March to May Goals Update

So, I haven’t been updating in a really long time! My momma was in the hospital for all of April. It was scary times for sure. It’s like life was the same every single day! But, goals are still being worked on and checked off!

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– We spent a nice chunk of quarantine decluttering. We majorly cleaned out the garage. We cleaned out closets and even gave away the teen’s bike that he’s too big for. It’s been great knowing that so many are getting things that they want and we are getting rid of clutter!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I made several seed giveaways, since seeds were hard to find. I also made face masks for sooo many people. I’m so tired of sewing them!

Seed share at the master gardener little free library! (We had one in our little free library too!)
I’m sure that I made well over 100 masks! And then some surgical hats too!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have planted out the backyard garden, the big garden and pollinator garden! Everything is growing!

The big garden
Pollinator garden
Backyard garden

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I mainly spent my time making masks! The two guys in the house built our new patio area and the Mr. blacksmithed a kindling cutter and wood rack.

For chopping kindling
(And he put a new handle on that hatchet too!)
Firewood rack (with some of my old derby wheels!)
New patio area! (I love that I can see my boy’s fingerprints all through it!)

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. Oh my! This is hard to achieve over quarantine times! We did take a couple little trips out hiking locally! Great times!

Rocky Gap
Dan’s Rock

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Overall, goals are still being checked off. I hope that you all are staying healthy and happy! Let me know what you’re growing at your place and if you’re still accomplishing goals!

Keep blooming! 🌸🌱💚❤️

Weekend walk through the garden 6/14/20

Hello all! I have been gone for a little while! I have been teaching from home and basically hibernating. But, I have still been planting tons of plants in hopes of harvesting lots of food! So, I figured that I would show how well some of the plants are doing!

Zucchini
Little Roma tomato
Ground cherries
Chili pepper
Delicata squash
Onion!
Blueberries
Tiny box turtle by the garden (eating a worm!)

It’s been a weird time, but we are still growing lots of food, and even have a goal of harvesting 500 pounds of food from our less than an acre! So far, we have a long way to go!

Keep blooming friends, even through 2020!

Exciting project and walk through the garden Wednesday!

Are you having a seed shortage where you live too? It’s hard to find anything that you may want to grow! I’m so lucky that I got my seeds early! But, I decided to share lots of my seeds in my little free library! It’s like a seed share!

I have organized it, so that hopefully people can find what they are looking for!
It’s out there chilling with the books!

I’m really hoping that it is used and that people are able to grow some of their own yummy food!

I also decided to walk through the greenhouse and gardens and get a few pictures of what’s growing so far!

Potatoes popping up! (And I saved the seed potatoes from what I grew last year!)
The onions are happy!
My first strawberry bloom!
Lots of seedlings slowly growing in the greenhouse!
And I just love the beautiful redbud tree! (and I can’t wait until the garden isn’t so naked!)

I need to start the melons in the next weeks and then lastly the squashes! It’s getting to be my busy time of year! Happy gardening and keep blooming! 🌱🌼❤️

The start of the garden!

This year I decided that I would sprout the seeds that I was growing first to make sure that they were viable. It has been working out well!

Luffa seeds
Luffas now out of the soil.

I have been busy planting and preparing the beds on the pretty days. So far, I was able to plant some onion sets, radishes, beets, lettuce and peas. Hopefully they do well!

One of the raised bed gardens!

The leaf lettuce self seeded and I’m luck to have a few heads growing right by the garlic. I also have some Swiss chad that is regrowing!

Swiss chard (ever bearing spinach)
Leaf lettuce regrowing.

I also found some extra tiny gourds that fell off of the vine and were dried in the garden over the winter!

Tiny dancing gourds! (Egg for scale!)

Hopefully everyone is staying healthy and trying to enjoy time with their families! Keep blooming through all the craziness!

Rebooting the Victory Garden

A quick history lesson on the Victory Garden: Citizens were first encouraged to turn yards and vacant lands into food producing gardens in 1917 and they were called “war gardens.” During WW2, they were called “victory gardens” and they were a way to get people at home to help contribute to the wartime effort by increasing the food needed in the states. The country encouraged citizens (especially women) to grow gardens by putting advertisements in magazines and distributed pamphlets.

