Life on a little urban homestead in the making, with ideas for self-sufficiency, Permaculture, DIYing, organic gardening, food preservation, chicken keeping, cookery, crafts, thrifting and more...

Apr 10, 2021

Crazy Weather Week, Low Cost/ No Tools DIY Wood Risers! Adding & Re-Habbing House Plants

 

Time to fill the pond! 

Crazy Weather Week-
It has been a crazy weather week! We had some family over for Easter breakfast, very fun! Our Grandsons River (right) and Oliver (left) were really excited when Dave filled the pond. He also turned on the pump! River kept asking "where's the water?" Funny what kids love to watch, a hose filling a pond. Weather was great! We've had some real temperature swings here that have been pretty insane. Last Saturday it was almost 85 Degrees, talk about summer weather. Then the temperature plummeted almost 35 degrees in a day and a half. Then back to the low 60s for the highs, Thursday was only 52 and very windy. April can be like that, definitely not quite summer. This next week is supposed to moderate a little bit of wind, with a high today of 60 and a low of 25! It's one of those weeks where you don't quite know what to wear, flannel shirts or tee shirts. I work from home but I still sort of dress for work, sort of. A lot of days I wear track pants and flannel blouse when it's cold, when it's a little warmer I wear leggings and a cotton blouse. There were two days this week where I had to change my shirt because I was too cold! Anyway here's a few things I have been up, I hope you enjoy it!



Low Cost/ No Tools, DIY Wood Risers!
I had been browsing Etsy at one point and noticed they were selling these little wood risers like these-

Raw wood

Raw wood

They were $15.00 to $ 25.00! Knowing what I do about wood and crafts I decided to look for something similar to make my own! Great thing about this is no tools required!!!  I found Joann's Fabrics woodworking section. They had round wooden plaques/discs and round knobs for feet. I knew that I had some left over chalk paint at home and it kind of got me thinking. The plaque was about $5 / $6 and a small bag of the wooden knobs for eight feet was about $4.00. So here's what I did-

First I lightly sanded the plaque, with routed edges, then flipped it over to space the feet. Since it was smaller I only used three-


I marked the spots for the feet, then I painted the disc with gray chalk paint and let dry. Next I glued the feet on the bottom, using wood glue. That stuffs really bonds! I let dry, then gave them a coat of clear poly. 


I had five knobs left over from the bag so I added four to a log slice I already had. Got it at Michael's several years ago, about $10.00, about 9" wide. I spaced them, then glued and let dry-





Love it! 

So the whole thing was less than $10.00 for both risers! Love them. Nice thing about this projects is all the different things you could do customized them- paint, stain, add textures like rope, buttons, etc. Components here-

                                                                     

                                                      

                                                      

                                                     

                                                     

                                                     



Adding and Re-HabbingHouse Plants-
I had been wanting to add a plant to my home office and rescue one that was already in there. They help clean the air and are nice to look at! One is a nice, new fern I found at a big box store. I had an Ikea pot on hand, added gravel, then planted. It loves the light! Next I bought a pot and another plant, sits behind me-


Next I had a very old, funky hanging plastic pot and the plant was pretty sick. I dumped the pot (falling apart), got a new pot, added fresh potting soil and it seems to be coming back! 

On my little Easter table

Next I had a sick Ivy, I took it out of the large pot and it's now under the grow light in the bedroom, sorry no pic. The huge Trader Joe's Amaryllis Garden Ivy I kept from 2 winters ago got moved into that pot-


Last I put this last winter T Joe's Ivy into an Ikea pot I had on hand in our bathroom, where the plant above was. I basically swapped them to more appropriate pots sizes- 



At Costco I got a Lavender topiary to go outside, but the weathers been too crazy, so it's inside on the dining table-


I also got a 3-pack of plants from Costco, 2 went to my girls at Easter, I kept this one! 


