Jan 052018

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Bird feeders are an easy addition to any garden or balcony. They do not take up much space and can match any style you currently have going on.

Do not be discouraged if you do not get immediate results, it may take some time for our avian friends to find the new food source. Once they do, though, you will have regular visitors.

Whether you are considering a craft for kids, need a gift ASAP, are on a budget, or are wanting something different for your garden, here is a quick bird feeder you can make. The actual crafting time is mere minutes, or seconds in one case, though the glue may take longer to cure. (Mine was dry enough to move in about 2 hours, but took 24-48 hours to fully cure.)

Here is another bird feeder to use your creativity with, or follow along with some of the examples below if you are feeling a bit creatively challenged today.

BIRD FEEDER #2 – cup and saucer

Cost: $0-$8

Materials needed: tea or coffee cup, saucer or small plate, E6000 glue, chain or other hanging material, acetone, cotton swab

Step 1

Gather your materials. This can be random pieces from around your house, yard sale or thrift store finds, or even items from the Dollar Tree.

Keep in mind how they look together. My first try at this was purely a trial run with items from a thrift store. As I was short on time and had input from one of the kids, proportions were not necessarily top of the list of things to consider. Colors and price were the important things. Mainly colors. ūüôā

Step 2

Clean the pieces. Glue sticks better if there is not a layer of dust in the way.

If there is a sticker, gum residue, or marker on any of your pieces, a cotton swab dipped in acetone (nail polish remover) makes quick work of removal.

Step 3

Decide how you want the pieces arranged. Use your imagination, try a few different ways. Keep in mind how you want to hang or mount your feeder – does the weight need to be centered, will it sit such that it needs to not top over, or any other needs?

Step 4

Glue pieces together. Use a strong glue which can endure the outside elements. I have had luck with E6000, though there are others you can use.

E6000 holds better than super glue (which does not stick to ceramics), though does not set up as quickly. Where super glue sticks within a few seconds, E6000 takes an hour or two to set, and 24-48 hours to cure. This can be a good thing, if you make a mistake, or a challenge, if you need to keep pieces in place while the glue dries.

(Several craft projects using E6000 have been outside in 0 degree weather and are holding up just fine. The two problems I had were in cases where not enough glue was used.)

Step 5

Decide how you want to hang your feeder. One of my feeders was light enough for me to use an old metal necklace. (This is the one I did not use enough glue on. The chain came off a few weeks after I hung it up.)

For yet another we hung it by the cup’s handle from a shepherds hook.

The majority of feeders were fitted with a smaller-linked chain. (A package purchased from the local hardware store.) While I did not measure them out, they ended up being about 9-12 inches long.

After some trial I also learned that crossing one chain over another, on the underside of the feeder, meant the glue does not hold well at all; it was too bulky.  I ended up separating the chain so I could glue the ends together at a common meeting point. A pair of pliers were used to open a link, slide it off its neighbor, then close the link up again. (See the photos above.)

An ‘S’ link was added at the top, where all the chain ends meet. Not only did this hold everything together, but also makes it easier to hang from a branch or other support.

Note: This step was done a few hours after the first ones, so pairs could be turned over and handled with little worry.

Step 6

Find a place to hang your feeder and fill with appropriate seed…or leftover, un-popped popcorn because your bird loving kid was too excited to wait for a trip to the store.


I would love to see your creations if you try this DIY project. Share a picture below and let us know how it went.

Dec 232017

Bird feeders are an easy addition to any garden or balcony. They do not take up much space and can match any style you currently have going on.

Do not be discouraged if you do not get immediate results, it may take some time for our avian friends to find the new food source. Once they do, though, you will have regular visitors.

Whether you are considering a craft for kids, need a gift ASAP, are on a budget, or are wanting something different for your garden, here is a quick bird feeder you can make. The actual crafting time is mere minutes, or seconds in one case, though the glue may take longer to cure. (Mine was dry enough to move in about 2 hours, but took 24-48 hours to fully cure.)

BIRD FEEDER #1 – cup and spoon

Cost: $0 – $8

Materials needed: tea or coffee cup, spoon, E6000 glue, chain or other hanging material, acetone, cotton swab

This feeder has a lot of room for creativity. The general jist is to provide a container to hold seed or other food, as well as a perch.

