April 2018 Goals Update

It is the crazy month of May! The school year is almost over, I have lots to do in the garden and projects that need finished!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– it’s finally happening!! The t posts are in, the garden door is hung and the fencing will go up this month! And the plants will go to live outside this month too!

2. Fix the camper– We have been fixing up our home away from home! It is finished, minus a few little cosmetic things that I’d like to do! We love how it turned out!

3.Travel out west- That camper is officially ready for adventure! We tried it out at the end of the month by going to a koa in Antietam and everything worked great! It’s cozy, watertight (yeppers, it rained!) and even the pups enjoyed themselves in it!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. All of the grass has been covered and new plants are slowly working their way in! So far we have raspberries, blueberries, black eyed Susan’s, echinacea and a ton of other things growing under the grow lights in here!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are still working on filling bag 2! (Or actually not trying to fill it!) Still only 1 bag of trash! [/caption]

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I spread some good! We really focused on cleaning up the Earth, since Earth Day is in April . We helped to organize a town clean up and about 20 bags of garbage were picked up!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- we reused some of the old garden fence to go around the trees and help to keep the deer away. We were also able to score an old kiddie pool for our new ducks and I love the way that the other garden door turned out! It’s beautiful!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! We finally have a seed sprouting. It may be the only one, but I’m hoping for at least 2, so that they can help pollinate each other!

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 will be starting a lot more seeds in the greenhouse this month! The grow lights are working hard and everything is getting so big and healthy! I love all the different varieties that are emerging!!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- The panels didn’t quite produce what they did last year, but it was still snowing all through April! At least we hit a Mwh!

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put a few seedlings for sale out there and the chickens are really producing eggs right now!

Last month helped me work on my patience! I kept wanting to do more outside, but the weather said no! This month is already helping us get caught up around the garden! How are your goals going? Keep blooming friends!

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! 🌱💚

No Spend March

We are chugging along with our no spend year. I have spent money on gifts this month (I bought my baby niece some food and not candy for Easter and gifts much deserved to 2 work friends,but that’s it!)

Our big money saver is that we sold our panel truck! It was a hard choice to make, but we were not using it. We are glad to have more money in our savings and one less vehicle to tag and insure!

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Bye bye to the blue beast!

I’m doing my best to keep gardening costs down by using what we have and starting everything from seed! I also save my own seeds and plant mostly heirloom varieties to help with the seeds saving.

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Garlic that came up on it’s own (30 free garlic plants!) all replanted! 
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Pepper plants started from seed
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Saved Roma tomato seeds 

I have also been mending so much around here! We are up to 3 pairs of paints that are hole free and a certain pup decided to tear a hole in his bed, but all are fixed!

The screen door to the garden was ripped and broken and we almost bought a new one, but we used some old paint that we had to fix it up and put some reused wire fencing on it. Good as new!

We also try to do as much as we can around here, instead of paying others to do it for us. I am the dog groomer:

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Our sweet Izzy after her spa day

And we have been doing all of the work on the camper ourselves!

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New seat covers! 

And the pollinator garden is slowly being completed by us mainly using materials that we have!

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Lots of labor, but we are doing it by ourselves 

Instead of buying eggs from the grocery store or an egg dying kit, we used food coloring that we already had and brown and white eggs.

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I ❤️ How they turned out! 

And instead of going out to eat or paying to go do something, the boy and I took a nice walk locally! We hadn’t walked on this trail in a few years!

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Always interested in the rock formations! 

Overall, I’m thinking we are doing well with our no spend year! I’m hoping to continue spending less and gettting this house paid off!

DIY zipper-free camper cushion slipcover

Well that’s a mouthful title, isn’t it?!  The Mr. has been working so hard on the camper, so I have finally had a chance to work on the cushions in the camper!

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A little reminder of the before! (The after is at the end!)

They weren’t horrible, but they had some stains, a tiny tear and a lot of boring-ness. I decided to document my easy way of making some slip covers! Here are my supplies: upholstery fabric (got this stuff at Joann’s half off clearance, so $2 a yard! And I got 7 yards for 3 cushions and the back cushion!), and you’ll also need sewing pins, velcro, sewing machine and scissors. (I also used a serger, but it isn’t necessary!)

Step 1.: cut out your fabric to have about an inch overlap length wise, and I left about 6 inches of extra fabric on the ends. Then, I serged the shorter edges, but you can fold it over and sew it under if you don’t have a serger.

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Ends serged

Step 2: I sewed up the length of the fabric and it turned into a long tube! (I used the line of the fabric to keep it straight and about 1 inch seam)

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Pin up the edge and sew it into a tube (right sides together)

Step 3: put the long tube back on the cushion to check for fit. It should have overlapped fabric on both ends.

