My Story: Country Yard

contributed by Pam


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I've been trying to improve my country yard over the past couple of years without breaking the bank. I have a huge yard. We live in the country on a farm. When we moved in 30 years ago, I reclaimed a lot of the surrounding wild prairie grass. I've been mowing it but decided to add flowerbeds when rural water became available. So, I've been planting more flowerbeds using plants suited to our area that don't require a lot of water. And, as I look at magazine pictures, I see other things I'd like to do in my yard.

This last year I found an old truck tire rim out in the junk pile. I hauled it up to our yard, dug a hole in the backyard and buried it in the ground up to the rim, making a fire pit. We've enjoyed several fires throughout the fall with friends and family. I have two five-gallon buckets that I keep kindling and cardboard in, so I'm ready at a moment's notice to head out for a fire.

I've also been collecting pieces of old sidewalk or cement pads that have rebar that have been broken into stepping stone size or a little bigger and have buried enough of them in the ground to make a pathway from the back door to the fire pit. It is a work in progress and a way to recycle. My eyes are always on the lookout for more pieces! It takes patience, but my pathway is getting there and at no cost. I've been thinking about washing them with vinegar and then painting them with an acrylic-paint wash. I've read that vinegar will help the paint stick better. I haven't tried it yet.

When I find a brick or piece of cement that is free, I grab it (with permission). I've used many of the bricks as a border around flowerbeds.

I use newspaper for mulch. The free bricks also come in handy to hold down this type of mulch. I work at a newspaper. We always have a lot of papers left over. They are there for the asking.

My flowers are to the place where they are dividable. This past summer I was able to split them and share with friends and also replant some in newer flowerbeds in front of my house.

I've seen where people have used bowling balls, spray painted with a high gloss paint, in place of a glass gazing ball. This is a great idea. Hail cannot break a bowling ball like it can a gazing ball! Another idea is to buy a child's plastic ball or a styrofoam ball and spray paint them with gold or silver to use as a gazing ball. I've glued the "gazing balls" to their base with Gorilla Glue if they aren't that heavy so they won't blow away.

I took two old rusty fan blades that came out of an old vehicle, used a wire brush and cleaned them up, and then spray painted them. I painted one with several coats of orange and then used a cardboard piece with a circle cut out of the center and painted the center green. The other was yellow and orange. They look like flowers. I hung them on a fence out in the yard. I've had several comments on my "flowers."

Gorilla Glue is an amazing product. I glued an old wagon wheel back together with the stuff. It is outside by my backdoor, and it is holding together very well. I'd recommend it to anyone.


"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by mailto:MyStory@stretcher.com

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