Vacation time!!

We have been blessed with being on vacation on the beautiful island of Ocracoke, located off the shore of North Carolina. It’s beautiful there, but takes a while to get there! We even have to take a ferry to get on the island! Here we are leaving the main island heading to Ocracoke! 

imageWe camped for the first night and then stayed in a house for the rest of the week. While we were unloading the truck, I heard a strange-familiar sound! It couldn’t be!?!? But it was! The neighbors had backyard chickens! It was like home away from home! And they had a pretty sweet coop!

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While walking around the island, I was shocked at how much the locals grow! I saw lots of cucumber vines, zucchini plants and many grape arbors! And sunflowers were everywhere!

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It was a beautiful week with my amazing family! Only on this sweet island can you check out thrift shops, visit the local library where they let you take books without a library card and walk everywhere! (And of course swim in the ocean!) It’s true… time flies when you’re having fun! Now to wait and see how my garden looks when I get home!

Experimental potatoes

About a month ago I had a lot of potatoes growing sprouts in the kitchen. The problem is that they are market potatoes. Why is that a problem?!?! Well, I don’t know anything about what kind of pesticides and soil they were grown in! I really don’t want to expose my garden soil to weird nematodes or any type of disease. So, instead of just throwing them in the compost, I put them in the second bin of the compost. (The one that doesn’t have anything in it as of now!) I added some aged compost and covered with wood chips. That’s it! So far, the experiment is going pretty well! Here they are about a month later:

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I will definitely be updating later in the season with how the experiment is going! Hopefully I will get at least a few potatoes!

Minimalist Monday 7/20

I finally got around to helping the boy clean that toy box! It was a mess! I’ve determined that my boy needs to stop collecting rocks!

So, here is the image of the mess that I looked at for too long!

The devastating before image!
The devastating before image

We spent 2 hours sorting, cleaning and getting way too excited about things that we thought were lost! I hate creating trash, so we recycled what we could and made a give away pile.

Under all that garbage is the beautiful toy box that my Dad and brother made for the boy when he was tiny! We were both delighted with the outcome!

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Tah-dah!!! Isn’t it beautiful! We think so to! And I’m proud to say that no tears were shed and I didn’t make him get rid of anything that he treasures! So, overall a success!!!!

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/15

This morning I unearthed some yummy potatoes, that’s the good news! The bad news is that I found some larvae in the roots of my zucchini! Those things get me every year! Yuck!

But looking at the rest of the garden lifted my spirits for a bit! I mean, it’s hard to not smile when you see that many beautiful blooms on one plant!

Beautiful zucchini blooms!
Beautiful zucchini blooms!

Below is the first muskmelon that is finally growing! I’m not sure if it will have enough time to mature, but I’m hoping it does!!

Tiny muskmelon!
Tiny muskmelon!

When I was putting the potatoes in the ground back in March, my boy decided he would plant 1 sunflower seed in the corner of the garden. And when I say seed, it was one seed from the birdseed that we had. I’m still shocked that it actually grew! That boy has a green thumb!

The sunflower that the boy plant!
The sunflower that the boy plant!

I don’t see a lot of honey bees in my garden, so when I do, it’s an exciting event! Beekeeping is on my agenda for Spring of 2016. I can only hope that I can make that happen!!

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And lastly is a view from the bottom of the garden. It’s not perfect, but I love it! So far I have only found one rabbit in it! But I have a momma deer with 2 babies that have been hanging out around it. It’s all part of living next to their habitat!

The garden backs right to the woods.
The garden backs right to the woods.

Minimalist Monday 7/13

Getting rid of stuff is HARD! Today I had to work and the boy spent time with his Pap. I really wanted to tackle the mess that we call a toy box today, but that didn’t happen.

So, instead I tackled a recipe. Slowly I am ridding myself of many of the toxic chemicals that surround me. Since I’m running out of perfume, I decided it is time to make some. I followed the recipe that I found on the young living essential oil website using the essential oil bergamot.

imageI put a little less water in because the bottle that I bought was a little too small. But with a little shake, it smells great! 
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So, I consider this living with less stuff. Good stuff here!

Why chickens?!?!?!

Chickens?!?! You have chickens? Why? Don’t they stink? Do you have a rooster? Hens can lay eggs without a rooster? Yes, many questions are asked when people find out about these ladies!

2 of my pretty ladies!
2 of my pretty ladies!

So, I have had lots of people ask my why I keep chickens. There are so many reasons why I do! I kind of consider them like pets, but also they complete the cycle. What cycle you ask?? Part of the having an amazing garden cycle! Here it goes! I feed chickens their feed, but also lots of yummy stuff leftover from the garden. They also gets lots of treats, like leftover spaghetti or Mac and cheese that the boy just couldn’t finish.

Some of the yummy treats!
Some of the yummy treats!

What is so great about the ladies getting the leftovers is that it keeps it out of the trash and I haven’t heard a chicken complain yet! They also produce some amazing manure that when composted, it turns your soil into super soil! It’s a win-win for the Llewellyn homestead!

Also at the end of the day, I get about an egg a day from each lady! I consider that amazing! Especially considering how expensive eggs are right now!

imageOverall, chicken keeping is a lot of work! However, I don’t mind doing any of this work! And, once you have some eggs from chickens that don’t live in a cage, you won’t go back!

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/8

This morning I took a walk through the garden and visited the hens. We are definitely getting to the harvesting part of the year!

The sunflowers around the chicken coop are getting ready to bloom! These are just the extra sunflowers that the girls kicked out of their coop. I’m guessing that they are black oil sunflowers!

Soon to bloom sunflower!
Soon to bloom sunflower!

The zucchini is finally growing! I will be harvesting my this yumminess by the end of the week!

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The tomatoes may still be green, but they are growing by the day! I can’t wait until I get to make a yummy tomato sandwich. The boys can’t wait until they get yummy spaghetti sauce. 
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The green beans are well on their way to being harvested too! I’m hoping to have some potatoes too, so that I can make some green beans and potatoes!
imageWith everything blooming and harvesting starting, I’m going to start keeping track of all of the food harvested! Gardening is amazing!!