Another part to having a Mans Garden is building some really cool projects. No we are not talking about girly crafts, we are talking about manly, get your hands dirty, projects. The following are some to get you started:
9 inch cake pans
Various scrap items
1. Swipe some of your wifes 9 inch cake pans.
2. Find objects from around the garage to preserve forever in your stepping stones. ex. glass, nuts and bolts, rabbit feet, Barbie doll parts, bottle caps.... you get the idea.
3. Spray corn oil on the pans to prevent concrete from sticking.
4. Mix the conrete accoring to the manufacturers specifications.
5. Pour into the cake pans and smooth the surface. (remember making mud pies as a kid?) Bang the pan on your workbench to settle the mixture and eliminate any air bubbles.
6. Add your items onto the top of the concrete mixture and press them in until you are satisfied with your masterpiece.
7. Allow the Stepping stone to harden for at least a day. To remove the stone from the pan simply turn it upside down.
Step 1: Materials
(All wood is preferably cedar)
(2) 20" 2x2s
(1) 16" 2x2
(5) 16" 1x8s
(1) 16" 1x4
(1) 16-1/2" 1x4
(1) 12-1/2" 1x1
Step 2: The Sides, Top and Back
You can build an economy bat house that accomodates 30-50 bats for about $20. For the sides of the bat house, take the two 20" 2x2s and place them 16" apart. Attach the 16" 2x2 to one end with nails to form the ceiling. Lay three of the 16" 1x8s across the sides, butted against each other, and attach with three nails on each end. If you use cedar, the rough side of the wood should be on the inside so the bats can grip it. If you don't use cedar or a wood with a rough surface, staple a piece of ordinary window screen to the inside of the bat house.
Step 3: The Front
Turn the bat house over and attach two more 16" 1x8s, butted against each other, at the top. If you live in the central or southern United States, leave a half-inch ventilation gap between the third piece of the front; if you live in the north, don't worry about it. The third piece of the front is a 16" 1x4 that has a 12-1/2" 1x1 nailed along the center of the bottom edge. When this piece is in place, it allows a 3/4-1" entrance at the bottom of the bat house that is big enough for bats to enter but too small for predators.
Step 4: The Roof
Nail the 16-1/2" 1x4 to the top of the bat house for the roof.
Step 5: Waterproofing and Painting
Use a caulking gun to seal all of the seams and waterproof the bat house. Finally, you need to paint it. If you live in the north, choose a dark color to absorb the heat from the sun. If you live in the south, paint it white to deflect the heat from the sun.
Step 6: Location, Location, Location
A bat house needs to be warm, so it's important to place it in the sun. A tree is not a good location. The best place is on the south side of a house, about 15-18' from the ground, so bats can easily fly in and out, and predators cannot get near them. Bats also need to be within a 1/4 mile of water, which provides an ample food source because water attracts many insects.
Step 7: What to Expect
Wondering which type of bat lives in your area? The little brown bat and the big brown bat live in the northern two-thirds of the United States. In the south, Mexican free-tailed and evening bats are most common. In general, any species that naturally roost in buildings or under bridges will live in a bat house. A few final bat facts: contrary to popular belief, bats do not swoop down on your head (they're much more interested in the insects around you). And as for rabies, you're more likely to contract it from a cow.
BY RUTH ROGERS CLAUSEN
Roll out the barrel ... and design your own soothing mini water garden.
This small water feature is suitable for a residential garden in the city or suburbs, where it could be placed on a deck, terrace, or patio. Purchase a sturdy wine or whiskey barrel that has been cut neatly in half. Select one that sits steadily on its base and has tight metal hoops. Scrub inside and out thoroughly, and wire-brush and repaint the wire hoops; if you paint the barrel, use a marine-grade paint. Seal the inside of the barrel or line it with a plastic or rubber liner attached to the outside of the rim.
Drill a half-inch hole about one inch below the rim, to act as an overflow in rainy weather. Place clean concrete blocks, bricks, or wire shelves at varying heights to support plants that prefer the margins of a pond rather than being submerged or floating. Remember to put the barrel in its final position before you fill it with water; if the barrel is on a wooden surface, place it on bricks to prevent rotting underneath. Alternatively you can use any large watertight container. If desired, add a pump (available in garden centers) to add sound and movement. After frost in cold-weather regions, lift the pots, trim off the foliage, and store in plastic bags in boxes in a cool, frost-free place.
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