I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. ~Ruth Stout

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A five project weekend...



 It was a cold windy weekend.  I tried to garden, but the wind quickly drove me indoors.  It was a good time for Pinterest Projects.  

Project one was Bulletproof Coffee Creamer drops.
1/2 c. butter
1 c. coconut oil
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. cloves
1/2 t. ginger
1/4 t. sea salt

Boil the butter for a few minutes then add rest of ingredients.  Whisk until thoroughly mixed.  Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.  After frozen, pop out of trays, put in a jar, and keep in the fridge.  To use: Take one cube and 2 cups of coffee , mix in a blender, until cube is melted, then re-heat coffee in the microwave for 30 seconds.  It is quite a bit of work, but does taste pretty good.

http://www.agirlworthsaving.net/2014/01/bulletproof-coffee-drops.html


Project 2 is my old summer standby homemade lemonade.   The official title is Anne of Green Gables Lemonade.  

2 c. water
2 c. sugar
2 c. fresh squeezed lemonade

Boil the water and sugar for 1 minute.  the sugar should be completely dissolved.  Add the lemon juice.   This makes a wonderful concentrate.  2 c. of concentrate to 6 cups of water. 

http://www.simplysogood.com/2010/06/old-fashion-lemonade.html
 

Project 5 has no recipe.  It is my Red Letter Raspberry wine.  I just had to take a picture, because it is such a beautiful ruby red color.   I'm finally back on track with my wine making.  I make a gallon batch a month.  In 3 months, it is ready.  I got off kilter, because I missed a batch. Then I mis-labeled some batches.  I realize now that note taking is very important.  I was able to bottle the raspberry over the weekend.  It was grand with a good steak.

Project 4 is kind of my own recipe for lotion bars.   I am allergic to most lotion, but these work perfectly.

1/2 c. coconut oil
1/2 c. beeswax
2 T.  almond oil
1 t. vitamin e oil
scent of choice

Mix in a double broiler, until melted.  Then pour into a mold.  I have found this square mold works the best.




Project 5 is my standby lemon sugar scrub.  

1 c. sugar
2 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice
1t. of lemon rind (from the above lemonade project)

This is a wonderful scrub for the shower.  





Well, that was my weekend projects.  I'm sure you are familiar with a few of them.   I go back to them because they are successful.  On Pinterest I have a board with the things that I have tried.  I have tried 147 projects or  products.  Thirty have failed miserably.  Things like:  Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, making things from old sweaters, pumpkin pie energy bites (so gross), and Smore's Pie.  One hundred and seventeen have been extremely successful:  Cheeseburger Soup,  strawberry hot chocolate, lime chicken, giant jenga, and beanbag toss boards.  

What are some success and failures you have found on Pinterest?

After posting this, I tried another pin with extreme success.  Put 1/4 cup of normal popcorn in a brown paper bag.  Fold the bag 3 times and put the microwave on popcorn.  It works like a charm.  Make that 148 pins, 30 unsuccessful, and 118 successful.

http://www.frugallivingnw.com/frugal-tip-make-your-own-microwave-popcorn/

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring has sprung...

Finally, I have some blooms to post.  My crocuses took advantage of the warm weather and made an early appearance.  They are always so cheerful against a drab world.





 These tulips sprung up before I could even get the bed cleaned out.  
I'm in shock that everything is melted off here.  I spent the weekend raking the yard and cleaning the flower beds.  
Meanwhile, in the greenhouse seeds are making their appearance.  My broccoli is up and  making progress.
 The lettuce is also finally coming up.  I seeded them last fall, but they never germinated this spring, so I had to reseed them.  It looks like the second time was a charm.
 Of course I don't expect the weather to hold, I have a back up plan in case it goes sour.  My dad got me a little cabin heater for the greenhouse.  I got it all set up today.  
It is my hope that if I plan for a big snowstorm it won't make an appearance.  I am about a month ahead of schedule in the gardening world.   What is going on in other parts of the country?  Are you already planting outside?  Are your crocuses long gone?  

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Rivers...

We did some exploring this weekend.   It is very rare that the snow is melted off this early and we took advantage.  We explored the riverbanks of the Belle Fourche River and Whitewood Creek.  

The Belle Fouche River is deep and swift.  The grass was tall and smelled heavenly.  There are supposed to be catfish (my favorite), so next time I will have to bring my pole.

 I love the giant cottonwoods that follow the river banks.  The prairie was warm and refreshing.

Our next stroll was along Whitewood Creek as it runs below Deadwood.  This creek is filled with trout and many people fly fish along it's windy banks.   The road followed the old railroad grade.  It was a beautiful walk.






You can see Ella in the distance patiently waiting for us to catch up.  It was a bit cooler in the hills, but certainly better than most Aprils.  

I am pleased the weather has allowed me the opportunity to get outside.  I am also thankful I live somewhere that within 20 minutes I can explore the prairie or the hills.   It amazes me how two rivers, not that far apart, can hold such different landscapes.  I hope everyone across the country is also enjoying an early spring.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bonnie's Bountiful Baskets...

If you expected to see fruits and vegetables from the Bountiful Basket program, you will be disappointed.  Instead you are going to witness Bonnie's Basket Debacle.  Some friends of ours own the Dakota Plains Auction house.  Every March they host an antique auction.   If you remember last year we bought a beautiful, swans head, wicker, one horse open sleigh.  

