Winterizing a Duck house and run

How we winterized our duck house and run and how it’s holding up!

Completed duck house and run

Back in the Spring and early Summer we were busy making our duck house and run – to see what we did you can check out posts Duck House – part 1 and Duck House – part 2.

In the picture above you will see our completed duck house, it is a great home for them – but when winter comes it need just a little more help to keep them warm. In the picture below, it shows how it looks in the cold months.

winterized duck house and run

What I did…

It started back in the summer. We went to help out friends move some furniture, and they asked if we wanted some foam insulation panels – “uh yeah!” I had actually just started looking into options and pricing materials for winterizing the duck house. So, this was a God send! Thank you Mr. and Mrs. S!

What we ended up getting was a whole truck bed full of pieces. Which worked out perfectly! I measured and cut the pieces to fit inside the house studs and bracing, then stapled plastic over them (because I didn’t want bored ducks to start eating the insulation). After that it was time to move to the run.

I started by cutting 1×2’s down to the height of the run. For most of the run I used black plastic (mainly because I had a ton of it!), and the door and front side that they are on is “clear” – anyway that’s what the box said…

full plastic size

After measuring the run it was time to get to work. I measured the plastic so that it was twice the height I needed and about 12-16 inches wider, I then folded it over on itself (to make the right height) and attached the 1×2’s with staples.

Folded over on itself with 1×2’s

I then rolled the 1×2 in the plastic (from both ends) until it reached the width I needed. Each 1×2 was drilled x3 (in the top, middle and bottom) to make a hole for wire to go thru, then the panels were placed in the run. I used the wire to attach them to the kennel pieces.

I did notice that the plastic sagged just a bit at the top, so I took a lath strip, had my daughter hold it and –very carefully -stapled the plastic to the lath strip at the top.

Then since we had a bunch of insulation pieces left over I placed them in black garbage bags and slid them in behind the cold frames to help give a little more insulation.

Our winter duck house/run and yard. With all of our ducks in a row – Our other drake – Rock – is hiding behind the straw bale!

We then closed off around 1/3 of the run and use it for storage for extra straw bales. I also use our old doghouse for the boys in the summer, but for the winter I pulled I forward in the run, and it makes a nice little hiding spot for them. The girls were all laying in there for a bit. Other things we have done was drop a bunch of straw in the house and run for the deep litter method, I just give it a good “fluffing” in the morning and if they have been in the run a lot during the day I “fluff” it again before bedtime.

For the winter I turn our garden into duck land! The perimeter has 4-foot fencing and a gate at one side. And since we have hawks, owls, eagles, ravens, magpies and one crazy Peregrine Falcon in the area, I also put up a partial hoop house (you can see how I made it here). A couple sawhorses topped with an extra lattice piece that I covered with an old sheet and another sheet draped from the lattice to the fence help give them just a little bit more cover. Under the shelters I place the old bedding from the run and their food and water.

How has the winterizing worked?

So far so good! Last night we were a toasty -4, a little early in the year for us to be having such cold weather, but it did give us a good gauge to measure with. Usually, they have full run of the house and run at night, but when the temperature looks to be bottoming out in the single digits and below, I opt to close them in their house. So far, we have noticed they stay about 7 degrees warmer at night when we do this.

Dawn

Duck House – part 2

Welcome back! I left off on Wednesday sitting in a duck house wearing work clothes – I know I am just so vogue! HA

This is part 2 – check out Duck House – part 1 to see where we started!

So, the main reason it took us so long to complete the duck house and run was that we had garlic planted where the run was to be. I love my ducks – but I am not rushing my garlic harvest! It was worth the wait we had a great harvest – which now makes more work because anything left over from last year I will drying and making homemade garlic powder – yum!

The week before we planned to completely finish the project was a busy one – I really was not excited about it, and I am very glad that it is over. I took out the garlic and leveled the area, disassembled the boys house, prepped the boys a place to sleep inside until the run was done, and built the boys side of the run. Plus, to make matters worse we had essentially gone from ‘oh the weather is just perfect‘ to ‘good night its hot out here!’ in just days. It was exhausting, when I was building the boys side of the run the temperature by the fence was about 100 – yuk. Have I ever mentioned that I don’t like the heat – I really don’t.like.the.heat. When we lived in New Mexico I was in my very own version of Hell during the summer. It wasn’t pretty…

boys side done, waiting for sheeting and roof

Boys side done!

