70’s House Master Bath

First, let me say I am SO excited about this master bath makeover!

If you remember, the master bath consisted of the original  31″ x 31″ baby blue shower,

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

with matching sink,

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

matching paneling,

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

and trim.  Lovely.

The total size of the bathroom was 9 ft. x 40 “.   Small.

Smaller than small.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

master bath

 

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

Next to the bathroom is a small closet.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

closet view

What if we made the bathroom longer by removing this closet?

How about extending the walls into the bedroom making it wider?

So that’s what we did.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

closet side

 

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

shower side

The silver metal box you see in the picture above, is a space heater that faces into the kitchen.  Since the house now has central heat and air, the space heater was taken out to add more wall space on the kitchen side.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

The walls of the bathroom were extended 6″.  Not much, but anymore than that would mean relocating/reframing the door into the bedroom and we didn’t want to create any more work than we had to.

Lots of tedious work came next.  Redoing plumbing and relocating the plumbing and electrical took a couple of weekends and several trips back and forth to the hardware store.  Unfortunately, this meant tearing up the ceiling and the floor.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

ceiling

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

floor

We decided to keep the shower in the same spot.  The toilet was placed where the closet was and the sink close to where the toilet was.  All of this redoing and relocating of plumbing was done through one of the downstairs bedroom ceilings.

lake house ceiling

Which led to replacing lines through the downstairs bathroom

lake house ceiling

and into the laundry room.

lake house ceiling

Sigh.

Anyway, that’s downstairs.  Let’s go back upstairs.

Every bedroom upstairs has a different feel to it.  I had wanted this bedroom and bath to have more of a cabin feel, so I decided to place corrugated metal on the ceiling.  The only problem with corrugated metal is it’s galvanized and very shiny.  To make the metal look old, I had to remove the galvanized coating.  Easier said than done and a process that I explain in a different post.

The next issue was what to do for a shower.  Since the shower pan was not a conventional size,  my brother-in-law, Richard suggested we make our own out of concrete.

Did I tell you he can do everything?  Well, he can.  Before you know it, he and Allen had the new shower pan formed

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

and poured.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

Once that set up, we decided to use corrugated metal as the shower surround.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

Remember the car siding we used in the other bathroom?

We flipped it over to the flat, five-inch side and used this for the walls.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

I debated for hours, days, weeks about a color to paint the walls.  I like color, but also wanted it light because it was still a small space. I chose white for the long walls and a color for the back wall that the toilet sat against.

I went to Lowe’s and found this sample container

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

and began to paint.  I liked the color and thought I would be able to paint the entire wall with this container.  I ran out of paint with this much wall left.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/ 1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

I’m not kidding.

SIGH!

Luckily, the local hardware store was able to match the paint for me and I was able to finish the job.  Disaster diverted.

A new toilet was placed

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

along with my unique light fixture my dad made from a tractor funnel.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

The flooring we used is a ceramic tile that looks like old wood.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

and the trim was done in rough cut cedar.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

When we bought the house, it came furnished with quite a bit of furniture.  One piece was this old desk.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

I thought this would make a good vanity, so I bought a vessel sink and Allen and Richard attached it to the desk.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

The door going into the bathroom is an old door I found at a flea market.  It is attached to a track rail on the outside of the bathroom wall and slides shut saving room on the bedroom side.

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

So……from this

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

to this

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

from this

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/ 1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

to this!

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

1970's Master Bath Makeover  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/15/70s-house-master-bath-makeover/

Now to decorate!

Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in do it yourself, Family, Garden, Home, Lake house | Tagged , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Lake House Remodel Update

It’s hard to believe it’s been over a year since we purchased the 70’s lake house.  I’ve wanted to show you updates as we went along, but every time a room was completed, we moved stuff into it and started on another room.

Adventures in remodeling.  Does anyone see the tape measure?  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Does anyone see the tape measure?

During that time, I’ve learned how to use big saws and drills, been through gallons of paint, bottles of ibuprofen and been up and down a ladder 8964 times.

We are not even close to being finished with the downstairs, but the upstairs is pretty close so I thought I would start the tour with the hall bathroom.

Remember this wallpaper?

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/ '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/It was so old it practically fell off the wall and disintegrated at the same time I was removing it.  So that was an easy job.

