Father's Day Gift Ideas for Any Outdoor Dad

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Jun 17, 2017

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Do you have a father in your life who is outdoorsy? Maybe your father likes to spend time fixing household items in his garage workshop. Or perhaps you have a husband who loves to spend time working in the garden so he has plenty of vegetables for his family all summer. I know for a fact that dads appreciate Father's Day gifts that help them enjoy their outdoor activities. Check out some gift ideas for your favorite fathers on Father's Day.

Cleaning and Organizing His Shed

Does your father or husband spend a lot of time in the storage shed looking for shovels, rakes, spades, and other tools for garden work? If so, give him the gift of a clean, organized shed. First, sweep the dirt and dust out of the shed. Don't forget the spiderwebs in the corners near the ceiling. Use a mild cleaning solution to clean the inside and outside of the shed windows. Organize his garden tools using a label system so he knows exactly where everything is at a glance. Add some extras to the shed that he will appreciate. For instance, put up a paper towel holder if he uses a lot of paper towels in the shed, or hang an old basket on the wall to hold clean rags or fresh pairs of gardening gloves. He will appreciate the thought you put into this gift.

Add Some Flair to His Garage Workshop

There are plenty of ways to add pizzazz to the look of a garage workshop. The father in your life would probably appreciate having some artwork on the walls. They may spark his creativity for those DIY projects he's always working on. The artwork can be classic prints done by famous artists throughout the centuries. These can be found at yard sales, secondhand shops, and discount art stores online. If you have young children or grandchildren, you can ask them to make some artwork instead. I especially like this idea because it adds a personal touch to the gift. Posters and photographs are other ideas to dress up a workshop for a father on Father's Day.

Give Dad's Mower Some Attention

Dads who like to maintain their lawns need their lawn mowers to be in tip-top condition. Another idea for a good Father's Day gift is to perform some maintenance work on his lawnmower. Check the mower's air filter to see if it's clogged with dirt. If so, put in a replacement so the mower runs cleanly and efficiently. Consult the owner's manual when choosing the proper air filter replacement. Next, disconnect the spark plug on the lawn mower and inspect its undercarriage. If it's clogged and caked with grass clippings, use a wire brush to remove this debris. After loosening the debris with the brush, spray the underside with a hose. Your dad's lawn mower will run more smoothly without all of that gunk underneath it. Check the amount of oil in the mower to see if it needs more. Use a soft rag and mild detergent to clean the handle and top side of the mower. With the grass clippings, dust, and dirt gone, it will shine like it's brand new!

I hope you and all of the fathers in your life have a wonderful Father's Day. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: garage for fathers day

Freshen Up On Your Veggie Knowledge for Fresh Veggies Day

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Sat, Jun 17, 2017

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Fresh vegetables of all kinds reach their peak during the summer. I enjoy a salad much more when there are plenty of colorful veggies in it; don't you? To select the very best eggplants, ears of corn, and other vegetables at the grocery store or in the field, you must know what to look for. Check out some tips on how to determine whether a vegetable is fresh.

Asparagus

Ripe asparagus has a firm stalk: These veggies are supposed to be easy to snap when you prepare them at home. Also, ripe asparagus is straight and has purple tips. April is when asparagus is at its peak, but it is delicious through the month of June.

Avocado

The peak season for an avocado depends on what type it is. For instance, the peak season for Anaheim avocados runs from June to September. A ripe avocado is dark green. Pick up the avocado and gently squeeze it in your palm. If you feel it yield a little under the pressure, then it is ripe. Check the surface of the avocado for bruises or indentations: An avocado with a lot of bruises is usually overripe.

Corn

A ripe ear of corn has a large collection of plump kernels with none missing. The husks are bright green and wrapped tightly around the corn. Look for brown tassels. This vegetable is at its best in May through September. Corn is one of those vegetables you can grill, boil, or roast, and it always tastes delicious.

Cucumbers

A ripe cucumber is firm to the touch. A cucumber that is beginning to soften is past its peak and beginning to go bad. They are in peak season from July to August.

Eggplant

A ripe eggplant has a deep purple, shiny surface. Gently press your thumb on the eggplant to see if it leaves an indentation. If the indentation disappears quickly, then it is ripe. The peak season for eggplant runs from July to October.

