Weekend walk through the garden! 7/21

Hello all!! Gardening has been on the back burner because I have spent 30 hours at the fairgrounds volunteering towards my Master Gardener hours! I’m pretty much finished with my hours for this year!

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I’ve talked so much about plants, bees and composting this week! 

Lucky for me, the plants have been enjoying the hot weather and rain today! Here are a few of the great things growing in the big garden:

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One of the cantaloupe 
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There are so many dancing gourds
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A pie pumpkin!
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The tomato jungle, corn and luffa on the fence 
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A scarlet runner bean 
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My first ground cherry! And it was delicious! 
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Pole beans poling! 
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Spaghetti squash 
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Volunteer pumpkin plant 
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Apple melon! 

And the haul from the garden today! I even found a few blackberries growing by the sheds!

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Nice haul today! 

What is growing well in your garden? My zucchini plants are starting to fizzle out a bit and I’m going to start my seeds for the fall garden this week! Keep blooming! 🌱❤️

 

Certified wildlife habitat!

One of our goals for the new year was to turn the front lawn by the garage into a wildlife habitat, and I’m happy to report back that we did!

The check off sheet for certification:

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Food, water, cover, places to raise young and sustainable practices
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My rough draft last year
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After lots of hard work getting rid of the grass
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And this week!

And now all of the requirements:

food: we have raspberries, lots of pollen and nectar, a walnut tree and sunflowers for both pollen and nectar as well as seeds

water: we have 2 bird baths and a tiny pond back by the garden

cover: we created a small brush pile and we have a wooded area and tiny pond

places to raise young: we have milkweed for baby catapillars, pond, bat house, pollinator hotel and trees for the birds

sustainable practices: we capture rain water, use lots of mulch to reduce watering and keep soil from eroding, reduce watering, plant lots of native plants (and plan on adding more every year!), hand pick weeds and invasive plants/insects, reduce lawn area and compost like no one’s business!

 

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We started many native plants indoors last winter (coneflowers, milkweed, yarrow, bee balm)
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I keep seeing beautiful cardinals enjoying the seeds
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Not Native, but a polllen and nectar source
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Nasturtiums and the pollinators are enjoying the blooms now
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Echinacea
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Black eyed Susan (a Maryland favorite!)
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Another variety of black eyed Susan with a native bee
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Birdhouse gourds volunteered to come up here
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Upcycled bamboo sign post
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The solar lights along the walkway

It is far from perfect, but I plan on working on and adding to it every year. My husband enjoys not having to cut the grass in that area anymore and the wildlife have really moved in to this area! I see so many different birds, lots of different bees and beautiful butterflies flitting around. Plus, with more birds, I have had less issues with some insects in the garden! I’ll post a picture of it at the end of the season! Keep blooming friends!

 

 

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/11/18

I know, I know, it’s Thursday! But, all of the pictures were taken yesterday as I walked through the big garden searching for the fruits of my labor! Things are slowly growing, and I’m hopeful that I’m going to have some pretty great harvests in the future!

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Homestead tomatoes
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Tiny Tennessee dancing gourd
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Purple pole beans
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Glass gem corn
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Pie pumpkin
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Tiny cantaloupe 
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Purple bell peppers
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Oxheart tomatoes ❤️
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Roma tomatoes
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My first cucumber! 
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Genovese tomatoes
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Scarlet runner beans

And then there is my nice little harvest from earlier in the week:

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Zucchini for every meal!😆

Everything is still pretty healthy in the garden! I’ve been fighting off Japanese beetles, a few squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles. That’s the tough part with organic gardening… finding ways to get rid of the pests that are going after your crops. At least the chickens are enjoying all of the beetles that I’m pulling off of the plants!

So, anyone harvesting yummy things this week?! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

No Spend Year June Update!

I’ll start off with how we were able to go on such a nice trip this summer, while saving money.

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1. We haven’t been on a big vacation in 3 years. Only little weekend trips. (But still very fun!)

2. We camped all along the way in the camper that we could double our money on, if we sold it today. (Because we upgraded it so much!)

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3. We saved up all year to make sure that we wouldn’t have to dip into our savings for our trip! (By choosing to not eat out, buy things that we don’t need and limiting our spending for the holidays!)

4. We rarely ate out. Because we were camping, we made a majority of our meals in the camper. It was so nice having that stove and our fridge!

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Burgers for dinner! 

And remember the adorable toaster oven/griddle/coffee maker combo for the camper?

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This beauty?!

It was amazing! We were able to have morning coffee from our campsite and… the thing holds a freezer pizza perfectly!

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15 minutes in the toaster over for perfection! 

It was so nice to be able to have some of my boy’s favorite food available for him without ordering out! We ❤️❤️❤️ That toaster over! (We got it on amazon FYI!)

