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Blog: Living Cheap in Kansas

How to live on less, save on just about everything and be green too!

Showing 3 posts in the Gardening category for this blog.
Back to the Curb
Thursday, June 10, 2010

There is an old saying that goes something like this:  "All things come to those who wait".  In 60 years of being financially challenged, I've learned that waiting often proves to be the most frugal way to obtain what you need.

We have decided to remove the old privacy fence and gates from the sides of our house and replace them with an open picket fence and attractive gates.  We will leave the rest of the fence around the back yard because the neighbors have attached their fences to it and most of the neighbors have dogs.

We had checked pricing for fence pickets (we are using the existing posts,  rails and hardware) and discovered that the about 10' of fence and two 40" gates would end up costing at least a couple hundred dollars.  We considered ripping the existing 6" pickets to 4", but decided to wait.

Well, yesterday evening we were on our way to the community garden (we have two plots) when we noticed that a house down the street had a huge pile of white picket fencing at the curb.  They had taken down the fence around their back yard and put it out for the trash.  Most of it was in good shape - just needs a fresh cost of paint.

We put 75 of the pickets in the van and now all I need to do is go to the Household Hazardous Recycling center for free paint.  Now if I can find somebody who is throwing out some perfectly good deck boards...

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Mr. Froggy went a'courtin
Monday, June 07, 2010

One last about a month ago I was home alone. I had the north window open and  began hearing a gruff "brummph" coming from outside.  After going to investigate, I discovered that we had a new visitor to our little stone circled tub pond - a bull frog.

Now to make a long story short, we were planning on digging up the flower garden and small round tub and replacing the tub with a larger molded pond and adding a small waterfall and reworking all the perrenials that live around it.  That was the plan.

Then we went to Hawaii for ten days to visit our grandson, daughter and son-in-law (he is stationed at Scofield Barracks - soon to be deployed to Iraq).

It was a nice trip.  Well a few days after we returned, I went to check out the tub and see if I could drain it to get ready to rework the flower garden.

You guessed it.  We have a tub of tadpoles.  Hundreds of the little critters were merrily swimming around.  I guess the flower garden and waterfall will have to wait...

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Saturday, January 09, 2010

We love blackberries - in jam, in pies and cobblers and just to eat.  Well, four years ago this coming spring I decided to purchase some blackberry plants and put them along the north fence in our smallish backyard.  I selected a thornless variety called Triple Crown from Gurneys and ordered six plants.  Well, the day before we were to leave for California on vacation, they arrived.  I stuck them in the ground and left town for two weeks. 

Only one survived.  But it grew.  It shot up quickly to the fence, where I attached it with plastic ties screwed to the wooden fence.  Then it grew some more - this time along the ground where it took root...and took root, and took root.  So I cut the little plants free from the original and spread them along the fence.  By the end of the first summer I had eight plants - spread along the fence.  The plant had actually bloomed, but I pinched the blooms so the energy to go toward growing the plant.

By the end of the next summer it had spread to cover twenty-four feet of six foot tall fence.  I got enough blackberries to can four PINTS of jam. To keep the birds from eating the berries I purchased green nylon net from JoAnn's  to cover the vines and attached it with twisty-ties.

By last summer it had covered forty-eight feet of fence and was moving into the front yard as well as the neighbor's.  Once again we covered the vines with nylon netting.  As the berries ripened we picked them and put them in zip top bags and froze them.  By the time I made jam I had enough for 14 pints plus two gallon bags of berries left.  I used one bag to make a large cobbler when the (adult) kids came over and the other bag is still in the freezer.

I sure hope this nasty winter weather doesn't hurt the vines.  We've had over a foot of snow and it has been below 10 degrees for the last week.


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AnnieM (Contact)
Olathe, Kansas USA
About Me:

I've been a cheapskate just about all my life. In doing so I've learned to do just about everything. I can sew, paint, hang wallpaper, install tile and flooring, pull and replace toilets, sinks, garbage disposals and faucets. Remove and replace ceiling fixtures and fans, replace outlets and switches, I've installed windows (both on houses and on computers!), I can rehab almost anything from furniture (repair, reupholster and refinish) to computers (I built my husband a good laptop using three broken ones that I got for free)! I've taken cheap to a whole new level!

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