Saturday, February 20, 2016

Doin the garden aerobics!

It's that time of year again.  Time to begin the process of preparing the garden for the upcoming season.  We've had a few mild days in the 60's and so I'm taking my opportunities when they come.  Let me tell you building raised beds with concrete blocks is a workout!  Unlike building with boards, concrete blocks require preparing a spot with each block and adjusting as needed.  Especially when you have to remove excess mortar from the blocks previous use.  Such is the case with these.  Lots of lifting, hammering, shoveling, etc.  Then when you finally get everything set, you need to prepare the soil inside the bed.  In my case I'm adding some sand, chicken manure, and organic material to each bed, mixing in with a shovel or pitchfork as I go.  I finally finished building the latest bed, and started the second..  I counted the blocks I have left and have enough for two more beds of like size (One of which I have now started).  This will give me a total of seven concrete beds.  There are many advantages to these beds.  Like regular raised beds, it allows me to work in the garden without having to trample the area around the plants.  This will cut down considerably on the amount of tilling I'll need to do.  It also makes weed control easier.   Less water will be used as well.  It will also cut down on the amount of conditioning/fertilizing needed because instead of having to cover the entire garden, I will only have to do each bed.  In the fall I plan to only have to cover the bed with black plastic to put it to bed.  Between each bed I'm laying down black plastic and covering that with rocks for a walkway.  Here is a pic from last years garden when I just had 4 beds.  This will give you an idea of what I'm taking about.  I can't wait until I have my entire garden in raised beds, but it is a bit at a time.

The new bed is now located to the left of the left front bed seen in this picture.

The blocks I got from a friend, but then I think you already knew that!  The rocks for the walkway are ones I have dug up over time as well as some broken concrete block and the mortar that I've knocked off.  My goals is to one day have my entire garden as raised beds.

The point of the title of my post is obvious.  Anyone who says I did not get exercise today is delusional.  Every muscle in my shoulders, arms, and hands is at the end of it's functionality and I'm sure to be sore tomorrow.  My legs aren't as bad, but I can tell there was plenty of squats and lifting going on.  One does not have to get on a treadmill to get a workout.  Just be active!  Move each day.

So feeling sore and tired, but in a good way, I anticipate  the upcoming gardening season.  Still more to do!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Frugal Interior Design

Did you guys think I wasn't posting today?  I know it's late, but I wanted to get something finished before posting about it here.  So here we go!  I finally got around to repainting the mirror from my dad's childhood dresser.  What do you think?  By the way, I avoid selfies at all cost so this picture is taken where I am not in the mirror.

I don't know if you guys remember my dad's dresser.  When I got it a few years ago it looked like this:

I set to work to refinish and repair it.  The bottom left side was cracked and had not been repaired correctly.  I had to take everything out, line it all up correctly, and glue and screw it back together.  Unfortunately I found there was too much pitting to be able to remove all of the paint.  Instead I opted to paint it and it became my sewing desk/table.  That's it on the left below.

I wasn't using the mirror with the dresser and so it sat for a long time in my closet waiting for my attention. I was finally able to get to it.  I love having it in my dining room as a wall mirror.  I am happy to say the mirror redo was done with spray paint and hardware I already had on hand so my cost for a little pep in our interior decor was minimal.

Also, I have been able to finally recover two chairs from my dining room.  I bought these for $12 a piece at a thrift type store during my Mom/daughter birthday excursion a couple of years ago.  The fabric was also a purchase from goodwill a while back and I've had it on hand since.  I got it for like $1 a yard or something.  I'm hopeful I have enough to make a runner for the table later.

As you can see from this last Christmas Pic (complete with cat), I have three different pairs of dining chairs, but they all seem to go together.  I have the two I just recovered, 2 really solid wood chairs that match, but are not original to, the table, and two green wrought iron chairs that match my bakers rack (not seen here).  All of them are thrift store finds.

I guess my point of this post is part "Hey look what I did!" and part "you can do this too".  Thrift stores, yard sales, and your own creativity can go a long way toward making a house a home.  The important thing is to surround yourself with things you love, things that mean something to you.  My home has need of many repairs inside and out.  We're working on it as we go, but it's a home.  It's our home.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hello again!

