Saturday, December 22, 2018

How to Build Your Own Outdoor Shed

An outdoor shed is a fantastic way to create an extra area of storage for the things that you need most when spending time outside. Whether you need a place to keep your lawn mower and snowblower, or you need a space for your garden supplies and various other things that you don’t have the room to store in your home, the right shed will be able to withstand the elements and protect your belongings throughout the year. If you’re ready to build your own shed for your lovely backyard, check out the tips below to get started.
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First, Consider the Materials

Before getting started, think about the materials that you want your shed to be made of. Sure, you could head out to a local hardware store and purchase one of those premade plastic sheds, but those aren’t always the most unique or aesthetically pleasing. An alternative would be a steel shed like those sold online by Armstrong Steel, which you can build yourself by assembling the parts rather easily. These are also durable and Armstrong Steel offer the option to customize it to your preferences, so they offer a lot of flexibility in terms of how you can use them. Or, you could go the more traditional route and use wood to construct your one-of-a-kind shed all on your own.

Set the Foundation

First, you need to set the foundation for your shed, ensuring that the ground is totally level. The use of cinderblocks around the perimeter of the foundation can help keep animals out, but if you are planning on adding electricity to your shed, be sure to carve out the channels for that as well. This can get complicated, so you might need to hire experts if this is the route that you’re planning on taking and you aren’t sure how to route the electrical components into the shed.

Create the Frames

Using plenty of 2x4s, the next step is to build out the frames for the walls and the roof of your shed. Once all of these are set in place, you will be able to attach the actual walls and roof to them, so take your time to figure out how big you want your shed to be, and carefully space the 2x4s so that they will provide the structure with strength. Make sure you leave room for your door, as well as any windows that you would like to have in the shed.  Steel sheds are again easier here as they come ready to assemble.

Add the Walls, Roof, and Door Before Painting

When you are ready to add the walls, you can either use plywood and nail it into the frame securely, or use a premade steel kit. The same can be done with the roof, which you can add shingles to in order to protect it from the elements. The last part would be to install the door and add the windows. Then, it’s a matter of painting the shed and customizing the interior with shelves to make it easier to store everything you need in an organized fashion.

As you can see, there are several steps involved in building a shed for your backyard, but once you’re done, you’ll be so proud of the work that you’ve completed.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

New Furniture for our Front Porch

We used to have  a wicker set of outdoor furniture on our front porch but it's design is for a bigger  space so we moved it to our back porch.  My husband grabbed the opportunity to get the  glider that he wanted from the Amish furniture store.  
We got the double glider and two single ones.  The name of the store is Swiss Country Lawn & Craft and it is located in Walnut Creek, Ohio.   They have  large collection of the area’s finest Amish-Made lawn furniture such as  gazebos, swing sets, and garden decor.  It's a perfect place to get the things in beautifying outdoor living areas. 
It is a bit pricey but the quality of their product is  really good.  The double gliders has a foldable  cup holders and space to  lay  plates or any snacks you may have. I love  that this kind of material is very easy to clean.  The product is made of composite material which I prefer more than wood.  We paid $1, 331.94 for all the three  pieces including  sales tax ($87.14) and delivery fee of ($202.80).  The gliding chair cost $216 each and the Settee glider is a bit expensive ($610).  The delivery fee could have paid for one more item but we didn't have the means to pick it up.
This set of furniture was our anniversary purchase.  Hubby and I no longer  buy each other gifts on our wedding anniversaries but rather we buy something that we can both enjoy using.  We agreed to have this one for our 15th.
We have a big porch at the back and I want to enclose it with glass windows in the future if budget permits.  I love hanging out at the back because it's a lot fresher there because of the trees but my husband likes sitting out front as he says  hello to our passing neighbor.  I like my time to be quiet lol.  
Anyway, these bright pattern pillows will be  of great addition to the  back porch furniture next year.  Right now, it is covered to  protect it from the harsh winter.  Bright colored pillows are great accent to add  a pop of colors in a space like our old porch.  I hope that when our kitchen remodeling project is done, we can do something  for our back porch.  I would like to enjoy my  grey old days in there, it would be nice.  
Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review.  I was provided with the complimentary product/s mentioned  for testing purposes and to help me  facilitate this review but  opinions are my own.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Five New Hobbies You Could Try This Month

Variety is the spice of life, and as such we should all be trying to gain new experiences and learn new skills. Yet, life can be busy and there’s not always time to dedicate to finding new hobbies in your local area.