The ceiling was painted next.  Yes, it still has “popcorn” on it.  That might be removed or covered in the future, but for now it stays.  I really didn’t think it looked that bad until I started to paint.

lake house bathroom

the middle stripe is the old paint

I used a regular white ceiling paint with 6 drops of brown added.  I did this to tone down the white just enough to remove the starkness but still look white  (and because the guy at Meeks said that’s what all the professional painters do.)  Just curious–how many gallons of paint does it take to become a professional painter?  I might be close.

But professionals never seem to get any paint on their clothes while working.

lake house paint

Maybe I’m not as close as I think.

After the ceiling was painted, I turned my attention to the walls.  When I removed the wallpaper, I found bare naked sheet rock.  Not a bad thing.  It was  good to see what the walls looked like.  No mold and no surprises.  Two thumbs up.

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Before I could paint with a color though, I had to prime the walls first.  Zinsser Bulls Eye 123

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

is a thick primer and stain blocker that came highly recommended as a one coat and done type of paint.  It went on as stated and in no time I had the walls primed.

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

The countertop was the original formica

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

and matched the sink.

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

terrible color on this picture!

and the toilet.

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

We decided to wait on new countertops mainly because we are impatient and wanted to get done with this room.  Instead, we removed the old sink and painted the formica with this

Countertop paint used to cover old formica--very easy!! '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

It was so easy.

Allen lightly sanded the top, I rolled it on,

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

let dry, and applied another coat.  I had two coats put on within an hour.

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

before

 

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

during (original on the left/ paint on the right)

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

after

It covered all the old stains

Using countertop paint to cover old formica '70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

and best part of all, it just cost $20!  Quicker and cheaper than installing new countertops.  Even after a year of use, the surface has held up very well.

All the outlets in the house were black

lake house light switch

Allen went through one weekend and switched them all to this.

lake house light switch

much better

Another improvement he and his brother did was add plank siding (also called car siding) to the wall behind the sink.  This was left over from another project and added a nice accent to the bathroom.

'70's lake house remodel  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Car siding is unique as it is tongue and groove,

Car siding or plank sideing is easy to install and makes a great accent for a wall.  Check out our '70's lake house remodel at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

with one side being a flat 5 inches,

Car siding or plank sideing is easy to install and makes a great accent for a wall.  Check out our '70's lake house remodel at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

while the other side looks like 2 planks with each plank being 2 1/2 inches wide.

Car siding or plank sideing is easy to install and makes a great accent for a wall.  Check out our '70's lake house remodel at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/  This gives you two design options on one plank.

Installation is straight forward.  Level and nail the top plank on then insert the tongue (or groove) of the next plank at a slight angle and pop it in.  Most of time that worked. But, if the wood has warped some, a mallet, some muscle and a few choice words will be needed to encourage a piece in place.

Car siding or plank sideing is easy to install and makes a great accent for a wall.  Check out our '70's lake house remodel at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

I then primed the planks with Zinsser.

The original light fixture was not centered over the sink, so Allen and his brother did some electrical magic and my new light fixture looks much better than the ’70’s version.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

new light, new sink, and painted countertops

I painted everything with Valspar Soothing Celedon which is a very pale green.  Even though most paints say only one coat is needed, I personally think two coats are better than one.  Makes for more work, but I like the end result.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

I found a nice shower curtain that went well with the paint

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

and an old shelf at a garage sale that I thought would look great over the toilet to hold the towels.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/ It was white so I decided to paint it as well.  I found a spray paint at Lowe’s that covered metal very well.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/ Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

I installed a white, wood blind in the window and made some simple white curtains to finish it off

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

again, terrible lighting

and I’m using boat cleats to hold the curtain tie-backs.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

So, this is where I left it last March.  I didn’t like leaving the cabinets brown with those clunky pulls (that I spray painted and hated),

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

but I did not have the time to delve into another project.

That is until recently.

When Allen and his brother began working on the master bath remodel, and I was basically in the way, I decided to paint the cabinets.

I took off all the doors and sanded them with a sanding block.  The remaining wood was also sanded and my friend, Zinsser Primer, was applied and allowed to dry.  I painted on two coats of Valspar Gloss White I had used for another project.

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

New pulls were installed.  We had bought new, white hinges for the cabinet doors but they were the wrong size. After searching and searching, we discovered they didn’t make the size we needed anymore.  I knew my dad had a sandblaster so I took them all to him.  He sandblasted the old finish off,  I spray painted them white, and the next trip to the house, the doors were reinstalled.

