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Car Camping Guide | T+L Family

Parks and private campgrounds across the country have drive-in sites, and many are equipped with water spigots, picnic tables, barbecue pits, even electric hookups. Lakes and trailheads are steps away. Simply park, pitch, and toss your sleeping bags inside your tent. The car serves as a secure storage unit as you explore the wilderness. If you run out of milk or someone comes down with an earache in the middle of the night, you can get back to civilization—pronto. In the morning, fire up a propane stove and whip up the hot cocoa and oatmeal—or pile into the car and head to the nearest pancake house. Where to Go

Many public campgrounds are on lakes or in mountains; private ones sometimes make up for less spectacular scenery with niceties, such as pools, mini golf, go carts, and hayrides. Overnight fees range from a couple of bucks to around $40 for a family of four. Reserve well in advance if you’re camping in peak season, and expect company. Some private outfits, like KOA, really pack ’em in—a boon for kids who like to make friends on vacation, but sometimes a disappointment for those who want to get away from it all. Be prepared, too, for RVs and trailers as neighbors (drive-in campgrounds were designed with them in mind). Request a spot in the back forty for maximum peace and privacy. When you’re all snuggled in for the night, crickets will sing you to sleep. Lists campgrounds at national parks and on other federal lands. Lets you line up spots at public and private campgrounds. Details its 450 campgrounds, all with pools and playgrounds, and some with WiFi. Keep this in Mind if You’re Sleeping Outside

Size up when buying a tent: Choose a six-person for a family of four.

A dome tent gives you more head room; straight-walled tents have more shoulder room.

Set the tent on a ground cloth one inch shorter than its perimeter.

For kids, choose an all-synthetic bag that’s good to 40 degrees(fine for summer). A rectangular bag with a full-length zipper can be opened and used as a group coverlet.

Keep flaps open as much as possible for ventilation; your warmth comes from the sleeping bag. A self-inflating foam core pad will be less clammy than an air mattress.

Some state parks no longer allow you to build open fires, says Jamie Abish of New York’s family-owned Tent & Trails (, an outdoor clothing and equipment store. If regulations put the kibosh on your barbecue, a simple propane-fueled camp stove won’t cramp your hot-dogs- and marshmallows-on-sticks routine, and is a godsend for mornings when you want to boil water for coffee—fast.

Freeze hot dogs and sausages at home and pack them in the cooler while still frozen. By the time you’re ready to cook the next night they’ll have thawed some but will still be safe to eat.

Use space-saving Ziploc bags for everything from soap and dish sponges to the brown sugar and raisins for sprinkling on oatmeal.

Stringing up a tarp near your tent will give your gang a place to hang out when it rains.

Tie nylon rope between two trees and use as it a clothesline for wet towels and swimsuits.

For night exploring, use a headlamp instead of a flashlight.

Go camping with another family, or let your kids bring a friend or two. Share the chores—and the adventure.

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Why Women Prefer To Play Poker Online

Poker is generally considered a mans game. It is a highly popular game but about 90% who frequent casinos to engage in a game of poker are of the male species.

Poker has now become more popular than ever. Even women are expressing keen interest in it. However, they are still hesitant to go to a casino to play poker and for good reason. When you think of a casino, you think of backrooms heavy with smoke and poker rooms dominated by men. Women tend to associate casinos with men and probably fear that with their chauvinistic attitudes, men may not welcome the idea of women venturing into their turf.

Fortunately, online poker is now available. It is not only available, but it has also become increasingly popular, as mentioned. And by the looks of it, online poker will continue to be more popular in the coming years. It is interesting to note that more than a third of online poker players are women and that this segment of players appears to be the fastest growing.

Why is online poker popular with women?

For women, online poker is interesting, convenient, and not at all intimidating. It provides a way to learn poker if you are a beginner without the pressure. You can take your time learning the ropes and placing small bets until you become proficient enough to play for higher stakes.

