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Build a Pondless Fountain, On the Cheap

We had to rebuild our pond when the original 5 gallon bucket we used proved not to hold enough water for us to leave for a weekend before it splashed out. Many times the Robins would sit on the fountain and during their bathing would flap a good portion of water out of the system. We decided a larger basin was needed. However, many of the basins that are specifically made for pondless fountains are very expensive. What is expensive? Anywhere between $400. and $700. dollars. I feel that cost places these fountains out of many folks price-points. I’d rather use that money towards the ‘art’ part. The part everyone sees… The fountain!

We dug-up everything that was buried and set it out for re-installation. We decided we were going to try a plastic storage container and see how well the $20. dollar bin would hold up. We dug the hole about 4″ inches larger than the bin and back-filled that area with pea gravel. We hoped it would allow the bin to freeze (expand) and thaw without cracking. So far, this fountain has been through one winter with no issue.

    

So the lid wouldn’t cave in, we set the central weight of the fountain on top of a 6″ piece of PVC pipe. The pump (with its filter) sat just outside the PVC pipe. We placed holes in the lid to drain the water back into the basin, however not enough to compromise its integrity.

After everything was installed in the basin, but before the fountain was assembled above, we checked if the pump was working correctly. Better to check now than to stack the fountain and realize there’s an issue. DoH!!

    

Everything was running well, so we continued to finish the installation by adding the grate, the pond membrane and returning the stone to the area. We then carefully stacked the fountain on the copper pipe. We plugged it in and stepped back to admire our work.

If you want to see other pondless fountain ideas, click here!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Twin Tuesday ~ Easy Weimaraner

Bon Chew-y… nugget bars!

I didn’t have to go to Google translate to translate what ‘Bon Chew’ meant… Most of my two semesters of French have stuck in my head. Of course I remember the swear words 😉 Or an insult… Vous êtes une tête de merde!

I can’t remember how long I’ve been following the antics of the Weimaraners here at Easy Blog*. Yes, that was plural. Easy the Weimaraner had me following him at the first post I laid eyes on. I laughed my ass off!! He was so smart and wise as he taught class on his very own king-sized bed-classroom. His students may not have been able to hear, see or smell Easy’s class, due to MIA body parts caused by a bon chew… butt that’s neither here nor there… Easy also loved to help the staff do chores around the house. Most of the time this consisted of opening packages from the post (wo)man, sometimes not in the most gentle way… Letting the woman know that it was time to get rid of some shoes… And many times he tried to guide the staff in DIY projects, however they usually ended in disaster, whether it be the woman’s fault or the man trying to cut his own parts off.

Sadly, Easy the Weimaraner had to go to the Rainbow Bridge last year. It was unexpected and very sad for all of us. 😦

However, there is a new kid in town named Da Phenny, and he’s not far behind his beloved brother Easy in his style and grace!! Da Phenny has already proven himself worthy of opening packages, directing the staff on DIY projects, digging to America and other chores around the pad.

As the new kid in town, Da Phenny is still a bit wet-behind-the-ears… He still as to learn a few things about cohabitation with the staff. This is where the pad of shame comes in. Sadly, it seems Da Phenny tends to land here many times. Many, many times.  Even the woman gets a dose of the pad of shame! Although I’m sure the Weim did probably have something to do with it!!!

I’ve come to learn about the pad of shame at my own house. Here I am trying to explain to Breck that it wasn’t my fault that the Dog store was out of Liver treats!!!

  • I think it’s been 4 years!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Chippy Chipmunk ~ Tamias striatus

These guys are my adorable little bird seed removers. No one likes weeds  under the feeders 🙂

The genus name of Tamias is Greek for treasurer, steward, or housekeeper, surely because of how this little critter cleans up all the seeds on the ground, storing them for winter dining. The common name may have been spelled chitmunk from the native Odawa (Ottawa) word jidmoonh, meaning “red squirrel”.

Their average size is 2-6″ inches long, with a 3″ inch tail and weigh less than a pound. Chipmunks will live to an average of 2 – 3 years in the wild, however can easily double that in captivity. Sadly, these cuties are on the bottom of the food chain. Chipmunks will gather food along the ground, most times staying out of wide open spaces. They prefer areas with underbrush, evergreens, and downed trees, where they can hide from predators like bird of prey, foxes, coyotes, and snakes.

        

Clearly, this is a little boy chipmunk 😉  ||  A group of chipmunks is called a scurry.

These little engineers like to dig two types of burrows: shallow burrows for fast get-aways while foraging, and deeper burrows where the entrance can be up to 20′ feet long, where they nest, store food and hibernate. Chipmunks rarely venture further than 1,000 feet from their burrows at any time.

They feed on insects, nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, they also eat other creatures such as insects, baby birds, frogs and bird eggs, which they stuff into their stretchy cheek pouches and and bring back to their burrows to store.

I used to hear these chirps and think they were birds.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

 

Burn the Fields!

Since I was focusing on my front foundation plant bed for the past two years, I passed on doing my veggie garden. We tried to keep it weed free, however weeds won the battle. Late last fall, we just cut it down to a few inches tall. We are planning to have the veggie garden back this season. To prepare for this, we needed to get rid of these weeds! An easy way for us to do this was to burn them. I’m a bit of a pyro. In my younger years, I would have loved to be the firefighter that battles the wildfires. I’m too old for that, however I am certified to work prairie fires. Of course, I can still have my fun in my own yard!! 

