April 2017 Goals Update!

Goodbye April and hello May! Do you know what I love about May? Everything! School is almost over, plants are slowly making their way outside and the warmth!  Yay!! This is how my goals are going so far:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! I’ve created a variety of reusable make up removers and I’m going to have to write all about how I made my own sour dough starter!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the garage and it looks amazing!

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! The picture on the left is everything that we cleaned up around the neighborhood. And on the right is the same picture from last month. We are still in bag number 2!!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended an art walk locally and it was amazing! I met so many interesting people and heard so many nice comments on my products! Great day!!

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Check out our new banner!!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. I finally got the cooktop moved to the right spot in the garage. Now all I need to do is get my dad to run the electric to it! He’s amazing!

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Future summer kitchen!

6. Expand the garden. We have been able to expand the garden along the fence and we are looking forward to planting some luffa along there too!

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Expanded area!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! Along with cucumelons, my fellow gardening friend gave me some Egyptian walking onions!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. We are hoping to make a nice seated area in the spring! And now we will have some adorable quail over there too!

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They grew up so fast!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film and I’m still working on collecting magazines to recycle.

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached around 1.5 megawatts! We are loving these longer days!

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April was a beautiful month!!

11. Continue beekeeping. Not too much to say here! The bees are doing their thing and I separated out a queen cell and some workers into a new hive. I was supposed to get a new hive, but the company hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

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Fun with bees!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went to Williamsburg, VA over Easter break and loved the history! (And gardens!)

If you set goals, how are yours going?

Friday Funday (well, my version of fun!)

Don’t expect to read about something crazy amazing, like winning the lottery or taking a once in a lifetime trip. Nope, just what’s going on now that the weather is beautiful!

The bees have been buzzing around doing bee things! And I officially have tiny green strawberries and loads of blooms!

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Strawberry blooms

And although I don’t like creepy staged pictures where it looks like life is just perfect, I had eggs in my hands and these flowers were growing in my garden… so, I used the opportunity for a cute “L” photo!

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L for Llewellyn! 

And the arugula, leaf lettuce and spinach in the old wagon are growing!

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Salad wagon

I spent the evening hilling potatoes, checking on seedlings and finally moving the quail into their outdoor home!

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Quail dust bathing! 

And just when you think the day can’t get much better, I got to meet up with an old friend and barter some sweet potato slips and luffa plants for some onions and pepper plants!

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Best gift ever! 

And I didn’t even mention that our solar panels are loving these long, sunny days!

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75 KWh!

Today was a great day and tomorrow I will be at a local arts walk selling (hopefully) some of my craftiness! Have a great weekend!

Earth Day Weekend! 

The boy and I waited most of the morning to go pick up litter around the neighborhood because of the downpour. But, wouldn’t you know that it rained all day, so we just went out in it anyway. 2 hours of picking up garbage! I figured it was some good volunteering for both of us! And we finally took care of a cushion that has been on the street for a month! 

10 cents the boy found!
Garbage from 2 streets!

Would you believe that these were the most commonly found items: cigarette butts, styrofoam McDonald’s cups, plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.

After viewing all that waste, I spent the afternoon/evening working on ecofriendly crafts! 

Reusable makeup cloths
I think they turned out pretty awesome! I’m hoping others will too! 

And the mister used his blacksmithing skills to make some railroad spike gardening trowels. These are basically indestructible! 

Blacksmithed garden trowel

I was also able to check in on the honeybee hive I split and almost got stung because they are doing just fine! And then cleaned the chicken coop and planted my assorted onions. 

Onion sets!

And of course I put them in the ground in a sequence. It went yellow onion, white onion, purple onion for all 100. Do other people do weird things like that? Probably not. Ha! 

I checked in on the baby quail that are not babies anymore! They are so easy to tell a male from a female. The females have dots on their chest and males don’t. They are both beautiful birds! 

Male on left, female on right
Great solar day!

And check out that solar day that we had on  Sunday! Beautiful day! 

I have a lot to get accomplished for the weekend with a craft show and the end of the month! Enjoy your week! 

Walk through the garden 4/19/17

Could it be?!?! Our first Wednesday walk through the garden of 2017. Even though not much is going on until the end of May (our last frost date), we can see the start of a great gardening season!

The garlic is growing nicely! And I just added some compost around them to help feed them a touch

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Garlic growing! 

The onions and strawberries growing in the raised bed are coming along!

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Onions! 
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Strawberry blooms! 

And I was pretty shocked to see that some of my potatoes have made their way above the soil already!

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Potato plant! 

