Get Rid Of Rodents

Got Rats?

Now here’s something different for my post  and definitely not something fun to talk about.  While I am all about lovin’ the decorating and upcycling of old furniture, the fact I live on a farm makes it almost impossible not to encounter rodents.

We moved to an old farmstead and have found rats in our horse barn.  After we moved in I saw several spots where the previous owners had put out poison bait for the little pests.   I didn’t want to use poisons since we have cats and dogs and didn’t want the chance for them to ingest any of it either by getting into it or getting to the dead rats themselves.

I have found the greatest and cleanest, easiest way to get rid of rats.  It’s the  Rat Zapper electronic rat trap.  If you want something that is super effective and something you don’t have to touch to get rid of the carcass – let me introduce you to the Rat Zapper Electronic Rat Trap.

This has been an amazing product that does exactly what it says.  I actually used the smaller, mouse version when I lived at another house and had a problem with mice in our basement.  It effectively got rid of all the mice in our basement.

Rat Zapper Electronic Trap

You can use the larger rat trap for both rats and mice.

The biggest difference between the mice and rats as far as getting them into the trap is that mice will easily go into the trap as long as there is some food to tempt them.  Rats, on the other hand, are much more wary and you cannot just put food in it, turn it on and forget it.  Rats do not trust anything new in their environment.  With rats you have to bait it for a few days so that they get used to getting food out of the trap.  Once you can tell they are they are taking the food out of the trap on a steady basis over a few days, turn it on – and the rat gets a nice surprise.

The trap is battery powered and when the rat steps across two of the metal plates on the bottom of the trap, it closes the electric circuit, shocking the rat.  The electric impulse will travel through the rat for 2 minutes, making sure it is gone for good. It works best to set it against a wall where the rats or mice normally travel.  You can see if the trap has an animal in it as a red light will blink.

The food that I found both animals love is peanut butter.  The rats in the horse barn loved our horses grain that has molasses in it, so I would put some in the trap in the far end, and check it everyday.  When I could see that they ate the food a few days in a row, I then turned on the trap – works like a charm!  It’s quick and efficient.    All you have to do is to pour out the carcass and it’s ready to go again.

You can purchase the Rat Zapper trap here.  We had several areas that we wanted to place the traps and found that they were less per unit by buying more than one at a time.

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DIY Side Table | Shabby to Farmhouse Fun | How To Paint Furniture

Before End Table

Well, it’s time again for my next DIY project. I turned this $10 garage sale end table into a cute, warm, country table with just a few supplies.  I absolutely love painting furniture and giving it a whole new life.  There are so many shabby looking wood pieces out there either at garage sales, the local thrift stores or online through places like the Facebook market place and Craigslist, that it’s always easy to find something to play with.

I started by wiping down the project to make sure to get all the dust cleaned off. I then had to sand the top of the table since I wanted to stain it darker. I just sanded it to get the shiny finish off of it so the stain would have something to adhere to. I wanted to try my hand at gel stain and see how I liked the look at how easy or hard it would be to work with.

I started by using the Bone White Chalk paint by General Finishes. I left the top alone at this stage. I like to water down the paint quite a bit as I wanted a smoother finish and the brush strokes not to show as much. I usually just use an old bowl, add some paint and then add the water little by little until I get the consistency that I want.

I learned, when I used to do toll painting, that it is better to apply more thin layers of paint than one or two thick coats. You can always sand a little in between too if you really want a smooth finish. The liquid brings up the grain in the wood a bit and a little bit of sanding can smooth it right out.

I applied 3 layers of the white paint to get the coverage that I needed. Once dry I then applied General Finishes Satin Finishing Wax to the project to begin with, wiping off any excess. I then took my Waverly Antique wax and applied it over the clear wax working on small sections at a time. The dark wax made my project look dirty at first, so I then took the clear wax again, going over the dark wax, and pulled some dark wax off until I got the result I wanted. This leaves the majority of the dark wax in the little grooves and deeper areas on the table and gave it that nice, worn look. I then buffed the piece for a nice shine. I did not do any further distressing as I liked the look after applying the dark wax.

End Table One Coat Java Gel Stain

I then began on the top. I used the Mocha Java Gel by General Finishes.  I won’t go into all of the details for staining the top, but I can tell you that I followed the exact example found here. I found it helpful to watch the video a couple of times and then tackle the project. I finished up the table with Minwax Polycrylic and it did turn out nice, however, I wish I would have used General Finishes High Performance Satin as I did a larger piece later and I actually like the finish better than the Polycrylic. I will say though, the Polycrylic is very easy to keep clean and wipes down with water.

