to teach him that he’s on the right track. Too few rewards and he won’t quite understand when he’s right In the early stages of training, it’s better to give him too many rewards than too few.

Mistake #5 Too Much Negative Reinforcement

Punishment isn’t the best way to train your dog For it to be effective, it has to be delivered at the exact time your dog is doing the wrong thing, otherwise he won’t connect the punishment with the behavior. This isn’t easy Too much negative reinforcement can also have an adverse effect on your relationship with him.

Mistake #6 – Sticking your dog’s nose into his messes to correct his “mistakes”

This is not appropriate under any circumstance. It is downright cruel. It can have several effects – Your dog will be terrified of you, – Your dog will think that he needs to hide when he has to eliminate, and – Your dog may even think that having to eliminate is bad. None of these are desirable.  Remember what we said about punishment above? If you punish your dog for doing this after the fact, he won’t have a clue what he is in trouble for. Nothing more needs to be said. Just don’t do it.

Private Banking and Public Elections

In an effort to make casting a ballot as easy as possible, Orange County, California is trying out a host of new ideas Among them, voting booths in malls, and even at the airport But one new plan is raising a few eyebrows The County Registrar has struck a sort of, corporate sponsorship deal with the bank, Wells Fargo What is Wells Fargo gonna do?

Well, it is a corporate sponsorship, but NOT the kind of sponsorship that you traditionally think of Election officials are quick to point out that obviously, no money has been exchanged here, and Wells Fargo Bank has some very strict rules it must follow on election day It’s employees not allowed to wear anything with the company logo on it, or even notify voters that they work for the bank

In Orange County, California, Wells Fargo will supply poll workers on election day The bank says, it is a simple way for it’s employees, to give back to their community

Our role there is to be normal citizens, performing our civic responsibilities, so, all Wells Fargo marketing, advertising is off limits that day, and the inspectors are there, and poll watchers are there to make sure that’s exactly what happens

The Orange County Registrar says this is certainly not about corporate advertising, rather a new and creative way to find volunteers, because listen to this, TEN THOUSAND PEOPLE are needed to man the polls on election day, in The OC.

What we are seeing is that the average age of poll workers is 74 years old. They’re a great group of people, but as they retire out of that system, we have to replace them, with younger folks and new people

And civil liberties groups like the ACLU congratulate Wells Fargo for it’s involvement in the community, but warns that this could become a slippery slope for branding opportunities, if this is not policed properly.

Peaceful Playgrounds Recess Program

Speaking of local, there’s something that keeps children from fighting on the playground, reduces injuries, and a lot more What is this miracle? Here’s a report from a playground that’s growing more peaceful at Twin Peaks Elementary

You know, children need to feel safe when they’re at school having fun, and the Peaceful Playground Program actually promises that and a whole lot more, and all you really need to get started is some paint on the ground, some playground equipment, and suddenly you’re just learning and getting new skills The third graders at Twin Peaks School in Marana are in training, learning to play new games and getting valuable lesson, including simple problem-solving ideas Teacher This is a Peaceful Playground Do we tolerate bullies? Students No!

There are high expectations with the Peaceful Playgrounds Program Student It’s going to eliminate all the bullies, for the bullies can have more games to play and they won’t fight

Now, about those new games the children are learning, they really seem to be a hit Student Some of the games, I’ve heard about, and my friends have played them, so I really wanted to know how to play

Peaceful Playgrounds is for the whole school, kindergarten through sixth grade It includes games painted on concrete and plenty of play equipment The children would get a lot more choices during recess Principal It also really encourages active lifestyles and fitness, gets the kids actively playing games, and it makes the playground a fun atmosphere for them

And, it turns out, hopscotch, jump rope, and beanbag tosses can do so much more than that, including a surprise bonus — fewer children getting hurt Principal You can imagine, if kids are congested, they’re more likely to fall or bump one another or get hurt, whereas with this program, the kids are spread throughout the playground

It seems like plenty of bang for the buck, but what do the students think? Student It’s really, really, really fun

Now, Peaceful Playgrounds is in schools all across the country Three schools in Tucson are looking into it, and that includes Twin Peaks, of course Twin Peaks is spending about $, for all this equipment and a lot more stuff just to get started They’ve used a federal grant and money from students and parents that they have raised to pay for it In about three months, the students are going to be surveyed and they’re going to find out if really all of this lives up to what it promises.