Greenest week ever!

This week I’ve been busy trying to green up my school!! My students read about an ecofriendly school and we did everything from discussing carbon footprints to writing letters to the mayor about more recycling opportunities in our town!

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Remelted crayon and some student work 

I also created a recycling center in the teacher’s lunchroom for their soda/water bottles and k cup pods! I bought a cutter that makes cleaning out the cups way easier and then I just save up the cups to send in and compost the coffee grounds.

I have also been sharing my produce with my friends at work!

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Yummy produce in upcycled containers!

And the Mr was able to upcycle the boy’s recalled crib into an easel that we are going to use at produce stands and craft shows!

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I love it!

And, the sweet potatoes are blooming away! I think that their blooms are beautiful!

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Sweet potato blooms

Does anyone else have to green up their workplace? I guess if I can’t get them to go zero waste, I can curb some waste! Have a great weekend!!

Composting!

Rotting food doesn’t make too many people excited, but I never claimed to be normal! Composting is an important part of our whole journey to creating less garbage, and a major win for the garden!  People most frequently ask how we create such a small amount of trash, or how a bag of trash that is in the garbage for over a month doesn’t stink! Well, keep reading to learn how easy it is!

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4 bags of garbage so far in 2017!

So let’s get into the basics of composting! There are some rules to it because you don’t want a sloppy, stinking mess that attracts rodents! (By the way, I haven’t had that happen!) There are greens and browns, which are listed below:

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The md extension website has a ton of great reliable info!

So, basically you collect these things instead of throwing them away. I keep mine in this ceramic crock that I empty out every few days. (If you empty it regularly, you don’t get fruit flies!)

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Ceramic crock for scraps! 

You should try to keep your pile about 3 parts brown to 1 part green for optimal decomposition. I don’t focus on it being a perfect ratio. If it seems really wet, I add more brown (like leaves or shredded newspapers). If it seems dry, I add water and try to put in more greens. It is microorganisms at work, but perfection isn’t necessary! The biggest thing is to keep it moist and turn it about weekly.

Now, I’m not afraid to admit that I willingly take compost donations! Even my mom saves things for me! She knows my decomposition hierarchy:

1. Any edibles that are still good, go to the chickens. (If no people want it!)

2. Any moldy, slimy or just peelings go into the compost pile! 

Examples below:

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Headed to the compost! 

Below is a picture of my first, and still slightly used compost pile. Your pile should be around 3 ft x 3 ft x 3 ft.

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My grassy compost bin

As you can tell by the picture, this wasn’t working amazing. So, when we found a second hand composting tumbler for sale, we jumped at getting it.

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Composting tumbler

Since it’s close to the house, it’s easy to use. I never smell it and it has 2 sides, which means one side is composting, while I’m adding scraps to the other side.

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Almost ready! 

This compost is put right around my plants and it provides an enormous amount of nutrients for them. Healthy plants can fight off pests and disease better and grow better produce!

I have done my best at providing the basics to composting! If you have any questions, please ask!

 

 

We got some new additions to the homestead!

This weekend we were able to get a lot accomplished! (Which is why I had to post before my end of month update!)

I’ll start off with some gardening excitement! The fence line garden is really starting to fill up!

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Even one sunflower bloomed! 

I have been picking lots of produce and was excited to finally get a green pepper! I’m not a very good pepper grower!

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Green pepper! 

And we had a ton of cucumbers this year so far! Last year I couldn’t get any to grow! Funny how that works out sometimes! Anyway, we turned them into delicious bread and butter pickles! We pickled some cucumelons too!

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They taste just like Granny’s did. ❤️

And the chickens loved the leftovers!

And now for the most beautiful bloom that has ever been in my garden:

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An okra bloom!!

Gorgeous, right?! First year grower here, so this made my day! And we are still dreaming of some fried okra! My husband loves fried okra!

Weare proud to announce some new friends that came to live here with us this weekend:

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A barrel of honey bees! 

Yep, a barrel of bees! They were not being enjoyed living on a friend’s back porch. So, she got ahold of me and I gladly took them off her hands! They were already doing orientation flights and flying off to look for pollen and nectar this morning!

And on to another perk of being an in-town homestead, is free food! Our neighbor loves gardening and he often has some leftovers! Here’s a whole bucket of pieces for the chickens:

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Our hens eat like queens! 

And last, but not least is we scored a used chipper off of the yardsale site! We have been wanting one to use to add chipped material to our compost. It’s not new, but I know it was well taken care of!

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Our new to us chipper! 

So after all that work this weekend, I’ll leave off with this picture:

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Sherman in a hammock! 

Obviously, the weekend was rough on him too! I hope that you had quite the productive weekend too!

Walk through the garden 4/19/17

Could it be?!?! Our first Wednesday walk through the garden of 2017. Even though not much is going on until the end of May (our last frost date), we can see the start of a great gardening season!

The garlic is growing nicely! And I just added some compost around them to help feed them a touch

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Garlic growing! 

The onions and strawberries growing in the raised bed are coming along!

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Onions! 
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Strawberry blooms! 

And I was pretty shocked to see that some of my potatoes have made their way above the soil already!

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Potato plant! 

My Granny’s rhubarb is looking great!

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Rhubarb! 

I really thought that since the grape vines didn’t really grow last year well, that they wouldn’t come back. But look at how healthy it looks:

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Grape vines! 

And the mister had taken the wheels off of an old wagon that was falling apart years ago. Well, I decide to use it for a salad garden. In it I have arugula, lettuce and spinach.

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Salad wagon! 

The boy was beyond delighted to find some frog or toad eggs in the tiny pond (puddle) above the garden:

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🐸 eggs! 