I’ve learned you can paint just about anything.

What a difference!

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

before

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

after

Accessories were added

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

shells and rocks we’ve found on the bank

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

and done!

From this

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/ to this

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

And from this

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/ Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

to this

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

Now we can look forward to being

Check out the progress of our '70's lake house at http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/08/70s-lake-house-remodel/

 

Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arkansas, do it yourself, Family, Garden, Home, Lake house | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

Warm Up on the Way

I am anticipating a big melt down today followed by fever.

lake house2 feb 28 2015

Which translates to snow melting and spring fever.

With temperatures on the rise from now until next week, the bees will surely know that spring is close.

I’m sure they will be out today.  As I took them some sugar-water this morning, the temp was 25 degrees F.  One lone bee came out as I was banging on the hive trying to unstick the feeder that was frozen to the bottom board.

I wondered how the bees decide who gets to break away from the warm cluster and investigate the disturbance.  The bravest one?  The youngest one?  The dumbest one?  I’m sure they have a system.  Bees are very smart, you know.

Here is a close up of the feeder that goes into the hive.  It is called the Boardman entrance feeder.  The bottom of the feeder is where the bees can access the sugar-water.  The next lip helps it fit snuggly in the hive, and the top hole is where the water goes.

Boardman entrance feeder used for springtime feeding of the bees http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

base

Boardman entrance feeder used for spring time feeding of the bees http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

The round opening on top is just the right size for a mason jar.  The lid has very tiny holes in the top.

Cap for mason jar that is used in the Boardman entrance feeder for bees http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

Fill the jar with equal parts of pure cane sugar and water, screw on the lid and place upside down in the feeder.  I’m guessing this will be gone in just a couple of days.

Feeding the bees with sugar water in the Boardman entrance feedershttp://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

Sometime this weekend, I hope to open the hive and check on the progress of things.  Warmer weather spurs the queen to begin laying eggs again and I’m told now is a good time to reverse the hive bodies (the one on top will go to the bottom) to help in the prevention of swarming.

In other news, the garlic is weathering the snow just fine.

Garlic grows in the winter! http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

I found several bulbs of garlic from last summer’s harvest in my kitchen.  I had stored them in a dark, cool space and totally forgot about them.  They were still good and I decided to slice them up and dry them in the oven.

Drying garlic is a great way to use your home grown garlichttp://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

After I peeled the garlic, I used my mandoline to slice them very thin.  I put them on a piece of parchment paper and placed them in my oven at the lowest temperature (which is 170).  Every hour I stirred and checked them.  They looked close to done after 7 hours, so I turned off the oven and left them in overnight.

Drying garlic is a great way to use your home grown garlichttp://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

The aroma was unbelievable and I dare say my kitchen smelled better than any fine Italian restaurant.   Today, the plan is to grind them up and give them a special place with my other spices.

In just a few weeks, my meat chickens will arrive.  I have been busy getting the nursery ready and need to find another tub to go with this one.  We are expecting 25 chicks and they will outgrow this tub very quickly.

This old water tub makes a great brooder for baby chicks http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/06/warm-up-on-the-way/

Have a great weekend!

Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Arkansas, Bees, Chickens, Farm life, Garden, Garlic | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Canning Beans in Winter

Every year, the garden seems to have a different vegetable star.

Last summer was deemed the  summer of tomatoes and pinto beans.  I had so many tomatoes, I ended up picking them straight from the garden, bagging them in Ziploc bags and tossing them in the freezer.  I did the same with the beans.  By the end of summer, I had about 15 one gallon bags of tomatoes and a couple of gallon bags of pinto beans in the freezer.

I’ve finally got the tomatoes canned (post on this later) and this weekend seemed like a good time to take care of the beans.

snow feb, 28, 2015

If you’ve never used a pressure cooker/canner before, be sure to look through the book that came with the cooker before starting.  Another book I refer to all the time is the Ball Blue Book Guide for Canning.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/In the recipes, you will see directions such as, process pints for 40 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.  To know what pressure you need, my cooker (which is really, really old) has this on top of the lid.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/This knob comes apart so you can adjust the pressure as needed.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

You will have a guide in your canning book that will break this down for you.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/Pinto beans call for 10 psi, so the top of my cooker looks like this

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

I took the beans out of the freezer a couple of days ago, (I’m not sure if they actually needed to thaw or not.  I mainly did it as a reminder so I wouldn’t  forget to soak them overnight.)

