September goals update 2017

September was a month of colossal harvests, produce stands set up, still getting acquainted with my new students and working around our tiny homestead! Here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We have been eating a lot from the garden, which is great! Also, the ketchup that I made is amazing and we are loving not having to buy plastic bottles!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We got rid of some motorcycle helmets that we don’t use (and made a few bucks!) We found a scrapper to take our satellite dish! Oh, and we got rid of our home phone.

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. Still on bag 5, but it’s filling up fast.

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Still on bag 5! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. The Mr has been Blacksmithing up a storm this month!! All credit goes to him for working so hard!!

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Dinner bells
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Flower basket hooks
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Business card holder

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!!

6. Expand the garden. We are definitely working on this! We tilled up the area for expansion next year! We have big plans!!

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Expanded garden and planted cover crop! 

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! The okra grew great this year. We harvested so many cucumelons! The popcorn is picked and drying in the basement and we are now successful at growing our own wine cap mushrooms. And you know what… they were the best mushrooms that I have ever had!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this! I have some good ideas for 2018!!!

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Whitey the chicken who is always running around! 

9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film last year. The plastic bag recycling program has started! I also started a collection area for plastics bottles and k cups at work. Oh, and my students wrote to our mayor to try to get a recycling program here!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.39 mwh ! And our electric bill was less than $6 again! I’m interested to see how this goes with the cold months coming up!

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11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! They are “busy bees!” And I am hoping for them to overwinter well!

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They are still finding flowers! 

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. I’m soooo looking forward to our winter project of working on our new-to-us camper!

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It’s safely being stored in the garage! 

How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? Keep blooming where you are planted!! 🌱💚

Wednesday walk through the garden and lots of blooms! 9-6-17

The garden is starting to fizzle out, but we are still harvesting green beans, cucumbers, cucumelons and lots of tomatoes! I’m hoping to harvest a watermelon or 2 this season!

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Ripen quickly please! 

I’m not sure what this is growing out of the compost bin! It looks like a yellow zucchini, but it is vining like a pumpkin!

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we love our weird compost hybrids! 

We are also still getting peppers, so we will be making some Appalachian style chili sauce. My Dad loves it, so of course I’m going to make him some!

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peppers! 

The popcorn is a good bit taller than me and has tassels!

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popcorn!!!!

The pumpkin vines are dying off, but at least we are getting a few pumpkins!

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Pumpkins! 

The fall beets are growing right up out of the ground!

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we will be pickling beets! 

The sweet potatoes are growing all over the place! I can’t wait to see how much that we harvest this year!!

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sweet potato vines

And I’m pretty proud to share that we made some ketchup this year out of our own Roma tomatoes! We just used one of the Mrs. Wage’s seasoning packets!

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homemade ketchup!

And, there are lots of beautiful blooms still around for our pollinators!

Last honey harvest and trellises

We harvested the last bit of our honey for this year! We want to make sure that our bees have plenty of time to prep for the winter! And let me tell you that this batch of honey turned out beautiful!

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Beautiful honey! 

And now I have some wax that needs melted down and filtered!

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Unmelted beeswax

And now on to trellises! We don’t have a ton of space, so we utilize fences and make our plants grow upwards. It increases our harvests and allows plants better air flow too.

We are growing a green bean teepee. One side looks great and the other is catching up from a rabbit nibbling away.

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Greenbean teepee

I made the trellis below out of unwanted bamboo growing in a friend’s yard. On the left is green beans and on the right is birdhouse gourds.

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Bamboo trellis

And this is the fullest that the cattle panel trellis has ever been! To the left is cucumelons and to the right are birdhouse gourds and a luffa plant.

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So much blooming and growing

The view looking up in the trellis is beautiful! The gourds are happy growing down!

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Inside the trellis

We also use the chicken run area to grow on. It provides us with birdhouse gourds and also gives the chickens a much cooler space!

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I ❤️ it when the chicken run looks like this!

And the bees love all of these blooms too!

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Little native bee enjoying the gourd blooms!

And we finished off the day with a yummy dinner including homemade fried rice!

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Delicious! 

For the rest of the evening, we will be roaming the garden and enjoying the cooler evening! Keep blooming where you are planted!

We got some new additions to the homestead!

This weekend we were able to get a lot accomplished! (Which is why I had to post before my end of month update!)

I’ll start off with some gardening excitement! The fence line garden is really starting to fill up!

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Even one sunflower bloomed! 

I have been picking lots of produce and was excited to finally get a green pepper! I’m not a very good pepper grower!

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Green pepper! 

And we had a ton of cucumbers this year so far! Last year I couldn’t get any to grow! Funny how that works out sometimes! Anyway, we turned them into delicious bread and butter pickles! We pickled some cucumelons too!

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They taste just like Granny’s did. ❤️

And the chickens loved the leftovers!

