What you should know as a beginner welder

The term ‘welding’ refers to the process of fusing two pieces of metal or plastic together by heating them to the melting point and joining them while hot. When cooled, the materials are permanently connected.

Health hazards

Because of the hot temperature that is needed to perform the welding procedure, it is not something that can be safely done without any preparations. Welding relies on electric current or open flame to melt the materials so there is a high risk of injury.

To prevent burns, you should always weld in thick protective gloves that are specifically designed to withstand the dangers of welding. Eyes are another area prone to injury while welding. The bright sparks that appear when operating the welding power supply, the tool used for welding, will cause damage to the eyes if not protected properly. Prolonged exposure to UV light results in inflammation of the cornea. This is why welding should only be done while wearing a welding helmet. The helmet protects the face from any flying sparks and it is equipped with a dark faceplate that allows you to safely look at the materials and tools in your hands without having to worry about eye damage.

Proper equipment

If you plan on performing welding procedures, you should invest in proper equipment. No tool will prevent injuries if you do not know how to use it but investing in high-quality protection gear and welding power supply can minimize that risk.

Some of the most renowned makers in the welding industry include Lincoln Electric, Eastwood, or Hobart. Their products receive generally positive feedback from professionals. One maker stands out among them. Kicking Horse Welder is a Canada-based company that specializes in manufacturing quality welding tools and accessories. They provide many types of welders that can be used for flux welding, arc welding, and others. They even have some multi-purpose models. All of their products come with a one year long warranty period.

When purchasing your first welding tool, consider what materials you are planning on welding. You will need a different welder to fuse thicker metals or plastics. If your welding needs are just basic home repairs around the house then a standard stick welder should be enough but if you need it to perform more precise and delicate jobs then a TIG welder will be a better choice. If you want something that is able to perform different welding processes then a multi-purpose machine will probably be your best bet. Read the description on the welder’s packaging to make sure it fits your needs.

Welding is not an easy process but with the right preparations and knowledge, everybody should be able to learn it. If it is your first time welding, obviously make sure to read the welder’s manual thoroughly before you start. The best idea, however, would be to ask someone to teach you how to weld. You can ask a friend or maybe search for a welding class in the local community college. Practicing with an experienced person will allow you to learn how to weld not only effectively, but also safely.

5 discipline tools and tips to keep your dog well-behaved

Dogs are some of the best pets you can get, and it says a lot that they have been our domesticated companions of choice for thousands of years. Although modern dogs are easy to handle and trainable, there are learning curves that can vary a lot from one dog to another. Every breed has some character traits that are generally associated with them and every dog has its own personality. Some dogs can be harder to deal with, making it difficult for us to discipline them. Luckily, there are mechanisms and tools we can use to keep our dogs in their best behavior, and below we will tell you all about 5 of the most effective ones you can use with your pup.

Use bark collars to keep barking to a minimum

Excessive barking can be a real nuisance, particularly with smaller dog breeds that tend to bark a lot. Many times there are no options left to dissuade these dogs from barking other than using a bark collar. Some owners might be against this practice, but they need to know that most collars allow for shock intensity regulation and are perfectly safe to use. You might want to try one of these bark collars, for example.

Wireless fences can give your dog more freedom

Leaving dogs to roam free in your front or backyard can be a headache if you don’t own a fence. However, we all know that a fence is not always viable depending on community rules. In these cases, installing a wireless fence for your dog may be the best course of action. These fences work by keeping your dog within the range you establish for it by sending a correction signal to their collar that tells them not to go past a certain limit.

Use a clicker to contain unwanted behavior

Sometimes, your dog may develop habits that can wreak havoc at home or be detrimental to their own health. For example, they can chew on furniture and other household items, or lick their paws excessively causing skin irritation. To curb these seemingly uncontrollable habits, you can use a clicker to let your dog know that what they are doing is wrong. It’s less harsh than a correction collar and can give great results.

Make your dog stay calm with its own mat

Dogs are naturally active animals, and even if they are more mellow in nature, you just need them to sit and stay in one place in some situations. You can train your dog to do this with much more ease if you get them their own mat. By associating the mat with their designated resting place, you can keep it on you at all times to make them stay calm at their place when you need them to.

Treats are always a last-resort bargaining chip

Giving treats to your dog can be a double-edged sword, for they might get conditioned to behave well only when given treats. You can use treats to instill good habits and teach things to your dog, but make sure to remove them from the equation once your dog has learned. Keep some treats on you just in case of emergency or strictly for the times when you want to spoil your puppy.

Plan for Growth, Expert Tells Huntsville

Keith Clines, The Huntsville Times

Growth is both inevitable and desirable, but development shouldn’t cost a community the things it has going for it, one of the nation’s leading planners told Huntsville audiences Tuesday.

