Wildlife area update

We have slowly been turning our yard in front of the garage into an area for our pollinators. It will give them more pollen, nectar, water and shelter choices. It will also get rid of all of the extra grass cutting in this area!

Here was our basic outline of what we had in mind:

And here is how it is coming! Keep in mind everything will not be blooming for quite a while! Even though it mainly looks like mulch still, there are black eyed Susan’s, brown eyed Susan’s, purple coneflowers, yarrow, milkweed and white coneflowers. There will be more planted! We are using these adorable homemade stick gnomes that we created, so that we remember what we planted where! And, we decided that the perfect spot for the bird and bee waterer is right over by the garage! The sunflowers that came up early are looking big and healthy already! (1st picture) And the second picture is an echinacea bloom popping up!

Above, my Mr., who is always amazing me, created a planter from an old window frame that the glass was falling out of! It looks beautiful hung and I can’t wait to plant something beautiful in it! And have sunflowers growing all around it too!

We have lots more to plant and I’m hoping to get this certified as a certified wildlife habitat by July! I just want to make sure that I have all of the requirements checked off!

Have a great week! Keep blooming!

No Spend Year (April Update!)

So far we have still been doing relatively well with this whole trying not to spend money on frivolous things journey! I was so proud of the Mr. for finding a used pair of boots that he really wanted for when we go hiking. He found them on eBay and I’m pretty sure they are never worn! And he raves over how comfortable they are!

We were also able to go to the museum in Antietam, MD and camping without extra spending. We took our own food and drinks, played the free putt putt there and avoided the gift shop where everything was so expensive!

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We were working on his skipping rocks technique! 

Also, since the boy is starting his own little composting business, we told people nearby that if they were getting ready to get rid of something that the chickens would enjoy, that we would gladly take it! The chickens have been enjoying cabbage, lettuce, spinach, avocados and even some bread!

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They have been eating a lot less feed! 

And even though new buckets would look great for the boy’s composting  service, we decided to peel off labels and scrub down ones that were given to us instead! They will go out to his customers today. We did purchase easy to remove lids for them.

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He put in lots of elbow grease for them to look that great! 

And we are still growing pretty much everything from seed to save money. I love weird varieties of plants, so growing from seed is about my only option. I am going to get the squashes, watermelons and gourds growing in the greenhouse this week! They can go in the ground at the end of the month!

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All of the flowers have popped up too now! 

We also got back a nice little tax credit for the solar panels! So instead of buying something new, we dropped that money on the loan that we have for them. They won’t take too long to pay off either!

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And now for the things that I have bought: I purchased a nuc of honeybees, because most of my bees died this winter.

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They are doing well! 

We also have to buy fencing for the garden, but that needed done because of the old fencing breaking.

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It’s still a work in progress! 

Even though we are still spending money on our homestead needs, we are making huge financial strides! My braces (Invisalign) will be paid off next month. We still have no vehicle payments. We have no credit card bills (thank goodness!) and we are getting close to another $10,000 leap on our mortgage! We should have this place paid off before I’m 40!

Are you making your debt snowball roll?! We are trying!

Antietam trip! And new bees!

Over the weekend we got the chance to try out the camper before we take it out for a long trip!

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At the campsite! 

We went to the Antietam battlefield and museum first to give the boy a nice history lesson from the civil war. The murals on the wall even helped me better understand how the war progressed and we enjoyed looking at the relics.

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A wooden canteen 

We also walked many paths and wore those pups out!

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Walking the trails 

And it was hard not to stop and look at the size of monuments and think of the devastation that this area saw.

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Antietam,Md

We we to a nearby KOA and enjoyed their  amenities! We played mini golf, played by the stream, checked out the dog park and just enjoyed nature! I also felt at home when we saw that the campsite had a mini farm with sheep, goats and chickens!

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Just checking out the creek!

On the way home, we arranged our schedule so that we could pick up a new hive of bees to install when we got home. Nothing like a drive home with a hive of bees right below you!

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I could hear them buzzing!

So, after getting home, I rushed to install the new bees into their house and it was easy to spot the Queen! Can you find her?

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She’s right in the middle! 

So, we started making a long list of what all we don’t want to forget on our trip out west! It was a great learning experience! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Happiness is simplicity!

Yesterday was quite an interesting day. I had been the middle person between the county waste service, our school and an outside source that provides insight on how to start composting at our school. We had a meeting and I thought everything was going well. The great news is that it was well received by the staff! The bad news is that our maintenance department is very against it. But, obviously they don’t know me well, because if they did they would know that this girl has lots of fight in her for this beautiful planet!

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I still am super enthusiastic about getting the program started! 

Since I used to be the person that would be ridiculously angry and say things that I would regret, I’m proud to say that I have become pretty calm the older that I get. It’s hard to be mad when there is so much happiness in my heart! So here’s a few things that get me up and going in the morning:

-Teaching anyone about the environment, gardening and beekeeping! Even my student teacher interns!

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Their goodbye gift from me (since we talked about all of the things at my tiny homestead often!)

-Growing everything from seed! (Or just watching anything grow!)

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Our grow lights are pretty filled! 
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The paw paw seed sprouting! 

-Watching everything come back to life in the spring!

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Our wine cap mycelium coming back! 

-Watching the bees awake from their long winter!

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Look at all of that pollen that she’s bringing in!

