Wednesday walk through the garden! 6/13/18

It has been raining here almost every single day! The garden could really use some sunlight and warmer weather! But, the plants are still growing!

The green bean teepee was weeded well and I even put down a nice layer of newspaper on the inside, under the mulch. The scarlet runner beans are looking great!

On the other side of the garden, I have the regular poling green beans growing! They seem to be taking off as well!

The glass gem corn is about ankle high and I’m really excited to see what the corn will look like! I’m hoping to be able to use it for decor in the fall and then grind it up for extra chicken feed this winter!

I love the beautiful yellow blooms coming on to the tomatoes. At least they seem to be enjoying this weather!

This year I’m trying the Florida weave on my Roma tomatoes. So far it seems to be working out!

In the pollinator garden, it’s still mostly mulch! Something has decided to eat a majority of the milkweed, but at least this black eyed Susan seems happy!

The last exciting news is that my paw paw tree is growing some leaves! I have 2 that are doing well in the house and I’ll wait to see how the ones I started outdoors are doing! (They are growing in a wooded area!)

It’s slow growing around here, but tomorrow is my last day of school! I’m looking forward to playing in the garden, swimming with my boy, trying out new adventures and going on our trip this summer! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

No Spend May

Last month was almost a complete fail in the whole no spending. My Mr. has had his heart set on needing a new tractor. We didn’t have one at the moment, so tilling the big garden is a lot of work. On top of that, digging holes, loading up heavy things and running mulch is always a task. So, he bought a new tractor. But, he has been selling off a ton of extras including: his 4 wheeler, the Panel truck, an old jeep, accessories for the jeep and Panel truck, and other things. The garage is a lot cleaner, and we also didn’t have to pay too much more for the tractor. So, no payments or credit card purchases!

A huge accomplishment this month is that I am now payment free on my braces! My teeth are straight and my retainers come next month! Yay!

A reader on my Facebook page keeps some feral cats warm in the winter by creating wind breaks with straw bales. However, after a long winter, they were not in the best shape. She got ahold of me and I gladly took them to mulch around the garden! Yippee!

The garden is all planted and I’m pretty excited to say that most of the plants look very happy and healthy! Starting everything from seed is a lot of work, but it does save money!

I’m still working on making more food from scratch at the house. Just last weekend the Mr. was frustrated because he claimed that we didn’t have anything to snack on. An hour later we have some super delicious homemade soft pretzels. Getting out of the habit of wanting instant food is hard. I’ll start trying to make more ahead of time. (Once my summer break starts!)

The garden is slowly starting to produce. That will help to take a small chunk out of our market budget!

And this has been my go to spot for relaxing when I get the chance. I love being home and most of the time at least one dog is curled up on the hammock with me. And that’s free entertainment. 😊

May wasn’t perfect, but the savings is continuing to grow. The house is getting paid off faster and faster. And, I’m hoping to continue working on spending less this year!

What’s growing! 4/14!

It has been so warm outside the past couple days! A gentle reminder that I will soon be up to my elbows in dirt, woodchips, compost and hard work.

Outside we have been planting what can go outside so far, and putting closures around it to keep the excessive amount of deer and rabbits from hurting the plants!

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Tiny blueberry bushes
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Nectarine tree

We also had to relocate the raspberry canes to keep them away from our chickens that could reach them! (And ate every single one!)

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Red raspberries! 
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Rhubarb is growing beautifully! 

And under the grow lights everything seems pretty happy too!

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Common milkweed
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Pepper plants 
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Cucumelon with its first real leaf! 
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All of the tomato seedlings are getting big! 
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Luffa gourd seedling 

And I am also grateful for the kind souls that surround me! From neighbors that always stop and chat it up about life that end the conversation by saying “have a blessed evening.” To others that always go by with a smile and a wave! And then people who share some seeds with me because they know how much I love to garden!

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I’m making room on the trellis for these! 

I’m 100% sure that I am exactly where I’m supposed to be and meeting people who teach me about being a better person. I hope that your seedlings are growing nicely and you’re getting excited about this gardening season!

Worker bee me last week!

Last week the Mr. was on late shift, so I decided to get some work accomplished around here! Everything from crafting to gardening!

Monday evening: hemmed pants and sewed patches on

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A lot of sewing! (And I really dislike hemming pants!) 

Tuesday: finished crocheting some baby chicks for Easter!

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Peeps! 

Wednesday: starting the cutting for the camper cushions and redecorated the chalkboard!

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So ready for spring! 

Thursday: the boy stamped our seed packets for the local seed swap and I started working on recovering all of those camper cushions!

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The seeds that we took to the swap! 

Friday: I finished recovering all of the cushions and they look beautiful!

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Easier than I thought it would be! 

Saturday: I took down all of the garden fencing and moved the compost bin to the chicken area!

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Bye bye fence! Hello garden expansion! 

Sunday: I started working on filling the pollinator hotel with knot weed and drilled fallen tree limbs.

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Pollinator hotel

I also started lots of herbs and flowers in the tiny greenhouse

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I hope that they grow well! 

I have some seeds in milk jugs to get started!

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Winter sowing some marigolds

And I hung out with my momma and went to the local seed swap! I donated 15 packs of seeds and brought home a few!

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Brought home zinnia, nasturtiums, bee food blend, birds egg beans and golden zucchini

And, we played uno almost every night!

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I ❤️ That the teen wants to play a game with me! 

