The Cascade Hops Vine (Humulus Cascade Hops) has grown up the small, temporary trellis and is covering a good-sized width of the fence behind the plant these days. Below, is a photo showing the Hops vine as it stands today - happy foliage and plenty of vines seeking upward growth. I planted this vine in Summer 2021 , so this the third growing season and last year, I added some wire (screwed to the fence) as a trellis for it to grow up . The vine quickly consumed that trellis and wants EVEN MORE. In terms of fruit, it threw off some of those beautiful hops in the first season ( August ), but struggled last Summer and started to turn yellow by early September . I'll watch this August to see if we get any hops. One thing that is certain - I have to do even more trellis-wise on this next year. Maybe it is up a wire? Or around a hoop?
Showing posts with the label projects
Back in February, when I was at the end of the line in terms of wanting to deal with snow, I posted something that amounted to a bonsai wish list (or to-do list) for the season. It was a way to get my brain thinking about what the Spring and Summer will look like and a coping mechanism after all the snow. (Listen...I'm not normally someone who hates Winter. But, February...and ALL.THE.SNOW was, umm, a bit much.) So, out of that post , I mentioned that I wanted to do a few things including utilizing the existing nursery stock that I have on hand, acquire more for future use, dig up a 'found' bonsai (American Elm), take a bonsai class and...create a bench or table for the trees. I've looked around (briefly) on the Web to figure out the right way to display bonsai and it seems like if you are interested in learning more about the topic, stop number one on your journey should be this Bonsai Empire post that talks how to display trees and gives some tips. They also sh
A few weeks back, I posted a photo to mark the beginning of my second Winter Break COVID puzzle - this 750 piece puzzle featuring Disney pins that you can trade in/around the parks. Well, I hit it hard out of the gate - while I was still had some time away from work. But, then, reality hit and my days were filled with Microsoft Teams calls. As with my previous COVID puzzles (a smaller, 300-piece Christmas one and a 1000-piece Harry Potter-themed one ) that I successfully completed, I set this Disney Pins puzzle up in the screened porch where there is a lot of light and plenty of company. After starting strong, this puzzle seemed to just kind of sit idle. Couple work stuff with the kids using my puzzle table to do their Christmas Lego sets and this one got shelved for a bit. But, this past weekend, I picked up where I left off, reset a few of the pieces that had come up and got busy. Here's where I ended the weekend: Pretty close to being done. I think one or two more s
When we started this whole global pandemic thing back in Spring, puzzles had a moment. Everybody was bound to their own home and it seemed liked everyone was doing puzzles. Here's what Google Trends has in terms of data to show the surge in interest in puzzles this Spring : We tried to do one back then, but failed. Just never got out of the starting block. I think it had to do with the location of the puzzle. We had it set up in our dining room - which is like a ghost town. But, in recent weeks, I put up our little card table out on the screened porch and put a 300 piece family-friendly Christmas puzzle on it. Guess what? Seven or eight days after I started it, we finished it. Because, it was in a room where we all were hanging out. So, today is Sunday the 13th of December. I'm working the rest of this week and a little bit next week. But, then we'll have some time together as a family. And, because of that, Nat scored us a new puzzle. Except this time it
Right at the end of last year, I posted a photo of a Wave Hill Garden chair and talked about how I was struck by the design of the chair - and the fact that it wasn't a traditional adirondack chair that you see everywhere. We had spent some time in Luxembourg Gardens in Paris last year and fell in love with lots of things - including their chairs - and have been thinking about how I bring a chair or two to our backyard and garden. The Wave Hill chair seemed to scratch me right where I itch. A gardener named Dan Benarcik has developed plans for the chair and is selling them for $35 (the updated plan version) on his site . I put the idea of creating a chair like this on my 2020 Gardening To-Do List . #11 on the list is to 'build something' like these chairs (or a raised bed). I haven't sprung for the plans (yet), but I've been nosing around the Web for some additional inspiration. I came across this post on Reddit that featured a photo of a modified Wave
One week in with our 2018 edition of the amaryllis bulb and I'm happy to report that there's a little bit of action going on here. Here's the post showing the bulb both before it went into the pot and right after . If you look closely at this photo above, you'll notice two things: First, the tiniest little green shoot emerging from the middle (top part of the bulb in this photo) and a good-sized 'gap' that has been created near the bottom of the bulb in this photo. Thinking that the 'gap' that is being made is the result of some growth down below and just kind of *making room* for even more green shoots to emerge. As a reminder, this is a double-flowering Nymph bulb that has white flowers with some red/pink accents. I'll keep an eye on this, but I'm hoping that by mid-December, we'll have a nice-looking plant beginning to head skywards. Here's the bulb from 2017 on December 16th to give you a sense for what should take pla