And now for the most beautiful bloom that has ever been in my garden:

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An okra bloom!!

Gorgeous, right?! First year grower here, so this made my day! And we are still dreaming of some fried okra! My husband loves fried okra!

Weare proud to announce some new friends that came to live here with us this weekend:

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A barrel of honey bees! 

Yep, a barrel of bees! They were not being enjoyed living on a friend’s back porch. So, she got ahold of me and I gladly took them off her hands! They were already doing orientation flights and flying off to look for pollen and nectar this morning!

And on to another perk of being an in-town homestead, is free food! Our neighbor loves gardening and he often has some leftovers! Here’s a whole bucket of pieces for the chickens:

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Our hens eat like queens! 

And last, but not least is we scored a used chipper off of the yardsale site! We have been wanting one to use to add chipped material to our compost. It’s not new, but I know it was well taken care of!

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Our new to us chipper! 

So after all that work this weekend, I’ll leave off with this picture:

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Sherman in a hammock! 

Obviously, the weekend was rough on him too! I hope that you had quite the productive weekend too!

Honey sale and other homestead happenings

Last weekend we had our first sale event here at the homestead! It was a honey and egg sale! We sold out of honey and sold a lot of eggs! Plus, people got to taste some cucumelons and look at my craftiness! It was great!

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Homestead sale!

We also had several people notice our garage decor! Ha! I finally got the Mr to hang the hooks he blacksmithed for the onions and garlic!

I will be sharing a walk through the garden later on the week, but I thought I’d share an update on the fence line garden! The left was this week, top right is end of June and bottom right was the end of May!

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Slowly growing!

The birdhouse gourds and growing all over the chicken run!

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Birdhouse gourds!

We have been having some great harvests this week too! Lots of onions, some zucchini, cucumbers and even a good many cucumelons!

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Our harvest this morning!

We have hit some pretty good sales on things we have really been looking for lately! First up is an amazing pond insert. We were looking for something that we could add plants to so the bees would have a more reliable water source. Well, here’s our $10 yardsale find! (We had lots of digging and prying to do, but we got it finished!)

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Tiny pond for a tiny homestead

When we were buying some chicken food at tractor supply, I found an amazing half off deal on a gardening hat!

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Love this hat!

And while I was searching for water plants that weren’t there, Lowe’s had their perennials for only $3! So I snatched up some!

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Hostas
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Yellow coneflowers

And On a totally different topic, Sherman has a play mate for a few days! We just love squishy faced dogs around here!

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Sherman loves his new friend!

Have a great week and continue to bloom where you are planted!

Beekeeping, crafting and harvesting

This week it finally rained a bit and now the garden is quickly coming to life! Everything is growing and we have been able to harvest around 40 cloves of garlic, 17 pounds of potatoes and I’m about ready to pull some onions too!

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I ❤️ this sight! 

We have also been harvesting some squash, cucumbers and some adorable tiny cucumelons!

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Tiny cucumelons

And my Sherman dog loves to help harvest everything! He has been known to pick his own green beans, eat cucumbers and zucchini from the plant and now this:

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He begs for cucumelons! 

And the bees are taking off! (Well, 3 out of 4 are doing well.) The split that I did is not doing well, but I learned how I’d do it differently next year, so all is well if I learned something! The swarms we caught are doing amazing! This queen is a laying machine!

I was able to weed the beeyard, do a check in on all the hives and rearrange them a bit. I love the accomplished feeling after checking in on the bees!

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Bees at work! 

For the upcoming fair I am entering some of my items made from my bees wax and honey. I’ve made some lipbalm already, but I’ve also made some melt and pour honey and goats milk luffa soap.

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Luffa soap with honey and my luffas! 

I was also being crafty and made a craft that depicts some part of beekeeping. So, I made a langstroth hive pillow.

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I ❤️ the way it turned out! 

Also, we have lots of flowers blooming and so much beauty around here!

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Gladiolus beauties! 

And of course with the summer rain, comes some beautiful rainbows!

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Walk through the garden 7/5/17

It’s the first check in during July! I love this time of year because it seems like the plants grow so fast with the warm weather and long days!

The pumpkins are blooming and I love seeing our pollinators at work!

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Hot honeybees! 

The tomatoes are growing fast! We have cherry, slicing and Roma tomatoes growing!

The rest of the garden is growing well too!

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Zucchini #1!
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Tiny green pepper
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Pole beans on one side are growing 
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Monster birdhouse gourd plant 
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Tiny okra plant! 
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Cucumbers galore! 

I have also started thinking ahead to my fall garden! Since a jerk groundhog ate all of our beets earlier in the season, I’m trying them again!

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Beet seedlings! 

I’ll finish on this beautiful scene! These hydrangeas in my landscaping are just looking beautiful!

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Beautiful flowers! 

Do you have anything growing well this year? Have you thought about your fall garden yet?