Turning a Weed Patch into a Usable Garden

The area behind my garage has always given me problems. Years ago when my grandparents had my home they used the space behind the garage for a sunken garden which had blueberry plants and many other things in it through the years. By the time I bought the house the area was a mess from years of neglect and there was nothing growing in it other than giant weeds.

About a year into us owning the house we rented a small backhoe and dug out the “pit of despair” which I liked to call it and filled it in with a couple of loads of top soil. However, even after filling it in, it would still give me problems.

It is a fairly large space which was wonderful for growing tomatoes and squash and such but sometimes the chore of weeding would get away from me and again it would look unkempt.

This year I vowed to make the space usable and easy to maintain. Here is what I started with.

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Again, the space started the year out as weedy and any nutrients left from the original load of top soil were gone.

I first lined the entire area with cardboard boxes that I opened and placed flat on the ground (working at a grocery store has its advantages). Then I recycled the rails from an old split rail fence that I had laying around and used them for the frames of the garden beds.

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I made sure when I was constructing it that I left room for a wide sawdust lined pathway. My dad is a woodworker so I have unlimited use of his sawdust bin.

So far at this point the new garden bed area has cost me absolutely nothing except hard work.

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I filled the two long beds with soil and in the back I planted various herbs which included, parsley, sage, lemon balm and lavender. In the front I planted the whole thing with close to 100 onion plants. Done.garage3

I am excited to see how the plants grow in the beds! As the season progresses I will post updates. -MM

2015 Goals Update Week 10

I have been working diligently on most of my goals for the year but I need to get back on track for others. Here’s how I am doing so far.

1. Renovate our only bathroom and replace the window in our son’s bedroom.

After having two different contractors come in and look at our bathroom we decided that we were going to have to work on some of it ourselves. One of the contractors gave us a quote on re-glazing the tub and putting in a new surround and fixtures. His quote came in at over $4500 and the tub re-glazing was only guaranteed for five years. The other contractor took a look and didn’t like the window we had in our shower. I didn’t have much confidence in getting a bid from him after that, thinking it was going to come in way higher than the other one.

I decided that I would re-caulk the tub myself, which was one of the biggest things bothering me about our bathroom. I had already done it twice before and it hadn’t worked, so I decided to try once more. I got a better silicone caulk this time and went at it on my day off.

Here are the before and after pics.

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Pretty yuck right? After spending a couple of hours scraping off the old caulk, cleaning and drying the tub and surround perfectly, I re-caulked the whole thing as carefully as I could. Taking care not to leave any air bubbles or gaps.  The instructions said that we could use the shower fully after eight hours but I left it for about 36 hours before we took our first shower. So far, so good. Nothing has started to pull away from the walls or bubbled.

Replace our son’s bedroom window. Done!

2. Catch-up on and read my favorite daily blog – “Feed Your Family for $100 a Month” by Mavis Butterfield. Also catch-up on and read a really great e-magazine “From Scratch”.

I still am not caught up on “How to Feed your Family for $100 a Month.” I read through about 30 blog posts but I am still behind by about 60. Sigh…

From Scratch is a bi-monthly e-magazine. I did read one of the issues but after reading it I was so frustrated with the poor editing that I have put it on the back burner. I love the information in this magazine and the photos are beautiful, however, if you can’t edit your spelling I tend to not to want to take you seriously. I even wrote an email to the editor but as you can imagine I didn’t get a response.

3. Journal Daily

I have kept up on my journal writing but sometimes I am a week or so behind and by the time I get a moment to write I have forgotten the details of those days. I have resorted to using my Facebook posts and texts to fill in the blanks. My goal is to write daily so I won’t forget anything. I am happy that I have written something for each day no matter how small the post may be.

4. Pay off one of our two credit cards

Here is my major focus this year. I have to say I am completely and utterly frustrated and stressed out about these two credit cards. Almost two years ago all of our credit cards were paid off and I was very proud of that fact. But life happens and yet again we are back in the vicious credit card cycle. When I had my bakery we had to put everything on hold including house repairs and waiting to buy new furniture and many other necessities. After I got my full time job as a bakery manager with a steady paycheck we faced the task of catching up on four years of back repairs and aging vehicles and household items. We needed so many things. Our couch was falling apart, my car died after ten years of faithful service, my husband got into an accident and the deductible was $1000. All of that went on a credit card because I knew now that I had a job along with my husband’s full time job we could afford payments.

Now we have the huge task of yet again paying these things off. I think about them almost every day. We will do it. I don’t know how. But we will. Stay tuned.

5. Organize our attic

Still nothing yet

6. Exercise three times a week

I haven’t done very well with this. I did work out twice two weeks ago. Does that count?

7. Read one book a month

I finally finished Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett. It only took me nine weeks to listen to it. I did also read and finish Takedown Twenty, by Janet Evanovich. I use Evanovich books as a kind of palate cleanser in between heavy novels like Follett’s, Giants. How can you not laugh at Lula and Grandma Mazur?

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8. Send out birthday and anniversary cards each month

All set with March’s birthdays!

9. Make copies of my Granny’s recipes and give a copy to each of our family members.

Nope. Not a thing yet.

10. Digitize my Dad’s family’s photos and make photo books and give CD copies to each of our family members

So far I have about 100 photos scanned and put on disc. It really is fun.

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11. Blog at least once a week

So far, so good!

12. Read the Bible from cover to cover with my husband

I have to admit we are behind in reading our Bible daily. We may not finish it in a year but my husband and I are still reading and growing in the Lord’s Word.

I feel good about my progress on my 2015 goals. Do you have goals? What are they and how are you doing on them? – MMR

DIY Project Finished

I finally finished my DIY project that I was working on a couple of weeks ago. My kitchen shelves.

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Before

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After

All are painted now and dried thoroughly. I put down my favorite shelf liner which is non-sticky and plastic so it wipes clean.

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I also brought down from my attic a box with beautiful crystal and milk glass pieces that have been stored up there for about a decade. They were my Granny’s and she had them on the very same shelves. They were packed away after she died and I decided to bring them out and showcase them again.

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Aren’t they beautiful? I am very please with how everything turned out. Now to make a curtain to hide the containers on the top shelf. Or maybe I could get new containers. Hmmm…  -MM