I ‘ve figured out over the years that 9 cups of dried beans will yield about 14-15 pints of beans or 3 cookers full.  So, I measured out the beans, placed them in a large stockpot and covered them with cold water.  Cover the pot and let them sit on top of the stove for 12-18 hours.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

After they’ve soaked overnight, drain the water from the beans, rinse, and place back in the stockpot.  Cover with cold water and bring to a boil.  Boil for 30 minutes.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

During this time, get your jars, lids, and caps ready.  I like to put my jars in the dishwasher to clean, sterilize them, and keep them hot.  By the time the jars are going through the dry cycle, the beans are usually done cooking.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

You can also place the jars in large pan of water and heat.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

I’ve also warmed them in the microwave, too.  The point is they need to be very warm so the jars don’t bust when hot beans go in.

Put the lids and caps in a pan of water and heat.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

When everything is ready to go, get a hot jar and place 1/2 tsp. canning salt in the bottom of the jar.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/ Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

Place a funnel (optional, but helpful) on top of the jar and pour in beans.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

No broth at this point, just beans.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

When the jar is full of beans, pour in the liquid leaving about 1 inch of space (this is called headspace).

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

Next, remove any air bubbles in the jar using a butter knife or something similar.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

This is done by inserting the knife on all four “sides” of the jar and then right in the middle.

Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth or paper towel.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

Remove a lid from the hot water using this magnetic tool

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

and place on the rim of the jar.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

Remove a cap from the hot water (with the same tool) and screw tightly on the jar.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

Place the jar in the pressure canner that has about 2 inches of water in the bottom.

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/My cooker is small and will hold 5 regular-mouth jars or 4 wide-mouth jars.

Make sure the jars are not touching each other or the sides of the cooker

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/and that the water in the cooker goes up the jar about 3 inches.

Put the lid on the cooker and secure.

Turn on the heat.  When the psi indicator starts to “hiss” at a steady rate (this takes about 15 minutes to happen), begin to time.  It will sound like this:

For pinto beans, the instructions say to process for 1 hour 15 minutes at 10 psi.  Set the timer.  That’s a long time (for me) and I tend to get started on other things and lose track of time.  I usually set the timer on the oven and my phone.

When the time is up, turn off the heat and let the cooker cool down.  Don’t move the cooker at this point.  You will not be able to open the lid until the pressure is down and this will take about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, gently try to open the lid.  If it doesn’t give, leave it for a few more minutes and try again.  When the pressure is down, it will open easily.

Take out the beans with your jar gripper

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

 and place them on a towel.  Let your jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours.  During this time you will hear popping or pinging.  This means your jars have sealed!

Canning is a great way to preserve your summer harvest  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/03/01/canning-beans-in-winter/

The next day, check the tops by running your finger across the top.  If you can push the lid down and it pops back, the jar didn’t seal and you need to put it in the refrigerator and eat within a couple of days.  If the lid does not pop back, your jars have sealed and you can put them in the cupboard or pantry.

Allen is always giving me a hard time about canning.  He reminds me I could  buy a can of beans for $.50 and wouldn’t have to spend the whole day canning.

That’s true, but I don’t mind spending a snowy day in the kitchen.

bird snow feb 2015

And, I figure if I go to all the trouble to have fresh food in the summer, the least I can do is enjoy it in the winter.  I love being able to come home, open a jar, heat it up, make a pan of cornbread and have a meal in 30 minutes or less.  It doesn’t get any easier than that.

The pinto beans I use are the Lina Sisco Bird Egg bean that I’ve talked about here.  Super easy to grow, easy to harvest, and easy to preserve either at the time you pick them or in the dead of winter.

birds snow feb 28 2015

Who’s looking forward to spring?

 

Brenda

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in canning, Garden, Pinto Beans | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Plants to Consider for Your Garden

I hate to even complain about the snow and ice we’ve gotten this week.  It is nothing compared to my friend and fellow blogger, Michele at The Salem Garden, who has had to deal with 87 inches of snow fall since Jan. 23!

