Sunday, August 8, 2010


Having just read Sissy’s post about a worker taking her brother’s ladder and level claiming it was his… funny, I never thought about stealing… BUT, I must have years ago when I bought my super expensive (for me, back then) aluminum step/extension ladder. It is a 6 foot step ladder which opens up to 11 feet straight up or in different configurations for on steps or unusual locations. It is not painted all over, but it is painted a little with the florescent paint, because sometimes it is left out where it could easily be carried off… It is hanging in the barn most the time, but sometimes it is out.  I can’t imagine someone having the _____ to just drive up and claim something was HIS knowing dam’d well it wasn’t. But, the police wanted to know if there was any way to identify it as HIS ladder and outside a dent, he couldn’t.  DSC_0615

Hmmmmm, I’m thinking folks ought to take pictures of their stuff, tools and the like, just like folks do their belongings in their houses for insurance purposes. I have done quite a bit of that kind of photography for people for their insurance as well doing videos for people’s wills. DSC_0617Now, my neighbor across the street has a wheelbarrow just like mine – the big one, not the little red one that used to be green… And so, when I was painting my Adirondack chairs, I decided to slap a bit of paint on the wheelbarrow so it could not get confused with the one Frankie uses. He occasionally cuts down a tree or two for me and takes the logs home to burn. So, I made the wheelbarrow distinguishable from his, you might say. And the paint preserves the wood.

 DSC_0616 While I was in the barn where the ladder hangs, I thought I would take a shot of some of the tools in there next to the ladder. Yeah, yeah, it is a mess, but it has been too hot to clean it up. And, yep, even the broom is painted. Had a kid help mow the grass a few years back. Rule was to sweep the dirt and grass off the mower before putting it away. He did. And he always left the broom leaning up against a tree or sometimes it fell into the weeds or compost pile and disappeared. The red handle seemed to remind him to park it in the barn.

Of course, the other advantage of a red broom handle, it is easier to find in the broom parking lot…

Sorry. The devil made me say that.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


Many years ago, I had a guy work for me who, as it turned out, was usually more trouble than not. One of his most aggravating habits was dropping whatever tool he was using wherever he was and moving on. Even going home! He never put any tools away. He even lost my wheelbarrow one day! It was green.

Back then, I only owned about one acre, I didn’t have all the woods around me yet – good thing or I never would have found all the stuff he left lying around. I also didn’t own so many tools. So, in order to keep up with stuff, I invested in a few cans of spray paint. If you look in most any paint section, you will find bright fluorescent paint, reds, red-orange… In fact, you can even find fluorescent duct tape today, and I have used that, too. So I started to paint the handles of all my tools, from little spades and trowels to rakes, shovels and hoes.DSC_0611  DSC_0612 DSC_0423

Possum’s hint – whether you have a gardener who leaves things in hard to find places, or if you occasionally drop something or leave it hanging on a tree branch… painting the handles of tools is one easy way to find stuff. It is also a help if you have a neighbor who borrows and then can’t find it or claims he doesn’t have it. It is hard to hide a Bright red handled hoe or shovel. How about a bright red wheel barrow? Or hard to lose it out in the back 40 if you suddenly have to make a quick trip to the house.

DSC_0422DSC_01832 Part of this Possum’s problem is, well, she is getting older. She can start out doing one thing and end up doing 6 other things before she even remembers what she went out in the yard to do in the first place, if she remembers at all. So, some tools get taken out, left while another seemingly more urgent job gets taken care of, and then another, and then a phone call, a potty break, something… and then it is time to come in and fix dinner, or go pick somebody up… well, you get the idea.  DSC_02192DSC_0425So, the bright handles are a big help. I have seriously considered a bright red flag on the John Deere so I don’t lose it, but I have made a point to drive it to the back door if not back in the barn when I have to abandon mowing for a bit. In fact, I almost didn’t buy it because it was green. I never lost my red Murray!

Unfortunately, if you are color blind, you will have to pick a different color or a different method. If you have another trick, please pass it along here. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


IF YOU FOLLOW MY OTHER BLOG, over at Possum Lane, you will know how dry it has been here. So, that takes us to the subject of hoses. Now normally, I am a very frugal possum, but sometimes ya just gotta spend a little money. One thing I have never hesitated to spend money on is a hose. It is true, my place is not that big. 4 acres is tiny compared to lots of other people’s properties, but when you tend to spread your garden and plants out like I did, well, when it gets dry out there, it sometimes requires a lot of hose.