This lucky bamboo I've had for years. The plastic pot was yucky with hard water build-up so I got a ceramic one for less than $10.00 at Lowe's-


I also bought an Olive bush at Trader Joe's, will set outside when it warms up-



Anya was supervising my photo shoot-



Mar 29, 2021

Garden Re-Hab Begins!

 


Garden Re-Hab Begins!
We had rain last week, pouring rain, 37 degrees. Yesterday it was 75, then a cold front came thru last night, coming in with 65 mph gusts, then back to 29 degrees this morning!  Nice to be able to have lots of fresh air when the weather's warmer! This last weekend we started our backyard garden rehab, here's a few things we will be doing. We will re-use/recycle as much as we can, as usual!  

Phase One- The west side of our backyard fence takes the brunt of bad weather coming in, as well as the large dogs of the renters who live behind us jumping on it. I could go on about the different people who've lived there, but the people are pretty nice right now. The dogs not so much. They're the kind of dogs that bark all day long on and on randomly. My fantasy was that the house would come on the market, Dave and I could buy it, and create a cohousing situation with one of our kids and family. Not to be and we don't have the money for that anyway. I digress! So Dave found three broken posts-

rotted

We didn't want the whole fence to collapse obviously, especially with dogs on one side and our chickens on the other, that would not be a good idea! 

Behind the coop

Previously when we had put posts in the ground we used gravel and then a layer the concrete. The problem was when the posts broke you have to dig out all the concrete. There's some nice post brackets you can buy now, about $20.00 each with the bolts-




It's a bit of an investment but once you put the post in the bracket and set it in concrete, you're done. Just level and brace until it's set up.  The advantages if the post itself ever breaks you simply unbolt,  pop out the post and add a new post into the bracket! No more busting out concrete. So we decided to invest in three and it works great! We did re-use the fence clips on the stringer boards, since they were fine-


I helped Dave cut the 4" x 4" to size and level the posts once they were in the hole. Once they were shored up Dave poured the concrete and let it sit overnight. Problem solved, nice solid fence again! So that was Phase 1. We saved the 6' old posts to shorten and use in a garden fence project.

Phase Two-  The raised bed, which is rotting and pretty unsightly. I found that I can grow the vegetables in another sunnier area. I looked out one day and I thought this is just an ugly view (see top picture too) to look at every single day-

Bamboo and 2 Boxwoods will be re-located here

Lots of hardscaping materials in the right corner 

Bear with me here I will get to the point of this. I was channel surfing one night and caught the last 15 minutes of a movie called Dare To Be Wild- 

Trailer

I was fascinated by the story, really got hooked and so I bought the DVD used on eBay. I highly recommend this movie, if you love to grow things! It is based on the true story of Mary Reynolds, the youngest competitor in the British Chelsea Flower show. She created a totally natural design that looks like something in the Irish meadows in the forest. It was totally unlike anything anyone had done before there, she won first place!!! She became an international sensation and is now listed as one of the top 10 garden designers of all time. She has also moved into Permaculture work more recently. Lots of great interviews with her on Youtube. Here's her award winning design-

Celtic Sanctuary


After I watched the whole movie (which I absolutely loved), I got her book from the library. It's called The Gardening Awakening, Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves (she's working on a second book) :


I looked at some of her designs and they're just amazing. Lots of curves. I flipped through the book one day and spotted this design and that was my Eureka moment!




With our square house, sitting in our square backyard, and the square fence a circular design would be perfect! We will modify it to fit the space with our hardscaping on hand. We have bricks, river stones, pavers and some Flagstone. Since we already had a pile of hardscaping leftover from various projects, and that we acquired for free, I thought we could do a nice semicircle. I decided to go ahead and grow different plants, flowers, an evergreen tree and herbs in this area, since it gets partly shade. Create some habitat for the birds and critters, something soothing. So basically we will remove the cold frame, add some hardscaping to create the curves. We also have two Boxwoods to be moved and a Bamboo-

Behind the maple tree

In the chicken shade area

In the sunny veggie area

We're going to plant the bamboo and the boxwoods between the maple tree and the spiral to fill in the space. I'm wanting to get some bamboo that's tall for privacy screen against our fence, but haven't found any yet (sold out) , I will keep looking. Taking out the cold frame soon to start the process! The sunny bamboo area will be to grow more veggies and food, better se of the space. More coming...