5. We were not big souvenir buyers. The boy and I got a shirt and we took lots of photos that I will be turning into a scrapbook at some point.

Now on to the rest of the month! We have been working really hard at paying down the house! And we are down below the next $10k! We enjoy seeing that number fall!

We also have been eating more from the garden and saving up on our grocery bills. Since I love gardening, it’s a win-win!

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We had fried zucchini and zucchini cake! 

We have also sold a bit of our produce and will use that money to buy plants and garden supplies next year!

June was really a blur, due to school finishing and our trip all at one time! The summer is a time for us to focus on saving (since I don’t get paid again until September!) I’m looking into more ways to save, and would love hearing any suggestions! Thanks for reading along and keep blooming! 🌱💚

June Goals Update 2018

Happy July all!! June was a fun month of finishing up school and traveling! Plus, the garden is taking off!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I get a great harvest!

2. Fix the camper– We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! We are going to update it some more, now that we lived out of it for 2 weeks!

3.Travel out west- We did it and enjoyed every single stop! (And the last blog posted was all about our adventure!)

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. We are finally starting to see what we envisioned! The pollinator hotel is being used, and flowers are blooming!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Bag number 2 was just taken out!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I didn’t do a big do-good gesture, but the boy’s composting service has kept around 220 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- this month we were able to pick up some pallets and the Mr. turned them into compost bins that the chickens gladly turn for us! Post will come later on how to make them!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! The little sprouts are starting to look like trees!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! I also was able to pick up some ground cherries at a local nursery!

Genovese tomatoes

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.47 MWh and just the connection rate for an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this weekend! We will have garlic, eggs and some birdhouse gourds! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month things grew so well while we were out of town! I hope that your gardens start to produce some fruit and veggies for you! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Llewellyn family road trip!

For almost 2 weeks this month we had the chance to travel through 15 states, including the one that we live it. We made lots of great memories and experienced it all together! The camper worked out great!

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All the different campgrounds!

First stop: Sandusky, Ohio KOA- it had a nice scenery and very nice pool and great view of Lake Erie!

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Lake Erie

Second stop: the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan! This is where Lake Erie and Michigan come together!

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We walked on the beach a lot
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Brrr!

The water was way too cold to actually get in past our feet!

We then traveled through the upper peninsula of Michigan and even saw a moose by the side of the road! (If only I were faster with the camera!)

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Lake Superior!

The third stop was a KOA in Minnesota! It decided to rain the days we were there, but the camper didn’t leak and the boy still found time to play in the game room and went for a swim!

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Minnesota campsite!

Next stop (after lots of driving) was the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It was my favorite! The scenery was beautiful, prairie dogs were adorable and the hiking trails were great! I could have stayed there for much longer!

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The first buffalo we saw!
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Hiking!
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Beautiful scenery!
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Sunset from our campsite!

The next stop was Yellowstone! We stayed at a really nice KOA near the West gate! The boy and his dad loved the fudge that was sold in the store and the boy loved the indoor pool. The park was only a couple minutes from the campsite!

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Grand Prismatic

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We ate our lunch at a picnic area!
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Old faithful was beautiful!
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Hiking with bear spray was a new experience!

The following stop was Mount Rushmore! The boy really wanted to see it, so we had to stop. It’s a nice little stop!

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Mount Rushmore!

The last National Park was the Badlands. They were beautiful in a whole different way. The views were amazing, and were able to get some hiking in there too!

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It was like looking at a different planet!

After leaving there, we kept noticing all of the signs for a store called Wall Drug. I googled it and read all about the history of it and we had to stop! We had lunch there and I had one of their free ice waters as advertised with my food and my Mr. had to get one of their 5 cent coffees! It was a neat place!

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Wall, SD

Our last stop on the way home was in Le Claire, Iowa to see the pickers store. It was more of a museum instead of a store, but worth the quick stop!

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Pickers store Iowa

I loved making tons of memories with these 2! So much so, that we are already thinking about where we want to travel next summer!

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My family!

And now I need to go get in that garden and work! Those plants tripled in size while we were gone!

We are back!!! And the garden is thriving!

For the past week and a half we were traveling all over this country taking in the sites! It was beautiful and we made so many memories. Here’s a few preview pictures: (but I’ll be doing a whole post on it later this month!)

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geothermal activity at Yellowstone!

The first thing that I worked on was weeding the garden! It was so weedy! Thank goodness so many people give me their grass clippings!

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Grass mulched walkway! 

And the rest of the garden before and after:

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Before
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After! 

And so much grew while we were away!

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Tiny peppers 
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Baby cucumber 
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Adorable genovese tomato
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Cucuamelons
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Nasturtium Bush! 
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Even a sunflower bloomed! 

We all had a great trip and I’m beyond thankful for all of the people that stepped in and helped out with the garden, pets and chickens/ducks! Do you all have go to people when you go out of town?