I chose coffee mugs which appealed to my vintage mood at the time, as well as spoons with designs on the handles.  These are fairly arbitrary details in the grand scheme of bird feeders. One thing I would keep in mind is the size of bird Рif you are wanting chickadees, I would pass on using a large handled serving spoon.

When it comes to putting you spoon and cup together, again you have freedom in the details. Due to my spoons and cups, I chose to glue them at the back end (the bottom) of the cup. I tried placing them further out, but realized the handles hung at an odd angle.

  1. Find the center point by holding the handle of the cup with two fingers, putting the spoon in so it sits like you want it.
  2. Paying attention to where the spoon makes contact with the cup, remove the spoon, place a drop of glue at each contact point.
  3. Reinsert the spoon, double checking you placed the glue appropriately.
  4. Set the cup off to the side to dry.

I found a few things to help keep the cup at the correct angle, so the spoon is not lifted up by it’s handle being lower than the bottom of the cup.

Once the glue is firm enough to handle, or completely cured, add a chain or rope by which to hang your bird feeder.

Note: I initially glued my chain in place, but had trouble with the chain constantly sliding, not enough glue staying in place, and the resulting angle. In the end my chain came off, over a week later, due to insufficient glue holding it in place.

Find a place to hang your feeder and fill with appropriate seed…or leftover popcorn because your bird loving kid was too excited to wait for a trip to the store.

I would love to see your creations if you try this DIY project. Share a picture below and let us know how it went.

Dec 212017

Looking for a quick craft to add interest and color to your garden? How about a gift without spending a lot of money? Glass Garden Flowers, also known as plate flowers, are the perfect fit!

Materials needed:

  • tube e6000 glue
  • acetone
  • cotton swab
  • various plates, saucers, cups, candle holders, lids, condiment dishes, etc.
  • PVC elbow pieces, conduit connectors, bud vases, etc. for back
  • paper towel
  • sheet/drop cloth – not mandatory, but will make clean up easier
  • Pipe or rebar, to act as a “stem”

Step 1

Gather various ceramic or glass pieces. Plastic ones work, too, but may not hold up in cold weather. I picked up an assortment while at a thrift store. Turned out to be “50% off everything” day. The pieces I picked up ranged in price from $0.25-$1. I could have spent more, but was looking to make several without spending a lot out-of-pocket.

Step 2

Clean pieces. To get glue, residual stickers, and marker off, use a cotton swab dipped in acetone. (You can pick up a bottle of finger nail polish remover and cotton swabs from the Dollar Tree if you do not have any.) I find it easier to pour a bit into the lid and wet the swabs from there.

Dry thoroughly.

Step 3

Pair pieces together to get the look you want. Play around with the arrangements. Not all combinations looked like I thought they would, while others surprisingly worked.

Once you get them arranged like you want, take a picture if you plan on moving them. ūüėČ

Step 4

Glue pieces together. Working with one group at a time, deconstruct the stack. Working from the bottom up, glue pieces together.

Step 5

Glue connector on the back. After letting the pieces dry enough not to move, flip the stack over and glue a connector piece on the back.

There are many various ways to do this. I tried three – using a bud vase, using conduit connectors and using PVC pipe elbows. Each has their benefits and drawbacks.

Bud vases – can be found cheaply and often in abundance. However, if the vase is too big, the flower will “dropped” on the support post. These also add weight.

Conduit connectors – cost a bit more (around $0.40 each in a pack of 5), are stocked at local hardware stores, and lighter in weight than vases.

One potential downside I noticed is the open side pointing up. This means rain can go down your support pipe, if it also happens to be hollow. If you live in a cold region this may result in snow, ice, or freezing of precipitation in this area. A solution would be to glue a coin or small metal piece on top of these.

PVC elbows – light weight, cost me around $0.40 each, found commonly at local hardware stores (or leftover from a DIY project), easy to attach, and snug fit to post. Not sure how these hold up in cold weather, as I have not tested them.

One lesson I did learn, thankfully before the glue cured completely, was to place the metal connectors far enough back from the edge of the plates so the posts can actually fit into them. Be aware of the lip along the bottom of the plate!

Step 6

Create, install, and attach to a support stem. This can be a variety of items, anything which is strong enough to support the weight of the flower. Some use rebar, conduit pipes, or other metal structures. PVC pipe is too flexible to use and would potentially break under the weight and deteriorate from being exposed to the weather.

