Tag Archives: recycling

Adding Two Rooms to our Home

Jack and I have a big back yard. We wound up fencing it into two halves because, chickens. The other day, I referred to “the outside room” and Jack didn’t ask what I meant, just said “inner room or outer room?”

Twenty-five years of marriage counts for something in the mind reading department, but we also came to this conclusion out of common sense. The backyard added two rooms to our home. The inner room is for gracious entertaining, has most of my light garden (solar stuff that’s so pretty at night) and the flowers. The outer room keeps the chickens, the main gardens, the fruit bushes and the nut trees. (Black walnuts are why we have two gardens; some plants is juglone safe, some ain’t. Juglone is the stuff black walnuts put out while their roots are down there in the wood wide web talking to each other. Never mind cats; it’s black walnuts as seek world dominance, y’all.)

Neither of us were ever big gardeners. We grew heirloom tomatoes because I love to try blue and purple and green and yellow things that “should be” red. We grew potatoes because Jack is Scottish, and if you’re a gardener in Scotland, you are talking root vegetables. Gardening in that country takes place August 10-15.

Jack and I have always enjoyed turning something into nothing–which is an upscale way of saying “how cheaply can we do this?” We put down leftover fertilizer bags to kill weeds, dug up rocks to weight and drain tomato buckets, and otherwise tried to keep from growing veggies that cost $2.25 each once you tallied all that went into producing them. It’s been fun, not least because it looks so silly. Old chicken wire stuck to poles from a tent we no longer have, bound by an ancient blue polyester dress, make our gate. Someone gave us a wine-making tank and we took a piece of guttering that fell down and made a rain spout to fill it for watering. (Hauling 12 buckets a day will get you in shape fast, kids.)

And we drilled holes in the bottoms of about ninety-eleven-hundred plastic buckets leftover from kitty litter, which annoyed Jack no end. He didn’t mind drilling the holes to give the tomatoes we planted proper drainage. He just didn’t like validating my recurring theme that someday all those buckets we kept piling in the basement (some of which we MOVED with from our former bookstore home) would “come in handy someday.” When it turned out I was right, Jack knew there would be no stopping my future hoarding tendencies on household detritus.

He’s kinda right. We have milk jugs piled up so we can make self-watering drip containers, and an old gate salvaged from friends who said “you want this?” It’s leaning against one of the infamous walnut trees, waiting for its day. Gardeners may kinda by nature (no pun intended) be hoarders. Dunno; this is only our second year having fun with the inner and outer outside rooms of our home. Keep you posted. Meamwhile, we keep the inner room clean for visitors and stash all the stuff in the outer room, guarded by the chickens.

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Filed under crafting, home improvements, humor, small town USA, Wendy Welch

Tin Can Ally

When the pandemic started, recycling was the least of our concerns. But we hated throwing away the plastic bottles and tin cans we’d been accustomed to sorting at the dump, so I started piling them up. If you have a decent funnel, bottles can be quite handy for storing all sorts of leftovers–especially if you aren’t going to the store to pick up Tupperware anymore.

But the cans? They became planters for tomato seeds to give away, holders of cooking grease, even tart burners on coffee warmers. And still they piled up. We have a dog and four cats, after all.

I began cruising Pinterest, which always makes Jack nervous. It’s not that he dislikes me picking up new hobbies; he doesn’t so much enjoy the part where “I just need you to poke the holes for me” and such. But he gamely welcomed my latest diversion: tin can snowmen.

It’s a 2020 thing.

Production began last night. We plan to make a few dozen of these and line the front walk with them, give some away to neighbors, just generally enjoy getting rid of the cans in a fun and fashionable way.

The funny part is, I figured this craft would be almost free, since we had the cans. All I had to buy was the paint. Over the summer when I got a supply online, it was relatively inexpensive, but schools have been out awhile now, and I suspect those with means to do so will thrown any amount of money at water-washable crafts that keep the kids quiet. So, the paint prices had tripled.

When I said as much to Jack, he waved a hand. “If it keeps you occupied, dear, I’m all for it.”

Hmmm. I don’t feel so bad about asking him to punch the holes for the arms now. Actually, he’s painting the faces because he has a steadier hand than me. And I’m doing the base coats, and the hats. We have become Tin Can Allies. The couple that recycles weird trash into cute Christmas ornaments during a pandemic, stays together.

If you want a pattern, just google Tin Can Snowmen. There are hundreds of ways to make these little guys. Have fun! (And buy your paint now. It’s still going up.)

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Filed under blue funks, crafting, small town USA, Uncategorized, Wendy Welch