Green Peppers

Green peppers are at their peak from July to September. A ripe green pepper is deep, dark green with a shiny surface. When gently squeezed, it should yield a bit beneath the pressure but remain firm. Avoid a green pepper with cuts or bruises on it: These are signs that it is softening and overripe.

Zucchini

The peak season for this summer veggie falls between June and August. A ripe zucchini is solid green all over. It should be somewhat firm and a little flexible. Softness is a sign that a zucchini is beginning to go bad and should be cooked or eaten soon.

Pick Your Own Veggies This Summer

If you have a vegetable garden, then you don't have to travel far to get some delicious additions to your salads. However, if you don't have a vegetable garden, there are other ways to get your veggies without traveling to the grocery store. Going to a local farmers' market is one idea. Another idea is visiting a local farm and picking your own vegetables. Some vegetables to look for include sweet corn, snap beans, onions, eggplant, and cucumbers. Look online to find pick-your-own vegetable farms in your area. Also, check out the farm bureau website for your state to see the local harvest calendar.

Enjoy your summer veggies, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: fresh veggies

Unique Ways to Upcycle Your Old Tools

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Jun 7, 2017

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Is there a corner in your garage filled with old tools? Maybe you have a rusty rake with a loose handle or a garden shovel that's seen better days. You've replaced these tools, but you just don't have the heart to throw the old ones away. Good news! There are plenty of ways to upcycle those old tools so they can enjoy renewed life.

A Shovel

Make a creative trellis out of that trusty shovel. Plant it in the ground handle-down and let it serve as a trellis for morning glories, clematis, Blue Moon wisteria, or bougainvillea. Your old shovel will look right at home in the garden or near a border fence. Another idea is to remove the shovel's handle and paint a design or logo on its metal head. Display your yard décor on a gate or fence or hang it next to your front door.

Rakes

A bow rake can be upcycled by making it into a rake rack. Attach your bow rake to a wall of your garage or garden shed and hang small tools from its tines. For instance, you can use twine to hang a garden trowel, weeding fork, watering can, and mini-hoe. An upcycled bow rake keeps your small tools organized and safe. Meanwhile, an old leaf rake can be attached to a wall in your garden shed and used as a place to store seed packets. You can slip several packets in between the tines so you know what you have at a glance.

Wrenches

If you have several wrenches you want to upcycle, try making a wrench picture frame. I think a wrench picture frame would look great in a man cave or sitting on top of your workbench. It would fit right in with the décor! If you or someone you know has some metal-working experience, you also could transform your old wrenches into hooks for hanging coats, tools, or other items.

A Saw

Did you know that an old cross-cut saw can be a fun piece of décor? Clean off your old cross-cut saw and use a stencil to paint your house number on the metal. Hang it next to your front door or attach it to your fence.

A Wooden Ladder

Your old wooden ladder may be too rickety to climb on, but it can serve as an attractive display for plants. Use narrow sheets of plywood to make bridges between the steps of your open ladder. These newly made shelves can hold plastic planters or small pots of flowers. Painting your ladder and the shelves makes this upcycled project even more colorful.

A Wheelbarrow

An old, rusting wheelbarrow can take up a lot of space in a garage or shed. Why not make it into a planter for your yard? If it already has a hole or two in the bottom, that takes care of the drainage for your flowers. Load it with soil and fill it with petunias, pansies, geraniums, or other favorite blooms. One of the best things about a wheelbarrow planter is that it's easy to move to a different location in your yard.

I hope these ideas spark your creativity and give your old tools new life. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: upcycle old tools

How to Make Your Own Window Box In 7 Easy Steps

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Jun 5, 2017

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Do you have a window in your home that's a perfect candidate for a window box? I like window boxes because they bring flowers up close so anyone standing at the window can enjoy them. This week, I thought I'd share some DIY plans for a window box that can be constructed in seven steps. You'll need a workbench or other solid, flat surface, a tape measure, a circular saw, safety goggles, a drill and drill bits, ¾-inch cedar boards, six ¾-inch concrete screws, pressure-treated 2-by-4s, a box of 1¼-inch exterior wood screws, 1 quart of exterior paint, 1 quart of primer, and a large paintbrush. Good luck!

