repurposed in the garden

Sandwiched between somewhat sunny days and snow days; my garden fantasies have run rampant.


Mr. Cottage and I shopped for garden supplies and treated ourselves to soft serve ice-cream over the weekend.

Tuesday it snowed.  Again.

Maybe we pulled the trigger on these too soon.  They have been covered with protective plastic since we purchased them.  The harsh winter has killed many of our plants, so we are starting over.

Especially hard to take was the loss of my beloved rosemary it was every bit of 6 feet by 4 feet.  We lost the smaller bushes as well.  The thyme looks to be a loss, but I won’t call it yet.

Creeping phlox on the back of the Koi Pond and down the front bank, mostly gone.

I’ve wanted to go to a large-scale container gardening system for a while.  I would love to use galvanized animal stock containers.  They are however, quite a bit expensive, so they are out of the budget at this time.  I have a lot of old galvanized buckets, wash tubs and sap buckets.  A few chicken feeders too; that I’ve used over the years in my gardens.  This year I hope to step it up a notch.

One of our chicken feeders from last year.


Some inspiration from pins on my In the Garden board at Pinterest.

I purchased a few replacement herbs over the weekend.  Rosemary rests in a sap bucket I purchased many years ago on a trip up to New England.  The sign I made using my plasma torch and re-cycled duct work.  Parsley in an old rusty funnel.

I have these hanging on the side of the house outside the kitchen door, where I can easily bring them in at night; until it stays warm enough to keep out.



Asian Cabbage in an old tub.


Snapdragons wrapped in snow.


I’ll have to put a hold on working outside for a bit, until the latest snow melts.

Do you use old containers in a repurposed way in your garden?

See you later, Bye!


P.S. There has been a bit of debate as to whether galvanized material is safe to plant your food in.  From what I have read – the concern is if it leaches zinc.  My understanding is that Zinc is a mineral that we all need and the quantity mostly like absorbed by the planted material would not be harmful.  Zinc is not a poison.  Cold tables (which I do not personally use) are made of zinc – just sayin.  So if you are concerned about using this material don’t.

wild pheasant and brussel sprouts

Sunrise at Coral Cottage this morning.


Driving down the road the other morning, I spotted a pheasant.  Screech.  I slammed on my brakes put it in reverse, pulled out the old point and shoot, snap and happy was I. What is the big deal?  Around here, we don’t see pheasants walking around willy nilly;  so it was a big deal to me.   Not to mention, that I lose my mind over birds, at the drop of a hat.  He has the most amazing colors that sparkle and shine in the sunlight, don’t you think?



Early Saturday morning I was out watering the cat, when I heard this loud raspy honking noise.  I went to investigate in the direction from which it came.  The cat shot off towards the door in a hurry – scared to death.  There at the foot of the driveway was the pheasant.  I quickly ran in, got the camera and back out in a flash. The pheasant was gone when I returned.  I walked around looking for him.  I couldn’t see him, but I could hear him down in the woods calling and foraging.

Do you have a vegetable or other food, that you thought you didn’t care for – only to find out otherwise?

Brussel Sprouts – ICK!

 I spent my life not liking brussel sprouts.  I probably had them once, they were over-cooked mushy and they stunk.  Then one night recently at a friend’s house, she cooked brussels sprouts.  She is a great cook, but even so my first thought was how was I going to get them down, as though I liked them.  I was honest, told her I didn’t care for them, but would give it a try.  I did.  They were good.  Soon after, my sister made a brussel sprout dish that I liked as well.  Go figure I spent all those years hating them, and it turns out, they aren’t so bad.  Last night I made some for the first time.


I decided to make up my recipe, loosely based on Ina Garten’s roasted brussel sprouts.

On a roasting pan in an oven set at 400 degrees I tossed:

Sliced sprouts, and then every thing is better with bacon.  Olive oil, onions, s&p, garlic, and hot hungarian paprika.  Roast for 30 mins, then a drizzle of balsamic vinegar,  tossed in a few raisins and roasted for another 5-10  mins.

I over cooked them, because I was so busy getting caught up in pheasant hunting.   The pheasant showed up again, and I got completely distracted watching him and trying to take photos.  He didn’t seem to be too bothered by me, but he wouldn’t let me get close enough for a good shot.  The natural camouflage is amazing.

pheasant inwoods.jpg

Warm weather on Friday allowed me to set up a work station outside and do some soldering with my copper jewelry.  The pieces still aren’t finished, I have some equipment on the fritz so until another time; they remain incomplete.

copper solder

That’s life at Coral Cottage.

See you later, Bye!


ding ding ding

In just a few hours the calendar will flip to spring!

The weather has not.

banna plant with bird

I took the above photo way back last spring, right after we acquired our banana tree.

