Projects I did when under Covid lockdown

A place for people to post stuff they did with the extra time at home that many are being forced to take.

My kids are unhappy with their activities being cancelled and wish we could see friends and go to restaurants again. I’ve lost my job (hopefully only temporarily). But it’s not all bad: I’ve had more time to do projects and cook at home when I would normally have been out doing other things. City streets are quiet and there are very few cars. I’ve never seen so many people taking walks and jogging. My family eats every meal together. Kids are loving having way more computer time than they normally get.

Last weekend I took advantage of not being scheduled to run kids around town or socialize by working up some new trellises for the garden.

I feel like I need a good trellis solution because I don’t have a lot of space. I live in the city and need to maximize use of ground area. So far I have not found the perfect solution.

My growing spaces are kind of broken up in various sizes and none are terribly big. I also like to change what I grow in each area to try and keep disease at bay. So I need my trellises to be able to adapt to different size and shaped areas, be movable, and be easy to set up and take down.

I made some trellises out of rough cut local oak in 2016, which you can see in the pictures in this post:

The first year I strung my own netting using jute twine between an array of screws at the perimeter. I also tried some premade jute netting. Neither of these lasted all that long and it was hard to separate vegetation from them at the end of the season. Also, the low trellises were not all that useful. Plus the legs which stake into the ground rotted quickly. So I felt like I needed to try something else.

The other issue I’ve been fighting for a few years is rabbits. Basically I can’t grow peas, beans, or carrots without something to fence out the rabbits.

So anyway, I took the old trellises apart and reused some of the wood and stainless screws, plus extra oak that had been stacked next to my house to formulate a new take on the trellis challenge. I bought some welded wire roll from Amazon (free delivery, which is unbelievable since it was so heavy!).

The new system is based on 6’ uprights since that was how long the rough 1x4 boards were. The welded wire is only 5’, but I need some space at the top to allow hinging anyway. Would be slightly better if the wire and uprights were about 6" longer, but it is decent. Plus the taller it is the more you have to work to make it not fall over. Each panel is composed of three cross pieces and two uprights. The wire mesh is screwed down to the cross pieces. Each upright has 1" holes drilled at either end to receive a piece of tubing or conduit. One panel is 2" narrower than the other, so they can fit together at the ends. Here is my son this morning standing next to two of these trellises. Standing next to each other like this, I hope to get one long tube at the top to tie the two sets together for more stability.

I’m planning on making some small panels for the sides to keep rabbits from getting in to munch baby plants.

If I lie them down and lock the ends together we get the rabbit fence/low trellis version. Not sure this will be as useful as I still need to make something to block the corners, it is then hard to get in to tend the plants, and it is not quite the perfect size for this plot. Still, kind of nifty, right?

I have enough wood to make two more sets of these. I have enough wire to make about a million. Openings are too big to keep out rats and squirrels, otherwise I could line my fence with it.

So, what have all you guys been working on at home? Anything to share?


You’re a hero, Holly, and your son there is a treat to see! Good work on all fronts.


You are one of most creative gardeners for small spaces I have seen. You should chronicle your project or blog it. The next thing you know, people will flock to your website.

You could do consultation on the side and I mean it. I would consult you to design my yard.


I’m most impressed with your rock walls…you do those?!

I am making face masks donated to local community , hospitals, senior centers etc.


I still have to work, but have extra time because the rest of the family is home picking up slack. Mulching, splitting wood, planting trees, and boiling sap.


We are using hotel pans to boil sap right now too. I like the rock circle.

More neighbors than ever are stuck home, and they have been coming by regularly to check on the sap as it boils. Usually they give us strange looks for doing such things in the city but there is a lot of interest right now. One has said he plans to convert his lawn into garden. :+1:


I’ve had a few family and friends get inspired to boil sap or plant trees recently, too. Sometimes people see all that sap and say, “Hey, i’ll take a quart of that!” They have no idea how long that took.


@IL847, I’m glad to see that! I also got out my sewing machine and made a batch, mostly for my neighbors who feel vulnerable and don’t want to go to the store or clinic without a mask, but don’t want to deprive hospitals of their critical supply. I’m following theinstructions from Deaconess Hospital, except I didn’t have elastic so made them with cloth ties.

In the garden, I planted an extra row of potatoes to share when they are ready, as well as some extra vegetables, more than we need. I think some people will be short of cash and will be happy to have some fresh home grown vegetables.