Phase Three- The Garden on the south side of the house which has been problematic-

Solarizing the soil over the winter to kill weeds

We've had some luck with green beans there, some with corn or squash. Very inconsistent- 


I thought the best use of the area might be for pollinators garden. I might have Dave build a little bench in there, a kind of a quiet place to go sit. Since it faces south I can do lots of  my new seeds of Rainbow Echinacea, Rainbow Zinnias, Rainbow Yarrow, Milkweed Also some Lavender, Poppies, Salvias, Dwarf Russian Sage (just found those!) maybe some sunflowers. It's a blank slate! Maybe add a birdbath. I want a nice naturalized, low maintenance area...



 Phase 4-  The chicken run/garden fencing, which is also rotting and falling apart. We used mostly recycled lumber last time, and we got quite a few years out of it. We'll re-use the posts Dave replaced, since we can cut them down. Dave found some wire panels we may buy. Slightly flexible and a nice, clean look. Maybe stock/hog panels. I'm hoping we can run cedar across the tops. Dave may build a new gate. I'd like a metal one that won't get chewed! We thought about relocating the coop to where the cold frame is, but lumber prices have gone way up. We decided not to go that route this year. The coop is in pretty good shape, but it does eat up some of our sunny garden area. Just one of those compromises you got to make. So we will start from scratch with tearing all of this out and re-doing it-


Sloppy chicken wire for my flying hens! Safety first


Note marks on gate on the left, squirrels chewing! 

Will add larger gate and remove boxwood


Girls had to come say hi!

Luna and Debbie

Sunny

Rosie the matriarch, soon to be 7! 

Mar 23, 2021

DIY Photowall Art Review & Discount For You!

 

DIY Photowall Art Review & Discount Coupon!
Periodically I get emails from different people/websites asking me to put a link in my blog, and they'll put a link back to me. Almost all of them have absolutely nothing to do with anything that really interests me or has to do with this blog. I usually just hit the delete button. But then I got an email from Photowall US. I thought I recognized the name so I looked them up. From Sweden, I thought oh yeah, I've seen them before! If you're a Jonna Jinton (Swedish blogger) fan they sell some of her amazing phots! Photowall Jonna Jinton  After I spent quite a while on their website I decided to email them back. Basically they offered me a free print in exchange for a review and a link on my blog. They gave me a link for my readers to get a discount if you'd like to order (if not that's okay too). I'm not making any money out of this, just a freebie that I got to review and keep. So first I had to figure out what to order. Ironically right before I got this email I had decided to take my current dining room print down and replace it with something, but I didn't know what-

Goodwill scores years ago, Italian/French-ish

I plan on keeping this print, will put back out in the fall. So Eureka! I measured the print (about 24") to get something about the same size, on a frame. I was on their website quite a bit and got it down to five choices-


With the light wall background I decided we needed to get something with a pop of color since most of the ones I liked where a bit too beige-ish. Dave and I went for the blue! I placed my order, about 5days later I got a nice slim package from Sweden! 


They had a nice video showing how to assemble the canvas on the frame on their website-


First I got out a card table, covered with a bit of wrapping paper (had some sticky spots on it) laid everything out-


Nice substantial wood frame! No tools needed, great directions.  A nice wall hook is included.I laid everything out and started with the frame. Just peel tape off the sticky edge, line up and attach the canvas (face side down)-


I worked my way around-


All four frame pieces attached! On with the braces-


No tools needed, just screw in the large thumb screws-


I could see I should have gone in about an 1/8th of an inch, but I can live with it-





All done and we love it!!!

If you'd like to order here is the discount code that you can use: littlehomesteadinboise2021. This code will give you a 25% discount on any product on the website, and is valid for a month!

Happy Spring!!! My Swedish coffee pot with flowers, how fitting! 

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