Winter arrived!?!

Here in the Appalachian mountains of Maryland, the snow arrived. Usually we will get a few dustings before a major storm, but not this year. We got over 10 inches between Thursday and Friday!

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Lots of snow and ice to clean up! 

And did I mention that the Mr. enjoyed using the tractor to clear the driveway? It was like watching a little boy play!

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Clearing lots more snow! 

Since we had school cancelled for 2 days, due to the snowstorm, I was able to put up the student’s artwork around town for the holiday season! Those are the Santas that my students made!

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Small town decor! 

And because I wanted to use my time well, I finished a lot of projects that had been needing finished! There were lots of patches that needed sewn on uniforms and hooded towels to finish up. And they are all completed!

On Facebook, I was tagged in a post about making a crown earwarmer. It was a quick project that was fun and easy! I don’t have a little girl, but it seems like many like this sort of thing!

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Crocheted crown earwarmer

I have also been wanting to learn how to do some brush calligraphy and just started with some crayola markers around here. I think I’m kind of getting it! I need something to do since the weather is so cold!

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Just reusing the back of my boy’s worksheets! 

While sitting on the couch yesterday, I noticed that the cactus that I received as a gift 4 years ago is back to blooming!

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Beautiful! 

Im not sure if it is a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus, so chime in if you know!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your families!

No Spend Year October Update

October was another month of working on our finances and we are also focusing on paying off those solar panels!

A few things that we sprung for were eating out once during a day off together. That was nice!! Turns out you really enjoy those experiences when they are more rare! And I found a nice pair of work pants at a thrift store for $1! Such a great deal!

We try to save where we can. As a gardener, learning how to save seeds is a way to save a ton of money for the next growing season. I have been saving everything that I can and I’m going to only have to buy a minimal amount of seeds for the next growing season!

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Some of the flower seeds that I saved

We also save about $15 a month by not having a trash service. We have only produced 4 bags this year, so that means I would have been paying almost $40 for each bag to be thrown away. Instead I have the option to drop them off myself for next to nothing.

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Less trash, more money

We also have been working on our crafting/Blacksmithing and making a few bucks on our creations. It’s nice to have hobbies that pay you back!

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Our craft display 

Another great way to save some money is to be a fixer! I know people throw out a lot, instead of just fixing it! The arm on our couch just needed a needle and thread!

Right now we are also shopping around for new insurance and comparing prices. When we are both driving paid off vehicles and have luckily not been in accidents in a while, it seems like we are paying a crazy premium!

Next up is trying to take it easy on our finances while the holiday season is upon us! We already have some ideas for family members, but I still wish that we could just enjoy spending time together! I just can’t stand buying literally junk. Ugh! (Not for my kid, other family members!)

Does anyone have some insight on how to avoid buying so much ridiculousness during the holidays? Thanks for any ideas!

 

October Goals Update 2018

Adios October! And oh my goodness there are only 2 more months this year! However, I feel like we have made the most out of 2018! So, we are ready for November!

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! It has been cleaned out and the chickens and ducks have been enjoying getting to run through it! I loved the layout of it this year!

Our October Garden

2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! I catch myself thinking about the fun that we had this summer often!

Picnicking in Yellowstone!

3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! I loved hiking the trails and still think about how we packed a lunch, went on a long hike and then ate our lunch while watching buffalo and wild horses in the distance! 🌏💚

Old faithful!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature. So, we did! Everything has slowly died off, but I have saved so many seeds for next year! I’m hoping to add more native plants!

Milkweed that I saved from a lawnmower!
Seeds that I will be using next year!

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are up to 4, so I think we have a good chance of making it!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I gave away an old Halloween costume and spent tons of time working on our composting program for school. Between phone calls, meetings and emails I have a lot of time wrapped up in it!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I participated in a seed swap to give out our seeds that we have a lot of and make room for new varieties! Oh, and the Mr. fixed my phone case that I accidentally broke. Yay for a resourceful spouse!