Men are very competitive. They are challenged by gambling for really high stakes. They play to win. Women, on the other hand, while competitive, are motivated by other reasons, as well. Many play for social reasons. Others play poker for the thrill it provides, and the occasion to get away, at least for a while, from mundane household chores. You can find out a lot about one of the best programs in this new betonline poker review at - OnlineCasinoPokerRoom.

However, going to a real casino to play poker is not as simple as it seems. You dress up, drive for miles to get there, tip dealers, wait for an available table, play a few hands of poker, take a few drinks to unwind, and drive back home. The thought of playing poker may be tempting, but women are usually put off by everything else it entails. Many find it difficult to fit the activity into their very busy schedule.

Playing online poker is easy and convenient. You do not have to dress up or think about getting a ride to play at a casino. All you have to do is to join an excellent online poker site and you are good to go. You get to play anytime your schedule permits you to right in your own home. How convenient can that be?

To add to that, you get to avoid issues that have to do with your being a woman playing in a male-dominated environment. In a real casino, you cannot help but encounter male players who demonstrate uncouth attitudes toward women. In a real casino, you have to watch out for the patronizing know-it-all patriarch; the annoying, insensitive and persistent flirt; or the overbearing chauvinist.

Online poker allows you to avoid men who insist on behaving despicably. If the online chat proves too offensive for you, you can simply turn off the chat function of these annoying players. You can even choose a screen or username that hides the fact that you are a woman!

Keeping Tropical Fish - A Brand New Adventure?

Did you know that the keeping fish dates back to antiquity? It might be true however only recently has the activity ended up being popular among all age groups.

Have you joined the thousands of people who have recently added to the popularity of keeping tropical fish? It has become popular as lots of homes now have at least a little fish tank amongst its furnishings. They might include a couple of goldfish in a small cold water fish tank or they might include numerous vibrant fish swimming about in large aquariums.

Your aquarium is probably one of 3 different types: cold water, warm water (heated) or marine. If you are keeping tropical fish, you likely have a heated aquarium. Keep in mind, tropical fish come from the tropics where it's warm. The Amazon, Africa and the South Asia are where most exotic fish originated.

Keeping the aquarium at the right temperature level is absolutely critical for the fish to thrive. There are many different heaters available to help you achieve this control. Some of which are as follows.

Ebo Jager; excellent and very reliable heater. Ebo Jager is one of the best heaters. The only negatives with Ebo Jager are price and a poor return policy when the rare defective heater does occur.

Via Aqua; while not as well known in some parts of North America, this heater is well known & popular in the Western USA. The Via Aqua heater is among the best in reliability, yet is one of the more affordable with a more gracious return policy when a defective heater does occur.

Hagen Fluval Tronic Submersible Heater; is a reliable heater, albeit a little pricey compared to the Via Aqua, but just as reliable and quite accurate.

Jetsu Submersible Glass Heater; new heater only recently launched in 2015. Submersible Glass Aquarium Heater at The Jetsu comes with a 1 year warranty, no questions, guarantee which is the best returns policy of all of the manufacturers. Jetsu offer the warranty as their heaters are very reliable and the price is good too.

Generally most manufacturers of quartz/glass and titanium submersible heaters will state in their directions that the heater should be mounted in the aquarium vertically for the reason to keep water from compromising the seal at the top, this is really only a corporate liability statement as most well-made glass submersible heaters such as the Via Aqua Glass/Quartz Heaters will be perfectly fine angled to fit in short aquariums or outdoor patio ponds. However it is recommended to keep a vertical aquarium mount whenever possible.

A lot of pet and fish stores have all in one plans that consist of everything you need to begin: aquarium, stand, lights, filter, gravel and heater and other ornamental additions. If you're just beginning, this is an excellent way to go given that you will conserve cash over buying all the elements individually.

Be sure to ask the store for suggestions on which fish are the hardiest and simplest fish to keep. These may include tetras, danios, barbs, Livebearers and Cordyoras. Also, don't include a lot of fish at a time as the fish tank needs time to grow and get "broken in". The tank needs time to establish the germs needed to break down the fish's waste.

Finally, a smart idea is to visit your library or go on the web to learn more about keeping fish effectively. There are numerous books and sites which can offer a wealth of exotic fish keeping details. A good tank, kept effectively can give you and your family hours of enjoyment and relaxation.