The next fun thing we had to deal with while waiting for the weekend – and help – to come, was wind. After the boys house was done we had a storm just skirt us. Thus, the reason for the 2×4 braces in the picture above. It was my attempt to hopefully keep it upright in case it the wind tried to blow it over.

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The morning dawned bright and clear – hot weather was forecast so I loaded up a cooler with ice, water and pop. Plopped it in the shade out by the work area and our good friends Mr. M and Miss M – came to help out. They were God sends! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you – did I mention Thank you?! We really couldn’t have done it without them.

So, the plan was to take the 6×12 ft kennel, unlatch opposite corners and straighten the panels out making 2 – 18ft lengths of panel. What we – err, my husband and Mr. M did was make “walls” – 18 ft long for the roof to sit on. because my husband didn’t want the roof sitting on the kennel panels. I will mention here that I was in charge of building the duck houses and prepping for the run, and finishing afterward, my husband – which we shall name “Mr. over-engineered” was in charge of the roof construction. I am so proud of him, where you could still land a light helicopter on the roof – landing a chinook is out of the question. 5 years ago, that wouldn’t have been the case – and we would have been able to build a full 2nd story! Good Job Honey!

Run during construction

If you look at the roof carefully you can tell that we have 3 separate pieces. 2 are from the original duck house – I will mention here that while moving the larger of the 2 original pieces – that Miss M showed her true girl power and held it up – over her head none-the-less! You go girl – showing those boys what you are made of! That was awesome! She was rewarded with playing with a miter saw – which she seemed to thoroughly enjoy!

Completed duck house and run
side view

Once the roof was on it was time for me to predator proof and add finishing touches. I added chicken wire to the back wall and finished adding it to the front wall, covered over any gaps between the houses and run, and gaps between the run and roof. I also built a shelf in the boys’ house to store any extra duck stuff and extra straw, placed pavers in the run for the waterers to sit on and dropped pavers by the door to make it easier to keep nice – dare I say “clean”. My husband also cut extra metal roof panels that we had, and he screwed them to the outsides of the duck houses to help keep snow from resting against the sides – hopefully allowing them to last longer.

Juliet balcony for the girls house

I also took a 4×8 ft trellis and cut 2 feet off one end to fit the width of the run. In the picture below you can see it pushed to the side when the house is empty, or the boys or girls are in the house by themselves. The other 2 ft piece I placed in the girls’ house so that the door can be open during the day to air out – I call it the girls Juliet balcony. The girls are so skittish that they don’t even bother getting close to it, but when the boys are roaming, we close the door – they are a little more mischievous and will jump it.

inside – boys side

inside – girls side

Front

You can see in the picture below, that the trellis is up for a barrier between the ducks. That way they can see each other but the girls can stay safe from those grumpy boys.

Our little girls trying to woo the boys

I also added a thermometer that we can read from the house to keep an eye on the temp. Also on the corner of the roof by the boys house we had a bit of an overhang and my husband asked that we put something up so he didn’t crack his head every time he walked past this area. Luckily my daughter and I, a couple weeks before, had just made a 4th of July windsock and it seemed the perfect place to put it – since we have such patriotic little ducks!

My little gentlemen ignoring the girls

In the end I had to move a couple plants, but they are coming back nicely. I also ended up leveling the ground around the door, so we didn’t have water backing up into the run. But it has been great to have them in their house and not running amuck all day. After the garden comes out this fall, I will put fencing around the garden, and they will be able to rummage thru it for the cooler months.

drawbacks

We did notice that the run stays anywhere from 5-10 degrees warmer than the temp on our weather gauge, so on hot days they are moved into the shady part of the yard for during the day. Not too big of a deal, it should only be for a week or two every year that we will need to do that. But we are hoping that it will be helpful in the winter to give them a little extra heat to keep warm.

I hope you enjoyed seeing our new duck house. Have a great weekend!

Dawn

Duck House – part 1

This is post 1 of 2 (there’s lots to see!)

