Category Archives: How To

Build Your Own Martin House

Purple martins are swallows that migrate from South America to North America each year to breed. Many people enjoy listening to their songs, watching their aerial acrobatics and seeing fledglings emerge from their nests. Although purple martins don’t eat mosquitoes, they eat large numbers of many other kinds of insects. For these reasons, many people build martin houses in the hope that the birds will build nests in them.

1 Site your martin house properly. Purple martins won’t nest in houses too near the ground or too near homes or tall trees. Martin houses should be a minimum of 40 feet (12 meters) from homes and trees and 20 feet (6 meters) high.

2 Design your martin house for several nesting pairs. It should have nesting compartments that are completely separated from one another, access holes for the birds, porches to perch on and a gabled roof. Some houses have multiple levels to accommodate more birds.

3 Cut the wood for the floor so it will extend past the exterior walls 3 inches (7.5 cm) on all sides. This creates the porches. You can also attach porches using 3-inch strips of wood.

4 Create several nesting compartments inside using partitions. Each space should be 6 inches (15 cm) tall, 6 inches wide and 6 inches deep.

5 Cut semicircular entrance holes. These should be 3 inches (7.5 cm) in diameter and 1-3/16 inches (3 cm) tall for each compartment. Set the bottom of the hole flush with the porch to discourage starlings and owls from using the martin house.

6 Drill small holes in the “attic” portion of the house to encourage air flow. Cut a thick piece of polystyrene or corrugated cardboard to fit inside the attic so the house won’t get too hot.

7 Build the roof. Make sure it extends past the exterior walls enough to help shield the access holes from rain and give the birds some shade.

8 Assemble the martin house. Keep in mind that you will want to occasionally disassemble it to clean out the nesting compartments. If you use a router to create slots in the partitions, the floors and in the exterior walls, you will be able to slide them together for a tight fit without permanently attaching them with screws or brads.

9 Paint the house white. Never paint or stain it dark colors, although you can paint the trim another light color if desired.

10 Mount the house on a metal pole that has been set in concrete. You may want to add a winch and pulley system that will allow you to raise and lower the house easily so you can check on nestlings or clean the compartments.

S & K Purple Martin House – 10 Family FH10

SKU: 033570112

Heath Purple Martin House Telescoping Pole MP 15

SKU: 050510058

How to Avoid a Basement Water Leakage

Hello, as Spring turns into Summer it is always important to think about proper home care, such as making sure all the rain from the Spring has not created a leak in your basement foundation, or if it has, stopping the leak before it can cause a costly situation.  Using these steps can help save you money and give you peace of mind that you should not suffer a costly repair bill.

 

1

Waterproof the walls internally. Internal waterproofing is a process in which the walls need to be removed and a process of waterproofing from the foundation, windows, and drain runs into a basement sump pump.

Wayne Submersible 1/3 HP Sump Pump RSP130

SKU: 025420011

2

Waterproof the walls externally. External waterproofing work is a major job because it requires removing the debris around the external wall foundation, all the way down to the foundation level.

Thompsons WaterSeal Clear Multi Surface Waterproofer Gallon Low VOC

SKU: 050540662

3

Insulate the external walls with the external waterproofing product in at least two layers in order to have the basement completely clean.

Spring Clean While Saving Space

Is your house over-cluttered with small items loosely sprawled everywhere?  Are you having trouble seeing the bottom of your junk drawer?  You don’t have to suffer with discord in your home when you could create a special organizational system that involves storing your items in small jars that can be housed underneath your cabinets.

 

1.  Locate an area in your home for your space saver set. Consider setting up your space saving jars in a laundry room or even the garage cabinets. You will be permanently adding this set to a cabinet so make sure you don’t damage expensive or new cabinetry.

  • Find a well-traveled area or an area that is easy to access.
  • Make sure the cabinets can support several mounted jars underneath. If the cabinets are damaged or have poor support, consider using a different cabinet.

2. Separate lids from each jar. You will be affixing the lids to the wooden block.

3.  Line wooden block with lids. Before you make it permanent, map out where each lid will go on the block. Make sure you have enough room to screw and unscrew each jar once the lids and system is put in place.  Trace each lid in the place so you can keep your map in place once you begin to glue the lids.

4. Glue lids onto block. Add several dollops of glue to the top of the lid and then hold in place on wooden block.  Allow several hours or overnight to dry. While the glue will most likely hold in place within minutes but you will want to wait in order to ensure the lids don’t come unglued.

5.  Mount wooden block underneath the cabinet. Slather wood or industrial strength glue on the back of the wooden block. Working quickly affix the wooden block underneath the cabinet and hold in place.

  • You may need to hold block in place for several minutes to ensure it remains in place.
  • Consider purchasing or picking up a few wooden blocks that measure the width between your cabinet bottom and the countertop. Slide those blocks in place to hold the glued block in place and provide a lengthy dry time.

6. Fill jars with items and screw in place. Once wooden block has completely dried, remove supports and use jar system as needed.

Items You Will Need

Ball, Pint (16 oz), Wide Mouth, Mason Canning Jars, 12-Pack 66000

SKU: 001280081

Gorilla Glue 4 Oz Bottle

SKU: 002440626

Take the kids outside for some fun!