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They were repotted and put outside to get used to the weather. They are starting to lose their leaves now! They are preparing for winter!

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year! (We have an interesting plan for next year!)

10. Grow different produce- We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I just enjoyed some kale and broccoli from our garden just last week!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- October was also a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We sold our Blacksmithing and sewn crafts at a local craft show and had a great weekend!

I am pretty proud of the steps that we are making towards achieving our goals! And, I have a list of close to 30 different goals that are on the chopping block for 2019!

Are you thinking about next year already? Anything that you think we should give a try to?

Keep blooming friends! 🌱

DIY garden markers (even with bad handwriting!)

In the past, I plant my garden and think that I will definitely remember where I planted everything. And guess what? I would forget what kind of tomatoes are those? Or, are those cucumbers? Or a pumpkin? Maybe zucchini? Now, of course I figured it out eventually, but I annoyed myself always doing this!

So, this year I started making some garden markers! The materials needed are:

– paint, I used the acrylic in the bottle from the craft aisle

– a sharpie paint pen, same aisle as the paint

– paintbrush, just a 15 cent foam one

– clear coat paint (it’s with the spray paint)

– paper

– chalk

– and garden stakes (like these from Lowe’s)

Step 1: I decided to color code my garden, but you might want yours all the same color! Whichever! Just paint the end of the stake and give them time to dry.

Step 2: I had already printed off the varieties that I wanted to put on the stakes. I used Lucinda handwriting on word. And any old printer will be fine. (Tip: if your printer isn’t working, you can always trace it off of the screen!)

Step 3: rub chalk all over the back of the paper on the word that you want to write. This will help transfer it onto the wooden marker.

Step 4: line up the chalk side on the wooden marker and trace the words using a pen or pencil. The words will be left for you to trace!

Step 5: use your paint pen to trace the letters. I’ve learned to make the paint longer than the word, so that the chalk is easy to see!

Step 6: after giving it a bit to dry, I take them outside and lightly clear coat them. (Since they will be in the elements all summer!) after that dries, they are ready for the garden!!

And there they are! I think they are absolutely beautiful!! Now I can easily see my peppers (blue markers), my tomato varieties (red markers) the bush beans (orange marker) and everything else!

Another great part is that I had almost everything here, except the stakes and paint pen! So, it was a cheap project! And, I love that it isn’t my own handwriting, because it is pretty sloppy!

Enjoy! And I hope that you have a great start to the growing season! Keep blooming! 🌱💚

Worker bee me last week!

Last week the Mr. was on late shift, so I decided to get some work accomplished around here! Everything from crafting to gardening!

Monday evening: hemmed pants and sewed patches on

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A lot of sewing! (And I really dislike hemming pants!) 

Tuesday: finished crocheting some baby chicks for Easter!

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Peeps! 

Wednesday: starting the cutting for the camper cushions and redecorated the chalkboard!

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So ready for spring! 

Thursday: the boy stamped our seed packets for the local seed swap and I started working on recovering all of those camper cushions!

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The seeds that we took to the swap! 

Friday: I finished recovering all of the cushions and they look beautiful!

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Easier than I thought it would be! 

Saturday: I took down all of the garden fencing and moved the compost bin to the chicken area!

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Bye bye fence! Hello garden expansion! 

Sunday: I started working on filling the pollinator hotel with knot weed and drilled fallen tree limbs.

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Pollinator hotel

I also started lots of herbs and flowers in the tiny greenhouse

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I hope that they grow well! 

I have some seeds in milk jugs to get started!

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Winter sowing some marigolds

And I hung out with my momma and went to the local seed swap! I donated 15 packs of seeds and brought home a few!

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Brought home zinnia, nasturtiums, bee food blend, birds egg beans and golden zucchini

And, we played uno almost every night!

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I ❤️ That the teen wants to play a game with me! 

And this week, I’m not feeling that ambitious! But, some exciting things are going to be happening in the weeks to come here at the homestead! We are definitely blooming where we are planted! 🌱💚

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?!

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?!