Over the Spring and Summer, we grow so much around here! I loved sharing about how much we enjoyed the wildlife habitat area that we created: Here and I thought I’d do a garden review as well!
If you look behind me, my 2017 garden wasn’t huge. It was pretty small, but I learned so much in there! Especially how to build soil when you have basically all clay!
So, in the Spring we decided to basically double the size of the garden, which meant lots more fencing! (We have a huge population of deer!)
After putting up a lot of t posts, thank you again Mr!, we also installed some doors that we repurposed!
And, we cut down a trailer load of bamboo from a friend’s house and turned them into trellises to promote the bees to fly over your head, if you are in the garden. (That worked beautifully!)
And now the garden came right up to the chicken run! That was beneficial for when I found veggies that were too far gone for us, I could just toss them over to the chickens! And, they would sit right by that fence when I was picking Japanese beetles off of my green beans and would eat every one I gave them!
After all of the trellises were made, we pulled some weeds, but decided to just put down a deeper mulch and that really cut back on the weeds. We put any grass clippings that we had, plus begged for other clippings and they smothered out most of the weeds.
I made a thick mulch walkway that lasted the whole season, and kept visitors from compacting soil or stepping on veggies!
And in the pictures below, you can see how much all of the grass clippings and mulch helped to keep the weeds away! (they decomposed so quickly! I was shocked by that!) But no bare soil seemed to keep the plants happier!
Overall, for a first year garden on most of that soil, I’m pretty impressed with how well everything grew, especially since it rained almost every single day! I have even more plans for the 2019 garden!
So, what are you all planning on growing next year? Any different varieties? I need to organize my seeds better to find out what all I have!
You read that title correctly! I get told the same very strange statement all of the time! “Your Poor Husband!!” This is usually in response to me telling people what we do a little differently at home! Here are a few examples:
We are a dynamic duo! While I know that I am very driven to make the world a greener place, I would never make someone do anything that is out of their comfort zone. He is totally on board with our journey and often chuckles when I start a sentence with “hey, I have an idea…”
You don’t stay married these days for 15 years when you are not moving along life in the same path! Thank you Mr. for helping my dreams come true and for always embracing my crazy ideas! You are the best of the best!
It turns out that not spending money blows people’s minds. They have no idea how staying home, making meals here and avoiding purchases would be possible. But, here we are, chilling out the house, shopping thrift stores and very rarely eating out. Recently I had to go to Kohl’s to buy my long legged 13 year old dress pants and we both did not enjoy shopping. It was foreign to us, but I had a gift card to use on those pants! And, they cost us $0 using that gift card!
So, we have been spending some money on our crafting. I’ve been using what I already have, but also creating new things like our honey suckers. It allows us to give lots of Christmas presents that are homemade and make money on the extras! I can use some of that earned money on the few gifts that we are purchasing!
Other than spending lots of time crafting, I have also been composting pumpkins like it’s my job! Why?! Because this will become garden food for the gardens and will help us produce lots of food! So, that’s well worth our time!
I unfortunately ripped a huge hole in my favorite jeans when picking up pumpkins. I’m going to do my best to find a pair second hand, but at least I have a second backup pair. And, I’m going to try to fix my original pair!
And checkout this awesome vest that was on the free table at school! I love finds like this:
Although the picture below looks like I eat alone, that never happens. I just took the picture before anyone joined me! But anyway, packing a lunch saves a ton of money! Plus, I swear leftovers taste better the next day!
This year for Christmas we are focusing on spending time with people instead of overspending. I love that my parents and brother don’t have to stress about buying gifts for each other. We get the kids something practical and spend more time together!
And, we decided to not buy wrapping paper and have been using my parent’s newspaper instead! And it can even be recycled afterwards!
We are slowly paying off our solar panel loan and our mortgage might just be paid off in less than 2 years! I can’t even imagine being debt free by 40, but it might just happen!
Do you have some financial goals? We started with paying off small debts and working that debt snowball towards our larger debts. Don’t let a setback make you give up! Keep pushing forward!
This summer I really wanted to learn more about composting, in order to be able to be more knowledgeable for our school program. Also, I wanted my son to learn more about real work ethic! So, a neighborhood composting service was created!
We started by finding people who were willing to save their compostables and then we found lots of free buckets!
We started with almost 10 customers and most needed some information on what could go in the bucket! So, the boy gave information sheets in the first bucket.
The buckets were lined with newspaper for easier cleaning and to add some browns to the large amount of greens that we collected. We picked up the buckets weekly and returned a clean bucket. We also weighed the buckets to keep track of the amount we collected.
We picked up a few and lost a few customers over the summer, but he managed to continue without complaining once!