With the warmer weather inviting us outside we will need some fun things for the kids to do! I have found a few easy, cheap, and fun things to do outside with the kids. I have personally done these with my 2 nieces and they had so much fun.

sidewalk chalk

*Sidewalk paint

1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup water, and food coloring of your choice

Be sure to make the colors dark because as it dries on the sidewalk it will get much lighter.

oobleck

*Dr Suess’ OOBLECK (we all laughed so hard with this stuff)

Mix 2 cups of corn starch and 1 cup of water in a bowl. You can add color but I thought that may get a little messy so I did not use color. If you are outside though color may be fun!

This stuff defies Newtons 3rd law of motion–for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. If you quickly smack it with your hand it immediately turns into a solid, instead of splashing or moving. If you slowly move it reacts like a liquid. Try to do this in a shady area as I noticed in the hot sun it will harden pretty quickly.

snowballs

*Fuffy Stuff Snow Balls (as if we didn’t get enough of this, but at least you won’t have to shovel this stuff!)

2 boxes of corn starch and 1 can of shaving cream

This is so soft but can still be molded it really is pretty cool! Go outside and have a “snow ball” fight

fizzy bag

*Fizzy Explosion Bags

Take a paper towel and tear it into 5×5 inch squares (this is your “time-release” packet)

Put 1 ½ Tbls of baking soda in the center of the square

Fold the sides of the square in toward the middle and then the opposite sides in toward the middle with the baking soda inside

Pour a ½ cup of vinegar and ¼ cup of warm water into your plastic bag

Here is where it can get a little tricky, you will need to put your “time-release” packet you made earlier into the vinegar inside the zip lock bag. This will need to be done in a hurry because you need to get the bag closed before the fizzing gets out of control. You can try to zip the bag closed half way and put in the “time-release” packet to save some time.

You will need to give the bag a shake and then set it on the ground and back up!

The bag will start to puff up and when it cannot contain itself any longer there will be a big POP!!

I sure hope this will encourage you to get out and enjoy the beautiful Spring weather and have some fun while doing it!

**Don’t forget, check out your local Rural King for most of the supplies needed to try these fun activities!

 

 

Putting Your Cat/Dog on a Diet

As Spring begins to transition to Summer we all could benefit from losing some of those extra pounds we may have put on from not doing much over the long winter, and our pets are the same. Sometimes pets start to look a little pudgy around the tummy. Aesthetic issues aside, it could radically reduce their life span. Here are some things you can do.

Part 1:  Dogs

  1. Determine if your dog is truly overweight. You should be able to locate your dogs ribs and spine relatively easily—a healthy dog has only a thin layer of fat between the skin and bones
  2. Talk to your vet about portion size. Because it varies so drastically from dog breed to dog breed, it’s not possible to have a set portion size. Ask your vet how much your pet should be eating, and how often. Stick to his/her advice.
  3. Limit snacks and treats between meals. Even if you’re feeding your dog proper portions at meal time, extra treats and people food between meals can quickly lead to an overweight pet.
  4. Find healthy substitutes for fatty treats. Many dogs love carrots—consider giving those in lieu of fatty bones when you wish to reward your dog. Rice cakes are another healthy alternative.
  5. Stay strong against begging. It may break your heart to hear your dog whining, but remember that your dog is not starving—he’s probably learned that whining will result in a treat and is playing you to get one. Instead, it’s best to break this habit by ignoring begging and whining.
  6. Invest in a name-brand diet formula food for your dog. Newman’s Own and AvoDerm are both brands known to have positive effects on your dogs’ weight [2]. If your dog has a very serious weight issue, you may want to talk to your vet about a prescription food.
  7. Exercise your dog. Just like humans, dogs need exercise to stay fit. Make sure your dog gets at least one long walk a day. If you don’t feel up for a long walk, consider taking your dog to a park and throwing a ball or frisbee for 20 minutes or so. If you cannot take the time, consider paying some kids on your block or hiring a dog walker.
  8. Use medication as a last resort. If you’ve done everything and your dog is still not losing weight, consider an Rx like Slentrol. However, this should only be used as a last resort after talking with your vet.

Part 2: Cats

  1. Determine if your cat is overweight. You should be able to easily see your cat’s waist when looking at it from the top. You should be able to feel it when running your hands from your cat’s ribs to its hips (it should be indented). Finally, you should be able to feel your cats ribs
  2. Allow your cat to exercise. If your cat isn’t an outdoor cat, invest in toys and climbing structure to ensure that your cat has incentive to play.  Make your cat work for its food. Consider putting your cats food in a foraging device like a ball with holes, requiring it to play and work before it can eat.
  3. Realize that the specifications on the side of food bags are often well above what your cat actually needs. Those specifications are designed for a highly active, unspayed or non-neutered cat, whereas most house cats are relatively inactive and fixed.
  4. Transition slowly. For many cats, the food and food dish that they’re used to are signs of security. Place the new food in a bowl next to the old food for a while, then you can remove the old food all together.
  5. Talk to your vet. Consider other causes besides overeating for your cat’s obesity, such as diseases or side effects of a drug.

Recommended products:

Hills Science Diet Canine Adult Light 20 Lb Dog Food         SKU 15440082

Hills Science Diet Feline Adult Light 4 Lb   SKU 15440163