Tag Archives: Gardening

Introducing Holiday Sale!

Hi fellow crafters!  I would love to introduce you all to the Home and Garden Welcome Holiday Sale!  Finish your shopping without emptying your wallet!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

10% off any order up to $100

25% off any order up to $250

35% off any order over $250

AND….if your order is over $150 before tax and shipping you will get a FREE December Mystery Kit!

Sale starts Monday November 26th and continues until Tuesday December 18th.

Have fun shopping, and Happy Holidays!

~Nikki

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Saving for a Sunny Day

As I sit here after watching the rain come down in sheets after weeks of drought I think of how useful this rain could be in just a few days.  Collecting rainwater is nothing new, but it can be a challenge if you have never installed a rain barrel before.

Rainwizard 50 OakRainbarrel With Planter 50Gal

Here I’ll help you find a good place to locate your rain barrel, prepare a sturdy base and connect it to your downspouts to collect all that rain water that would otherwise flood your garden.

First, if you are going to collect all the rainwater you can you must determine how many rain barrels you need.  Many people will opt for only 1 to water their container plants and foundation plantings.  If you are determined to collect all the rainwater that falls on your roof here use this formula to determine how many gallons of rain runoff you can expect from a storm.

1 inch of rainfall x 1000 square foot section of roof = 623 gallons of rain.  My roof is 2,500 square feet so in a storm that produces 1″ of rain about 1,500 gallons of rain will fall on my roof.  (2,500 sqft x 623 gallons ÷ 1000 sqft = 1557.5 gallons)  That, of course if if every drop of rain that fell on my roof would be collected.  There will be a bit of rain that falls on your roof that does not make it in to your rain barrel.  A fair estimate is that you are able to collect only about 70% of that rain that falls on your roof.  That would mean for my roof I would need to be able to collect 1,100 gallons of rain.  (1557.5 gallons x 70% = 1090.25 gallons)  Most rain barrels commercially available can hold 50 – 75 gallons of rainwater.  In order to collect all the rain that falls on my roof I’d need 14 rain barrels.  I really don’t have space for 14 rain barrels, but I do have 5 (2 on the downspouts of each of the larger sections of my roof and 1 on the smaller).  This keeps me in enough water to keep my full sun, sandy soil plants from getting parched.

Once you decide how many rain barrels you are going to be installing (it really is easy to start with just one) you need to determine where you are going to place your rain barrel.  It should be somewhere close to your downspout, but with flexible tubing you have some ability to move it a few feet away.  Wherever you are placing your rain barrel you need to make a firm foundation.  1 gallon of water weighs a little over 8 pounds so your rain barrel when full can weigh more than 500 pounds!  The average size for a rain barrel foundation is 16″, yours could be larger or smaller depending on the style of your barrel.  The best foundation for a rain barrel is a concrete pad.  If you can not place a concrete pad where you are going to place your rain barrel you could dig down 2-3 inches into the soil, creating a perfectly level base.  You can then add 2″ of crushed gravel to help maintain a firm base.  You could place your rain barrel directly on the gravel, or because rain barrels work on a gravity feed, you could raise your barrel up a little. Concrete blocks and deck piers make good, stable platforms to raise the height of your rain barrel.  Just be careful not to raise the rain barrel up too high or you could find it unstable.

Quattro downspout filter diverter functional diagram

After you have created a firm foundation for your rain barrel it is time to mark your downspout.  Put your rain barrel in its forever home then mark the placement of your diverter on your downspout.  Cut the downspout with a hacksaw and install according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  A downspout diverter with a filter will help prevent clogs in your line from leaves and other debris.

Connect the hose from the downspout diverter to the intake port of your water barrel.  If you have more than one barrel make sure you connect them together according to the manufacturer’s instructions.  Finally, hook your hose and watering nozzle up to your rain barrel and after the next rain you are ready to keep your plants watered during the dry days that are sure to come.
Rain barrels are a great addition to your garden, and come in so many styles you are sure to find one that will fit seamlessly into your garden decor.  Visit Home and Garden Welcome for your rain barrel today.

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Getting Ready for Company

I received a call late last week that a friend that I haven’t seen in a very long time will be visiting.  She will be staying in our camper guest house and we are getting ready to create a warm Northern Michigan welcome for her.

Preparing…

Although it does not get dark until after 10pm when the sun finally goes down it gets DARK!  To ensure save travels between the house and the ‘guest house’ we created a lighted path.  These light posts with the guides are perfect for filtering traffic along a specified path, ensuring that traffic late at night would avoid any washouts from recent rains or land-mines left courtesy of the dog.