We primarily used the compost tumbler and that turned out the compost the fastest. But, we also had a bin over by the chicken area that they loved digging through.
We were also able to snag around 100 pounds of coffee grounds from a local coffee shop! We saw on Facebook that they had plenty to share.
The compost started to accumulate and we are looking forward to having a lot of garden food for next season!
So eventually we made it a goal to collect 1,000 pounds before the break in our program for the winter. And guess what…
We actually hit our goal! I’m proud of our boy for working so hard, and appreciate all of his customers willingness to give! I was so impressed with his knowledge and hearing him show confidence when talking to his customers. I can proudly say he knows more about composting than most adults! And his mom’s love for this beautiful planet is rubbing off on him! 💙💚
So, will we do it again next summer? I think so, as long as people are still interested!
Hello to the last month of the year! November was filled with lots of good deeds, celebrating Thanksgiving with family, collecting compostables and working on homemade presents!
Now on to the goals:
1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! It has been cleaned out and now I am working on making lots of compost to feed the soil! I loved the layout of it this year!
2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! I catch myself thinking about the fun that we had this summer often!
3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! I loved hiking the trails and still think about how we packed a lunch, went on a long hike and then ate our lunch while watching buffalo and wild horses in the distance! 🌏💚
**and we have ideas on where to travel in 2019**
4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature. So, we did! Read about how much we loved it herehttps://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2018/11/11/so-whats-so-great-about-our-certified-wildlife-habitat/
5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are up to 5, but the Mr. didn’t take a picture!
6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I enjoyed playing in a fundraiser basketball game, dressed as the grinch for our Christmas tree lighting and helped to decorate the town. And, we did a street cleaning on a nice day too! (This goal has been my favorite this year! I have enjoyed spreading the good!)
7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- Just yesterday I got to see what my husband has been working on! He turned some scrap metal into a broad fork! I have been wanting one of these for a long time! He is amazing!
8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are now dormant! I’m hoping that they come back next year!
9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year! (We have an interesting plan for next year!)
10. Grow different produce- ✅We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I am hoping to give another big try to ground cherries!
11. Continue tracking the solar panels- November brought about a foot of snow all at once. That left our panels covered and producing no power for about 1 week! And it rained a lot too! However, we still had no bill this month!
12. Work on garden cart sales- We will be at a craft show next weekend and I’m looking forward to taking some of the crayon wallets that I made! (plus everything else!)
We really enjoy setting goals, even when they all aren’t achieved!
Are you thinking about next year yet? Anything that you think we should give a try to? I only keep a running list when ideas pop into my head on my phone! (It has 35 ideas! 😳)
Keep blooming friends!!
Thanksgiving was a nice break so far! Prior to the break, I’m still trying to volunteer around here as much as I can. I was able to decorate many businesses with student-made artwork thanks to the wonderful teachers who I work with!
I was also asked to play in a fundraiser basketball game against the Harlem Wizards, and of course I did! It was such a fun night and those fellows are entertainers!
Then, when I found out that the town needed a grinch for the Christmas tree lighting, I said absolutely! It was fun playing a character for the evening!
Our pumpkin gathering is going pretty well! We have been chopping pumpkins, feeding them to chickens and composting so many! We are up to 97 so far!
To add to all of the pumpkins, we have to add a lot of browns! Leaves don’t break down well whole, so I throw them in a trash can and weed whack them into tiny bits! A whole bag becomes not too much!
The school composting has been going well too! We have diverted a little more than 16 pounds of food from the landfill!
I’m going to get some more pumpkins taken care of today, since it’s decent weather here! Hoping that you had a nice Thanksgiving!
Here in the Appalachian mountains of Maryland, the snow arrived. Usually we will get a few dustings before a major storm, but not this year. We got over 10 inches between Thursday and Friday!
And did I mention that the Mr. enjoyed using the tractor to clear the driveway? It was like watching a little boy play!
Since we had school cancelled for 2 days, due to the snowstorm, I was able to put up the student’s artwork around town for the holiday season! Those are the Santas that my students made!
And because I wanted to use my time well, I finished a lot of projects that had been needing finished! There were lots of patches that needed sewn on uniforms and hooded towels to finish up. And they are all completed!
On Facebook, I was tagged in a post about making a crown earwarmer. It was a quick project that was fun and easy! I don’t have a little girl, but it seems like many like this sort of thing!
I have also been wanting to learn how to do some brush calligraphy and just started with some crayola markers around here. I think I’m kind of getting it! I need something to do since the weather is so cold!
While sitting on the couch yesterday, I noticed that the cactus that I received as a gift 4 years ago is back to blooming!
Im not sure if it is a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus, so chime in if you know!
Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your families!