If your flower is small enough, you may be able to use copper pipe.  I love the color these add, though it is more expensive and was too flexible for the weight I was working with.

I cut my poles to 2.5 ft, pounded them into the ground about 6 inches (till they felt secure), then placed the flowers on top. While I did not use rebar the help support the flowers, I believe I will do so in the Spring, due to the kind of soil we have. Inserting a foot or foot and a half into the ground, then sliding the “stem” over it would be an even sturdier option in my garden.


Nov 292017

Here is a flashback from our home in Small Town.¬† One of the things I realized after we moved was all the free time I had.¬† I had not realized the amount of time working on the house, thinking about working on the house, contemplating working on the house, and shopping for items so I could work on the house had been taking up over the weeks and months.¬† I was sooooo happy when this project was completed…then we moved.¬† ūüôā Hey, at least I got to enjoy it for a few months.

I am finally on to my last big project area Рthe garage.  This is something I have been working on bit by bit over the past few months.  First I painted all the walls in the fall, before the cold weather set in for winter.  Then the area became a storage/project area.

Finally, a month or two ago, I was set about connecting the second garage door opener.  A few weeks back we had gravel installed in order to allow me to enter the garage without driving through mud.  It was a great feeling.

This past weekend, I wanted to start actually tackling setting up all the pieces to make it look like more of an organized area and less like a pile of half-finished projects.

Step 1: Move things away from the back wall and sweep the floor.  I chose to start with the largest visual area for several reasons Рit would give me a flat surface to work on, it would give me storage areas for the smaller items, it would free up floor space, and it would be a great motivator for later on when I start getting frustrated and depressed about how long this job is taking.

Step 2: Begin a list of all the things I need from the hardware store. It did not take long for me to realize I needed some items to finish up various parts of this organization project.  For starters, one of my cabinets needs a new shelf inside before I can attach the counter top.  A drawer needs a new bottom.  I am looking to add a shelf between my two lower cabinets. The list kept getting longer, so I grabbed a pencil and paper and put it all down.  Hopefully this will help reduce the number of trips to the store, as well as allow me to keep my eyes open for these items elsewhere (a.k.a. find them used or free).

Step 3:¬†Set things up where they will be going.¬†After moving things away from the back wall, which is where I am going to start, and cleaning up, I began to put things back into place where I will be wanting them to go. ¬†My mind’s eye had pretty much figured out what it wanted, but actually putting them there showed me a few problems.

For starters, there is an electrical conduit close to the floor. When this conduit reaches the corner, it makes a rounded turn.  This prevents me from putting a cabinet all the way in the corner.  I decided to leave about 6 inches between the cabinet and the wall, allowing me space to store my saw-horses.  A problem just became a solution for another problem I was having Рwhere to store larger items. Sometimes you need to step back and view things from a different angle.

Step 4: Place other items near where you think you want them. Not all of our old kitchen cabinets will be placed by the work bench.  There are two smaller cabinets that I am going to use near the walk-out door.  These will be great to keep things like deicer, ice scrapers, sunscreen, bug spray, and other season items we might need to grab quickly.

There are also several wire baskets I plan to use to help organize toys, as well as shelf supports I want to use in the laundry area.  These are placed near those locations to help those steps go quicker.  This also helps get things out of the way for the particular area I am working in at this time.

Step 5: Stop for lunch. This is often something I forget to do when working on a larger project.  It is much easier for me to keep going.  However, after a while I start to slow down, problems begin cropping up at each turn, and my kids get really whiny.

This time, before all the above happened, I called it time for lunch and put down all I was working on at the moment.  Things were going well. Ending, and beginning, on a good note always helps.

Nov 202017

This is another post which was written, but never shared.  It was waiting for the time I could share before and after pictures.  HOWEVER, there never were any after pictures as it never got painted.  This particular item is still with us, in its original state of being stained.  Currently it sits next to the fireplace, holding various library books.  It is still an easy DIY project, if you are looking for something similar.  

