Green bean teepee diy!

During the 2017 growing season, I decided to build my first green bean teepee. I had envisioned my boy enjoying sitting in or hanging out in the teepee.

I saw a couple diys, but they never posted whether or not they grew well! So, here’s how I built it (And the results):

First, I had to source some bamboo to make the beast out of! Lucky for me, my husband works with a guy that has it invasively growing in his yard. So, he told us to come get it anytime we want! (Cost free!)

8CE40C73-9956-4DED-A879-FB3EC0EC3AC5
Bamboo! They were about 7 feet long! 

Next, you need to really shove those bamboo poles into the ground! Like, about 6-8 inches in the ground. I just pushed mine in the ground and used my body weight to force them to stay put!

C1AAAAFF-3011-49CE-BF68-6396CD152BA7
They aren’t going anywhere! 

Then, I continued on with pushing the rest of them in the ground. It was 100% constructed by just me! I used 6 poles placed about 18 inches apart.

1C20FF69-A9AB-4264-92FF-982FA00E77BC
I really looked like a pole vaulter shoving these in the ground! 

Up next, I used paracord to tie the tops together. I just kept tieing them together and knotting them!

C1EDD6B9-2A69-4450-9D8F-39ECAFC3B5A5
I had to use a stool to reach the top! 

I continued using the paracord to tie knots on each post to give the pole beans something to grow on. I spaced them about a foot apart from row to row. You could do it a lot closer, but I was running low on paracord!

C44DD5F8-61BB-4CAB-8082-7B351B7C8AA7
Green paracord for the beans to grow up!

And here is my finished project! The next step was to plant the bean plants all around it!

31924E09-0D2D-4AA0-9F3E-315A15C35B8A
Fully constructed! 

I planted the pole bean seeds really close together because something kept eating the seedlings!

F984FFEC-0B29-4737-81AB-A8D2A1A93587
At first only 1 side really took off! 

Once I put bird netting around the seedlings, the other plants really started taking off! They did make it to the top!

7017EDCB-DD80-47B2-BA86-188687C8B625
Beans enjoying the teepee! 

You can see the progression in the photos below!

8BD09BC0-5D12-4AC0-B451-E139C67CCD28
Our teepee looking great! 

So, even though I had to fight off pests, I would consider it a success! I harvested a lot of beans! But, will I do things differently next year? Yes!!!! Here’s what I’ll change:

🌱Don’t make it so tall! I couldn’t harvest those ones on the top! Be sure you can get them!

🌱start off with netting to protect the seedlings from the beginning! (We have a lot of rabbits and birds here!)

🌱 place the paracord closer together around the teepee! Then you won’t have them having a hard time growing up it!

We really got a lot of beans from this single teepee! I’d recommend this for anyone, and I enjoyed getting in the shady interior to pick beans! If you give it a try, or have before, let me know how it went for you! Keep blooming folks! 🌱💚

Not a winner, but still feeling great!

Yesterday I found out that my principal took it upon herself to nominate me for an environmental teaching award. Wow! I couldn’t believe it! Someone actually noticed what all I’m trying to do to spread environmental awareness to a younger generation! It’s my passion! I love teaching about all renewable energy, recycling, using less resources, composting, gardening and I especially love starting up new initiatives at school!

83B8BC0C-26A0-41F0-9DC3-7845CF73FEC2
We got plastic recycling in town
CD66EA91-47CA-401E-8542-1F71C7FE246E
Marker recycling
751A921D-588D-497F-B756-55CE6C3295CD
Cereal bowl recycling
6F64641B-B1EC-45EF-9486-3D9A199A9DCC
Our new glue stick/bottle recycling
A467BEF7-3F31-45FE-94E1-8C1F89BF8F46
Our teacher’s lounge bin
10DF69A7-7C8D-4B1F-94E6-0F776BD7C638
We are actually up to 88 lbs of plastic film recycled
IMG_9573
I clean out and recycle the teacher lounge k cups
IMG_9312
Pollinator garden built by my students last year

So, now for the bad news… I didn’t win. I’m not going to lie, of course I was disappointed. But, after thinking about it for a bit I realized that it’s not going to change a thing about me. See, that’s the thing… have you ever met someone who is really passionate about something? I used to be annoyed with people like that because all that they wanted to talk about was what they love doing. Now I realize that those are the best kind of people! The ones that do things despite never being acknowledged. They don’t care that you find them weird or dorky.

