DIY Hot Dog Sticks, DIY Wind Chimes and More

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Use old coat hangers to make homemade hot dog roasting sticks.
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Wind chimes can be created using all kinds of materials, including sticks, bamboo, or simply odds and ends you find at home.
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Recycle odds and ends by making this DIY wind chime.

DIY projects can be fun and easy! Click on the Image Gallery link above for basic illustrations of the projects described in this article.

DIY Hot Dog Sticks

It’s hot dog roasting time . . . time, to put it another way, to recycle some of those coat hangers that are cluttering up the closet. One heavy hanger, you know, plus a few old spools — and five minutes’ work with a pair of wire-cutting pliers — equals a rather superior hot dog roasting stick and an easy DIY project.

DIY Wind Chime

In her book, Living On The Earth, Alicia Bay Laurel suggests that making a DIY wind chime or two is a particularly nice way to recycle odds and ends. Any old hoop from a worn-out basket or lamp shade makes the frame, and discarded monofilament fishing line is ideal for tying the whole thing together.

The actual chimes can be cutoff lengths of pipe, seashells, bones . . . even rusty nails. Use what you have at hand.

For the star on the bottom, work your way around the top of a tin can with a punch-type opener. Next, remove the top with a regular can opener, and then fold out the points. Either file the edges smooth or make sure the DIY wind chime is hung out of reach so that no one will cut a finger on the edges of the decoration. We want this easy DIY project to be safe!

Gardening on Others’ Land

Thanks to spiraling food costs and the uncertainties of the times, more people than ever will be planting a garden this year. Perhaps you’d like to try your hand at raising a vegetable patch too, but you have no place to give the idea a whirl. No backyard. No vacant lot. No plot of land to call your own.

“There’s no reason to consider yourself licked before you begin,” says Jack Roland Coggins. “Here in Lincoln, Nebraska I just ‘borrow’ the use of a chunk — or chunks — of soil big enough to feed my family.”

Jack is an organic gardener and he doesn’t have to rent garden space. He finds that the free use of land for his natural form of mini-farming is readily available in and around almost every village, town, and city in the U.S. and Canada. “All you have to do is ask,” he says. “Property owners are usually pleased to find someone willing to relieve them of the costly burden of controlling weeds on their vacant lots. Many also appreciate the contribution that organic culture can make to the soil. Once you point out that your activities will be building — not depleting or polluting — the land and actually increasing the lot’s value, you’re usually home free.”

Coggins never “sharecrops” the lots he gardens because he doesn’t find it necessary, and he feels that trying to divide a summer and fall harvest in the spring only sets the stage for later squabbles. He does, however, take small presents of fresh vegetables to the landowner as his crops ripen. “This is only sensible public relations,” he says, “and it gives me the chance to promote my more natural form of gardening.”

So, if you’re a would-be organic gardener with no place to raise vegetables, take a tip from Jack Roland Coggins and borrow some land. You can improve your neighborhood, promote the natural way of life, and put a big dent in your food bill . . . all for the price of a few seeds and some honest effort. But without actually owning a single square inch of land!

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