We had a nice load of wood chips dropped off here at by a tree trimming service that was working in town!
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!
It’s not a huge place, but the pollinators and I am going to love it!
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.
And those hooks were hand crafted by my favorite blacksmith! They are still beautiful!
And here’s the upcycled birdbath that the Mr. put together!
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!
We made 3. major achievements this month! 1. We paid off the truck!
So, we are officially vehicle payment free! Of course last month, instead of putting more money towards the house or the solar panels, I needed new tires for my car. They were leaking air constantly and not safe, so that’s definitely a must!
2. On the awesome list is that made another $10K leap on the house! You know, when you look at how much you owe and it is no longer in the $80K’s (for example) and now in the $70k’s!! That’s exciting! That will definitely feel good to get paid off eventually!
3. The Mr. has been doing a great job of packing his lunch! For pretty much ever, he has been a “pick up a snack while working” kind of guy. But after I showed him a quick write up of how much that really costs per year, he changed that habit!
For Valentine’s Day I actually had parent-teacher conference day until almost 6pm. So, it was easy to not go out to eat! But, we enjoyed out weekend and my parents even took our boy for a night. It was very quiet around here without him! 😳
My Mr. made me a beautiful pollinator garden for the special occasion out of upcycled wood. We just need to get the bamboo to fill it, but we have a free source for that! It is quite an invasive plant!
We were able to make a few bucks this week too! The dead hive provided us with some honey to sell. We will use that to help buy us another colony! Bees are not easy to keep! (Or cheap!)
And soon I will have a surplus of eggs to rehome!
Also, the Mr. blacksmithed some beautiful mantel brackets for a beam of barn wood for a customer! They turned out beautiful!
And now, in their new home!! They loved them just as much as we did!
Our electric bill came, and I was expecting a nice bill because February was pretty cold, but to our surprise it was $0!!
And to save a lot of money, I start my garden from seeds. Getting plants from the nursery is pricy, and you can only get certain varieties, so I save my seeds and use the heirloom varieties yearly! And this year, I got involved in a seed swap to get different varieties! (I did have to pay shipping)
It was not a perfect month because we still needed to buy items for the camper, and we started picking up some candy for the boy’s Easter basket. Oh, and we got Chinese out one time, but used the money from our crafting and not the bank. So, we haven’t been perfect, but it’s nice to be able to create a growing savings account and work on our debt snowball!
Last weekend we spent a lot of time harvesting the honey from the hives that didn’t make it through the winter. It’s sad, but needed done.
It’s still so amazing how perfect those frames of honey are!
We then use a knife to uncap all of the honey and put the frames in the spinner. We spin the fronts of the frames until cleaned out and then the backs. We have the boy spin the frames because that kid has way too much energy!
Then, we pour the honey from the spinner into the double screened filter. This honey was super thick, so it took a long time to filter! The light spring honey flies through the filters!
After we allow it to settle in the bucket for a bit, we pour all of the honey into clean and sterilized jars.
And now for the beeswax cappings that we cut off of the frames. There’s still honey on them, so I clean them out really well by putting them in a thin muslin and run water through it until it runs dead. I leave them on the towel and let them dry out.
Then, I make a double boiler with water in the pot underneath and the cappings in the top pot. It takes a little while for it all to melt and it doesn’t exactly look like beeswax,
This batch was pretty messy, but it doesn’t matter too much. I filter it through a nylon filter and pour it into a mold. (I just used an old creamer container!)
If you need it filtered again, have at it! But, the Mr. is probably going to use this batch for Blacksmithing!
We definitely were weekend homesteading today! Keep blooming away friends!
My Mr. has been working feverishly on the camper to get it ready for a trial run this Spring!
Do you remember that original sticky note with what seemed like an endless list of tasks that needed completed? Well look at it now:
The hot water heater looked like it had seen better days and not cared for properly! But look at that before and after:
He even decided to blacksmith a nice rack of hooks that is right by the bed. Maybe that will help us to not lose so much!