That’s exactly where I’m at. So, I’m just going to continue on my green little journey and invite the followers and the ones that find me odd along for the ride. When you run into any student that I previously had, I’m sure they will describe me as the crazy beekeeping, gardening, compost-loving, recycling lady!

I truly hope that you all find your passion and you will understand what I mean! Keep blooming where you’re planted! 🌱💚

November goals update 2017

November brought the cold temperatures that reminded me that Winter is will be here to stay. It allowed me enough nice days to clean up the garden and chicken coop. So, without waiting, here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We are continuing to enjoy our deliciousness that we canned from the summer and fall including: peaches, apple sauce, tomato sauce and even ketchup! I’m also loving the upcycling that we have been doing here! That’s going to be a focus next year!

716B61C0-4B71-4692-BDEE-DB242CDEFCED
Upcycled license plate money box!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We need to continue cleaning out the boy’s closet since he’s growing like a weed! I’m sure I will find someone here that could use them!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month. We are still on bag 6, but it’s basically full.

12E5B651-C25A-417B-86D8-74D9B69974D0
Still only 5 bags thrown out! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we have been crafting away! We will be having a sale through our Facebook page and I have been working hard on hooded towel orders!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. This just won’t be happening this year. #comeonmrllewellyn!!

6. Expand the garden. We are definitely working on this! 

We will be putting up a nice fenced in area next year and driving posts for a better appearance. So, I guess that I need to be selling lots of goodies to help offset the costs!

33C2E3AE-B0DB-4D73-AC48-4B39F73CAD20
Putting the garden to sleep

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!

A36354EB-372B-4E0F-8E5A-310D5BAA79AA
The last of the mushroom harvest 

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

CC193607-7A7E-420D-A800-41AFC43C3560
Enjoying a warm breakfast

9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film last year. The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled 88 pounds so far! I also convinced my principal to buy a zero waste glue stick recycling box and we are also recycling our cereal bowls and markers!

CD66EA91-47CA-401E-8542-1F71C7FE246E
Marker recycling! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached  730 kWh! And our electric bill was less than $6!

9A87B0F5-D27C-4A51-A8E3-450F185FDC9D
Still loving our solar energy!

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! I made them some sugar boards to help keep them fed this winter!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. Next year we will be traveling out west!

How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? We are hoping to accomplish just as many goals in 2018! Keep on blooming where you are planted!!💚🌱

Thanksgiving break 2017!

Thanksgiving dinner was provided by my wonderful momma as always. We are beyond blessed to have her make our meal every year. (Especially considering she can’t really eat any of it. She’s a survivor of stage 4 oral cancer and eating is a struggle!) ❤️ Her so much!

Over the break I spent too much time cuddling with this handsome pup:

0EAEC504-0773-43AA-B168-D6E13DF0E24B
He whispers that I’m his favorite human! 

I also spent a ton of time sewing hooded towels and walking over to watch the Mr do his Blacksmithing thing!

8EB9E6DF-0347-418C-9C21-3649FF45E64B
He’s unbelievable to watch! 

I also enjoyed watching that electric meter spin backwards and seeing a nice curve in the solar production:

E1CCA7B4-FDE0-4097-8D3A-21DAE7C29F60
This is what a pretty day looks like! 

Today I was able to clean the chicken coop/run, clip the doggie’s nails and make some sugar patties for the bees. I don’t want the bees starving this winter! I’m hoping for a short and warm winter! (It’s just backup food!)

EFFEE01C-7994-485E-971C-3008DD19AA8C
Sugar patties for my bee friends! 

I’m not huge on traditions and Christmas trees aren’t my favorite, but the boy wanted to put up the tree. So, he did a great job!

244ABF8B-287D-4699-AF89-FDD5D02F86E9
I did help with the nativity scene! 

And I’m pretty excited to say that we have exceeded our goal for pumpkins saved from the landfill! 112 pumpkins have made their way to our tiny homestead! The chickens have been enjoying some and we have been making a nice compost pile in the garden!

6B3CA577-E9DB-40BB-BAFF-CB286AE76AEA
We picked up 15 today! 
87497706-72FF-441B-BF0E-7DA9AEC5292B
The compost! 

And lastly, in our little town, our students are invited to decorate the business windows with our artwork! I decorated a local store and think it turned out adorable!

A9B2617B-5AE2-44D0-8728-A30EA890D94B
Window artwork! 

So, I’m thinking this was a perfect break! Now, it’s time to work hard until the next break! Keep blooming where you’re planted!

