Tribute to my favorite gardener

This weekend was a difficult one for my family. My Granny was laid to rest and we all spent the weekend reminiscing about what an amazing lady she was.

She was the first gardener that I ever knew. She would work side by side with my Pap in the garden doing whatever needed done. They were quite the dynamic duo. Even after my Pap passed away, over 20 years ago, Granny continued planting her garden, making the best pickles around and canning her goodies. She was the one I asked so many questions to throughout  the garden season. She was my favorite garden guru.

Outside of gardening, she was an excellent seamstress, crocheter, knitter, first aid expert (you should see the scar on my eyebrow where she butterflied my eye lid back together!) and could even mushroom and ginseng hunt with the best of them!

I know that she was proud of everything that we do here at the Llewellyn Homestead, she told me herself. She always was so positive that we would be successful at anything that we tried hard at. If only everyone could have such an amazing support system in their family.

She grew sunflowers taller than our house! 🌻 

So, gardening will always be quite the reminder of the most amazing Grandma. Thanks for teaching me all about plants Granny!

January 2017 New Year Goals Update! 

January was a quick month! It had some beautiful days and we were able to get a lot accomplished around our tiny homestead! So, here’s the first month Update:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! Here’s the last post on what we already do:   This month we made some yogurt to get rid of those pesky plastic containers! 

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. We got rid of over 20 plastic storage containers. Well, we cleaned them out and they will be finding a new home! 

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! Good news is that we are still on bag number 1!!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. We were able to get our business number and create our logo! We are going to be at our first vendor show in March!! So we need to get moving on making crafts! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. (And continue preserving our harvest!) Hopefully this will happen before strawberry season! 🍓 

6. Expand the garden. We won’t be planting the grandparent’s garden this year, but we will be expanding our own garden! This will be happening in the spring! 

7. Grow some different plants. Last year I was so excited about the luffa gourds that I grew. I’ll be growing them again along with some other different plants. Cucamelons are definitely on the list! And now strawberry popcorn! It’s not strawberry at all, but definitely popcorn! 

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! But here’s a picture of some pretty eggs for now! 

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! We started a plastic film recycling program and it’s been pretty successful so far. We collected 14 pounds of plastic bags in one month. Also, my boss bought paper products, instead of plastic and styrofoam for a faculty breakfast! Baby steps!!

10. Track our solar panels. The panels were installed in December. It took FOREVER for the power company to turn on our meter! So, we used them for about a week in January. 

11. Continue beekeeping. We made it through our first year of beekeeping and we are hoping they overwinter well. They have been out taking cleansing flights on the pretty days! 

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 didn’t do much this month, but we have started planning our big summer trip! 

So, there you have it! January was not the best month, but turned out ok. Let’s go February! If you set goals, how are yours going?

Urban homestead kinda weekend

It’s hard not living on a big ol’ farm, but living the way we do. We constantly get people saying “but you live in town” or ” well you can’t have (filling the blank with whatever animal) at your house!” Which is totally true! But here’s the kicker, we are doing so much with what we have! Here are a few examples of things we did around here just this weekend!

I gave Izzy dog a nice solar powered fur cut! It was so sunny, so her clippers were being powered by the sun!

Beautiful girl! 

While gathering eggs I found our first Easter egger egg in the coop! She takes most of the winter off from egg laying!

Welcome back so egg laying! 

Next I threw some banana peels into the worm bin in the basement and realized I need to clean out the worm castings. Their 💩 is great plant food!

Garden gold! 

It has rained a lot here this winter, instead of snowing. So, the area around the coop was super muddy and gross. I got to haul more and more buckets of wood chips to their area. It looks so much better!

All cleaned up! 

At work Friday, these apples were being given away because they had some bad spots.

Beat up apples

At first, I was going to just chuck them in to the chickens. Instead, the chickens just got the bad spots and I made some yummy apple muffins! Zero waste breakfast tomorrow!

Apple muffins! 

Last night I realized I needed to make up some yogurt for lunches this week. I used 2% milk and it came out a little more runny, so I had to strain off the whey to thicken it up. It’s delicious!

More homemade yogurt

And between all that I was able to craft up a ton of items! I got an order for 60 white beaded bracelets! I’m half way there already!

Loads of craftiness! 

And of course I played some uno with the boy, visited family and even got to see my beautiful little niece smiling so big. Made my ❤️ so happy! And of course this makes me smile as well:

Sherman! Our crazy boy! 

Seriously, whose dog sits like that? Our crazy pup!

This month has flown bye and I can’t wait to update you all on our progress around the homestead! Have a great week!

Pretty great day! 

To many, today was just an ordinary Tuesday, but to me it was remarkable! It started out with a 2 hour delay. When you’re a teacher, that’s a pretty great start to your day! While sitting here for a longer morning, the power company finally came to hook up our new meter for the solar panels! They are finally up and running! 

