Country Living & Penny Pinching

Getting back to "Little House on the Prairie" living

Tag: pinterest

Becoming A Wood Hoarder

When starting to do any projects around the homestead wood is almost the number one material and that material is soooooo expensive. So when we moved out here I started thinking of all of the cool projects to do but instead ran into a really big materials bill. So….onto the internet I went trying to find something that could help. Have you heard of Craigslist?

Now, Craigslist and me are tight. I LOVE shopping on Craigslist. Almost everything I get rid of goes on Craigslist. If you too love Craigslist or are thinking of trying it, make sure to be safe and bring someone with you. I have multiple saved searches on Craigslist that send me emails when someone posts about it.  Very cool feature. Well, wood is one of my saved searches. Let me rephrase, FREE wood with in a fifteen mile radius from me. Most posts are a few pallets, some scraps from someone else’s project, or broken down fences. Although, every once in a while someone posts a BUTTLOAD of wood.

Most often I don’t have the Hubby’s truck so I have to pass, but one day the stars aligned and my wish was granted. I had the Hubby’s truck, the Hubby, and a post showing a butt load of wood only minutes from our house. After loading up the Littles we went to go get it. Now not all of this wood was usable but the polite thing to do was take the bad with the good. The couple that had hoarded acquired all of this wood was so ready to get rid of it that they let us load up their truck too and followed us back home so it could be done in one trip. After we dumped the wood in our driveway it became an instant eye sore to the Hubby.

Now you can see why. 1/4 of it became fire wood, 1/4 went in the dumpster, and the other half was definitely salvageable. Then about a month later we re-purposed an old shed into a working chicken coop and all that extra wood went to a special place. That’s right, my wood pile!

I love my Costco hat. Not super flattering but this hat stays on and gives me plenty of shade 🙂

The Hubby was again not pleased because the pile kept growing and it was the first thing he saw when getting home. Also it was a bit of a hazard to the Littles because most of the wood was filled with nails or screws. So most of the afternoons were spent ripping out nails and having the Littles gather them up in a tin can. Don’t worry they had to wear their gardening gloves when helping.

Now it became a bigger priority with so much wood there. So another month and a half later the Littles and I finally moved the last piece out of the driveway and up against the fire-place from the abandoned foundation. **Our first choice of where to put the wood was under our patio cover until a friend told me about black widows liking wood, and if it was up against the house then that would be an easy way for them to get in the house. YUCK!!! Just FYI**

I LOVE IT!!!

I LOVE IT!!!

I don’t know about you but this beautiful wood pile makes me super happy. It just screams “Build Something!” Now we just need power tools of our own to actually make the things I’ve pinned all over my Pinterest. Feel free to hop on over to my Pinterest account and check out some of them.

Stay tuned for those projects and let me know if, what, and how you became a hoarder?

 

Attempting the DIY Brooder

When bringing the chicks home the Hubby said they must have a  home before entering the house. With little to no money to spend on the brooder I attacked our moving boxes, grabbed some leftover duct tape from labeling those moving boxes and started making a Frankenstein brooder.

a little bit of elbow grease and duct tape

Knowing that each chick needed SOOOO much space in order to be healthy I duct taped all those moving boxes together. These boxes ended up being bigger than my dining room table. Let me add that I have a huge dining room table (we thought we lived in a mansion when we bought it for our tiny newlywed apartment). We were expecting about twenty chicks overall and they are supposed to grow really fast so I made enough space for about 100 chicks.

These chicks did not needs so much space. Do not let these fancy books tell you otherwise. For the first few weeks they only need the size of a storage tub. maybe an extra long one. Next time the brooder will be about a tenth of the size.

Despite the size, I was determined to have everything be D.I.Y. (do it yourself) This would be saving money AND recycling. Here are the waterer and feeder…

Waterer and Feeder

The feeder worked great, the chickens could of course scratch some of it out but I feel like almost all DIY feeders wont be perfect. I used scissors to make the holes and hot glued the juice bottle bottom to the 8 oz baby cereal container.

The waterer was not so great. I hot glued the fancy plastic water bottle to a jar lid, made holes with scissors at the bottom of the bottle and it took me days to figure out why it wasn’t working that well. Every time I tried to fill it, it would overflow.

The holes are just above the lip of the lid…yep! The holes need to be lower than the top of the bottom piece (in my case a tiny jar lid). None of the instructions I read ever said that REALLY IMPORTANT piece of information. So the 2nd generation waterer was cat food cans. These worked and were cheap and of course got spilled but that’s why we had four to five cans in at one time. I didn’t have any more bottles and bottoms to try and make another proper waterer that did not leak.

this is only half of the brooder

Besides the basics we added fun toys. Roosts were in the corner poking through the sides or dangling in the wire. We added a floating wire top because the cat kept jumping in. The roosts really did help them stay distracted and they started roosting at about one week old.

Diamond sitting on his/her roost

There was also a mirror from the 99 Cent Store which had a handle that could be tied to the side or top. Ours leaned against the side since the walls weren’t very sturdy and kept getting knocked over. But boy oh boy those chicks loved coming up to it and seeing themselves.

pink mirror for the self absorbed chickens LOL

We had this set up for eleven days. That was all I could take of the heat lamp near the cardboard. So I kicked all of the chicks outside in a dog cage on our deck. But more on that set up next week 🙂

Have you ever made a brooder?

Ways to Start Seedlings

2015.2.18 5 seed startingStarting seeds inside is not as easy as everyone makes it sound. Unless you have a designated spot and tray and lamp and an easy method for watering. Most beginners do not have any of these…just like me!

So after pinterest-ing and pinterest-ing I finally came up with a few homemade ideas for starting our seeds. Now don’t get me wrong, I am all for going and getting the pre-made seed starters, especially if you have the money and do not want to store the materials for months leading up to it. We were not in a position to go out and buy those items and a sun light for growth.

2015.2.18 4 seed starting

So we went with orange peels, tuna cans, egg shells, crushed egg shells and an egg carton. This is where we started the experiment and started taking notes so we would know what to NOT do next year. My theory was that “If I used different containers, then the oranges will do the best.” My rational for this was because oranges are biodegradable and would become food for the plants…or so I thought.
2015.2.18 2 seed starting

The experiment went as follows, all of the factors were the same, the only thing different was the containers. I watered them all from the top and kept them all together. Eventually the tomatoes came up, a few lettuce, none of the bell peppers (bad batch of seeds), a spinach, and no peas (next time I will soak them first).  We also used a heating pad under them during the night because our house has awful windows and it’s practically like we are sleeping outside. The make shift green house was made out of tape and Ziploc for the two on the left, and Saran wrap for the box on the right.

all bagged up ready to grow

all bagged up ready to grow

Conclusion, the orange peels grew moldy and rotten within days (this became a well duh moment for me after I realized I watered them and then wrapped them up with heat), the tuna cans should have had a hole in the bottom for water to drain, there was no real difference between crushed egg shells and just the carton. For the half an egg-shell I felt there should have also been a hole in it to drain water and after a couple of days of growth it seemed way to small.

Next year I will not try any of these methods again. I will attempt the toilet paper rolls and newspaper cups. Hey, I have the rest of my life to figure out which method works best for me.  Also another note about the egg carton…it turned to mush every time I watered and it would steal all the water from the soil. I’m assuming the same will happen with the toilet paper rolls and newspaper so I will be using thick rolls and doubling up on newspaper.

What has been your favorite way to start seeds indoors?