 

Repurposed projects made by the Mr

Let me tell you that my husband is unbelievable at taking items that are unloved and turning them into something unbelievable!

Remember that gorgeous garden produce cart that that he made from all repurposed items? Well, he took a few license plates that he had (obviously not in use) and created a one of a kind money box!

D034C7AB-F823-4490-AF1C-43B606009FE1
Hand made by my favorite guy!

5A23E3EB-BCE6-4256-93C6-F7C387A7DCC4

95C03ACA-FBE6-4121-9447-A9B680053BC4
I ❤️ Those $ signs! 
C924434F-CD1A-4475-AA2C-702431B5D455
The finished product!

And while I’m typing about his amazing skills, here are a few other things he has whipped up in the last month!

He took a few of the vintage plates that my Pap Pap had in his garage and hung them up! (The boy loves vintage things!)

00031AF3-2C19-43A6-89C9-6EE4E9311FB3
License plate display

He also took a few skateboards that were not being used and turned them into some shelves by the boy’s bed!

9BD102DF-1025-4B76-9647-BB3FBE7BD142
Skateboard shelf! 

He has been keeping himself quite busy and using up items that were not being loved! Have you been upcycling anything lately?

Growing sweet potatoes! (In clay soil!)

I have been enjoying growing sweet potatoes here in Western Maryland! They are a longer season crop and I tried something that REALLY helped them grow better! I made mounds with compost rich material and planted the sweet potato slip right in the top!

In months, the vines were spreading so quickly!

IMG_8871
Vines on the mounds
IMG_9188
Up close view of the vines! 

As the season went on, I could just scoop the mounds away to keep an eye on the size of the potatoes!

IMG_9460
An inside look at at the roots! 

Did I mention that they grow gorgeous flowers that all pollinators love!

IMG_9570
🐝❤️

Now on to how much we harvested this year! You will want to harvest them when the leaves start to yellow or before hard frosts. For me, that’s around the middle of October!

We actually were able to harvest a little over 30 pounds of sweet potatoes!

EE5522B3-28E9-4AC2-8274-9AB8D0E31FA9
All these from 1 sweet potato slip! 
F431FBD9-858E-4C50-A236-C4C12D1D1655
Before and after! 
A123635D-3A28-431E-9BE0-7E683B073C1B
Grown in a raised bed! (1 slip!) 
C200D23C-A73F-4A96-A247-D40D38CDB9B1
Grown in a pot

After digging up the sweet potatoes, you have to cure them. They need to be in a hot place for (80-90 degrees) for about 10 days!

0A674F14-1FC5-4524-AAE0-76D292B62380
I kept mine in the green house!

After those 10 days, they go into storage in a dark cool place for months.

They are really forgiving plants and with the mounds, I was able to dig them up so much easier! So, these might need to be put on your 2018 list!

Creating the garden cart!!

This summer we set up little produce stands on the front sidewalk.

IMG_9532
Our tiny produce stand

As part of our 2018 goals, we are planning on possibly selling more produce next year! It all started out with the Mr. carving the handles:

3B786014-953D-4F0E-AC64-5E1DA9ED6C52
Hand carved! 

Followed by framing it up, repurposing old wheels and cutting and putting the boards on top:

901987D0-1502-4173-B98F-B1C1D0819D07
Already looking adorable! 

Then, he put the spindles on and the frame for the roof:

2E8C17FA-60EC-4382-BF3B-BCB637ECD0CE
Almost finished! 

Then today, he finished it up by putting galvanized sheets on the roof:

297FB74D-5E95-4903-AFD6-95383C3A064A4E353679-D72A-487D-944D-8943C567D240

19C1D65C-EBD5-49A0-B9AA-9FBB26C18065
I’m in love with it! 

So, even if I don’t sell a bit of extra produce, we still have this amazing, unique, perfectly husband-crafted cart!

As for the rest of the homestead, it has been soooo cold here! This morning I made our ladies a bowl of warm oatmeal to start the day!

CC193607-7A7E-420D-A800-41AFC43C3560
They loved it! 

And, another sneak peek of the 2018 goals, is redoing a camper trailer! I’m trying to pick out some cute fabric to reupholster the cushions in:

2D319DBE-82D4-4417-9274-97D3A6D9AACA
I’m leaning towards the camping one!

And the save the pumpkins from the landfill project is going well! We are up to 78!!

E25C908B-A783-491B-8F16-E4262F1A6286
3 more pumpkins!!

And now to continue crocheting, relaxing with puppies and attempting to enjoy this cooler season! Keep blooming!