Freshwater Or Saltwater Aquarium - Get The Facts

If you are thinking of getting an aquarium for your fish, youll have to first decide whether youll set up a freshwater or saltwater aquarium. Thus it would be helpful to know the differences between the two types of water so that you could prepare the appropriate tools and equipment.

Freshwater vs. Saltwater Tanks at a Glance

There are three categories of tanks for saltwater. These are reef tanks, fish only tanks, and fish only with live rocks tanks. As for freshwater tanks, you can choose from biotope, planted, brackish, Cichlid, and predator variants.

If youre getting a saltwater aquarium, you have to prepare the necessary kit and equipment to maintain its cleanliness. Saltwater aquariums require live rocks and protein skimmers to ensure that the fish can survive in the tanks. The live rocks provide their shelter and their hiding place from the other fishes. Protein skimmers, on the other hand, get rid of dissolved organics.

Saltwater aquariums are also generally more expensive than freshwater tanks, because the former requires additional kits. Getting a saltwater aquarium therefore means purchasing filters, lights, live rocks, protein skimmers, substrate, saltwater mix, a heater, a hydrometer, and a thermometer. Reef tanks, for instance, are costly. But the same could be true of freshwater aquariums, especially for the Cichlid, where you need huge amounts of rocks for the setup.

In terms of lighting, saltwater lighting can also be expensive. LED lighting, for instance, will last for a longer time, but will also cut a huge cost for a first-time buyer. Some corals, on the other hand, require metal halide lighting, which is both expensive to purchase and keep maintained.

Of all the freshwater aquariums, only the planted tank requires lighting, and fluorescent lights are the best lighting for this tank.

As for size, there is no significant difference between that of a freshwater tank and a saltwater tank. You can choose any size, and the only thing you have to consider is the space where youll put your tank, as well, of course, as the size of your desired fish.

Some hobbyists prefer colorful aquariums, and reef tanks are by far the best example. The various colors of corals are attractive and entertaining to look at. The counterpart of the reef tank in the freshwater category is the Cichlid aquarium, which also becomes an interesting display of colors and texture because of the different rocks that are arranged inside. If youd like to add more corals to add variety and color, take note that this would entail more time to maintain. Saltwater tanks also allow you to keep more colorful fishes, as opposed to the typical freshwater tank.

With saltwater tanks, you can also choose to include a much greater array of invertebrates to further enhance your aquarium. Though invertebrates will also live in freshwater, their number is no match to the kinds of marine animals that you could keep in a saltwater tank.

Obviously, the freshwater tank is easier to clean and maintain. No-fuss households may appreciate keeping a freshwater aquarium, though hobbyists might find the limitations frustrating. Saltwater tanks, in contrast, may be quite challenging to maintain because of the additional equipment, but you have so many possibilities in terms of the fish that you could keep, and the various setup for the corals.

As might be expected freshwater fish require different living conditions than do saltwater fish. One of those differences is the pH level of their environment, namely the water. However the good news is that the same piece of equipment works for either environment. A digital pH meter is a simple tool that can used for both salt water aquariums as well as freshwater aquariums. A quick push of a button will provide you with the pH level reading of your water, allowing you to decide if any action is required to properly maintain your fishes water quality.

How to Control Weeds in your Organic garden

Weeds can be annoying to a gardener especially because they keep recurring. In our earlier feature we tackled the benefits of using weeds as a food source for pets such as rabbits or human consumption and it all begins with investing in some appropriate rabbit hutch plans to build an outdoor hutch for your rabbit with a good feeding area. Most gardeners will result to chemical treatments to deal with the weeds. However, as discussed in pest control methods like using a wasp trap, the focus of any organic garden should be control using organic/ natural methods without involvement of chemicals. Chemical removal of weeds has led to irreparable damage to soils, crops, and rivers due to pollution. Organic gardening encompasses the use of natural methods of farming that encompass soil, use of organic fertilizers, and the perfect balance between nature and the garden to produce a nutritionally dense and rich crop for human consumption. In fact, building a bug hotel for beneficial insects will balance nature by adding to biodiversity and impart all the benefits of insects in your garden.

