Mavis Mail – Melissa From Maryland Sends in Her Chicken Coop Pics

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image080A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

Dear Mavis,

I wanted to share with you some pictures of the new coop that my wonderful husband built for our girls. We are fledgling suburban homesteaders who are blessed to live in a small town in Maryland that desires to stick to its agricultural roots. We are allowed to keep livestock within the town limits as long as they have enough land, proper housing and are well kept.

We got our first flock of 4 chickens almost 4 years ago and fell in love. We lost 2 due to illness and cold weather over the past couple of years and decided to add 5 more this year. Our original coop had been damaged when a tree branch fell on it and was not big enough for the new flock anyway. So my husband set out on a quest to build us an awesome coop. He did a fantastic job and I couldn’t be happier with the way it turned out! He found an old play house at the local Habitat for Humanity Restore that he decided to re-purpose for the girls.

1This is what it looked like on the truck the day we brought it home. It was missing some parts and some parts were not attached correctly. He found a spot for it in the garden and built a platform to anchor it down.

2He removed the countertop and play sink and added bracing and roosts. He also filled in some of the spaces to make it more air tight lower in the coop. He water proofed the inside, cut a hole in the side for the door and built the nesting box out of the side opening. He also painted the roof with waterproof paint and attached the gable correctly. Re-stained the outside and painted the platform and nest box on the outside.

image042He purchased an automatic door opener but we could not find a piece of metal thick enough for the door so he used epoxy to laminate several thin layers of metal together to get the thickness we needed.  Since the door was intended to up and close vertically and we needed it to work horizontally, he rigged up a counter weight with a water bottle to allow it to open and close correctly.

He attached and stained the front door, put hardware fabric on the windows and ventilation opening at the top and trim around the side door stained. The north facing windows have plate glass on the outside of the hardware cloth to protect from the rain and wind that we usually get from that direction.

image038You can see the old coop in the background and my garden (which needed a lot of attention when this was taken). We re-used the run for the new coop.

image044The ramp to the inside and the addition that was built to tie the coop in with the old run.

image050The poop hammocks that I made from canvas I purchased at the Goodwill.

image068Move in day! Everyone having fun and enjoying their new home!

Thanks for letting me share and thanks for a great blog!

Melissa

What an awesome coop, Melissa!! I bet your girls LOVE it! Way to re-purpose that playhouse.

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.



Mavis Mail – Ann From Eastern Oregon Sends in Garden Pics

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unnamedA big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other people’s pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

This post finds us transported to rural Eastern Oregon where reader, Ann, gives gardening another go:2

Hello Mavis,

Ann from Eastern Oregon here. I have been enjoying your blog for about 8 months now. After gazing longingly {and, I must admit, a bit enviously} at your beautiful garden and green house, I have been inspired to take another stab at vegetable gardening after a long hiatus. Thank you for the gardening tips, the DIY products, the recipes and the leads on good reads from Amazon!

So here’s my story:

When I mention to out-of-the-area folks that I am from Oregon the typical response is: “Oh, I’ve been to Oregon! It’s sooooooo green and Portland is such a cool city!” Well, my stomping grounds are about 300 miles east of the lush greenness and the metro area. Here in rural Eastern Oregon we have wide open spaces, beautiful rugged mountains and an abundance of wildlife, cattle and farm land.

3We are blessed with ample opportunity to harvest and preserve a variety of produce {both wild and domestic}. We have had a bumper crop of huckleberries this year and through the generosity of friends and friends-of-friends I have also been able to harvest and preserve bing cherries, sour cherries, apricots and {soon} apples!
3In my particular corner of the state {the far NE corner} we have high desert conditions with sage brush, mountains and large working cattle ranches. The 4-season weather can be a challenge and it’s important to heed the advice of the old-time gardeners: “Don’t plant your pots until after Mother’s Day. Don’t put your garden in until the snow is off of Lookout {a nearby mountain}.” The weather challenge doesn’t just involve temps, but also wind {the strong, gusty kind}. This causes a gardener to contemplate plant types {no wimpy, tender types need apply} and location, location, location {the sheltered-from-the-wind type of location}. In addition to weather conditions, I am particularly challenged by soil conditions {the chalky, alkali-type}. Needless to say it’s taken some creativity, tenacity and just plain bullheadedness to get things to grow and thrive on our little 5-acre slice of Terra firma.

