DIY Compost Bed

ImageBy next spring we plan on having a vegetable garden.  I am preparing for it now by starting two compost.  One of them is a store-bought enclosed barrel.  I use it mainly for our kitchen scraps.  It’s perfect because it keeps the furry critters out.  The other one I use for leaves and yard scraps.  When the food breaks down I transfer it to the leaf compost.  So far we have built up a nice supply, but we have a long way to go before we have enough for our garden.

I used what we had lying around the house to build the yard scrap compost since we didn’t have the budget for two store-bought ones.  The former owners left behind an old wrought iron bed frame.  We didn’t have a place for it inside, so I thought it would be a perfect candidate for a compost “bed”  I had seen the idea a million times.  My Mom was over one weekend and she helped me wrestle it out and assemble it.  We made a temporary wood frame for it until something more permanent can be made. My Mom is such a trooper and has always been a hard worker.  I’d like to think I took after her.   I think the bed  turned out great and works just as well!  What do you think?  Do you have any do it yourself compost bin ideas?

DIY Framed Chicken Wire Bulletin Board

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I love do it yourself projects, especially when they are simple, and there is instant gratification of accomplishment.  This project is just that.

The former owners left a lot of stuff behind, so I happened to have all the materials.  Thank You!  Everything in this project is easy to come by.

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You will need:

Hammer

Wire Cutters

Frame (Thrift store, garage sale)

Chicken Wire (Farm Supply Store, or Big Box Home Improvement Store)

Galvanized Poultry Staples (Farm Supply or Big Box Home Improvement Store)

Safety Goggles

You can also use a staple gun in place of the hammer and poultry staples.  I didn’t have access to one.  It is still packed up in a box.

First, remove the back of the frame.  You won’t need it.

Second, cut a piece of chicken wire to fit the inside of the frame.  I had a giant roll of chicken wire that was hard to handle, so I cut an oversized square.  Then cut it down to the right size.

Third, hammer the staples into place.  I hammered one side first then pulled it tight as I hammered the rest.
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Fourth, attach some kind of bracket to hang the frame.  I just used what was already on the frame.  Two eye  and a rope.  Eventually I think I will replace it with a bracket that won’t be visible.

The best part, hang it up!  You can use clothes pins to attach pictures or objects to the wire.  I didn’t have any on hand, so I just stuck the corners into the wire.  Enjoy!

Book Suggestions Please!

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When it comes to books I am a complete sucker.  Especially reference books and cookbooks.  I have been on the look out for some good books to help us plan out our homestead.  I have quite a nice little collection, I should say, and I have been fortunate to find a lot of them used.

What books do you recommend for organic gardening, raising animals, sustainable living, or yummy recipes from the garden?

Lil’ Buddy Is Moving In

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There is cause for celebration over here!  We have finished our first major project!  The floors are installed and Lil’ Buddy finally has a room.  Now the fun part begins, decorating!  I have a few small projects to make his room unique and I will share them in future post.

We are in love with the way the floors turned out.  My hubby is a perfectionist and every little flaw sticks out to him.  I have to remind him the floors are over 80 years old and character is ok.  With a toddler around , even more character will be added over time.  Character tells a story.

Lil’ Buddy loves his room, he was a big help moving his belongings in.  He played in it all day yesterday.  He loves the outdoors and with two walls of windows it is perfect for him.  He can see so much of our backyard.

We have been here for 3 months and it’s finally feeling like home.  There is so much to do still, but there is nothing better than the feeling of home.

What projects have you finished lately?  Even the smallest project feels like a huge accomplishment don’t you think?

Lil’ Buddy’s Room

Our new house was once a recreation hall on an army base.  (That story is another post).  It was built in 1932 and moved to the property it now sits on in the early 60’s. The whole structure is made of pecan, including the original floors.  The previous owner decked the whole interior in cedar and covered majority of the old pecan floors.  The only old floor left exposed is in a back hallway and in two bedrooms.  We decided to keep it and not cover it up.  We had never sanded or stained hardwood.  Boy, let me tell you, it’s hard work!  Not only that, the sawdust is brutal.  It makes it’s way into every nook and cranny, EVERY nook and cranny!

The original pecan floors in the hallway.

The original pecan floors in the hallway.

The floors in the hall never had stain on them, they were in fantastic shape! Luckily they had been covered in carpet. Lil’ Buddy’s (our son) floor wasn’t as fortunate. They were salvageable, but the formal owner stained around furniture. They would rearrange and then stain on top of that. I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure they used a water based stain over an oil, there were very large spots that were sticky. It was terrible.

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This picture is of Lil’ Buddy’s floor before we got our hands on them.

