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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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Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

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Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit

I remember my mother saying “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit,” on the first day of each month for good luck. I have friends on facebook who post rabbits on the first of the month in recognition of the phrase; ok, I might do that too. I’ve always known repeating rabbit three times was for good luck, but I don’t understand why it is supposed to be lucky. Carrying a rabbit's foot is supposed to be good luck, but it’s not so lucky for the rabbit. There is a rabbit in the Chinese horoscope; I don’t know much about that either. There are rabbits in my back yard and they eat my vegetables, so that’s not lucky for me, but the rabbits enjoy it.

Wikipedia, the mecca of all knowledge, says the phrase originated in Great Britain and North America. Was that simultaneously? Did a person on each continent have the same revelation at the same time and announce, “We must say, ‘Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit!’ on the first day of each month or we shall not have good luck!”

I read that President Roosevelt said it on the first day of the month. Was it lucky for him? I have no idea. The Energizer Bunny just keeps going and going… why is it pink?

In the end, sometimes we say or do things because of tradition, a touch of superstition, an element of hope, or maybe just for fun. I say rabbit, rabbit, rabbit because of all of those things — it certainly isn’t going to hurt and what if it does bring good luck?

So, on this first day of May, join me in saying, “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit,” and have a very Hoppy Month of May!

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Daylight Saving Time (cue yawn)

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Daylight Saving Time (cue yawn)

I didn't write a blog this week, I ran out of time...lost an hour...well, didn't really lose it, it was redirected.

I'm tired...seems like supper is too early...clock in the dining room is still an hour behind.

Daylight saving time...they say it was for the farmers, but the cows don't care what time it is...neither do the pigs...grass in the field doesn't either...I know this because I grew up on a farm...

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Marimba

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Marimba

While in Asheville, NC last week, I went to a Goodwill store. I very quickly noticed a lovely wooden instrument. You might call it a xylophone or a glockenspiel, but this is neither; it is a marimba. I know this because it says Guatemala across the front of it. The marimba is the national instrument of Guatemala. I didn’t realize that, but Google can be very informative.

There was no mallet, so I hit some of the keys with my fingernail. It sounded so pretty. The keys were smooth on the top and a little rough on the bottom; I thought they might be hand carved. I knew the platform it was on was handmade. I ran my hand across the keys and it was dusty. It had been a while since this instrument had been loved. "What is your back story?”, I thought, “Someone needs to love you again.” I wondered if it could be me. When I looked at the small end and saw the price, I said, “You are going home with me!” I carefully picked it up and put that beauty in my cart. It was two days before my birthday and I decided this would be a gift to myself.

When I got home, I brought the marimba in my house and got out some wood cleaner and a soft rag. It took a little elbow grease, but, oh, she is pretty. I found a couple of small dowels and put wood knobs on the ends to make some makeshift mallets so I could truly hear the sound of the keys. I LOVE IT. Listening to it makes me happy. I have a new instrument to learn. I think that Google might help me out again with some tutorials. The only thing I know about my new marimba is that she was made in Guatemala. How she made it to the United States, North Carolina, and then to Asheville, I’ll never know — but what matters now is the moment. Oh, she is a pretty instrument!

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St. Valentine, the multi-tasker!

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St. Valentine, the multi-tasker!

With tomorrow being St. Valentine’s Day, I decided to make some comments about St. Valentine. I had little bits and pieces about him tucked away in a file in my brain. However, nothing came into clear focus, so off to Google I went to find out more about the man.

Lo and behold, he was a multi-tasker! St. Valentine was the patron saint of lovers, epileptics, and beekeepers. "Huh? That’s an odd combination", I thought. But then I suppose we all do jobs, have hobbies, interests, and abilities that seem to be unrelated or out of character.

Sometimes we do a job because it needs to be done. For instance, cleaning the bathroom. I do not enjoy cleaning the bathroom, but I do it because I love the people who will be using that bathroom (including myself). I also tat; I enjoy doing that, and I sometimes make tatted items for people I love. As I write this, my husband is doing some laundry — not his favorite job, but he does it because he loves me and it needs to be done.

The more I think about it, it seems that the combination of people for whom St. Valentine was the patron saint might not be so odd after all. They are all people and they all need someone to care about them and love them. So, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day — why not do something for someone you love? Clean a bathroom, sweep a walkway, make a meal … do it just because everyone needs a little love.

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