1As you will see from the before and after pictures things look pretty bleak in the spring.2 Miraculously, with a little {okay a LOT of} soil enrichment and selective placement of plants {i.e. containers and raised beds} and selective selection of plants,things will eventually grow and bloom! I have learned {through trial and error} which plants will tolerate the conditions and have been pleased with the results.

4Sunflowers are particularly happy here and I’ve enjoyed growing a variety of sizes and colors. My family and I enjoy not only the bright, cheerfulness they bring, but also the abundance of insects they attract: ladybugs, honey bees, in particular.

6We have big plans next spring for a REAL garden. Because we own horses, chickens and our 2 oldest children have pigs for 4-H projects, we have accumulated copious amounts of terrific organic material. Over the past 2 years, as we clean pens, we’ve created a LARGE compost pile that we are tilling and turning and should be ready for spring planting.

5This year we had to settle for corn and lettuce grown along-side flowers in the raised beds.

Although the weather and soil conditions make gardening in our area a challenge, we feel so blessed to live where we are surrounded only by mountains, cattle and terrific people!

Sincerely,

Ann from E. Oregon

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Mail – Heidi From Vancouver Island Sends in Garden Photos

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

Check out the incredible garden Heidi from Vancouver Island is growing:

1I am a long time gardener. We live on a 1/2 acre and have super sandy/gravelly soil, so after fighting with this for years, we started building raised beds. My husband put in automatic watering with soaker hoses and some mini sprinklers, so it is nice to not have to worry about watering all of the raised beds located all over the yard. The garden in the front is doing well because of our decision to use fall rye for the past 3 years, so we will leave this one as an in ground garden. I can’t believe what a difference it has made to the soil to put the fall rye in.

We have a fairly large family {5 kids} and are growing our own produce because we love to garden, but also because it costs a lot to feed 7 people with organic produce.

You can see from how dry the lawn is that we have very poor soil and a lot of trouble keeping things watered. This is one of the main reasons we started making raised beds.

Pictured above is the back garden that we converted into raised beds. There is a fence because we have very friendly rabbits in our neighborhood. Our newest friendly creature is a raccoon that ate all of our Beauty Plums! We have a live trap, and have relocated 3 raccoons this spring, but the last one doesn’t seem to want to go! In this bed, we have lemon cucumbers, spaghetti squash, onions, leeks, celery, peas, bush beans and Warba potatoes that I am going to harvest any day now! Surrounding the garden is a jungle of raspberries that love our soil {I think that they are the only thing that loves our soil}. This was an excellent year for raspberries!

3We built some raised beds 2 years ago so that we could have asparagus {which is the big fern looking thing in the second bed}. We also have brussel sprouts just coming up in the closest bed, and beyond that there are zucchini, carrots and peppers. On the left is my herb garden, and behind that is a garden that my girls have planted.

4Our raised beds, phase 2 have New Zealand Yam, Swiss Chard, and in the back that big plant is Jerusalem Artichoke. Beside it some kale that is just getting big enough to harvest. The Jerusalem Artichokes have been banished to this planter that is made out of cement because I hope that it will contain them. They took over in the last place that I had them, and I have spent many hours digging them out… I am still digging them out! The garbage can with the piece of plywood is full of my comfrey tea that is almost ready to be used as a fertilizer.

5This is my most exciting plant of this year…Watermelon! I put trays under the pots yesterday with the hopes that more access to water will result in bigger watermelons.

6This is the garden in our front yard that we will keep as an in-ground garden. In it we have potatoes, tomatoes, beets, cabbage and pole beans. We also put some everbearing raspberries in here as well. The big bush in the middle on the right hand side is a huckleberry bush. It was there when we cut down the trees and made the garden, so we decided to keep it because we love huckleberries! The beets are being attacked by a leaf miner bug, but I can’t decide whether I should do something about it or just leave them.

7These are my strawberry beds, and my neglected flower garden in front!

8The spaghetti squash plants have gone crazy! I tied them onto poles so that they would have more room, and they must have about 10 squashes per plant. One of the poles broke from the weight of the plant, so it’s kind of a mess back there!

We also have a bunch of fruit trees, some more berries like blueberries and currants, and have recently planted blackberries and kiwi. This year I am trying some winter gardening. I showed you the Brussel sprouts, and have also started cabbage, kohlrabi, cauliflower and a flat of peas for a fall crop.

