Beautiful February?!

Last weekend left me tired, but so looking forward to Spring! Here in western Maryland, we should be having temperatures around freezing. Today, it was around 80 degrees. It was very interesting to see the bees flying around like crazy!

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Busy bees! 

I was thrilled that I could even get the blankets to dry outside today!

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We aren’t sports fans, it’s just a comfy blanket! 

And the chickens have been picking up the pace with their egg laying! Our white egg layer has finally started laying again!

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Our first white egg since fall! 

I had to go searching out in the flower bed and I found the crocuses coming up! I love those early risers!

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Crocuses coming up! 

Yesterday we spun honey ( I’ll share all about that later in the week!) and I scrubbed up more birdhouse gourds. They get a mold film over them, so they have to be scrubbed up before decorating them! These are the smaller ones that I’ll be selling to crafty/painting people!

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More birdhouse gourds! 

The chickens are acting more like themselves! They are spending more time outside, instead of freezing their fluffy butts off!

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Fluff butt! 

I hope that you all are getting this beautiful weather where you are living too! Have a great week and keep blooming!

Who we are!

Hello all! We have had a nice influx of new people to our little blog since Mavis over at onehundreddollarsamonth.com featured my husband’s Blacksmithing hobby!

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I really appreciated my Mr. being chosen! 

1. So obviously, my husband is a backyard blacksmith! He’s pretty awesome and makes all kinds of metal creations, including my favorite dinner bells!

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He even did the brickwork on his forge 
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Dinnerbell in the works! 

2. We try to grow as much food as we can and preserve our over abundance!

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Our main garden. 
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We ❤️ Tomatoes

3. I am a beekeeper! I love having them to help pollinate everything, and also the delicious honey and wax for crafting!

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Baby bees!

4. I also love growing lots of flowers to keep the pollinators happy, and have plans to grow a much larger patch of pollinator friendly plants this summer!

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Our state flower: black eyed susans!!
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My favorite flower: echinacea! 

5. We keep chickens to give us lots of delicious eggs and they help us create less trash by eating leftovers!

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Our ladies enjoying some leftovers! 

6. I’m the eco warrior at the school I teach at. I teach my sweet 3rd graders about caring for our precious Earth and do the recycling for our building! Someone has to do it!

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Recycling for the staff! 

7. I love crocheting and craft everything from toboggans to washcloths to sell at local craft shows!

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Crocheting! 

8/9. I love both sewing and upcycling whatever is headed towards the trash into something useful!

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Upcycling and sewing! 

10. We try not to produce an over abundance of garbage and strive to be zerowaste!

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Less waste! 

11. We have been tracking our solar panels and how they are working out for the past year!

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We are on year 2 of having our solar panels! 

12. We try to eat at home and cook all of our own food! It helps to save money and I know what’s in my food!

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My cinnamon rolls
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My pizza! (Don’t worry, I make lots of healthier food too!) 

So these are a few things that we have going on here on our less than an acre in a small town! We really appreciate anyone taking time to read about our tiny homestead happenings!

Spreading the good (January)

If you have been following me for a bit, you’ll know that I set goals! Actually this is my third year documenting those goals! One goal this year is to spread good. I mainly want to because there is so much good in this world, but good news isn’t as much fun for most to read.

So, for the month of January, we trailblazed a path! It started off with buying ice cream for an awesome neighbor that shares a Birthday with the boy:

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Birthday ice cream 

The next idea slowly fell into place when I saw that the local Union Rescue Mission was having a food drive. I had ordered lip balm containers to make our own beeswax lip balm, but they were lost in transit. After weeks of waiting, we were refunded for them only for them to eventually show up. So, we turned those containers into lip balm, sold them all and put all of that money towards food  for that charity!

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Our lip balm containers 
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Turned it into lip balm 
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Turned it into about $80 in food! 

Our blessing turned into their blessing.

I grew up in a home where we were definitely not rich. I can remember when people blessed us with what we needed. So now that I’m in a place where I can help others, I plan on it!

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I tell my own kid and all the ones I teach this! 

