Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reuse

Wikipedia has an article on reuse. It gives a pretty good definition:
Reuse is to use an item more than once. This includes conventional reuse where the item is used again for the same function, and new-life reuse where it is used for a new function. In contrast, recycling is the breaking down of the used item into raw materials which are used to make new items...
It then goes on to economic effects, business reuse, and programs for reusing materials. This is all well and good on a global scale, but is not particularly useful for a personal or household level. For our purpose reuse will be discussed at that lower level. Reusing demolition leftovers, old yard stuff, and household items can save a lot of money, while keeping the garbage man a little less busy.

 Here are some smaller items I reused for my garden and landscape in 2009:


Can you find the reused items in these photos(some are hidden and not visible, but are still there):



Without going into detail, there is a lot of items in those photos that were onced used elsewhere. Items you can not see include the old wood from my swimming pool frame(that is now being used for the pond frame and other structural places), old PVC pipe, and homemade compost that was at one time paper plates, food, sawdust from board cuttings, and many other things(which is now in the soil and planters).

Here is a list of things I commonly "reuse":
  • ALL wood or anything made of wood
  • old tree and shrub branches(for firewood)
  • screws, nuts, bolts, and any hardware that is still in good shape
  • plastic containers(when I have too many, I will recycle them)
  • old garbage pales/cans/baskets and most containers
  • plastic bags(If not contaminated with food or chemicals)
  • styro-foam(For insulation or to lighten garden soil)
  • Anything else that might have a use
Basically, the only thing that end up in my garbage is unusable plastic, such as dirty plastic baggies.

For composting I use anything that was at one time part of a plant or tree. The only animal items I put into my compost are egg shells and hair(from myself or my dogs).

Here is a list of common items I use for compost:
  • ALL food scraps that are not meat or contain grease/fat
  • paper plates
  • yard trimmings(except branches, which I use for firewood)
  • dryer lint
  • newspapers(not too much, I recycle most of them)
  • cardboard and non-plastic packaging
Between my normal purchasing, reuse and recycle practices, I will have about one or two plastic shopping bags of trash, every three weeks. When I take my trash can out for pickup, there is usually only one bag in it. I know people who acquire that much trash in a day or two.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

New Pond Location

Have you ever wanted to see where your imagination can take you? This is your opportunity. It is like an artist starting a new painting. Except this is real art, art you can sit in, walk through, and "repaint" anytime you want. Your imagination is the key to your beautiful pond.

When I started looking at ponds for ideas on how I wanted mine to look, I was disappointed, for the most part, as most ponds where very unimaginative and looked like they were factory built. That is not saying that there were not any beautiful ponds or that all of them were unimaginative. I think the problem is that most people hire a contractor to do the work. Contractors are going to stick to the basic ideas they have been using all along. Most of the time, they are not going to build you anything that they have never built before. This is why I urge you to DIY or find a contractor that is an artist as well. The type of pond I found to be, IMO, boring and very unimaginative was the pond surrounded by grey stones, placed in mortar around the pond edge. I don't know how many ponds are of this sort, but it seems(or seemed) to be a very popular choice, for some reason. Come on, if you are going to build something from scratch, why make it as boring as possible? Why not have some fun with this?


LOCATION

Anywhere you want would be my first answer, but since this blog is mainly about converting a swimming pool to a pond, you will likely be limited as to where your pond can be located. It will be wherever your pool is or was. Not many options in this case.

If you are not converting a swimming pool, then as long as you keep it a few feet from the neighbor's property, in your yard, and away from anything structural that will be undermined by digging a hole near it(unless you want to do some expensive restructuring) you can put it anywhere you want.

A few things to keep away from:
  • Large trees that will drop leaves, needles, flowers, and such into the pond should be avoided, if possible.
  • Poisonous or messy plants.
  • Steep slopes that will dump rain water or dirt into your pond.
  • Locations where your pet defecates. Nothing is worse than stepping in a big pile when you are trying to relax. Plus the smell and insects will take any pleasantry away from the area. If you have to, retrain your animal to go somewhere else. I had to retrain my dog, and it was not easy. I eventually had to build small border rails to show the dog the new boundaries. She eventually got it, and I just took down the rails yesterday.


A couple of things to try and accommodate:
  • Keep the pond very visible from inside your house. Try to keep large bushes and trees to the opposite side of your pond and remove anything that will block the view.
  • Keep it close and easily accessible.