And, that is my garden! Thanks again for the inspiration, Mavis,

Heidi

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Bob and Sherle Share Their California Vegetable Garden Photos

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beans growing in a cage

Bob and Sherle have one of the most amazing gardens on the planet. Last year Sherle sent in photos of their garden {see them HERE} and shared pictures of her husband standing next to their tomato plants that were over 10 feet tall. Wowza!

Well we are all in for a treat because Sherle just sent in photos from this year garden and let me tell you, they are just spectacular. I hope I can have a garden that will look as good as hers someday.

Here is what Sherle had to share…

compost surprise

Compost Surprise: We dug up and flipped the compost bin this spring to get planting soil and when we turned it we realized we hadn’t watered it well enough to cook everything down so we still had bits in there. After putting what hadn’t cooked down back in the bin things began growing.
pumpkins growing in the compost heap
I didn’t hold out much hope for the plants but they took off and I have pumpkins growing everywhere. There is also purple sweet potatoes growing from the bin. We’ll have to dig up the bin this fall to see if we get any sweet potatoes.
tomato plants
Garden #1: This is the main garden at the house, where we are growing 7 varieties of tomatoes, zucchini, tatuma squash, cube o’ butter summer squash, jalapeno’s, pickling cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, potatoes, tomatillos and sweet potatoes.
purple tomatoes
Everything is so tall and I have to climb a ladder just to get some type of a picture. Sometimes I wish I was comfortable enough on the roof to get a picture from there.
growing vegetables in tires
Garden #2 Tires: This is my raised bed garden. Since I couldn’t afford any wood to make my raised bed garden and since my sons work had tires to spare and I had read about using them I decided to give it a try.
growing vegetables in tires
I gave it a go last year and it wasn’t as productive as I had hoped it would be. This year I tried a couple of different things and having drip irrigation has helped a lot.
green beans
I still need better soil in the tires, but it’s producing really well. I will be planting more beets very soon, for a winter crop.
watermelon
I’m growing or have grown, garlic, beets, watermelon, three types of green beans, 4 or 5 different types of peppers, (some hot, some sweet,) eggplant, and an unknown melon (I think), from the compost used in the soil that popped up amongst the yellow green beans.
corn
Garden #3: We grow our corn here, planting each row one week apart. I don’t know exactly how effective this is, but it works great when processing the corn. We gather just enough to get them processed in one afternoon with all four of us working. This year, HH calculated how we might try for two crops in one year.
cork stalks
We planted in the holes we pulled the corn from, definitely not the best idea, since the nitrogen is a bit poor, but with a nitrogen supplement we have hopes for something reasonable. It’s an experiment, the corn looks great, so far and we’ll see what the end result is.
white summer squash
Garden #4: This garden is, in part, a thank you to the folks who let us garden at their place. We planted summer squash, tomatoes, lemon cucumbers, zucchini and some plants that popped up in the compost. It turns out that these seem to be a cross between zucchini and butternut squash, we call them zucchinuts, lol.
mulching squash plants
They cook up like zucchini but they have light orange flesh. We also planted winter squash out here, large pumpkins, sugar pie pumpkins, pink banana squash, sweet meat squash, honey boat delicata squash, my first time trying several of these, but I’m always up for adventure. Oh yeah, we have potatoes and butternut as well.
purple potato flowers
I tried sweet potatoes here but we missed a week of watering so they died before they could get started. There are two big problems this year with this garden, one being the soil needs treatment so we are going to try and solve that with horse manure and compost in the fall. The other issue is the ground squirrels or gophers. We don’t have a solution for those yet, if you or any of your readers have suggestions, I’ll take them.
pinto beans
Garden #5: This garden is actually a cover crop for the corn garden next year. Though we are still planning on picking a bunch of pinto beans when it’s time. The beans help to introduce the nitrogen into the soil that the corn will need.
pinto beans growing up twine
We had to build something for them to climb on, HH and son made the uprights and cross pieces while I and our daughter hung and tied all the strings for the beans to climb up. The beans have taken to climbing quite well, though I don’t have super recent pictures.
purple sunset
I’ve included a sunset picture that was particularly spectacular last month.
~Sherle

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

A Small Garden from Virginia Packs a Lot of Vegetables into a 6×8 Foot Raised Bed

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raised garden boxes

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

growing squash in a raised garden bed

Check out these photos Susanne from Virginia recently sent in of her 6×8, 24″ high raised bed garden. This is her second year with it and it just goes to show you do not need a huge amount of space to grow some veggies.

