Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Woodcraft Wednesday: Backyard Gentrification Edition


A year ago, I though to myself, it might be fun to build a birdhouse. So I did a little research, and built one. I loved it! Then I built a couple more as gifts. Then more and more and more. I'm a little more than one year in and I've sold nearly 100 birdhouses, and I still love making them.

I've been really lucky to have many talented woodworking friends, who have donated time, knowledge, and scraps!

All of the nesting boxes are built from a combination of cedar and reclaimed wood. They all have a hatch that opens for easy cleaning. 

My yard is filled with test houses, or houses that came out just a little too wonky to sell. It's been a joy watching them get put to use. Here's a gallery os some of my work. I'll go into detail more in future editions.

I sell them in my Etsy store. Have a look!

Monday, August 15, 2022

What's on the Menu Monday: Instant Pot Sausage, Greens, and Shelly Beans


          Hello from the Blue Ridge!        

The garden is starting to wind down a bit. It's that time of year where anything that was a bit neglected is quite obvious. Case in point..beans. I started off so earnestly with my bean harvesting, but then summer went into full swing, and you know how it goes. Next thing I know I have big tough pods of beans. Time for shelly beans! Shelly beans are beans that are too big to eat in pod form, but not fully dry enough to store long term. They cook more quickly than their dry counterparts, with no need to soak. They often have a lovely sweet taste, but are often overlooked because the shelling is more cumbersome at this stage. So worth it though. And look at the colors! So pretty!

So what to do with my fresh beans? Tonight I'll be making a favorite...Sausage, Beans, and Greens. Smoked sausage, scarlet runner beans, and spinach from the garden. It'll use up a good dose of the garlic I harvested a few weeks back, and paired with some crusty bread, makes a quick and delicious meal on a cool mountain summer evening.

Let's talk quickly about Instant Pots. Chance are, if you're reading this, you already own one. But if you are like me, a last holdout because I don't fall for trends, and don't have room in my kitchen for ONE MORE DAMN GADGET...listen... You need an Instant Pot. I bought this one, and absolutely love it, for two primary reasons: dried beans, and pressure cooking meat. I seriously can't believe how easy it is to cook a bag of dried beans with this thing. But anyways...I hope you enjoy this recipe.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Garden Projects 2019

Hey gang! I hope you're having a productive spring. It's definitely been a busy one here. I've been working hard bringing my dream garden to life. First project on the list this year was building some raised beds inside the garden wall. Last year I did raised rows, but unfortunately, a record breaking rainy year meant my soil and seed was widely dispersed, and the beds were flattened. Plus several fresh springs around our yard make it a bit boggy. So I built a formation of raised beds, with a pea gravel path running between them.

Once they were in place, it was time to work on my favorite, this year's garden trellises. This year I opted for a mountain range.

I added tiers to the middle bed, to give it a little more dimension.

You can see signs of life brewing! Oh my goodness but I do love spring.

Once the garden was built, seeded, and well on it's way, I decided to turn my attention to the rest of the yard. I finally built something I've been longing to build, and arbor at the entrance way to our house.

Stay tuned for updated pictures as things grow and bloom!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Wood Stove Project

Dave and I decided to gift ourselves a wood stove for Christmas. Exciting right? Well, it was exciting for me. No I have a cozy new place to knit, and we have back-up heat in case of a power outage...a must in the mountains. Best of all, it gave me an excuse to build something new and beautiful.

This beautiful tile was 30% off. I built a slightly raised hearth, and also tiled the wall. Tiling the wall was not easy, as it was most definitely not flat! But a little elbow grease and some thick concrete backer board solved that problem. But I am most excited about the wood storage tower. If you've ever waded out in deep snow over and over to fetch firewood, I'm sure you'll understand why.

A Kid's Dream Bedroom

Last summer we moved to the new house. This house is my dream house in so many ways. Nearly every room was an upgrade. For my daughter however, the move was a bit of a downgrade. At our last place she had the entire 2nd floor to herself, including her own gigantic bathroom. At the new house, her room is the smallest and farthest from the bathroom, which she is now forced to share with me. The room has some nice attributes though. It is situated in the back corner of the house, probably the most private room, and it has a lovely view of the mountains and creek from both windows. In the evening she can see the sunset over Grandfather Mountain. But the room is still tiny, especially after we stuffed it full of her old bulky furniture. She's not much of a complainer. Even at 14, she's probably the sweetest, most laid-back human I know. so if anyone deserves a room makeover, it's Sophia. Sophia chose the color palette herself, and I love it.
My initial plan was simply to build a loft, and give her a studio space underneath. The loft was fun to build. I found inexpensive decorative ceiling tiles, and incorporated them into the design. Building into the corner allowed me to streamline the bed, forgoing bulky corner posts, without sacrificing stability.

Creating usable space under the loft was a little more challenging. I came up with the idea to build some mountain-themed bookshelves. Then we added a colorful rug, and some large velvet floor cushions, as seen in the first photo.

Once the loft and sitting space were finished, I moved on to building a desk into the window. It's a simple design with a farmhouse base. 

But my favorite part of the new room is the secret compartment that I built into the desk, although I suppose it's not so secret now!

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Garden Review

It has been a few months, I am well aware, since I have updated you on new projects. Summer is a busy time here, especially with the new house. It was my first year with a new garden, an exciting new adventure, but with a whole new set of challenges. So I think I'll just do a quick summer wrap-up.

The Gate
Our new house is very popular with the deer. I'm not exaggerating when I say that I can look outside at any moment and spot anywhere from 1-20. In fact, I just looked up from my computer, and spotted 3. So obviously this doesn't bode well when you love growing vegetables. I knew as soon as we bought the house, I would need a garden fence. And the the idea just kind of spiraled out of control from there, and next thing you know, all of the neighbors were asking "What the hell is she building back there?" I love my new garden. The fence worked like a charm. But my favorite project of all this year is definitely the garden gate.

Isn't it just lovely? Here are a couple of in progress photos.

And of course, the usual yarn trellises were back in action.

We had a good harvest.

The Rest.

Our yard here is very pretty. It's not big, but we have a creek that runs along the side of the property, with a fresh spring in the corner. It babbles over rocks and through thickets. A line of old apple trees line the top of the property. And the house came with a some really pretty old scrubs and plants. We have tons of dallies and azaleas.

I built a bench near the spring facing the sunset.

I think we're all caught up now. There is more to share soon. I'm remodeling my daughter's room, then the focus will probably return to knitting for the winter.