I have no clue what we will do to spread goodness in February, but I’m sure that something will come up! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

2017 Goals Update!

Last year was my first year setting and blogging about my goals. It was amazing to run into people and they would ask me questions about how I was doing with them! They went pretty well and here were the results: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2016/12/31/2016-goal-recap/

This year we are pretty proud of what we accomplished! Here’s our year in review:

✔️1. Zero waste our home! We are still working on creating less trash! We took inaround 130 pumpkins to compost or feed to the chickens! My hubby also made an awesome lockbox for our produce stand using old license plates! And, of course, we grew a lot of food and preserved it! Yard to table!

✔️2. Declutter 20 items per month. It might not have been exactly 20 per month, but we continued finding homes for things that we no longer needed!

✔️3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. We crushed this goal! I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s 7 bags for the year, because the one in the garbage can is pretty much full.

✔️4. Merge crafting and homestead business. Yep, we did it!!  I’m so proud of my hubby for really doing great with his Blacksmithing! We got so many compliments on his metal creations! I’m still sewing and crocheting away, which is my love!

5. Create a summer kitchen. Ugh! This just didn’t happen. I’m ok with that!

✔️6. Expand the garden. The fence line garden provided us with a lot more produce! Plus, we cleared out a lot more space for the 2018 garden!

✔️7. Grow some different plants. The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!
 Plus the mushrooms were delish and it turns out that I don’t like beets

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, we decided against this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

✔️9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled almost 200 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! My coworkers are now recycling their plastic in the lounge and I have been recycling their k cups. Oh, and my students (from last year)  also planted a beautiful pollinator garden!

✔️10. Track our solar panels. We are loving the panels! This month’s bill was still only $5 and some odd change. This year we created a total of 14.26 mwh!

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✔️11. Continue beekeeping. We are still loving our bees! We caught swarms, spun honey, sold honey and even made a nice watering hole for our bees! We are still going to enjoy our winged friends next year!

✔️12. Travel more with the family! This year we took a quick trip to an indoor water park with the boy and also visited Williamsburg. Next year we are planning on taking a nice trip out west and renovating this beast:

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Camper for next year! 

Accomplishing 10/12 goals is pretty great to us! We have some great ideas for next year too! How did your goals go? Did you check off something from your list? Just keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

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Marker recycling! 

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

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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:

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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!

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He’s unbelievable to watch! 

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

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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!)

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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!

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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!

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We picked up 15 today! 
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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!

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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!

 

October goals update 2017

How in the world is October over?! I’m already thinking about what I’d like to accomplish next year and I can’t wait to receive the 2018 seed catalog from Baker’s Creek!! Without waiting, here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We have started eating some of the yumminess that we preserved and love the ketchup that we made! I have also started a pumpkin recycling initiative to encourage people to let us feed their pumpkins to our chickens or compost it for them!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff in the garage! We are planning on moving the exercise equipment in there to have a decent place to keep our health in check!

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. Bag number 5 left the house this month! We are doing pretty well!

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4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This is definitely happening! We did especially well at selling blacksmithed items!


5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!!

6. Expand the garden. We are definitely working on this! We tilled up the area for expansion next year! And we are giving a try at growing some paw paw trees next year too! (The seeds are in the fridge!)

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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! Now I’m working on saving seeds for next year! (And we are still getting more mushrooms!)


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this! I have some good ideas for 2018!!!
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 42 pounds collected so far. I have been collected lots of k cups to recycle from work. We have also started collecting our cereal bowls for recycling and I signed us up for the Crayola marker recycling program!

Oh, and the letters to our mayor worked! We now have plastic recycling (for #1 containers) here in town!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached  1.18 mwh! And our electric bill was less than $6 again! I’m interested to see how this goes with the cold weather coming!

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11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! They are “busy bees!” And I am hoping for them to overwinter well!

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Entrance reducers are on and they are prepped for the weather! 

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. I’m soooo looking forward to our winter project of working on our new-to-us camper! (A big 2018 goal!)

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How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? Keep blooming where you are planted!!💚🌱