Garbage day is not only for getting rid of trash in your house, but can also be a source for ‘new’ items. ¬†Because we live in Small Town and it is, well, small, I do not go driving around town looking for items placed out by trash cans. ¬†However, sometimes I spot something and stop to take a look. ¬†There is also a sort of unspoken rule that if you do not want something you sit it out by the trash cans, or along the street in front of your house, at any point during the week and others will probably take it.

This is how I ended up with an old magazine rack. ¬†While we do not have magazines around here, we do have a lot of newspapers. ¬†Specifically, my husband’s newspapers. I get so tired of stacks here and there, never knowing which have been read and which have not. ¬†Knowing that he loves reading them, though, I try not to get rid of something without asking him.

Initially when I saw this, I thought that perhaps I could clean it up and find a new home for it.  Then I thought of the newspapers and knew what its new purpose would be Рa newspaper rack.  Then it sat on my washer for several months.  Even find that happening at your house?

Every time I went to do a load of laundry I contemplated what to do with the ‘new’ find – I did not want to leave it the wood color it was, as we already have a lot of wood in the house. ¬†Black would show every little bit of dirt and dust, of which we have a lot here in this part of the country. ¬†White would get dingy from fingerprints. ¬†Finally, out of indecisivness I told my husband my plans and asked his opinion.

“Paint it green.”

“Okay, what kind of green?”

“You decide. ¬†Just make it green.”

Well, that was easy.  Months of me thinking about it and it took him all of 10 seconds.  By the way, this is how our wedding colors were decided, I took him to the paint section in a store and told him to find colors he liked.  I was trying to involve him in the process, he just wanted it to be decided quickly.

I have never spray painted furniture before, though I have done so with some metal vents in our house.  I knew that with wood, especially an item that had already had a finish on it, there were more steps beyond: 1. wash, 2. Paint.  To the internet I went.  Here are some of the links I found helpful.

Furniture Makeover: Spray Painting Wood Chairs


Oct 282016

This post contains affiliate links.

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Sep 192016


Even the most beautiful of gardens will still require things that may not be so beautiful Рbuckets, gloves, shovels, wheel barrows, pots waiting to be used, compost piles in the process of breaking down, etc.  Whether these items must be seen or hidden in side a building or container, they are all a part of the business of gardening.

Knowing these items are needed, how do you then keep them being an asset to your garden rather than a distraction from the beauty you are trying to create? Sometimes all it takes is some consideration before moving forward.

In the photo above, you can see the top of the garden shed. ¬†Instead of distracting, the materials used, the shape of the roof, and even the color of the building itself compliment the garden. ¬†At some point in this garden’s history a decision was made to build in this style. ¬†They could have just as easily put up a cinder block building with a green metal roof. ¬†The function of that building would have been the same, but the visual impact would have been vastly different.

Instead of trying to hide a building that would have been an eye-sore, they chose to build something from the start which would add to the enjoyment of the garden.  Even in winter, when all the leaves on the trees have dropped, the flowers have faded away, and the tall grasses are not so tall, the building stands as a welcome sign, inviting you come visit.  Not often found on garden sheds, the small porch and its overhang have provided both shade and protection from the elements to more than one visitor, my family included.

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Sep 012016

processing tomatoesHave you noticed a lack of canning posts this year?  If not, I sure have.  I have also noticed the lack of variety in our home canned items in the pantry, the abundance of empty jars sitting around, and the amount of other items left over from past canning seasons.

The jam and jelly making marathon 3 years ago meant we are still eating blackberry jam, tomato marmalade, and apple jelly syrup (the jelly did not set).  Thanks to the Farm Market Swap last year, we do have some variety in the house.

Due to the demands of life right now, spending hours canning produce and taking care of a large garden were things I had to admit I could not do this year.  What I did do were the basics, things we would really have missed if they were not present.  These are also things that happen to make my life easier.  Namely Рcherry tomatoes, a few regular tomato plants, pearl onions for stews this winter, pizza sauce, and crushed tomatoes.  If there is anything else we really need, like spaghetti sauce, I can easily order a few jars online if I really did not want to go to the store.  At this point, it is worth it for me to accept that option.

The blackberry bushes and strawberry beds are at a point where not a lot of attention is needed.  This is a nice stage, as I can reap the fruits of my labor without spending a lot of labor doing so.  What I was not going to do with these fruits, was to make jams. (see paragraph above)  Instead we ate them fresh as they came on and I did not feel guilty about it one bit.