One of my favorites!

Now on with today: With everyone noticing the extreme shortages when they go to the store, I think now is a great time to bring back growing more of your own food! In 1943 there were 20 million victory gardens and they produced 40% of their own vegetables! Even just a raised bed could help give anyone some greens to eat! Last year, I decided to turn my yard into more of a garden.

What my garden looked like last spring!
Then we transformed it into more garden!

I loved that through gardening, morale was boosted and gardening was promoted as a family activity and good recreation! It was also noted that many Americans were eating better than they had before the war. (And I’m sure that the fresh food tasted much better!) Maybe it will be said that Americans started eating better again after the Coronavirus.

My garden last year!

Another success in victory gardens was that community committees were formed to help newcomers. They would share resources and discuss ways to deal with pests and diseases. They were guided on succession planting and how to get the best yield from their gardens. Neighbors helping neighbors! Great idea!

So, I would love to see a reboot. So perhaps we could have, Victory Gardens 2.0! Make it a year to plant something, even just one tomato plant or a tiny bed of lettuce greens! And, if you need some assistance, I’ll do my best! So “grow vitamins at your kitchen door!” And as always keep blooming where you are planted! Especially if you are quarantined there! 😊🌸❤️

Propagating plants! Indoor plant living!

It’s still too cold to do much outside, plant-wise. However, I’m working on propagating tons of plants around here!

First up, the African Violet! I have to start with a backstory! My mom loved growing them when I was a kid. However, she was raising 3 kids who played way too rough in the house. Therefore, they rarely survived after falling off of the shelf daily! So, here I am as an adult cutting off leaves, and watching them grow into beautiful little plants. The universe is strange! And I’m sorry Mom!😆

African violet a couple months after putting the leaf in soil
Those little baby leaves!! ❤️

I also still have my little succulent gourd planter growing from propagated pieces of my plants! You just shove the little “leaves” into the soil and let them root!

They all seem happy. So far!

My mom gave me a basket of all kinds of indoor plants. So, I clipped off the end of the pothos and made lots of little baby plants!

Pothos growing roots in water! Grow babies grow!
Little roots!!!

I also clipped off the top of the dragon plant and hopefully it will reroot! And, I divided the beautiful rattlesnake plant! (It took me a while to identify what those plants are!)

Dragon plant cutting in water!
I love the leaves on this beautiful rattlesnake plant!

I officially was put on break from school due to the Coronavirus. So, I guess I will be chilling here with my plants and family. I’m hoping to get some seeds started and get into the garden. Anyone else off work for who knows how long?!

February Goals Update 2020!

Goodbye February and hello March! We are continuing to chip away at our goals and here’s how they are going:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– We cleared out so much last month! The teen cleaned out his closet and dresser. (Turns out he has grown even more!) And I cleared out pointless decor, cleaned cabinets and even started on the garage. Busy!!

I got rid of over 500 things!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– The mail in seed swap went pretty well! We had about a dozen people participate. And, I’m in the process of helping to create a free seed library here in town and an Earth Day clean up!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have winter sowed a bunch of native seeds so far and only have one more to add to that mix! I also just started my peppers! The tomatoes and luffa will be starting in March!

These are all happily enjoying the cold temps outside!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I finished the second row in February! My favorite is the one that looks larger. So many bees!

Pollinator quilt!
I also made a delicious apple pie! (Just thought I’d show that off!)

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. Last month there weren’t any teacher of the year trips. We did take mom to a few doctor appointments in Baltimore, and we made the best of it! We also enjoyed going on a nice hike. We saw a little beaver, so that was awesome!

A little local like!

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Hopefully in March we can get more plants growing and really start working on the garden!

Keep blooming! 🌸🌱💚❤️

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Warm weekend, work and another plan!

This weekend we were lucky to have some beautiful weather close to the sixties! It definitely made me start getting more excited about what I’m growing this year and it has me checking out the flowers that are coming back!

Hairy mountain mint coming up!
Green headed coneflower
Sedum sprouting!
And I have no idea where that pollen is coming from!

On Saturday I was able to meet a friend for some coffee at the local place, pick up their coffee grounds to compost, ride my electric bike to tutor a student at the library. I also started my native seeds and peppers!

