A Shocking Experiment

We’ve been having a lot of fun growing radishes for the first time this year.

We've been enjoying these spicy little vegetables.

After the first hard rain we noticed someone or something had been snacking on our radishes while they were still in the dirt.

These radishes would have been beauties except for the missing bits.

We determined the culprit or culprits were big ugly slugs because I caught one in the act of decimating a radish. (Unfortunately he was camera shy so I didn’t get his mug shot.)

Charlie stapled copper wire extracted from old electric cord onto the frame of the raised bed.

I had heard or read that if you put a copper wire around a crop that slugs like they won’t cross the wire because it gives them a shock.

The wire runs the entire perimeter of the square.

We certainly hope that’s right because we planted another square of 256 radishes and we prefer them without gnaw marks.

A 4-foot by 4-foot raised bed of radishes.

We’ll let you know if the experiment works.

Have you done anything shocking lately?


Replace It or Patch It?

Some the screens in our storm windows have holes in them: some holes made by nature, some made by man.

A 2-inch square rip in the screen

In the past I have replaced screening in old-style wooden screen doors which I showed you here. Screen doors get a lot of action and the screen in them gets a lot of abuse.

Not long after I rescreened it someone caused a tear in the Cottage screen door.

The window screens, however, are not usually at much risk for repeated damage and repairs are not so obvious.   When this dining room storm window screen (wire mesh) was torn during Hurricane Irene I was going to take it to a screen repairer because I didn’t want to get involved in buying a new gasket, gasket tool, appropriate screen, etc. to repair it.

The screen was torn and bent out of pace.

When I took a closer look I noticed the original rubber gasket was definitely doing its job holding the screening in the aluminum frame. I’m sure it’s brittle but before I could get to replacing it I’d have to remove it, the part of a job I don’t care for.

The sides and corners were still snugly gasketed.

So I decided to try my hand at patching the screen.  I had available some old screen which, unfortunately, was black and not grey like my screen but I used it anyway.  Following Martha Stewart’s instructions  I trimmed the hole in the screen to a tidy square.

Trim hole in screen.

Cut a piece of screening half-inch all around larger than the hole.

After cutting the patch fray the edges about 1/4 inch all around.

Then bend the frayed edges in a right angle with needle nose pliers.

The ends can be trimmed later.

Set the patch over the hole and let the ends push through to the other side.  Flatten the ends away from the patch and trim them if they seem too long.

Flatten the patch as much as possible by pulling the loose ends with plyers.

This patch is invisible from both inside the house and outside.The patch can be seen when the screen is in place probably because the patch is black.

The patch can just be seen.

So I’ll just pull down the shade and worry about it tomorrow.

The screen is behind the shade.

In the morning light things looked better.

The repair from inside.

The view from the back yard wasn’t too bad either.

Repair is just visible on the right side of the window.

Have you tried any new-to-you techniques?

Desk Project Plans

I have been planning to paint this Pennsylvania House desk black for a long time.

The desk among other junk in the Cottage.

It was in good condition until our son used it as a study/coffee station and ruined the finish on the surface toward the back.

The abuse this desk has endured has left the top without finish in places.

One of the things that stopped my progress dead in the water was that I could not remove all the drawers; they were really stuck.  I finally had to resort to forcing them open a little then banging them out with a hammer. 

All the drawers are finally out.

One of the drawers needs to be all but totally rebuilt.

The bottom right drawer is in sad shape.

I believe the others just need to be planed down a little with the Surform and sand paper.


Once the drawers fit and glide I’ll sand the entire surface and lay on some primer. Then I want to paint the whole thing black. Kristen at The Frugal Girl has a great tutorial. It might look almost like the one below from Pinterest.

Perhaps I’ll distress it a little also like in the one below from Alchemy Fine Living.

And I think I have a surprise for the hardware; I’m just not sure yet. 

The drawers have traditional hardware now.

Do your projects have unexpected drawbacks?

Painting the Exterior Trim

In the photos of our window repairs it’s highly evident that the window trim and fascia at The Glade have been in need of painting for a few years now.

Dining room window trim needs to be scraped, primed and painted.

I could say I was waiting to find out exactly where the new additions were going so I wouldn’t paint something that was ultimately going to be covered or removed but really it’s just a difficult job that I wanted to put off as long as possible.

