Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Daddy Bed

The Daddy bed. Almost all finished.
Every child deserves a daddy bed. When children are young they get held by their parents most of the time. As they get older they get hugs as they scrape their knees, have conflicts, and any time they just need them. A little older and things change. 

For a teenager, what used to be the perfect time for a hug just a year or two earlier becomes an unforgivable trespass with little or no warning to the parent.

A few holes in the wrong spots.
A few fixes.

The solution is to hide the hugs as something else. In my case I have hugs hidden into the custom bed I designed and made for my daughter.

The bed is out of building stock Douglass fir. The posts are 4x4s. The rails for the head and foot boards, as well as the mattress rails are 2x6s. Inside the mattress rails are supports for a mattress board, they are made out of 2x3s. The mattress board is a 3/4 inch particle board cut to size.

Those Headlok screws are
not lined up!

According to a friend of mine, I over-engineered my hardware. Each side of each mattress rail has two 3/8x6" lag screws holding it to the 4x4. The same hardware could have been used for the other rails. I chose to use six inch Headlok screws with finished heads instead, so I could cut down on my finishing hassle. 

The Headlok system claims to be stronger that 3/8" lag screws, so I could have used them for everything, but I feel safer with more metal. The Headloks usually don't need to be pre-drilled, but when you are going through 3 1/2" of Doug fir they tend to wander, so pre-drilling is recommended. 

I wanted a simple finish so I opted for fruit colored Danish oil. It was easy to apply and looks good. It is a little thinner than I expected, so I might have to refinish in a few years. 

The headboard.
The footboard.

I planned on leaving the bed a little rough from the outset so I did not mercilessly sand to perfection. Ink lumber markings are still visible, as are a few measuring lines. I even have a bunch of extra holes from planning the lags and Headloks into the same space. They are not ugly and help tell the story of the difficulties I had in making the bed.

And I did have difficulties. None of the lumber is perfect. Every piece is cracked or warped. And I found out I cannot drill straight. It just isn't an option.

I am happy with the bed though. It is not perfect, but it looks good and is strong. 

Most importantly it was made with love and was received with love.

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Walk in the Park

Brigham tea, otherwise known as Ephedra viridis
Brigham tea is known for its drought resistance as well 
as for its medicinal value. I like it for a nice evergreen 
splash in even the driest areas.

When time allows, I love to go to parks and gardens. The more diverse the plant material is the happier I am. This fall I went to a garden that specializes in drought resistant or 'waterwise' gardening.

When looking at plants that I am not as familiar with
I take a photo of the name tag so I don't forget the
name when I get home.

In an area that averages only fifteen inches of precipitation a year, I am always impressed by the color and vitality that can come to a garden with little or no additional water. Of course it takes a little planning and a lot of study to get it right.

On the upper left, out of the camera, is a plum tree that
requires more water than this poor, soaked rabbit brush.
When planting areas with different water needs it is
important to provide a buffer zone to protect each type
of plant.

I had read about Hummingbird flower in the past, but I
had never seen them blooming in person. 

I also think parks and gardens say something about the community they grow in. In the case of this garden, it is more of a library that the entire region can access.

I made sure I photographed the label. I don't want to
forget this one!

For a wonderful time with plants the Central Utah Gardens are at:

355 W. University Parkway
Orem UT

The garden is open through the growing season and is at its best, like most gardens, in the spring. Please take a little more time in the native plant area, it is phenomenal what beauty is growing just outside our well watered lawns!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Late Season Bee Treat

Lacy buckwheat at a local water-wise garden

I am not a bee keeper, but I do like to keep garden helpers that come to my yard happy. Part of that task is to provide food for the bees all season.

While most gardeners keep plenty of good foraging flowers from spring to late summer, we have a tendency to start wrapping things up as the days get shorter.

Here is a list of some flowers for the late summer and fall:

Chives Allium schoenoprasum May-September
Garlic chives Allium tuberosa August-September
Aster Aster spp. September-frost
Borage Borage officinalis June-frost
Bluebeard-blue mist spirea Caryopteris clandonensis August-September
Star thistle Centaurea ssp. July-September
Sweet autumn clematis Clematis terifolia Late September
Melons Cucumis melo June-frost
Pumpkin-squash Cucurbita spp. June-frost
Lacy buckwheat Eriogonum corymbosum Late Do not over water
James buckwheat Eriogonum jamesii June-November Do not over water
Pink smoke buckwheat Eriogonum racemosum August-September Do not over water
Joe Pye weed Eupatorium esculentum August-September
Sunflower Helianthus annuus June-September
Alyssum Lobularia maritima June-September
Mallow Malva alcea June-September
Mountain beebalm Monardella odoratissima July-September
Phaccella Phacella tanacetifolia June-September
Goldenrod Solidago ssp. September-October
Lacebark Elm Ulmus parvifolia August-September

I encourage you to add flowers that are native to your area!