Do It Yourself (or DIY)

Why DIY? Maybe it’s because you have the skills, materials and interest. Could be you want to learn how to do something new. Perhaps it’s to save a few bucks. Or possibly because there are some things that only you can do.

DIY requires competence that comes from learning how to cook, sew, build, make and otherwise create or accomplish things. Aside from grade 10 typing, the most life-long impacting course I took in high school was home economics. I learned how to follow a recipe, mend a tear and sew on a button. Mr GeoK took construction and shop classes all through high school and the skills he learned are applied every time we need a home handyperson.

If I could wave a magic wand, I’d make sure that K-12 public education provides every student (and their families) the opportunity to learn cooking, sewing, basic home maintenance and repairs, gardening and personal finance. At least there’s always YouTube!! 🙂

Here are five DIY examples from the past month:

1. DIY Meal Prep

Thanks to COVID, we’ve done way more DIY meal prep over the past 15 months than is typical. Pre-COVID we’d dine out a couple of times/month. Since the start of COVID, we’ve had takeout a couple of times total! One game changer for us was buying a countertop pizza oven late last year. Early in 2021, our 21-year old suggested we try making home made ramen: broth, noodles, ajitama (marinated soft-boiled eggs), chashu (braised pork belly), taré, and aromatic oil. Between all the steps involved, marinating time, etc., it takes about three days from when we start to when we sit down to enjoy an amazing dish of what is basically street food!

diy food cooking

2. DIY Hydroponic Herbs

Okay, this one is not entirely DIY. The AeroGarden 9-pod unit is my starting point. In June, we harvested the last of our first crop of hydroponic herbs. Then we cleaned and sanitized the unit and started crop number two. Unlike the first time around, this time we used some AeroGarden pre-seeded pods AND some self-seeded pods. They’ve been growing about 2 weeks and it’s interesting to see that the AeroGarden pre-seeded pods are growing much faster than the pods I seeded with non-GMO seeds. This is especially observable when comparing the two Genovese basil plants.

diy food hydroponics

3. Grow it Yourself (aka gardening)

My parents “taught” me to garden by closely supervising me and my siblings in our backyard vegetable patch when it was time to plant, weed and sow. Seemed really unfair at the time and we often grumbled (unless it was time to pick raspberries or peaches). Now, it’s a joy to plant, harvest and share that harvest. Here’s a shot of our 4 raised beds at the end of June.

diy food garden

Three beds are mostly vegetables. The near bed is mostly poppies (Flemish, Icelandic and California). We also have two apple trees and a sour cherry tree in the yard. In June, I picked the first batch of salad greens, one green onion and three strawberries. And I picked two bags of salad greens (beet greens, Swiss chard and kale) to share with neighbours.

For many years, we did not have a fence around the veggie garden. Rocky Mountain Mule Deer and white-tailed jackrabbits enjoyed more of the harvest than we did! Now there’s a basic metal post/chicken wire fence around the beds. I made a simple DIY gate that’s lashed between two of the metal posts using tomato ties.

Bonus pics:

4. DIY Gear Tweaks

In early June, Mr GeoK bought a new, handle-bar mounted carry bag for his bike. He so enjoyed having easy access to his “big” camera while cycling that he talked me into getting one, too.

But with the carrybag basically taking up all the handlebar real estate, he had to come up with another way to mount the bike headlights. This is the first iteration of his DIY gear tweak. It worked okay, but bounced around quite a bit, reducing the effectiveness of the headlights. Stayed tuned for iteration two in July.

5. DIY Because There’s No Other Way

Sometimes, there’s no other way. For example, a stretch of Canada’s highest paved roadway is closed to vehicles each year between December 15 and June 15. In early June, it’s a popular cycling route and the only way to reach the summit is to do it yourself! I didn’t blog about our 2021 ride, but Mr GeoK put together a Relive video recap.

Highwood Pass Summit on bike

Also in June, I made a good start on a DIY Lego build – a two person kayak – so that minifig me and minfig he can get out kayaking. Still working on the paddles, so hope to have some photos of that build next month.

Final Thoughts and Invitation

There’s a sense of accomplishment and self-esteem that comes from doing it yourself! And sometimes, after doing something yourself for the first time, you realize you’re better off paying someone else to do it for you going forward. Competency isn’t just about learning/knowing how to do things. It’s about knowing the value of your time and the value you get back from expending your time. Agree? Disagree? Have a favourite DIY activity? Please share by leaving a comment.

This post is for the June 2021 edition of the Photo Blogging Challenge hosted by PJ over at A ‘lil Hoohaa. Want a fun, low-stress way prompt to practice your photography? Join us for July’s Photo Blogging Challenge. The main requirement is five photographs related to the monthly theme. For July 2021, the theme is Happy! The amount of accompanying text is entirely up to you.

3 thoughts on “Do It Yourself (or DIY)

  1. cmiked

    Thanks for teaching me of the aerogarden. I’m just about to start a new crop myself and was planning on trying a go at my own seeds. That is a fantastic garden, too.

  2. I completely agree those of us who took home economics and shop in school probably fared better during the lock downs than some others. Sadly, those skills are not taught anymore in schools. I can follow a recipe, but if it’s not baking, I’m more of an “improvisational cook”! I love your DIY ideas and always love your commentary. We also garden, although it’s a bit underwater with the 20 inches of rain we’ve had in the last two weeks. I’m venturing out into the mud today to see what I can find! Your Highland Pass shot is stunningly gorgeous. I hope your part of the world opens back up soon.

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