Happy New Year! 2020 was an interesting year. I quit sewing for fun, and instead spent time sewing many masks and surgical caps. I started teaching from home and had to brush up on high school math and science skills. And, I found a new love of baking and being content with just being home!
I know that 2021 might not be so much different than 2020, but goal setting helps me long term plan and focus on positivity. These are the goals that we are planning here:
1. Continue baking!- I started cooking and baking a lot more over quarantine. I especially found a love for sourdough baking. I love the process and can appreciate the effort put in for such a delicious outcome!
2. Growing cut flowers- It all started when a friend asked for a couple blooms for a photo shoot. I found a love for gathering and arranging the blooms. I also learned how much more some flowers bloom when you clip some off! I always left plenty for my pollinator friends though! I’m hoping to grow many beautiful varieties and create unique arrangements!
3. Upgrade the yard garden- Last year we added a nice sitting area/patio and we have more plans for making the area prettier. More blooms and more veggies!
4. Create a seed library– Last year I shared many seeds by sending them out and I put a seed library in our little free library. Next year, I’m planning on making a community one. I used donations from mask making to get the card catalog, but next up we will make it pretty and find a perfect location. The second part is hard with closure of businesses, public spaces and even our libraries.
5. Create a workout area- This is more of the Mr.’s idea, but I think it’s going to be great! I’ve got my eyes on a sweet jump rope to work on some double unders! He’s more into lifting. But, maybe I’ll have some beefy arms by the end of this year!
6. Expand Blacksmithing area and production- The Mr. has been spending a lot more time pounding on metal. Everything that he makes is amazing to me. He takes a chunk of metal and magically makes it turn into a piece of art!
7. Travel somewhere!- We had plans of traveling last summer, but you know… 2020. We are hoping to break out the camper again and enjoy our time together!
8. Focus in the garden– I have a tendency to grow beautiful things that I don’t enjoy eating. This year, I’m focusing on growing what we love. I’m not saying that I won’t have weird gourds, or a new variety. But, more of what we can and what people take off of the cart!
9. Up our creations!- Last year the Mr. made a lot more than he has before. I kind of got lost in the mindless mask sewing. I’m sure that I’ll still be making whatever the community needs, but I also want to make what makes my creative heart happy!
10. Teaching some courses!: This would combine my love of teaching and creating. I would love to help others learn to crochet, take on starting plants from seeds, harvesting from their garden, preserving their yumminess, even learning how to use a pressure canner, make sourdough bread or whatever else we do. We will see if this is virtually or online!
So, what are your goals?! Let me know! Even if it’s even just one goal! Happy New Year! And, keep blooming friends!
I have been collecting any pumpkins that are unwanted. We have collected right around 150 so far! We have also rounded up a few mums, bales of hay and ears of dried corn.
I posted on Instagram this picture of pumpkin number 100!
Well a sweet soul informed me that I was holding a fantastic variety called Galeux D’Eysines.
This is a nice heirloom variety from France that has been grown there since the 1800’s. It wasn’t brought here until around 1996! Galeux is French for mangy or scabby, so not a delicious sounding name! 😆 But, it’s a delicious variety. So, I pulled this beauty out of the chicken food bin and roasted/puréed it!
Then I followed this easy recipe: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pumpkin-roll-recipe/ and the pumpkin was transformed into a delicious and enjoyed pumpkin roll!
And you know that I saved the seeds! I have already shared some with a few friends!
So, sorry chickens! This one wasn’t for you! I’m planning on making a couple more pumpkin rolls and a few pies! Happy baking, and I enjoyed telling the Mr. that he was eating a trash pumpkin roll! 😆
As a teacher, you’d think that I’m talking about sandwiching something between two layers of plastic. But, I don’t use that kind of lamination. I’m talking about laminating sourdough!
So, what is laminated dough? It is the layering of butter and dough to create the flaky layers. Perfect for croissants! Here’s how mine turned out. (By the way, this is a couple day process. So, patience grasshopper!)
This weekend was spent baking so much sourdough everything! I hope that you have a great week! Keep blooming!
Last month I had an unkind message sent to me saying that I needed to stop pretending that I live this little house on the prairie life. That hurt. It didn’t really hurt because I thought that I am living a lifestyle like that. It hurt because someone took time out of their schedule to to try to hurt me. But, good news, it gave me time to reflect instead.
So, even though we don’t live that yesteryear kind of life, we do have some similarities. (Weirdly enough)
1.I’ve always been transparent that we don’t have much land, but use what we have! We have less than an acre, but managed to grow and harvest over 1,000 pounds of food this summer!
2. We also don’t have a large amount of farm animals, so that’s true. We raise hens for their eggs and have a couple ducks for the same reason. We use our eggs, share some and even use them for making deliciousness like egg noodles!
3. We don’t live solely off of our food, but we did can over 100 jars of food. Plus, we spun lots of honey, made so many loaves of sourdough bread, homemade noodles and lots of other yumminess!
4. Everything we own isn’t homemade. But, the Mr can fix almost anything and he has been forging a lot! I have been working on teaching myself skills and I have been quilting, crocheting, making salves and lip balms and sewing in general.
5. We don’t have beautiful fields of wildflowers, but we do have a pretty certified wildlife habitat/monarch waystation/pollinator garden.
6. I don’t have to cook over an open flame or wear an apron. But, I do wear an apron in the garden. I also hang my laundry anytime that I can. And, I’m big on reusing what we have avoiding anything disposable.
So, I figured I would end this up with my homestead kind of life photo:
So, let it be known that I do not live on a prairie, I live in a small town in Appalachia. I don’t have a huge garden or farm when compared to others, but it provides well for us. I own less than an acre, but use what we have well.
