Sunday, March 28, 2010


Starting to see some compost! After a couple weeks the barrel composter is showing signs of breakdown. We have a ton of table scraps (extra food, egg shells, old bread, tea bags etc.) so we should have no problem keeping the barrel monster fed.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Sandbox

So, I had a lot of scrap wood and even more free time today....figured I would build something.

Say hello to Adrianne's new sand box on legs! I'm going to fill this baby with sand tomorrow and hopefully keep our little rascal from digging in the garden.

Project Cost : 0$

Friday, March 26, 2010

Garden is now "Flint" proof

I was finally able to collect enough materials to "Flint-proof" the garden. The little tard has been smashing down the freshly tilled and plowed soil, and was surely devising a plan to dig a doggy trench in the middle of the garden.

The fencing doesn't look too pretty, but every single board, post, screw, and fence was donated or recycled. It took a while to piece together all of the materials, and to repair the fencing, but thanks to the "t-posts" from Chris I was able to finish it up. That only thing I still need to do is find a couple of heavy duty hinges to fasten the gate.

Total cost of project : $20 (had to buy a small sledge hammer to set posts, but I needed one anyways)

Next step, get ahold of some seeds/seedlings and get this baby growing!

Special thanks to:

Dad (for all the advice)
Chris (for the "t-posts")
City of Independence (for the free woods chips, which hopefully show up soon)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Harmony Farms

Check out Harmony Farms if you are looking for a local farm to buy your beef, pork, and chicken. They are a small family farm in Odessa,MO with ties to the community. The animals are grass fed, and are allowed to roam in open pasture. You can buy meat bundles off the website, find a good selection at Natures Pantry, or visit the farm.

The bacon is delicious!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Barrel Composter

Finished the barrel composter today. It is a simple design consisting of a plastic barrel with a hinged door, a base, and small wheels to allow the barrel to be turned.

I'm anxious to see if the claims of "compost in 2-3 weeks" are accurate.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

We finally got around to making our own laundry detergent (thanks for the inspiration Katie). It is surprisingly easy, and is a great deal cheaper than buying any of the store brands. Not to mention, this stuff is much better for the environment.

What you need (several batches can be made with 1 box of each):

Borax ($3.00 per box) Walmart or HyVee
Baking Soda ($3.00 per box) Walmart or HyVee
Washing Soda ($3.00 per box) HyVee
Bar of Soap or Fels Naptha ($.99 per bar) HyVee

You are probably thinking, "What the hell is Fels Naptha?". I thought the same thing when I found out about it, but it is apparently not that hard to find. Fels Naptha is a longer bar of soap that people use to rub out stains in clothes. You can find this in the laundry section at HyVee.

Making the laundry detergent is quite easy.

1. Start by grating up one Fels Naptha bar with a cheese grater. Make sure you use the "fine" side of the grater so the pieces are smaller.

2. Find a plastic container with a lid and easy access to scoop from. The one we found was $5.00 at Walmart and has a big flip top lid.

3. Add grated Fels Naptha (or bar of soap) to:
1 cup of Borax,
1 cup of Baking Soda
1 cup of Washing Soda

4. Start Shakin'! Mix all of the ingredients as well as you can.

5. Find a small scoop (measuring cup, coffee scoop, etc.) that holds about 2 tablespoons. Toss 2T in with a load of laundry and enjoy!

We have done a few loads of laundry with the home made detergent, and it works great.

Tip: double the recipe to 2 cups of each for 1 bar of Fels Naptha. Since the bar is larger than a normal bar of soap you are good to go. The container in the photo has 2 bars of Fels Naptha, and 4 cups of the remaining ingredients.

Thanks again Katie!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Rain Barrel - Part 2

Luckily we were able to add barrel number 2 and an overflow before the rain last night!
I'm realizing that it takes very little rain to keep these barrels full, so it should be pretty easy to keep water on hand.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Rain Barrel

Thanks to the free barrel, fittings, and help of my father; I have a functioning rain barrel! We installed the barrel on Saturday morning by re-routing a downspout on the south side of the house. The barrel now collects rainwater from a large surface area.

As you can see, the barrel was empty last night....

Now, after today's rain...

This bad boy fills up quick. The amount of water you see is just from today's rain, and after draining 4-6 inches to make room for the rest of today's rain.

I need to get the over flow valve installed and drop the other barrel into place to collect excess rain water.

Cost of Rain Barrel:
Gutter Fitting for new downspout connection - $3.00
Caulking for sealing old connection hole in guttering - $8.00
1-1/4" Sump Pump Kit - $10.00
Downspout - Free (reused old connections)
Gutter - Free (modified connections)
Barrel - Free (thanks dad)
Fittings for "On/Off" Valve - Free (thanks dad)

Total Cost - $21.00

Amount of money saved from not using city water: ? (T.B.D.)

*If anyone is interested, I can post the procedure for building this style of rain barrel.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Found a great site a while back called This site is a great resource to find local farmers who are selling produce and meats. The farms list if the meat is grass fed/finished, free range, organic, etc.

This website is also a great place to find a local CSA. Do you know what that stands for?

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an awesome idea.

The consumer purchases a share in a local CSA which is run by a local farm. You can purchase a full or partial share, and you can purchase vegetables, meats, or both. Then once a week you pickup a box full of locally grown vegetables/meats. Through the year the types of vegetables and meat change!

This is a great way to support local farmers, and to ensure the produce and meats you are consuming are from a reputable source!

Check it out on