No Spend July Update!

July used to be a tough month for us, since I don’t get a paycheck from June until September. (Teacher problems!) We normally had to dip pretty heavily into the savings. However, we haven’t touched it yet!

I was able to score a brand new pair of shorts from the goodwill for a whopping $4. Since my sandals broke, I was able to use the remainder of a gift card and only owed $5!

We have also been selling off our extra produce and we will be putting that money towards seeds for next year!

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I have awesome neighbors and friends! 

I have also been able to make lots of food from scratch with the ingredients from the garden: salsa, dill fridge pickles, salads, tomato sauce… and that means fewer trips to the grocery store!

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Grateful for a bumper crop!

And we have even been able to put up some for winter! (Which will save me money eventually!)

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Green beans for winter! 

To keep the garden cart sales rolling, I have started my fall garden seedlings! It looks like there will be more beans, spinach, lettuce and kale!

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They have tripled in size since this picture! 

Instead of spending tons of money with entertainment, we spend the days relaxing, walking/working in the garden and my favorite, hammocking with my Sherman!

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His favorite hobby is relaxing! 

I am hoping to be able to stay away from the savings in August too, which is hard with back to school time. I don’t need anything new and the boy only needs new shoes and basic school supplies. And no, I don’t think a kid needs a whole new wardrobe because it’s the start of another school year!

So, how has your budgeting been going? Are you paying anything off, or have some major financial goals? Whatever you do, keep blooming! 🌱❤️

Walk through the garden 8/9/18

My garden, overall, has been doing so well this year! The trellises seem to be helping plants not take up as much room. The tomatoes are all starting to ripen. And, I’m finally starting to see gourds growing larger and sunflowers blooming away!

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Harvest from Monday! 
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One of my larger pumpkins growing in the garden 
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Teddy bear sunflower 
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Spaghetti squash (it’s huge!)
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Glass gem corn 
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All of my varieties of tomatoes 
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Luffa are finally taking off!
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My what the heck peppers! I ordered red bell pepper seeds and this is all the plant grows. 
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Bushel basket gourd! It’s about the size of a kickball! 

We have been getting so much rain here, so I’m fighting powdery mildew and plants that are just sick of water. They are needing some nice, dry and warm summer days here and there!

How are your plants doing? Are you harvesting a lot from the garden? Are your tomatoes turning red and did you get any wrong labeled seeds this year too? Just keep blooming! 🌱❤️

July Goals Update 2018

Hello August! This summer has been an adventurous one with some more to come! And, the garden has been producing lots of food for us too!

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 continue to get great harvests!

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From May to July! What a transformation! 

2. Fix the camper– ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! This month I found some bins that fit nicely under the second bed (for clothes) and crocheted a handle cozy for the skillet that we keep in the camper!

3.Travel out west- We did it and enjoyed every single stop! We are still talking about our fun trip and I love hearing the boy talk about what he saw and what he learned!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. There are lots of critters enjoying the new area given to them! I actually saw a brand new monarch caterpillar emerge from its egg!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are still filling bag 3!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I did a giveaway on my Facebook page for a zero waste kit. I also spent most of a week volunteering for the master gardeners. I’m trying to get all of my hours in over the summer!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- this month we didn’t remake anything big. We did, however, turn a large chunk of bamboo sitting around here into a post for the wildlife habitat sign!

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Bamboo post! 

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, and we have 2! Now I’m thinking about the perfect place to plant them!

9. Build a pizza oven– ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year!

10. Grow different produce-I found my first Apple melon this month!(top left) ate my first ground cherry (bottom left) I’m enjoying the bushel basket gourds growing (middle) and there are lots of spaghetti squash growing (right)

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.72 mwh and just the connection rate for an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

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12. Work on garden cart sales– We have held a couple garden cart sales this month! I’ve sold a few zucchinis, cucumelons, garlic cloves and even some birdhouse gourds!

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Last month just flew by! We are looking forward to creating more memories before school starts back up! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Looking for the sunshine

Over the past few evenings, we have been getting so frustrated with trying to trap a raccoon that has managed to eat 2 chickens and scare a third one. The chickens are on extreme lockdown right now.

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Little trash panda 😢

But, this is just part of taking care and raising anything. It’s frustrating, breaks your brain while looking for a solution and makes you feel like a failure. Instead of focusing on the negative at hand, I decided to look for some things that are going right at the moment. So, here are a few rainbows among the storm:

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Found a beautiful monarch caterpillar on the milkweed!
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The zinnias are blooming and are gorgeous! 
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This is a beautiful nicotiana flower! It has such a beautiful scent! 
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A pale yellow sunflower with native bee
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A honeybee on the cucamelon blooms

Then, I spent the evening preserving some of the leftover produce from the sale on the weekend.

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Cucamelon and cucumber fridge pickles 
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Tiny amount of blackberry jam. (And this reminded me so much of my Granny!) 

And this definitely made me feel better! This is a little before and now picture:

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The top is May and the bottom is now 

Anyone else dealing with garden or animal issues? Try to remember that while some things are bringing you down, there are still lots of successes out there! Keep blooming! 🌱💚

Walk through the garden 7/26

It has been raining a lot this week! I need to get out there and weed and pick some pests (squash bugs and Mexican bean beetles) off of the plants!

Even though we do have some pests trying to take out some plants, we are still getting lots of produce!

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Harvest from yesterday! 

The pollinator garden is putting up some pretty flowers too!

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Cardinal flowers 
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Bee balm 

And now for the garden too:

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Dill getting ready to flower
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Our first cantaloupe this year
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Possibly our first luffa
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The largest bell pepper!
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Spaghetti squash 
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Scarlet runner bean teepee
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My first ever bushel basket gourd

I love that the garden is still looking nice and healthy so far!

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Our beautiful-to-us garden

I have started a few seedlings for my fall garden. I’m hoping to get some lettuce, spinach, kale and broccoli, but we will see how everything does!

Whats still growing well in your garden? Are you growing a fall crop?

Keep blooming friends!

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!