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Monday, May 22, 2023

Critters Eating Seedlings, Stain and Sealer Really Does Repel Water, and an Interesting Patio Furniture DIY Project

Something got into both sides of my sunflower planting area, chewing two plants off at the base. Very frustrating. 

I quickly put some new seeds into a damp paper towel inside a zip loc bag to pre-sprout. It took about 3 days for the seeds to sprout this way, then I transplanted them into soil. These new seeds have given me a couple of tiny sunflower plants now started in pots under lights. The replacement sunflowers' growth will be behind the rest of the plants by about a month, but we'll still be able to enjoy the large flowers and gather seeds.

The can of deck stain and sealer I used on the deck lounge chairs claimed that water would bead up on the surface. This was old stain that the previous owners used. We replaced the wood deck with Trex years ago, so had no need for the stain. We saved the can of stain anyway, because why not? Anyway, after a couple of weeks of dry weather, the drizzle returned on Sunday afternoon. I went to check on the lounge chairs and found that the rain water was just sitting on the surface.

We have a small table that goes with the chairs that I haven't sanded and stained/sealed yet. I compared the water on the deck chairs to the surface of the table. The table's wood completely absorbed the rainwater. Not good for the wood. Anyway, I'll be sanding and staining/sealing this table in the coming week, too. The sealer could extend the life of this set for many, many more years (at no cost to me), if I keep it up each year.

An update from Monday morning. The water on the lounge chairs was still beaded and not absorbed.

I am still looking around for some nice seating on the patio near the fire ring to replace or add to the plastic Adirondack chairs. I've come across some very interesting DIY's for outdoor sofas, chairs, and sectionals. Here's one that looks do-able: 2 X 4 Outdoor Sofa

Imagine my surprise when I was in World Market this morning getting some miso soup mix and right there at the front of their outdoor furniture section was this sofa that has a similar look to the DIY ones I've been seeing online. I'm on the fence about DIY-ing this myself. But the vloggers on YouTube do make it look do-able.

That's my start of the week update. What's been happening in your life these past few days?


  1. Several of my plants, including sunflowers, look just like your top picture. Not sure what is enjoying our plants, but there are a wide variety of critters to choose from.

    1. Hi Live and Learn,
      I hope whoever is nibbling at your plants moves on soon. It's frustrating and disappointing to put in that work and have it gobbled up.

  2. I have a vertical planter that something is eating the second level plants. Last year something ate the whole top half of tomatoes I had growing. I saw digging in an empty pot that I was ready to plant in. I just don't know what it is unless I stay up all night waiting for it.

    1. My grandpa had a huge garden, which was his pride and joy. I remember him and my dad sitting out at night with shotguns to deal with the critters that were taking advantage of his sweet corn. Maybe not the best solution for you. :)

      I've seen similar DIYs for outdoor furniture, many of them made with pallets. I don't have that skillset so I wouldn't attempt it, but I admire those who do. It looks attractive, and my goodness, patio furniture is expensive to purchase.

    2. Hi Alice,
      That's so frustrating. I sure hope you don't lose any more plants.

    3. Hi Kris,
      I've seen some of the furniture made with pallets, too. Some very clever use of pallet wood. And yes, patio furniture is very expensive for something that only gets a few month's of the year of use, and then has to take up valuable space to store in the rest of the year. So, I'm on the fence as far as which way to go with large furniture for outdoors.

  3. I've had a series of mishaps to deal with lately. First, our "temporary" driveway. I ignored my better senses and disregarded the asphalt sealer instructions by applying a second coat in areas that looked sparse and weak. Now it's ruined, areas that were double coated look darker like patches of wrong colored touch up paint. I'm going to have to wreck the entire driveway with a light wash of the sealer to camouflage the mistake. I'm trying to think like an artist who would apply a light wash to recede areas that are too striking. And I'm going to embrace another axiom in art, there are no rules and keep going until I like it.

    1. Second, our ant infestation got worse. We found a colony inside our light switch which is dangerous. Fortunately we caught it in time. We're trying a ant killer dust, homemade borax bait, and white vinegar to remove the scent of ant trails, also will caulk entry points. We were lax about the problem thinking it is keeping other insect populations down, but this is now not a good idea.
      And last but not least, our grandson had a flat on the freeway, and needed two new tires. Fortunately it ended ok but he missed work, which is not good in the construction trade.

      Hope you have a good day,

    2. Oh dear, Laura! You have had some difficulties to deal with recently! One mishap is manageable. But when they come in threes is begins to feel overwhelming. I like what you said about the driveway, to just keep working at it until you like it. I would also add, don't seek perfection, but find that "good enough" spot.
      Good luck with the ants. It sounds like you're attacking the ant problem from many angles.
      I'm glad your grandson's flat tire has been fixed, and also that being on the freeway, nothing worse happened.

      Wishing you a peaceful rest of your evening, Laura.

  4. Honestly I wouldn’t diy the patio set, unless it’s something you really want to do. Between the price of lumber, and the time, I’d wonder how much you’d actually save. The sanding alone could take hours. My Dh made my dd some floating shelves and he pointed out to her she was only saving money because he was working for free lol. Between the sanding, staining, the drying time, and all the supplies three shelves took over a day. Now that wasn’t nonstop work, but he’s very comfortable and competent using power tools and building stuff. That’s just my 2 cents. Only you can decide what you’re willing to do lol.


    1. Diane, This is a very legitimate consideration, with lumber prices as they are. I'm old enough to remember when sewing your own clothes was cheaper than buying them; but when I was in my early 20s, the scales started tipping the other direction, due to fabric (and commercial pattern!) price. My late mother was a talented and enthusiastic seamstress, so she probably still would have made me a best- (and most-economically-) dressed child, even if it wasn't cheaper... and the custom fitting I got was priceless. Still, I do remember when it was obviously more-frugal to buy a simple garment than to make it yourself.

      In DIY around the house, we're like your husband, very capable and comfortable, but we've definitely put off a number of projects until this year, due to crazy materials costs. Have a great day, everyone!

    2. Hi Diane,
      The cost of materials combined with time and effort is an important consideration. I did price out the lumber at Home Depot. The other consideration is where we would store a finished sofa frame in the off-season, which is really 3 of the 4 seasons, here. I continue to repair and fix up what we have while I think over what to do about better seating around the fire ring.
      Thanks for your input, Diane.


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