Re-purposed Picture Frames

Are you the type of person who can envision new purposes for old items?  Do you look at an old enamel pot and picture it housing a variety of savory herbs, or an old ladder and think about how perfectly it will serve in the kitchen as a pot rack?  I wish I had that ability!  Who knows how many things I’ve tossed away without even giving a second thought to how they could have been re-purposed into something wonderful and new?

Recently, I was invited by a friend to join a new website called Pinterest – an online bulletin board where you can visually organize and share things you love and that inspire you.  I absolutely love this site because it is providing me with tons of ideas for re-purposing old things that are lying around our homestead just waiting to be fashioned into something new.

As you might know, we’ve been using a lot of chicken wire out in the garden recently — trying to “gopher proof” all of the raised beds by lining the bottoms  with the wire.  After spending some time on Pinterest, recently, I discovered that there are a lot more (and cuter) uses for chicken wire than I ever imagined!

Inspired by a couple of photos I spotted on the web and posted to one of my Pinterest boards, I spent a few hours, this past weekend, upgrading some old picture frames and leftover pieces of chicken wire to make these darling little bulletin boards.

They were so easy to make!

All you need is:

  • Old wooden picture frames, any size
  • chicken wire
  • wire cutters
  • staple gun
  • paint (no need to rush out and get any, just use whatever you’ve got leftover from another project!)

Here are the steps to make your own:

  1. Remove any backing from the picture frames
  2. Paint the frames
  3. When the frames are dry, cut chicken wire to fit, then staple to back of frame. (If you want the wire to match the color of the frame, you can fasten it to the back of the frame first, and then paint the whole thing).

That’s it…easy peasy!

To tack items to the board, small binder clips work well…

What do you think?  Could you find a place to use one of these?  What kinds of things would you tack to it?  How else might you build on this idea?  If you’re a “Pinner”, how do you use Pinterest to inspire you?


Boxing Out The Gophers

I thought the gophers were bad last spring, but this winter they are atrocious!  In their desperate search for food, they are leaving a slew of holes and dirt piles everywhere around the garden.

Trapping has not been working as well as I’d like it to; the little smarties are setting off the traps without getting caught, and burying them so deep in the ground we’ve got to perform excavation after excavation to retrieve them!  I’ve tried flooding them out with a garden hose, but their seemingly endless tunnels go on and on for yards – maybe even miles- underground, wasting too much of our precious water.  I’ve also let our dog, Einstein, have at ’em from time to time, but the holes and ditches he leaves behind are usually ten times worse than the ones that were there to begin with.  So, what’s a girl embarking on a new gardening season to do to prevent gophers from ruining all her hard work?  Borrowing from a term and technique I learned while playing basketball in high school, “Box ’em out”!

In basketball, boxing out takes place when one is trying to rebound a ball, whether on offense or defense.  It is the act of placing one’s body between the basket and the opposing team’s player to position one’s self in the best possible place to get a rebound. Here’s what it looks like:

(If you’re interested in learning more about the boxing out technique in basketball, you can read a short article about it here, where I obtained the picture.)

Okay, so where does this “boxing out” business fit in with a post about gardening and gophers?

Well, in basketball, if you’re good at boxing out, you’ll probably be the first to get your hands on the basketball for a rebound —  and, isn’t that also my goal in gardening – to be the first to get my hands on all of the prized fruits and veggies before my dastardly opponents, the  little vermin, do?  It sure is!

So, here’s how my boxing out strategy works in the garden…

First, I dig a giant hole in the ground, about a foot and a half deep, rectangular in shape.

Then, I lay a nice, wooden frame on top (my husband constructed this one out of old 2 x 4’s and grape stakes)

After that, I line it with chicken wire, making sure the the bottom layers have a good overlap, and the tops are stapled well to the wood.

Finally, I fill it all back in with the dirt, mix in a little compost, and it’s ready to plant in.

A lot of people have told me that the holes in the chicken wire may still be too large to keep baby gophers out, and that, after some time it will all rust and rot away.  Well, hey! Iin basketball, even if you do everything you can to box out your opponent, it doesn’t perfectly guarantee that you’re going to snag 100% of the rebounds!  But, I can tell you from experience, that when you fail to box out your opponent, he’s probably going to be the one to get his hands on the ball.

So, although I may not be 100% gopher-proofing my garden,  by placing a barrier between the gophers (my opponent) and my food (the basket), I’m hoping that, at the end of the year, I’m going to register some great stats in the harvest category, and that the food my opponents steal (if any) will be kept to a very small minimum.

Boxing out the gophers…here’s to a winning year!

P.S.  Immediately after I finished writing this post, I saw a gopher coming up out of one of his holes in the garden.  Using a combination technique of garden hose and dog, we scored another one for our side!