Friday, July 15, 2011

Dirty Hands, Blissful Bank Account

My hands have been pretty dirty lately with garden projects galore.  Most of them are not that exciting.  Dead heading.  Pulling out spent peas.  Putting in more basil.

But some of them made my bank account smile.


I spent all spring thoughtfully shading my girls from the hot summer sun.  After planting a native grape, a California native called Malacothamnus, and a tree mallow.  Everything is growing beautifully and would be providing plenty of shade - if that side of the coop actually got much sun!  Turns out the afternoon sun - and a lot of it - soaks in on the other side.  Oops!!

After brainstorming with the wonderful folks over at Take-Back Urban Homesteading(s) Facebook page about what plants would provide nice shade on the other side, I opted for sunflowers along the run.  I just so happened to have found a giant mason jar filled with seeds from last year's sunflowers!  Then, because sunflowers grow fast but not fast enough, my dad rigged up an old wooden shade that we found in the attic.  (Don't you just love dads!!).

I ended up with perfectly shaded pullets for not a penny spent!  I'll plant a mulberry or pomegranate this fall or winter (yay for bare root prices!) to provide more permanent shade next year.


A few months ago, as I started putting the garden together, I bemoaned having a perch somewhere to sit quietly and watch the finches dive into the sunflower leaves looking for dinner, the bees greedily massage the cosmos and calendula, and the hawk skim the clouds above.

My parents bought me this bench years and years ago.  Lately, it has slunk on the other side of the retaining wall - ignored and out of the way.  Once the plants started to grow, there was time to think about other things.  Like sitting.  We dragged the bench up and my dad made this cute little footpad out of used bricks that were lying about in random piles when we moved in.  (See, dads are really great!).  And now, I have the most perfect watching spot.  I just need to find the time to watch.

(Speaking of piles of bricks, those suckers have come in handy: as stairs for the cottage/playhouse, as a base for the toolshed, and as a border around my raised beds.  Everything was free but the labor.)


Dropping off some eggs at a neighbor's house, I ogled her beautiful garden filled with stepping stones, baby tears, and an iron urn crammed with succulents.  What a minute!! I had an iron urn.  Purchased at half off at a new defunct garden store years ago.

This urn has been lurking next to our trash cans since we moved here.  Mr. Green Bean hauled it up, I rounded up some potting soil and stuffed in a few succulents from the local nursery.  It makes me feel happy every time I walk up the steps.

And that is the beauty of dirty hands!

For more low cost ideas, check out Frugal Fridays at The Shabby Nest.  For in between post thoughts, photos, videos and links, join my Facebook page.


meg- grow and resist said...

I love piles of bricks too. We scored on a dump truck full about 5 years ago- we had to clean them (which was a pain) but it became our patio. I use them for everything- edging, places to step in the garden, to set pots on, etc. Anyway- nice job with shading the coop! I don't need to shade ours but I better start thinking of rain protection soon!

Bridget said...

Great to do no-cost projects that look great too. That urn is lovely and I do love succelents, such forgiving plants. The seat is great, very country garden.

notherethenwhere said...

Wow - everything looks great, and the low cost is icing on the cake. I especially love your chicken set-up.

Green Bean said...

@Meg - Bricks rock! We're going to need to replenish our supply soon. And yes, it is getting to that time of year. I'm looking into a rain garden near my down spout.

@Bridget - Thank you! I need more succulent because, yes, they forgive, forgive, forgive!

@notherethenwhere: Thank you! The ladies love it but cannot wait for the growing season to be over so they can get back out into the garden more.


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