Build a Window Box in Seven Steps

  1. Use the tape measure to measure the width of your window.
  2. With the circular saw, cut the cedar wood for your window box. You'll need three pieces that are 8 inches wide by the width of the window, plus two pieces that are 1¼ inches wide by the width of the window. Now, cut the pressure-treated 2-by-4s into three 8-inch-long pieces.
  3. The pressure-treated wood will be used to secure your window box to the exterior wall. Hold one 8-inch-long piece against the wall and use the drill to make two pilot holes in the area where you want to put the screws. Put two ¾-inch concrete screws into the pilot holes. Repeat this process with the other two 8-inch pieces of wood.
  4. Back at your workbench, lay down the cut panel serving as the bottom of the window box. Next, attach one end of the window box to its base using the drill and a wood screw. Attach the other end of the window box to the base before attaching the side panels.
  5. Once the bottom and all sides are securely in place, flip the window box upside-down and drill a few holes in the bottom. These holes will help with drainage.
  6. Use the paintbrush to apply primer to all areas of the window box, and let it dry completely before applying paint. If you want added appeal, use a stencil to paint attractive lettering or another design on your window box.
  7. Once it's dry, attach your window box to the exterior wall by drilling four screws through the box and into each of the three 8-inch long pieces of wood you attached to the exterior wall in step 3.

Flowers for Your New Window Box

Before getting some flowers for your window box, it's important to determine how much sunlight the area receives. If your window box gets six or more hours of sun, then you'll need flowers that like full sunlight. But if your window box gets just a few hours of sunlight per day, then it's best to buy flowers that thrive in partial sun. Some flowers that love full sunlight include black-eyed Susans, zinnias, petunias, daisies, and geraniums. Flowers that love partial shade include impatiens, violas, begonias, and lobelia. Try some new flowers in your window box each year to give the area renewed interest.

Happy growing, and thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: make window box

A Practical Edible Wild Plant Guide

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Thu, Jun 1, 2017

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Do you enjoy walking in the woods? If so, you may have been tempted to pluck an appealing flower or plant out of the ground to taste it. Before you do, make sure it's not going to make you sick or worse. My blog this week focuses on edible plants, non-edible plants and how you can tell the difference.

Edible Plants to Look for in the Woods

Unfortunately, there are no hard-and-fast rules to go by when deciding whether a plant is poisonous or not. Some people think that all red plants are poisonous. But, there are some red plants that are edible. I think the best thing to do before eating any wild plants is to study up on the ones that are safe to consume. Here are a few examples:

  • Cattails. If you like to walk near pond or lakes you may have seen a gathering of cattails growing around the border. You can eat every part of it including its furry brown top. Many people claim that it tastes like corn.
  • Chicory. Chicory looks like a blue dandelion. It is commonly seen in fields or growing on roadsides. Any part of this wild plant is a sweet snack eaten raw.
  • Clover. You may see this familiar plant growing in a grassy area in the woods, by a roadside or in your yard. Normally, it has three leaves or four if you're lucky. Any part of this plant can be eaten raw, but boiling the leaves can improve its taste.
  • Dandelions. The roots, leaves and flowers on these bright yellow plants are edible. If you spot some dandelions on a walk, pick a handful of them to boil the roots and leaves at home. If you're picking dandelions from a lawn make sure the grass hasn't been treated with any chemicals.
  • Sheep Sorrel. This plant is usually about 18 inches tall and has small red flowers. It grows in fields, in the woods and on roadsides. Its raw leaves have a taste similar to lemons. This plant shouldn't be consumed in large amounts.
  • Other common edible plants include: amaranth, coltsfoot, milk thistle, sassafras, white mustard and wood sorrel.

Non-Edible Plants

Unlike edible plants, there are some common characteristics found in non-edible plants. Avoid plants that have an almond scent, thorns, fine hairs, a bitter taste or milky sap. Lily of the valley, yew shrubs, foxglove, lantana and oleander are all examples of poisonous plants.

Steps to Take If You Ingest a Dangerous Plant

Severe cramps, a burning sensation, lack of responsiveness, vomiting and seizures are all signs that someone has ingested a poisonous plant. Try to clear all remaining pieces of the plant out of your mouth. The best thing to do is call 911, or if you don't have a phone, get to the hospital right away. I would take a sample of the plant with you to show the doctor what you ate. This may allow the doctor to issue treatment even faster.

So, on your next walk this spring and summer look around for some edible plants along the way. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: carports by driveway and woods

Spruce Up Your Yard With A Sun Map

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, May 19, 2017

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Do you enjoy planting flowers in your yard? A sun map can help you create a landscape plan that gives all of your flowers the proper amount of sunlight each day. My post this week is all about sun maps and how they can help you grow a collection of thriving flowers this spring and summer.