Cities across the country are losing their character because of growth, said Ed McMahon of The Conservation Fund in Maryland. He said good growth depends on where you put it, how you arrange it and what it looks like.

“How much it costs is the second most important question,” McMahon said. The most important question is what should we do. Money always follows good ideas.”

McMahon is director of the American Greenways Program at The Conservation Fund, which has helped preserve 3 millions acres in the past 10 years.

McMahon, a Bessemer native, spoke to the Huntsville Rotary Club at a Tuesday luncheon. He later met with The Times editorial board and with local leaders at the Lockheed Martin auditorium.


Among the estimated 75 people at the Lockheed Martin presentation were Huntsville Mayor Loretta Spencer, City Councilman Bill Kling, several Huntsville Planning Department planners, and representatives of the Madison County Commission, the Land trust of Huntsville and North Alabama, the Historic Huntsville Foundation, the Huntsville Housing Authority, architects and developers.

Spencer said after the presentation that she heard several interesting things. Already, she has city planners reviewing the sign law for possible changes to make signs smaller and not as tall. Spencer said she is also interested in having cellular telephone towers disguised as trees and in allowing loft apartments downtown without requiring a variance.

Kling said he’s interested in more landscaping on city streets and in establishing a historic district in the Huntsville Park area near Drake Avenue and Triana Boulevard.

“It would be nice to see what incentives we could find for downtown Huntsville and Huntsville Park,” Kling said.

McMahon was impressed with the area’s scenic views, greenways, downtown, the historic districts, the existence of the Land Trust and the outlawing of portable signs.

“By Alabama standards, the character of development is higher here,” McMahon told the editorial board. “On the other side of the coin, Huntsville is trying everything it can to be Anyplace, U.S.A.”

He said the city has no long-range plan and apparently no shared vision of what Huntsville should be.

“Very few people are asking what you want Huntsville to look like in 20 years,” he said. “I can tell you what it will look like. It will look like New Jersey with mountains.”

“Almost as important as development regulations, he argued, cities need incentives and education programs to direct the right kind of development. Neither Huntsville’s downtown nor Twickenham Historic District could be built today because of zoning regulations, he said.

Development that improves a community, he said, can be done in a way that is less costly to developers and more friendly to the environment.

For example, streets that are 24 feet wide instead of 40 feet wise lower development cost because streets are the most expensive part of a subdivision. The lower cost can be passed on to home buyers. The narrower street is also better environmentally because there’s less erosion and storm water runoff, and it’s safer because motorists will drive more slowly.

Another possibility is building golf-course-type developments without the golf course. That allows people to buy homes around an open space and is cheaper for the developer than building a golf course.

McMahon said that the city law in Gaithersburg, Md., limits the footprint of a commercial building to 70,000 square feet with no height limit.

“If Wal-Mart wants a 140,000 square-foot store, it has to be two stories,” McMahon said.

Huntsville planners have drafted a proposed amendment to the neighborhood business zoning law that limits the size of commercial building based on the street classification they are on. Some opponents say the proposed rule could hamper commercial development in the city.

Lincoln, Nebraska, has the most vibrant downtown in the Midwest because of one change, McMahon said. The city changed its zoning law to require all multiple-screen movie theaters to be located downtown. There are now 33 theater screens downtown, and restaurants and other commercial activities have followed, he said.

Big trees improve the value of property more than all other landscaping, but trees of any size and landscaping are good for businesses.

“The image of a community is fundamentally important to its economic well-being,” McMahon said.

Communities, including Huntsville, have to preserve what makes them different, what provides people with a sense of place. The result is more tourism.

“If all places look alike, there’s no reason to go anywhere,” McMahon said.

Preserving the historical past is good for the heart, soul and pocketbook of any community, he said.

Examples are the Riverwalk in San Antonio, the Pike Place fish market in Seattle, the art deco historic area of South Miami Beach, Florida, and Camden Yards baseball stadium in Baltimore.

Another thing cities can do is push national chain businesses to build something else other than their standard building. Fast-food restaurants, in particular, can go in buildings that reflect the style of the area, such as New England or the Southwest. The chains will do what they must to locate in a profitable location, McMahon said. “If you ask for off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter buildings you’re going to get them 100 percent of the time,” he said.

Growth for the sake of growth can lead to poor growth.

McMahon warned that people who oppose all growth don’t usually help their cause overall because they alienate the public. But, long-range conservation plans with dedicated open space can help alleviate the perception that all open land is available for development.

Official Land Trust Trail Maps  

– Free to members; Non-members: $5.00 – Printed by White Tiger Graphics

Please note that if not specifically denoted as being on Land Trust property, some of these maps may be of trails on private property.  Hike at your own risk.  