Via Can I Listen to Christmas Music? I neglected to post a link to my annual Christmas Music project earlier this season. So, I'm getting to it now: Can I listen to Christmas music ? (v2). Why V2? Welp, that's because V1 is still up at the original URL , but I wanted to try something a little different - and more simple. Once the season passes, I'll put in a redirect from the old site to the new one - which I think serves the most basic of purposes: notifies you if you can or can not listen to Christmas music. I posted about this project last year in November . And on November 2nd of 2016 . The old, V1 site, has lots more stuff - including a countdown clock , email subscriptions, etc. I'll work to port those over, but for now, there's just one page and a simple answer: Yes. It is built on a responsive template, so it looks identical in both desktop and mobile. Come January something, I'll flip it back over to 'no'. The new
I posted back in August how a bird's nest had fallen from one of our big Oak trees down to the yard and how the kids were fascinated by it. I read up a bit and figured out that we could build a nesting platform for both the replacing of *this* nest and hopefully the usage of other birds (Robins?) next season. I found these easy plans for a nesting platform/shelf here . I had 1/2" plywood on hand, so I decided to use that. I know that Cedar would be better, but I had the plywood on hand. I made the cuts, assembled the thing and even tweaked it a bit. I added a series of drainage holes to the bottom of the platform and to the bottom/sides of the walls. Figured for both drainage and airflow. After I built it, I had the Bird paint it. You can kind of see that she used some metallic paints on the back/sides of it. After I asked her if she wanted to finish it, she insisted that it was done. So, I put down a few coats of spray-on clear coat to both protect her p
Just a few days back, I posted a link to these DIY firewood rack brackets that Menards was carrying on their site . I ordered five sets and got busy working with three of them. Here, above, is a work-in-progress show that shows the position of one of the racks that I'm building. This one is the one right outside of the family room door and I've built the rack in a vertical orientation. I ended up using some rough sawn cedar that was left over from my fence installation, but that move caused some issues. Turns out, rough sawn cedar 2x4's aren't the same size as normal, dimensional construction lumber. They're a bit bigger. Not true two inches by four inches, but bigger by just a hair. Here's the height difference. On the left is a traditional, Home Depot bought 2x4. On the right is a rough sawn Cedar 2x4. And the thickness difference. I first went to Home Depot and the one by us has just an indoor lumber yard, so they have limited su
Image of firewood rack via Menards (not my photo above) Last year was our first Winter in our house and was also the first year where we ordered a Face Cord of firewood. I documented that Face Cord - and the location of the rack - here on the blog . I set up our only rack in our screened porch, where it was covered and protected from the elements. But last year we didn't have any furniture in the porch, so it was easy to do. This year? Nat has set up the room with a full set of furniture and even an indoor/outdoor rug. So, that means space is limited inside. At the same time, I've considered firewood rack options - including posting some inspiration here on the blog . The placement of the rack has been bouncing around in my brain for the better part of the Summer. I want to put it in a place that is protected from the elements, but not too far from the door because I know I'll want to walk out there in my house shoes to grab wood for the fire. Also, I know
If you haven't been able to pick this up by now, I'm not one to hold back my opinion on some things. Nat insists that I think that the entire world should think just the way I think on some things. And, I guess that's true. I do, often, wish that the world thought the way I did on a bunch of topics. But, I'm not sitting by and leaving it up to luck that people will come around on some topics. If you've followed along at all over the years, you know I have an opinion on when it is acceptable to listen to Christmas music . And I tried to do something about skunks in Elmhurst . Today, I'm excited to release my latest web project. The wedding industry is chock'd full of advice sites. How-to guides. Tip sheets. Consultants. In fact, my wife Natalie was an award-winning member of the industry for a bit. My project is aimed at the wedding industry. It is an advice website called " Holiday Weekend Wedding ". The goal
As I was doing some work to cut plywood for a garage project, I made a mistake and there was a pretty big spark. Somehow, my circular saw cord got caught up on itself and I sliced it right open. Amateur hour, right? I texted this photo over to my father-in-law and asked him if it was repairable and he said: yep! Easy fix. So, I stuck this saw in my car and the next time I head over there, I'll drop it off for him to repair. The good news is that I wasn't electrocuted. Between the GFI and the plastic handle, I didn't learn this lesson the hard way.