In mid summer, I was presented with the opportunity to can tomatoes.  My garden had not started to produce enough, but a local farmer/gardener had grown some in a greenhouse and theirs were ready.  As it turns out, they were a bit green still, but I was not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.  I knew that if I did not take advantage of this opportunity at this moment, there would be no canning done during the normal growing season.

tomato canning goals 2016

I sat down, making a list of my pantry desires.  As it turns out, we really do not eat a quart of beets a week.  At this rate I can safely say it is more like a quart every 3 weeks.  Not looking to make that mistake again, I added in the desired, realistic amount.

First up, diced tomatoes.  I had not canned these before, only crushed, but hoped diced would be just as easy and a nicer texture in some of our meals this winter.  After all, the diced tomatoes at the grocery store came out looking so nice this past winter. diced tomatoes collage

Um, yeah, I am not the grocery store. ¬†ūüôā They will taste the same, but not exactly like I hoped they would look. ¬†Perhaps if the tomatoes had been more mature it would have worked out better.

We like the taste of roasted tomatoes in the new tomato soup recipe we have been using.  Made it the other day with candy onions and the taste was even better.  Thought it was so good I would try it with pizza sauce.  It changes the first steps a bit, though that is not too hard of a change.

Using pickyourown.org‘s recipe I adjusted the steps to incorporate roasting the tomatoes. ¬†Before placing the tomatoes on the pans to roast (make sure you line it well with foil or else you will be getting new pans out of this process), I squeezed out all the extra juice I could. ¬†This was collected in bowls and pans for use later if needed.

roasted tomatoes collage

Since roasting takes at least an hour, after many batches the house was smelling very yummy.

Using the roasted tomatoes, I proceeded with the recipe, adding back in any extra liquid needed.  As it turned out, I added back in most of what I had squeezed out.  The roasting process had removed a fair amount from the tomatoes themselves, so there really was less liquid than when I started the whole process.

Without the need to cook down the recipe, I was able to greatly reduce the amount of stove top cooking time.  It sort of made up for the late night I had finishing up the last batch roasting in the oven.

pizza sauce collage

In the images above, I got a bit zealous filling the jars.  The jar in the top right corner is too full.  If I tried to place this in the pressure canner, it would never seal.  Removing a table spoon or two (lower left photo above) put it exactly where it needed to be.  A quick wiping of the jar lid and it was ready to go.

What I have not shown you is the canning of crushed tomatoes.  I was tempted to can up more pizza sauce.  However, at the end of the late night of roasting, I nixed that idea and moved on to crushed tomatoes.

Right now though, I think I will go use some of the above pizza sauce and make lunch.  That sounds really good today.


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Aug 062016

yard sale boy clothes

Hello! Yes, I am still here. No I have not forgotten about you. There were several nights I sat down to post something, only to fall asleep in the middle of a thought.  Not very productive that way.

It is now 3 in the afternoon and I am finishing up my (late) lunch while typing this out on my phone. I apologize now for the graphics. No fancy borders or watermarks, but I also shouldn’t fall asleep on you.



Here are some numbers from our 3 day garage sale:

* Saturday’s earnings contributed only 10% to our overall total. It was pretty much a waste of time.

* Thursday was the best day.

* Most of my items were priced at $1 or $0.25. The goal was to sell, not make lots of money.

* The fan with a broken clip sold, but not the small kids’ bike with training wheels.

* The two security system signs sold (we had that particular service 2 houses and about 10 years ago), but not the cute little black purse.

* The most requested item was tomatoes, and other fresh produce.  It seems my road side table has been noticeably missed by many in the community.

*Almost no kids clothes sold. The ones that did sell were not till Saturday late morning.

* After 6 days of carrying boxes up from our basement, pricing items, and holding the sale, I made less than my husband does in one day at work.

* We got rid of almost 2/3 of our items either by selling, giving, or throwing them away.

* My husband only ate lunch out one day. The other days were sandwiches at home.

* I am pretty sure I lost a few pounds along the way.

free sale by curb

From now on, I believe I will stick to our local online For Sale page or just give items away on a “Free” table by the curb. In all, after all the work, ignoring the house and kids, being tired and grumpy and hot, I made less than $5 an hour. That amount increases a bit if I would have skipped having a garage sale on¬†Saturday¬†altogether.