Dear Spring, I’ve been anxiously awaiting your arrival.  A thousand foot and paw prints have tracked snow and muck across my floors.  The birds have consumed hundreds of pounds of seeds.  Countless shovels of snow have been shoveled.   Many gallons of fuel have burned to keep us warm and cozy.  Soup has been sipped,  hot tea has been drunk. Layers of blankets, and long johns, mittens and scarfs  and wooly hats, have been worn.  I have dreamed about you, and talked about you.  I’ve planned my gardens, and decorated my dreams with seed packets and containers brimming with blooms.  In my mind, garden soil has been tilled. My flip-flops are at the ready.  Lastly, the banana tree I over-wintered in my stair-way is growing too large for us to pass up or down the stairs comfortably.  So,  dear spring, I invite you – please make yourself at home for a few months so we can move the tree back outside.

tree in stairwell..jpg

Thank you for your consideration.




Here we go again.


Obviously, the company that supplies the oil which we burn in our furnace is involved in the conspiracy to keep spring away.




Last week was all hustle and bustle.  We had company coming, and I had cleaning and cooking to do.  You know the kind of cleaning that you put off doing until you are expecting visitors, and then you panic.

 Yeah, that kind of cleaning.

I didn’t find even a minute for sewing,  jewelry making or any kind of creative endeavors.

Today, we are turning it down a notch,  Mr. Cottage and I are enjoying a snow day together.

Mr. Cottage is the breakfast chef in our house.  This morning he made us Irish waffles.


Bisquick brand gluten-free waffles, which the chef adds a splash of vanilla and a dash of cinnamon, and this morning a drop of green food coloring for fun.


The snow feels welcome after a weekend filled with high winds, and low humidity.  Amazingly with all the snow, and ice we have had, our area was issued a fire warning.  We heard sirens all weekend, fire trucks blaring past, and the forestry bulldozers rumbled down the road.  It has been about 17 years since Mr. Cottage worked for the Virginia Department of Forestry, yet when one of the employees drive by they still throw up a hand or toot a hello honk.   We are saddened there have been so many fires around us, and thankful for those on the job.


I hope you have the luck of  the Irish on your side on this St. Patrick’s Day!

I’ve had a dream for as long as I can remember, of  someday going to Ireland.

Four days until the calendar says spring!

See you later, Bye!




First obstacle is making it through the never-ending winter.




Trying to find beauty in everyday objects.








The fur babies are feeling very challenged by all the winter weather and they are keeping an eye on the calendar for spring to arrive.  I’m pretty sure it is just around the corner.  The snow is quickly melting with the warm temps we had yesterday and are expected to have today.

 It was suggested by my health care team, that I try a gluten-free diet.

 I wearily dived into this challenge by purchasing these items.


All the cool weather and snow, ice and freezing rain has me craving comfort food.

The first thing I made, was baked macaroni and cheese.  I love this simple easy recipe, from Trisha Yearwood.


Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Trisha Yearwood

Baked Macaroni and Cheese from Trisha Yearwood

 I used the Heartland fusilli, and yes the pasta did taste like corn bread; as mentioned in the article below.  I happen to like corn bread, so I didn’t find it to be awful – just different.

I found this review of  gluten-free pasta from Cooks Illustrated  – after I purchased my pasta.

If you have positive experience with gluten-free products that you care to share with me, please do.

In the craft department,  I’ve been challenging myself to learn new techniques.   I’m having a blast making a mess, and stumbling along in my world of creativity.


What is challenging you these days?

See you later, Bye!


Workbench Wednesday


On the workbench this week.

Playing with copper and silver for new jewelry designs.


Copper with patina, silver star.


Embossing on copper


 Patina, embossing surface design


Jellyfish and starfish.

And a few hearts.


Copper + silver + flame – what more could a girl ask for?

The copper and silver will be incorporated with other elements and will become…

I’ll share the progress later.

See you later, Bye!


battle of the squirrel part deux

Actually, it really isn’t a battle, as I have several old colanders out in the yard  that I fill with food for the squirrels.  I just wish they would stay off the bird feeders.

I was out walking in the snow when I spotted this cutie in my colander.

He had his face buried in the seed.  It took him a few minutes to realize I was watching him.

Imagine the squirrel voice…


Oh crap she saw me!  Maybe I should run.



If I’m very still, maybe she will go away.


If I squint my eyes, nope she is still there.


Oh well, I think I’ll just go ahead and eat a little.



Are you looking at me?



What do you mean I’ve got a piece of food on the end of my nose?


Look at me I can do push-ups.


OOhh, looks like I need to have my nails done.



Lately I’ve neglected my blog and yours too.

Life has been coming at me fast and furiously, leaving me feeling a little squirrely.

More winter weather is heading our way tomorrow.

Here at Coral Cottage we are anxiously awaiting the spring thaw.

 How about y’all?

See you later,