Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.

You can read the start of my journey here.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

What's an umbrella have to do with anything?

Thankfully, the sun did come out and dry up a lot of the humidity today. It was quite the relief. It was dry enough for my husband to mow an entire yard full of dandelions and fill 3 huge trash bags with clippings. If they were actual grass clippings, they'd go in the compost pile. Or at least some would. But I don't put weeds in there. I don't want weeds planted accidentally any more than I want them planted voluntarily.

We desperately need to just regrade the yards and save up the money for sod. I don't know that grass seed would even work. We mostly just have weeds or dirt in the backyard. It was like that years ago when we bought the house. Having dogs running back and forth for several years just made it worse. And now that the dogs are gone, the damage remains.

I need to look up what all needs to be done to regrade a yard. Maybe we could at least get that part done on our own. Of course, if we got sod for the yard, we'd attempt to install that ourselves as well. However, before we laid any sort of sod for the yard, we probably need a sprinkler system installed. That's even more money. So yeah. We have a yard of dirt and weeds. It will be that way for the foreseeable future.

While the hubby was mowing, I decided to paint a coat of Rustoleum on the umbrella planter my hubby and I made a few years ago. It was starting to rust through the rust-proof spray paint I painted it with when we put it up. I'm hoping the paint I used today with the brush will last a little longer, since it goes on thicker. I don't think I'll be able to paint it once the clematis really gets established.

We made it in memory of my dad who passed away three years ago and for my nephew who died just a short few months later. We planted a purple clematis at the bottom, so it could climb the chicken wire we stretched around the pole, because purple was one of my dad and my nephew's favorite colors. It's made of rake tines from an old hay rake that used to be used in the fields. They use different equipment now, but you can still find the rake tines from time to time.

We call it an umbrella planter, because it looks like an umbrella that's lost all the fabric, and all that's left is the frame. Daddy had made one in his and Mom's backyard, and I just fell in love with it. So it just seemed like a fitting tribute to his memory.

Daddy also loved to grow tomatoes, so I had to try my luck at growing upside-down tomatoes. We cut holes in the bottoms of 3 gallon buckets we'd gotten at the supermarket bakery and planted tomatoes to grow out the bottoms of the buckets. Peppers are planted in the top, so the soil isn't as apt to blow away in the wind, and we can have peppers, too. This picture was taken the first year we had it up right after we planted the tomatoes and peppers.

I'm hoping to get my tomato and pepper plants this week. If I don't, I don't know that I'll be able to get anything planted this year at all. The stores will likely be all sold out by the end of the month. Although, this Spring has been a bit cooler, so I may still have time. People tend not to get their plants right away unless it's consistently warm at night. There's nothing quite like losing a garden (hanging or otherwise) to a frost. It's just such a disappointment!

We have cut that stupid tree that's between the planter and the window down several times. We're hoping that the stump killer we'll be putting on it this year when we cut it down will kill the thing. We also will be cutting down a really tall tree in the backyard soon, too. It's the same type of tree, but it's not the most stable thing. We lost a rather large branch in a big windstorm last Fall, and we just don't feel it's safe anymore.

So with those trees all out of the way, my tomato and pepper plants should really take off. I'd love to get 4 more buckets and get all 8 tines filled with upside-down tomatoes this year. I may just have to stick with the 4 that are hanging right now, though. I would just love to have enough to can some. There's nothing like tomato soup made from tomatoes from your garden in the dead of winter!

Eventually, I'll have a large garden, but it may be a few years off. Still. It's fun to plan it in my head. What about you? Do you garden at all?


  1. I don't garden. My first house had a garden and I planted it to grass. This house doesn't have a garden, but it has a flower garden. Keeping up with that is a challenge.

    If I had a garden, though, I'd plant bulb onions. I love onions.

    I LOVE your umbrella plant stand!

  2. I play at gardening, some years I start plants in the sunroom , and others not . I started corn, squash and heirloom tomatoes a coupel years ago and once they were coming along nicely I planted them out in my little garde patch, the horses got out and stomped all but a very few of the tomatoes , to get to the corn ,which they claer cut! Kinda lost my motivation after that.