Gus and Rock the “gentlemen”

There were once two little drakes that were living the life. Enjoying their own house – made just for them, a whole yard to root around in, a family to hang out with and all the bugs when mom dug in the garden. The bachelor life was good…

then mom and dad got some girls…

Ancona females – 8 days old

Now they had to share the yard and the bugs – but the house was the worst. Those girls would go in and mess it up (if you can mess up a duck house more than it already is). So, mom and dad decided that something bigger was needed, especially since the boys were being a bit grumpy about the newest additions.

A place was needed where the boys could have their own side and the girls could have theirs in the warmer months and then be able mingle in the cold months.

This is what we came up with, our very own Shangri-duck!

If you have ever checked in on my little corner of the net you will know that we have had ducks for over a year. They are great company, sweet, funny, sometimes a bit of a terror (especially for my garden and any bare toes). And you will also know from past posts – mostly Morning Chats – that we have been building our ducky garden of Eden for a while now.

We started the planning process during the winter since we knew that we were going to be getting females, and that we would want to keep them separated during the warm months. The reason for the separation is a three things – 1) We didn’t want ducklings – I know they are adorable but that’s more then I wanted to deal with at the moment 2) the boys are a full year older – and bigger then the girls – I wanted the girls to get to their full adult size before we let them be together and 3) the boys can be jerks, and they have a high sex drive – sorry there is no easy way to say that, they remind me of teenage boys, they really do.

So, the picture above is essentially what we started with, a 6×12 ft kennel. This is after I took the boys house apart and out of the kennel, I also removed pavers and all the extra chicken wire (except the door and closest wall) that was up for predator proofing. We had made 2 separate roof areas for them initially, that way if one was damaged, we could take it out and replace it. This set up worked well in good weather and even the late fall and early spring. Ducks are pretty hardy, but even after putting up panels to help keep the January cold from making duck-sickles out of them, it was pretty obvious that something better was needed.

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I will admit, to get to where we are right now was a bit of a long-drawn-out process. I actually started building the girls duck house in May. The only problem was that we had a lot of rain in May, which would stop the process. I would do a little then have to stop for a few days because I didn’t feel like playing with power tools in thunderstorms…silly me.

before

Once good weather set in though, I was able to get it all done – with the help of my all-knowing – and somewhat patient husband. I am going to throw out a BIG Thank you for our good friend, Mr. B! Last fall he gave us a bunch of plywood sheet leftovers that he had and that’s what a good part of both houses were made with – saving us a ton of money! Thanks again Mr. B – you are awesome!

That also brings me to my next point – the extra bracing in the house – since we were using scraps for the sheeting, I put in bracing to be able to screw the plywood to. In my next post you will see that I didn’t add bracing to the boys’ side because we I knew we were going to use a full sheet for the back.

In the end the girls house is 4 ft by 7ft 6in.

After – completed duck house!
Duck door and windows closed…
…and open
inside

I put down peel and stick tiles on the floor inside, and then spent $15 on a piece of remnant vinyl flooring to put over that. Just a little extra protection for the floor. Ducks are messy – and poop anywhere and everywhere!

The one thing that I wanted to do with the house but didn’t initially was put a shelf in to hold extra straw. About a month later I got around to it!

LOOK ITS ME!

Well if you ever wondered what I look like here’s your chance – I do have a to-do for myself to get a good pic of myself for the site, but for now I am making my internet debut with my cruddy work clothes on, sitting on a shelf in a duck house! Gotta love life!

Anyway – I hope you have a great day – talk to you again on Friday!

Dawn

Pallet Couch

A fun place to hang out and enjoy lazy summer days!

We are always outside. Even in the cold winter months you can usually find us outside making snowmen or having a snowball fight. And in the winter, we are always moving to stay warm while being outside.

The summer however is a different story!

It is a time to relax and enjoy – sometimes to even watch the grass grow – and if not the grass – the pumpkins! So, with all this time to lounge I figured that we needed a proper place to enjoy it. In comes the pallet couch!

I have seen these online for a few years now and always thought that it would be nice to have place to just crash and pass the day on. We have chairs but I wanted something that my daughter could enjoy some Kids Quiet Time on while playing barbies or reading books. This was just the ticket!

