Our main focus on the village homestead is to reduce consumption of stuff we don’t need. That doesn’t include what we eat though.
We are actually increasing the amount of vegetables, including herbs that we grow ourselves. This means we need more containers for planting, growing medium and trays to put the containers in. We also need more space.
This year we decided it was time to have a greenhouse to support these plants. Since finally starting a business dealing with herbs and garlic, I felt it was now unavoidable to build one.
Ernie drew up a couple of plans and looked in a few books and we designed a greenhouse based on where it will be situated and the materials we had. We wanted to use as much of what we already had as possible.
Using What We Have
Over the years, Ernie has saved old windows that were replaced on the house, all kinds of wood, pieces of siding, nails and screws, and many other things that might come in handy for building. The only things that we were missing for this project were the concrete for the footing (which we didn’t really need), the roofing, which will be purchased fibreglass panels and some miscellaneous pieces of wood like some studs and a piece of plywood.
The door is even the old front door from the house. Nothing goes to waste.
We chose a slanted roof because it would be more efficient for collecting water. The tall side is north facing and has the door but no windows. There will be enough light from the other three sides. Rain water will be collected on the one side or go into the raspberries in the ground around the greenhouse. Water will not collect on the north side where we will be entering.
My plan is to grow certain plants in the greenhouse all summer. These will be the tomatoes that I want to save seeds from in particular (heirloom), and some herbs that need the heat.
Since the building is not completed yet, I will be posting again on the progress and then on how I am filling it up with plants. Ernie figures it should be done over the weekend.
Ernie put the finishing touches on a new pine shelf for the dog food bowls and utensils. This one was, of course, made from left over or scrap wood. It was stained with leftover stain and the varnished with water-based varnish.
I wanted a shelf there to keep the top of the washing machine clean. I have been putting the dog bowls there are preparing their meals there which usually makes a mess. Then it becomes difficult to clean when there are a whole bunch of things on top of it.
This will solve a whole heap of problems, and hopefully won’t create any!
Recently, Ernie did some work on the bathroom. Our bathroom has been in pieces for 2 years. It has taken us that long to dismantle, design, choose, and buy the stuff we needed to finish the project.
Actually I am not really complaining. Our favourite thing when doing a project is to do it slowly. And that we did. We did that because we didn’t want to make any mistakes.
In the picture below, Ernie is varnishing the sink stand. He made it out of Maple plywood. We stained it with dark stain and then varnished it with water soluble varnish.
The next picture is the bathroom mostly done. The sink was purchased at a hardware store and was really the only choice we had and it was in stock in the store. If we had to do it again, I would either order one that we knew was eco-friendly – if such a thing exists, or we would make our own out of something recycled. The plumbing is not done i the pic that is why there is a rag hanging out of the wall. Obviously the sink tap is not cheap. We have found that often you get what you pay for so we spent some money on that.
The ceramic wall tiles were left overs at the store and they had enough for this surround. Ernie bought pine panelling for the wall behind the sink and a small section on the other end of the bathtub. This will be varnished with the water-soluble varnish as well. Just as an aside, the mirror in the picture was salvaged and Ernie made the frame from scrap wood. I varnished it.
So from a homesteading perspective, I feel we did the best we could on the recycling/reusing side and the not spending too much side. Ernie did all the work himself and did it at a relaxed pace, not stressing himself out at all. It took several weeks but was worth the wait.
We are finishing off our renovation with door and window trims. The last trims we bought were thin and flimsy and expensive. Since Ernie is talented at woodworking (although he would say he isn’t), we decided to design and make the trims instead. I designed them (thought about what they should look like 🙂 and then Ernie made them!
They are so much nicer and sturdier than anything we could buy. They also suit the decor better than any thing else we’ve seen. The design is simple and Ernie found them no problem to make with a router. He also made the book shelf and stereo thingy with the same wood. We have decided to simply varnish the frames.
Here is a way to get your creative juices flowing without spending a lot of money and make something necessary and useful in the process.
This bed was made by my hubby out of 1x6s. We wanted a certain look so we made it instead of travelling to the city and buying a cheap frame made out of particle board. This bed is sturdy and cost $50 in materials.
Even if you don’t do any building you can still figure this out. All you need is a measuring device – ruler, tape etc, wood, screws and screwdriver (you may want to have a drill to pre-drill holes as the wood may crack if you don’t. You can use a hand drill for this), and metal braces the length of the bed to support the mattress. Salvage braces could work well for this as well.
This mattress is old. I don’t recommend getting used mattresses from people you don’t know. Buy new or make your own (that is for another post).
We also added a headboard made out of scraps that we had left over from panelling the stairs. Very economical and sustainable if you get your wood from the right source. You may want to harvest your own from your woodlot if you have one. That would make a nice rustic decor. We will likely do that in the future.