Growing Popcorn

Last summer one new thing that we tried our green thumb on was popcorn. We grew 2 varieties: strawberry popcorn, on the right and a mixed color variety on the left.

We noticed right away the height difference between the 2 varieties! The strawberry popcorn was much shorter than the colored variety. It also seemed like the ears of corn developed faster on the strawberry variety.

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Popcorn stalks

I left the corn on the plant to dry as long as they could and when the cold weather started setting in, we pulled the cobs off and brought them in to dry out the rest of the way.

Just now, in January, we decided to shell the corn. At first, we tried to just use our fingers, and that was painful. And then we read where if you rub 2 cobs together, they will come off easier. That worked better with less cut up fingers!

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Our popcorn!

We decided to save some of both seeds.

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Some of the seeds for next year

We used a funnel to pour all of the popcorn into a mason jar to keep everything sealed up!

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Yep, that’s homework still on the table!

And here was how much we got for a very small patch!

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Our whole harvest! 

And for the leftover cobs and husks, the chickens enjoyed looking for any kernels that we missed and kicked everything around!

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A nice winter treat! 

Now on the the important part, did it pop?! It sure did! They might not be as large as the store bought, but the taste is much better!

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Popcorn! 

Next year I’m going to focus on the strawberry variety because they seemed to pop much better, and took up less room.

So, I consider this new crop to us a success! Does popcorn make your list for the 2018 garden? I’m going to stay under these covers and dream of the beautiful weather that will eventually come! 🌱💚

September goals update 2017

September was a month of colossal harvests, produce stands set up, still getting acquainted with my new students and working around our tiny homestead! Here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We have been eating a lot from the garden, which is great! Also, the ketchup that I made is amazing and we are loving not having to buy plastic bottles!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We got rid of some motorcycle helmets that we don’t use (and made a few bucks!) We found a scrapper to take our satellite dish! Oh, and we got rid of our home phone.

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. Still on bag 5, but it’s filling up fast.

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Still on bag 5! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. The Mr has been Blacksmithing up a storm this month!! All credit goes to him for working so hard!!

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Dinner bells
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Flower basket hooks
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Business card holder

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! We have big plans!!

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Expanded garden and planted cover crop! 

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 so many cucumelons! The popcorn is picked and drying in the basement and we are now successful at growing our own wine cap mushrooms. And you know what… they were the best mushrooms that I have ever had!


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!!!

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Whitey the chicken who is always running around! 

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! I also started a collection area for plastics bottles and k cups at work. Oh, and my students wrote to our mayor to try to get a recycling program here!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.39 mwh ! And our electric bill was less than $6 again! I’m interested to see how this goes with the cold months coming up!

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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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They are still finding flowers! 

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!

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It’s safely being stored in the garage! 

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

So much canning! (And fall garden prep!)

You’d think that mid- summer is the busiest time for gardeners. Not true! Im busiest in late summer and fall! It’s prepping, picking, and preserving all of that produce!

We had another sale yesterday! Only a few customers, but the rest of the produce was preserved for the winter months here!

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Another produce sale! 

The Mr.’s sister has an apple tree and doesn’t use the apples. So, we went and picked about a bushel of apples and made some yummy applesauce! And we have some leftover to turn into something else!

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A few apples left! 
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Making applesauce! 

I spent the majority of the day today making some chili sauce! That stuff is super labor intensive! It takes a ton of peeling and chopping of veggies to make! But, my Dad loves it, so I make it!

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Chili sauce! 

And just like every other Sunday morning, we are out of food for breakfast! So, I baked some zucchini cake using the last of our homegrown zucchini!

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There were 2, but it’s really good! 

The wheat and rye that I planted to help add fertilizer to the soil is growing fast!

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Future green manure! 

And now to leave off on a few beautiful things!

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A honeybee on my sunflower! 
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One of the adorable stray kitties around here! 

I hope that you had a productive weekend too! Keep blooming where you are planted!

Wednesday walk through the garden and lots of blooms! 9-6-17

The garden is starting to fizzle out, but we are still harvesting green beans, cucumbers, cucumelons and lots of tomatoes! I’m hoping to harvest a watermelon or 2 this season!

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Ripen quickly please! 

I’m not sure what this is growing out of the compost bin! It looks like a yellow zucchini, but it is vining like a pumpkin!

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we love our weird compost hybrids! 

We are also still getting peppers, so we will be making some Appalachian style chili sauce. My Dad loves it, so of course I’m going to make him some!

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peppers! 

The popcorn is a good bit taller than me and has tassels!

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popcorn!!!!

The pumpkin vines are dying off, but at least we are getting a few pumpkins!

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Pumpkins! 

The fall beets are growing right up out of the ground!

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we will be pickling beets! 

The sweet potatoes are growing all over the place! I can’t wait to see how much that we harvest this year!!