No matter what you have going on, who you compare yourself to or what others think about you, keep blooming where you are planted! 🌸❤️
Over on our Facebook page we are doing a giveaway of our dehydrated starter. It’s so much easier to ship and already contains all the right things to get your starter going faster! I will be adding some of our dehydrated starter to our Etsy shop soon too!
So, here’s how to have starter to use in about a week, step by step:
Day 1: Add dehydrated starter, 1.5 Tbsp. water and 1 Tbsp flour and cover loosely for 24 hours
Day 2- add another Tbsp. Flour and 2 tea. warm filtered water. Mix well and cover for another 24 hours
Day 3- look for little bubbles! Then, add 1 Tbsp. Flour and 2 tea. water
Day 4- it should be smelling more like bread! Add 1/3 cup of flour and 1/4 cup of water. It should rise and fall!
Day 5- you should officially have a starter! Always leave behind at least 1/2 cup starter for the next time baking! (By the way, now is a great time to give your starter a name!)
I keep my starter refrigerated between uses and get it out to warm up the night before. Then, I feed it the next day!
To feed the mature starter, mix 1/2 cup starter to 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup warm water. It should be doubling in size before baking with it!
Fair warning, sourdough baking is addictive and delicious! I plan on sharing tested and enjoyed recipes!
I’m proud to say that even though our life has been much different, we have still been able to do so much! Here’s where we are at since the last update:
1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– Since the last update, we have put work into cleaning up the garage. I have also been letting go of a lot of clothes that I have no idea why I was holding on to them. Over covid break the Mr. lost about 20 pounds and I lost 10. So, goodbye lots of poorly fitting clothes!
2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– Masks, masks and more masks. I made and gave away a ton of them. The money that I did receive will be going towards creating a free seed library for our town! I’m so looking forward to seeing people enjoying growing their own food and flowers!
3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– This year I definitely had a bounty! My best growers were the cushaw squash, but I did get a monster Dickinson pumpkin! Plus, the pollinator garden turned out beautiful. I actually starting clipping blooms and sharing their beauty! Overall, I grew around 1,000 pounds of food!
4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I spent so much time sewing masks, that I took a long break from sewing! I started baking everything sourdough, and I love it! I also started making my own calendula salve from my blooms! That’s fun too!
5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. There were no big trips, unfortunately! We spent most of our time here, enjoying sitting on our newly created patio. We did get to go to Northbay and do zip lining and a ropes course. That was a great time!
Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/
Even though everything has been strange and different, the garden brought me to my happy place daily!
The world is weird right now, but I know that we have found a lot to smile about!
Since March, bread became scarce, yeast impossible to find and eating at home the norm. So, I decided that starting to make sourdough should be on my to do list!
It turns out that getting a starter going takes more work than I thought it would. After so many weeks of failure, we finally got one going! And, the results were pretty great:
Next up was gathering the supplies that were necessary. There’s a long list of things that make it easier, but I just needed a food scale, bread and whole wheat flour and a cast iron combo cooker. Here’s my go to: https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Cooker-Pre-seasoned-Skillet-Convertible/dp/B0009JKG9M
I also eventually bought a banneton basket. But, you could just line a bowl with a floured kitchen towel and it works the same!
And to safeguard my awesome starter, I dehydrate some. It took too much work to go back to making starter again! (And it’s easier to share this way too!)
After many loaves of bread, I have noticed that every single one is unique. The scored line changes the top of the bread and sometimes it cracks right through the scored line and other times it doesn’t. Regardless, I think they are the most beautiful loaves of bread!
I’ll be reopening my Etsy store by the end of the month and sharing sourdough starter, along with some hand forged bread lames that the Mr. made!
I’ll be sharing my recipe that has been created from other recipes on here soon too! Happy baking and keep blooming!
Wow! June was my last post! I am back and hoping to start sharing more of what I have been up to!
Over the summer, the garden produced all kinds of huge fruits! I grew cushaw squash that were over 20 pounds:
My Dickinson pumpkin plant decided that one pumpkin was enough, but that pumpkin is close to 50 pounds!
And my newest hobby, after taking way too long to get it started, is making sourdough bread!
Over the weekend, I met so many people who wanted to learn more about our way of living. They asked questions about plants that we grow, questions about honeybees and chickens. They wanted to know how to grow more plants for the pollinators and how to grow milkweed. I loved talking plants and sourdough!
I’m looking forward to get back to writing about how our goals have been coming along. I want to share some of our exciting plans for next year. And I want to start sharing more of my favorite things that we have been up to around here!
It’s the last day of the month, so I wanted to share what’s going well and what’s a work in progress!
The San Marzano tomatoes are growing the best. The cucumbers are growing well, so far this year! I will totally admit that I am not a great cucumber grower! The flea beetles are being terrible pests this year.
What’s growing great in your neck of the woods? Are you dealing with some pests? Keep celebrating the positives and know that every year something will be a challenge. And, keep blooming! 🌼
Does anyone else see other gardens and then get worried that yours isn’t great enough? Like garden envy? Turns out that social media is pretty great at only showing the pretty pictures! So, before I show my pretty pictures, know that flea beetles are trying to eat everything in my garden. It has taken me replanting several squash plants so many times because either they didn’t germinate or something are them. Oh, and the ants are trying to farm aphids on everything. EVERYTHING!!!!
And now, here are my pretty pictures!
I think the last several days of rain have helped to get the garden growing! Today my goal is to dig up the garlic! Anyone else dealing with some pests? Do your best to keep blooming!!