Friday, June 22

Mailbox Milk Pails

First, my apologies for the lack of posting this week. The weather has been hot and humid, but despite the sometimes stifling air quality, I have been out and about getting things knocked off the to-do list.

This week the humidity kicked the already high temps into high gear and we had a stretch of 90 degree weather. The majority of the week was spent sweating and getting very, very dirty. We had the kind of days that made for sore backs, early bedtimes and smelling like someone who just finished Jillian Michael's level 3 workout. And not to dismiss Jillian's very effective weight loss methods, but I lost 3 pounds this week and got the garden weeded at the same time.

A little color at the mailbox. Now if I could just get something
nice inside besides bills and political fliers.
One of the many projects I tackled this past week was repairing the mailbox flower boxes. Not a huge job but one of those things that gets put aside time and time again - put off for more pressing matters like overflowing basement sinks and leaking ceilings.

When we moved in, the mailbox was on a pole which was tipping slightly to the side and that was pretty much it. That just wouldn't do.

We straightened the pole, added a board across the top to attach the new mailbox to and I made two small, square flower boxes for either side of the mailbox. We painted and planted and it was great.

A few years went by and with rain, snowplows and the general elements, the wood of the planter boxes started to rot and I replaced them with two black plastic pots since I did not have time to make proper boxes. They served their purpose, but yet again, the elements had other ideas. Just like the tendency for wood to rot, plastic doesn't hold up to mother nature for extended periods of time either.

So, instead of planting flowers in them this spring, I let them sit - empty and cracking - and adding their repair or replacement to the to-do list under a long list of other more pressing matters.

This week, I decided it had sat on the list long enough, and I didn't want the mailman to think poorly of me, so I took off the plastic pots and made a decision.

Last summer I found two matching milking pails at a local garage sale. They were small but heavy duty and they were in good condition, save a few small rust spots and tiny holes along the bottom rims. At the time I did not know what I would do with them but they were just something I had to bring home.

I thought of how they would make nice planters but I cringed at drilling holes on the bottoms for drainage. I hate to intentionally damage an item that will result in its usefulness being compromised - i.e. - drilling holes in the bottom of a bucket. But the more I thought about it, I decided that I was going to use them for the mailbox planter replacements. They already had small rust holes near the bottom anyway and I have been trying to get out of my current mentality of "save it for later!" (along the same lines as "save the good china for some other day")

I drilled 8 small holes - about 1/4" wide - in the bottom of each bucket, spaced evenly apart. Then I anchored the buckets to the existing black board through three of the drainage holes with durable exterior screws.

I filled the bottom 1/2" of each bucket with small stones and gravel to allow for drainage and I filled them the rest of the way with good potting soil. I chose orange and yellow marigolds since I like the way the colors stand out against the black of the mailbox and I also put a vinca vine in each so they would hang down over the sides of the buckets for a little fancy decoration.

A good watering and I looked over the results, which I was quite pleased with. I am glad I went ahead and used those pails instead of leaving them to sit on the garden table for another season pondering what to do with them.

I am working on throwing out this mentality of saving things for "good" and using them. What am I waiting for? The Queen of England will never come to my house and want to see my collection of two small milk pails with rust on the bottoms. I don't think they are worth more than the $10 I paid for them so I will not be selling them some day for a windfall.

I want to enjoy them and see them every day. And I know they will last longer than thin boards and cheap plastic.

1 comment: