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Gardening

Recycled Raised Beds

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Recycled Raised Beds

Several months ago my bonus son (son-in-law, his name is Abe) and my daughter, Genette, made a gate for me out of wood pallets. They still need to come and help with building another gate for the other side of the house.

In the meantime, I have a pile of pallets sitting in my driveway, and it is more than will be needed for the gate, so I am using some for other projects. I wanted some raised beds for my vegetables, and there the pallets sat, so an idea flashed. I could make raised beds out of the pallets in a matter of minutes! The result was good.

To make the pallets sit flush on the ground, I took off the bottom slats and used the wood and nails to close in the sides. I had some black plastic to put on the ground to help with weed control. I put the pallets down on the plastic, filled them with good, rich dirt and planted my cucumbers and swiss chard.

I wanted a protective dome over the plants to keep the birds and bunnies away (hopefully), so I checked my “stash” to see what I could use. My “stash” is discarded items I’ve saved that I use in my garden instead of purchasing new ones. Last fall a friend moved into a different home and there was fencing and chicken wire left there by the previous owner, so she asked me if I wanted it. Of course, I said yes, knowing that I would use it in my garden, though I didn’t know how at the time. I added it to my “stash.” I also had a metal grate (that I kept from an outdoor wood grill) along with some metal display baskets (from a shelving unit in a large store). These things combined became my protective dome.

In a nutshell, I paid nearly nothing for my raised beds, and in a few weeks, I’ll have vegetables on my table! I’ve got one finished now, and two more ready for the dirt. One will have lettuce and the other will have, probably, some herbs. I’ll post some more pictures later as my vegetables grow and I fill up the other two pallets.

From discarded into useful. Tell me your own stories about recycling and reusing.

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A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

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A Picture Speaks a Thousand Words

There are times when I feel that pictures speak better than words. I was walking around in my yard and snapped some photos of the color that is still there. It makes me feel peaceful and seems to tell its own story.

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Bottle Trees

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Bottle Trees

I have wanted a bottle tree for years. My husband promised me one for my birthday in February and on Labor Day weekend, I finally got one from a local craft festival. It is not big, but that is just fine.  I'll need another one, I would guess, in the not too distant future. 

Bottle trees are just that, trees that you put bottles on. They can be made of wood, metal, or really any material. They look pretty in any garden. Traditionally you put blue bottles on the tree, however, if you use lots of different colors it makes them look like stained glass in your yard. Bottle trees entered this country with enslaved Africans. The decorated trees became part of Southern Appalachian culture and have become folk art. You can see them all over the US now. 

I can hear you asking, "But why would people want bottle trees in the first place". They do serve a purpose. Blue is really the color you want because both the sky and the water are blue; the blue brings them together. The bottles are hung upside down and are appealing to evil imps and spirits who try to get in your house at night. The bottle tree is put near your home to catch those imps and spirits. Once in the bottle, it is difficult for them to get out. When the sun comes up and shines on the bottle the evil spirits fade away with the sun's rays. Blue paint on a door, a porch ceiling, or around window sills keeps out evil too, but that's another story for another time. 

Bottle trees are quite popular with storytellers, but then why wouldn't they be? They tell such a great story! I love my bottle tree and it makes me smile.  If it keeps evil away, well then, that gives me one more reason to get another one (like I really need a reason).

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Mushrooms in My Yard

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Mushrooms in My Yard

I think mushrooms are really cool organisms. I don’t know much about identifying them; I just like looking at them. After lots of rain, they simply appear. You don’t know when, where, or what kind, but the spores are hanging around and the mushrooms just show up. 

I leave them in my yard when they appear because I like how they look. All sorts of varieties, shapes, and colors; it is all part of nature’s visual artwork. 

When I see these little creations of nature, it reminds me of walking through the woods at my childhood home; mushrooms would be scattered throughout the woods. There were also lots of books I read as a child with illustrations of fairies sitting on the tops of the mushrooms. 

We have had a lot of rain here in Charlotte lately and when I walk around in my yard I find mushrooms all over. I think they are lovely and when I see them they inspire stories. They remind me of legends, folktales, my youth, the woods, and my childhood home. In fact, I think there is even something spiritual about these lovely little things just appearing. 

Here are some pictures of the mushrooms that have appeared in my yard this week. One of them even has a little buddy attached to it; a snail is taking refuge under the umbrella of one of them. Can you find it? 

You can also get lots of information about mushrooms simply by searching for mushrooms. Here is one reference I found that you might find interesting. 

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Butternut Squash

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Butternut Squash

Squash. I know, the word is weird and makes your mouth turn up on one side, but I like squash. One of my all-time favorites is Butternut Squash, maybe because of the memories and the story that is attached to it. When I was a little girl for a snack my mother would cut a butternut squash in half and put it flesh side up in our gas oven to bake. It would get soft and brown and beautifully caramelized.

Mom would take it out of the oven put some butter and salt on it and smash it up in the shell. Then we would use spoons, not forks, to eat it. It was like hot ice cream, sweet and salty. When I make it in my own kitchen the memory of my mother, the old farm kitchen, and that ancient gas stove come back to me. I close my eyes when I take a bite and for a few moments, I am a little girl again.

What garden food reminds you of a story and takes you back home again? Write it down and tell your kids about it, or better yet, get that food and relive the memory with them. Tell me about it here in the comments, I’d love to hear the story.

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