Monday, February 13, 2012

Snowy weekend projects

We've had a very mild winter in Southeastern Pennsylvania this year. Except for a freak snow storm in October we haven't seen much snow. Some of the bulbs I planted in the fall are already showing and some have bloomed. Hopefully they will survive and get back in rhythm next year.

Last year we planted a shade garden next to the deck. It's in an damp area under a large oak tree. I'm really looking forward to watching the plants fill in this year.
This is the shade garden after Saturday's snowfall:

I had hoped to clean out the pot that will be Mr. Figgly's new home, but that was put off due to the weather. Instead I spent the weekend working on projects, but I did get some pansy seeds started. They will be used in the front porch hanging baskets in the spring.

I've never started pansies from seed before. The packet says that the seeds germinate better after being given a "moist-cold" treatment. So I planted the seeds and put them in the fridge. They'll stay in there for 6 days and then go onto the warm kitchen counter to germinate. The variety is: Pansy, Swiss Giant Blend.

The other seedlings are making good progress. The cold season crops got their first drink of very diluted liquid kelp. The onions and spinach are also growing nicely.

I also decided it was time to sand and refinish the butcher block counter top in the kitchen. The butcher block takes a lot of abuse during the year. This is where most of our cooking and baking prep work is done because our kitchen is fairy small. It's also the counter that I use to cool my canning projects.

It's a very easy project and doesn't take much time. You can either hand sand with a sanding block and paper, or you can use a power sander. Either way sand with the grain of the wood and keep moving.

After sanding wipe the wood with a clean, damp cloth and then let dry.

Apply the oil with a brush, again with the grain of the wood.

Wait 15 minutes and then wipe off excess with a clean dry cloth.

Here's the refinished butcher block, ready for another year of abuse.


  1. What kind of oil did you use after you sanded?

    1. I used a mineral oil. We don't use the wood surface as a cutting board, but for a cutting board you should use food grade mineral oil or bee's wax.