What Is a Sun Map?

A sun map is a simple diagram of a yard divided into sections. A label on each section notes how many of hours of sunlight the area receives. For instance, your sun map may show that a section of your yard receives four hours of sunlight, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. A sun map includes structures such as houses, garden sheds, and trees that create shadows at various times throughout the day. Sun maps come in a variety of forms. One sun map may be full of colors, symbols, and detailed text, while another is a simplified sketch done in pencil. I personally like to keep it simple, but you can determine the look of your sun map.

Why Make a Sun Map?

One of the best reasons to make a sun map is you can use it as a guide to get the best growing results from your flowers. Keep in mind that because the sun's strength varies throughout the country, a sun map of someone living in Michigan will look different from a Floridian's sun map. If one area of your yard receives six hours of sunlight, you know it's a prime location for flowers that require full sun. Making a sun map can help you to avoid planting flowers in places where they will receive too much sunlight or not enough. After all, you don't want to plant fuchsia in an area that receives full sunlight: It would turn brown and wither. Fuchsia prefers to be in a location where it enjoys partial shade.

Ideas for Your Yard Design

If you have a lot of areas in your yard that get shade for four to six hours per day, then it's a good idea to invest in some flowers that require partial sun. Some examples of partial shade flowers include Jacob's ladder, lily of the valley, violas, begonias, and lobelia. Alternatively, if you have a place in your yard that receives six hours of sunlight or more, then you need some flowers that love the full sun. Some of these include lavender, Russian sage, sedum, asters, bee balm, and purple coneflower. Luckily, flowers sold in most garden stores come with a plastic label showing how much sunlight and water they need to survive.

Tips for Making Your Own Sun Map

The easiest way to make your own sun map is to take a day to observe the path of the sun through your yard. You don't have to sit at the window all day, but make it a point to look outside every hour or so. Use a piece of white paper and colored pencils to draw or make symbols for your house, your shed, and the trees around your yard. I would choose one color for the shady areas in your yard and another color for the areas that get a lot of sunlight. If you have a mature oak tree that casts a shadow over a particular area of ground for six hours a day, then make a note of that. If there is an area of your yard that is in the shade for four hours and receives sun for four hours, make a note of when each condition takes place. It's possible to calculate the lengths of shadows created by trees and other items in your yard, which may be useful. If you're high-tech, you may want to download an app such as Sun Seeker that can calculate the sun's path for you.

Making a sun map takes a little bit of time, but it can pay off throughout the growing season. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: sun map

5 Simple Ways to Clean Any Shed Siding

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, May 5, 2017

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Regardless of whether the siding on your shed is steel, wood, or vinyl, it's important to keep it clean. By cleaning your siding on a regular basis, you can prevent the growth of mildew and clean away stains before they become a permanent part of your shed. With a few simple tools, you can keep your siding in great shape!

Use a Mixture of Dish Soap and Water

First, use your garden hose to rinse the siding. This loosens the dirt ahead of the scrubbing process. Next, get a bucket and fill it with water. Keep in mind that you need just a few tablespoons of mild dish soap for every five gallons of water. Use a long-handled scrub brush to apply the soapy mixture to your shed's siding. It's best to use a brush with soft bristles so you don't leave any scratches behind. After you work your way around the entire shed, use the hose to give the siding a final rinse. This cleaning method is appropriate for wood, steel, and vinyl siding. I suggest you wash your shed in the morning on a sunny, warm day so it has plenty of time to dry before night falls.

Use a Power Washer

A power washer is more effective at loosening and removing dirt from a shed's exterior than the average garden hose. You can rent or even buy a power washer depending on how often you plan to use it. Many power washers come with attachments such as a cleaning wand and various types of soft-bristle rotating brushes to help you thoroughly clean your siding. There are cleaning solutions available to mix with water so the power washer is getting rid of stains as it's knocking dirt off of the siding. A power washer can be used on wood, steel, and vinyl siding. Make sure to use a low pressure setting when power-washing your wood or vinyl siding: This prevents the spray from damaging the surface of the siding.