  3. My sister in law planned out our yard and she planned WAY too much garden area, so last year we reduced our flower garden by A LOT, but its still A LOT to take care of.... I also have two garden boxes in the backyard that I plant every year, I still hope to plant this year, but they are FILLED with weeds.... I plant lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, watermelon, and pumpkins, its SO fun to go cut my own lettuce for salads! The boys LOVED the pumpkins and cucumbers last year, so I hope we can get to it this year....

  4. Thank you, Jennifer. :) I love bulb onions, too. Someday...

    Fern, that had to have been SO hard and disappointing! Too bad you don't have a horse/cattle-proof area you could do a garden in. Sounds like the horses would love a field of corn of their own, but if it were us, I'd be jealous if they got to eat it all, and we missed out on it!

    Tiffany...I loved when we did pumpkins and lettuce and onions and carrots, too, We even tried our hand and broccoli and cauliflower, but I don't thin our growing season was quite long enough. I hope you can get your garden going again this year, too! And weeds? That's what little boys and pennies are for! A penny a weed! :D

  5. HI! I love your umbrella plant stand thing...what is the center post? Just a tall metal post? Did you weld on the hay rake tines? My mom saw one years ago and didn't buy it - god-father said he'd make her one and just hasnt't been able to get to it we want to make it for her mother's day gift....can you guys give me any pointers? Any help would be great - it would mean alot to her. Thanks!!!

    Lisa S.

  6. Hi Lisa,

    It's a 3" steel pipe, (8ft tall, if I remember correctly, with 2 feet in the ground, and in ways, I wish it were taller, so the baskets would hang a little higher.), my husband got at a scrap metal place. It was blackish blue to begin with, so it was really easy to paint, and it didn't take too many coats. It was a specific sort of pipe, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was called.

    We don't know anyone who welds, so we had to figure out how to make it on our own without the benefit of welding. We used small U clamps to hold the tines in place by drilling holes for the clamp ends to go through first. Then we put the tines inside the pole one at a time, putting each in a U clamp, and tightening the nuts on the outside of the pole. We were just really fortunate that we could get 8 clamps inside the pole, because there's not a lot of room in there! If you click on the picture, and then hit Ctrl +, you can enlarge the picture enough to see the nuts at the top of the pole, if it might give you a better idea of how to do it. I think we wore out 3 drill bits designed to drill through metal!

    There are 2 different types of ends on rake tines, and I can't remember, if we used the ones that were rounded, or if we used the ones that were slightly flattened. I know that when Daddy made the umbrella planter for their backyard, he used a smaller diameter pole. (Hubby couldn't find them when he went searching). Daddy just wedged the tines in the top of the pole, and they stayed in place. However, I have seen the tines welded to the outside of the poles, too. I just don't like that look. If I were going to weld them, I'd want to weld them to the inside of the pole so the welds didn't show. They just look odd stuck to the outside of the pole.

    I did have to do a bit of searching to find the rake tines. Hopefully, you already have them or know where to get them. I think I found ours at a tractor supply place that happened to also sell used items. They were fairly rusty, so they needed painted, as well. We cemented the pole in place before we added the tines, because we didn't have a large enough work-space to attach them while it was lying down. Plus I tend to be a perfectionist, and I wanted them evenly spaced all the way around, and I was afraid they'd be uneven, if I did it that way. We let the cement set up overnight before we attached any of the tines, and we even used a level to make sure it was standing straight up and down. (Did I mention earlier I'm a bit of a perfectionist? LOL) Also, I think it's easier to keep it level while the cement is setting up without the tines, but if you have a way to block it to keep it level, then you'd be able to get it up with the tines on.

    Another thing I wished I'd have done differently is painted a rust inhibitor on the part that was buried before we cemented it in. I am really hoping it doesn't rust through down there. And although I haven't gotten around to it just yet, I do plan on filling the inside of the pole with cement, to help prevent it from rusting out from the inside. If I could figure out a way to cap it, so it couldn't collect rain water inside, I wouldn't have to worry about it. Just giving you a few things to think about that I hadn't considered when we made ours.

    I hope this helps, and if you have any questions, feel free to shoot me an email. It might take me a day or two to get back with you, but I'll do my best. :)



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