I’m sorry to hear about your job, I know how you feel about that. I love your projects, glad you’re keeping busy and making the most of your free time, your kids are lucky to have someone like you to set a great example. Let’s hope we’re all back to work soon!



I’ve been wondering about sewing masks actually. I’ve got a ton of fabric in my stash and a fantastic 130 yr old foot treadle sewing machine (any Onions in this forum - you know what I’m talking about).

How did you identify a place that would accept them and did they have specific requirements? These fabric masks of course are not as good as commercial ones but they are a lot better than nothing. I have a feeling that hospitals, etc. would only use them as a last resort, but then would probably be glad to have something instead of nothing.


It is the best way to use time if you have to take time off! Hopefully, you will be compensated eventually, at least they discuss it now. I am in MA as well. Our company makes things for essential businesses, so production is open, but who can work from home , works from home now(That’s me!). So I do not have any free time that I wouldn’t mind to have! But I still thinking about using my driving time that I got back to do a little every day and push some spring projects forward. Thinking about replanting my flower bed and making drip tape irrigation there.


These are not for hospital Dr or nurses. Professional medical workers are not approved to use home made mask yet. These masks are for the the friends and family members of hospitalized patients who visit the hospital. It helping hospital free up some resources. I am going to make more to put out at entrance of supermarket for people who want to wear a mask . Physical Isolating from each other is the best way of stopping spreading the virus. These mask aren’t the best thing but better than none, these look less scary than the white surgical ones


Nice👍. I am thinking used the style you’re uding to make some masks with a pouch where a filter can be inserted. The pattern I currently using, I just went online Googled homemade face mask and read some articles og materials selection, and watchef videos of how to make . I think each person’s face size and shape is a little bit different so it really doesn’t need to be very accurately follow the pattern I just drawed a similar pattern used on the video.
Yeah elastic is more comfortable I think , also is less time consuming. Making the clothes strings takes a lot of time, i don’t like to do that. Nowadays the whole world is making the face masks, our local Joann Fabric stores actually run out of elastic for face masks! I have to use whatever width and shapes elastics I have on hand.


Tippy, your yard is already fantastic. Seriously, when we were lucky enough to visit with you a few years back I was really inspired by what you have done and thinking about it has guided my ideas on what direction to take my smaller place. For instance, I am putting in six stone fruit trees by converting beds for annuals, and am going to plant some roses. Both of those were things I admired about your yard.

I still have not done much useful with our front yard. It is a lot smaller than the back and is steeply sloped to the sidewalk. I really need some terraced retaining walls there but I can’t afford it yet. It is very sunny up there so I think it could do a lot if I fitted it with drip irrigation.

Actually I did have a blog for a number of years (one link to it in my original post in this topic). It never got much traffic other than my mom and other family members, plus the odd google referral for people searching on niche stuff like restoring an antique cast iron hand cranked sausage stuffer, etc. My wife has gotten concerned with us having too much personal info on the internet, especially about the kids, so she asked me to pause and maybe take down the blog. Been thinking about overhauling it to remove kids names and too much detail about where we live, but have not had time… maybe I do now though.:slight_smile:


No, I had them done. They took a huge amount of time by the guys doing the work - about two guys full time for a month. I took a drystone wall making class at Hancock Shaker Village in western MA years ago and had ambitions to do these walls myself but never got around to it. They still would not have been done if it were up to me - I can do a lot of things but all of them painfully slowly. Probably better that they are not drystone anyway since we use them as walkways; they would be falling apart all the time with the foot traffic if they were dry laid.


It really does take a lot of time and effort. My husband is laid off and this has been just the thing for him to focus on. :laughing:

Rain is coming though so he’s getting stressed about not being able to boil stuff and it continuing to flow and pile up. We made the mistake of boiling it inside on year. It took forever to get the sticky condensation off the walls.


@IL847, I made a few masks with pouches for filters. My skill is not that good, and they didn’t come out even, although they do work ok. Also, the pocket means more fabric to sew through. For the pleats, I finally thought to change to a walking foot, which helped a lot.

I agree, these masks seem less threatening and maybe less stigmatizing than the medical ones, but are only for use if the others are not available. I will be wearing mine with some pride for the limited grocery or clinic trips that I take during the epidemic. Yours look very nice!

@HollyGates, you do awesome work, an inspiration. You got me thinking about making a similar trellis. Really nice!


I hear that our University hospital nurses/doctors are using the sewn facemasks as a cover for N95 facemasks to possibly help extend the time they can use their N95’s.


Amazing! Your garden is beautiful!