Remove Mildew With a Special Cleaner

If you have spots of mildew on your shed's siding, you can use mild dish soap and water to remove it. You'll have to use some elbow grease to scrub the area. I suggest using an old toothbrush to scrub those small, stubborn areas of mildew. After rinsing with water, give the area a few hours to dry before examining your work. There are sprays available in home improvement stores specially made to remove mildew from vinyl, wood, or steel. If you use a commercial mildew remover, wear rubber gloves and protective eyewear so you don't get any of the solution on your skin or in your eyes.

Try a Water and Vinegar Cleaning Solution

A mixture of water and vinegar is an effective cleaning solution for vinyl siding. Your mixture should consist of 70 percent water and 30 percent white vinegar. Mix it in a bucket and use a traditional mop or a sponge mop to clean the siding from the top down. Leave the mixture on the siding for about 30 minutes, then rinse it off.

Use a Laundry Detergent and Water Mixture

This mixture consists of 1/3 cup of laundry detergent for every six gallons of water. Put this solution in your power washer and use it to clean your steel siding. This will help remove mildew, dirt, and other unwanted buildup on your steel shed. Be sure to rinse the siding with plain water.

Taking care of the siding on your shed keeps it looking good and free of mold and mildew. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: clean shed siding

Even Things Out With Your Bumpy Lawn

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Fri, Apr 28, 2017

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This time of year, it's wise to examine the condition of your lawn. I like to take a walk around my yard to check out any changes that've taken place over the winter. If you find that your lawn is uneven or bumpy, it may be due to damage caused by moles digging beneath the surface. Or your lawn could be uneven due to drought or frost pushing the turf out of place. Leveling out your lawn can be done with a little bit of know-how and some supplies from your local lawn and garden center. Consider these ideas that can help your lawn look its best.

Regrade Your Lawn

If your lawn is bumpy and you notice a lot of standing water in one area, you may have poor drainage. Instead of being completely flat, your lawn should gently slope away from your home so rainwater and melted snow can flow away from your foundation. Grading your yard to improve the drainage process can get rid of some of the bumpiness of your lawn. More importantly, it can prevent your basement from flooding and other costly damage caused by water.

Fill in Low Spots

Have you noticed some low spots throughout your yard? Filling them in can even out the surface of your yard. Create a filler mixture consisting of quality topsoil, orange sand, and compost. Orange sand has nutrients that can benefit your lawn. Using a square-point shovel, fill in the low spots with your mixture, and use a rake to make sure the surface is even with the rest of your yard. Tamp down the filler with your rake so it doesn't simply flow out of the hole the next time it rains. Sprinkling some water on top of the filler is another way to ensure that it solidifies and stays put in the hole.

Plant Grass

A collection of bare spots can ruin the look of a green, healthy lawn. Put some grass seed on those bare spots followed by a bit of topsoil to keep it in place. Use your hands to pat down the seeds, and give these areas an adequate amount of water for two days or so after planting. Moisture will help the seeds to germinate. Once new grass starts to spring up in place of those bare spots, your lawn will look a lot more level.

Check Out Your Sprinkler System

A malfunctioning sprinkler system can cause flooding in some areas of your lawn and a lack of water in others. Too much moisture in some areas of a lawn can cause the soil to become uneven. I suggest you ask a friend to turn on the sprinkler system while you walk across your lawn looking for any leaks or areas of ground that are becoming saturated. Fixing any issues with your sprinkler system should be done before you address the problem areas of your lawn.

Once you level the surface of your lawn, you may want to put up a swing set for kids or grandkids to enjoy. Or you might start a flower or vegetable garden in one corner of the yard. A level lawn is the perfect setting for a few young trees, a fountain, or even a gazebo! Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: Even out a Bumpy Lawn

Build Your Own Backyard Retreat

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

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Spring has finally arrived! Every day, I see trees growing fuller and flowers starting to bloom. As we settle into a warm, pleasant season, it's time to transform your backyard into the perfect retreat. The best thing about this type of project is that you can do it with a budget of any size. Enjoy!

Decorate Your Gazebo

If you're lucky enough to own a gazebo, dress it up a little to make it the highlight of your backyard. One idea is to get some hanging baskets brimming with colorful flowers. Just imagine a collection of hanging baskets containing pink, purple, and white petunias. Or get a gathering of bright red geraniums and put them in white baskets for a dramatic effect. Or you can forgo the flowers and hang some strings of battery-powered white LED lights around the railings and posts of your gazebo. Battery-powered LED Chinese lanterns in blue, red, or green can instantly give your covered backyard retreat a beautiful glow.

