Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Create Festive Trees for Less

Create Festive Trees for Less
NewsUSA) – Hosts and hostesses celebrating Christmas often find that Christmas trees are the focal point of a well-decorated home. And it’s easy to create a beautiful and fun Christmas tree, while saving enough money for presents.
First, you’ll need a Christmas tree. To get more tree for your money, consider an artificial tree. They are available in all shapes, sizes and materials, and they can easily be stored after the holidays for use year after year. Once you have your tree up, make it sparkle with lights. Choose between a variety of colors or white lights. Check discount stores such as Dollar General for inexpensive lights that will make your tree beautiful and bright.

For a sophisticated look, decorate your tree according to a theme, such as a food or candy motif. Hang candy canes, popcorn and candy garlands, which can be made by stringing hard candies like Life Savers on fishing wire. Or focus on special interests such as sports, traveling or gardening. Decorate a tree with your favorite sports team’s memorabilia and colors. Keep your tree simple by choosing one or two colors for the tree’s d├ęcor.

For kids, decorate with their favorite color. Make tissue-paper flowers to place on your tree. All you need is tissue paper and pipe cleaners. Instructions can be found online at

For a tree that will help you remember the good times, hang mementos that you’ve collected throughout the year instead of traditional, often expensive ornaments. Choose knick-knacks from family vacations, party pictures, favors from weddings or showers, or kids’ arts and crafts projects. Hang holiday greeting cards from family and friends on your tree. To turn these trinkets into ornaments, glue or attach ornament hangers to each item. Your tree will be a reminder of the fun shared throughout the year.

For a more international feel, use inexpensive wrapping paper to make origami cranes — symbols of peace. Paper birds of all sizes will look beautiful on your tree and can be a fun project for the whole family.

For directions on making numerous origami shapes, visit

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

New Garden Steps

A project last week was to replace some garden steps. It seems like just yesterday I put these steps in. Some of them needed replacing, I have been reminded they have been there for 23 years. Oh well, it was time I guess, designing a yard is fun but one must remember, all things have a life span and maintenance is always there. I had to go buy a chainsaw to cut the bridge beams that I was going to use to make the new steps. I bought a Poulan Pro Chainsaw with a 16 inch bar. I am happy with it, I love a new saw, that cuts wood like butter. The bridge beams are recycled for the second time in their life. First as railroad bridge beam, second as posts, creating a driving barrier for remodeling of a parking area, I retrieved them and now they are steps. Recycling is good.


Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Watering the Garden

We decided to try have more efficient use of our water usage in the garden this year. This spring the rains were few and far in between. I had read some where that regular watering with sprinklers was about 60 % efficient . I read about using various drip techniques, that are supposed to be about 90% efficient. We had tried a drip hose years ago and were not happy with it. I kept getting twisted around we just did not like it.
What we came up with is a pvc grid system.
First adaptability was important to us so none of the fittings or pipes are glued together. As it is not a pressurized system the fittings do not want to blow apart. This allows the system to be reconfigured as needed. I drilled 1/16" holes every 6 ".

The hose connection was created by buying plastic hose adapters, cutting off the ridges I found it fits inside the 1/2" pvc pipe very nicely. I didn't take much experimenting to find out the most even distribution is when the hose connection is in the middle of the grid. I will be posting more on this..


Sunday, May 10, 2009

New Strawberry Patch

My wife decided to enlarge our strawberry patch. It was pretty small, I had already started taking down the rocks and was not about to put them back for the picture.
We decided to create a raised bed for them along side the edge of the garden.
Using my trusty trailer I filled up up the area with good composted dirt. Then went through it with my trusty BCS tiller, to break it down.
coming to the front are a few rhubarb plants of several varieties. Then the asparagus.
At the entrance are wedding onions. More about them later.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

BCS 205 Garden Tiller Review

Here is my story on my 20 year old BCS 205 tiller. (a sweet machine) I had a front tine tiller that bounced me around for years. About 20 years ago I did some research on tillers and the name BCS kept coming up as the top of the line tiller. All gears no pulleys or belts to wear out.It has proven itself to be well worth the price. Also it was touted as a very fast spinning tines compared to other tillers. It has a PTO [power take off],one can use to add other tools. I had gotten the snow blower attachment, I wouldn't recommend the snow blower for Minnesota winters, it is single stage and can't deal with the volume of snow that we get. Down south it would be fine.
After 20 years of course they have of course changed models, my local dealer no longer exists. I finally have a issue with my carburetor. The tiller still works well but a drain on the bottom of the bowl began leaking a little., in trying to fix it, I screwed up the bowl gasket. I have tried creating my own new one several times, I soldered the drain plug. A temporary fix.
This spring I went to take it out from the shed it started then died. I realized the nut holding the carburetor bowl on was gone, gas leaking all over the place. Finding parts for a 20 year old tiller is a challenge, one can find places to find new BCS tillers, but until I came across they had the parts, gasket set, bowl,jet & nut for it. I'm back in business.

Oh,full disclosure, a purely personal review , got no connection with anyone. Paid full price for the parts from Earthtools. :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Grapes in Minnesota

We decided to go with the St Croix grape, I told the nursery I wanted a table grape, so I took his suggestion of the St. Croix. After I got home and we planted it I got around to reading thre label. It said the this was the one red wine variety that Elmer Swenson has released. It is Vinifera like wine quality with low tannins and good hardiness -32F to -40 depending on who you read. Ripens midseason and has a semi-trailing growth pattern. Good resistance to black rot and powdery mildew. Also makes a suitable seeded table grape. I got the impression seeds are going to be in any table grapes I plant here. It's in the ground, planted next to the garden arch. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Which Grape ?

I want to plant some grapes this year. There seems to be a variety of grapes one can plant in central Minnesota. I figure I want to stick with a real hardy variety to use as a table grape. I don't drink so have no interest in wine grapes. Not that that matters but it's another story. I have been thinking of King of the North or Swensen Red. Not sure, what I can get my hands on I suppose. I'm looking for ideas on this.

Last Winter Picture

OK , this is the last winter picture ! We are done with snow for the season, right ? :)
Well at least I hope so. ON to spring and fixing tools that should have been repaired during the winter.


Saturday, April 18, 2009

March 2009 Snow Storm

In march we had a little snow. It was a perfect snowstorm for kids. The snow was wet and lots of it. In the summer the arch looks nicer, I think