Chances are, there are many more activities right on your doorstep than you’re aware of — it’s easy to be blinkered and only see what you’ve seen before. Why not set yourself a challenge to try one or two (or more if you can!) If you’re stuck for ideas, here five new hobbies you could try this month

Get crafty at an art workshop

Now, you might be thinking: “I’m not an artist.” However, everybody is creative in some way, and perhaps you’ve just not found your personal channel for this inventiveness as of yet.

Looking in your local area, you’ll find plenty of different art and design workshops run by competent and friendly teachers. While some of them may be set up as six-weekly courses, there will also be others that are taster sessions, lasting only a few hours, to allow you to dip your toe in the water.

Take up a new sport

Joining a sports team — whether to play for fun or competitively — is an ideal way to exercise, have fun and make new friends in your neighborhood. Perhaps you played a lot of soccer as a kid, now may be just the time to reconnect with your past sporting prowess! Look for local fun leagues and head along to a meetup, just to see if you’re still game.
Explore your musical talents

If you were less of a sporty kid but enjoyed playing music, you could look to reconnect with your musical interests.

There’s no denying that learning a new instrument costs money; guitars, drum sets or any other instrument doesn’t come cheap. Luckily, some music teachers will provide an instrument for you to practice on first, so you only need to invest in the hobby should you wish to take it further.

Another great way to get back into music is by attending a concert. Check listings to find a ticket sale for an event in your nearest stadium or concert venue.

Give back by volunteering

If something a little more altruistic piques your interest, you should ask around for volunteering opportunities in your neighborhood community. You could do anything from teaching children to read, helping out at a soup kitchen, working in a community garden or befriending an elderly, isolated person.
school volunteers
Stretch your green fingers

Whether you’ve got a backyard or not, these days there are lots of mini gardening setups to grow your own fruit and vegetables around the house. Not only might you find it fun, but you’ll also be saving money on your weekly grocery bills — plus, eating food you grow yourself always tastes better! If you manage to yield an abundance of crops, you could invite friends over for dinner made entirely from your new hobby, or offer some of it around to your neighbors. Again, another great way a new hobby can bring friends together!

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Flowering Plants in our Garden

Now that you've seen my vegetable garden, let me share the flowering plants  around our yard.
These wandering jew is very invasive and it's hard to get rid of.  I read somewhere that its  flower is poisonous to cats. dogs, and horse.  I was trying to get rid of them so I always pulled them out but they keep coming back.We have dogs so I was worried about them but I think  our dogs knows not to mess with it.
Every special occasion, my husband and kids would get me a pot of  miniature roses.  I prefer that over bouquets because I can plant them and see them grow and enjoy it's blooms during the summer.
I love this kind of  roses because they don't grow very big so I don't really have to  worry about trimming them.
I planted two  kinds of clematis but one died when my dog   watered it with his pee and I did not catch it right away.  I always  watch the dog when they go in the yard and do their business because one of them love to hike his leg and  pee on plants.  When the kids are the one that let them out, they don't watch them so Bolt can do what he likes to do.
But anyhow, this clematis is gorgeous when they bloom.  Bumble bees love them also.
I  made all the trellis in my yard because the price of the once you see  from the store are expensive.  I have plenty of bamboo in  our yard so I cut some and made it into trellises for our kiwi and other  crawling vine plants

I love forget me nots.  They are very easy to maintain and they are perennial so you don't have to worry about  replanting the next year.  Their tiny blooms are so dainty and it looks beautiful in the summer.
When we first bought our second home, the former owner, got rid of all the plants so I have to  plant my own.  This type of plant came back so I replanted them.  I am not sure what it is called but they have yellow bloom in the spring.  It's a great plant to cover ground.
Peonies and ants.  Have you noticed that  peonies always have  tons of ants when their bulb are starting to form.  According to experts,  they help each other out.  The ants get to  enjoy the sweetness of it and they help  the flower to fully bloom.

I love the scent of this flower so I always cut them and put them in the vase.
Our butterfly bushes are now blooming so we see a lot of butterflies  enjoying the nectar.  Our backyard at the old house has a huge  butterfly bush so I took a couple of  seedling when we moved.  The  spot where I planted them is not really a good place for it, it's not growing as healthy as I wanted it to be.
I forgot what these plants are called but they  bloom purple flowers.  I got them on sale at Lowes and Love that they are perennials.  They come back every year as well.
I have day lilies around the yard and other type of lilies like the  Pardon Me lilies which wasn't in the photo .  Day lilies are really good plants for borders and deer doesn't  bother them which is good.  I planted them around together with the hostas.  I have to spray  deer repellent for the hosta because deer love them. 
I have two hydrangeas in our front yard and they are now starting to bloom.  It said that the color of the flowers depend on the amount of sunlight that shine on it.  Mine  is pink and I haven't seen any changes which is fine.  My husband wanted a blue one.
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First Love Speedwell is what this beautiful flowering plant is called.  They are like the purple ones in shape and form.
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I brought these dwarf lilacs when we moved out from our first home.  I prefer these over the  big lilacs because they smell so sweet and it's not big.
I still have  plenty of flowering plants but did not have time to really  take photos of them.  Some does not like  plants around the yard but I do, it makes me happy.  It makes butterflies and other critters happy and it's beautiful when they bloom.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Inside our #VeggieGarden