My husband said he would have just thrown everything in the trash. ūüôā For his time, it was very much NOT worth it. Myself, being one who wants to keep things out of the landfills and who does not work outside of the home, it would have meant:

  1. making many, many trips to Big Town with the kids and spending money on gas for the 1 hour round trip, to donate these items.
  2. Or I would have had a free sale over the course of the week to get rid of the items.

For me, it was better, in time and money, than the donating option.  However, it was a draw on the Free Sale option; it was worse time wise but better money wise.

Right now, though, I am going to focus on dishes and laundry … and something cold to drink.

Jul 282016

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what to do when life becomes a bit batty

continued from Part 2

What I found was a tired, motionless bat, laying on the shower floor. I called the kids in to see and talk through the situation.  Never too early to teach them how to handle certain adult responsibilities.  Who knows, they may end up marrying someone who would run away screaming at the sight of a bat, and they will need to know how to handle something like this.

We were not sure if it was still alive or not, which meant we treated it as if it were. FYI: do not pick up a bat with your hands.

A plastic tub was placed over the bat and the piece of cardboard slid underneath.  Yup, still alive.  The clue? When it started fluttering around to get up on the cardboard.

We stopped our morning routine, grabbed a container of sidewalk chalk and headed outside.  The bat, who had been kept covered the whole way out, was laid uncovered, still on the cardboard, near the street while we kept watch from the sidewalk.

Distracted by busy ants working in the grass, we missed the bat flying off. ¬†I believe I saw it head to the neighbor’s house. ¬†Don’t quote me on that though.

I like bats. ¬†They eat mosquitoes. ¬†I want to encourage them to live near us … but not IN our house.

A quick search online resulted in finding an¬†Ento Wood Bat House Kit. Using a gift card from Swagbucks, the bat house was soon on its way ¬†“Perfect. ¬†The kids can help hammer and we can hang it somewhere nearby.”

It arrived about a week later and sat around for a few more weeks.  Finally the day came where we had time to put it together.

Going to the garage we spread out all of the pieces, compared them to the instructions, then began assembling.

bat house opening collage

George got mad at Jack and stomped off early on in the process.  He watched the rest of the time from the garage door.

Jack learned very quickly that placing all the nails into their holes before hammering may have seemed like an efficient idea, but did not work out so well.  When he started to hammer, the nails jumped every which way and fell out. Oops.  This being the garage, and my husband having recently gotten a flat tire while traveling, I was very firm attentive that all the nails be kept in a pile where we could keep track of them.

begin to build bat house collage

Once the pieces were laid out and instructions read, the kids had a hard time being patient with this first step, we started to put the pieces together.  Getting the side pieces lined up and straight was a bit of a challenge as I was trying to get them perfect.  I hammered the first two nails on each side in hopes of making it easier for Jack to finish the remaining nails.

putting together bat house collage

The back actually had two pieces, a top and a bottom.  These were not labeled, so I triple checked the pictures on the instructions before beginning.  I compared the holes in each piece, matching those shown on the photos and what was required in future steps.

After turning the piece over, I realized the side pieces did not quite make it to the top of the mesh. ¬†This meant the ‘roof’ had two issues going: 1. it was below the holes pre-drilled for nailing it to the back, and 2. it was over top of the mesh by just a bit. ¬†It would have been better for the bottom pieces to¬†not be exactly level with the bottom of the box. So much for me trying to be perfect.

issues with putting together bat house collage

A few more issues we ran into were Рthe side pieces were not exactly straight and a nail went through the side when attaching the back.  The second issue was caused by the first.  Neither was a big deal in the end, but were both frustrations when we were in the midst of putting it together.

issues with bat house collage

The roof misalignment issue was fairly easily solved.  Nails were placed below the pre-drilled holes, in places that lined up with the actual roof piece.  There was a bit of a gap in the end, though very small and nothing noticeable once it was hung.  I also placed it on a side of the tree that is normally protected from the rain and snow.

bat house hanging on tree

When all was said and done, I was pleased with the look of the Ento Wood Bat House Kit.  The kids are excited for their first residents to move in.  More than once I have had to tell them to leave it be Рno climbing toys to look inside, no poking a stick into it, etc.  My hope is that this will also solve the bat roommate problems inside our house.

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