And this week, I’m not feeling that ambitious! But, some exciting things are going to be happening in the weeks to come here at the homestead! We are definitely blooming where we are planted! 🌱💚

February update 2018

Hello March!! It definitely came in with crazy winds and some snow today! I am proud to say that we are getting a lot accomplished here!

1. Expand the garden- With the warm days last week, I was able to start taking down the fencing around the garden. It was a lot of work and I still have a lot more! But, that new area is going to looks great! (I hope!)

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A reminder of the plans! 

2. Fix the camper- The Mr.’s installed converter is working great! He also installed a new smoke detector and replaced the bulbs with leds. I made new curtains and he made a stove cover from some upcycked wood.

3.Travel out west- That camper is going to be making some trips this year! We have officially started reserving spots! We will be stopping at many Koa sites as well as mostly national parks!!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. I am stratifying 3 varieties of milkweed and gathered a bunch of my echinacea seeds. It’s going to be a mix of native plants and some non-native!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags. Just on March first, we had to take out our first bag! So, we are off to a good start!

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Yes, that’s some snow! 

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- Last month I learned how to crochet knitted knockers. They are a pillowy prosthesis for women who have had a mastectomy. And I attended a master gardener meeting and will be finishing my 40 hours to become official!

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Crocheted knitted knockers! 

And I signed up at the “be the match” program that matches you to patients that need marrow.

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7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- For Valentine’s Day, my Mr. upcycled some old  decking boards into a pollinator house! Now to add some bamboo and drilled wood!

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Pollinator house! 🐝🐞🐛🦋

8. Paw Paw trees- These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! I can’t wait to give it a try to grow them this year, and eventually (maybe) eat one!! The seeds were pulled from being cold stratified and now are in soil!

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Planted paw paw seeds! 

9. Build a pizza oven- this is the Mr.’s idea! He built his own Blacksmithing forge, so I’m sure he can do it! I’m definitely looking forward to having a delicious, out of the oven pizza! No real updates yet!

10. Grow different produce- I was able to pick up a majority of the seeds that I wanted online last month. And, I participated in a seed swap and got some Interesting varieties!!

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Dragon tongue beans, mayflower beans, flowering tobacco and so many more! 

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- It was a mixture of cold and warmer weather last month, but our electric bill was a whopping $0!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We will be doing some upcoming craft shows, but we won’t have any produce for sale for quite a while! However, we were able to harvest some honey (due to losing a hive) and will be using the money from the honey for some new bees!

Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all at the end of the year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Spinning honey and melting beeswax

Last weekend we spent a lot of time harvesting the honey from the hives that didn’t make it through the winter. It’s sad, but needed done.

It’s still so amazing how perfect those frames of honey are!

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Full deep frame of honey

We then use a knife to uncap all of the honey and put the frames in the spinner. We spin the fronts of the frames until cleaned out and then the backs. We have the boy spin the frames because that kid has way too much energy!

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Spinning away! 

Then, we pour the honey from the spinner into the double screened filter. This honey was super thick, so it took a long time to filter! The light spring honey flies through the filters!

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Filtering out the honey

After we allow it to settle in the bucket for a bit, we pour all of the honey into clean and sterilized jars.

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A nice honey harvest! 

And now for the beeswax cappings that we cut off of the frames. There’s still honey on them, so I clean them out really well by putting them in a thin muslin and run water through it until it runs dead. I leave them on the towel and let them dry out.

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The dry beeswax cappings

Then, I make a double boiler with water in the pot underneath and the cappings in the top pot. It takes a little while for it all to melt and it doesn’t exactly look like beeswax,

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Before melting (I think it looks like burger!) 
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During melting

This batch was pretty messy, but it doesn’t matter too much. I filter it through a nylon filter and pour it into a mold. (I just used an old creamer container!)

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We harvested about 8.5 ounces

If you need it filtered again, have at it! But, the Mr. is probably going to use this batch for Blacksmithing!

We definitely were weekend homesteading today! Keep blooming away friends!

Long weekend happenings!

Monday was called off due to the snow. With no school, I planned on getting to work around the house! On Saturday my momma let me know that the Mr. was on the front page of the newspaper. The roads were a mess Friday.

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That’s him on the right. (Everyone was ok, by the way) 

On the weekend I took our recycling plus all of the recycling from school to the recycling center. It closes around 3 everyday! I can only get there on the weekend.

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So many cereal bowls! 😢

While shopping for groceries, I found some butterfly weed! It’s a type of milkweed, so I’ll be starting that along with 2 other varieties soon!

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Milkweed! 

I have some nice blisters on my fingers from where I’ve been scrubbing all of the dried out birdhouse gourds! Then, we dye them and clear coat them! They are going to (hopefully) be sold at the next craft show!

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Birdhouse gourds! 
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I think this one is beautiful! 

On Monday, I was able to hang out with my mom for a while. There is not a day that goes by that I take for granted having her. She is literally the nicest person that I’ve ever been around. ❤️ Her so much!

Then, I sewed new curtains for the camper! (A whole update will be coming soon for the camper reno!)

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So much better than before! 

And I was also able to do my swab for the #bethematch bone marrow donation. I might not ever be matched, but I’m here for whoever does match!

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It’s all sent in! 

And, of course, we spent some time relaxing!

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Sherman with his boy! 

Before we know it the weekend will be here again and we will be working on getting more accomplished! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