The table was an idea of his. This is where you take out the table and put down the other bed. The problem is where would you put the table when the bed is in use?! So, he made it adjustable and it slides down now so that the bed can be put right over it! Such a great idea!
Next up was what really impressed me! The converter was shot, as in it didn’t power anything anymore! My husband watched countless YouTube videos, questioned both my Dad and brother (both ridiculously handy!) and he was able to rewire it himself! It works perfectly now!
I have been slightly helpful as well! The curtains were not in awesome shape and needed some new life sewn into them! So, I got clearance fabric and did just that!
Next up for me is to make some slip covers for these!
Let me just end this by saying that I really appreciate how much time that my Mr. has dedicated to this project! I believe he is just as excited as the boy and myself to travel out west!
And now a question for you all! Where is a good place to visit for a weekend to camp in around western PA, WV or even Virginia? We need to find a place to try out this beast! Thanks all in advance!
Welcome to February everyone!! January was a whirlwind of crazy cold temperatures, lots of working on the camper and seed organizing! And, of course, we have been working on those goals that we set!
1. Expand the garden– Not too much to talk about so far with the garden. We did measure it off for planning the layout!
2. Fix the camper– The Mr. has been out in the garage most nights working on it! He has starting recaulking all of it, installed a new hot water tank, blacksmithed a hook rack for a cabinet, fixed the table so that it’s easy to lower and raise and started to replace the converter. I was able to get some fabric on extreme clearance and I have all of the cushions pulled out!
The adjustable table
3.Travel out west– That camper is going to be making some trips this year! Our boy is 13 and I want him to see more than I have. *If you all have suggestions on what to see and do for around the Great Lakes, through Yellowstone, let us know! *
4. Create a certified wildlife habitat– There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So, that’s what the plan is! The Mr. Put the bat box together and I have seeds all picked out!
5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags. So far we have not filled one, and I’m going to try bokashi composting for meat leftovers and molded food.
6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month– I just blogged about what we were able to do last month! We started a local free trade Facebook page and sold lipbalm to raise money for the local shelter. We were able to donate lots of food!
7. Repurpose, remake, mend or reuse– My husband repurposed a satellite dish bracket into a flag holder!
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 will be finished stratifying in the fridge at the end of the month!
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! He starting clearing the area where it will be built!
10. Grow different produce– I was able to pick up a majority of the seeds that I wanted online. I will have quite an assortment of gourds, slicing tomatoes, melons and a few of my favorites from last year!
11. Continue tracking the solar panels– It was so incredibly cold out, but our electric bill was still less than $6. We are living off of the summer surplus still!
12. Work on garden cart sales– We are hoping to do some upcoming craft shows, but we won’t have any produce for sale for quite a while!
Did you set any goals?! We are hoping to have checks next to them all at the end of the year! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚
This weekend is a continuation of below freezing weather. I’m really missing those warm summer days and growing my own food! However, I have been enjoying making soup with the tomatoes that I preserved and eating my own pickles, catsup, garlic and green beans!
I have been making most of our meals from scratch, and made some awesome cinnamon rolls earlier in the week and then a pizza that was perfection today!
To keep busy, I have been crocheting lots of messy bun hats!
I also made this matching set for an adorable little girl and her beautiful momma!
While I have been crafting, the mister has been out pounding on the anvil! This is a bottle opener for a friend out of a railroad spike!
And the only extras that we have purchased so far: a McFlurry for my birthday boy and another for a neighbor that shares his day!
And we also bought the boy an ice cream cake for his day! It was a great deal at 1/2 off because it was a Christmas cake! I added some extra frosting, some sprinkles and put the 13 on it. No one knew it was a Christmas one!
And I will continue to sit around and enjoy my footed pajama pants (feejays) and dream about warmer weather!
Is it so stinking cold where you live?! Stay warm friends!