Baking is a food cooking method using prolonged dry heat acting by convection, rather than by thermal radiation, normally in an oven, but also in hot ashes, or on hot stones. The most common baked item is bread but many other types of foods are baked. Heat is gradually transferred "from the surface of cakes, cookies and breads to their centre. As heat travels through it transforms batters and doughs into baked goods with a firm dry crust and a softer centre". Baking can be combined with grilling to produce a hybrid barbecue variant, by using both methods simultaneously or one before the other, cooking twice. Baking is related to barbecuing because the concept of the masonry oven is similar to that of a smoke pit.
Thursday, 3 May 2012
Turtles are reptiles of the order Testudines (the crown group of the superorder Chelonia), characterised by a special bony or cartilaginous shell developed from their ribs that acts as a shield. "Turtle" may either refer to the Testudines as a whole, or to particular Testudines which make up a form taxon that is not monophyletic.
The order Testudines includes both extant (living) and extinct species. The earliest known turtles date from 215 million years ago, making turtles one of the oldest reptile groups and a more ancient group than lizards, snakes and crocodiles. Of the many species alive today, some are highly endangered.
Like other reptiles, turtles are ectotherms—their internal temperature varies according to the ambient environment, commonly called cold-blooded. However, leatherback sea turtles have noticeably higher body temperature than surrounding water because of their high metabolic rate.
Like other amniotes (reptiles, dinosaurs, birds, and mammals), they breathe air and do not lay eggs underwater, although many species live in or around water. The largest turtles are aquatic.
Thursday, 8 December 2011
The Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) is a fairly large American sparrow. It is the only member of the genus Chondestes.
This passerine bird breeds in southern Canada, much of the United States, and northern Mexico. It is much less common in the east, where its range is contracting. The populations in Mexico and adjacent states of the United States are resident, but other birds are migratory, wintering in the southern United States, Mexico and south to Guatemala.
It is a very rare vagrant to western Europe, with two accepted records in Great Britain in 1981 and 1991.
Lark Sparrow is distinctive. Adults have a typically sparrow-like dark-streaked brown back, and white underparts except for a dark central spot. The cheeks and crown sides are chestnut, with white eyebrow and crown stripes. The dark tail's corners are also white. Young Lark Sparrows are duller, and the underparts are streaked.
These birds forage on the ground or in low bushes. They mainly eat seeds, but insects, including grasshoppers are also eaten in the breeding season. They form flocks on migration or in winter.
The breeding habitat is a variety of open habitats including grasslands and cultivation. Lark Sparrows nest on the ground, laying 3-6 eggs in a grass cup nest sheltered by a clump of grass or other vegetation. The eggs are white with black scrawling.