Posts tagged "outdoor"

May 20, 2012

A Little Trim

The bushes to the side of our carport needed a trim.  I wasn’t planning on trimming them when I did, I just couldn’t look at them any longer.  I used regular garden clippers so it took me longer than necessary.  And I do still have to pick up my mess!

A map of the yard is here for reference.


May 20, 2012

Yard Map

Now that we are working in the yard I thought this map would be good for reference:


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April 14, 2012

It Must Be Spring!

I started writing this post yesterday, and it was going to be called “Groundhogs Day!” because I finally saw Leroy.  Leroy is the groundhog that lives under our garage.  I have been waiting for him since early March.  I ran to get my camera to take a picture but he was gone by the time I got back to the window.  As I was on my computer searching for pictures of Leroy from last year I saw two deer walking around our backyard.  Seeing all that within 20 minutes has to mean it is officially spring, right?  I have been waiting for some random winter weather since our actual winter was way too mild, but if these guys are out and about they must know something!

I am kind of obsessed with our groundhog.  Growing up there was a groundhog that lived under my Grandma’s shed (he has been gone now about 3 years), so when I saw we had a groundhog it felt like home!  I really want to get a good picture of him, but he rarely comes close to the house.  If I open the door or a window to take a clearer picture he hears it and runs back under the garage.  Hopefully this year I can get my picture!  Here are some of the not so good pictures of Leroy:

I got a picture of one of the two deer, the other one wasn’t as brave as this one and wouldn’t come further than the trees.  I couldn’t get a good picture of the two of them together.  This is the first time I have seen the deer during the day, and I didn’t know there were two of them around.  We knew one was sleeping in our side yard because we would interrupt him when we took our dog outside at night.

I love seeing wild life in our yard.  I always stop and watch them.  I’m sure I won’t be so happy when they try to eat my garden this year.

April 4, 2012

Compost Facts

So, now that I have made my compost bin, I needed to do some research to know exactly how to use it.  These were some of my questions and the answers I found:

What is compost?

Compost is organic matter that has been decomposed

What is in compost?

Compost is made of four things:

  1. Brown materials (carbon): are needed for energy and produces heat.
  2. Green materials (nitrogen): are a source for compost microbes, helping to speed up the process of decomposition.
  3. Oxygen: for oxidizing the carbon, the decomposition process. (Don’t squish materials that you add to your compost, this will makes less room for the air that is needed.)
  4. Water: in the right amounts to maintain activity without causing anaerobic conditions. (The compost should always be damp, like a wrung out sponge.)
What can be composted?
  • Brown Materials (carbon)
    • cardboard
    • newspaper
    • paper
    • cardboard tubes
    • dryer lint
    • paper egg cartons
    • pine needles and pine cones
  • Green Materials (nitrogen)
    • grass clippings
    • weeds and plants
    • yard clippings
    • leaves
    • vegetable and fruit scraps
    • tea bags and tea leaves
    • coffee grounds
  • Other materials that can be composted:
    • egg shells
    • old herbs and spices
    • stale cereal
    • stale bread
    • cotton
    • wool
When is compost done?

Finished compost will look like soil. You should no longer be able to recognize what you have put into your bin.

How to use compost?

You can use compost in gardens, in containers, and in starting seeds.


Research was done here, here, here, and here.

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April 4, 2012

DIY Compost Bin

Total Time Required: 30 minutes
Project Difficulty: easy
Materials: plastic storage bin (mine is 18 gallons)
Tools: drill & drill bit  (size of drill bit is up to you, mine was pretty small)


One of my goals this year is to garden, and one part of that for me was to start composting.  I want to compost for a few reasons.

  • I can use things I have around the house that I would normally throw away to make great fertilizer for my garden, saving me the money I would spend on fertilizer.
  • I won’t feel as guilty when fruits and veggies go bad.  I may not be using them to eat, but they won’t go to waste, and neither will the money I spent on that produce.
  • I can keep everything I put in the compost bin out of the landfill.

I’ve had an empty 18 gallon storage bin waiting to become a compost bin for a while now and I am so happy it is finally done!  I found my inspiration here.  I chose to use a bin and not something larger or more permanent because I didn’t want to spend any money on it this year.  I also thought it would be more manageable for a beginner composter and gardener.  I also needed my compost to be enclosed and not just a pile because we have raccoons/deer/bunnies that come into our yard as well as a groundhog that lives under our garage.  They would love to get into a pile and eat all of our compost.

Here is how I made my bin:

1. I took my bin outside because I knew it would be a little messy.

2. I picked a drill bit and started drilling.  For the drill bit I used the first one I grabbed from our tool box that wouldn’t give animals access to what’s inside the bin (bigger than a nail hole but smaller diameter than a pencil).  It could be any size, though if the holes get too big you may lose compost through them.

3. Some sides of the bin were a little more difficult to drill into than others because of the shape of the bin, so that determined how many holes I drilled and where there were.  I wanted to make sure there were enough holes for air flow and also to allow water in an out.

And that’s it!  After I was done drilling all 6 sides I brought it inside to fill up.  On hand I had some shredded papers and veggies.

I put the veggies in whole so I can see how long composting takes.  It is recommended that you chop everything up so that it decomposes faster.

Now that I have my compost bin ready I did some more research to know exactly what I can put into it and how it works, I posted my research here.

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April 3, 2012

No More Ants!

I posted last week about the large ant hill in our backyard.  I have been checking on it everyday and the ants are gone!  They haven’t tried to rebuild in the same spot and I haven’t found them anywhere else in the yard.

You can see the circle where I put the sugar/baking soda mixture, that seemed to burn the grass. The boiling water with cayenne pepper killed the grass (it may have been in combination with the frost we had that night).  It shouldn’t be an issue to get new grass to grow there this early in the year.  I would definitely use these methods again if more ants move into our yard.  I didn’t have to buy anything, I had it all in the house already.  And most importantly I didn’t have to worry about chemicals around our dog.

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March 26, 2012

Ants in Our Pants

Well, really in our yard, but I don’t want them to get any closer to our pants!  Last week I noticed ants starting to build a hill in our backyard so I covered it with the lid to our fire pit.  My thought at the time was that it would suffocate the ants and they would die or leave.  Today I picked up the lid and was shocked to see the hill was HUGE!  Yuck, and obviously my idea wasn’t that great.

Here is the ant hill, the lid I had covered it with, and a tennis ball for scale.

After some research (herehere, and here) I started my attack on the ants.  This is what I did:

1. I sprinkled a mixture of equal parts powdered sugar and baking soda around the hill.  The idea is the ants will want to eat the sugar and won’t be able to avoid the baking soda.  Baking soda creates excess carbon dioxide in their systems and kills them.

2. I poured boiling water mixed with cayenne pepper on the hill.  The boiling water will kill some ants and discourage the others.  Ants don’t like hot peppers (all I had on hand was cayenne pepper), so hopefully they get the hint that we don’t want them.  I may have to repeat this step depending on the results.

3. I also read that ants don’t like cold temperatures and it just so happens that we are supposed to get a frost tonight.  I am hoping that with the boiling water and the baking soda poison I will have them scrambling when the cold hits tonight and that will kill off any survivors.

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