Tag Archives: gardens

You Can do That

With the arrival of the Vortex I decided to check on an attic window I replaced last year.  All things considered it seems to be doing what it was designed to do: keep out the elements.  I know it opens easily because I had it open all summer, keeping some air circulating upstairs, and allowing me to reach out . . . to snag leaves and debris in the nearby gutter. The house suffers from a solid case of settling foundation, so almost none of the windows and frames are square anymore.  Time will tell whether or not I was truly successful.

I’d asked several friends, neighbors and Lowe’s/Home Depot guys what their experiences and recommendations were for doing this.  Their answers comprised many similar observations about measuring, cutting, safety, etc.  The single most common theme that colored their comments was that I was going to come away from the effort with one of two outlooks –

1. that replacing a window is difficult but doable, and there’s no reason I can’t do it when I need to.

2. that replacing a window is difficult, and as G-d is my witness, there’s no way on earth I’ll ever do it again.

I’m leaning to number 2, but not with the verve of a true believer.  My problem is – to paraphrase Tevye (Fiddler on the Roof ) “I’ve got 10 windows” (to replace). I’d like to keep the original casement windows everywhere else in the house, so I will have all winter to think about how to do that, while wishing them to ultimately close together.

It doesn’t have to be windows. Once we’re past the winter (pitchers and catchers report in 34 days) there are any number of tasks, chores, repairs, and preparations your house or apartment probably needs. Many of them you may be able to do yourself. If you need help, plans, ideas and suggestions, come talk to us. We can’t do it for you, but we’ll know where to direct you.

When duct tape just isn’t enough : quick fixes for everyday disasters

This easy-to-follow guide will give anyone the basics to tackle those frustrating (and sometimes nerve-wracking) quandaries that crop up around the house. So, whether the issue is a fast repair for a running toilet or a leaking pipe, or a simple way to keep deer, rabbits or moles from destroying  the garden, it’s in here.

Spend-a-little save-a-lot home improvements : money-saving projects anyone can do

Spend-A-Little Save-A-Lot Home Improvements is a book of money-saving projects that anyone can do. Most of us avoid projects like these because we think they are too hard or will cost too much. A range of home improvement projects are broken down into easy steps that will help home owners keep their homes in shape, making them more livable, and sellable.


DIY projects for the self-sufficient homeowner : 25 ways to build a self-reliant lifestyle

Many of these projects require basic materials available at your everyday home center, this book also provides valuable DIY resources for solar, hydro, greenhouse, and gardening needs. Whether you have a city plot or simply pots, this book includes all of the information needed to plan, build, and succeed with greater self-sufficiency.

Black & Decker The Complete Guide to Patios & Walkways: Money-Saving Do-It-Yourself Projects for Improving Outdoor Living Space

The complete guide to patios & walkways : money-saving do-it-yourself projects for improving outdoor living space.

With hundreds of styles of brick and stone easily available, it’s never been easier to build a dream patio—saving thousands of dollars in the process. Complete with detailed photos and step-by-step arranged instructions, Black & Decker Patios & Walkways is recommended as the best choice for its excellent instruction and drainage coverage.

Workinwindows : a guide to the repair and restoration of woowindows 

Working Windows is the only fully illustrated guide to repairing and refinishing every part of an old window, from weather stripping, pulleys, sashes, hopper vents, and casings to old hinges, paint, and glass.  Whether you are a craftsman or a do-it-yourself  homeowner, Working Windows has essential advice and instruction to get your windows looking great and operating smoothly.

Tile style : creating beautiful kitchens,baths, & interiors with tile

This comprehensive guide shows how tile can be used from floors to ceilings, bathrooms to kitchens, as well as in other designs and mosaics. Tile Style is also filled with practical information on choosing, purchasing, installing, and caring for tile.  An extensive appendix section provides home decorators with all they need to know about budgeting a job, hiring an installer or doing it themselves, and maintaining surface tiles.

And my absolute favorite:

How to restore your collector car

How to Restore Your Collector Car has been the ultimate how-to guide for anyone looking to turn a neglected relic into a traffic-stopping collector car. From choosing the right vehicle, purchasing (or renting) the right tools, to entering the finished product in a show, this is the restoration book for the enthusiast who takes pride in not just getting his hands dirty, but in knowing why every bolt was chosen (not to mention how tightly it’s torqued).

– Richard

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It’s Gardening Thyme!

gardeningthymebannerThanks to another generous grant from the Mary Jane Berger Memorial Foundation, twelve Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh locations will be growing community gardens this year. Several locations are doing this for their second year – Carrick, Homewood, Knoxville, Lawrenceville, Mt. Washington, Sheraden, Squirrel Hill, West End, and Woods Run.  Plus, we have a few new libraries participating – Main, East Liberty (who will be experimenting with container gardening), and our pop-up location in Allentown.

Our gardens will be growing herbs and vegetables, which will be available to the community members, with extra produce going to local food banks. Some of the herbs will also be used in library programs being held throughout the summer and early fall months. Be sure to check out the events on our web site to find Gardening Thyme programs of interest to you.

Staff from each location have attended seminars to learn about creating successful community gardens and growing plants organically. But we need your help! They key word in “community garden” is community. Without volunteers from the neighborhoods we serve, our gardens will not grow and thrive as we’d like them to. Please be sure to find the library garden closest to you and let them know you’d like to help. We’ll need people to plant, water, and weed. You’ll be helping your community, your library, and yourself (you’ll likely get first pick of the herbs and veggies!).

See you in the garden at Main!

-Melissa M.

P.S. Don’t forget about the Seed Libraries at Lawrenceville and Main, if you’d like to use and save heirloom seeds!

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Starting Small

Pay attention to what you’re doing, and don’t get in over your head.” – Barbara Pleasant

startergardenMarch is coming, and with that in mind, I am already starting to think about what to plant in my garden this year. Last year I planted my first real vegetable garden, but even with friends and co-workers giving me tips and encouragement along the way, it was a daunting activity in the beginning. There are so many different gardening books/videos/classes out there, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Unfortunately the library is as much help as hindrance in that department–browsing the shelves in our home & garden area can be a mind-melting experience.

As a beginner, I needed a book that was simple and fail-safe. As luck would have it, I happed upon Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens by Barbara Pleasant. This is an excellent book for the novice, as it provides easy to follow garden plans with detailed instructions for what to buy, when and where to plant your vegetables, and (of course) how to care for those vegetables lovingly. It’s almost like gardening-by-numbers, which is not a bad way to start learning how to grow your own. As Ms. Pleasant points out in the opening pages of the book, “one worry free way to start your first vegetable garden is by following a “recipe” provided by an experienced gardener, and that’s just what this book provides … these gardens are practically foolproof!”

In addition to detailed garden plans, there are also special sections on everything from starting plants from seed, to the magic of mulch (I love you mulch,

Proof (from the poster)  that some books yield excellent results.

Proof (from the poster) that some books yield excellent results.

it is because of you that I no longer have to mow my lawn!) All of these sections are accompanied by simple and clear illustrations, and in some cases, helpful color photographs.

Of course, the library also offers more detailed lists of resources, on everything from vegetable gardens to composting to local organizations that can help you get started. For those particularly interested in gardening from seed, you will want to save the date for our excellent seed swap and seed saving workshop on Saturday, March 2nd.

So how ’bout you? Do you have any large (or small) gardening plans this year? Do you have any favorite go-to gardening books or resources? Share your thoughts below!

Now lettuce rest, I’m feeling beet,

Tara

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