Free ways to improve your garden

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There are many free ways to improve your garden. Get started now to be ready for 2016!

  1. Use shipping pallets.

Shipping pallets can be of use and are almost always available for free. Try looking at free stuff on Pallets are a fabulous source of wood that can be used to fix broken outdoor furniture, create raised bed gardens or even to build a deck. People have even used them to build garden sheds.

2. Do stoop to picking through trash.

roadside dumping

You’d be surprised at what you can find by the side of the road or waiting for pickup at the curb on trash day. Wood is always a great resource. I unearthed these thick planks found along a country roadside and have put to them to use as a commodious and sturdy bench suitable for outdoor seating and display of intriguing found objects.

woodplank bench





3. Reuse old stuff.

put old stuff togetherIt often happens that people will give you items that seem to serve no earthly purpose. For years I stashed a disliked copper platter in a remote corner of my basement. But just this past summer, I found a suitable use for it. Perched atop a plastic pail, it is a display for a crumbling ceramic bowl. The copper has taken on a turquoise hue and lends the appearance of a sculpture garden display.

Repair broken furniture with stuff you have. My shabby chic garden chairs where sadly seatless. But I put them to use again with pallet wood and slender branches cut to size.

4. Plant Perennials.

Russian KalePlant perennials including those you can eat. Russian kale is hardy in cold weather and survives from year to year. Not only is it attractive in your garden – it also is pretty delicious and nutritious. Rhubarb, blueberries and blackberries are all happy to live through our most brutal winters and they’ll feed you year after year.

5. Share cuttings and collect seeds from established plants.

plant seedsDon’t be embarrassed to ask your friends for cuttings. Many plants can be rooted in a cup of water. New rose bushes can be propagated by bending branches and planting the ends in the soil.



6. Let imagination be your guide.

Look at your discarded objects in a different way. Do you have an old doll that could add some whimsical charm to your vegetable garden? Those headless Greek sculptures are quite pricey but a discarded plastic doll might look just right next to your cabbage and lettuce.

There are so many free ways to improve your garden. Make your home delightful when you reconsider throwing stuff away. Just ask yourself “What can this be now?”

free headless doll graces garden
free headless doll graces garden







Herkimer County Caves – exploring them and living in them

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Howe Caverns are the second most popular attraction in NY State and are only a 1-hour drive from Herkimer, NY.

Believe it or not there are at least 38 Herkimer County Caves. Many more may exist, but have yet to be unearthed. It’s possible that the locations of some have simply been kept a secret.

Modern man can live in caves

The list below was reprinted from the website. Caves have been used for thousands of years as homes for humans. But today more than ever before, they can be a source of shelter and serenity. Protected from weather extremes yet capable of providing warm and inviting living spaces, they might be exactly what you’re looking for in a home. Even if they’re not your cup of tea, they do make for great fun exploring.

An organization dedicated to researching caves is The Northeast Cave Conservancy. They are interested in caves and limestone areas where stalagmites and stalactites form. Collecting geological, biological and hydrological data is important to them. So is keeping recreational cave explorers safe.

Keeping safecave dwelllers circa 3000 bc Russell-Cave-66

Dangers of cave exploration include hypothermia, getting lost, being hit by falling objects, slipping on wet surfaces and falls into pits and crevices. 

Handy rules for cave safety can be found in this free online handbook.

Do you live near a cave?

Herkimer County Caves (reprinted from

“200 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66mr,67p
3-D fracture maze, Ice Cave Mountain 23-107r
400 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66m,67r
60 foot cave, Ice Cave Mountain 39-66m,67r
Austins Cave 44-60r,61r
Bottomless Pit 3-21r,37-95r,44-21h,23rg,24m
Buttonhole Cave (see also Schroeders Pants Cave) 3-21r,41-73h
Cave Disillusion 10-69d,24-136r
cave near Jordanville 25-24r,34-52r
cave on county line 25-4r
Chyle Hole 24-137r,25-4r
Corregidor Cave 32-61r
Cullen (Kenyons) Cave 22-79o,27-29dm,44-59r,61r
Cupids Retreat 44-110rx
Daves Crevasse 39-65m
Diamond Cave 3-21r
dig in Herkimer County 28-119r
drains below Little Falls 38-28r
fissure cave south of Van Hornesville 34-131r
fissure in Van Hornesville 25-4r
fissures south of Van Hornesville 21-35r
Hinmans Cave 29-119r
Ice Cave Mountain Cave 34-24r,36-88r,39-64rp,65m
Kitchen, The 34-131r
Moss Island pothole caves 22-63d, 40-43r
Mountain Ice Cave 39-131dm
RCRB Cave 36-90r
Rogers Crevasse 39-65m
Schroeders Pants Cave (Buttonhole Cave, Herkimer System) 5-84a,21-9a,64d,35-75orah,36-108r,37-79p,81rp,90arh,91arh,92ah,95r,
Septic Tank Cave 21-44r,37-137r
silver mine, Stark 34-131r
Split Rock Caves 24-137rx
Stairstep Shafts Cave 10-69d,24-136r,38-61r,44-45r
talus caves near Summit Mtn. 32-61r
Zurlos Pants Cave 3-21r,37-95r


NY Regional Temperature Change

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Detailed information on NY regional temperature change is easy to find. Are you curious about local temperature trends over the last ten years? Global warming is on our minds quite a bit these days. Getting the facts about your area will help you be prepared for change. You can obtain historical weather data from the National Climate Data Center for free and you don’t need to write a program to understand it.

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Herkimer NY Best Buy Properties

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Herkimer NY Best Buy PropertiesBaby boomers, students and telecommuters will find Herkimer NY best buy properties on Pleasant Avenue. With a population of about 8,000 Herkimer is adorably nestled in the delightful Mohawk Valley. Access to I-90, train and bus service makes NYC, Albany, Utica and Syracuse easily accessible. Our village is home to one of the top SUNY two-year colleges and within an easy 12-mile drive of the Marcy Nanocenter. It’s an ideal location for retirees, students and the Mohawk Valley’s growing base of skilled workers.

Why are these homes such a great value?

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