Monte Sano Preserve, Blevins Gap Preserve and Wade Mountain Preserve Maps

Land Baron

"Rocky" with Land Baron Jenny & Son
“Rocky” with Land Baron Jenny & Son

The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama’s Land Baron program is a simple yet effective method of acquiring money strictly for land acquisition.  Funds donated through this program will ONLY be used for purchasing acreage to be preserved.  Contributions to the Land Baron account provide funds to preserve green space for future generations. 

     The Land Trust and First Commercial Bank have partnered to help you preserve green space in our area with a convenient “Check-O-Matic” service.  Simply print this page, fill out the form (below) and mail to:

Land Barons

The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama

907 Franklin Street

Huntsville, Alabama 35801

For your convenience, the

Land Baron Check-O-Matic Service

     I (we) hereby authorize First Commercial Bank on behalf of The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama to initiate fund transfers from my (our) account and the depository indicated below:

Information for Account

Please attach a void check to furnish encoding details:

Contribution Information

     I (we) wish to contribute $_______________ ($25.00 minimum) each month to The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama.  I (we) understand that withdrawals/transfers will be on the 15th day of each month.

     I (we) agree that neither The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama nor First Commercial Bank will be liable for any loss, liability, cost or expense for acting upon such instructions.  I (we) understand that I (we) will not receive a transaction confirmation for each contribution from The Land Trust of Huntsville & North Alabama.  My (our) financial institution statement will provide details for each transaction for my (our) records.


Spring Hike: Wildflower Trail (B)

  • Time:2:00pm – 4:00pm
  • Location: The Wildflower Trail
  • Address: From Governor’s Drive, go north on California, right on Hermitage Drive. Continue east 9/10 of a mile and turn left on Cleermont. Parking lot is on left at the end of Cleermont. (Access to Wildflower, Fagan Springs, Wagon and Alms House Trails.) , AL
  • Website: https://cliquedmedia.com Join Botanist Lynne Weninegar and see wildflowers galore on this favorite Blossomwood trail. (Iron Family Hike)

Wildflower Trail

Date: May 15 – May 15

Spring Concert at Three Caves: Bluebird Café Songwriters

Location: Huntsville, AL

Date: May 16 – May 16

Spring Hike: Celebrate Rainbow Mountain

Location: right at T intersection (still on Stoneway Trail) to water tower at the top (app. .6 mile). The Land Trust parking area features an education kiosk.,

Date: May 17 – May 17

Spring Hike: Wildflower Trail (B)

Location: Parking lot is on left at the end of Cleermont. (Access to Wildflower, Fagan Springs, Wagon and Alms House Trails.) , AL


Spring Hike: Wade Mtn. Lunch Loop


  • Time:2:00pm – 3:00pm
  • Location: Wade Mountain Preserve
  • Address: Drive north on Memorial Parkway. Left on Hollow Road (first road north of Winchester Road). Right on Spraggins Hollow Road. The Land Trust parking lot is on the right, just past the third 90 degree turn in the road. (Access to arm of Wade Mountain known as Devil’s Racetrack.),

Date: May 15 – May 15

Spring Concert at Three Caves: Bluebird Café Songwriters

Location: Huntsville, AL

Spring Hike

Date: May 16 – May 16

Spring Hike: Celebrate Rainbow Mountain

Location: right at T intersection (still on Stoneway Trail) to water tower at the top (app. .6 mile). The Land Trust parking area features an education kiosk.,

Date: May 17 – May 17

Spring Hike: Wildflower Trail (B)

Location: Parking lot is on left at the end of Cleermont. (Access to Wildflower, Fagan Springs, Wagon and Alms House Trails.) , AL


Event Calendar

Spring Guided Hike Series

*Sunday, May 4 @ 2:00 pm  Find the Caches on Rainbow Mountain   (2 hours / Moderate – Difficult)
Rick Greene will introduce you to the geocaches on Madison’s own Rainbow Mountain.   Bring your camera and GPS!   Please wear long pants and put on poison ivy block.

Directions: West on Hwy. 72 (University Drive); turn left onto Hughes Road (in Madison) then left onto Thomas Drive.  Left onto Concord and then right onto Stoneway Trail. At T-intersection at top of mountain, turn right and follow Stoneway Trail to the water tower (app. .6 miles).  The Land Trust graveled parking area is at the base of the water tower.  

*Saturday, May 10 @ 10 am   MEMBERS ONLY HIKE:  Piney Loop Trail on Wade Mountain

Join Land Trust staff on this easy hike at the foot of Wade Mountain.  Want to hike some more?  A second hike will go to Devil’s Racetrack.  Refreshments following the hikes.