It is really simple to put together – just think of the pallets like big blocks! When we picked up the pallets, my husbands’ friend also gave him some boards that were just a bit larger than the pallets, I took two of them and we trimmed them down to fit on top of the pallets, so we now have a nice platform.

I then decided we needed something soft to sit on – that was also machine washable! I thumbed thru our garden sheets and found a queen size flat sheet that had a pretty floral print. Then off to the craft store I went with a 40% off coupon to get a package of twin quit batting. I essentially made an envelope with the – now clean -sheet. Sandwiching the batting between the layers and slipped coordinating yarn through the layers and tying them with a knot to keep everything together. After that, I pilfered the house of big fluffy pillow, hung the stars (check out how to make those at Lath Christmas Star and Quick and Easy Stars) and we just had to have some fun flamingo lights!

Now it’s time to relax and watch the world go by!

Dawn

Quick and Easy Stars

Fun and easy stars to make for any occasion!

Back in December I had a post about the Lath Christmas Star. After Christmas it got a new home and has sitting in our side yard. I knew I wanted to put it up in that yard but couldn’t figure out where I wanted it. So, after some thought and making a pallet couch (post to come next week) I thought a good place would be over the pallet couch. It was cute but seemed a little stark with just the one star so I thought it would be fun to make a couple more.

My initial thought was to make one out of twigs – but I got a little sidetracked on that and ended up making a wreath (another post to come next month). I did find some old bamboo stakes that I used in the garden. Some were broken due to their use and in the end, I only had to cut 3 of them.

I will note that you can make these any size you want, the pieces just have to be the same length.

Bamboo Star:

For the Bamboo star you will want 5 pieces of bamboo that are the same length. I went with what I had, and they measured about 2 feet (give or take). The good thing about bamboo stakes is that they are easy to cut. I was able to use a pair of scissors, but if needed a miter box and saw would quickly cut them to size.

After all pieces were cut, I made the star. I used jute cord to secure the piece together at all intersecting points with a knot. I will let you know that the pieces will move a little while they are being tied together. You will have a little play in the piece to adjust it as you want it.

Lath Star:

The other star I made is just like the Lath Christmas Star just smaller. It measures about 2 feet also. To make it you will need lath strips cut to the size you want and a nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun you could also use wood glue or liquid nails.

To make it: lay your piece how you want them and connect them at each intersecting point. Be careful if you are using a nail gun, the lath strips aren’t very thick so you will want to make sure you don’t nail the project to anything it’s not supposed to be. After the pieces were nailed together, I used a hammer and pounded the nails over so they didn’t catch on anything.

I hope you enjoy – have a great day!

Dawn

Morning Chat 7/11/22

Good morning! Welcome to Morning Chat for July 11th, 2022!

over-engineering a duck house and plans for the week

The sun has risen and spread it’s light over the valley, illuminating what will be a beautiful day.

This week is going to be busy in our house. Lord willing – if all goes as planned by this time next week our duck house/run will be all done. It is the largest project that we had on the to-do list, and it will be so nice to be able to have it completed.

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A couple months ago I built the duck house for our girls, they were getting big and needed to be outside. That was a big undertaking for me. As I have experience building stuff, it was by far the largest. Plus adding to the fact that it had to be able to withstand Montana winters, which can include feet of snow and howling winds, made me a bit apprehensive. In the end it came out well, and our girls have a sturdy – maybe a bit over engineered – house to call home.

This week the plan will be to dismantle our 6×12 kennel – that was originally used for our dog – who by the way decided that the fluffy couch was much more preferable to the hard pavers that are in the kennel. For the longest time it was also used as open-air storage for yard/garden stuff. Then last year we got our boys and it evolved into their run. Which included adding chicken wire around the perimeter, a small duck house and roof.

We then got the girls, and soon the thought of having 8 ducks romping thru my yard all-day everyday was more then I wanted to deal with on a permanent basis. All our little fluffy butts needed their own diggs. The catch was that we don’t want ducklings – at least not yet, and so we intend to keep them in the same run but separated. Which meant a lot of planning.

Once it is all done, I will have a post about it, maybe 2, since it is gonna be pretty big. Since my husband is in charge of the roof over the duck run, I am sure that the roof over it will be able to support a small aircraft – he is the king of over-engineering, that’s probably where I got it from. It has rubbed off on me over the last 20+ years of marriage!