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The fabric on the end of the cushion

Step 4: This part is hard to explain, so I’ll just describe it like fold it like a present. (Make sure the bottom of the fabric and bottom of the cushion are facing you!) Fold down the outer piece (it will be the flap that attaches with velcro) about an inch and pin. Then, that pin on top of the cushion is where the velcro will hold the flap shut. Which I found where to put it by pulling the fabric up!

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Do this to both ends!

Step 5: Slowly pull the fabric back off of the cushion. It’s not easy, because you want to keep the pins in place! Be patient and realize the longer the cushion, the harder to pull it off!

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Slowly remove the fabric!

Step 6: Sew the perimeter of the trapezoid flap and cut velcro to fit. Then sew it on.

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Sew the flap then the velcro

Step 7: sew the opposite side of the velcro where you put the pin to match up the velcro. (See photo below tonunderstand placement!)

Step 8: Put the big tube of fabric back on the cushion, and then fold it like it was!

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Ready to attach the fabric!

Last step: attach the velcro and look at the beautiful cover that you created!

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Back of cushion!

And just last night I was able to recover the backing board and staple the fabric on.

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Backing board!

And now the finished project:

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I love it!!!  And check out that rooster towel!

How the cushion looks from the front:

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Total cost: $14 for all the fabric!

It was a lot of work, but I’m hoping to be able to report back after traveling this summer on how well everything is holding up! Happy sewing!

Working for the weekend!

The weather was above freezing this weekend! So, that means that we were working! We went out and got a truck load full of compost to start getting the pollinator area ready! (The orange line is where the walkway will be!)

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Filling in flower areas

We will be putting down lots of cardboard and wood chips that will give the plants plenty of room to expand! And, the Mr. won’t be cutting all that grass! (That was a section of his part to cut, I cut around the house! Didn’t want you all to think I was lazy!)

I also have my gardens all planned out! I’m so excited to get these plants started! I’m going to have a ton of seedlings going in the months to come!

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The garden is planned! 

We are finishing up the birdhouse gourds! Look at this beauty:

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Birdhouse gourd! 

The Mr. helped me get an idea together. I had a lot extra spoons that I had bought for a different purpose, but we turned one into a plant marker. We are going to use these to mark the flowers in the pollinator garden! (Not sure why he put beans on this one! 😆)

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Garden marker! 

And that sun helped us to make lots of power!! We made about 193 kWh in 3 days!!

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Solar power! 

The Mr. also installed this vent cover on top of the camper to protect the bed area from rain and weather!

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He’s amazingly handy! 

Up next will be this big project! We will be putting up new fencing around the garden and expanding it!

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This area is going to be a lot of work! 

I love being able to get my hands dirty and do hard work! I hope that you enjoyed your weekend!! Did you all accomplish any projects?!

Camper Update!

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:

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Such a hard worker! 

The hot water heater looked like it had seen better days and not cared for properly! But look at that before and after:

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New hot water heater! 

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!

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Hand crafted hooks! 

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!

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Changed up the table! 

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!

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An expensive and tedious power converter redo! 

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!

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Before
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After

Next up for me is to make some slip covers for these!

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Slipcovers will be made next! 

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!

No Spend January

Month one of our no spend year went pretty fantastic! The Mr. has managed to not eat out for lunch a single time! He never eats a huge meal, just grabbed a snack here or there. But he’s saving is around $80-$100 a month by just packing! I have also not spent money on eating out for lunch! I will continue to be a packer.

We had to buy a new hot water tank for the camper because the old one was leaking and was original to the camper. I also bought these necessities:

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Seeds for the garden (used PayPal money from craft sales!) 
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The boy’s birthday cake! (Got it 1/2 off because it was from Christmas!) 
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Bought the boy ice cream on his birthday and another for a neighbor that shares his bday! 
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Towel for a baby shower gift. Not much money because I crafted it myself! And made the gift wrap! 

I started up a free site for our small town and I have been able to find homes for our no longer needed items. The boy scored some military gear for free in his size! He loved it all!

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All free! 

We have been eating at home for every meal and no one has complained yet! The picture below is the best pizza I have made to date, as well as my cinnamon rolls!

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Delicious 
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Also delicious! 

We were able to drop a little extra down on our mortgage and almost have the truck paid off! Gotta keep that debt snowball rolling!

Next month I am going to see how much money we go into the month with and compare it to what we end the month with. That way I’ll be able to tell you all how much we will be able to put into savings!