Category Archives: DIY

Projects around the farm

BUILD A ROCK PATH

Our rock path was our first big outdoor improvement. This was once bare dirt, turning to mud in the rain, and dust in the summer. Now the path has a rustic charm that looks like its been there for centuries.

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Here’s how to make one of your own!

You will need:

  • Rocks (we got ours from a local quarry)
  • Shovels

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Our rocks are set into the dirt a little bit, so they are flatter to the ground. To lay rocks this way, you will need to clear some of the dirt away with a shovel, making the ground as even as possible. We tried to do this in large areas at a time, to be more efficient.

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Next, you can lay the rocks down in a pleasing arrangement, much like rock tetris. For each rock, you will need to customize the hole depending on any rock surface irregularities or depth differences. Add dirt in some places, or remove some in others.

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After you are satisfied, fill the area around the rock with leftover dirt, packing it around the edges.

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Repeat one million more times, and you will have a path!

BATH TIME

Every once and a while, we like to give the houseplants a proper bath. They get that inside dust/cobwebby accumulation over time, and they need a nice shower to clean up. It was fairly cool today, so we lined them up on the porch for their bath time. I like to separate them into sections for most water to least water, so they stay happy.

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To give them a bath, you just need a hose and sprayer. Set it to the gentle garden rain setting.

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Wet plants have the best colors. After you get them sufficiently watered/clean, let them soak up some rays and dry off in the air a bit. Fresh air is good for everyone. Then bring them back inside, and enjoy your nice, clean plants.

SOIL SOLARIZATION UPDATE ONE

Our soil solarization experiment was going well. It was very hot out, and after 2 weeks, we decided to move the tarp to another area. We failed to take a picture, but we were very pleased to see that the weeds under the tarp had in fact died. We were very optimistic.

But after a couple days of multiple inches of rain, we are sorry to report that the weeds appear to be making their return.

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For curiosity’s sake, we peeked under the currently tarped area. Growing under there is an army of giant crickets, and some funk. The weeds haven’t quite fully died, and its a moist mess.

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Hopefully we will start to dry out a little bit by next weekend, and we can launch another attack. For now, we shall hide from the cricket monsters, and try to find something to do with these similarly giant okra.

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HOW TO CATCH FRUIT FLIES

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It seems like every time the weather changes, we get a new batch of fruit flies swarming around. Or every time we score some good fruit. Or have some sourdough proofing on the counter overnight. The flies come out of the woodwork to just be near it.

We’ve tried out different kinds of fruit fly catchers to various rates of success. But my mom taught us a new little trick, and so far, it really does work: Fill a small cup with some apple cider vinegar, then add a drop of dish soap. Swirl it around a bit, and that’s it. Leave it on the counter. The flies are attracted by the vinegar, but can’t escape the soap. We left a cup out last night, and we’ve already caught a handful of them.

Do you have any tricks for keeping the pests away?

(illustration from here)

CROCHET FLOWER POTHOLDERS

It is in the nature of hobbies that most of them start out with yelling at inanimate objects. But once you get to know each other’s eccentricities a little better, the yelling dies down, and slowly becomes the appreciation of someone’s little quirks.

I learned to crochet a little over a year ago, and while I can rock a solid granny square, I am still in the occasional yelling phase with new patterns. These flower potholders started out a little shaky, but we made friends by the third or fourth one. You don’t want to know what happened to the first couple.

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I used this pattern as a base, but changed a couple things due to my yarn size and colors. A set of three survived to be given as a gift. If you are handy with a crochet hook and give it a go, let me know so we can see!

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SOIL SOLARIZATION

In soil solarization, you harness the sun’s energy to kill weeds and bad insects/fungus/bacteria, which allows the good stuff to take over. It bakes the dirt into something more palatable to growing gardens. The term is fancy talk for “putting a tarp on some dirt.”

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We have been fighting this pesky vine plant that is growing on part of our future garden plot. As diligent as we have been with pulling them up and spraying them, they just keep coming back and I hate them. So we decided to take things large scale and kill them all at once (in large square sections).

To try soil solarization for yourself, you need:

  • Big tarp (preferably clear)
  • Something to hold tarp in place
  • Lots of sun/heat

1. Ideally, rake the area and pull and discard any weeds. Next, wet the area at least 12 inches deep. We sprayed ours with a hose for a little while. Enough for it to boil the weeds.

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2. Get out your tarp.

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3. Lay out the tarp to cover area, and then anchor in place. We used some rocks and pieces of wood.

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4. Wait. Since it is still hot weather here, and will be for a while longer, the sun should work in our favor to help us out. We plan on rotating the tarp around the area, and crossing our fingers real hard.

COLLECTING RIVER ROCKS

This DIY is an easy one for the upcoming long weekend! Get ready for some fun!

You will need:

  • To find a river
  • Bucket for collecting
  • Instagram account

1. Locate a river in the late afternoon. It should be moderately peaceful to work best.

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2. Choose rocks that match your color scheme, and that are sized small to medium. We went with a range of teals and light blues, with cognac for contrast.

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3. You may find other objects that don’t fit in your scheme, but you still like. Feel free to collect them as a starting point for another day. These tiny shells grabbed my attention.

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4. After you have acquired your river rocks, lay them out nicely so you can instagram the photo!

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Enjoy your rocks! And have a safe and happy labor day (and college football) weekend!

MAKE A GALLERY WALL

Who doesn’t love a good gallery wall post? Someone hung something on a wall somewhere, and we can’t wait to see it. So we’ll end our summer sprucing up week by putting some things on a wall too!

To start, first choose some things to hang on the wall. You get more gallery wall points if they are items you already own, but you get more diy points if you make things to put up. Your preference. Our collection included a ukulele, a banner, and a rusty longhorn.

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Next, you will need something to affix the items to the wall. Here, we used a combination of pushpins, nails, and screws, depending on the heaviness of the item.

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How nice do those things look on the wall! Can’t wait to add some more things to the gallery!

CLEAN A CAST IRON SKILLET

Like any real farmer, we have a cast iron skillet. You can’t be a farmer without one, especially can’t be a farmer’s wife. But we are embarrassed to say that we aren’t totally sure how to clean it. It was so softly shiny and black when we got it, and now it is a bit grimy and dull.

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Thankfully, the good people who made it have real straight forward directions on maintaining cast iron. We ran some hot water, and scrubbed it with the business side of the sponge. Once our hands were pruny, we dried it, and rubbed some oil into it.

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Pretty good, right? It almost has that nice, even sheen back. If I wasn’t super intense, I would have just left it, but if you are cleaning, you might as well clean. I remembered seeing this video a while back, and thought some coarse salt might help with the scrubbing. We poured some salt and a bit of oil into it, and went at it with the sponge again. After another rinse, dry, and oil, we uncovered this beauty.

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I think it might actually be emitting a soft glow. All ready to cook some more bacon.

HANGING UP A PLANT

This is the little kitchen window. It used to have a baby plant sitting up there. I miss it. Uck, it looks so ordinary without it, there is too much light getting in, I can’t stand it another minute, let’s put the plant back up there. But this time, we are going to do it right.

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We have a big hanging planter. If it fell down and smashed my teapot, I would cry crocodile tears. We found the stud in the wall, and screwed in an eye hook. We got the one that holds like 40 pounds, so hopefully that is strong enough. An s hook was added to make the hanging possible.

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Hang the planter from the wall hook, and we can hear the plant sigh in relief to be back soaking up that vitamin D.

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