Well, I have better get with it, there’s a lot to do! I hope you have a wonderful day and a great week!

Dawn

Wood planter…

…made from extra cedar fence slats.

You can never have enough room for gardening! But sometimes you want something just a bit prettier than the Gardening: Self-watering Containers that I posted earlier. I think these do the trick!

The side of the planter with my handy new tools!

When we put up our wood fence, we noticed that we had some cedar slats that we weren’t going to be able to use. Some were warped, split or damaged some other way. Most had good portions still left and the idea of making firewood out of the good portions seemed wasteful. So, I held on to them. Fast forward to May 2022, I started thinking that planters in our front yard would be a fun project to do. And the cedar slats were the perfect material for the job.

Completed planter

The size:

The planters are 21 inches wide, 18 1/4 inches deep and 19 1/2 inches tall.

I used 2×4’s for the corners and predrilled the holes before screwing the pieces together. I put together the long sides first then screwed the side slats on. Once the box was completed I attached 1×4’s to the 2×4’s on the bottom, this left an area at the bottom for drainage and then added pallet pieces to close the bottom off. You could also use 1×4’s. I did not make feet, but now would be the time to make them and add them. Since I was placing them on gravel, I opted for longer pieces of 2×4’s that I could adjust as needed.

After the boxes were done, I moved them out to where they would be and then stapled weeding fabric to the inside of the box. And then started filling them with soil.

Since these planters are located on the west side of our house and will get the full blast of summer sun and heat, I decided to add water storing crystals to help keep the plants well-watered. After I filled the box about 1/3 I added some crystals. Then I added a little more after more soil.

Then it was time to add the plants. I opted for winter squash – then they will have lots of room to grow.

Update:

So how are the planters and plants doing…they are doing great!

Have a great day!

Dawn

Pallet garden edging

A simple edge to any garden bed.

Pallet and furring strip edging – and a glimpse of my daughter’s earth, moon, and rocket chalk drawing.

So, what happens when the need arises to try to keep tall, fluffy plants in their place? You make a tall-ish edge to keep them back.

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A few years ago I planted lilies near our front door. The problem? They grow like mad and try to take over their area. I originally had an edging that just didn’t help. It was flimsy and hard to work around, so while working on a couple other projects the idea came to mind to make a simple ladder type edging. Something sturdy, but cute and of course budget friendly.

The photo above shows really how simple they are. The top and bottom rails are 16-foot furring strips. We got them from a local store for $5.98 each (The sad thing is 2 years ago they were $3.98 each – but that’s another story!). The rungs are pallet slats cut to 12-inch lengths.

I cut the pieces to the needed size and then laid them out. The rungs I eyed where they went, but there is around 4 inches between each one. Then once I was happy about how it looked, I screwed them together. To keep the piece upright I used longer pallet slats and pounded them into the ground – behind one of the rungs (so you can’t see them) and attached it to the edge. And it was done. The nice thing is that it cost less than $20 for 15 feet!

I like that!

Liked it and the price so much that I made some for edging in our backyard also.

part of our bug control team, Freckles, Lady and Betsy

Our back yard was a bit more tricky. We have a bug control team – that likes to eat, well anything. Anyway, they would easily get their little feathered heads between the rungs so I made the one for the backyard just the same but stapled foot tall chicken wire to the back of it. I also made it in smaller lengths, so that I can remove portions of it. Thus making it easier to work on the bed, like I will need to do later this summer when I need to take a portion out and dig up tulip bulbs that have decided to overgrow the area they were in.

backyard edging

I think it turned out really well. The nice thing is I made edging for approximately 40 feet for less than $50.

Hope you enjoy – have a great day.

Dawn

Gardening: Self-watering Containers

Here’s a great way to be able to enjoy a garden or expand a garden anywhere!

18-gallon storage bins become self-watering planters

I love our garden – I do. But I am like most gardeners – if you ask me if I have enough garden space, I will say no!

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I dream of a day that I can have a huge pumpkin patch and the rest of the garden rivals the beauty and size of Monticello’s.

