End of the year 2018 goals!

Setting goals for the past 3 years has helped keep me focused and motivated. I love being able to look back at what we have been able to accomplish in a short period of time! Here are our 2017 goals, and the link for our 2016 goals .

Now on to the goals:

✔️1. Expand the garden- it happened! In 2018 we almost doubled the size of the garden, made lots of trellises and grew lots of food! It was a wonderful treat to see our hard work pay off!

✔️2. Fix the camper- Since we bought a second hand camper that needed a good bit of work, and we are pretty handy, we were able to go on a trip of a lifetime for not a ton of money! We were able to camp comfortably and not eat out too much!

✔️3.Travel out west-  We did it and enjoyed every single stop! We visited 3 of the 5 Great Lakes, camped on Lake Erie. Then camped at the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Drove through the upper peninsula and saw our very first moose! Camped in Minnesota and swam in the coldest pool ever! Camped in my favorite place, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we saw bison and prairie dogs for the first time! And hiked so many trails! Next up was Yellowstone! The geysers were so different than we expected and we loved seeing all kinds of wildlife, including grizzly bears at a distance and an elk right beside our truck! After that was Mount Rushmore, the pickers place in Iowa and lots of miles! Great experience!

✔️4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature, and we did it! We raised monarchs, watched hummingbirds visit our yard and saw beautiful blooms instead of just grass! Read about how much we loved it Here!

✔️5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Number 6 is still in the can, so I think we can call this a success!

✔️6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This goal has been my favorite this year! I have enjoyed spreading the good! We have donated food to a local mission, dressed as both the grinch and Santa, donated labor and time through the master gardeners program, started a composting program at school, composted for our friends/family/neighbors, decorated the town with holiday decor and many more things! It wasn’t always fun, but giving does great things for your soul!

✔️7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  I have fixed clothes, instead of buying new. We have turned old doors new again for our garden and revived our camper! We were able to collect over 1,000 pounds of old food and turn it into garden food, and compost/feed to the chickens 183 pumpkins! And my favorite upcycle surprise was the broadfork made by the Mr!

✔️8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are now dormant! I’m hoping that they come back next year! So, we did grow a couple little tiny trees from seed!

✖️9. Build a pizza oven-  we decided not to do this quite yet! We are thinking about how we want to use the space where the oven was going to go.

✔️10. Grow different produce- We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds/tiny gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I am hoping to give another big try to ground cherries!

✔️11. Continue tracking the solar panels- 2018 was the year of rain. It rained way too much, and the sun was not out nearly enough! But, power was produced and the bill has been consistently low!

✔️12. Work on garden cart sales- We have sold at craft shows, and had several produce sales here this year! The neighbors seemed to enjoy the source of produce and I enjoyed sharing my extras!

So, 11/12 goals completed is a success to me! I believe that we have our 12 main goals for next year set! And, goal setting is my most favorite thing to do every December!

Are you thinking about next year yet? Anything that you think we should give a try to?

Keep blooming friends!!

Reflecting on our garden on this short, cold day

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!

The strange statement that I always get: Your poor husband!

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:

  • You don’t go out to eat?!?! Your poor family! But when we do go out, it’s like a nice surprise! When things are rare, they are that much more special! Plus, we put all that extra money saved towards being able to go on trips and spend more time together! So, definitely not poor Mr!
  • You can’t just throw everything away?! Your wife gets upset when she finds recycling in the garbage?! Well, I’d rather things like plastic bottles not come in the house, but if they do, just recycle them. And yes, I am usually the one that takes the recycling to our center! So, not poor Mr! I take care of it!
  • You help your wife till the garden and put in the fencing?! It’s true! He does and it is a lot if work! But, I do an equal amount of work, and I share all of those delicious fruits and veggies with him! So, not poor Mr!

  • You have to help your wife pick up pumpkins and other compostables?! He does help me pick up about half of them! And I’m very thankful for his help! All of those will become plant food which equals more produce for our bellies! So, not poor Mr!

  • You really have to compost all that food stuff at your house?! Yes, same as above! Our food scraps equal soil amendments, which equal more food for our family! Not poor Mr!

  • You really have to help out when it comes to canning?! He is the best at helping me use the pressure canner! And everyone knows he eats too, right?! So, delicious food in the winter! Nope, not poor Mr!

  • You just don’t go out and buy new things all of the time?! Oh this one!! I do not tell him what he can and can’t buy. We are a team and together we are trying to become debt free! He has helped to fix lots around here and is ridiculously handy!! So, not poor either of us!

  • You are the beekeeper?! I figured your husband did all of the beekeeping?! But you do help your wife? Poor you! It’s the strangest look that I get when I say that I’m the one who keeps bees. Weird. But yes, he helps me spin honey and carry super heavy honey filled boxes. He also eats the honey and eats baked goods made from that honey! If you tasted our honey, you wouldn’t think poor Mr!

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!

No Spend Year November Update

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!

The results are in for the summer compost service!

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!

They needed lots of scrubbing, but they got a second life!

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.

As we got more buckets, we were able to just exchange the buckets

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.

Compost tumbler
Chicken area compost bin

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.

Coffee grounds!

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!

November Goals Update 2018

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 break And composting

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!

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Mittens in the library

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!

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Yeah, we lost by a lot! 

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!

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My favorite fellow and myself! 

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!

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Slowly breaking down 

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!

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Bag of leaves 
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The same leaves all chopped up! 

The school composting has been going well too! We have diverted a little more than 16 pounds of food from the landfill!

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Our school compost 

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!