Looking for the sunshine

Over the past few evenings, we have been getting so frustrated with trying to trap a raccoon that has managed to eat 2 chickens and scare a third one. The chickens are on extreme lockdown right now.

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Little trash panda 😢

But, this is just part of taking care and raising anything. It’s frustrating, breaks your brain while looking for a solution and makes you feel like a failure. Instead of focusing on the negative at hand, I decided to look for some things that are going right at the moment. So, here are a few rainbows among the storm:

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Found a beautiful monarch caterpillar on the milkweed!
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The zinnias are blooming and are gorgeous! 
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This is a beautiful nicotiana flower! It has such a beautiful scent! 
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A pale yellow sunflower with native bee
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A honeybee on the cucamelon blooms

Then, I spent the evening preserving some of the leftover produce from the sale on the weekend.

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Cucamelon and cucumber fridge pickles 
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Tiny amount of blackberry jam. (And this reminded me so much of my Granny!) 

And this definitely made me feel better! This is a little before and now picture:

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The top is May and the bottom is now 

Anyone else dealing with garden or animal issues? Try to remember that while some things are bringing you down, there are still lots of successes out there! Keep blooming! 🌱💚

Overload of homestead happenings!

Over the long weekend and all week long, we have been working all around this place!

The Mr. has been putting up better fencing around the garden that also connects the chicken area to the garden.

This is the new walkway in the big garden:

I also finally had a chance to string up the trellises for the pole beans. And I’m using the green bean teepee from last year!

I spent last night weeding the homestead tomatoes and yellow zucchini area:

And one of the yolo red pepper plants is producing its first pepper!

I have been (with the help of the boy) doing a much better job of keeping the compost greens and browns balanced! It was baking at around 130 degrees yesterday morning!

But don’t worry, I have still been chilling with the pup when I’m not in the garden!

I hope that every week continues to be as productive as this one! Keep blooming friends!

Kid composting service!

My kiddo is growing up fast and I would love to instill some work ethic into him. Don’t get me wrong, he will help out with whatever you ask him to, but I would love for him to understand what it’s like to keep customers happy. So, this summer he is providing a service to our neighbors/friends/family that were willing to participate! (And he actually got 10 people!)

The way that it works is that I am going to pay him, because not many people would actually pay for a service like this in our area. We asked around on Facebook and were able to round up some free buckets and that’s where we got the customers too!

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After we scrubbed them all up! 

Then, I helped him line them all with some newspaper and he wrote out the pickup times and put the list inside,

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The inside of the bucket
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All ready for drop off! 

He has already cleaned out several and has retrieved around 15 pounds of compostable materials that would have otherwise made its way to the landfill!

And now for his process:

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Step 1: weigh it (so we can let his customers know how awesome they are doing!) 
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Step 2: dump out the contents 
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Step 3: scrub out that bucket with some eco friendly soap! 

And an awesome coworker/friend thought that the boy’s service was such a good idea, that she donated some cleaner! This stuff smells amazing and leaves the buckets smelling great!

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Thank you Mallory! 

And on to Step 4:

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Reline the bucket with newspapers also given to us!

When he gets home we throw most of it into the compost bin, and give anything that would be enjoyed by the chickens to them! They sure are loving this!

I’m hoping to be able to keep this going all summer and I’m very thankful to the sweet people that are willing to try composting! I also love the fact that my boy knows just as much about composting  as I do! He can answer pretty much any question that a customer throws his way! Keep blooming, even in the middle of a neighborhood! 🌱💚

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!

Earth Day 2018

As you all know, I love the Earth every single day! But this year I stepped it up and helped to organize a town clean up! Only 9 people showed up, but we cleaned up a lot of trash! (Probably close to 20 bags!)

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So much trash! 

My boy will be starting up his own composting service soon! He’s going to pick up neighbor’s compostables for our compost pile and educate them on how to compost. I love that he knows so much about how to keep a small carbon footprint!

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Look at that beautiful compost that was in the bin from last year! 

I also started working on killing off the grass to make room for the flowers that will be planted here! And look at that beautiful bat box that was put up!!

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Future wildlife habitat! 

While taking breaks, I enjoyed watching the chickens do their thing! They are quite entertaining!

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I think he’s beautiful! 

And then, of course, I have to share a few gardening pictures!

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Garlic growing! 
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Pea plants coming up through the soil

And, I finally started some indoor flowers after my momma showed me how amazing hers were looking! I had total flower envy!

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All kinds of flowers were started! 

With May right around the corner, I’m looking forward to starting lots more seedlings for the garden. And, of course, we need to work on getting the soil ready in the garden! I already envision our garden in my mind, but I’m not sure if they will all turn out ok! Regardless, I’m excited about our 2018 garden!!

Did you all do anything special on Earth Day?

Snow days in March?!

Between Tuesday and Wednesday, Mother Nature decides to spice up life and throw around 7 inches of snow our way! Just look at the difference between the pollinator area from Sunday to Wednesday!

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Top is Sunday, bottom is Wednesday! 

The chickens are not big fans of snowy days, so they decided to stayed tucked nicely in their house! But, their egg production is still increasing!

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The chickens discussing their disgust with snow!
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Nicely cleaned eggs! 

Every year around this time, I get tagged in the meme with the girl gardening in the snow! So, this year I recreated it! 😆

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I think I was pretty close! 

My good deed for the month of March is marked off! I went down to school (the one I teach at) and shoveled off as much of the playground area as I could for the kiddos. They really appreciated it today!

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Good deed for March! (It was a lot of shoveling!!) 

Im not going to lie and say that I was super productive on the days off from school/work because I wasn’t! I did manage to start making some curtains for the camper!

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Curtain for around the ceiling

And below, the Mr. upcycled some spoons into curtain rod holders for the door curtain that I quickly sewed up!

The indoor plants under the grow lights are looking pretty awesome! The only veggies that I have planted are peppers, but I have also started lots of perennials for the pollinator area!

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Pepper plants! 

And I will be doing a diy post on fermenting seeds to save them! I had leftover tomatoes in the freezer, so I fermented the seeds. That way I can plant the loads of tomatoes that I need to without spending so much money on plants!

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Roma tomato seeds! 

Did it snow where you are? And what do you have growing right now? Keep blooming friends!

 

No Spend February

We made 3. major achievements this month! 1. We paid off the truck!

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No more truck payments! 

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!

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Pollinator hotel! 

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!)

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Honey! 

And soon I will have a surplus of eggs to rehome!

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Delicious eggs! 

Also, the Mr. blacksmithed some beautiful mantel brackets for a beam of barn wood for a customer! They turned out beautiful!

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In the garage! 

And now, in their new home!! They loved them just as much as we did!

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And the fireplace looks beautiful! 

Our electric bill came, and I was expecting a nice bill because February was pretty cold, but to our surprise it was $0!!

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Yippee!! 

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)

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So many different flowers, beans and veggies that I can’t wait to plant! 

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!

So, have you been working on spending less?!