Monthly Archives: May 2015

To Drone or Not to Drone?

Drones are gaining popularity. Their technical name ranges from “unmanned automated vehicle” or “unmanned aerial vehicle” or “unmanned automated systems” or the abbreviation (UAV). The key take away is that it’s unmanned!

First thing that comes to mind for many of us might be, “Drones are used for spying!” I know I have come across this thought before. Quite frankly, there will be some operators out there that fall into this bucket. But as this drone technology continues to improve and become mainstream, you will be amazed with the possibilities.

Dronium Drone with Camera

For instance, the recent storms and tornadoes in the mid-west have left homeowners stranded. As their homes are swallowed by the flood waters; they have no escape route. First responders put their lives on the line to get to these victims and many times they are limited on how they can safely reach them and pull them out of harms way. In tonight’s ABC newscast, a drone was used to help the victims and rescuers in their recovery mission.

In the past few years, California has been experiencing a drought recently being called the Mega Drought. With the images that a drone can capture, it can truly emphasize the severity of the dire situation. NBC Nightly news did a complete segment from a drones perspective – it’s amazing. You can see it here. Another way drones can be of use to us.

Drones are fun too! When it comes to photography you can see things in a totally different light or in some cases point of view perspective. And, don’t forget about that selfie, you can take one without a selfie stick!  Capture those adventurous moments with a Lily drone instead. It’s pretty amazing how this drone can follow you as you go down that fast-moving river. And before you ask, it’s even water proof and designed to take off and land in the water. How does it work? Well, you can either carry the tracking device or wear it on your wrist like a watch – then “throw and shoot”.

Ranchers in the UK are using drones to herd their sheep. Drones are able to cover more distance and the ranchers can see for themselves how their livestock are doing. Are there sick sheep in the herd? Are any of them injured? Are they stuck in a hole somewhere? Plus, it can give the shepherd dog a day-off.

Amazon also has patented drone deliveries. Imagine getting a package delivered on your front door step by a drone. It’s being tested now.

Drones can be a benefit to society. It’s only a matter of time before we see all the wonders a drone can create.

In the meantime, “To drone or not to drone? That is the question.”

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California Drought: Ways to Save Water

The drought in California is real.

What is a drought?  According to USGS, “A drought is a period of drier-than-normal conditions that results in water-related problems. When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.”

When California Department of Water Resources meaCA Droughtsured the statewide water content of the Sierra snow pack on April 1st, 2014, it measured only 5% of average.  The Sierra snow pack provides Californians with about one-third of water used by cities and farms.  The last several consecutive and dry winters have made California’s water year of 2014, the third driest in the past 119 years! To top that off, 2015 remains California’s the warmest calendar year to date as of May 1.

It’s so severe that, California State Governor, Jerry Brown sent out an Executive Order mandating a 25 percent reduction in water use statewide for all urban water users compared with 2013 usage on April 1, 2015.

So, what can you do to help save water?  Here are some ideas.

Use rain barrels.  It’s not too late – forecast models predict rain showers in several areas in California.  Next week, Lake Tahoe should see several days of thunderstorms so you can get those rain barrels and let the water from your roof gutters drain intoRain Bucket these 50 gallon barrels.

Take a shower instead of a bath.  It is estimated that a bath can take 40 gallons of water whereas a 5-minute shower only takes 10 gallons of water.

Collect water in the shower.  When you are waiting for your daily shower to warm up, use a 5-gallon Home Depot bucket and collect that cold water.  It’s clean water going down the drain.  Use it to water your plants or pour it into your rain barrel for later use.

Place a bowl by your kitchen sink.  Many times we pour ourselves a full glass of water anticipating to drink it all.  Sometimes we don’t and have remaining water, well, instead of dumping it into the sink, dump it into the bowl.  After a few half-glasses the bowl will be full enough to water your plants.

Turn off the water when brushing your teeth.  Dentists recommend you brush your teeth for two minutes, if you shut off the water during this time you can save up to 2 gallons of water.

Re-use your bath towels.  Your washing machine uses about 40 gallons per load, if you use your towel twice, you can cut usage in half.

For all the gardeners, myself included try out these tips.

Use mulch in your plant pots and landscaping.  It will hold the moisture in and keep the soil from drying up so quickly.

Water your plants in the early morning hours so the moisture will seep in and stay instead of later in the day when the water is more likely to evaporate.  Also, don’t water when it’s windy as the water will be blown onto sidewalks or driveways.

And, look into drought resistant plants and flowers.  They do not require as much water and they flourish in the hot weather.

For those who can stomach it, “If it’s yellow, let it mellow.”  Or, you can try adding plastic bottles filled with rock or gravel into your toilet tank so it will trick your tank into believing it has enough water to flush.

“Save water.  The World is in your hands.”

Do you have any other water-conserving ideas? Please leave a comment with your tip for everyone to see.

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Mother’s Day – How do you celebrate?

In the United States, Mother’s day is usually celebrated the second Sunday in May. This holiday originated in 1908 by Anna Jarvis and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Traditions have us presenting our mothers with flowers, cards and gifts. So, this got me thinking, “how do you celebrate your mother (grandmother/mother figure) on Mother’s day?”IMG_1624

Some of us have mothers who cook for us every day, pack our lunches, clean our rooms, do our laundry and essentially plan out our entire day. She buys us things that we don’t even think we need, like Q-tips, socks, toothbrushes, etc. She even hands us a Kleenex before we sneeze! So, how do you celebrate this mom? Perhaps, she wants you to return the favor on her day. So go out there and do the grocery shopping, buy household items, and get her everything she needs for the week. That way, she has a moment to catch her breath as she juggles and creates magic in her busy schedule. Or, just take her out to her favorite restaurant so she doesn’t have to cook any meals this day!

Some of us have mother’s that we call the “Glamour Mom”, she is always dressed to the 9s, skin is impeccable, every strand of hair is in place. Before you are even up, she looks like she is ready for a night on the town. Always so put together and ready to shower us with her love and affection. So, how do you celebrate this mom? Book a day at the spa, get her nails done, relax with a massage and freshen up with a facial. Then, follow it up with an appointment with her favorite hairdresser! Or, just take her out to her favorite restaurant, to wine and dine her so she can be as glamorous as ever!

Some of us have mother’s that are constantly working and barely have a day to herself or time to spend with her family. She wants to be sure that everyone else has what they need while she gets by with the bare minimum. So, how do you celebrate this mom? Let her sleep in and have breakfast or lunch ready for her when she wakes up. Declare it PJ day, rent a bunch of movies or just sit in front of the T.V. and watch her favorite re-runs with her. And, be sure to have plenty of snacks, like popcorn, chocolate, chips, fruit, nuts and bon bons. Or, just take her out to her favorite restaurant so she can spend time with the fam-bam!MomHeart

No matter what type of mom we may have and no matter how we decide to celebrate with her, be thankful that mom is here with us. Enjoy the day, as it only comes around once a year, so celebrate this special lady. Remember, she was there for you when you lost your first tooth, your first break-up, when she caught you doing something you weren’t suppose to be doing. Through it all she loved you.

What do mom’s always say, “mother knows best!”

Happy Mother’s Day!

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