Last year right around this time of the year, I had an interesting idea. It was to expand the garden to go out around the bee area and attach in to the chicken run. I even posted this:
Last Fall my mister was awesome and tilled that area and I planted some different cover crops. The old fence was taken down and I started planning for spring! When it finally arrived, we put up t posts, fencing, lots of mulch and weed paper around the perimeter. It was at that point that I thought that I may have overcommitted!
Once all of the fencing was installed, we had to fill it all again, made a mulched walkway, trellis around the beeyard side and planted the seedlings!
And even after a long trip out west, and the wettest summer in forever, the garden seemed to be thriving!
The trellises held the pole beans well, and the chickens loved that I would toss Japanese beetles to them!
And then today, exactly what I had dreamed and hoped would happen last year worked out! While cleaning out the garden, I just opened up the door to the chicken area and they helped clean the garden with me! No more dragging everything from the chicken run for them to check it out. It was well worth of the work!
They spent so much of the day in there scratching around, eating pesky bugs and enjoying digging under the corn stalks! It was all worth the hard work!
I always wonder if I’m crazy for not wanting to move, but then moments like today happens! Keep blooming friends (even when you are pretty sure that you are in over your head!)
One of our goals here is to get Paw Paw trees growing. Last year we cold stratified seeds from October into the new year. Then, after being planted for quite a while, a couple seeds sprouted!
Obviously, it’s going to be quite some time before we get a paw paw grown here! Therefore, we went out paw paw hunting! I knew what the leaves looked like online, so that’s what we looked for first. They have a very large, almost tropical looking leaf:
Then, we were able to spot the fruit. It is definitely more of a wild looking edible:
After a few shakes, we had a couple Paw Paws to try:
So, how was it?!? My husband and I liked it. Our son, not so much. It had a creamy consistency with a somewhat tropical flavor. I thought it tasted like a melon/banana/ and something else we couldn’t describe.
We are now even more excited about getting our own fruit from our trees now! If you have tasted one before, how would you describe the taste?
This week was a busy one! All week I drove to the next county over to go to outdoor school and experience it with students from our school. We had a great week, despite the rain and muddiness! The hikes were my favorite part!
When I got home, we spent one whole evening spinning and filtering some honey from our hives. It turned out a beautiful dark color and has a delicious taste!
Since it seems like the only weather we have anymore is rain, compost pickups are always rainy. I’m so lucky to have a great worker who doesn’t complain about getting rained on during pickups! Look how many pounds we have collected so far:
Even though that weather was not ideal, I was able to find a few sunshine rays that allowed me to release a few butterflies this week! 1 boy and 1 girl so far!
When I was rushing out of the house earlier this week and I found this lone leaf in the driveway:
I feel like the Earth was sending me some love back! We are pretty committed to each other! 😆
Wherever you are, whatever you do, try to bloom where you’re planted! 🌱❤️
How in the world have I not gotten around to updating about our no spend year? Well, the main reason is that it has just started to become a norm for us. And, I can officially say that we made it through the summer without dipping into the savings. That’s a first! Getting a paycheck was sooo nice!
Since the school year started, we really didn’t buy much for the beginning of the year. The only things that the boy needed for school were a new pair of shoes (which we do splurge for since that is all that he actually cares about), and a binder. As for me, I only bought a new pair of sandals, because mine completely broke! However, I had a gift card and got a great deal!
In August, we went on an end of the summer getaway. We took the camper and the pups and headed to the Chesapeake Bay to enjoy a beautiful weekend. We used our KOA rewards card (from our camping trip this summer) and saved some money and packed all of our own meals. So, lots of savings!
We have also been harvesting lots more from the garden. The boy and I have had way too much salsa in the past month, but we still had more last night! I know that technically it doesn’t save us money, if I calculate in how much time and effort I put into it. However, since I love gardening, that also gives me a free workout and yummy food!
Another way that we save money is finding things around here that we enjoy doing that don’t involve leaving the house. Have I mentioned before that I don’t really like going out in public? It’s not the people, it’s just that I have talked all day to little people and I just want to stay home and relax. So, one thing that I have loved doing here lately is raising the monarch caterpillars that are on my milkweed. I collect the little caterpillars and feed them and keep them safe until they come out of their chrysalis and then release them to nature. It is fun for me! Heck, I even have the rest of my family looking for the tiny creatures.
The composting service that we provide for 12 families has been a nice addition to the food for the chickens. They love the extra fruits and veggies and also kicking around in the compost looking for bugs. Double win!
The garden produced so many tomatoes this year! I have sold some, given some away, chopped them for salsa and this weekend I have canned a lot of them for ketchup and pizza sauce. They will give us some delicious fresh food in the winter!
I was also able to put up some zucchini for future zucchini cake this winter and took a few pie pumpkins that we grew and turned them into a yummy pumpkin pie. The boys said that it was delicious.
It’s so weird how you just get used to not really spending money. I won’t lie and say that we haven’t had any take out this year, but it has been a very rare occurrence! My husband and I have been packing a lot more for lunch and eating up the leftovers more often. So, that cuts back on waste more too. This year of saving has made us realize how wasteful that we can be.
I really am hoping that we can continue to find more ways to save, and would love to hear what else that you all do! Any tips that we can try in September?
Well September, you just snuck right up on us! August helped to grow some delicious food and work in some fun before school started! 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! The before and after below!
2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! This month we took the camper on another trip in August to the Chesapeake Bay!
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! (I am still in awe of all of the beautiful sights that we saw!)
4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So much is still blooming! And my favorite part is that I have been able to raise and release monarchs because of the milkweed planted!
5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We had to finally get rid of bag 3.
6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month we had an excess of cherry tomatoes, so the boy and I walked around the neighborhood to give away extra tomatoes! We also passed along a lot of my boy’s clothes in to people who could use them!
7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- This month I upcycled some old cat litter containers into recycling centers at school and into more compost buckets for my son’s composting service!
8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They are going to be repotted this month and set outside to start being put into dormancy for winter.
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- We have been able to start harvesting some of those different fruits. We ate our first Apple melon this month and have picked so many cucamelons.
11. Continue tracking the solar panels- August was a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!
12. Work on garden cart sales- We have been selling lots of extra produce to friends and neighbors! Mostly tomatoes here lately! I love being able to sell organically grown deliciousness to people who can enjoy it! (Below is before and after our sale)
How have you been crushing your goals lately?! Have you been enjoying any deliciousness from your garden? Keep blooming friends! 🌱
Last week was a long one! Going back to work means prepping for a new school year and SO many meetings. (And sitting in seats made for 8 year olds during those meetings!) I am absolutely exhausted by the end of the day! But, everything will be ready by the first day for my students!
I have been able to get in the garden several nights this week and had a few nice harvests! I need to make so much more out of tomatoes!
We also had our stand set up this weekend! We had lots of customers!
We finally had to take out the trash. Our goal for the year is to only make 6 bags, so I am thinking that we should be ok!
We also did the compost pickup today. It takes a lot of scrubbing and cleaning, but we only upcycle unwanted containers for the compost. The regular buckets are from a company’s laundry detergent and the left are kitty litter containers.
And check out how much we have composted so far:
And last, but no least, we found 13 more monarch caterpillars that we will be raising and releasing!
And our last 2 were ready to be released on Thursday! 1 girl and 1 boy! (The girl flew away immediately!)
I’m looking forward to getting myself back in the work routine and hopefully having a great school year! Keep blooming! 🌱❤️