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sweet potato vines

And I’m pretty proud to share that we made some ketchup this year out of our own Roma tomatoes! We just used one of the Mrs. Wage’s seasoning packets!

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homemade ketchup!

And, there are lots of beautiful blooms still around for our pollinators!

September Progress update!

For the New Year, I set a list of goals. I decided to share the goals to keep me more accountable. And you know what?!?? It’s been working!

1. Begin beekeeping: The bees are looking great! And I was even able to get a great deal on some super boxes! I’m really hoping to get them all set for winter!

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2. Make a pollinator garden: I can say that we have definitely completed this challenge! So many different flowers!✔️

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Finally a cosmos!

3. Vacation somewhere different:(Now that the boy is getting older!) We weirdly enough didn’t take the boy, but we went to the Mother Earth news fair!

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Great time was had!

4. No new fashion in 2016: I know most females would freak out over this one! I didn’t get a single item, but I did get a new shirt for my birthday.

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Kinda my new favorite shirt!!

5. Reduce garbage: (Did you know the average American produces 4.4 lbs of garbage per day?!?!) Still better than most, but closer to 1 and a half!
6. Complete the 2016 in 2016 challenge: That means getting rid of 2016 things in our home this year! Didn’t quite get rid of enough items this month, but next month will be better!

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1,462 items outta here!

7. Finish the kitchen remodel: The mister painted the whole kitchen and put new outlet covers on! They looked super 80’s  before! Almost finished!

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Update from the 80’s!

8. Build an arbor and plant some grapes:(I’ve wanted to do this for years!) Almost there! Just some boards horizontally and we are finished!

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9. Expand the garden: We have definitely completed this for the year! We added on several raised beds and a three sisters garden! So we can give this a ✔️


10. Preserve more food: we took some of the grapes from our sweet neighbor and turned them into delicious grape jelly!!

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Grape jelly! 🍇

11. Organize the least organized place in the house, the garage: We cleared out garage stuff at a yard sale! Made some money and cleaned out the garage.

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Yard sale!

12. Treat my crafting more like a business: Only a few online sales, but also made a few sales to friends. Also, I have been working on Autumn Glory crafting

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Crocheted ball jar coozie!

13. Work on budgeting and paying down the house: We had a certain number that we were shooting for being at for the end of the year, and we are there already! So this goal is already a big ✔️!

Only 3 months to go, and we might just be able to pull this off! If you are weird like me, you might just be thinking about your 2017 goals!!

Last weekend of summer

We have crammed work into every second this weekend. I think that we might just be getting to the end of all the canning. We were able to can a bunch of grape jelly from the grapes that I got! It is seriously delicious!

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Grape jelly!

And we also turned the last of the tomatoes into pizza sauce!

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Pizza sauce!

While all of the sauce was cooking, I decided that we needed to use up the last of the apples and I made apple pie cake. (Notice my little bum that wanted some too!)

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Apple pie cake

I also was able, with help from the husband, to finish up the newest craft that I’ve been working on. It’s very zero waste! Glass ball jar with reusable stainless steel straw and reusable and eventually compostable coozie! Major win!

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My newest creation

I’m still getting a little bit out of the garden every couple days! I have harvested around 5 luffas at this point and I’m hoping that the others have time to dry out too!

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Today’s harvest

I had all but given up on my cosmos flowers ever blooming this summer and I saw this today…

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So beautiful!

We walked over to watch a piece of a triathlon that comes through our town. It’s the biking section and they have to bike up this crazy steep part that’s actually closed to traffic! We cheered for all of the bikers!

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Beautiful view!

The sweet potatoes have been putting up lots of beautiful flowers! And the bees are loving them!

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Honeybee on a sweet potato bloom

It was such a productive weekend! Hopefully you all enjoyed your weekend!

Walk through the garden 8/31

Slowly I see the summer slipping away. The tomato plants are slowing down and the pepper plants are too. I’m not sure how many more veggies that I will be harvesting. But tonight, it was still great!

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Great harvest!

I was pretty excited to find a friend policing the garden! With so many other bad bugs, it’s great to see some good ones!

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Praying mantis 

I am still shocked at how the butternut squash have taken off! We might just get one this year after all!

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Butternut squash

Finally the couple of loofahs that I planted in the garden are doing something!

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Finally a loofah!

And the loofahs around the fence are starting to get ready to be harvested! At first I was concerned that they were diseased or something! But, they eventually turn almost brown before harvesting!

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Getting closer to harvest! 

And due to the 13 pounds of tomatoes picked every couple days, we have been canning a lot of nights. Last night we worked on some pizza sauce and they all sealed!

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Pizza sauce! 

And im still making some hair ties to put in my etsy shop! So, I had my sleepy and totally non-resistant model Sherman try one on!

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What a pretty boy! 

Looking forward to a holiday weekend and probably the start of cleaning out the garden for a cover crop and lots of canning!