Years ago, I made a deal with our then mayor, John Willis, that if I bought the trees and paid to have them planted, the town would help take care of the long strip of land next to the road where I planted some crape myrtles, camellias and azaleas. I must say, it does look nice when coming into our town. People stop and admire the plantings and thank me for making their ride to work a little more beautiful. Now, John Willis knew I had spent right much time in a wheelchair, and by rights wasn’t even supposed to be walking,   let alone cutting grass and mulching or watering plants along a tenth of a mile of road, so he made sure the young men working for the town kept the bank cut and looking decent. DSCN1373The town used to be very well kept back then.    Our current mayor said in a public meeting that I hadn’t made that agreement with her (well, no, it had been made 8 years before she took office) so she was not going to honor that agreement which meant she wasn’t going to have the roadside leading into her town look good anymore. And so it doesn’t.  But, I digress… the year I paid to have those young trees planted, it was also dry, very dry, just like it is now. Over the winter, I tried carrying water in a wagon behind my sit-down mower and dumping bottles of water on every tree every day for a month or so – then the mower died. Dontcha hate when that happens? When it was warm enough, I connected all my hoses together, I still only had about 200 feet, and that was about 300 feet short. So I bought a 250 foot hose on its own little crank up stand, added a few of my 50 foot hoses, my patched up 80 foot hose, and got water to all but the last 2 trees. DSCN2531 DSCN2532 I kept an old bucket back at the edge of the woods for carrying the water to them. I am hoping I don’t have to drag that long old hose back out, but if we don’t get some rain by this week-end, I might just have to do that. Lets hope my doctor gets me walking a little better first… I can’t see dragging 250 feet of hose while hanging onto my walker. Using it in the back yard isn’t so bad, but a tenth of a mile on uneven ground?DSCN1777 No. The trees will have to die. That ought to look nice. Durn.

DSC_0519 DSC_0522 Anyway, not being able to walk real far has slowed down my ability to drag hoses even around to the things closer to the house, plants that are clearly going to die if they don’t get a drink pretty soon. So, I broke down and bought another hose. This time I bought a bright yellow one, because I plan on leaving it lay right there until I don’t need it anymore, but should it rain and we actually get any grass growing again that I actually have to get on the big old Deere and cut – well, I want to be able to see the hose before I run over it – or not. DSC_0521 DSC_0520 The old hoses that I have stretched out to the hydrangea are either out of the way or are over ground so barren I doubt we will ever have grass there again this year.

DSC_0405 DSC_0413 On the money spending side of things, I bought myself 2 luxury items earlier this year – back when it rained and there was a lawn to mow. I splurged on 2 hose boxes to wind the hose back up when I am done so it is not laying out where it can be tripped over (being green and blending in with the color of the grass we used to have) or where it would have to be moved every week when the big old John Deere ran thru… Or the little walk behind Murray, for that matter. Just thought it would make life easier and look better to boot! And it does. I am hoping they will go on sale soon so I can buy another one for out front where the hose runs along side the sidewalk. No problem there with the mower, and nobody uses the front door anyway unless it is someone you probably don’t want to see – hey, this is Down Home where your friends come to the back door and the cat rolls over to greet them!

DSC_0523 Another cheapie but handy thing is this wreath holder… lets face it, what happens to them when the flowers are dead and, well, you know… the cemetery throws them in a pile and they land in the landfill. Notice the leaves are falling already? And it is just July? Anyway, this is the handiest thing for hooking the hose onto to gently spray garden areas, and especially if you have one of those small 4 foot square raised gardens where the plant’s roots don’t get to go down into the ground… ya gotta keep it wet. My other tomato plants are only about 3 feet tall – these are over 6 feet tall, but they have to be watered everyday. DSC_0525

And, as in an earlier post, at the end of the season, store your drained hoses in a big garbage can where they will be safe, out of the way, and ready for next year. And if you leave them in a roll away box, be sure to drain them first! DSCN2533 Gosh, it is hard at 96 degrees to imagine the hoses freezing!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


What, you thought this was a naughty blog? Sorry… just discussing trash cans here.

Potting season is just about over unless you are one of those people who starts a second crop. I have been thinking about doing that as my yellow wax beans have been producing and producing for over a month now, and I now have to sneak up to back doors and leave bags of beans hanging on door handles in the dark. Kind of like folks with too many zucchini plants… Sigh. So, assuming you are finished with all your potting for this year, where and how do you store those left over bags of potting mix, perlite, vermiculite, fertilizers – whatever you use… and how about all the flats and pots that you will reuse?

For years I used to just stack things on top of my cold frame, or on a crate hanging on a barn wall.DSC_0420

Neither one of those were great ideas. The stuff on the cold frame often got distributed all over the yard and into the woods in hurricanes or nor'easters, and once the things on the barn blew away. If you look carefully, you will see square flower pots in the icy water in what is part of my yard where I now mow grass.DSCN2826 Often I just shoved things out of the way of the mower. Laziness, right? Or just plain disorganized… Potting mixes were stashed in old kitty litter containers – great things for storage of small amounts, but somewhat messy to stack and stash, and some got left here, some there… have I ever mentioned I have an organizational problem? I am organizationally impaired. This past winter, the weather was rough, and the bad weather started early. (see my blog at  for details and pictures!)

