Saturday, December 30, 2017

Recycled, Repurposed!

This summer I scored these 2x6 boards that were being thrown out from a deck project.  Perfect size for any project, especially shelves!  Many were originally 12 feet long, so I had to cut them down.  Several of the rougher ones were used in a raised bed garden I installed in late summer.

These three 6 foot long boards were the ideal size for my kitchen.
If you've been following along with this blog for a while you will recall that I had cabinets that were literally falling off of the ceiling over the stove.  When I finally got the nerve to remove them I also had to remove the overhead fan, always vowing to replace it with one that will work in this situation (still on the list!).

Anyway, I had these shelves installed here temporarily until I could figure out what to do next.
Regular pine boards for shelving.

They were lovely for the time being, but as you can see, the newer boards are much more functional, and I prefer the more rustic look too.

These are wonderfully weathered boards.  Easily cleaned up, and have had no sealers or stains added, making them safe for the kitchen.

Adding these longer boards required a bit of rearranging for the wall storage that was previously on the side walls here, so I moved them.

This was great because I can reach them easier now too, and they are all on one hanger.

I think my cast iron fish hanger fits the scene much better now too.

So there is a finishing project that cost zero dollars and just a little effort to install.
The only thing I would change would be to swap out the white metal shelf brackets for heavier black ones. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

2018 Resolutions: Keep It Simple!


2017 was rough!  It was a hard year for all of us;  politically, environmentally, globally.  This coming year I plan to keep it simple.

2018 will have all of its own ups and downs, things out of our control and unforeseen tragedies, that's just the law of life.  All we have control over is ourselves, our immediate environment and our responsibilities.  

The Winter Solstice is my New Year so to speak, so I have already done my journaling and resolutions for 2018.  
First, I processed 2017 and all its craziness to figure out what is really important to me.  Basically, it boils down to my work, my creative endeavors and what I do for fun.  I also included one new thing I want to achieve.

So it's pretty simple.  Improve some work conditions, rev up the creative businesses a little and add a new skill to my main business.
For fun and enjoyment I have some new camera equipment to play with, and with a resolution to spend less on day to day stuff and save more, I hope to make a couple of short trips.

I am sure that keeping it simple will help make it attainable and keeping the goals small will result in less stress to achieve them.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Homemade Gifts

There is nothing like a homemade gift at the holidays!  It shows you took the time and care to create something for someone on your list.

This year I made some Vanilla Chai Syrup, from my new favorite food blog:  Half Baked Harvest.  I love her new cookbook!  This recipe struck me as something incredibly thoughtful for anyone who eats.

Seriously, you can put this in anything you want to taste like vanilla chai!  I use it in my latte, it has been suggested it will work great in flavored alcohol drinks.  Hot vanilla chai toddy?

Put your spin on the wrapping.  Here at Huckleberry Hollow I live the simple life, so natural tissue paper, raffia and a homemade tag works great with a small Ball jar.

Throw in a cinnamon stick for looks and aroma.   

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Simple Gifting

The Huckleberry Hollow Holidays wouldn't be complete if I didn't share a little advice about my simple life.

Simple Gifting I think represents well thought out choices.  Gifts that are long lasting, educational or functional.  Gifts that will not end up in the landfill in less than a year, or donated.
We have enough thrift stores and landfills, what we need are better choices.

Get the stuff that really matters;  your time, repairs, favors.  Home made gift certificates for a home repair or visit or home cooked meal are so much more well received, it shows you care.

Functional gifts such as fermenting kits, dehydrators, slow cookers, energy saving and functional! 
How about a recipe book for healthy meals, or any how-to book. 

So what's on your wish list this year?

Here's mine:

*  Home fermenting kit
* A handyman that cares
* More firewood
* A raised bed garden

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Winter Solstice

It's almost my favorite time of year!  The Winter Solstice.  It's magical, mystical and hopeful.
The return of the sun!

Here's an old pic from when this blog was called the New Pioneer Diary.  It's a true symbolization of how the sun moves across the sky here.  Yes, at this time of year that's just how low it is - it moves just above the hill, through the trees.  It teases me with peek-a-boo glimpses of light throughout the day.

It's OK, I am patient and I know that it won't be long before the plants begin to wake up and get ready for another season.  The sun will rise (literally!) and I shall enjoy full daylight again.

Technical Difficulties Solved

Update:  OK, all set!  New blog layout mission accomplished!  Hope you like it.

 Earlier:  Bear with me readers if you have stopped by and noticed things are moving around on the blog.  I'm having a few technical difficulties working out the bugs.

I hope to choose a new, more modern looking layout, but be able to keep all of the pages and external links.

In the coming months I'll be adding more products, projects, and images to the blog too.

Thanks for following along!!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Home Energy Audits

I recently took advantage of an offer from my local utility company to do a free home energy audit.
I highly recommend everyone do this!  I learned all the ways in which I can conserve energy, ie.; money, in my home.

We walked through my 880 square foot vintage trailer with built on addition and assessed windows, doors and appliances.  Did you know you can buy an insulating unit for your outlets?  Use these on outside walls.
Also, if you have the old style toilets that use a ton of water, you can add a few full water bottles inside the tank to cut down on the water usage.