Here’s what Susanne said about her garden:

Kale, romaine, spinach and radishes were first and are about gone now.

Basil, and chives… Both onion and garlic in opposite corners! All have been ready for a couple months at least. Chives were perennial and survived last years crazy Virginia winter. Many things didn’t make it through that normally do.. My fig tree and large gardenia are still in recovery.

growing tomatoes in raised beds

Currently, in addition to herbs, we have HUGE Beefsteak tomatoes, tons of cherry tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers. My 4 foot PLUS marigolds are blooming.., FINALLY! There are only 3 tomato plants in this garden. Two Beefsteak and 1 cherry! I have topped all over and over. They just get bigger… AMAZING. I will need a ladder to get all the cherry tomatoes… Literally.

squash growing in a garden box

My greatest challenge is to maintain good airflow and keeping it open and inviting to bees. I started everything from seed except the tomato plants and brussels sprouts. The sprouts are a failure. I have since learned they should be a fall planting… I guess the “grower” missed that point too!

All are growing in topsoil from a natural pond/runoff in the back corner of our property. This great natural dirt is amended with chicken poop compost from my chickens. The chickens live in our backyard. This garden bed is in our front yard!

raised garden

The table and bucket on the side are to keep my dogs from picking squash! They are starting to grow outside the box so we will see if they can restrain themselves!

~ Susanne

Send Pictures of Your Garden For a Chance to Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card

A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Ask Mavis: Let’s Open Up The Hotline, Shall We?

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london red telephone booth

One of my favorite things about this blog is the sense of community we have and all of the comments people leave. I really believe I have some of the most amazing readers out there.

What I’ve also learned through the years is that you are all a bunch of smartie pants, and whenever I don’t know the answer to a question a readers asks, you guys always come through for me. Well guess what, you’re up again!

Here are a few questions and comments I’ve received on the One Hundred Dollars a Month Facebook page, in the comment section and via my  Mavis Hotline. I’m going to attempt to answer them, but I’m also hoping all you lovelies will take a look at the questions and chime in. I can guarantee the readers that asked these questions would appreciate all you geniuses out there taking a shot at them. I mean if two heads are better than one, than hundreds of heads will probably churn out some genius answers. 

holding-fresh-strawberries

I ordered tri-star strawberries last year, per your suggestion and we have loved them. This year they have really taken off! Well last night, the kiddos and I went and picked a ton for dinner, but there was something weird about the berries. They felt like they were full of water and soggy. They looked perfect, but felt all wrong. Upon further inspection… my husband spotted a couple of tiny white worms on them. I cut one open and it had even smaller white worms inside the berry. Do you know what this might be and how to fix it? I was planning on our family eating berries for another 2 months! Please help!?! Thanks!!!

~Jen

Okay Jen, I think what you’re describing is a Spotted Wing Drosophila. There are are a number of videos on how to identify and trap the flies on YouTube.

As far as treatment goes, cleaning up the infected fruit is important, along with setting apple cider vinegar traps. You can also use Spinosad, which is available at Home Depot, etc. It will need to be re-applied weekly during the rest of the growing season. Neam and pyrethrins are other organic pesticides that might work.

Eliminating any fruit that has fallen on the ground and any infested fruit remaining on plants in the garden can help kill off flies that might infest next year’s crops. You’ll have to place your infested fruit in a sealed plastic bag to destroy the eggs and larvae {gag}.  You can also place a fine netting over all your plants, but you have to make sure the net is applied before the strawberries begin to ripen so that flies won’t be caught inside the net. Also, an easy way to keep those pests out is to make sure you begin harvest as early as you can and continue to remove fruit as soon as they ripen.

barefoot contessa book signing

Hello! My name is Omar and  would like to follow up with you concerning purchasing OneHundredDollarsAMonth.com.

~ Omar

I do have to commend your persistence. Last time I explained the site wasn’t for sale, unless you wanted to cut a check for $50 million. I’ve decided to renegotiate the terms of that deal. I’d like $50 million AND Ina Garten’s home and garden in the Hamptons. If you can swing that, you’ve got a deal.

meyers cleaner
Hi Mavis, I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now, and I always look forward to it! Your combination of strong work ethic, frugality and joie de vivre are truly inspirational. There is a topic I’d love to see covered in your blog … You admit that you have OCD tendencies and any shots of your house and garden are always immaculate. I’m wondering if you have a cleaning routine in the house that you’d care to share? Do you do it all yourself, or do you have anyone in to help you? 

