Two years ago, I bought two home-made rain barrels from a local guy for 1/2 the price of new stylish ones. He makes them out of clean industrial drums that no longer serve their original purpose. They're not much to look at, but then again, they are not located in plain view. I won't be able to connect my second rain barrel at this time, because part of our eavestrough was weakened this past winter and collapsed during a spring wind storm. They are ancient and well overdue, so this is definitely a summer must.
I love eating outside as much as I hate flies. So, after trying several fly-catcher methods, I can say without a doubt that this one is the most efficient. It's eco-friendly, low maintenance and, after the initial purchase, does not require any additional expense. If you look at it carefully, and you are somewhat handy, you could even make one from recycled material found around the house. The only thing you need to put inside the jar is poop and some water to keep it moist as long as possible. So, if you have a dog or cat, that's great. If not, you could put meat or fish. I check on it every two weeks - and have Brian add more poop because I could not touch it with a 10-foot pole. By autumn, that jar is black with dead flies. He then has the nasty job of emptying it into a hole in the ground where it will become compost. It hangs at the end of our driveway near the composter bin. Add a few scented candles on the table and you can enjoy a really nice meal outside - we do it all summer long.
My beautiful baby girl
My husband's passion for older books, brings us often to second hand stores like Salvation Army stores. I usually head for the furniture area. I've come across a few treasures in the past. Our most recent find is a long and narrow table you put at the back of a sofa. It has a bit of a Swiss Alpine style, which we thought would be perfect for the library. I believe it's made of oak or some other kind of hard wood and has a nice patina. I don't know how old it is, but we love it; I think it has a nice energy to it. One of my favorite interior design books is Alpine Interiors and I find that the gingerbread details on our house and on our shed are very much reminiscent of a Swiss or Germanic chalet. It also reminds me of the style of furniture you see in Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The furniture in the home of the seven dwarfs, of course... not the evil queen.