Directions: Drive North on Memorial Parkway past Alabama A&M University.  Turn left onto Hollow Road which is the first road north of Winchester Highway.  Turn right on Spraggins Hollow Road.  The Land Trust parking lot is on the right, just past the third 90 degree turn in the road.

*Sunday, May 11 – Mother’s Day – 2:00 pm

Trough Springs: 143rd Anniversary of Johnston’s Surrender      (Moderate; app. 3 miles round trip)
History at its best!  Hike Leader David Young will discuss the historical significance of Trough Springs and, in particular, stories about the Civil War exploits of Lt. Col. Milus E. “Bushwhacker” Johnston and his surrender to Union Forces  on May 11, 1865.

dDirections: Meet at the Trough Springs Trailhead on Monte Sano Blvd, across the street from the entrance to Burritt Museum. 

Join us for a beautiful evening of music under the stars: Robinella in Concert at Three Caves – Friday, May 16

Trail Care Calendar – Save the Dates Give some time to help keep our trails beautiful!  Great for youth groups and volunteer hours.  For details call Andy Prewett at 534-5263 or e-mail andy@landtrust-hsv.org


5/10 and 5/31   Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon


6/14 and 6/28   Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon


7/12 and 7/26 Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon


8/09 and 8/23   Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon


9/13 Trail Care, Three Caves – Moon Dance Prep, 9am – Noon

9/21 Three Caves, Moon Dance Cleanup, 10 am – 1 pm


10/04 Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon

10/24 – 25 Tennessee Valley Invasive Plant Symposium


11/08 Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon

11/22 Trail Care, National Family Volunteer Day, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon


12/06 Trail Care, Location – TBD, 9am – Noon

Monte Sano Preserve

The Land Trust’s Monte Sano Preserve consists of over 1,120 acres with 18 miles of public trails.  Each and every acre is preserved for our enjoyment now and for future generations.

Monte Sano Preserve Bankhead Parking Lot:

From University Drive and Memorial Parkway, follow Pratt Avenue East, through Five Points business district.  Continue through Five Points on Pratt and continue straight as Pratt changes to Bankhead Parkway.  Parking lot is 1/2 mile past Toll Gate Road, on the right.  Access to Bluff Line, Toll Gate, Old Railroad Bed, Fagan Springs and Old Railroad Bed trails.

About Old Railroad Bed Trail: One of the first 500 Rails-to-Trails Conservancy Projects 1.5 miles, moderate skill level Good for new hikers or the whole family, history comes alive on Monte Sano (Mountain of Health).  The Old Railroad Bed Trail preserves what is left of the path of the steam locomotive that traved from the Huntsville Depot to the (no longer standing) Hotel Monte Sano from 1888 to 1896.   Hikers will enjoy a numbered tour of the remaining hand-hewn trestles.  Descriptive brochures are available at The Land Trust office.

Monte Sano Preserve

The words “Monte Sano” mean “Mountain of Health” in Italian. The summer months in the late 1800’s saw yellow fever, cholera and diphtheria in epidemic proportions. Clean water and sanitary living conditions were found on the mountain and visitors’ health did improve. However, because the causes of these diseases were not yet fully understood, many again would become ill after returning home.

The Hotel Monte Sano, a three-story 223 room wooden structure of Queen Anne architecture, was built in 1886 to serve as a health resort for hundreds of people from the South, particularly Memphis, Atlanta, and Nashville. Patrons traveled the eight miles from the Huntsville Depot to the hotel in four hours by horse and carriage. A person suffering from an illness was in for a very difficult journey.

To better serve guests, the Monte Sano Railway was created. Built between May and August 1888, five hundred workers were paid $1.00 per day for twelve hours of work, six days a week. The train made three trips per day and took twenty minutes to travel the eight miles. Patrons paid 25 cents each way. The engine was disguised as a trolley car so that horses in downtown Huntsville wouldn’t be frightened. Shortly after completion, the train’s brake sand pipes choked – the wheels jumped the rails – and the train came to a quick stop. There was no damage to the passengers or the train, but the incident frightened potential riders. The railway was then used primarily for hauling supplies, but it went bankrupt in 1896. The tracks were salvaged and the trestles and bridges removed for firewood and building supplies.

The Hotel Monte Sano charged $11.00 for a one week stay, including meals. Resort amusements included horseback riding, two bowling alleys, croquet, billiards, and lawn tennis. The grounds had beautiful gardens.

The popular resort’s register showed guests from every state in the union and from several foreign countries. Visitors included philantropist William H. Vanderbilt, Viscount William Waldorf Astor, composer Walter Damrosch, and railroad financier Jay Gould.

However, once the cause and cure for yellow fever and cholera were discovered, a trip to the “Mountain of Health” was no longer necessary. Transportation problems and lack of patrons doomed the hotel and its last season was 1900.