~Kate

Every night I go to bed dreaming about hiring a maid, but then I remember that I would probably follow them around all day while they cleaned inspecting their work and redoing most of it anyway. Always seems like a big fat waste of money, so I just do it myself.

Obviously, there are chores I don’t mind and some that I loath. One trick is I always start with the chores I hate. Once I bust those out, the remaining ones don’t seem that bad. I’ve learned that whenever I leave the worst for last, I lose motivation fast! I will say there is not much in life I love more than a perfectly clean house. Makes me so happy!

The Girl Who Thinks She's a Bird

I know you have a great relationship with your daughter, and you are sad about her going to college, so I hope this does not make you sadder. My daughter is eight, and I want to have a relationship with her like you have with your daughter when mine is a teenager. Any tips to help me create that awesome bond you two seem to have?

~Laura

I’ve screwed up a few things in my life, but somehow, that wasn’t one of them. My relationship with my daughter is one of the things I’m most proud of. She really is my buddy, and growing up, I have really always treated her that way. I’ve always tried to incorporate her into my passions and hobbies, and really take an interest in hers as well. The result is that we really enjoy so much of the same stuff and just have so much fun together. While it’s not always roses with a teenager, I’ve really tried to emphasize the “fun” in life. I have also really made it a point to spend quality time with her.

There is a difference between being with your kids and being present. I make a conscious effort to focus on her and not allow myself to become distracted or sucked into work or other projects. Connecting like that one-on-one has really helped us form a relationship that, I think, transcends the typical mother/daughter relationship. I just really adore the heck out of that kid, and I go out of my way to show that!

pro shield landscape-fabric

You are my favorite blogger and I like to look at the pictures of your garden on FB. My question is — how did you start it? What do you have on the ground between the raised beds that has no weeds? Weeds have taken over my garden this year completely and I’m determined to make mine look like yours this fall. It’s just too hot to deal with in the summer I’ve decided (I’m in AL). Please post some hints.

~Mary

This a two-part answer and I already know you’re not going to like part 2! First, I’m 100% obsessed with landscape fabric. OBSESSED. That alone cuts down on so many of the weeds in my garden. Part two requires a little elbow grease. Roll up your sleeves and work. Pulling weeds is an inevitable gardening chore that I sure don’t love, but it is necessary and totally unavoidable. Now how often you weed depends on whether or not you have perfectionist tendencies. If you’re not OCD, you can probably let those weeds stick around for awhile or at least but blinders on when you’re near them!

potato tower harvest

Hi Mavis, I was doing research on watering and hilling schedules for the potato box I built this year when I found your 2 posts from last year. However I can’t find a post on how they turned out. Which method worked best? 

~Jeff

First let me say, I personally believe the best way to grow potatoes is in the ground in a traditional trench method. But my results from my potato tower experiment were interesting {and surprising}. The tower I planted with straw and dirt produced the most potatoes {although still much less than the traditional method of planting has in the past for me}. I thought for sure it would yield the least amount of potatoes because when I had planted it, I packed so much dirt and straw in the wire cage, that I assumed the potatoes wouldn’t produce much. Boy was I wrong. Final Harvest – about 12 pounds of spuds.

~Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Joy From Michigan Sends in Pictures of her Garden and Garden Shed

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A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

joy

Remember that time my friend Amberlina and I survived the Tacoma City Marathon with our favorite soldier, Nick?

joy6

 Well his grandmother, Joy, is an avid reader from Michigan and today she is sharing pictures of her adorable garden. I’m totally in love with her cute garden shed!

joy5She is just beginning to enjoy her homegrown veggies.

joy3Check out this picture of her flower garden. {I mean tell me you wouldn’t absolutely love the view from Joy’s chairs! That is like the perfect relaxation spot.}

joy2

Joy- I have total shed envy! Thanks for giving us a glimpse of your cute garden.

joy4

If you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Mail – Kim From Michigan Sends in Pics of her Certified Monarch Butterfly Garden

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Garden pictures July 2014 030A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

Check out the pictures reader Kim send in. She took action when she realized the Monarch Butterflies were in danger. See what she did to make a difference:

Garden pictures July 2014 021Hi Mavis,

I started gardening many years ago when we lived in a mobile home. We were extremely financially strapped and lived off of mostly canned food from a food donation center. I craved fresh food like no tomorrow.