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But, until then, it’s back to reality! And that means running out of space – nearly, well no, there’s no nearly about it – it’s every year! I always have a long list of needs and wants. Usually, my wants get thrown out and my precious space is used for more practical things like corn and green beans (for canning) but every now and then I can scrape by enough space for a little more fun stuff like elephant garlic or lemon cucumbers – even warty thing pumpkins.

The main thing that has helped me immensely are self-watering containers. But if you have ever priced them at the store, you are looking at some major investments. Which I did, then after one such day of being shell shocked I came across a book by Edward C. Smith – “The Vegetable Gardener’s Container Bible”. (No, I am not getting paid for this – just letting you know where I got the info!) I was already familiar with Mr. Smith from a previous book he had released – “The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible”- which is chock full of good information and is one of the first books I reach for when starting to plan the garden.

But this book is all about container gardening. What I liked about this book the most was the section that he has regarding self-watering containers – and how to make them using 5-gallon buckets and plastic storage bins. And it came with step-by-step instructions!

They are actually pretty easy. I made 2 large ones using 2, 18-gallon storage bins and 4, 5-gallon bucket containers. The 18-gallon containers only need the bin and lid, the 5-gallon bucket containers need 2, 5-gallon buckets per container. Which we had plenty of at the time I made these due to a neighbor giving us a bunch before they moved. And you will need a length of plastic downspout (which we also had due to a different neighbor moving!) and various tools and Mr. Smith also says to use silicone caulk for the large container to keep the “spacers” in place. I didn’t use any and was just careful when filling the bin with soil. I also found that without the caulk it made it easier to clean the whole thing out after the season.

Inside the 5-gallon self-watering container

Above you can see what the inside of the self-watering container looks like. The hole in the middle is made to be filled with soil, and the plastic downspout (that has holes drilled into it) helps hold the bucket up while allowing the soil and plant to “wick” the water up. The picture below shows the hole that was made in the side of the bucket that is used to fill the reservoir with water. For the large container, it is similar, but you use 6 spacers to hold the bottom up, which is made from the lid. I won’t give away all the info – I don’t want to cheat Mr. Smith from a sale – but they are very good. Maybe not all that pretty, but extremely useful.

I guess the next question would be – what can you grow in them? Anything! I have had tomatoes, parsnips, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, kohlrabi and carrots in them. I especially like them for the tomatoes because I could keep them consistently watered – which prevented splitting. And that reminds me – I have some watering to do.

I hope this helps you with your garden plans!

Dawn

Kids Play Fridge and Microwave

This post is a sequel to the Kids Play Kitchen post

After I made my daughter her play kitchen, she soon expressed a need for a fridge. So, one lovely day when she was visiting Grandma, I decided to make her one – and I figured I would make her a little microwave to go with it.

The idea for the fridge actually came to me from our local resale store. I was browsing around – kinda typical for me – and ran across an upper cabinet in good shape for a good price. I think I paid $10 for it. It was nothing special – normal run of the mill cabinet. So, I snatched it up and brought it home.

First thing I did was remove the door and give it a good cleaning. It wasn’t very dirty, so I didn’t have to do an in-depth cleaning. But after that I did sand it to take the finish off – recleaned it and was ready to paint. The whole piece got a coat of primer. Then the panel on the door got a couple coats of magnetic paint (I just realized that I don’t have any magnets on the front of it in these pictures – sorry – it really is magnetic though!). Then after the magnetic paint was dry, I gave the whole piece a couple coats of white paint. While that was drying, I made a quick trip to our local hardware to pick up a handle. The handle actually cost more than the cabinet! Got back and drilled holes for the handle, attached it, and freehanded the “stuff” inside the fridge on the door (I am not an artist in the least!). And I added footers to raise the cabinet.

I eventually had to place the fridge up on blocks to raise it more because it was hard to open when it was on carpet.

The microwave made from 6 pieces of wood, 2 small hinges and an extra handle we had laying around. The pieces were all sanded and cleaned and then assembled. After they were put together (all but the door), it got a coat of white paint. Then after the white was fully dry, I painted the outside of it purple (because my daughter loves purple). I then used painters’ tape and taped off and area on the door for the window and number pad and used a little grey paint we had laying around. After all the paint was dry, I used a black marker and freehanded the numbers on the number pad, added the handle and hinges and was done.

I hope you enjoy – have a great day!