Via Firewood Victoria Just like the various versions of my shop workbench that I've posted about (and dreamed about and finally settled on ), I've done the same with a firewood storage shed. Above is the latest 'dream' firewood storage shed that I've come across. The photo above comes from a Canadian Lumber Company's site . You can find the original source image here . Last year, you might recall the pile of wood that I chopped myself and stuck on a rack that I had outside our backdoor. Here's the 'before/after' photo collage . And in early January, I posted a photo of the face cord that we ordered and had stacked . You'll note that the face cord was stacked in our screened porch and it was too big for the metal rack that I had on hand. We blew through the face cord of wood before the season ended and I did one check-in (February) trying to document the usage . This season there are some new dynamics to factor: 1. Na
Inside of our garage, we had a hose bib installed during construction that I intended to use to water inside the garage, on the driveway and out front of the house. But, when we actually started to use the hose in this area, it quickly became apparent that we had to be thoughtful in terms of where/how we stored the hose. At first, I considered something like the (highly regarded) Eley hose reel with a traditional hose. I came across it from Laura on Garden Answer in this video . But, in thinking about how much the kids are involved in the hose (watering the flowers, playing with the water, etc), it seemed like if I wanted the hose to end up wound up each and everytime, I was going to have to find a self-retracting hose reel. GeekbeatTV ran a review of a retractable hose reel from Flowmaster that seemed right for us. Our Home Depot sells the same Flowmaster reel but under the Gartenkraft name . And after it came home with us, it sat in the garage for a month. Then I figu
I came across these Hollywood Junipers on Fast Growing Trees (that's their product listing above) and then wandered down a Juniper-related wormhole into the world of topiary arts. And, I ended up landing at this Monrovia page about their Hollywood Junipers that features a secondary photo that looks like this: Above photo via Monrovia's product listing page And I've now suddenly decided to take on a new gardening project that involves me blindly ordering trees online (yeah...online?!?) and figuring out how to either build or buy some big enough pots to keep a couple of these on our patio. Having just visited the Flower and Garden Festival and seeing their topiaries of different styles/sizes, I've kinda fallen hard for them and think they'll both add a little interest and provide some activity for me and the kids to putter around the yard this season. The Fast-Growing-Trees site sells 3'-4' trees , so they're not very big, but if the site
Back last summer, I posted this photo of a set of raised beds that I thought were particularly well designed . Since then, I've been thinking about what it would take to pull them off and I recently came across this image - which based on the watermark is from the Family Handyman , but I found on some weird, scraped site. I went and found the original article - which you can read here . There's a self-watering component at play here that utilizes a perforated drain pipe and a pond liner that I'm not sure is something that I want to get into/deal with. But, rest of the design seems to indicate the direction that the construction can take. There are a few changes that I'm going to make - starting with using 2x4's for the 'legs' as well as the cross members. Right now, I'm thinking that notching the legs to accept the cross member is the right approach. I also want to make these much taller than they're showing, but with a similar 'fal
Some good news here in terms of the basement shop project. Thanks to the fine folks at Oakley Home Builders , I've acquired the door. The hang up for the entire project was the door and the thing about the door was that I really wanted it to match the existing storage room door that was already in place in the basement. The storage room door is right at the base of the stairs and my shop is going to be just to the left of it. The doors to the two rooms are going to be just a few feet apart (but set at 90 degrees), so it seemed important to have the doors match. I posted back at the end of February about the shop being 'pressurized' and trying to figure out a venting work-around . And this door is the primary reason. It is an exterior door that is sealed all the way around. I wanted to use a sealed door for dust control, but am fearful that if we built the shop too 'tight', it would act like a balloon and make it hard to close the door/blow out part of
We found ourselves near the Jelly Belly Warehouse up in Pleasant Prairie Wisconsin recently and decided to take the two youngest kids on a tour and stop at the factory store. The tour is free and is a nice way to spend an hour. They put you on a little tram ride that takes you around the facility and shows you how they make the beans. But...this isn't a factory. It is a warehouse. And we went on a Sunday when the place was shut down. Still was fun, though. They also have an in-house bean artist that does displays like the one you see above with Mickey and Minnie Mouse made entirely out of Jelly Belly jelly beans. Here's the non-operational warehouse: One aspect of the tour is the wait for the tram to arrive. There's only one tram and if it is out on a tour, you have to wait for it to come back into the station for the next tour. They have you wait - not in the warehouse - but in a separate spot. The waiting room is actually upstairs where they have a
Via Can I Listen to Christmas Music? Yesterday, I flipped the annual switch from "No" to "Yes" on the Can I listen to Christmas music? project . I've been saying for the past few years that Thanksgiving "needs a better PR agency" because we go straight from October 31st --> zoom --> Christmas. Billboards, ads, in store displays. All holidays. And not Thanksgiving. The last bastion of Thanksgiving buzz seems to be the grocery store and endcaps. There are plenty of folks that aren't turkey producers who drive a lot of volume at Thanksgiving. I've chronicled [ Christmas Creep ] here on the blog over the years where I've posted photos of stores and others inching Christmas up in the calendar year. And, I've consistently said that I'm totally fine with it. I, for one, welcome our Christmas season overlords. Bring on the Elf on the Shelf . Bring on the Advent calendars . Bring on the Lionel O Gauge Christmas train
This cute little bunny mold arrived in the mail recently. She's wearing a dress and carrying a basket - as Easter Bunnies are wont to do. The bunny from 2014 also carried a basket, but he was a bit more formal. This one is a bit smaller than we've done in the past, but I think with the girls helping me, the size is going to work to our advantage. Turns out, we didn't make one of the last year. Instead, we went to Sea Island instead of having Easter around town. Ahhh...Sea Island. Back to reality with these molds. I'll work with the girls to stuff the cavitiy with water putty, then once dry, we'll paint them up, then add a topcoat for shine. Aiming for four of them to spread the Easter joy around a bit. Here's the mold we used in 2015 . Here's the mold we used in 2014 . Here's the mold we used in 2013 . Here's the mold we used in 2012 . Here's the mold we used in 2011 .