Well, we stuck with the wicker theme this year.  I didn't mean to, mind you.  It just happened that way.  While looking at the things up for auction, I noticed a table filled with baskets.  Lo and behold, there were two picnic baskets in mint condition.  I have been looking forever for a picnic basket.  I told my husband to be ready.  He is a sweet man and bid at my bidding.  I knew there were a lot of baskets, but I couldn't believe they were all in the same lot.  Well, they were.  We got them for a good price.  As we loaded them, I realized why nobody else was bidding.  What exactly does one do with 38 baskets?????  

These two are the temptresses that got me in this mess.  It is a good thing Easter is around the corner.  I have visions of Easter Baskets, Christmas Baskets, and even a Thanksgiving Cornucopia dancing in my head.  Anyone need a basket?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Bonnie's Bouquet...

I have an amazing brother.  Despite the fact he has been through hell, he still can create something so beautiful and so thoughtful.  Then to call it Bonnie's Bouquet knowing my love of alliteration.  I am blessed.  Love you little brother and thank you!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Is it summer yet?

I put the finishing touches on the picnic table last week.  Some green stain, clear stain, and a few bear paw prints across the top.



When my husband and I make something, we make it to last.  The table weighed a ton.  We did manage to get it to the porch.  I had to move several other things, but there it is.  We grilled steaks for its inauguration.  It was a bit cool, but we enjoyed our outdoor meal immensely.   It will be a wonderful summer indeed.


Projects are so much fun.  Today it was 60 degrees and we sat and visited with our neighbor at the new table.  Life is good.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Picnic Project...

Finally, a nice day.  It almost got to 50 degrees here.  My husband and I couldn't wait to get out and do something.  We were ready for a project.  After doing some internet searches last night, we found these plans for a picnic table.  We went to the store this morning and $120 and four hours later we were done.

Rough material list:

Material
Qty
Purpose
2" x 6" @ 10'
7
Legs, bench, and table top
2" x 4" @ 10'
1
Bench supports (free of knots)
2" x 4" @ 8'
2
Table top support (right and left) and misc.
5/16" x 4" Galvanized Carriage Bolts
12
Bench supports, legs and diagonal support
3" Galvanized Deck Screws &
2 1/2" Galvanized Deck Screws
100+/-
Table top, bench seat, misc. usage

Cut and Assemble the Table Top
  1. Cut 5 2x6s 60" long out of three of the 10' 2x6s.
  2. Cut 2 2x4s 28" long out of one of the 8' 2x4s.
  3. On a flat surface, lay out the 5 2x6s side by side, with the prettiest side facing down.
  4. Position the two 2x4s on each end of the table top 7.5" from each end.
  5. Attach the 2x4 braces to the table top boards using two 2.5" galvanized wood screws on each end of each board.
Cut and Assemble the Legs and Bench Supports
  1. Mark an angle with a speed square 23 degrees on one end of a 2x6 and cut it.
  2. Measure 30" from the long point of the previous cut and mark another 23 degree angle and cut it parallel to the first cut.  
  1. From one of the 8' 2x4s, cut one piece 28" long.
  2. On one edge of the 2x4 (A), make a mark 4" from each end.  This will be the position of the top of the legs.  (see diagram)
  3. Place the legs (B) on the 2x4 (A) as shown in the diagram, and secure them with two 2.5" galvanized wood screws.
  4. From the 10' 2x4, cut two pieces 60" long.  These will be used for the bench supports.
  5. Measure up 14.5" from the other end of each leg and make a mark.  This will be the height of the bench support.
  6. Line up the top of the 60" bench support with the marks made from the previous step.
  7. Center it between the legs so that an equal amount of 2x4 is extending from each side. (see the diagram below).
  8. Secure the bench support (C) to the legs (B) with two 2.5" galvanized wood screws.
  1. Drill a 3/8" hole through both boards where each piece connects, and secure the pieces together with four 3/8" x 4" carriage bolts.  Note that the holes that secure the legs (B) to the upper support (A) should be drilled 2" from the top of the upper support (1.5" from the bottom).  This is so that when you attach the leg assembly to the table top, the carriage bolts won't be in the way.
  2. Repeat the steps above to assemble the remaining leg assembly.
Attach the Leg Sections to the Table Top
  1. Flip the table top upside down and attach the legs to each side of the table top braces.  Use four 2.5" galvanized wood screws to secure each leg section. 
  2. From the remaining 8' 2x4, cut two 24" pieces with a 45 degree bevel on each end.  These will be used as braces.
  3. From the bottom of the table top to the bench support, make a mark at 17" on the middle of the bench support.
  4. Make another mark on the underside of the table from the inside plane of the bench support to the center board on the underside of the table (see diagram).  The 24" brace, when attached, should line up with these two marks.  If they don't, pull the leg assembly over until the marks line up.  This is required so that the legs and table top will be a perfect 90 degrees. 
  5. Secure the braces with 2.5" galvanized wood screws and finally, with carriage bolts.
Finishing Up
With the diagonal braces in place and secured, flip the table upright and add the 60" 2x6 bench seats. (see diagrams)  Using the remaining scrap 2x material, add supports to the middle of the table top and middle of the bench seats to keep the lined up.  (see the Picnic Table Side View)
Cut theses braces so that they are about 1" from either edge of the table top or bench seat.  Secure them with 2.5" galvanized wood screws.

We got the plans at:
http://www.mycarpentry.com/picnic-table-designs.html  
Just know that it forgets to tell you to buy the 2 1/2" galvanized wood screws.  Not something you want to realize after you get home from getting materials.

Yes, we probably could have just purchased a table, but what fun would that be?  All that left is sanding and staining.  Oh, and some summertime.