Dawn

Kids Play Kitchen

A kids play kitchen made from an old bookcase!

Sorry I don’t have a picture of the before!

This project was a birthday present for my daughter. I used an old bookcase that I found for $5, a $5 faucet from the resale store, an old bowl, 4 old drawer pulls, 4 cork coasters, 1 yard of fabric, a spring-loaded curtain rod, and stuff from a trip to the dollar store.

The bookcase got a good cleaning and was sanded down. My husband helped me cut a hole in the top for the sink by turning the bowl upside down – tracing it – then cutting it out with a jigsaw. After being wiped down again the whole piece was painted with primer and painted white. I wanted to try something different with the ‘counter’, so I got a little bit of green paint that we had left-over and dry brushed it on the top. I did have to do it a couple times to get the look I wanted. For the burners I found 4 cork coaster that were the right size and painted them black with craft paint. After the paint was dry, I used a white chalk marker and drew a swirl on them then coated them with matte sealer.

After all the painting was done it was time to assemble. The holes for the faucet and doorknobs were all predrilled. I also predrilled the baking sheet (on the side – for a message board). And everything was added to the bookcase with its normal hardware. The baking sheet was attached with screws. I then glued the ‘burners’ down and made the curtain (I cut the fabric on the fold line and straight stitched the sides. Making sure to leave enough at the top for the curtain rod). I also found a couple peel-and-stick hooks at the dollar store and added them to each side – just below were the curtain rod sat – and hung a towel that had a hook on it, on them.

Everything else either came from the dollar store (kitchen supplies and baskets, or they were extras I had in my kitchen. Then the last item was a dry erase marker. If you have ever read my blog before you may know that I used the same method for the Kids magnet board.

And I was done! Good thing too, because it was just in time for her birthday. If you are wondering how this little kitchen has fared? Really well. For well over a year it had daily use, when she was cooking dinner for us, and now – a few years later she still plays with it a couple times a week and it gets lots of use when the neighborhood kids come over.

I hope you enjoy – have a great day!

Dawn

Reuse/Repurpose: Milk Jugs

Here are my top 3 uses for reusing milk jugs and turning them into something useful for the garden.

We go thru a lot of milk in our house – which means we have a lot of milk jugs. Instead of just throwing them out I try to use them for something useful. Here are some of the top ways we use them.

Mini greenhouses:

Cut three sides about 1-2 inches up from the bottom. Poke holes in the bottom for drainage and add soil and your seeds. I use the bottom that is removed from the hot caps as a saucer.

Olla/Drip irrigation:

Probably the easiest of all three. All you do is poke holes in the milk jug and plop it into a hole. It is best to put these in before the plants – or at least when the plants are small – then you won’t disturb the roots.

Hot caps:

For hot caps all you do is cut the bottoms off the milk jugs. Make sure to take them off during the day – they do get toasty underneath. You can also unscrew the top for just a little ventilation.

How do you repurpose milk jugs?

Dawn

Kids Pallet Playhouse

A fun place for the kids to play!

If you have ever visited the my blog before you know that I lean towards doing stuff as frugally as possible. No, I am not cheap – I just like to use my resources the best way I can. Since I also like to be creative and make stuff that helps because I can imagine what something could be – even if it’s a pile of pallets and a bunch of scrap lumber that was destined for the wood pile.

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. Let me start from the beginning…when my daughter was little we were given a plastic playhouse. It was cute, and light enough to be moved around the yard. Since it was a hand-me-down (of which I don’t know how many kids had enjoyed it before her) a couple things were broken and the once sunny yellow exterior had faded. She didn’t care, she loved having a little hideaway. That is until she hit a growth spurt and the once cute little house was left to itself because she couldn’t play comfortably in it anymore. Kinda sad…

Anyway we were able to find that little house a new home – across the street and our yard became playhouse-less. Which I heard about often from a little girl that just wanted a little place of her own. So the next spring my thinking cap was on to what to make and where to put. I wanted something that was more stable with a proper home (cause I don’t want to move it) and something that later can be made into something else. So I came up with the plan for the pallet playhouse.

How to:

This playhouse is made out of 5 pallets. 2 for the floor 2 for the back wall and 1 for the front. I also used 1x4s 2x4s and of 1x6s along with pipe hangers, 8ft pvc pipe and a couple yards of outdoor fabric.