I found a book by Mel Bartholomew, Square Foot Garden, and realized I could grow at least something fresh to eat. I took literally a few pennies from our very meager budget and bought 3 packets of seeds that first year: tomatoes, bush beans and cucumbers. It was life changing the day I picked my very first home grown vegetable: a green bean!

Garden pictures July 2014 022Fast forward 32 years and I continue to grow as much of my own food as possible. I have a very small yard and 1/3 is all raised beds. This area floods every single time it rains and the raised beds is the only way I can grow food here.

Garden pictures July 2014 023This year I built a new bed just for the butterflies after hearing that Monarchs are becoming endangered.

Garden pictures July 2014 024Once established, I applied for certification through Monarch Watch and now have a nationally certified and numbered garden.

Garden pictures July 2014 032 I have not had a Monarch visit yet but have a large population of black swallowtail butterflies that visit on a regular basis.

I am hoping that you will let your followers know about the plight of the Monarch and encourage them to plant a small area in their yard to help them find their necessary food sources. I have just a small 3ft x 8ft area and have already seen the impact it can make.

Kim

  • Garden pictures July 2014 026Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Ginger From Mississippi Sends in Her Garden and Chicken Pictures

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mississippi1A big THANK YOU to everyone who has sent in their photographs and stories. I hope by sharing other peoples pictures and stories here on One Hundred Dollars a Month we can all have a rock star garden this summer. Keep them coming!

~Mavis

Check out reader Ginger’s fun little piece of land!

mississippi6Hey Mavis ~

Thought I’d send you some pics from my little place in the country.

mississippi7The sweltering heat has taken it’s toll on what the little garden is producing, but thought I’d share pics of my “girls” & fruit trees. My peach tree is producing many small peaches. mississippi9This is the first year for the thorn-less black berries & they have been delicious!

mississippi5My granddaughters, Kylie & Abby (both aged 6) love the chickens, and thought up wonderful names for each of them, photo shows them holding Goldie, but others are named Rainbow SnoCone, Nemo, Lulu Snowflake, Golden Mustache, Ringer & Lemon Drop.

mississippi4My chickens include brown egg layers & Easter eggers. They love to hang out on the deck of my vintage travel trailer that I am renovating. The laying box was a piece that had belonged to my mother.

mississippi2The custom art work of Abby’s hangs across from Grandma’s laying box to inspire good egg production, an idea that came from Vicky, on your blog back in Feb. I just LOVE it! mississippi8A cast iron urinal, reclaimed from military barracks destroyed during Hurricane Camille in the late sixties makes a perfect water trough. Carpenter bees are a real problem here. You can see two homemade bee traps hanging beside the hen house. mississippiiAn antique bathtub is the home for my fish & various water plants.

I enjoy your blog & I hope you enjoy these pics.
Ginger
Saucier, MS

mississippiIf you would like to have your garden, chicken coop or something you’ve made featured on One Hundred Dollars a Month, here’s what I’m looking for:

  • Your Garden Pictures and Tips – I’d especially like to see your garden set ups, growing areas, and know if you are starting seeds indoors this year. If so,  show me some picture of how you are going about it.
  • Your Chicken and Chicken Related Stories – Coops, Chicks, Hen’s, Roosters, Eggs, you name it. If it clucks, send us some pictures to share with the world.
  • Cool Arts & Crafts - Made from your very own hands with detailed {and well photographed} pictures and instructions.
  • Your pictures and stories about your pets. The more pictures and details the better.
  • Garage Sale, Thrift Store and Dumpster Diving pictures and the stories behind the treasures you found including how much you paid for them.

If I feature your pictures and the stories behind them on One Hundred Dollars a Month, I will send you a $20.00 gift card to the greatest store in the world: Amazon.com.

Go  HERE for the official rules.

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

Mavis Answers Your Burning Questions

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ask mavis

One of my favorite things about this blog is all of the comments people leave and the sense of community we have. I really believe I have some of the most amazing readers out there. But somehow I’ve tricked you into thinking I’m totally smarter than I am. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been around the block a time or two so I know a bit about gardening and a thing or two about frugal living and becoming more self-reliant. But all that knowledge was gained because of some serious trial and error, so I try to share as much as I can to keep you guys from having to go through it yourselves. Essentially I’m Mavis the Guinea Pig. You’re welcome.