Set Up a Collection of Hummingbird Feeders

If you love watching the activities of hummingbirds, set up some hummingbird feeders in one area of your backyard. You can purchase inexpensive hummingbird feeders and make your own bright red, sugary solution, or you can go ahead and make your own feeders, too. Be sure to place a comfortable bench or lounger nearby so you can observe their activities up close.

Plant a Butterfly Garden

A butterfly garden is simply a gathering of flowers that attract butterflies. Just imagine how peaceful you'll feel as you watch all kinds of butterflies sampling the flowers in your garden. Some butterfly-friendly flowers include lavender, goldenrod, phlox, purple coneflowers, Shasta daisies, thistle, zinnias, and, of course, butterfly bushes! I suggest adding a silver or gold gazing globe or two to the scene to make your butterfly garden even more attractive.

Create a Pathway of Stepping Stones

Construct a simple path leading to your backyard retreat by laying down a row of stepping stones. Stepping stones are available in many textures and shapes that can add style to your backyard retreat. Put a pathway through your butterfly garden, or make one that leads up to a comfortable hammock, portable patio swing, or pair of lounge chairs. Be sure to leave equal distance between each of the stepping stones as you put them down on the grass.

Set Up Solar LED Path Lights

Whether you make your pathway with stepping stones, gravel, bricks, or mulch, you must be able to find the way to your retreat when the sun goes down. Set up solar LED path lights on both sides of your pathway. These lights soak up energy from the sun during the day and pop on when darkness falls. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles, so you're sure to find some that enhance the look of your backyard. I like the fact that you can leave these pathway lights up all year round.

The smallest additions and changes to your backyard can make it a more inviting place to be during the warm weather months. Use your imagination and make your backyard one of your favorite places to be this spring and summer. Thanks for reading. - Alan

Topics: backyard retreat

Celebrate National Picnic Day At Home In Style

Posted by Alan Bernau Jr on Mon, Apr 10, 2017

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Did you know that April 22 is National Picnic Day? Luckily, you don't have to wait until National Picnic Day to enjoy an alfresco lunch! And you've got the perfect picnic area right outside your back door. This week, I have some ideas for making your backyard picnics simple and enjoyable. Try out these ideas and enjoy!

A Waterproof Picnic Blanket

Part of the fun of having a spring picnic is sitting on the ground for a bird's-eye view of the flowers, trees, and plants all around you. If you don't have a picnic blanket, you can use a bed sheet, quilt, or throw blanket. Get a shower curtain liner to put under your blanket to protect it from moisture on the ground.

A Muffin Pan for Side Dishes

Chances are good that you have a muffin pan or two in your pantry at home. Use it to hold side dishes and extras such as deviled eggs, pickles, banana peppers, or tomato and onion slices. These and other slippery food items are less likely to end up in the grass when they're kept in the cups of a muffin pan. If you have it, I'd use a muffin pan with a lid so you can protect your food from flies.

A Napkin-Holder

Even the lightest of breezes can scatter the stack of paper napkins you bring out for your picnic. So why not make a simple napkin-holder that will keep them from floating away? A tin cookie box with a lid also makes for a great place to store your napkins while you're enjoying the outdoors. Or you could always place a paperweight on top of your stack of napkins to keep it together.

A Soap Dispenser for Sunscreen

It's a good idea to have sunscreen available for both the kids and adults at your picnic. Instead of taking a bottle or tube of sunscreen outside, pour some of it into an old soap dispenser bottle. Whenever someone needs sunscreen, the person can pump the handle, allowing a few dollops to fall right into their palm.

A Portable CD Player for Tunes

If you want to add some ambiance to your backyard picnic, get a portable CD player and set it nearby. Be sure to get a stack of CDs with music for every taste. Or if you have a laptop, get it charged up and stream music from your favorite radio station.

A Dish Rack for Used Dishes and Silverware

As an alternative to paper plates and plastic utensils, use plates and utensils from your own kitchen. This is environmentally friendly, and you won't have to deal with your paper plate folding up under the weight of your burger, hot dog, coleslaw, chips, baked beans, and other picnic goodies. Take a dish rack outside so you'll have somewhere to put the dirty dishes and silverware when your family and friends finish eating.

And here's one last handy tip: Mix water and a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a spray bottle to use around your picnic area. The fragrance of peppermint will make the ants think twice about joining your party. Thanks for reading! - Alan

Topics: backyard picnics

 

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