Grow Your Own Free Strawberry Plants

June is the month strawberries are at their peak here. Everyone goes strawberry crazy! There are plenty of u-pick farms nearby but I have my own strawberry patch in the garden. Since strawberry plants become less productive over time I’m going to propagate new plants so I’ll go on having thriving plants and fresh strawberries. Imagine doing this with your plants to grow your own free strawberry plants.

Grow your own free strawberry plants

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Brown Sugar Dijon Pork Chops

Pork chops are a really versatile cut. I fry, bake, and grill pork chops all year. But, like anything, serving them the same way all the time doesn’t make anyone happy. Thankfully I found a new way to make them that both Mr. C and I love! Brown Sugar Dijon Pork Chops made my regular rotation. And I can cook them using every method!

Brown Sugar Dijon Pork Chops

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Restoring My Neglected Flower Beds

As part of my Goals and Challenges for 2017 I wanted to get the flower beds back into shape. Sadly a lot of the perennials I had planted were mistakenly uprooted when Mr. Comfortable “weeded” for me a couple of years ago. Other plants just came to the end of their lives. Now it’s time for me to begin restoring my neglected flower beds. I hope you can use some of the tricks I’m using to help your flower gardens!

Restoring my neglected flower beds

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Working on the Duck Cabin

We’ve been fighting our usual Michigan weather to start building the cabin for Freckles and Penguin. One day it’s 70 degrees and sunny and the next it’s 45 degrees and raining. But we have had enough nice days that we’re finally able to begin working on the duck cabin!

Working on the Duck Cabin

The Plan –

Mr. Comfortable made a rough sketch to show me what the cabin will look like when completed. Of course he had to show the sketch to Freckles and Penguin first!

Working on the Duck Cabin

Working on the Duck Cabin has had a slow start.

First we had to come up with the plan. I told Mr. C how much floor space the ducks required and he drew up a plan. Next he began sorting the wood for suitable pieces. Our chainsaw died so the poor man has been reduced to using a mini chainsaw that is supposed to be for trimming very small branches from standing trees.

Using that saw has made the job a lot slower and more difficult but Mr. C kept at it. We now have logs cut for two walls.

Working on the Duck Cabin

It doesn’t look like we’ve made any much headway but cutting logs for the duck cabin is probably the longest part of the job. We had a huge pile of wood leftover from the ice and wind storms we’ve had over the last few years. I think we could have made a nice little tiny house for Mr. Comfortable and me with all that wood!

The front and back of the duck cabin will both have doors so we don’t need as many logs for them. Doors in front and back will make it much easier to clean out the cabin.

Working on the Duck Cabin

Ducks need ventilation so that’s part of the plan!

Under the overhang of the roof we’re putting in ventilation screens. Ducks have very moist breath and the moisture has to be able to escape. If it couldn’t the straw in their cabin would become very wet and moldy very quickly. And in winter it would make things colder for the ducks. We’ll use hardware cloth the length of the cabin on two sides. The ventilation screens will be about 2 inches high and firmly attached to the inside of the cabin.

Working on the Duck Cabin

 The ducks need light but predator-proofing is essential!

Working on the duck cabin doesn’t mean just building a basic shelter. In addition to the ventilation the ducks need light even on days when they can’t go outside. No one wants to spend freezing winter days cooped up in the dark! But the windows have to be predator proof. And we have quite a few predators here. We rarely see stray dogs but there are our foxes, raccoons, and even a couple of coyotes that would love a duck dinner.

Mr. C has made sure no would be diners can get to Freckles and Penguin through the windows. He’s using thick acrylic he had from some old plaques. The windows are being mounted in wooden frames that will be cemented into the walls.

Working on the Duck Cabin

To ensure that no predators can peek in and frighten the ducks to death the windows will have wooden shutters. We’ll make them so that those slick-fingered raccoons can’t open the shutters. The same type of locks will go on the doors.

Their entire cabin, the pond, and the “play area” will be surrounded by chicken wire. This will help keep predators away. No four-legged critters and no hawks will be able to get into the ducks’ area.

Working on the duck cabin hasn’t required much from me so far.

I told Mr. C the space, ventilation, and light requirements. I made a list of potential predators and what the ducks needed in their outdoor space. Mr. Comfortable has done all the work.

It’s my hope that when we begin to actually start construction I’ll be able to do some of the work. But you know men. I’ll probably have to fight Mr. C and Pete to get in on the building. Whatever it takes I’m going to have a part in working on the duck cabin! It’s going to be fun!

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Busy Day Lime Vinaigrette Chicken

My days weren’t busy last week. I spent the entire week in bed. Once again the doc was less right than I’d hoped with his diagnosis and I was in a lot of pain. He now believes I have a torn muscle in my abdomen and wanted me completely quiet. But after a week of not really cooking I was losing it. So I made Busy Day Lime Vinaigrette Chicken.

Busy Day Lime Vinaigrette Chicken

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