Beautiful February?!

Last weekend left me tired, but so looking forward to Spring! Here in western Maryland, we should be having temperatures around freezing. Today, it was around 80 degrees. It was very interesting to see the bees flying around like crazy!

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Busy bees! 

I was thrilled that I could even get the blankets to dry outside today!

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We aren’t sports fans, it’s just a comfy blanket! 

And the chickens have been picking up the pace with their egg laying! Our white egg layer has finally started laying again!

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Our first white egg since fall! 

I had to go searching out in the flower bed and I found the crocuses coming up! I love those early risers!

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Crocuses coming up! 

Yesterday we spun honey ( I’ll share all about that later in the week!) and I scrubbed up more birdhouse gourds. They get a mold film over them, so they have to be scrubbed up before decorating them! These are the smaller ones that I’ll be selling to crafty/painting people!

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More birdhouse gourds! 

The chickens are acting more like themselves! They are spending more time outside, instead of freezing their fluffy butts off!

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Fluff butt! 

I hope that you all are getting this beautiful weather where you are living too! Have a great week and keep blooming!

Who we are!

Hello all! We have had a nice influx of new people to our little blog since Mavis over at onehundreddollarsamonth.com featured my husband’s Blacksmithing hobby!

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I really appreciated my Mr. being chosen! 

1. So obviously, my husband is a backyard blacksmith! He’s pretty awesome and makes all kinds of metal creations, including my favorite dinner bells!

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He even did the brickwork on his forge 
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Dinnerbell in the works! 

2. We try to grow as much food as we can and preserve our over abundance!

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Our main garden. 
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We ❤️ Tomatoes

3. I am a beekeeper! I love having them to help pollinate everything, and also the delicious honey and wax for crafting!

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Baby bees!

4. I also love growing lots of flowers to keep the pollinators happy, and have plans to grow a much larger patch of pollinator friendly plants this summer!

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Our state flower: black eyed susans!!
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My favorite flower: echinacea! 

5. We keep chickens to give us lots of delicious eggs and they help us create less trash by eating leftovers!

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Our ladies enjoying some leftovers! 

6. I’m the eco warrior at the school I teach at. I teach my sweet 3rd graders about caring for our precious Earth and do the recycling for our building! Someone has to do it!

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Recycling for the staff! 

7. I love crocheting and craft everything from toboggans to washcloths to sell at local craft shows!

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Crocheting! 

8/9. I love both sewing and upcycling whatever is headed towards the trash into something useful!

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Upcycling and sewing! 

10. We try not to produce an over abundance of garbage and strive to be zerowaste!

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Less waste! 

11. We have been tracking our solar panels and how they are working out for the past year!

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We are on year 2 of having our solar panels! 

12. We try to eat at home and cook all of our own food! It helps to save money and I know what’s in my food!

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My cinnamon rolls
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My pizza! (Don’t worry, I make lots of healthier food too!) 

So these are a few things that we have going on here on our less than an acre in a small town! We really appreciate anyone taking time to read about our tiny homestead happenings!

2017 Goals Update!

Last year was my first year setting and blogging about my goals. It was amazing to run into people and they would ask me questions about how I was doing with them! They went pretty well and here were the results: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2016/12/31/2016-goal-recap/

This year we are pretty proud of what we accomplished! Here’s our year in review:

✔️1. Zero waste our home! We are still working on creating less trash! We took inaround 130 pumpkins to compost or feed to the chickens! My hubby also made an awesome lockbox for our produce stand using old license plates! And, of course, we grew a lot of food and preserved it! Yard to table!

✔️2. Declutter 20 items per month. It might not have been exactly 20 per month, but we continued finding homes for things that we no longer needed!

✔️3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. We crushed this goal! I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s 7 bags for the year, because the one in the garbage can is pretty much full.

✔️4. Merge crafting and homestead business. Yep, we did it!!  I’m so proud of my hubby for really doing great with his Blacksmithing! We got so many compliments on his metal creations! I’m still sewing and crocheting away, which is my love!

5. Create a summer kitchen. Ugh! This just didn’t happen. I’m ok with that!

✔️6. Expand the garden. The fence line garden provided us with a lot more produce! Plus, we cleared out a lot more space for the 2018 garden!

✔️7. Grow some different plants. The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!
 Plus the mushrooms were delish and it turns out that I don’t like beets

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, we decided against this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

✔️9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled almost 200 pounds so far! I also convinced my principal to buy a zero waste glue stick recycling box and we are also recycling our cereal bowls and markers! My coworkers are now recycling their plastic in the lounge and I have been recycling their k cups. Oh, and my students (from last year)  also planted a beautiful pollinator garden!

✔️10. Track our solar panels. We are loving the panels! This month’s bill was still only $5 and some odd change. This year we created a total of 14.26 mwh!

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✔️11. Continue beekeeping. We are still loving our bees! We caught swarms, spun honey, sold honey and even made a nice watering hole for our bees! We are still going to enjoy our winged friends next year!

✔️12. Travel more with the family! This year we took a quick trip to an indoor water park with the boy and also visited Williamsburg. Next year we are planning on taking a nice trip out west and renovating this beast:

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Camper for next year! 

Accomplishing 10/12 goals is pretty great to us! We have some great ideas for next year too! How did your goals go? Did you check off something from your list? Just keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Thanksgiving break 2017!

Thanksgiving dinner was provided by my wonderful momma as always. We are beyond blessed to have her make our meal every year. (Especially considering she can’t really eat any of it. She’s a survivor of stage 4 oral cancer and eating is a struggle!) ❤️ Her so much!

Over the break I spent too much time cuddling with this handsome pup:

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He whispers that I’m his favorite human! 

I also spent a ton of time sewing hooded towels and walking over to watch the Mr do his Blacksmithing thing!

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He’s unbelievable to watch! 

I also enjoyed watching that electric meter spin backwards and seeing a nice curve in the solar production:

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This is what a pretty day looks like! 

Today I was able to clean the chicken coop/run, clip the doggie’s nails and make some sugar patties for the bees. I don’t want the bees starving this winter! I’m hoping for a short and warm winter! (It’s just backup food!)

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Sugar patties for my bee friends! 

I’m not huge on traditions and Christmas trees aren’t my favorite, but the boy wanted to put up the tree. So, he did a great job!

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I did help with the nativity scene! 

And I’m pretty excited to say that we have exceeded our goal for pumpkins saved from the landfill! 112 pumpkins have made their way to our tiny homestead! The chickens have been enjoying some and we have been making a nice compost pile in the garden!

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We picked up 15 today! 
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The compost! 

And lastly, in our little town, our students are invited to decorate the business windows with our artwork! I decorated a local store and think it turned out adorable!

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Window artwork! 

So, I’m thinking this was a perfect break! Now, it’s time to work hard until the next break! Keep blooming where you’re planted!

 

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!