-Cleaning up this world and spreading goodness! With so much negativity in the world, I’m trying to make it a little better!

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2 streets of trash! 

-And, of course, raising this kid to be compassionate towards others, a good citizen, to have a love for our planet and everything in it and to live life meaningfully!

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Such a good heart in this one! 

When life kicks me down, I choose to think of all of the good around me and there’s a lot! What gets you up in the morning? What brings you out of your funk and makes your heart happy? Keep blooming (even on cloudy days!) 🌱💚

Summer preview weekend!

Last weekend was absolutely beautiful! It was in the 80’s and with temperatures like that, I was able to get a lot accomplished!

We purchased 3 trees from our local soil conservation fundraiser. Thankfully the trees had not broken dormancy yet, so we got them planted as soon as we could! And, of course, we had to put deer netting around them to protect them! We have a major deer overpopulation issue, so it has to be done!

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Yellow delicious and honey crisp 

I’m also doing everything that I can to clean up our hillside  it was so full of weeds and was covered in poison ivy too! I decided to plant wildflowers to the farthest end where black eyed susans and coneflowers come up already. And the rest of the hill is planted with strawberries! I’m not sure how that will work out, but they will give off pretty blooms, possibly some fruit and will spread out! (Hopefully!)

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Right around 100 strawberry plants! 
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No weeds and now wildflower seeds!

I also started removing all of the cover crop that I planted in the raised bed. I separated out the Egyptian walking onions. I am hoping to try them this year!

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Egyptian walking onions

I got the carrots and lettuce planted and hopefully they will pop up when the weather warms up!

By the way, the one beehive that survived the winter is doing great! I love seeing them come and go!

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Honeybees! 

I love being able to share what we are accomplishing around here! We are far from perfect, and I don’t want to ever seem like we are braggers. I am just proud of finding what makes us happy and how we are slowly transitioning to a more self sufficient life! Keep blooming!

Pollinator garden update!

We had a nice load of wood chips dropped off here at by a tree trimming service that was working in town!

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That’s a lot of mulch! 

I finished up the pollinator hotel this week and the Mr. was able to put it in a great location with lots of sun!

I mostly spent my time putting down weed paper and making walkways! I’m pretty sure that my neighbors think that I have lost my mind at this point!

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Walkway to the right and another flower bed to the left 

It’s not a huge place, but the pollinators and I am going to love it!

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Top view! 

I’m going to plant some sunflowers along the fence! Hopefully they grow ok! And, I’m going to put some nasturtiums in those hanging baskets.

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Woodchips spread and the chickens are behind that door! 

And those hooks were hand crafted by my favorite blacksmith! They are still beautiful!

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I love the shadow it casts! 
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I love the simplicity of this one! 

And here’s the upcycled birdbath that the Mr. put together!

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I’m hoping the birds like it! 

I still need to get a lot more compost and hope that the seeds that I started will come up! This is going to be a mix of mostly native plants, but also other non-native varieties. There will not be any invasive species! Just trying to give the birds, bees and butterflies a nice pollen and nectar source! And, I’m hoping to eventually have a certified wildlife habitat!

February update 2018

Hello March!! It definitely came in with crazy winds and some snow today! I am proud to say that we are getting a lot accomplished here!

1. Expand the garden- With the warm days last week, I was able to start taking down the fencing around the garden. It was a lot of work and I still have a lot more! But, that new area is going to looks great! (I hope!)

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A reminder of the plans! 

2. Fix the camper- The Mr.’s installed converter is working great! He also installed a new smoke detector and replaced the bulbs with leds. I made new curtains and he made a stove cover from some upcycked wood.

3.Travel out west- That camper is going to be making some trips this year! We have officially started reserving spots! We will be stopping at many Koa sites as well as mostly national parks!!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. I am stratifying 3 varieties of milkweed and gathered a bunch of my echinacea seeds. It’s going to be a mix of native plants and some non-native!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags. Just on March first, we had to take out our first bag! So, we are off to a good start!

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Yes, that’s some snow! 

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- Last month I learned how to crochet knitted knockers. They are a pillowy prosthesis for women who have had a mastectomy. And I attended a master gardener meeting and will be finishing my 40 hours to become official!

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Crocheted knitted knockers! 

And I signed up at the “be the match” program that matches you to patients that need marrow.

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7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- For Valentine’s Day, my Mr. upcycled some old  decking boards into a pollinator house! Now to add some bamboo and drilled wood!

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Pollinator house! 🐝🐞🐛🦋

8. Paw Paw trees- These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! I can’t wait to give it a try to grow them this year, and eventually (maybe) eat one!! The seeds were pulled from being cold stratified and now are in soil!

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Planted paw paw seeds! 

9. Build a pizza oven- this is the Mr.’s idea! He built his own Blacksmithing forge, so I’m sure he can do it! I’m definitely looking forward to having a delicious, out of the oven pizza! No real updates yet!

10. Grow different produce- I was able to pick up a majority of the seeds that I wanted online last month. And, I participated in a seed swap and got some Interesting varieties!!

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Dragon tongue beans, mayflower beans, flowering tobacco and so many more! 

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- It was a mixture of cold and warmer weather last month, but our electric bill was a whopping $0!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We will be doing some upcoming craft shows, but we won’t have any produce for sale for quite a while! However, we were able to harvest some honey (due to losing a hive) and will be using the money from the honey for some new bees!

Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all at the end of the year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