Those need a 30 day cold stratification. (Plus the peppers are in a warm spot in the house!

I also was working on my next idea that I’m hoping to get moving! I’d love to be able to get a seed library for our town’s library. So, I crafted some emails for the director of the library system and our local master garden coordinator to persuade them!

I love this one that is located in Talbot county! And they have answered a few of my questions about it!

I’m looking forward to hearing a response back! While I’m waiting, I’m going to enjoy planning all of my growing spaces and working on my quilt!

Have a great week and keep blooming! 🌸❤️

We’re Debt Free!

Our secret goal that we’ve been working towards!

I have to start with our backstory! This wasn’t a quick journey or one that was just started without much thought.

Rewind way back to 2005. We started our year off by having a beautiful baby boy. I had just graduated college (with some debt) and didn’t have a job. The Mr. was working and bringing in a decent income. However, we were barely making ends meet and babies are expensive.

Fast forward to the end of 2005, my beautiful and healthy 25 year old sister passed away very I expectedly. She was so close to really getting to the good part of life. She had just landed a better job. She had a great boyfriend and was starting to make some money. But, life just ended.

Still in 2005, my mom was battling 2 types of cancer, bills are crazy with those treatments and money was tight. (Hang in there, I’m getting to where our debt free journey begins, but these experiences definitely have altered my thinking.)

Moving on up 10 years. I finally heard of Dave Ramsey, money envelopes and a debt snowball. We had lots of bills and not a lot of savings. We brought our nest egg up a bit, and achieved our first big financial goal. We paid off my car!

Now we are up to March of 2015. We still have quite a mortgage and a truck payment, but the debt snowball was rolling. We tracked our money and budgeted like we should have been for a long time. And finally started writing everything down.

Our repurposed financial notebook

We started paying down the truck by making double payments (since we were used to paying the car payment, we just continued putting that amount towards the truck) and finally got that beast paid off in February of 2018. Yay! All that was left was the mortgage and the solar panels. So, we started making extra payments on the panels (we put what we used to pay for the truck and car towards the panels) and by May 2019, those were paid for!

And last, but not least is the house. We had been putting any extra money that we had towards the mortgage. It had been getting paid down a little at a time. From May until now, we have been paying every extra bit towards the house. And here we are in February of 2019, and we just paid off the house.

Here we are in 2019 debt free. I’m not even 40 yet, so now I question how much longer I will continue to work. I enjoy teaching, but I also enjoy spending lots of time with family, sewing, growing food and spreading my love for the environment.

I’ll end by saying that I didn’t share our story to be braggers. We live in a much different way than most. We don’t drive new cars, have the newest of anything, eat out often, live in a high end neighborhood or go on amazing vacations. I’m proud that we decided to achieve this before we were old.

The take away is that anyone can do this with time and dedication. Your journey might be longer or shorter. I acknowledge that we are blessed with good jobs (teacher and trooper), but we did not come from money. We are very proud of our accomplishment!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸❤️

Homestead-y week for winter

Sometimes it’s hard to have too much to post on here in winter. Nothing is really growing, other than the indoor plants. Absolutely nothing is being harvested and some days it feels like winter will be lasting forever!

It looks like fog, but it’s snow!

I am hosting a little local seed swap and I love seeing the varieties that are coming in!

So many great varieties!

I turned the huge pumpkin compost last weekend, and that beast is becoming one hot compost! I’m weirdly proud that there weren’t any chunks of pumpkin in there anymore. And look at that temperature!

Hot composting! 130 degrees!

On the cold days, I have been spending some evenings working on quilt number 2. The second row is finished!

I love that square with lots of bees! 🐝

And, I’m still turning those Dickinson pumpkins that I grew into some pumpkin pie! They make the most beautiful colored purée that I’ve ever seen!

Pumpkin to purée to pie and extra to chickens!

It’s nice seeing the bees flying around on the pretty days.

And I’m not going to lie, I’m still enjoying relaxing with my Sherman dog.

He is seriously the most snuggly pup I have ever had. I hope that you are staying warm and attempting to enjoy this cold season!

Keep blooming, even in the winter!