Variety Pack! It's a Variety Pack post!

Saturday, September 10, 2022

peony bush and coneflowers
Love me a Variety Pack post as it gives me a chance to not only catch up on sharing smaller projects about the house but also cover tidbits, tips, and fun snippets.

So today we have a Variety Pack post!

Let's hop to it!

First, a gardening tip on, and you're not gonna believe how painless this is, powdery mildew.

Last year my poor peonies got it bad.  Like real bad.  Scary bad.  I couldn't get out there for a variety pack of reasons to remedy the situation.  I thought I had killed both of my precious precious peony babies.

I ran through zillions of tips online like spray with this, spray with that, mix this, eh chemical that, no, do this do that and nothing worked.  Short of whipping out the major chemicals which I did not want to do.  Our yard is chemical-free.

Over the winter I was so that panicked and distraught, yes all winter, that I did yet more online poking around, stumbling upon The Most Simple trick of all:  spray your peony bushes with a bit of water every few days, once a week or so.


I know, right?!  I thought c'mon, how could something that simple be true.  Guess what?  It is.  Completely totally utterly true.

powdery mildew free hot pink peony bush
Freshly sprayed!
Just a light spray with water every so often is enough to fend off that damn powdery mildew.  What a monster tip.  I want to hug whoever it was who shared it.  

powdery mildew free pink peony bush
My peony bushes are so happy this year, big and bright green with zero powdery mildew.  None.  Zilch.

peony bush and coneflowers
The only sort of chemicals, if you will, that I use in our yard is for the grass:  milorgranite,* powdered lime, and corn gluten meal.*  (Btw, that link, it says not for lawns but whatever, its only ingredient is corn gluten meal.)  For us, our grass and zone (5) and our terrible urban soil, those help keep some weeds in check reasonably well.  Including those insidious, pervasive violet weeds.

By the way, speaking of weeds, I have had zero luck with those DIY weed killer recipes you read online, the vinegar, dish soap, salt ones or whatever.

The only reason I mention this, well, two reasons is:  1.) get yourself a stand-up weeder,* it's a back/knee/body lifesaver, and entertainment; and 2.) salt kills everything, leaving your soil barren for a good long time.  It's bad.  

The salt runs off into, well, everywhere, too -- water, sewers.  It's bad.  Please don't do it.  It is not a shortcut, a tip, trick, hack, or good thing.  Pulling a weed's root is what works.

Too, Epsom salt* can be a plant killer or a fertilizer, depending.  Don't feed the weeds.  Don't destroy the soil.

Not everything on the internet is good or true.  Except here in this corner!

Ok, what's next on our Variety Pack list?

Oh, since we're outside...

Long has the narrow strip to one garage gangway driven me mad.  A weedy icky muddy mess.  Finn likes to snoop around back there and it's also now where we have a near sh*t ton of firewood stored.

gangway area before
Never-ending weed battle.

One day I had it, had it, texted Mike asking if he'd like...ah screw it, I'm doing it anyway.

Ran over to Menards, grabbed four one-foot square pavers and a big ol' bag of wood chips.  

Dashed home, sweated my a** off churning up whatever grass was pretending to grow there...

digging up grass and weeds in gangway area
I should just buy a powered tiller, this by-hand* business is bullsh*t.  You can tell I was thinking of returning it.  Heh.  
...stomped everything back down, threw down the pavers...

tossing down four pavers for a walkway
...dumped the wood chips around, then used one of the bigger logs from our poor murdered tree as an edger and voila!

gangway after with pavers and wood chips
Not weedy.  Not muddy.  Not messy.  So much better.  Win.  clap clap

Several weeks went by and Mike finally noticed, "I like what you did over there."

All right, next on the Variety Pack list, let's make another drawer organizer for the drawers in the garage.  Pretty much exactly as I created for the silverware drawer in the kitchen since it works so well there.

Because that top drawer in the garage was making batty.  Bat. tee.  Bits of hardware, mosquito coils,* garden gloves, poopie bags, junk this junk that.  As the mess was flailing around every which way, it was difficult to find anything.

drawer before
Gah!!!  Mike's glove is rockin' it out though.
Scrap wood to the rescue again!  I'm on a quiet quest to work through the too-much wood I have in the basement, see.

First I measured stuff I planned to keep in the drawer, of course after emptying the whole thing out and tossing crap.  One key to successful organizing is to completely clear out the spot and start from scratch.  It works.  

arranging items in drawer to build organizer off of
Next I measured general sized sections to hold the items in place.

Two long pieces to divide the drawer in thirds.  Measure spacing for smaller sections next, then cut bits to make the perpendicular dividers.

Some dabs of glue, some spare screws I had around and with the flip drive bit,* attached everything together.  

assembling the drawer organizer
Yes, there were quite a few trips in and out, back and forth for trimming purposes.  

Now things are organized in compartments, easy to find and grab.  Hallelujah.  Organized drawer, organized brain.  For free.

organized drawer after
Oh my word, whew!
Next on that drawer organization list is my baking tool drawer.  Mike gave me a hearty razz about that train wreck the other day.  Mmm.

Mmmmk!  We've reached that point of a Variety Pack post where we find a recipe.  As always, I'll drop the friendly nudge to find my baking recipes over at The Bake Dept.  Worth it.

Ah, here we go, an easy, low-ish effort dinner:  Sophisto Joes.  Sloppy Joes dressed up a bit but uh, do not dress up to eat these as they're just as messy as the original.

Thanks for dropping by today's Variety Pack post!  See you next time!

*The hand tiller, Preen Natural Weed Preventer, and milorgranite are Home Depot affiliate links.  The stand up weed pullers, Epsom salts, mosquito coils, and flip drive bits are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Where did you find the rusted metal obelisk in your garden bed?

    1. That came from my parent’s house which they had for several years and I’m not sure where my mom picked it up. I apologize that that’s not terribly helpful!

  2. Seepage is critical for your plant. In a perfect world, a pot ought to have an opening in the base so overabundance water can deplete out of the dirt and gather in a plate under the pot.

  3. this is the nice variety posts and their gadgets and tools are the best thanks for posting this and keep it up.

  4. Great to see a Variety Pack post! Variety Packs are always exciting as they offer a mix of different topics and perspectives. It's a fantastic opportunity to explore various subjects and engage in diverse discussions. Looking forward to diving into the content and enjoying the variety.


  5. I really enjoyed reading this Variety Pack post! The diverse range of topics covered kept me engaged from start to finish. Looking forward to more captivating content like this in the future


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