The control methods involve the use of natural methods to control the weeds rather than completely annihilate the weeds. There are a few methods of weed control that can be classified as: cultural, mechanical, chemical, and natural method of weed control. It is important to note that preparation of your garden plays a big role in reducing the number of weeds. In some cases, certain mineral deficiencies are responsible for weakening the crops making it more susceptible to competition by weed. However, the best defense against weeds and the competition that results is the preparation of your garden, the mineral balance of your soil, and eventually, the type of crop you have grown. The role of insects and pests in organic gardening and sometimes pest control has been discussed in the past. Currently, more organic gardeners are growing weed resistant crops that are not susceptible to choking caused by weeds.

There are many options of weed control available to farmers depending on the type of farming they prefer. Of course the best way especially for an organic gardener is the use of natural methods of weed control.

• Cultural weed control – One of the easiest ways to control weeds is through prevention or cultural control. Close planting in the garden can reduce weed growth by eliminating open space. Cover crops are good for this as well. Adding mulch will prevent light from getting to weed seeds and prevents growth.

• Mechanical weed control – Mechanical control of common weed plants can be accomplished through hand pulling, hoeing, digging or mowing (which slows growth and reduces seed formation). While these methods are effective, they can be time consuming.

• Chemical weed control – Since many weeds, like dodder, ivy and kudzu, can become aggressive to the point of taking over, chemical control is sometimes necessary, and used normally a last resort. There are numerous herbicides, like glyphosate, available to help eliminate common weed plants.

• Natural weed control – Generally, invasive weeds are well worth the trouble of removal. However, some weeds can actually be quite attractive in the garden, so why not consider allowing them to stay. This more natural weed control method results in a lush native environment when given their own designated spot. Some of these ‘good weeds’ include:

a) Joe-pye weed – tall stems of vanilla-scented rose-colored flower clusters

b) Chicory – brilliant blue flowers

c) Hawkweed – daisy-like blooms on fuzzy stems

d) Queen Anne’s lace – lacy white, umbrella-shaped flower heads.

As discussed earlier, natural weed control is the best form of weed control. The natural methods of weed control involve the following options:

1. Mulching

Mulch is a covering that blocks daylight and inhibits growth under it. Cover the soil between your plants and along rows. Keep the mulch a few inches from the base of your plants to also discourage insect invasions. For mulch, you can use materials such as wheat straw, shredded leaves, or other organic matter. Layer it on the ground about 2 inches thick.

For persistent or numerous weeds, try covering the area with dampened newspaper (black ink only) and then cover with 2 inches of mulch. Around the bases of trees and shrubs, consider covering the ground with landscape fabric and then mulch.

2. Cover Crop

In some situations, you can use a cover crop to block weeds. See our list of cover crops suitable for growing in various regions of the U.S. and Canada.

3. Pull

For better or worse, you need to manually pull out most weeds. Wear waterproof gloves and consider a comfortable sitting pad for extensive weeding. The trick to pulling weeds is to get the root out as well. Weeds will slide out of the soil easier when the soil is wet—and when the weeds are young. Pull the weed from its base (close to the soil line); if you miss the root, try using a fork to gently pry the plant out of the ground, roots and all.

4. Dig

If your weeds regrow, then you have a persistent root that you need to dig out. Use a spade or digging fork to dig up persistent weeds by the roots. Remove as many root pieces as you can. While weeding, hold the trowel vertically (like a child holding a crayon) to eliminate strain on your wrist.

5. Chop

If digging out weeds is difficult for you, at least resolve to keep them from setting seed. Chop off their heads once a week!

Sourced from: 6. Close Spacing

Once vegetable plants are established, if they have been planted close enough to each other, they will shade the soil and prevent the growth of many weed seedlings. This is the effect achieved by a well-planned raised bed, in which plants are spaced so that the foliage of adjacent plants touches and forms a closed canopy at a mature growth stage.

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