We rented a sander from a local rental place.  It wasn’t your typical sander, very primitive, but we didn’t have other options besides driving 80 miles round trip to get a better one.  In hindsight it was probably something we should have done.  We also rented an edger.  My husband sanded and I edged the first go round.  We started at 60 grit and worked our way up to 100, probably should have gone up to 120, but they were very smooth by the time we were done.  I later sanded all the corners with a corner sander.4860

Lil’ Buddy’s floors after sanding.  As you can see the floors were saved!  For being over 80 years old and in a building that was moved twice, they look fantastic!

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Next, it was time to stain the floors.  That part wasn’t bad at all.  In fact I enjoyed it!  We were so happy with the results!  I wish the polyurethane would have been just as easy, but it was a pain.  We had a well ventilated area, so the smell wasn’t a problem.  It was a poly used for homes, not commercial use so the fumes were minimal.  I learned you have to treat this stuff like an atom bomb.  If you open it and there are bubbles you don’t want to use it.   What you use to apply it matters a lot.   A lambs wool applicator is best.  We didn’t use one on the second coat and there were major bubbles throughout.  We sanded between coats, that got rid of the bubbles, plus it creates a tooth for the next layer to adhere to.  The last coat we used a very soft cloth with success.

We are not professionals or experts.  So, I would do your research beforehand.  Better yet, if you have the moola, hire a professional!Looking at the floors now, I must say, it was worth all the work!  I love history, I love things with character, and these floors have all of that!  I will post a pic of the finished floors once we get the baseboards on.  That is happening tomorrow!  Can’t wait to see the look on Lil’ Buddy’s face when he finally has a room to call his own!

Have you ever redone hardwoods?  Did you think it was worth it?

New Home New Lifestyle

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We use to sit around dreaming of our future home. At the time we lived in a cookie cutter neighborhood, in a house my Hubby bought purely as an investment, before we were together. It was a beautiful red brick home with a oak tree in the front, surrounded by a perfectly mowed Technicolor green lawn. When my hubby bought it, it needed a ton of work. It had wall to wall blood red carpet, dingy white walls, tore up linoleum flooring, you get the picture. By the time I moved in he had already done so much work. He repainted all the walls in soothing neutral colors. He redid all the flooring, carpeted the upstairs, installed laminate wood flooring downstairs. He retiled all the kitchen and bathroom floors, marble in the master bathroom. He did amazing work with impeccable skill. When I moved in one of the last projects was the kitchen. It needed new countertops and something needed to be done about the cabinets. They were in excellent condition, so we decided to paint them a dark chocolate brown. Since everything we did reflected the resale value we decided on granite countertops, but because of the type of neighborhood, we went with granite tiles, and a tile backsplash. It turned out great!

There was one problem, it wasn’t exactly what WE wanted. We dreamed of a place we could call our own and not worry about someone else’s opinion. Fortunately for me, I married a man who is extremely handy and loves projects! We both wanted land, a project house, animals, and trees. We wanted a lush garden to pick fresh vegetables, an orchard to grow fruit, chickens, goats, turkeys, pigs, maybe a cow, definitely a donkey.

Since having our son we have thought differently about things. What we put in our mouths for one. Our budget became tighter, we had to make things last. We wanted to become more resourceful, more green. We started small, bought reusable bags for groceries, joined the city recycling program, started a small garden in the backyard, we bought from the local farmers market when we could. Just those small things were a big change for us, something we needed to get use to. We didn’t always remember our reusable bags. We would throw things away not thinking about the fact they could be recycled. Sometimes we didn’t stay on top of our garden. They were all lifestyle changes. Habits that needed to be formed.

Before I had my son I was a picker. I traveled the states hunting for vintage treasures to resale. I had been doing it for many years and loved vintage, still do! It became harder after my son was born, and impossible after we opened our new business. I loved wearing vintage, sitting on vintage furniture, surrounding myself with old things that had history. I feel that it is a very resourceful contribution to the green world. So, I was at a good start, right?

Now that we have our new home we can have a fresh start, we want to jump in this new lifestyle feet first, but wait! There is so much learning to do, research, questions to be asked, risks to make, it is an adventure for sure! A little scary, but oh so exciting! We want our son to know where his food comes from, what it takes to grow it. Using what you have, making something old new again. Appreciating and respecting our surroundings. We have to learn these things too. It’s a process, but I hope starting this blog will bring me some answers.

What are some things you have done to change your lifestyle for the better? How did you start? Where did you begin?

Projects Growing Out Of Our Ears

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While property searching I developed this romantic view of how it was going to be fixing up an old homestead.  I imagined clothes drying on the line, picking homegrown fresh fruit and vegetables, our son playing in the dirt, helping us feed the chickens and goats.  What I did not think about was all the work it takes to have all those things.  Of course with every property we saw, all my hubby could see was all the work.  Now that we have our place the reality is sinking in.  It takes so much work, especially with a 19 month old and a business.  We are getting there, slowly but surely.  We have made our list.  Time to get things done and projects checked off.  Then again when owning a home the list never ends!