It’s been extremely cold, too, making chores not so fun. My grandson stayed with me for a couple of days this week and has helped me gather eggs (which is one of his favorite things to do) and has kept me entertained with his sweetness.

luke 2years old feb 2015 snow

We’ve also made sure to feed the birds and spent many minutes (which is hours in toddler time) at the window watching them go back and forth from tree to feeder.

Snowman Bird Feeder

Like I’ve said before, winter is a great time to research different types of shrubs, flowers, and vegetables you might want to plant in the garden.

ice and snow FEb. 2015

I have been transitioning to native plants over the last few years. I’ve noticed over the years that pollinators, (butterflies and bees), seem to congregate on the natives more than the non-natives.  I’ve also noticed that natives tend to be less fussy, more disease resistant, deer resistant, and take all kinds of weather that Arkansas has to offer. I hate to say carefree, but they are pretty close.

Let’s start with the old-fashioned hydrangea.

Hydrangea arborescens 'Annabelle' is a great additon to the shade garden http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/

This species is Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’.  This particular hydrangea will always bloom white.  (Hydrangea macrophylla  are the ones that turn either blue or pink depending on your soil type.)  I chose white because of the contrast with my dark red brick.

This is a deciduous shrub (meaning it loses its leaves in winter).

hydrangea

It likes mostly shade but could stand more sun if you wanted to keep it watered.  Mine gets about 4 hours of morning sun.

This particular hydrangea blooms on new wood which means you can prune it back in late winter

hydrangea

and still get massive blooms a few months later.

hydrangea

Knowing whether your hydrangea blooms on new wood or old wood is very important.  If it blooms on old wood, pruning at the wrong time may cause your shrub to be all leaf and no bloom (which is something like all work and no play.)

It’s also good to know how tall your shrub is going to get.  ‘Annabelle’ gets about 3 ft. tall and 3 ft. wide for me but information I’ve read says it can get up to 5 ft. tall.  A good, detailed website to peruse if considering hydrangeas is http://www.hydrangeashydrangeas.com/

Another overlooked shrub is Amsonia hubrichtii or Arkansas Blue Star.

 Amsonia hubrectii or Arkansas Blue Star is a great native plant for the sunny garden http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/This shrub will give you  blue flowers in the spring, followed by feathery leaves in summer, and yellow foliage in the fall.

Amsonia hubrichtii ro Arkansas Blue Star foliage in early fall.  This is a great native plant for the garden.  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/My largest one is about 4 ft. in diameter and 3 ft. tall.  It gets full sun but would tolerate some shade.  It’s not easy to relocate, so I would make sure you have it where you want it.  It does send up shoots close to the plant but it’s not invasive.  If I’m feeling energetic, I will pot those shoots up and let them grow all summer and then plant them in the fall.  I love free plants!  It does die back in the winter which means you don’t have to worry about pruning.  Amsonia impressed me most when we had an extreme drought and a plague of grasshoppers one summer.  This was the only shrub that came through totally unscathed causing me to fall deeply in love with it and pledge to always sing its praises.

Another favorite native is Asclepias tuberosa or Milkweed.

Asclepias tuberosa or Milkweed is a drought tolerant native plant.  This is the only plant the monarch butterfly will lay her eggs on.  Bright orange flowers bring in many pollinators.  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/

Asclepias tuberosa

If you want to attract monarch butterflies to your yard, this is the plant you need.  Not only do they (along with bees and other pollinators) love the flowers, milkweed is the only plant monarchs will lay their eggs on.  When a monarch egg hatches, the caterpillar will eat the leaves and grow to become a monarch.  I have raised hundreds of monarchs on my milkweed to the delight of my granddaughter.  Nature and kids just go together.

hallie, butterfly

Milkweed is a perennial (meaning it comes back every year) in zones 3-9.  It dies back in the winter and starts to emerge a little later than most perennials.  Mine usually starts sending up shoots by the end of April/first of May.  Until you remember where you planted your milkweed plants, it would be a good idea to mark them (I circle them with golf tees) so you won’t plant over them like I have been known to do (more than once I hate to admit)

parsley golf tee

parsley marked with golf tees

A. tuberosa  will grow about 2-2 1/2 ft. tall and  1-1/2 ft. wide.  It sends out a long taproot making it hard to transplant once it gets growing.  I have moved mine before when the shoots were about 6 inches tall and it did ok but the ones that have done the best are the ones I’ve not touched since I planted them.