This is the second year I am trying to grow  vegetable  in our second home.  Last year was a trial and error phase because I don't know which part of our yard would be best to put a vegetable garden.   I was trying to figure  out  where  to best plant  specific veggies.  This year, I kind of have an idea  where   to plant them. I also expanded our garden a little bit.  I don't have a big space so I just plant it on the sides of our  house.  I was planning to  make a big garden by our driveway since there is a big space there but my husband didn't want a veggie garden in the front yard so that plan was eliminated.
Last year, I saw these little asparagus  seedlings on sale at Rural King and thought of trying to  plant them  and see if  it will grow in our garden and it did.  It is still in the growing process so this year when they came back I was ecstatic.  They are however still small so no harvest yet for me but according to gardening experts, it will take few years before you can harvest asparagus when you initially   plant them.
I have three blueberry bushes that I planted last year.    We love blueberries but I only buy it once in a while because of the price.  I hope that these bushes will continue to grow so we could enjoy it in the years to come.  We actually had a few blooms but the birds kept pecking on it that  I never saw  the mature fruits.
This year, I wanted to  put an edger  where I can also use  as planters.  Since I have so many of these  plastic  pots  from the  plants I bought last year, I thought of using it.  It's a great system to plant your spinach and  lettuces.  Our bunnies are greatly benefiting the lettuce that we have this year and of course I do too since I love salad.  I do however find some of the  leaves bitter, any tips you can give me?
A friend of mine gave me some bokchoi seeds  to plant and she said that  it will grew even on cold temperature.  So after  the last frost I spread them  in a  flower bed so I can just transplant them afterwards.  The unpredictable weather that we had during spring somehow  made the growth of the  bocchoi stagnant.  They bloom  before I could enjoy the leaves so I just let them mature so I can gather the seeds for next year.
They make pretty good accent in the vegetable garden.  Their blooms are tiny yellow flowers and  it's pretty, I think.  You can even use it as filler when you're arranging flowers on a vase.

One of the few fruits that I planted last year was these hardy kiwis.  They are not the  regular fuzzy kiwis but  it said that they are as good.  Their fruit are a little smaller compared to  New Zealand kiwi but  the skin is not fuzzy.  We will see how it looks and taste when they bloom.  It said that it will take a few years before  it bears fruit.
Here it is now getting thicker  each day.  I am requesting a trellis from my husband but he doesn't like the idea of putting trellis on the porch sill.  I was hoping he would agree so it would block the view of our neighbors ha ha.
I actually got excited when I saw  the  flowers in  each vines.  I thought it will  mature as fruit but  they were just flowers, no fruit yet.
Another fruit I planted last year  is grapes, I have two of them.  Again, this fruit would take years before it blooms so it's a waiting game at this point.
Okay back to  veggies.  I planted a lot of cucumbers this year because we all love cukes here at home.  If I get lucky to have  a bunch, I would love to pickle them.
I also planted a bunch of carrots.  I should have just  planted the seeds directly to the ground instead of  starting them on plastic containers.  But they are getting thick now.  Aside from seeds, you can also  plant the  scrap from your kitchen.  I always stick the top of the carrots on the ground and they grow faster than the seeds.
During the winter season, my  living room window get crowded with all the  plants that needed to be  put inside.  Glad that summer is giving the  plants the much needed sunlight now that they are out in the patio/porch.  

You can check out the rest of my tropical plants from my previous post.  It's satisfying to grow stuff especially when you harvest them.  The  thought of eating  what you grow is priceless.  I am starting to harvest some of our veggies like green beans and cucumbers and other  veggies are now starting to bloom too.

Oh the joy of gardening!  Anyone else enjoys it as much as I do?  Some says  gardening can prolong your life span so whose with me?  I don't know if that's true but nevertheless, I  love gardening very much!  I don't mind my  hands  getting dirty, digging into the ground is satisfying, relaxing and rewarding at the same time.