I finished it up by replacing the wooden knob that was on the front with a nice Oil Rubbed Bronze Cabinet Pull.  I found the best price on Amazon and you can buy quite a few at a time so you have some for your next projects.

End Table After

Ta Da…..Here is the finished piece.   I LOVE it!

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It’s Been A Year!

Wow, I truly cannot believe how time flies.  We are coming up on a year since we moved to our little farm in WI from CO.  It seems like just yesterday we were moving in boxes and making many trips across the county to finally get settled in.  I remember that this time last year we were going crazy making sure that we got everything moved.  It wasn’t just our home items, we have animals too and they, along with all their equipment, had to be moved as well.  I am so glad that that long distance move is behind us at this point!

While it does seem like just yesterday, I look back at the many things that we have accomplished in this first year and the wonderful people that we have met.

Outside of our home, we have made some huge changes including tearing out a very dangerous old silo, changing the lay of the land, working on many outbuildings and finally finishing our amazing garage.  We still have many projects to do or things we want to complete that it seems like we will never get there – but then again I marvel at all the things that we have accomplish in the time frame since we’ve been here.

Spring is in the air now and the smell of the first cut grass is just heavenly.  I marvel at what an amazing beautiful place southern Wisconsin is and thank God every day that he has brought us to this place.

I decided that it would be fun to start a blog and share this journey.

 

Chalk Painted Side Tables

Blue Side Tables

Ah yes, chalk paint!   I have had a blast playing with chalk paint.  The two side tables here were my first stab at playing with chalk paint and distressing.  I did lots of reading of course before I started, and I am happy with the results, although I have learned some new things along the way.

I just used the chalk paint for these tables without  adding any water so the paint was pretty thick and it was finished with more of a course texture, which is what I wanted for these pieces.

If you want a more smooth finish, you can see my other post that I did for my end table or hutch.

The nice thing about chalk paint is that it is does not normally need your piece to be primed and it goes on thick, if that’s the look you want.  I do like to make sure to clean my piece with a clean rag and some water and then briefly scuff the piece up.  I know, I know, everyone says you don’t have to do any sanding or anything when using chalk paint, but I just feel there is better adhesion if I do that. Just my preference.

After I scuffed the pieces, I proceeded to paint them with Stillwater Blue by General Finishes.  There is a wonderful store in town, called House to Home in Monroe, WI and they carry the General Finishes products and everyone in the store is so helpful and knowlegeable.  When I walk in that store, I just want to camp out.  All the amazingly cute farm and vintage pieces just make me smile.  I want them all!  If you don’t have a store near you and you would like to by the General Finishes Chalk Paint you can click and purchase the paint through Amazon.

Before picture – lightly scuffed

Okay, so onto the project.  Like I said I made sure the pieces were clean and just a light scuffing with Scotchbright scuff pads.  They are 400 grit in one side and 600 grit on the other side.  I also made sure that all the pieces were tight and not in need of repair.  These end tables were just a couple of old wood nightstands/end tables that we had at the house, so I thought they would be the perfect first victims!

Make sure you thoroughly stir your chalk paint as it can really settle.  It appears almost like a thick clay on the bottom of the can before you get it stirred up.

2 coats chalkpaint

After you get the paint stirred up, I used a nice Home Décor chalk paint brush  to apply the paint.  After the first coat was dry, in about 30 minutes, I applied my second coat.  I let the paint sit overnight.  I knew I wanted to distress the piece and heard of several different ways to do that.  I opted with using a wet kitchen scrubby sponge.   It was actually really fun, and not too tough to get just the right amount of paint off.  It’s easiest if you don’t let the paint set for too long before you do this step.

I thought where the natural wear and tear might be on an old piece like this and used the course side of the wet sponge to take paint off where I wanted it.  I would definitely do this before I waxed the piece, otherwise, you will have more layers that you have to go through to get the look.

painted and distressed

After the piece was thoroughly dry, I used Satin Finishing Wax by General Finishes.   I applied this with a clean rag and removed the excess wax with another rag.  I put two coats of wax on most of the piece, with 3 coats of wax for the top, to help with wear and tear.   I did not use any dark wax for this particular project, however, there are a lot of my other projects that I did use it on and you can see I use that in my other posts. It is probably a good idea about once a year to apply a light coat of wax on the top, depending on how much use they get.

I love these little tables in my bedroom (which is another project that we’re working on).  I am working on getting our little 100 year old farm house converted to all the beautiful neutral colors and plan to go with whites, blues and greys in the bedroom.  This color will be the perfect accent!

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Have any good tidbits on your chalk painting techniques, I would love to hear them!

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