 

Of course there is more to welcoming a visitor than just a well lit path.  Creating a welcoming place to visit, dine and enjoy great conversation.  A beautiful patio space with a relaxing fountain and a place to sit back is a must.  A fire pit is the perfect place to roast marshmallows, share some drinks and reminisce.

My friend is coming to town to participate in Horse Shows By the Bay a HUGE equestrian festival in Northern Michigan.  As a result, an equestrian themed patio is a nice touch.

Dining is a must.  What visit is not made better with tasty food?  I’ll break out the trusty smoker and try a recipe courtesy of barbecue-smoker-recipes.com

Prepare your smoker according to manufacturer’s instructions.  Butterflying your chicken will help infuse the smoky flavor deep into the meat and shorten the cooking time.

Ingredients:-

  • 1 medium chicken
  • 2 red chillis seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 50g or 2 oz butter (softened)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:-

Prepare your smoker according to the owner’s manual.  I suggest an apple wood for this chicken because of the mild flavor.  Mesquite would mix nicely with the chilli/cumin combination as well.

Take the garlic and chilis and mix with the softened butter.

Butterfly your chicken by cutting close along both sides of the spine.  (Don’t throw that spine away – use it to create a rich broth you can use to flavor soups and stews!)

Gently put your hand in the neck end of the chicken and pry the skin away from the flesh taking care not to puncture the skin – patience is a virtue at this point!

Take the chili garlic butter mix and smear it on the flesh under the skin, sprinkle the skin lightly with cumin, salt and pepper and then you’re ready for the barbecue smoker.

 

Smoke the chicken based on the guidelines included in your smoker’s manual.  Ensure the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 180° F in the thigh.  Allow to rest for 20-30 minutes prior to carving.

Perfect with a cold beer or a crisp glass of white wine.  Definitely a meal to remember.

Remembering….

Speaking of memories, once you snap your pictures, enjoy your laugh it is time to share the story!

Beyond The Page MDF Barn Album-10"X10"Inkadinkado Clear Stamps 4"X8" Sheet-Horses

Using albums, accents, stamps, inks and more from Home and Garden Welcome I can create an album to remember the sights and stories of this visit with a special friend.

 

This is how I do it – create precious memories then keep them to share forever!

~Nikki

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Filed under Artistic Expression, Grilling and Barbecues

Beautiful Berries, Caring Craft

I am fortunate enough to live in Northern Michigan where Mother Nature is generous enough to  provide us with several options for berry picking.  In my yard we have both wild blackberry and raspberry patches that provide abundant harvests year after year.  These plants seem to thrive on neglect and produce enough berries to make jams, pies and other yummy treats.

Know what you Have

It is important to know what kind of berry patch you are picking in.  If you try to pick blackberries thinking you are in a raspberry patch you will be in for one very sour surprise.

Blackberries are a much larger, more stout plant.  The stems are much larger, more woody with large thorns.  The leaves are large with thorns as well.  The berries are much larger and have very distinct ‘fruits’ that are joined together to make one larger fruit.  These fruits are the size of a thimble once mature and are a dark, rich black color.  The smaller red fruits look like ripe raspberries, but if you try and eat one you will quickly realize your mistake.  Blackberries also have a much larger seed in the berries when compared to wild raspberries.

Blackberry Bush

Blackberries beginning to ripen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild raspberries, on the other hand, are a much friendlier plant.  While they do have thorny branches they are not as painful as the blackberries.  The stems are less woody and the thorns lean closer to small thread.  The leaves feel more hairy than thorny and are smaller than the blackberries.  The fruits are smaller, too.  They appear more smooth rather than having the distinct ‘bulbs’ that the blackberry is made of.  The seeds are smaller and less prominent.  Wild raspberries also ripen about 1-2 weeks earlier than their thornier cousin.

Wild Raspberry Bush

Wild Raspberries

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have picked your berries (I suggest bribing the neighborhood kids – give them a bucket to fill for you to use, then give them each a smaller bucket that they can eat) you have so many options.  I make jam with the berries.  Sometimes pies, and I even make some preserves to put in a very popular gift basket for my friends around the holidays.

Once you have prepared your preserves, tie a nice card on with the recipe.  Add the dry ingredients into a basket (or even a mason jar), add a ribbon and you have a wonderful handmade gift that is sure to put a smile on someone’s face.

Raspberry Bars Gift Jar

 

Here is the recipe I use for my Raspberry bars.

filling:
4c fresh raspberries (or blackberries)
4c White Sugar
1c Water
Bring to a rolling boil over high heat.  Boil, stirring constantly until well thickened.  The mixture should evenly coat the back of a metal spoon without breaking.  Set aside to cool.
crust:
1pkg yellow (or white) cake mix
3/4c butter, melted
2 eggs
1c rolled oats
3/4 c brown sugar
1t cinnamon
1t vanilla
Mix all ingredients together until well combined.  Set aside 1 1/2 c of crust mixture.  Spread remaining in the bottom of a 9×13″ pan, packing down evenly.  Spread the cooled raspberry mixture evenly over the bottom crust.  Crumble small pieces of the remaining crust mixture evenly over the raspberry mixture.  Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350° F or until golden brown.  Cool completely before slicing.
 