Solar power at work!

Then, we got the final format for our new homestead logo and we love, love, love it! It’s going to look great at craft shows with all of our products! 

Our logo!

Then after working a much shorter day, I had one of those dinners where I was able to help create less waste and use up food that was on it’s way to going bad. We made chicken salads, croutons from clearance bread and made chicken stock from the leftovers and will make some chicken noodle soup later in the week! 

At the end of the evening I spent it crocheting some chicken hotpads and adding the labels with our new logo! 

100% cotton crocheted hotpads

By the way, those are for sale on my Etsy shop: 

So maybe it doesn’t take much for me to be excited, but I am really looking forward to our new business venture! 

Here’s to more regular days turning extraordinary! 

DIY Vanilla crockpot yogurt

Here lately I have been looking for ways to reduce our waste even more. The boy loves to eat yogurt. He takes one in his lunch most days. So, the problems are: 1. We really don’t know about all of those ingredients 2. We can’t recycle those cups in this area. 3. I don’t want to buy a yogurt making contraption!

Here is the list of ingredients for this super delicious vanilla yogurt that is picky kid approved and can be make in your crockpot:

1/2 gallon of whole milk, container of yogurt (to use as a starter), regular white sugar (some say you can use honey), Vanilla extract and a crockpot.

The ingredients

Step 1: put the whole half gallon of milk in the crockpot and turn it on low for 3 hours (yes, this will take lots of time!)

Step 2: unplug the crockpot and spoon 1 cup of the warm milk into a bowl with a half cup of the store bought yogurt. Whisk  it together and then whisk it back into the crockpot.

Make sure your yogurt has live cultures

Step 3: whisk in the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 Tbsp of vanilla into the crockpot. Then grab a couple towels and wrap them around the crockpot.

Bundle up that crockpot!

Step 4: Let it sit this way, still unplugged and wrapped in towels for about 9 hours. (The longer it sits, the tangier it gets. I don’t like weird tang!)

Just about finished!

Step 5: I used it as is, but thought it was a little thin. So then, I should have used cheesecloth to strain it, but I used coffee filters. Go with the cheesecloth to strain faster. It takes about 3 hours to strain over a bowl with a cheesecloth lined collender.

Straining away

Step 6: package it up in some nice ball jars and store it for about 2 weeks. I highly doubt it will last that long.

How much I had before straining!

And the picky boy’s review: he claims it’s better than the yocrunch that he loves! I know, candy in yogurt, ugh!

The boy’s snack!

I like mine with fresh fruit and the hubby likes his with some coconut.

Don’t be like me and time it out horribly and be up after midnight on a Sunday trying to put the yogurt in the jars. Be smarter! The next time I will start the whole process at 8pm and then let the crockpot sit at 11pm to be ready at 8am the next morning! It takes about 12 hours altogether!

I’m going to give this a try with 2% milk and post an update! I’ll keep you posted!

Same old, same old!

You read that right! Same old things! We are enjoying the quiet days of winter, enjoying our harvest that were preserved from the summer and dreaming of summer! The mister surprised me with some popcorn seeds! I can’t wait to give that a try this summer in the garden! 

Strawberry popcorn

When the evenings are cold and I need a friend, old Sherman dog has no problem cuddling up! He’s such a sweet pup! 

Our cuddly pooch

And of course I have been spending time working on combining my crafting and homestead! I’m working on getting a custom logo made! It’s a load of work getting a business going!

I also picked up some super amazing vintage style fabric for some aprons. Then, I finally cleaned up my nightmare of a craft room. The holidays kind of turned it into a mess! 

Future aprons!
So nice and clean!!
Yogurt making!

I ended the weekend with some yogurt making! It turned out pretty yummy and I’ll do a whole post just on making this yumminess! Have a fantastic week! 

Homemade brown sugar

I’m still on my quest of creating less waste! I try to bake a lot at home, so I use brown sugar in many recipes. Unfortunately, it comes in a plastic bag that turns rock hard in no time. Turns out, it’s crazy easy to make! So, here ya go!

Materials: Molasses, regular white sugar, bowl, measuring cups and spoons and storage container

2 main ingredients

Step 1: measure out 1 cup of white sugar

1 cup white sugar

Step 2: add in 1 Tablespoon of molasses (it’s quite sticky!) for light brown sugar lie I made or 2 Tbsp. For dark brown sugar

1 Tbsp molasses 

Step 3: I started with trying to stir with a spoon, but it just didn’t mix easily. So, I used my hands and made quick work of it!

Mix it up! 

Step 4: store in a tight sealing container!

Beautiful brown sugar! 

That’s it!! All done!

I waited a couple weeks to post about this because I didn’t want to recommend something that turned rock hard over night. And this does not!! It’s 3 weeks later and it is just as soft today as the day I made it! I’m thinking that this is cost effective as well! So, enjoy making some fresh brown sugar!