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Archive for July, 2011

How to pick out a dishwasher

July 25th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I learned a lot today about dishwashers.

The first thing I learned is that 24″ wide is a standard width.

The second thing I learned is that a smaller dishwasher doesn’t automatically mean smaller energy or water usage. Most of the 18″ dishwashers that I found actually used more water than the 24″ dishwashers.

The third thing I learned was that dishwashers displaying the blue Energy Star seal will usually use at least 41% less energy than the Federal minimum requirement for energy consumption.

The last thing I learned was that dishwashers are expensive! How am I ever going to choose?

I found a link on the EPA website that breaks down each model my its’ energy use and water use, the problem is that it doesn’t list years models and some of the 2010 or 2009 models can no longer be purchased. The second problem is once I found a unit I liked, was water and energy efficient – it was outside of my shoestring budget. After analyzing all of this information the lowest consumption of all models was 150 kwh/year and 2.1 gallons of water per cycle. The worst was over 5.8 gallons per load and 324 kwh/year so the range was huge, this range is only those that qualify for Energy Star. Units built before 1994 use a minimum of 10 gallons per cycle. That’s crazy talk.

I decided that I would look for the best I could for under $450 and go with that one. After extensive research and mental toil I walked into Parr Cabinet Outlet and saw a stainless steel, Energy Star, Frigidaire dishwasher from a model home for only $95.00. That’s a great deal. Here are the facts on this unit:


Here is all the awesome thing it does:

Fits-More™ Capacity (This is awesome because you can get more dishes into the dishwasher in one load)

Our large capacity, tall-tub dishwasher fits up to 14 place settings so you can wash even more at once.

Quiet Dishwasher (This is important so that you choose to use your dishwasher instead of handwashing)

A quiet performance every time.

Delay Start (This is fabulous because you can set your dishwasher to run during non-peak energy times)

Set your dishwasher to run on your schedule.

ENERGY STAR® Qualified

I found the water usage specification….. it’s not good…. it’s 5.6 gallons per load. This is a major rainy downpour on my great deal parade!

After a few minutes of reflection, I decided that my pocketbook will win this round.  I could really use this savings on my budget’s bottom line since everything else this far has been over budget.

Long last. I have a new dishwasher! Now I have to decide if I’m going to keep it for myself or put it downstairs…. time will tell….

Planting a Butterfly Garden

July 14th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I learned so much this week about plants! To begin with – Annual’s mean they don’t come back. Perennial means plants will come back next year around the same time. You probably already knew that – but i’ve never had a reason to learn about plants before.

I really want to divide my front yard into four individual spaces:

1. A rain garden and native plant area to take in and drink the stormwater.

2. An edible garden for vegetables and herbs.

3. A patio are for sitting, eating and a fire pit and lastly,

4. A butterfly/hummingbird garden directly outside the nook.

Earlier this week we put the ground cover down as the last step to the patio area so it’s time to move onto a new area…… I choose butterfly garden!

I wasn’t able to find a ton of great plant suggestions for a butterfly garden so I enlisted a friends Dad who works at a local nursery. He gave us a tour of all his land and his greenhouses and helped picked out annuals that will attract wildlife but won’t be invasive or fast spreading. The other nice things about annuals is that – if they don’t come back, I can start over again next year! Here we go!

First things first…. I had to rent a trailer to carry enough drainage rock to finish the rain garden before I could build up the dirt area high enough to use our compost bark-dust to plant the garden. Sounds confusing, but I have photos….

Here is the trailer filled with butterfly attracting similar colors and nectar plants!

[Quick Break for a tour of the awesome facilities! Thanks Don!]

The drainage rock went to the top of this photo. This is where the Rain Garden Plants will go, the dirt is where the butterfly garden will go.

I’m no plant designer, so I enlisted the help of Hugh’s mom Liz to come help. We kept the plants in their pots until we found something we liked:

And here it is all planted!

Here is the view of the whole area – the rain garden is there in the front of the photo under the rain chain.

Here is a close up of the beautiful masterpiece we created!

That’s 2 down and 2 to go on the front yard to do list.

Love Headboard

July 13th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

I was clicking around Pinterest and found this idea, which sent me to the blog which is so great I’m practically required to post it.

Making It:

Hanging it:

I’m totally doing it.

How to Plant Ground Cover

July 7th, 2011 | Uncategorized | 0 Comments

This is a growers pallet of Creeping Thyme, normally growers will take this pallet and make plugs from it. Meaning they will take little pieces of this, plant it in the pint sized containers from the store so when you and i buy it from a big box store- it’s a nice little (and wasteful) contain. Don, who taught us about this plant (Thanks Don!!) said that from a plug this growers pallet only took ten weeks to grow together. That’s great! There a couple reasons I went with creeping Thyme for this project, one is that it’s drought tolerant, the other is that it’s very durable and soft the last reason is it’s root system which I will go into more below.

I also learned that when you buy ground cover – you should see a solid root foundation on the bottom of the container.

Creeping Thyme is very durable stuff. I just knocked it upside down.

Cut of about a third of it.

Sliced it into thin strips.

Then cut the strips into little squares. I’m hoping that my project might move a little faster then 10 weeks if I used more Thyme then just a plug…..

Dig a hole. In my front yard I used drainage rock covered in sand because these are pervious pavers and I want the water to filter through the sand and paver to get cleaned and then it will funnel into the rain garden to feed those plants. Don, who also gave us this pallet (thanks again Don!!) said that this particular creeping Thyme will grow well anywhere – including sand. It’s deep root system as seen above is extra great because I wanted something with deep roots to keep the stones in place.

Put your plug in the hole.

Cover it back up with the soil that was there before – and that’s all it takes.

I did plugs about one every square on the vertical side. I’m hoping the horizontal lines will just get filled in – but maybe we can get more.

It took me about 1 hour 15 minutes to get this whole area done – but here we go! I’ll try to send a photo when it all starts growing together.