Showing posts with label homesteading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label homesteading. Show all posts

Monday, June 9, 2014

A Scarecrow For The Garden

After all those serious posts last week, I'm going to start this week off with a fun summer-time craft. I decided that we needed a scarecrow to help control some of our problems with little critters at night. Too many times, our cantaloupes get nibbled on just before picking time. Yes. Bites taken out! We've also had some tomatoes mysteriously disappear during the night. Doesn't that just frustrate you to no end? You have patiently waited for your veggie to grow for weeks, you can almost taste it's deliciousness, and then poof, it vanishes! Ughhhh! So in hopes of intimidating these active little critters, I thought that maybe a scarecrow would work. It's worth a try anyway! So I set out around the house and yard to gather supplies to make a scarecrow. The best part about this guy was that I made him for FREE. We all love free, right? Everything I needed was already laying around somewhere. That's a win-win. 

Here's What You'll Need:

  1. A 6 ft. fence post or landscape timber
  2. A 2x4 cut to a 4 ft. length
  3. 2- 3 inch nails
  4. 4- 1 inch nails
  5. About 8 safety pins
  6. Hammer
  7. Scrap piece of burlap fabric for the head
  8. Twine
  9. Old pair of jeans
  10. Old men's long sleeve shirt
  11. Old straw hat
  12. Hay for stuffing
  13. Any craft supplies you want to use to fashion a face

First, place the smaller piece of wood across the larger, in the shape of a cross. 

Using your 3 inch nails, secure these two pieces together. Go ahead and use your twine to secure the ends of the sleeves and pants, this will keep the hay from falling out. 

Next, place the shirt onto your scarecrow form. 

Now, take the pants and begin stuffing with hay. You are then going to place them on top of your scarecrow form and using your 1 inch nails, secure the stuffed pants to the form.  Then, secure the bottom of the shirt to the pants using your safety pins. You're just getting your scarecrow dressed to look like a good and proper man.

Now open up some of your shirt's buttons and fill the shirt, arms and all, with hay.
At this point, you can also stuff your burlap fabric piece into a head shape and secure it onto the top of the scarecrow form using twine. Now my daughters began cutting out fabric scraps to form a face. 

Your scarecrow should look something like this now- minus Chi-Chi of course ;)

Since every good, proper man needs a hat, our scarecrow got one too. He looks mighty fine in his spot guarding the garden, don't you think? 

Hopefully, the critters will think twice before stealing our cantaloupes this year! So, what do you think? Will our critters run for the hills? Maybe your garden could use a simple little scarecrow too? 

I really hope that you all enjoyed this easy scarecrow craft. Thanks so much for joining me this morning. Happy Monday everyone and have a wonder-filled week!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

8 Easy Peasy Garden Plants

It is officially summer at our house. We grilled hamburgers for Memorial Day, the kids have been swimming in the pool nonstop, and we got our vegetable garden planted. The timing could not have been more perfect. We were hurrying to get the plants in the ground and compost mulch around them before the rain was due to come. Storm clouds were fast approaching while we were planting. We got it all accomplished and were putting away the tools when, kaboom, thunder crashed and the skies opened up and the glorious rain began to fall. Perfect. Being city born and bred, gardening has been a bit challenging for me. I still plant the easy stuff, but it goes a long way in helping save money on fruits and veggies during the summer months. We had planned on building a raised bed for strawberries this spring, but we just never got to it {I still have the list of supplies in my purse just in case though!}.

High on our list for planting every year are the veggies required for fresh salsa. That list includes tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro. Fresh salsa is a must have summer staple! What goes better with those grilled burgers than chips and salsa? NOTHING! And, another southern favorite, tomato sandwiches. Homemade bread, mayo, tomatoes, salt and pepper, oh my, my mouth's watering just at the thought!

Now throw in some colorful marigolds {a great companion plant for tomatoes} and we're well on our way to a perfect little garden. Then we always plant cucumbers and give them a little fence to meander in and out of. Add some easy peasy, squash and zucchini for a yummy side dish and watermelon and cantaloupe for a fruity, delicious dessert, and we have one great garden.

{A Small Garden Is A Big Money Saver During The Summer Months}

Have you planted your garden yet? It's not too late you know. Summer is just beginning to take hold here in Georgia and in lots of other states too. If you've never planted a garden, consider starting a small one and grow to a larger one with time. You'll just love eating your own home grown fruits and veggies all summer.
Happy Tuesday everyone. I hope that your Memorial Day weekend was just summerific!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

On Free Range Chicken Gardens

For years, our yard had LOTS of pine straw. I loved it around our plants in our gardens. Then I decided that I wanted to raise some free ranging chickens so that we could enjoy the benefits of the super healthy eggs they produce and I just love chickens anyhow.

I knew from past attempts that chickens and manicured landscapes just don't go well together, so what to do? I am pretty particular about our yard. I like our foundation area to be tidy and if you've ever had a loose chicken, you know they can destroy gardens pretty fast. I began researching online and came across a book that has become my chicken garden bible! I am in love with this book and read it all the time {you can find it here on Amazon}.

So, our first step was to remove all the straw and then to begin planting perennials and shrubs that were chicken safe.

{"Flame" honeysuckle vine, "Alaska" daisy, and Alberta Spruce to name just a few of our new plantings}

This takes a whole bunch of patience, I'll just tell 'ya. It's a three year plan because plants don't mature over night. They require years to fill in the space that you've provided them. We surrounded our new plantings with mini pine bark mulch instead of the light and fluffy pine straw. This has worked well. The chickens do scratch a bit and kick out the mulch onto the walks and driveway area, but it's pretty minimal.

You have to be o.k. with a little disorder if you're going to keep free ranging chickens, but it's totally worth it!

Now, where to put those free ranging birds? There are so many super talented DIY'ers out there with the greatest building skills, and they turn out to-die-for coops, sadly, we're so not those people as you'll soon witness when you see our coop. Building grand structures just escapes us. So, we approached our coop like we do all our other projects, do the best we can for the least amount of money. I wanted to see these chickies free ranging mostly in our front yard area, so our coop was placed under a massive maple in our front yard. This coop is a recycled dog house put up on stilts to provide safety.

I built predator proof doors on the front and back {for ease of cleaning out the coop}. Then a little decorating :)

{cutie sign from Bainbridge farm goods. Check out all the cuteness at their Etsy Shop }

I wasn't concerned with the size statistics you generally hear about for coops {average 3-4 sq. ft. per chicken} because our birds only sleep and lay their eggs in the coop. The whole day they're free ranging. We have five hens and one rooster and that's the max this coop will hold. I fill the coop with a thick layer of hay and clean out the droppings weekly. They are all quite happy with the set-up.

I can't tell you how happy I've been with these chickens. We are moving into year two with our gardens and are looking forward to adding more ground covers to reach our goal of pretty much no pine bark mulch at all one day. It's extremely rewarding and with the benefit of a super food being provided to your family, it's win-win. The statistics on eating eggs from free rangers as opposed to store bought eggs is indisputable.

{Our Super Happy Little Foragers}

If you've ever considered having chickens, I highly encourage you to try it out. They are so much fun to watch and often provide a much needed dose of comic relief! And let's face it, the more laughter the better! Happy Thursday Everyone!

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