I will leave you with a picture of me splitting my hive, since I found a pretty nice capped queen cup. I got the future majesty and some nurse bees to move into a new box. (this was a first and I’m hoping it turns out well!)

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Splitting the hive! 

I hope that you are seeing lots of signs of Spring where you live!

How we make less trash

I love, love, love running into people here where I live that actually read my little blog! Such a compliment, especially since I am far from a writer. The first thing they always are curious about is how we create such a small amount of trash. So, here’s what  we do here that seems completely normal to us!

*We don’t use paper products. (Well, we do use toilet paper) no paper towels, napkins, paper cups/plates. We have our unpaper towels for both our house and lunches

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Cloth unpaper towels

*Meal planning- I plan out the meals for the week so that I only buy what I need. I don’t throw out uneaten food here.

*Be a fixer/maker. We try our best at fixing anything that breaks. I can patch/sew/repair fabric things and the mister is an amazing trouble-shooter and fixer. We also make a ton of things that others buy, like soap, all purpose cleaner and even pretty much anything that the mister can create!

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Homemade soap!

*No food in the garbage: the chickens and worms get anything that is leftover that we don’t want, or pieces of peelings.

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Chickens get leftovers
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Worm castings from red wrigglers

*be a baker-yes, we make a lot of our own breads, cakes, muffins, cookies and anything else that normally comes in a wrapper. I enjoy it, and definitely need to work on this more. I tend to be better at this in the summer time!

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Homemade bread

*we are non-shoppers. Shopping isn’t a hobby or exciting event for us. If something is needed, we look for it second hand. Then, if we can’t find it we buy it new. We also always take a list and use our reusable bags.

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Second hand work pants

*Say no to plastic wrap! I use the reusable beeswax wraps that I made to cover up bowls and plates. We also use containers and reusable sandwich bags, so no ziplock bags are used here!

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Beeswax wraps! 

*Grow what you eat! We grow a lot of the foods that our family really likes and love the fact that our dinner traveled a whole 10 feet from our yard to our table!

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Our smaller raised bed garden

*we are preservers! We grow what we enjoy and then preserve whatever we can. We enjoy our own tomatoes sauces, jellies, green beans, onions, garlic and potatoes all throughout the winter.

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Our own green beans!

*we are recyclers. Our small town does not recycle a lot. We recycle what we can here. I don’t believe that recycling is the great answer with plastics, but what we can’t refuse to use we do recycle.

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Our recycle bins! 

* we compost!! Coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit peels, papers and cardboard get composted. The mister also burns some of the cardboard too.

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The worms love some old newspapers!

* We are leftover eaters. I take leftovers in my lunch a lot, in reusable containers. That means not much eating out, so no straws (they’re terrible), styrofoam cups or even condiment packages.

*reusable everything! We refill our foam soap pumps, use and make our own cotton dishcloths (that can eventually be composted).

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Crochet dishcloths

That’s more than a handful of what we do. We are far from perfect and we are going to  continue working on leaving this planet a better place! If you can think of anything else to add, please leave a comment! And remember that I look at this as a way of life and not a competition. 💚🌎

Urban homestead kinda weekend

It’s hard not living on a big ol’ farm, but living the way we do. We constantly get people saying “but you live in town” or ” well you can’t have (filling the blank with whatever animal) at your house!” Which is totally true! But here’s the kicker, we are doing so much with what we have! Here are a few examples of things we did around here just this weekend!

I gave Izzy dog a nice solar powered fur cut! It was so sunny, so her clippers were being powered by the sun!

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Beautiful girl! 

While gathering eggs I found our first Easter egger egg in the coop! She takes most of the winter off from egg laying!

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Welcome back so egg laying! 

Next I threw some banana peels into the worm bin in the basement and realized I need to clean out the worm castings. Their 💩 is great plant food!

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Garden gold! 

It has rained a lot here this winter, instead of snowing. So, the area around the coop was super muddy and gross. I got to haul more and more buckets of wood chips to their area. It looks so much better!

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All cleaned up! 

At work Friday, these apples were being given away because they had some bad spots.

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Beat up apples

At first, I was going to just chuck them in to the chickens. Instead, the chickens just got the bad spots and I made some yummy apple muffins! Zero waste breakfast tomorrow!

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Apple muffins! 

Last night I realized I needed to make up some yogurt for lunches this week. I used 2% milk and it came out a little more runny, so I had to strain off the whey to thicken it up. It’s delicious!

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More homemade yogurt

And between all that I was able to craft up a ton of items! I got an order for 60 white beaded bracelets! I’m half way there already!

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Loads of craftiness! 

And of course I played some uno with the boy, visited family and even got to see my beautiful little niece smiling so big. Made my ❤️ so happy! And of course this makes me smile as well:

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Sherman! Our crazy boy! 

Seriously, whose dog sits like that? Our crazy pup!

This month has flown bye and I can’t wait to update you all on our progress around the homestead! Have a great week!

Wet weather update! 

It has rained almost every day in May! But, we have been able to get some gardening accomplished here! I went out to check the compost and it is breaking down quite nicely! 

Composting!! Look how rich it looks!

I also will show you an update (2 months later) of our food digester. Here’s where I made it! https://littlellewellynhomestead.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/homemade-food-digester/

No smell and breaking down nicely!

The garden is all tilled up and I have some green beans planted, along with the potatoes and a few pumpkin plants. 


The raised beds are actually looking like a garden at this point with onions, strawberries and peas. We also were able to plant the pole beans!

Peas, onions and strawberries

On the one nice day this week, I was able to check on the bees! They are looking pretty good considering that they can’t forage much with this weather! 


I’m using this gross weather to get caught up on sewing some orders and some fun requests from friends, like these bandana bibs:


Let’s hope for nicer weather, but I’m not going to wait for it! I will still garden, even in the rain!