In lieu of using the normal fire starter method used for prairie fires (diesel) we opted for a harder method, however our method would not taint the soil. We used a propane torch. It got the fire started, however because we weren’t dropping drips of fuel, which would fuel a fire so many ways better, our method relied on the dryness of the plant matter and wind. We chose a 10 MPH wind, and used it to ‘push’ the fire along the bed. It wasn’t perfect, but it got the job done.

I’m not sure where my hubby got that pink firehat. They were being given out somewhere and it had somehow got placed on the shelf near the propane torch. He thought it was apropos for the situation. I just thought it made him look cute.

Like I said, this was not exactly a wildfire! This was as good as it got. I think those flames are reaching waist height.

In case you’re wondering why we are burning our fields, in short, our area “The Great Plains”, requires a burning now and then to cleanse the non-natives from the native lands. Non-native plants and seeds usually can’t survive the heat of the fires like our natives can. Ancient Native Americans learned this long ago. If you’d like to learn more, click here.

Burn, baby, burn!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Irony

My hubby just installed our new, large, toyhauler mailbox last weekend. Our mail person is going to love it, as they can fit much larger packages in it and not have to drive up to the house to drop them off.

I do have an odd set-up for the front of my home. The true, front door is not convenient to use, as it drops you off into a small hallway in the living room. I much prefer using the garage entrance that then goes into the kitchen. Way more accessible to everything and a much larger foyer, so to speak.

I have a long bench right by this door that is out of the elements and a great place to leave packages, as I will see them walking up. The front door has no protection from rain. Even though I have blocked the front stoop from access with flower pots, it doesn’t stop them from hopping over and putting them there. It’s really only UPS and FedEx that does it. I usually have a note in the mailbox, telling the mail carrier to place them on the bench…

Since I had a new mailbox, I needed to write out a new note to hang inside, informing the carriers of my wishes that larger packages be placed on the bench. This was my first attempt. DOH!!!!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Blue Apron Meals – Update

We have been ordering Blue Apron meals for a little over a month now. I can’t say enough about the meals and the cooking techniques we’ve learned how to to pull off. Admittedly, there are also plenty of food items I will never touch again… Kale pretty much being at the top of the list. I’ve made kale at least 5 different ways and none of them has produced a palatable taste for me. We now just buy some spinach for me when we see it in an upcoming meal. The next being sesame oil. OMG, it kills my insides and stays with me for days. ICK! Lastly, what is with all the radishes? I get it BA is trying to be eco-friendly and use what is in season, however a radish salad is not my cup-o-tea.

We often try to pick the fish meal when offered. All of them have been fabulous! I can’t believe how much I love catfish. My Father used to cook it all the time and the smell caused me to leave the house. The salmon, white fish and cod have all been fantastic also.

So far, our favorite meal has been the pork roast rubbed in spices. It was so juicy and tender! Super yum.

We’re going to continue to enjoy these. We also think these would be a great thing to bring along camping! All the ingredients are in the box, I don’t need to worry about forgetting something. The only things that would need to be aboard the ‘Daug Haus’ would be olive oil and the proper kitchen tools; pots, shredders, pans, etc.

Admittedly, I don’t remember the fancy names for the following meals… I’m going to call it as I see it. If anyone’s curiosity is burning that bad to know the recipe or true name, ask about it in the comments and I’ll get back to you.  =-)

Salmon with fried rosemary and apple farro

Pan fried chicken with bok choy, rice and marinated carrot slaw

Pan fried chicken with mushrooms, rice and kale.

Cheese cannolis with tomato sauce and creamy garlic salad

Here’s that pork meal!

Cumin crusted pork roast with fig / orange sauce on a bed of onion and barley.

Pork chop with jasmine rice, tomato/cilantro salsa and kale.

Fried chicken on a bed of kale and mashed potatoes.

Lamb and beef stew topped with fried potato disks and parmesan cheese

Moroccan Chicken on spiced tomatoes and carrots with rice. This one rocked!!

Shrimp with cabbage with curry. We did not like this one at all.

Meatloaf with ketchup pepper chutney and hash browns. Meh.

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

Second Chances for Single Socks

cute-dog-socksIt’s hopefully coming to the end of ‘sock season’ soon and the need to wear socks will be over. I hate wearing socks. I do buy cute ones tho, usually with dogs or other cute animals or patterns on them. My husband, on the other hand, buys the same, white brand so they actually ALL match. Whenever he gets a hole in one, it’s not like the pair is trash, just the one with the hole. Easy-peasy! There’s never a single sock in his drawer.

I actually don’t seem to loose many of these cute pairs. It’s the plain Jane colored ones that go MIA. I had a pretty large pile of loners and was about to throw them out when I looked at Oreo sitting next to me. Ah Ha! I tied them all together and a new pull toy was created! Fun!

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl

 

Where’s Your Food?

We never spent a bunch of time training our boys to do parlor tricks. They do enough cute things throughout the day to entertain us! However, sometimes it’s not so much dog training as much as human training. Their food and treats are kept in this pantry. I started to notice Breck would paw at the door while I was in sight of it. Every time he did it, he would try to eyeball me. Who was being trained here?!? I started to ask him, “Where’s your food?”  After a little while, I was able to ask him and he would paw the door. Oreo can’t be outdone. He didn’t paw the door, his answer was to point his nose at it.

     

Where’s your food???

© Ilex ~ Midwestern Plant Girl