Friday, September 23, 2011

Bee Nesting Block

Early this spring we created a number of bee nesting blocks for a program Jennifer helped present and, of course, also created one for ourselves.  We found the plans in this great book put out by the Xerces Society:

We first thought to use some of the old 4x4s laying around, but opted against them since they are treated.  We purchased a nontreated 4x4 from a local big box store and got to work.  First, cut to length!

Angle cut the top of the bee block and add a roof as well.  We want all the best for our bee friends!

Draw a pattern with specified spacing for specified hole sizes (see book) and drill the holes.


Early this spring, we placed our bee block in our garden by setting it on a cabinet and facing it east to help minimize weather effects.  Take a look at those holes in September!

Yeh!  Many are now plugged by the adult female bees.  There are probably 3 or so bee larvae in each hole now, each in their own cell created by the adult bee.  Most will emerge next spring/summer. 

What an easy project to help attract native bees to your garden for all their pollinating services! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Basement is improving!

We are within a month of the one year mark for owning our house.  It's amazing to contemplate the work we've done here thus far!  Most recently Steve's been working in the basement and the hallway to the basement.  We don't have many pics of this space but trust us - it was nasty!  Here's our only image capturing some of this hallway space and all the trash in the basement.

Steve busted out some of the salvaged paint from this place and made us a nice clean, tidy hallway!

There is no bathroom vent, but for this cute little window...

Looking back into the kitchen:

Did you notice the coat hanger?  Steve found an old dresser mirror in our green barn.  The mirror was ruined so he cut the bottom of the mirror off and Jennifer glued on the tiles (purchased for a few dollars while living in Carlsbad, NM) and painted a green accent.  Steve found some old salvaged hooks in the garage, screwed them on and voila...a super fun coat hanger!

After the hallway, Steve moved into the basement to deal with our root cellar wall.  Due to gutter leaking we get some moisture in the basement, which rotted away the bottom of the wall closing in the cellar.  Before:

In the process:


Nature posters always make everything more fun...

The freezer above is jam packed with our summer garden harvest.  We've now switched to canning...

Potatoes, winter squash, tomatoes and relish populate the root cellar so far!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A quick kitchen cover up

Before we moved in, Steve ripped out a filthy cabinet in the kitchen and exposed our bathroom plumbing.  (See the old kitchen here.)  We found this quite handy as we worked on the plumbing, but quickly tired of the ugly hole in the wall.  We posed many different fix-it ideas, but settled on some handy faux tin backsplash found at a nearby big box store.  We just recently got to this project and you can see the hole is already covered in the lower left of this photo:

Some adhesive and box cutters make for a super quick project.  In a house filled with projects, quick ones make us giddy with excitement....

Not too shabby for 30 minutes of time!  The plastic looks quite real; it's pretty incredible.  This really makes us want to put a real tin ceiling in our dining room.  (Let us know if you hear of one getting ripped out somewhere close to central Ohio!)

After searching for many months for a dough table for this spot, Steve's father found us one at a garage sale.  He refinished the whole unit and presented us with the finished product this weekend - after their 50th wedding anniversary party!

It's perfect!

A quick stop at Big Lots, one of our favorite places for looking for marked down health & ethnic foods, presented us with all these grains and where better to inventory our haul than our new dough table in front of our now complete wall?

Now to just get the radio hooked up after fixing the outlet!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Another great find! Imperial moth caterpillar!

Remember these cool moths?  Well happily for us, we (most likely) found one of their just as cool offspring!  Pictured below is an imperial moth caterpillar that left his/her sugar maple feeding grounds and is now searching for an underground pupation site. 

It's a BIG caterpillar!

The long setae and size are quite diagnostic.


The caterpillar really started to do some ground searching here.  Unfortunately the ground was too dry in this location so the cat moved on.  We're not sure where s/he pupated, but we're wishing this amazing invertebrate much luck!