Visit Home and Garden Welcome for papers, ribbons, stickers and other items to add your handmade recipe card to your delicious gift!

Happy gardening and creating!

~Nikki

 

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Filed under Garden Helpers, Gift Ideas

A Water Garden For All

I love to listen to the gentle sound of falling water as I relax on my patio.  While I would love to have (and do plan on building at some point in time) a garden pond complete with a waterfall, fish and blooming plants that will have to wait.

Imagine relaxing with your morning coffee or an evening glass of wine…….

In the meantime, I am content to have my patio fountain.  You can bring the same to your backyard as well.  My fountain attracts bees (no one has been stung in 4 years!), butterflies and birds looking for a sip.  It has attracted kids and dogs looking for drinks, but that practice has been highly discouraged….

A relaxing fountain

You can create a relaxing water feature on your patio quickly and easily with the help of Home and Garden Welcome.

The simplest way to add a water feature is to purchase one of our complete water fountains.  As the saying goes, just add water!  For a little extra ‘rustic’ appeal allow moss to grow along the edges of your fountain.

Your Fountain is Here!

Add moss for a rustic look.

Looking for something more substantial?  You can create a container pond in just a single afternoon!

Start with an urn or planter that fits your decor.  You want to make sure this vessel is deep enough to allow you to completely submerge your pump.  At this point you have a few options :

  • You can add another utilitarian bucket to your pond to act as support for a wire mesh, feed your fountain head through the mesh and place your pump in the inner bucket, lay rocks on the mesh to allow water to flow through and back down into your custom made reservoir.

Images from www.shelterness.com  Thank You!

  • If instead you would like to have a more lush look with plants in your fountain the process will be similar, but you will want a larger bowl.  You want it deep enough to submerge your planting baskets and wide enough to hold the baskets your plants are growing in.  The result can be very striking!

Urns with a deep bowl shape like this are perfectly suited to holding a patio fountain with plants.

Finally, you can take things a step further if you wish and create a self-containing pond right on your deck or patio!  Using pavers, cobblestone, brick, even rocks you find in your yard you can build a retaining structure, line it using a high quality membrane, add a pump, filter, plants, even FISH!  All without digging.

All the supplies you need to create your own custom backyard water feature are available at Home and Garden Welcome.  Whether you are looking to create a free standing patio fountain, or build a free standing pond complete with plants and fish we have what you need.

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Here in the United States we celebrate Father’s Day the third Sunday in June.  I say lets challenge that idea and celebrate Dad (or Grand Dad) all year long!  Our Dads are so important to us, yet it is so hard to find time to spend with him.  Here are some gift ideas that Dad will love, and you can enjoy together.

For the Fisherman

If the Dad in your life believes in the saying ‘A bad day fishing beats a good day working.’  a fish graph is a great gift idea.  Check out these models to help ensure that Dad does not have to suffer a bad day fishing again.

Hummingbird 718 Mono Fishing System     Hummingbird 581 1 w/GPS

For the History Buff

Does the Dad in your life love finding hidden treasures?  How about getting him a metal detector.  Imagine finding old coins, farm implements, tools, keys or maybe even jewelry.  Once those treasures are uncovered you can look together to find the story behind the objects.  A learning exercise and physical exercise all in one!

Lone Star Metal Detector

For the Gardener

Whether he is growing prized pumpkins or cultivating rare roses how about get Dad something to help achieve his goal.  Through composting or water collecting together you can learn about how Dad cares for his garden while learning a little about conservation and ecology.

  Rainwizard 50 gallon Oak Barrel     TerraCotta Composter 50 gallon

For the Grill Master

If Dad is the ruler of the backyard grill why not get him some tools that can expand his grilling horizons.  Maybe he’d even be willing to share a few of his secrets with you while you watched him work his grillin’ magic!

  Non-stick Rib Rack                 Brinkman Smoke n’ Grill

For the Birdwatcher

For the Dad who loves his feather friends almost as much as his own children how about a gift that you can help share in his passion.  Whether it is showing you all the birds who have visited his feeders lately or the newest way to keep those darned squirrels away, get him something with his winged wonders in mind.

The Efforless DIx feeder       Audubon 5mp Birdcam

Whatever you decide to get Dad for Father’s Day, if it is something you can enjoy together it will be a gift he will always cherish.

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