I'm in love with succulents! Having said that, I must admit that I'm just learning about these funky plants that are so perfect for this hot, dry climate. I found an old wooden toolbox at an antique store that I just knew would be cute with plants in it. That was back in April, right about the time I last posted anything on this blog...

Since then I've been busy. Two wonderful weeks in Ireland followed by two fun weeks of babysitting my grandson and lots of little stuff in between. But I'm back! I've got lots of ideas brewing in my head, beginning with the toolbox and some succulents.

Today I was in a local big box store and saw some succulents that were reasonably priced. That's one thing i've noticed about my new favorite plants--they're not cheap! I bought a couple of flats and headed home.

Here's where I can tell I'm out of it. I didn't take any before & during pictures of this project. I know, right? The good news is you don't need them. All you need to do is find a cute container and some plants and start planting. 

Since I found these plants on sale, I only spent $32. The toolbox (with some old tools in it that I gave to my daughter) was only $35. So for about $60 I ended up with a gorgeous planter that I will be able to enjoy for ages.

Here are the few pictures I took.

Don't you love it?

I'll keep you posted...


Rustic Light Redo

I have a mystery light in my backyard. It's been there since we moved in. There is no switch to turn it on or off,  just a light sensor that makes it work.  That means it comes on on at dusk, but also on dark rainy days. The only good thing about it is that it lights the backyard at night, so until I decide to spend a chunk of money on some new outdoor lighting, it's staying right where it is. Did I mention that it's ugly? Parking lot ugly.

See what I mean? I especially like the way the dirt dauber nests show up at night...

One of these days I'll replace it, but until then, it's time to work a little magic. I had a bunch of English ivy that was taking over one of my trees, so I pulled it down and decided it would be perfect for this project. I also had 2 metal rings that have been hanging around, waiting to discover their true purpose. One is from an old wagon wheel that fell apart, the other is from a wine barrel. They were cool looking, so I just never threw them away, knowing I would find a use for them some day. Today is that day. The only thing I needed to buy was some wire.

I started by attaching the small ring to the top of the fixture. I made sure that it didn't interfere with the sensor since that is what makes the light work. 

Next, I attached the larger ring so that it hung just below the base of the light shade. 

Using the wire, I made a form.  Remember this is rustic so perfection is not necessary. This form is going to be covered with vines.

The next step was to strip the leaves off of the vines. 

Now it's time to start weaving in the vines. The hardest part of this for me ws doing it 12 feet in the air. 

Just keep weaving. The light will still be partially visible, but it will look so much better. 

Cute right? It's still plenty bright at night too.  I think it looks like a bird's nest.


Do not attempt this if your light gets hot. A cute light is not worth catching your house on fire. I went out at night and touched the fixture to make sure it wasn't hot. This has a plastic shade so it doesn't get as hot as glass would.  If your fixture does get hot, you could use wire instead of vines, but it would take a lot more wire to cover the shade.

I'll keep you posted... 


Meet the Girls

I've shown you my coop, now it's time to show you it's occupants. I'd like you to meet MIss Maisey, Ruby, Liza, and Olive, or as I call them, the girls. The first picture is what they looked like the day I got them. They were only a couple of days old. They lived with their brothers and sisters (54 in total!) at my daughter's house for the first 2 months, then I brought them home to their own coop. The second picture is what they look like now.


As you can see by this picture, getting four chickens in one frame is no easy feat. I tried, but I couldn't get them all to look at me...

So now it's time for individual portraits and formal introductions.

First up is Miss Maisie, a Buff Orpington.  Buff's are very friendly and are great mamas, even though that won't be a part of Miss Maisie's life because I don't have a rooster. All of the girls are just over 2 months old, so they aren't finished growing. Miss Maisie will be a big fluffy girl when she's mature. When the time comes, she will lay brown eggs.

Next up is Ruby. Ruby is a Red Star and a reliable layer. She also lays brown eggs. 

My third girl is Olive. She's a big Americana. Her comb will never get very big and she will have feathers that will come out of the sides of her face. They are just beginning to appear now, but don't really show up in photos yet. I'm very excited to see what color her eggs will be. They can be either blue or green. 

I've saved the best, or at least the funniest, for last. Meet Liza, my Silver Polish. She has a big floppy hat of feathers that covers her head and most of her eyes. She's a tiny little bird and she likes to keep to herself. She won't be a regular layer but when she does lay, they will be small white eggs.

I love my girls. They each have a different personality and are so fun to watch. I won't get any eggs until spring, but when I do I'll show you how beautiful they are with their vivid orange yolks. 

Now, in case you're considering getting some chickens of your own, I'd like to give you some advice. You see, I went into this adventure not really knowing what I was doing or what to expect. The first thing you should know is that chickens eat everything in sight. Maybe not literally, but when it's your beautifully landscaped yard, it seems like everything. That's why I decided to build my chicken run. Now I can control which parts of the yard the girls have access to each day, and I can rotate and therefore, limit their destruction. The up side to their appetites is that they love kitchen scraps, everything from meat, to fruit, to veggies, so now I have almost no waste in my kitchen.

Secondly, they poop a lot and can be a little smelly. That's easily remedied by keeping their coop clean. The poop is great fertilizer, so I put it in my flower beds when I clean their coop. 

They have plenty of predators even in the city, so make sure they are well protected. Cats, dogs, raccoons, foxes, and skunks are all city dwellers who will kill chickens. It is imperative that they be closed up at night.

Lastly, make sure you are allowed to keep chickens wherever you live. In my area we can have chickens as long as they are confined but we can't have roosters. 

If all of that sounds okay, then go for it!  

I'll keep you posted...