DSC_0979DSCN1331 This is my garden wagon – guess you could call it my covered wagon, eh?

Things were left here and there waiting for that day when it did not rain or snow, or the temp was above 40. It was a loooooooooooong wait. One storm after another, and when the snow stopped, the rain started. Did I mention I am a wimp? Thermostatically impaired… can’t take the temps when they are in the 80s let alone above that, and don’t do well below 40. Pitiful. Last winter, there were parts of the yard I just could not even get to even with boots on. The mud sucked the boots off your feet! So, when it dried up enough to walk around, I spent a day and a half retrieving flower pots and trays, tools left out “for tomorrow’s” project that actually was months away. Yep, a very unusual winter. So, having gathered most, but not all of my pots and things, I decided it was time to put them in a safe place where they would not blow around. An old local hardware store was going out of business, and I noticed they had several rectangular shaped trash cans. I love these cans for raking leaves and clean up jobs – having flat sides, they are great for raking things right into them and then rolling them to the dump site, an advantage of having a few acres of land and lots of woods. They are also great for toting mulch. So I bought a couple more cans and now use them for storing my bigger bags of potting soil where the raccoons can’t get at them,DSC_04021

and potting trays where they can’t blow away. Being rectangular, the trays fit better than in a round can.DSC_0418 DSC_0419

Round cans work real well for hose storage, but the BIG square ones work well, too.DSCN2533

and the metal ones are great for storing bird seed. Again, metal keeps the coonie bears out. Be sure you have a strong tight bungee cord. The raccoons ate thru my old plastic trash cans back before the Trash disposal company gave us their cans. I am sure there are a gazillion other things one can store in trash containers. Like last time, send me your ideas and I will post them on here. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


IMAGINE MY SURPRISE when I got so many responses on the many uses of clothes pins. I have excluded some that had to do with car maintanence or laundry... trying to stick to the out of doors or gardening type stuff.
  • do it your selfers - use a clothes pin to hold nails so the hammer doesn't smash your thumb.
  • We always take a bag of pins with us when we go camping, not just for the usual hanging things up to dry, but to make privacy screens for changing clothes by holding towels together. They also hold outside shower containers in place and close the tubes (on shower water bags) to shut the water off while soaping up.
  • I use clothes pins to hold the pages of my book when reading outside in a breeze.
  • My wife uses clothes pins to attach Honey Do notes to my work bench, tools, the visor of my truck. You name it, a note is there.
  • I know this sounds dumb, but I lose the car in big parking lots. So I fasten a big Christmas ribbon to the antenna with a clothes pin, but I remove it before driving home.
  • I guess this is only kind of outdoorsy, but in the winter, the kids keep their gloves together to dry with colored clothes pins. We can't find the colored ones any more so as they disappear, the kids write their name on a c-pin and we hang them up in the mud room to dry.

Well, I never expected so many ideas! Thanks Ya'all!

Monday, June 14, 2010


I think I will start with my cheapest garden tool, the lowly clothes pin. I am one of those people who loves to improvise, and hates to spend money on something really quite unnecessary when something closer at hand (and a lot less expensive) will do as well – or even better. I use clothes pins to hold fencing together when in use, or when wrapped up to be stored for next year.DSC_0415 Clothes pins hold netting in place.DSC_0409 Here I have used clothes pins to train vines up a support in my attempt at vertical gardening.DSC_0427 After this little section has attached itself, DSC_0426 the same clothes pin can easily be moved to the next tendril.

This is a great way to keep potting soil and other such supplies closed and dry.DSC_0403 I usually use the oldest clothes pins for garden stuff… I am lazy and leave them on the line, you see, year round, as I am one of those old fashioned folks who LOVES to hang clothes outside when the weather permits. The GOOD clothes pins are in a clothes pin bag thingie, but the gardening ones are in an old strawberry box that hangs up with an old hanger from a now deceased birdfeeder (read squirrel damaged). DSC_0417 Now ya can’t get much cheaper than that! And, it is a great example of recycling!

I also use clothes pins to hold birdfeeders in place – again, the squirrel thing, but also we have some serious wind here – and they keep bags of bird seed closed and waterproof… they hold covers on picnic tables, canvas covers on lawn furniture, and so many other things, I can’t think of them all right now. Maybe another post! Send me your ideas!


The purpose of this blog is to help the little home gardeners with things that will make their gardening experience and out of door chores a little less frustrating, less expensive, and therefore hopefully more enjoyable! Hopefully my readers will send along their tips which, with their permission, I will pass on to anyone who wants to try them. I do not want this to be an academic guide to gardening - there are plenty of those books on the market, and I bet you have a few in your personal library already. What I want is for us to share things we have tried and pass on whether they worked or not. The truly intelligent learn from other's mistakes - the rest of us have to make our own! Please feel free to share your experiences here.