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 19, 2021

Garden Re-Hab Phase One & Pond Repair, Spring Cleaning Spices & Organizing Kitchen Cabinets, 1949 Step Saving Kitchen Video


Garden Re-Hab Phase One & Pond Repair-
We found a pond leak after we filled it last week, one more thing to do, sigh. We had seen some repair products on TV as and decided to do some research. Dave went to Ace Hardware and was able to buy some Flex Tape as well as the liquid version. Since Dave was able to find the exact leak spot (hopefully) he decided to start with using the tape-

Link to the pond (before flagstone install) where you can see the shape Early shot of our pond  He cleaned off the plastic and let it dry and cut a piece big enough to hopefully cover everything and seal really well-

We let it dry overnight. Dave filled it tonight, we'll see how it looks the next several days. If that doesn't fix the leak he's going to coat the entire inside with a Flex Seal "paint" material. If that doesn't work we're going to buy pond liner and do the whole thing. We love the pond so much! Our neighbors do as well, since one of ours told us that he loves listening to the sound of the water running in the summer from his deck. We were lucky enough to get the pond and a pump at a yard sale several years ago really cheap. We did eventually buy a second pump as well as some other sprayers. Once the weather warms up enough we'll buy water lettuce and fill it in.  Nice calm area right by our deck when we come out.

Phase one- Dave and I shopped around and found a great deal at Costco for Emerald Arborvitaes. They were $25.00 each, 4' tall, much cheaper than anyone else. They kept selling out, so we had to go back. One guy in front of Dave bought 12! I had wanted Bamboo but couldn't find what I wanted. While I'm not a fan of these shrubs (WAY overused commercially IMO) I decided they would be a goof fit for the space-

Also bought a Dwarf Alberta Spruce for another spot

The previous shrubs were basically for privacy from the house behind us- 


First we called DIG LINE! You can see the orange paint above on the ground. Luckily we had enough space without killing anything. The new shrubs will get taller and about 4' wide, we can prune if needed. The GREAT thing is they will be green year round! No more brown fence all winter long. Se here was the process. Dave started by pruning the old shrubs down to the ground with hand clippers-

More cutting with pruning shears-

Down to the big woody base. Dave used an ax, a pry bar and then a chain saw on the bigger pieces-

All three planted, will mulch and bark dust soon-

Dave straightened the middle one tonight

Dave will tear out the rest of the cold frame soon. Next will be the new garden. This is the basic garden plan that will be in front of the shrubs-

More coming soon!


Spring Cleaning Spices & Organizing Kitchen Cabinets
I have been watching some YouTube videos on organization and minimizing lately. It's inspiring! They can also suck you into a black hole as I have found. One woman does videos of mopping her home over and over again. Put me to sleep... Anyway, I digress.  I've been reorganizing a few little areas here and there. One of the things I really needed to do was take everything out of part of my upper food kitchen cabinet to see what I had. I realized that some of my spices were probably old and lost their potency. I also knew I had some duplicates. In the interest of minimizing I decided to take everything out and see where I was at, see photo above-

Misc Stuff 

That didn't take too long and I laid everything out then I cleaned off my rotating Lazy Susan things. Hit them with a hot soapy sponge and wiped down the shelves as well. When it was all over I was able to throw out some old spice's, recycle some empty glass spice jars, and wound up with lots of extra room. Now I can really see what I have! Before shots- 


I also organized some of our new smoothie ingredients and moved the blender over by the sink. I've tried Goji berries and Beet powder added to fruit and protein powder.  Gave me more energy! Nice to have it all organized to see what's there. I like the jars better than bags. Both of us are wanting to eat healthier and I've been craving more fruit smoothies with protein powder in it. I've got a few extra supplements that I bought that I had heard of add. 

I also re-organized the inside freezer (chest freezer in the garage).  I found some things with freezer burn which I tossed and then I re-organized. Everything was kind of mixed together. Now fruits and nuts on the left for baking and smoothies, everything else on the right. Much better!!! 

If video on your side doesn't work you may need to turn off your pop-up blocker

1949 Step Saving Kitchen Video-
I stumbled on this and wow, they had some good ideas back then! Watch for the tilt out bins under the windows, my fave! What do you think? 

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-

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