The bird's eye window and fascia are peeling.

The list of necessary items to be painted:

  • 1st and 2nd story window trim at back of house
  • fascia and eaves on both sides
  • 1st and second story trim on front of house
  • bird’s eye window and laundry window

Charlie does most of the outside work which requires climbing a ladder including cleaning and making small repairs to the gutters.

The peak of the roof is about 30 feet off the ground.

The truth is, however, that I’m more comfortable on a ladder than he.  In my younger days as a theatrical technician I spent a lot of time at the top of an A-frame extension ladder. And you already know I’m the painter girl so up the ladder I must go with a scraper, some primer and a can of white exterior trim paint and  my trusty paint brushes.

The scraping has begun.

When I arrived home Charlie was up on the ladder scraping the old paint from the window frames. Gotta love that.

What have you been putting off? It’s not too late, is it?

Stormed Windows

Last August when Hurricane Irene rolled through and knocked a couple trees down in the yard, the only damage to the house was a bent rain gutter and broken storm windows.

Dining room storm windows shattered.

We have old style wood sash windows with aluminum storm windows attached to the outside of the opening.

Dining room windows that were broken by the storm.

Once upon a time, before the advent of replacement windows, it was easy to find someone to repair storm windows. 

We've been without storm windows since last August.

Virtually every hardware store did it.  Now there are few hardware stores (other than the big box stores) and fewer still who repair storm windows. So I was left with 2 aluminum window frames with the gaskets ripped and hanging out.

Storm window frames

Recently I received a delivery of a classified book of local businesses in which I found Eastern Plate Glass Company who, among other things, repairs storm windows. 

Eastern Glass is a comprehensive glass repair and installation company.

My windows are 28 inches by 30 inches and in addition to needing glass they required repairs to the rubber gaskets.  The cost per window was about $28 including the labor. I dropped them off on Saturday and they were ready Monday morning.

Finally we have storm windows in every opening.

While I was at their shop I noticed they also fix screens. 

Eastern Glass will also repair screens.

This is not the end of the project: 3 small window panes on the inside sash window were also broken but we know how to fix those ourselves. We’ll definitely let you know when we get up to it.

Where do you find old-fashioned craftspeople to make vintage repairs?

Bargain Basil

Last year we learned that buying basil at Trader Joe’s is a bargain.

4 inch pot of basil doesn't look like much, right?

One pot costs $2.69 but has 28 individual plants; that’s almost 2 full squares in our square foot garden.

Look at all the individual plants in this small pot.

In the garden Charlie measures 1 foot increments along the sides so he can mark 16 small squares in each 4 by 4 garden square.

Accuracy now aids the planting layout.

Then he adds compost to the square.

Compost is a basic ingredient of a successful garden.

Turns the compost into the dirt with a hoe.

The dirt is loosened and lightened with a hoe.

Charlie uses a piece of wood to impress the soil following the measurements on the side of the square.

Using a wooden stake the measurements are transferred to the soil.

Plants 1 basil plant in each square foot.

A tiny 2 inch plant will grow to fill a square foot.

Most of this basil will go to Chef John for pesto.

Pesto on bread

Where do you find bargains?

I’m linked to

New ReStore in My Neck of the Woods

I was soooo excited recently when I went to the ReStore website for our local (20 miles away) ReStore and discovered they just opened a new one 5 miles from The Glade.

ReStore funds Habitat for Humanity projects.

Let’s take a quick tour.

Bathtubs, shower pans, lighting fixtures

In honor of Earth Day everything in the store was 20% off.

Lots and lots of lighting fixtures at really good prices.

Also in honor of Earth Day they served everyone grilled hot dogs, sodas, popcorn and cake.

Toilets and cabinets

The manager assured us that new items arrive daily so check back often.

Exterior and interior doors of various sizes and quality

They stock lots of paint supplies, gardening supplies and hardware.


As time goes on I’m sure they’ll collect even more good stuff.

Sinks of all kinds: kitchen, bathroom, utility

3741 Commerce Drive #311
Halethorpe, MD 21227

Mon-Sat: 9am-5pmPhone: 443-297-5141
To Donate: 410-633-0506

Where do you shop for good stuff?