You can turn down the temp on your hot water heater and insulate it.  I had done this years ago, as well as upgraded my refrigerator. All my windows are double pane vinyl and sealed with weather stripping, as are my doors, but I take it a bit further by adding cardboard or heavy fabric curtains over all the glass too.

During this audit I also received free LED light bulbs and a low flow shower head, fantastic!

My forced air furnace is my biggest energy draw, but I keep the filters changed out about every four months when in use.  I also have a dryer and a cooking stove that use 220.  The most you can do is use them minimally.

In the future when I can afford it I want to have the floors insulated and possibly add additional insulation to the walls.
Fortunately I have a large wood stove that is my primary heat source, because honestly, the furnace would never keep it warm in here - nor I could I afford it!

Get in touch with your local power company and ask if they offer free home energy audits. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Future Plans

Sitting here sipping Turmeric tea at the end of November and wondering what to do here at Huckleberry Hollow next year.
Many things could make the list!  I have never added insulation to the floor, walls or ceiling.  I haven't upgraded the siding.  I'd love to install propane for heating and cooking.

While these things seem important and overwhelming, I can feel good about already having double pane vinyl windows, new outside doors, an added slider and of course the 9x25 addition.
All of the electrical and plumbing was upgraded when the trailer was installed here in 1998.  But the next owner did a kind of makeshift connection for a washer and dryer, so that should be upgraded at some point. 

Carpets and flooring could be replaced, but the walls look pretty good.  I've painted and added trim. 

These days I spend my time outdoors working in the yard since I can't seem to make any more progress inside.  Financing is an issue and then there's finding the right people to do the work.

I wonder how much longer I want to buy, stack and haul firewood.  The electric furnace would never keep it warm enough inside, so I must keep going till another heat source is decided on.

One reaches a point where you wonder if all your efforts are worthwhile on an old place like this.  But I know tons of people who love their vintage trailers and wouldn't give them up for anything.

Here are a few shots from over the years.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wood Stove Wall

Today I painted the wood stove wall - again. It needs touching up every year, not to mention I hadn't finished painting the ceiling near the chimney! 

So now it's all back together and the fire is going again.  :)
Next mission is to replace that ugly door!

Friday, November 3, 2017

October 2017

My big brother moved into his new place this year and decided he didn't need this fantastic little shed cabinet, so I scored it for my place!  Fits perfectly here.

Finally a place to store my tools close to the yard!

This was the biggest bean I have ever seen.  Right off the Scarlet Runner.  How funny is this?  I think it's what happens when they grow without supervision.

A cute rabbit came to visit here this month, was here for about four days and may have moved on today as I saw it hopping down the driveway.  It was so tame!  Didn't even run away while I was working out in the yard.  I hope it returns.

Surprisingly, there are still flowers blooming in October here.  This is my miniature rose that usually is eaten by the deer, but they haven't been around much this year.

And this funny little flower that is about the size of a bumble bee.  Just lovely.

So that wraps up October, thanks for following!

August 2017

It was a long hot summer here in my part of the Pacific Northwest, but I still managed to get some yard work done.  Everything was flourishing!  It was hard to keep up.

One of my projects this year was to divide up the last two bamboo and get them into 4 new pots.  I should have taken before and during photos, but forgot, as I was in the (literally) heat of the moment. 

Once you tip them out of their pots, you saw them in half (takes forever) and then they can be placed in new pots and add dirt.

They line the fence beautifully!  
In this last photo you can see how well the scarlet runner beans did on the old arbor and the lilies and ornamental grasses did very well also.

With yet another long dry season I had an idea to redo the landscaping in front so that next year I can lay in soaker hoses in the beds.  Also by leveling out the beds they will hold the water better too.

I also began moving some of the plants to a new bed along the driveway. 

The patio area became very scary as the season wore on, plants were tall and wide and it looked much like a jungle in there!

This is me with my big lily.  I'm 5'2", so you do the math.

 And the biggest cherry tomato I have ever grown!

Two of my brothers helped me purchase a large BBQ this summer, I confess, it's my first!  Primarily a simple cook and consuming few meats I was hesitant, but I am having so much fun with this!  I'm actually looking forward to my first "cookout" during a power outage.  My main dishes are BBQ stir-fry veggies and portabello burgers.

This is my local squirrel sitting on the wood shed looking in my window, waiting for a chance to intercept a small offering of seeds to the chipmunks - which she's figured out happens when they come to the door.  Is that the stink eye or what?

Another big project that had to happen this year was the removal of the back awning and porch.  It's been falling apart for years and now has dry rot and is dangerous.  Here are two "before" pictures.

My friend and handyman, Harry, helped me take it apart from the roof down.  Not too difficult and was all done in about three hours.
My next chore was to repair the siding underneath and repaint.  So here it is dismantled, at least.

And now repaired and painted.

So it's the doorway to nowhere right now.  I have two options.  I can put in a window or another door with steps.  This part of the mobile doesn't really need another door, there is one on the other side, for a fire exit on this end.  What this room doesn't have is an opening window, so that would be my preferred plan of action.  Now to find the person who can do it.

So that wraps up summer!  Thanks for following along.

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