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

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

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

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

Wood card display

A great place to be able to hang all your Christmas cards!

Happy Black Friday! I know this day isn’t nearly as crazy as it has been in the past – maybe, hopefully, the world will get back to a true normal and we can get back to it. I have never really done Black Friday (I enjoy my sleep – and am usually still sleeping off a turkey and pie overdose), at least the super early, waiting in the cold, shivering with hundreds of other people. I can imagine a bit of bonding happens, at least til the doors open! I myself, am more of the go around lunch, get a bite to eat then meander around and take it all in. The Christmas season officially starts for me then.

Anyway getting back to it, I have tried many, many different ways of showcasing the cards we get from family and friends. I’m a cardmaker – I know other cardmakers – I get some really beautiful and creative cards – and I would like a place to showcase them. So after some thought, a little pinterest surfing. I came to nothing. So after a little more thought and a couple projects down the road – inspiration hit!

This card display is made from lath strips, 4 to be precise. The lath strips are 4 feet long. I took 2 of the strips and cut them in half, leaving me with 4 – 2 foot pieces and 2 – 4 foot pieces. I lined them up and sandwiched the 4ft piece between the 2 foot pieces at the end. Then taking my handy-dandy nail gun (I really do love it!), nailed them together. Once the frame was together I stained it, let the stain dry them stapled chicken wire to the back. The good thing was I used 2 foot chicken wire, I measured it out 4 foot and cut. Only one cut – which was nice because working with chicken wire can be a pain.

corner – each corner will be aligned like this.

This does measure 4ft x 2ft, but you could easily make it 2×2, 3×3, 1×2. really whatever size you need. I thought a 1ft x 4ft would be fun to make if you had a narrow area like above a door or window.

To hang it on a door I used a couple of clear wreath hangers. For on a wall I found a couple 3M large hanger hooks that hold it nicely. The decoration showed above is easy – the fall one is Easy Fall Banner. The Christmas one is just red, white and green yarn. I cut 3 pieces per color at 4 ft long and braided it. To hang the cards I used medium clothesline clips.

Hope you enjoy!

-D

Wood pumpkins #2

You can never have too many pumpkins…If you checked out my last post – Wood pumpkins – here are a few more easy pumpkins to make and enjoy!

I love pumpkins. They always seem so friendly – I know, that’s weird, but they do. And around our house they are very important. Every year I plant at least 2 (ok, maybe its like 8) sugar pie pumpkins, along with numerous other kinds, Cinderella, baby boo, Jarrahdahl, Jack-be-quick, Warty thing, Lumina, We-be-little, Big max…anyway you get the point. Besides just using them for wonderful, home grown decor, we also use them to eat. And slowly one by one they disappear. However, these happy little diy pumpkins won’t disappear.

These are made with – scrap wood – surprise, surprise! 2x4s to be exact. I trimmed them to make the main bulk of them all the same size, with the top and bottom smaller. I did paint these first then after the paint was dry, assembled them with wood glue. The “stem” is just a funky cut piece of 2×4. After they were all done I got a little brown paint and just lightly marked them up to give a little rustic flare.

The pumpkins above and below are a bit different. The sides can be adjusted due to tiny little hinges, on the picture below you can just barely see them. These are 2x4s also, with just a 1/2 inch piece used for the stem. The stem is glue on and you will want to make sure that it is fully dry before you add a bow.

Ok, I have had my fill of pumpkins (for now) – now on to other fun stuff to try and do!

Have a good day!

D

Wood pumpkins

These little pumpkins are so cute and easy. They are a great way to use up scrap lumber and the best thing is that they can be any size you want.

After building a shed a few years ago we were left with a bunch of scrap pieces of pressure treated lumber. While some were large enough to use on other projects we did have some that were just a little to small. So what is a girl to do?!?

Make pumpkins!

They really are super easy to make, especially if the lumber is already cut. These are made from 2×4, 2×6, and 4×4 pressure treated scrap lumber. I drilled a hole about an inch deep in the top, big enough for a stick, gave them a quick wipe down, then painted them fun pumpkin-esque colors. After the paint was dry I used a little wood glue to glue a stick in the top hole for a stem and gave each a jute rope bow or knot.

I have had these outside, under a porch without protectant. But a quick coat of clear matte sealer can keep them protected from the elements.

Hope you enjoy – have a good day!

D

Table centerpiece

A pretty wood box made from scrap lumbar to be a table centerpiece.

I must admit, there are times when I drive my husband crazy…usually it has to do with scrap lumbar and me not wanting to let it become part of our wood pile. But, in my defense, I have used my scrap pile for a lot of projects over the years – saving us hundreds, if not thousands of dollars. So I guess he’s gonna have to just get over it!

I just recently seen a wood box similar to this at a local store. They wanted over $50 for it. So I think I am doing pretty good.

This is made with 1x4s and 1×6 pieces. The two long sides are 1x4s that are 2ft 6in long. the sides are 1×6 that are 5 inches and the bottom is a 1×6 that is 2ft 4 1/2 inches. I dry fitted all the pieces and then used my nail gun to keep them together.

I love my nail gun!

After all the pieces are together I wiped it down and stained it. I didn’t sand it cause I like the little imperfections, they help give character.

Once the stain was dry I added flowers and candles – you can check Easy and quick Thanksgiving table decor to see how to make them. And done!

I also think that adding a layer of nuts with candles or little pumkins nestled in would be pretty.

What do you think?

D