Recently, I spotted a few comments on the One Hundred Dollars a Month Facebook page as well as my Mavis Hotline. I’m going to attempt to answer them, but I’m also asking all my lovely readers to take a look at the questions and chime in. I can guarantee the readers that asked these questions would appreciate all you smarty pants out there taking a shot at them. I mean if two heads are better than one, than hundreds of heads will probably churn out some genius answers. No pressure. And go…

wonder grip gloves for kids

Mavis, I thought maybe you or your readers might be able to help. I’m trying to find some gardening gloves for my toddler. She’s almost two, and everything we’ve found that says “toddler” would fit a 10 year old! Do you know of anywhere that sells them?

~Tara

It’s been a long time since I’ve had toddlers helping me in the garden, so I asked around. I have a friend who said these Wonder Grip Nicely Nimble gloves are great for toddlers because they come in x-small and xx-small. Hope that helps!

green beans

Hi Mavis, I just discovered your blog and I am very interested in growing food for my family. I started a garden this year, about 80 square feet and so far I have lots of healthy tomatoes, peppers, carrots and beans. I would be very interested to hear more about your daily routine in your garden so that I can gauge just how much time it would take to grow so much food. Thanks for sharing!

~Olivia

This is such a hard question because I’ve been all over the map. I’ve had years {like when I was trying to grow 2 tons of food!} when I spent at least a few hours a day in my garden. It can consume you and run your life if you let it. But if it’s something you love, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s just about striking a balance, which I’ve done this year. I have a great garden, but it doesn’t feel like a full-time job.

I spend about 5-6 hours a week in the garden. That also changes depending on the season. Sometimes it will require a full day of weeding, planting, hauling, etc., and other times I’ll go a week or two without stepping foot in my garden. Then, of course, you’ll have the occasional weekend project where I’ll spend all weekend getting a project done, but those are few and far between.

How much time it requires obviously depends on how much you want to grow. The more plants and the more variety, the more time your garden will take. Seriously though, it’s the most rewarding work. So keep at it!

Adding Chickens into Your Existing Flock

Howdy! I’m wondering how you merge your new chicks with older flock. I have a 15 week old Dark Brahma that is in a 6×8 dog kennel retro chicken pen. Also have separate in a chicken tractor about 4-6 feet away, 6 Rhode Island Reds that are 7 weeks. We will be finished with my new chicken coop (8×8 shed with 300 sq ft fenced in pen). Should I merge them together at the same time since they would have technically an even playing field neither have been to yet. What’s you thoughts.

~Terri

Would there be anyway you could put them in the new pen but separate them by chicken wire or something for the first week {or maybe they are close enough to see each other now?}. Allowing chickens to see each other and grow accustomed to each other without allowing them to attack would really help the integration process. If not, you’d probably still be okay throwing them in together into the new coop. I suspect the timing would be great because they’ll all be so distracted by their new surroundings, they’ll be less focused on finding a new pecking order!

10-Homemade-Cleaner-Recipes

Mavis, have you ever made your own liquid dish soap? I’m looking for a recipe that works really well and is inexpensive to make.

~Coleen

That is one I haven’t tried, but I’m certainly hoping one of my awesome readers has and can share an amazing recipe that puts Dawn to shame. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

salt creek beach dana point california

I would like to buy your blog. How much will you sell it to me for? 

~Omar

Oh dear, sweet Omar. This blog, these readers, and the community we built here is not for sale. Unless of course you’re offering like 50 million dollars or something. In which case, where do I sign?

hen and chicks

I was wondering if you could help me with this. I found some Hens & chicks in my garden, I also re-potted them and was wondering how to take care of them over the winter time?

~Lisa

Hens and chicks are some of the hardiest plants out there. They can survive pretty harsh winters and snowfall {unlike me}. I think anything zone 3 or higher and you can keep them outside. The two things I know will kill them is too much moisture and not enough sunlight.

I wouldn’t water them at all if there is rain/snowfall periodically. They need the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. They also need as much sun as possible, so if you have them near anything that could potentially block the sun, relocate them! They should survive the winter just fine then.

And now it’s your turn. If you know the answers to these burning questions, or of you have some insider information, please share. Sharing is caring. Also, you guys are the best!

Peace Out Girl Scouts,

Mavis

This post may contain affiliate links. These affiliate links help support this site. For more information, please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting One Hundred Dollars a Month.

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