Asclepias tuberosa or Milkweed is not only a food source for the monarch butterfly, bees enjoy it as well.  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/And you can’t beat the color. Bright orange really pops in the garden.  In the fall, the seed pods are interesting as well.  Collecting the seeds are easy and a great way to get more plants or share with friends.

Asclepias tuberosa seed pod.  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/

Asclepias seed pod and seeds

Asclepias seed

Asclepias seed

Now, moving on to the vegetable garden.

An easy, tasty, dried bean to grow in the garden is the Lina Sisco Bird Egg Bean.

Lina Sisco's bird egg bean is a great dried bean for the veggie garden.  http://theblondegardener.com/2015/02/20/plants-to-consider-for-your-garden/This is an heirloom bush bean that can be traced back to the 1880’s.

I’ve grown this bean for years.  I hate to jinx myself and say I’ve never had a problem with bugs or diseases on this veggie, so I’m going to shut up right now.  Trust me, it’s a good bean to have on your side.

Once planted, let the beans grow until the pods go from green to completely brown (about 85 days from planting)  Brown pods mean the beans have completely dried and are ready to pick and shell.  Call me weird,  but shelling beans has always been very relaxing to me.  I have fond memories of sitting under the big shade tree in my grandmother’s yard shelling beans and talking.  It’s funny how doing small things like this can bring back such good memories.  I miss her to this day.

After the beans are shelled, you can either bag or can them.  Since I am usually busy with other veggies when they are ready, I put them in a Ziploc bag and stick them in the freezer until I have time to can them.

dried bean Lina Sisco bird egg

Don’t use all of them, though.  These beans are not a hybrid and can be saved for next years garden or to share with friends and neighbors if you have a bumper crop.  Can you tell I like free plants?

Free Plants+Happy Friends=Happy Gardeners.

Now that’s math I can understand.

Brenda

Here are some of my favorite local sources for native plants
www.whiterivernursery.com
www.westwoodgardens.com
www.pineridgegardens.com

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Happy Valentine’s Day!

cow and heart

 

 

Posted in Family, Farm life, Garden, Home | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

The Bees Were Out and About

With the unusually warm weather we’ve had, the bees are probably thinking it’s spring time.

Bees come out of the hive when it warms up to check on nectar supplies

Enjoying the beautiful weather

But it’s not.  Colder weather is on the way and this is a critical time for beehives.  I am told that most hives are lost in February and March due to low food supplies in the hive.

As I was working in the barn today, I heard a familiar buzz nearby.  Upon closer examination, I saw several bees dining on deadnettle.

Bees love the early blooming dead nettle bee and dead nettle bee and deadnettle bee and deadnettle

Deadnettle is considered a weed (it’s in the mint family) and it LOVES to overwinter in my flowerbeds.

deadnettle bee

One man’s weed is another’s bee food.

deadnettle bee

I didn’t notice any blooming in the flower beds.  Just this little patch by the barn.  Don’t get me wrong-it’s there, just not blooming yet.

Feeding the bees this time of year is very important to get them over the last hump of winter.  I made a sugar-water mixture of one part pure cane sugar and one part warm water (to help dissolve the sugar) and put this mixture in my Boardman entrance feeders and slid them into the hive.  The jar lid has several very small holes in it and allows the bees to get access to the syrup without leaving the hive.  I’ll get a better picture tomorrow so you know what I’m talking about.  I was a little nervous doing this today because I didn’t have one stitch of my bee suit on.  Just regular clothes.  Not even gloves!  Aren’t I getting braver?

Boardman bee feeders are used to feed sugar-water in the winter

Boardman bee feeders are used to feed sugar-water in the winter

They actually went through both feeders in one day.

If you remember, about a week ago, I set out this feeder

bee

with sugar-water in it.  This worked well except when the water went down, about a couple of hundred bees found their way inside and began to cluster.  They were too far away from the hive and it was cold that night and they ended up freezing to death.  I felt really bad.  There are thousands of bees in the hive, and a couple of hundred probably won’t be missed, but I still don’t want to lose any.  So,  I put that feeder up and brought out the entrance feeders.

I will be feeding from now until more deadnettle, dandelions, and trees start blooming.  When you think about it, we still have a lot of cold weather ahead and I see pounds and pounds of sugar-water in my future.

Your friend in the garden,

Brenda

 

 

 

 

Posted in Bees, Farm life, Flowers, Garden | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments