Barrels be Gone!

Remember when I posted here about the eye sore created by rainwater barrels, and then here about wanting to create a planter out of an old wooden pallet? Well this weekend we killed two birds with one stone by repurposing a pallet to hide two functional, yet frightful barrels. (For the record, I LOVE collecting rainwater and know the barrels–which combined hold more than 200 gallons of water–are a great, Great, GREAT thing to have, I just don’t love looking at them.)  I am wildly pleased by the end result.

I put Handyman Heath to work yet again to help me construct this fun creation that will hide our barrels and enable us put to good use a bit of the garbage we’ve been hoarding since the move. The entire project was actually pretty easy to put together.

It started with a pallet…

From there we used wood scraps leftover from other projects (like the fence and chicken coop) to create enclosed boxes within the pallet to harbor the plant life. After 30 minutes of drilling and sawing, the boxes were complete and ready for step 2–lining.

We lined the interior with leftover chicken wire (for extra support) and landscape fabric. Usually landscape fabric is used as a weed blocker, but in this case it serves a different function–helping the roots to breathe by allowing water and air to pass through more easily. This way, even in close quarters, the plants can get the aeration/ventilation they require. It’s sort of like the flowers are tenants in a ritzy but terribly small high-rise studio apartment. Sure there isn’t a lot of room to move around and the neighbors are obnoxiously close, but the central air is superb and the views are to die for.

Once the wire and fabric were in place, the fun part (gardening) could start. This is where I get to step in. Heath’s the master of carpentry, I am the master or color coordination. I know, I know…If we’re stranded on an island, my skill set is clearly the more useful and preferred one. Matching your coconut bra to your coral earrings > Building a shelter.

I’m happy the rain barrels are installed and doing their thing, but I’m even happier I don’t have to look at them. Hooray for Handyman Heath and resourceful garden makeovers.

Weekend for the working

Get it? Instead of “working for the weekend.” Whatever, I thought it was clever.

While, like most red-blooded Americans, I’m always happy to see Friday roll around, I’m more excited for this weekend than I have been about others recently because it’s one of the only weekends I’ll have for a while to do a whole boat load of work on the house, in the garden, and around the kitchen. March weekends, in general, are slightly hectic what with weddings to attend, spring break, and the arrival of SXSW (which turns Austin into party Central–not that I’m complaining), so this weekend will be one of our only chances to really get our hands dirty tackling long overdue projects.

On the list….
Photo Friday–Before we can put on the work boots and gloves, there is one big-ticket item on the books, the opening of the Harry Ransom Center exhibit: Kings and CreatorsI’ll be working the event as as photographer (see photos from the last exhibit opening here), and Heath will be tagging along to enjoy the free food, booze and education. So his weekend will be starting a little earlier than mine, but fortunately HRC events are always entertaining, usually featuring actors, artists and other talented folk from the art/intellectual world. And heaven knows we can go for a little more intelligence and culture, especially considering what else we have planned for the days ahead.

Yard Clean Up–Some people clean house, we clean yards. Heath, handy and green thumbed as he may be, also suffers from pack rat syndrom. A lover of nature and recycling, it’s a struggle to get the man to throw things away. I turn my back for one second and before I know it, the yard, shed and utility closet are taken over by scrap pieces of wood, half broken pieces of glass, rope, bricks, and 289436234 of other bits of materials being saved for “future projects.” Love that the man wants to save the planet by reusing materials, but at some point we’ve got to separate the good from the  not-so-good and reclaim our space to keep what looks like a shanty town at bay.

Pallet Planter–Some time ago, I blogged here about wanting to create a planter out of the pallet my fridge was delivered with. We’ve finally drawn up a master plan for how to make it happen, so a big portion of the weekend will be dedicated to creating this piece of garden magic…. an experiment worth a blog post all its own.

Gliding Garbage–I get that garbage isn’t suppose to be pretty, but the garbage area under our sink area is a disaster zone. It’s part trash, part recycling, part compost and part madness. I cringe every time I open the doors, not entirely sure what’s going to jump out at me. Maybe it will just be a roll of paper towels that tumbles out from the overcrowded space, but it could just as easily be old egg shells and banana peels popping out of the compost container. None of it will do. Kitchens ought to be happy and cheery and smelling like cinnamon rolls…not like rotting lima beans, so we’re going to trash the trash heap, and put something together that gives the impression we are normal, functioning adults capable of living in a sanitary space. Mom will be so proud.

It’s an odd feeling…realizing you’re anxious and excited about a weekend that primarily revolves around organizing garbage and playing in mud, but that’s the kinda family we are these days: garbage collecting dirt junkies.

Expect more before-and-after photos than you know what to do with in the very near future.