Friday, June 29, 2018

Tropical Plants

I am from the tropical country of Philippines so I miss  all the tropical fruits that I used to enjoy back then.  I am trying to  grow them here in the US so my kids can see   how the fruits that I introduced to them grows.  I also love growing plants from scrap, it takes a little while for it to  develop into a mature plant but it is worth the wait as you will see it's transformation.  It is more of educational for my kids and  of course a satisfaction for my love of gardening.

1.  Pineapple -   I planted this pineapple from the fruit that we bought from the store.  What I love about pineapple is that you can  chop off the crown and  stick it in the  pot with soil and it will  grow.  If you want a more elaborate way of properly planting it, you can read this article from Wikihow, I just grow it the way my Dad  taught me  when I was a kid.  I have two  pineapple pants now and I transferred  them into bigger  pots.
2.  Calamondin -  This calamondin tree is  a native  fruit in the Philippines commonly known as Kalamansi.  We used it for cooking and  making lemonades.  We don't really use the  lemon and lime that you can find here in the States.  I will talk more about this at the end of the post.
3.  Avocado - Okay, I know that this will be impossible to  grow  here because of winter  but I am trying  anyway for the kids to see.  Avocado is also easy to grow, you just need to put the seed in a pot of soil and it  will perk right up after few days.  The only problem  about this fruit is, it grow as a big tree.  I need to find out if I can  prune it  and maintain it as a small tree as I can bring it inside the house on  freezing season.  Hubby and I love avocado.  He love it for dessert but I love it in salad.
 4.  Taro (Colocasia esculenta) - I grew up eating this plant, both the leaves and the roots.  It's a  common leafy vegetable in the Philippines and other Asian countries.  My Dad  used to cook  it in coconut oil and  put lots of spicy peppers and oh it's so good!  I grow it  because when  I am  homesick and missing my family back, I cope with cooking the  food that my family  love to eat.  You can cook the leaves fresh or you can dry it and cook it. Dried taro leaves  lasts a long time too.
 5.  Moringa or malunggay as we  commonly call it.  It's a very  leafy vegetable  that has a lot of healthy benefits.  You can use it for soup or cook it in coconut milk, yum!   It is a good herbal alternative to relieve stomach disorders, allergies and diabetes. Moringa also aids in liver and eye protection and bone health improvement.
 6.  Lemons - I have few lemon plants.  I grew it from the lemon seeds that I used in the kitchen.  I'm not sure how long  before  this plant bears fruit but I'm excited.  I can't grow them in the yard because of winter weather but I can sure grow it in the pots.  Comes winter though, my living room window is crowded with plants ha ha.
7.  Jack Fruit - we call this langka in tagalog language.  It grow as a big tree but I wanted to grow it  just so the kids can see it.  We bought a piece of  ripe jackfruit from the Asian store last month and I thought of trying to grow two seeds.  It's now coming up although it's  not that big yet, I am excited.  The fruit smells so good and taste even better.
8.  Asian Pear - I fell in love with this fruit  when we lived in South Korea few years back.  They are crunchy and juicy, a tad bit different from the US pears.  I also grow the seeds from the fruit we bought at an Asian store.  I did a research online and I found a farm that grow this fruit in Virginia.  So I am hoping that it can  tolerate the freezing temperature here in WV.  We will see.
This calamondin tree is  a new addition to my potted tropical plants.  I  got it from ViaCitrus.  It's a company that sells  citrus fruits such as Key Lime, Meyer lemon trees, and this Florida Calamondin.  I will find out if their calamondin is like the kalamansi that we had  in the Philippines.  
The packaging is great and it  has specific instruction for the  courier but of course in transit you can never guarantee that it won't be disturbed.  Half of it's soil  went in the  box but it's okay because I needed to transfer it in a bigger pot anyway.
I love that they shipped it right away when you order it.  Within  2 days, I got my calamondin which I think is super fast and awesome!
I put sand at the bottom of the pot  for good drainage as I did not have  pebbles or small rocks anymore.
I hope that it won't wilt while we are gone for a week.  I prepared a small bottle of water  that has  small holes on the lid and will put it beside it.  
I think the best  strategy for this to stay small is to prune it so we will see how it progress in my care.  If you want to  grow a calamondin, check them out at Via Citrus.  They ship fast.
I hope that in the near future, we can convert this  back porch into a sun porch so I will have  a place to put all my potted plants  with a good amount of morning sunlight during the winter.  It would be a costly project but hope to be able to do it.  For now, our next project will be the kitchen.
To better understand what the calamondin is, I found this video on Youtube that you can watch.

Disclosure: The owner of this blog was NOT financially compensated to write this review. I was provided with the complimentary product/s mentioned for testing purposes and to help me facilitate this review but opinions are my own.

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