Recycling K-Cups and Plywood into Seed-Starting Trays

A few days ago, I posted about how my husband figured our coffee K-Cups were the perfect size for starting seeds. In an effort to recycle these plastic cups, as well as the plywood scraps from our Halloween decorations, he created some impromptu trays for starting seeds. I was really impressed with what he was able to throw together, using only materials he recycled from other projects…and it gave me a good excuse to drink more coffee while I ogled him with the power tools. All we needed for this project were the K-Cups, plywood scraps, a pencil, an electric drill and a jigsaw or circular saw. We also ended up using some screws we had leftover from Halloween as well.

To get started, my husband first laid out some of our empty K-cups onto a plywood scrap in order to try and see what the best way to arrange the cups was. We wanted to maximize the use of the plywood scraps, while still giving enough room for plants to actually grow. Also, he wanted the trays to be smaller and more maneuverable, so that we could easily move them around as needed:

Once he had the design, I traced the base of the cups onto the plywood, and he drilled holes using his 1-1/2 inch drill bit:

Next, he used his jigsaw (though admittedly a circular saw would have worked too), and trimmed down the plywood scrap into a rectangle:

We used this first rectangle as a template, and quickly traced it repeatedly over our larger plywood scraps, so that we could speed up the process:

Once he had cut out the rectangles, my husband free-handed a design for legs, so that the trays would be supported and allow the K-Cups to drain well when watered. We cut out two for every rectangle:

In the meantime, I put my oldest heathen to work cleaning out all our collected K-cups and punching drainage holes in the bottom…because why have kids if you can’t make them do a little manual labor every once in a while?

Finally, my husband screwed the legs onto the rectangle, and the kids dropped in the K-Cups:

Overall, we made nearly a dozen trays in a very short amount of time, while using only materials we had on-hand. In our slow efforts to be more environmentally conscious, we’ve accomplished two goals with this project: we found a way to recycle and repurpose some things, and we are even more motivated to get our garden going this year.

As long as I keep my green-thumb-of-death contained, this should be a good year…

Whimpering Under My Desk

Work is so busy lately that I am amazed my brain has not degraded into Swiss cheese. By the time I get home at night, I am ready to fall down.

Laundry is threatening to overtake my office, dinner needs cooking and my home in general could benefit from a good wipe-down.

I know this too shall pass, but I need to get my second wind soon…otherwise the few functioning brain cells I have left may decide to go on strike.

Experimentation, Whiskey and Wednesday Nights

I think I may have negotiated a peace treaty between my family and sweet potatoes.

As you may have read, I live in a land of picky eaters, and while my heathens will never touch sweet potatoes anyway, my husband also avoids them at all costs…unless they are coated in enough sugar, butter and spices to trick his picky palate.

Last week, J came over for a little mid-week get-together. We planned to hang out, toss some food on the grill and celebrate…even if we were just celebrating the fact that it was Wednesday and we hadn’t lost our minds yet. J brought the whiskey, and I brought the food. Unfortunately, I realized far too late that I was lacking in side dishes. When I got home from work, I discovered that I at least had two forgotten sweet potatoes hanging out in my pantry; subsequently, I was determined to fashion something out of them in one hour or less. I fell back on my classic strategy, and assumed that roasting any type of vegetable is my best bet. Thus, roasted sweet potatoes became reality. This idea was an experiment and a risk, and both my husband and J looked at me like I had lost my dang mind, while secretly planning to poison them both.

Here is how it started:

I simply had two large sweet potatoes, some extra virgin olive oil and some kosher salt. I peeled the potatoes, then diced them to what my cocktail-laden mind considered uniform size:

Did I mention spatial reasoning is not my strong suit? Anyway, I tossed these potatoes in about 3 tablespoons of olive oil:

And liberally sprinkled them with kosher salt:

I hear your skepticism. This is Louisiana, sugar. Salt is a food group. Moving on…I put these potatoes in a 375 degree oven, and tossed them about every 20 minutes or so. I kept a careful watch, because I was aiming for this:

See that golden-browned section of happiness? I kept at it until my whole pan of potatoes resembled this little nugget for perfection. This probably took 45 minutes to 1 hour, but the end result was absolutely beautiful. Though J and my husband looked absolutely pained when they tried these potatoes, they both exclaimed with surprise that this experiment was a shocking and unexpected success. Basically, we accomplished the flavor and texture of sweet potato fries, without the resultant deep-fried, health disaster.

Even if you have disliked sweet potatoes up to this point, I urge you to try them this way. I promise, it’s dang tasty.

And nothing beats rubbing in a little, “see, I was right” on occasion.

 

Well…Dang.

As my husband was working on our repurposed Kuerig-cup seed project this weekend, my camera started acting pretty twitchy.

And after a very short amount of time, twitchy became non-functional.

After I finished hyperventilating, I finally gathered the mental wherewithal to check Google for an answer to my cameral dilemma.

In very short order, I learned that “black screen of death” is so commonly associated with my camera model, Google has it ready for auto-fill in the search field.

That, my friends, was a very bad sign. Needless to say, I managed to offload the pictures I already had on the camera, but it looks like I am out of frapping luck with repairing the problem. Basically, it would cost far more in parts and labor than the camera is even worth.

You hear that Canon? That is the sound of me and you breaking up.