I know!  A whole two weeks have passed, but I have not been idle.  We have had some wacky weather here; massive amounts of rain, or warm weather, or extremely cold weather and that was in one week!  You know what they say about Georgia weather.  If you don't like it wait a second it will change.  In between the extremes I have been attempting to do a little gearing up for the upcoming gardening season.  It's right around the corner.

Our truck has been in the shop, fortunately with only an "under Warranty" repair and when out of the shop weather wasn't permitting outdoor activities.  Finally this past weekend we had both a truck and good weather.  So Dh and I hopped in our truck and headed on over to a friends house (only a mile away) to collect some concrete blocks.  You see they had an old house on their property which had been demolished.  As a result there were several salvageable blocks to glean.  We paid for these blocks in trade.  A rooster for concrete blocks.  The rooster was their dinner and the blocks will help us grow our dinner.   We collected enough to put two layers of block front to back in the truck bed.  Not too shabby.  Honestly I don't think the little truck could have handled another block.  We headed home, ate some  lunch and unloaded the blocks.  Unfortunately we got stuck in the mud in our back yard due to the recent large amounts of rainfall.  Fortunately for us these friends also have a 4 Wheel drive.  Thanks to them we were saved!  It's good to have neighbors!  They also regularly buy bread and granola from me and so as a thank you the rest of Feb is covered.  Since that time, I have used some of these blocks to do another raised bed, this time for my strawberries.  I still have enough to do at least one more raised bed.  I also thinned out and cut back my original blackberry patch, adding a new support because my makeshift one had collapsed.  I need to get out and prune my fruit trees.  I may do that this week.  Sadly though one of my peach trees is dying.  We need to cut it down.  I would like to see if I can save the other one, but we will see.  Right now it's fine.  I'm happy to say my blueberry babies from last year and another one I had potted have survived being moved,  They're still too small to bear much fruit, but they'll get there.

On the home front, the handyman coming to repair our floor and ceiling will be here Thursday;  I CAN"T WAIT!  Just like I said before, this repair will be paid for and we will continue to save for the roof replacement.  So far so good.  We have opted to keep the opening for the dishwasher in case we ever sell the house, but I am in no need of another dishwasher for myself.  Instead, I will make a little curtain and will use it for my bulk food storage (wheat berries, sugar, flour, etc).  This will be a treat because right now those items are stored in my bedroom walk in closet.  When I am needing to make bread, or grind flour, I have to go to my room and lug these heavy buckets into the kitchen.  This will have them readily available.

Pretty proud of myself right now.  I will tell you why.  A few weeks ago I got a bee in my bonnet and started rearranging/reorganizing rooms in the house.  I first started with the Gym/Man cave.  In order for my husband to see the TV while using the treadmill, we had to have it on top of an entertainment center.  Cheapo entertainment centers are not created to have a heavy object on top, but rather in the middle.  A a result the top of the center began to sag.  Plus in order for those working out to hear the TV is had to be crazy loud.

Above is the layout, but this picture was taken prior to the addition of the entertainment center so you can't see the sagginess.

This is the new layout.  I like this much much better.

 I managed to completely rearrange the room so that the TV was right next to the treadmill and I was able to totally disassemble the entertainment center.  I love it!

Then the next day, since I needed to flip the mattress anyway, I began to rearrange the master bedroom.  Our master bedroom has very few options when it comes to arrangement, but I managed to make it work.

I love the fact the fist thing I see in the morning is the view outside my window.  Not too impressive in the winter, but come spring and summer it will be a joy.The one thing I've always wanted was some kind of storage (trunk, shelf) at the foot of the bed,  but I've never allowed myself the purchase because other things take precedence.  Well I didn't allow it this time either.  Instead I took the now disassembled entertainment center and created my own end of the bed storage.

 It makes a great area for storing my boxes of newly created doll clothes as well as some extra baskets I use for storage.

Speaking of doll clothes, I was happy to see I had sold my first item on ETSY!  These cute little diapers

So there you have it.  All my little goings on here on our little homestead.   I am in the process of re vamping my blog here.  I'm currently looking into other topics of interest to you guys and so in the future you might see some different things here.  I hope this post finds you all well.  So what cool things are you up to?