24 September 2013

Making things from nothing

I like making things - new treasures or just plain useful items - from stuff that's lying around, unused and unloved.

A couple of weeks ago I spied a neighbour pruning his tree, and asked if I could have some of the sticks. This is about a tenth of what he had to offer. I'm not sure what type of tree it is, being leafless at present.


With these sticks I wove a trellis, up which I will grow fragrant and beautiful sweet peas. I built it out the front of our house, in front of the kitchen window. Until a couple of months ago the area sported two camellia trees, which we (he!) removed. In their place I planted two citrus trees, an orange and a tangelo. This family needs lots of fruit! Until they grow bigger, however, I think we'll suffer from lack of shade in the summer, with the hot sun beating down on our concrete patio. A trellis laden with sweet peas will be a lovely shady replacement for the camellias.


I started by driving thicker, straight sticks into the ground about a hand width apart, then I just wove thinner, straight sticks in and out between them. It was a little bit harder than it sounds, but to me it is much more attractive than a bought one. I want to make more for the garden, plus one to try out as chicken run fencing. I might be a bit slow though: apparently it's much easier when they're freshly cut and therefore supple.

On Friday night Jack saw something in a book I got from a garage sale, the Rainy Day Book. He came across instructions for some little bean bag people and just HAD to make some. By Saturday lunchtime we'd made three. They're made of scraps I had lying around, and filled with green lentils that had been in the pantry far too long. Children sewing of course means Mama helping, in spite of having very different plans. But how often does a ten year old boy long to sew? I had to be part of it.





And finally to my chickens (of course). I turned a milk bottle into a grit feeder for them. This grit is purchased crushed shell, which they need to provide calcium for their eggs. The alternative is to keep their own egg shells, dry, crush and bake them, and feed them back to them. I must get on to doing that.


My oldest brown shaver is laying increasingly thin-shelled eggs that break easily. Yesterday I think one of them ate most of the egg - a dangerous thing, eat-eating, because once they get a taste for it apparently they keep doing it. All I found was a bit of sticky stuff in the nestbox coating the other eggs. Today her egg was a bit cracked, probably by another bird's feet. However, the grit level has dropped sharply in 24 hours, so they've been eating it, and hopefully it will boost her shells. I have been giving them grit for a long time, but only haphazardly, which means chucking them a handful when I remember. Not good enough, I think.

I think I might make another one and cut away less of the top part next time, so that the grit is more sheltered from dangers such as falling poo (the perch they sleep on is nearby). 

For you, a flower photo I took at the Hamilton Gardens. Spring is good.


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