Over the past few evenings, we have been getting so frustrated with trying to trap a raccoon that has managed to eat 2 chickens and scare a third one. The chickens are on extreme lockdown right now.
But, this is just part of taking care and raising anything. It’s frustrating, breaks your brain while looking for a solution and makes you feel like a failure. Instead of focusing on the negative at hand, I decided to look for some things that are going right at the moment. So, here are a few rainbows among the storm:
Then, I spent the evening preserving some of the leftover produce from the sale on the weekend.
And this definitely made me feel better! This is a little before and now picture:
Anyone else dealing with garden or animal issues? Try to remember that while some things are bringing you down, there are still lots of successes out there! Keep blooming! 🌱💚
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.
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!
We decided to save some of both seeds.
We used a funnel to pour all of the popcorn into a mason jar to keep everything sealed up!
And here was how much we got for a very small patch!
And for the leftover cobs and husks, the chickens enjoyed looking for any kernels that we missed and kicked everything around!
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!
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 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.
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!!
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!!
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!!!
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!
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!
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!
How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? Keep blooming where you are planted!! 🌱💚
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!
2. Make a pollinator garden: I can say that we have definitely completed this challenge! So many different flowers!✔️
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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!!
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.
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
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!!
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!
And we also turned the last of the tomatoes into 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!)
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!
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!
I had all but given up on my cosmos flowers ever blooming this summer and I saw this today…
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!
The sweet potatoes have been putting up lots of beautiful flowers! And the bees are loving them!
It was such a productive weekend! Hopefully you all enjoyed your weekend!