My Granny’s rhubarb is looking great!

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Rhubarb! 

I really thought that since the grape vines didn’t really grow last year well, that they wouldn’t come back. But look at how healthy it looks:

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Grape vines! 

And the mister had taken the wheels off of an old wagon that was falling apart years ago. Well, I decide to use it for a salad garden. In it I have arugula, lettuce and spinach.

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Salad wagon! 

The boy was beyond delighted to find some frog or toad eggs in the tiny pond (puddle) above the garden:

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🐸 eggs! 

I will leave you with a picture of me splitting my hive, since I found a pretty nice capped queen cup. I got the future majesty and some nurse bees to move into a new box. (this was a first and I’m hoping it turns out well!)

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Splitting the hive! 

I hope that you are seeing lots of signs of Spring where you live!

Spring trip to Williamsburg Va.!

So it’s no secret that our boy loves history of any kind. So when he saw a commercial for Colonial Williamsburg last year, he claimed he needed to go there.

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We walked over from the visitor center

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The walk over was delightful! Only about 1/3 of a mile and it there were sights along the way to see.

While there, the boy loved looking at the buildings, touring the different tradesman shops and of course buying himself a souvenir.

Then, of course, we had to stay a little extra longer at the blacksmith shop. While there I got to hear the mister tell me all about some of the tools there that he could really use! Surprisingly the boy wasn’t that impressed with the blacksmith, since he watches his dad do this work quite frequently!

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Blacksmith at work

Now for my favorite part: the GARDENS!! There were several, and more was planted than I expected!

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Mounds of ??

Most plants were labeled, but some were not. I could figure out most of the plants!

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Beautiful flowers and radishes
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I believe these were kale!
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Beautiful arbor and raised beds
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Love this trellis tunnel!
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Swiss chard and love those greenhouses
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I need those cold frames!

Then there was a little garden store right beside the garden that was selling all kinds of pots and plants and garden items.  Here is the item that the mister needs to start making:

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Garden trowel

I would love to have a nice trowel not made of plastic with a handle that won’t break off! These puppies were about $50, so I’ll just keep begging for one to be made for me!

Overall it was a nice trip! I wish that we could have spent more time there and visited Yorktown and Jamestown, but we needed to be back home for Easter!

Easter break time!!

I have been quiet here on the blog lately! When I’m not working outside on these beautiful nights, I have been sewing lots of orders and prepping for craft shows!

I’ll share a few projects that I finished up:

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Hooded towel

And I crocheted this 100% cotton bath pouf:

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Cotton bath pouf

Now as for gardening, the mister and I are expanding the garden space along the fence line! The fence will be filled with luffa gourds soon! (Hopefully!)

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New garden area

The plants under the grow lights are enjoying their life! They are growing quickly and will soon be ready for life outdoors!

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Cucumelon plants! 

The mister tilled the garden over the weekend! And, I was able to even plant the potatoes and beets. Hopefully they will start growing soon!

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Tilled garden!

The strawberry plants are growing fast and they are even blooming! We are already dreaming of all the delicious strawberry jam coming our way!

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Strawberries!

This week I have been trying my hand at making my own sourdough starter. So far, only a few bubbles. If all goes well, I’ll post how this works out!

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Sourdough starter starting!

This weekend we have some fun ideas and are looking forward to spending time with family! If you celebrate Easter, enjoy it! 😊

April needs to get it together!

How in the world can it go from 70 degrees and beautiful to snowflakes and 30 degrees? That’s part of living in the mountains! Here’s how beautiful it was earlier in the week!

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Beautiful day! 

I was able to check in on my hive and the bees were more calm than they were last time I was in there! Thank goodness!

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Getting the smoker ready! 

The plants under the grow light are all doing great! So far I have luffa gourds, Roma and slicing tomatoes and cucumelons. The peppers always take forever to germinate!

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Seedlings! 

Earlier in the week I went to see an orthodontist. My teeth have always been crooked and I’m so tired of them! So, it might cost me a small fortune, but I’m getting them fixed! While I was out, I stopped in the only bulk store near here and picked up some bulk Castile soap and popcorn!

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Bulk shopping! 

I used that soap to mix with thieves oil and make my own cleaner. I’ve made my own cleaner for years, but I’m loving the thieves oil’s smell! It makes my whole house smell so clean!!!

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Homemade cleaner! 

And those baby quail are growing up! They are all getting their big bird feathers. I must admit that these baby birds are so fragile!

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Baby quail

I’m going to be spending my weekend cleaning, sewing and getting orders finished! Hope everyone has a productive weekend!