Two pallets were secured together to make the floor, then I secured another 2 pallets – upright – to the back. I did brace it with a 1×4 for a little extra strength. I then made a small “balcony” (floor is painted purple) out of 2x4sand topped it with 1x4s for the floor. For the front pallet, I removed one of the pallet rails – to make a little “window” – added a couple 1x6s scrap pieces over the hole so nothing would fall down it. They made up the base of the “window”. I then fashioned a rail around the balcony area out of 1x4s. Then added 2x4s to the front pallet (painted purple) for extra strength and visual interest. After I was done building we painted – pink and purple, of course – and I made the canopy.

The canopy uses 2 of my hoop house pvc poles. In the summer they are not in use – at least not all of them. This is a great way to use them in the off season. The canopy was made of exterior fabric with simple straight stitch down each side wide enough for a pole to go thru. I had a little leftover fabric and I added little curtains to the windows and used pinking shears to cut a little table runner out for her table.

The good thing is, is when my daughter outgrows it we can remove the front pallet and it will become a platform for a couple chairs.

I hope you enjoy – have a great weekend!

Dawn

Unusual Gardening Tools

Here is a list of some “unusual” items to use in your garden.

I have been gardening for all of my adult life, and one thing I have found out over the ahem…twenty so years…is that sometimes found items can and will work better then anything found in a store. I know there are some that will look at this list and think I am completely crazy, but I have used these over the years and they work, and the best thing – they were either cheap or free! I see that as a win-win!

Milk Jugs:

  • make a greenhouse, hot cap, watering can, or olla

Egg cartons, Paper towel/Toilet Paper tubes:

  • make pots for seedlings

Newspapers:

  • use as mulch, kill grass/weeds, or make into pots

Cardboard:

  • kill grass/weeds (really works! we used it to kill off grass between beds when we moved our garden last year)

Old Screen door:

  • I know it sounds crazy – but I use it to dry onions, garlic, and flowers on. I put it up on 2 chairs or sawhorses and place it on top. it also make a quick shady area for animals in hot weather

Old Sheets/Towels:

  • use to cover plants to keep them warm on cold fall nights.

Old Windows:

  • make an easy greenhouse/cover for tender plants

Metal Bars, Rebar:

  • sturdy metal bars scavenged from old playsets, outdoor swings, etc. – I use them for row markers, keep up the sides of compost piles, and a varity of other jobs

Cinder Blocks:

  • use as planters, make raised bed with them

Old Shower Curtains:

  • cover plants to make a cheap greenhouse, as they make great tarps – they get nasty just throw away

Lath Strips, Paint Stir Sticks:

  • make trellises, plant markers

Egg Shells:

  • use as starter pots for seedings, use for compost

Old Silverware – Plastic or Metal:

  • use as plant markers

Old Wine Bottles:

  • fill with water and place upside down in plant to water it as needed

Coffee Filters:

  • put in the bottom of planters

Broken bits of pots/Styrofoam Peanuts, Old Pool Noodles:

  • pot fillers for large pots

Pallets:

use as trellises, make into raised beds and I have taken them apart and used them for edging (just make sure they are heat treated instead of chemical treated)

What do you use in your garden that’s unusual?

-D

Lath Christmas Star

This is a fun and quick project that takes only 5 lath strips and a nail gun.

This project took shape because I wanted something to hang near our front door at Christmas. I wanted it just a little rustic and not too heavy. I had seen other Christmas stars around for the previous seasons and I liked the idea.

It starts out pretty simple, get 5 lath strips and a nail gun. If you don’t have a nail gun you could use wood glue and clamps. Just glue the pieces and clamp until dry.

Start by laying out your star. I didn’t like the way the top rail looked so I took about 3 inches off it. If you have a miter box and saw it will take a minute – very easy – if not you can use a box knife and a straight edge.

After the pieces were laid out the way I wanted I got the shortest nails we had – 3/4 inch, and put at least 3 in each intersection. Once the pieces were secured together I stained it. I plan on putting this in a sheltered area so I did not seal it. If it was going to be in the elements I would seal it.

After it was all I done I put some cute little battery operated lights on it. I think it will be very merry!

Have a good day!

-D