Playing in the Dirt

I started the morning by adding three nuisance birds to our bag in preparation for Nuisance Stew.  Since we have a lot of Starlings and similar invasive/nuisance birds around I had the idea of eating them.  A quick Google search showed that while I am crazy, I’m not the only one.  I now have 6 or 7 birds in the fridge that will be going into some sort of dish on Monday.  We’ll see how it works out.  If nothing else they’ll make decent dog and cat food and they’re fun target practice.  Not to mention that I’m helping farmers and the native cavity nesting songbirds.

After the backyard hunting excursion we took Bella to a friend’s birthday party then picked up a few things for the garden from Lowe’s.  We walked out the door after spending almost $40 and not getting a single thing we had planned to buy.

Upon our return, the real work began.  Okay…  Maybe we ate fried chicken and watched TV first, the real work did happen – eventually.



I dug all the old flowers, weeds, and small trees out of the previous tenants flowerbed.  The dirty bowling ball-sized rock was buried in the bed, too. I’ll put in some of our early plants in here tomorrow or Monday.  Unfortunately the bed is in the middle of Tank’s path so it will have to be fenced in.

The best part of the evening was building a little dirt pit for the kids to play in and watching them load and dump a handful of rocks over and over.



The sod boundary walls will hopefully keep most of the dirt and rocks contained.  We’ll see.  For the moment at least the kids are enthralled and are following the rules pretty well.

While the kids played in their dirt I started digging the garden.  The neighbor stopped by and offered the use of his backhoe – which I don’t want anywhere near my garden.  I will, however, be asking for his help with excavating if my pond plans work out as I hope.  I think I’ll be able to persuade another neighbor to lend me a couple pigs to seal up the pond.  But I need to get a better handle on the garden and new chicken tractors before I go to far with that project.


DIY Potting Soil

Saturday, we started planting seeds for our garden. We wanted rich, composted dirt. We found it… in the chicken pen. This time, however, the dirt had been through chickens and goats and also had been the previous site for our compost pile. There were also composted pine needles in the mix. Instead of breaking up the clumps the best we could, Danny tried something new: Continue reading DIY Potting Soil

DIY Duct Tape Mannequin

I have a fun one for you! Grab a friend (or a willing, sweet, and patient husband like mine), go buy a few rolls of duct tape, and make your own dress form! Customized to be just like you, your own dress form will be perfect for sewing your own clothing. I have been wanting a dress form for a while (mainly to decorate with, of course!), but really could use one now that I’m making more clothing for myself. The first two dresses I made caused a lot of running back and forth to the bathroom mirror, and hems are hard to fix on yourself! I came across this idea somewhere along the long “50’s dress pattern” Google-search road. Try it yourself! Just make sure you have 30 minutes to an hour to spare. And leave the ceiling fan on. It’s a hot process, being wrapped in a plastic bag and all.

***Note: To save this post from being WAY too picture-heavy, I’m posting the pictures below in gallery form. If you want to see a picture better, simply click on it to enlarge.

Items Needed: Duct Tape (two-three rolls), Clear Packing Tape (less than one roll), stuffing (old clothes, shopping bags, whatever!), Patience Continue reading DIY Duct Tape Mannequin

DIY Laundry Wringer Fail

We all know that clothes dry faster if you wring out the extra water first.  That’s the point of the spin cycle on your washing machine.  Well, that, and making cats really, really dizzy.  We can’t do a spin cycle doing laundry by hand without making ourselves as dizzy as the neighborhood cats after their ride on the Gravitron at the Feline Fair so we needed another option.  [Random insertion by Bella:  Eskimos can’t paint because they don’t have hands.]  With a spin cycle out of the question, I figured a squisher bucket and a squishy bucket would substitute well.

I started drilling holes with my OCD firmly in control. About halfway through my ADD took over. Sorry to disappoint anybody hoping for concentric circles or a geometric pattern.

Continue reading DIY Laundry Wringer Fail

Wall Mounted Laundry Drying Rack

Of course Bethany washing clothes with her homemade laundry plunger doesn’t make much sense if she doesn’t have a way to dry the clothes.  In the summer the clothes line works great.  The clothes are dry in a matter of minutes.  But winter is not so much fun.  Who really wants to go outside and hang wet clothes on the line with a 10 degree windchill?  The solution was a wall mounted laundry rack.

We decided something out of reach of the kids and dogs was the most sensible.  In my usual fashion I looked at what other people had built or bought and modified it to suit my purpose.  We wanted something sturdy, simple, and easy to clean.  It also had to Continue reading Wall Mounted Laundry Drying Rack

DIY Laundry Plunger

Bethany has talked for a while about doing laundry by hand.  I think she might be crazy, but I’m happy to let her try it.  She found a plunger that she liked, but $30 seemed a little steep for a funnel on a stick.  I’ve seen a few DIY designs using toilet plungers or single funnels, but I thought I could do better.

We picked up a 4′ wooden extension handle and two stainless steel hose clamps at the hardware store for $7.95, and a pack of 3 funnels at Advance Auto Parts for $3.14.

I drilled holes in the biggest funnel to Continue reading DIY Laundry Plunger


I have an addiction: Pinterest. I love to browse the education board. I find so many cool ideas! For example, I found these DIY pipe cleaner flags on Pinterest. They involve number recognition, counting, and fine motor skills; I love projects that do more than one thing!

From Kids Matter

This is one of Bella’s favorite “games” right now. And it was so SIMPLE to make! To begin with, I cut each pipe cleaner in half. I sliced a pretty piece of blue paper into 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ strips. I folded each strip in half, then numbered them on each side of the fold. A little glue from a glue stick, scotch tape to “laminate” the flags, and I was done!

Bella was hooked right away. I adore seeing her excited little face when I introduce a new learning toy!

She understood right away what she was to do. And, um… notice her OCD showing up in this picture? Colors must stay with colors…. no mixing pink and orange beads on the same pipe cleaner for her!