Spinning honey and melting beeswax

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!

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Full deep frame of honey

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!

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Spinning away! 

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!

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Filtering out the honey

After we allow it to settle in the bucket for a bit, we pour all of the honey into clean and sterilized jars.

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A nice honey harvest! 

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.

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The dry beeswax cappings

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,

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Before melting (I think it looks like burger!) 
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During melting

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!)

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We harvested about 8.5 ounces

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!

No Spend mid-February Update

Last month we were able to put extra money into our savings and are proud of another major achievement! We are now officially car payment free!! Yay!!!

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The Mr.’s beast is paid off!

I also managed to not spend money on valentines for my students! I used thread and cardstock that I already had to make these:

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Friendship bracelets for my students!

My hubby was so sweet and made me my Valentines gift!

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Pollinator hotel

It was crafted from some old redwood fence posts that were given to us by my dad! The empty shelves will be filled with pieces of cut up bamboo  and will be home to a lot of pollinators to lay some eggs! The total spent was $0 and it is way better than expensive flowers or chocolates!

My boy is such a sweet soul, especially  for a teenager. He doesn’t ask for anything. So, when I saw this pattern for a crocheted poke ball, I made him one! I had all of the yarn already here!

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My boy loved his poke ball!

We did spend a little money on our new lights set up! We like to grow different varieties, and starting from seeds allows us to have our pick of whatever heirlooms that we want!

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Our seed starting rack! Sherman is playing “Where’s Waldo!”

We haven’t been spending money on anything, but when I was in the craft store, these were hard for me to not buy! I loved them!

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I actually didn’t buy them!

So, for the first half of the month, we have been doing a pretty fantastic job! It’s kind of odd not going out to eat or just going shopping for the fun of it. I think when spring arrives, and there’s more to do, it will be easier to be consumed with outdoor living! Is anyone else having a great no spend month?

Long weekend happenings!

Monday was called off due to the snow. With no school, I planned on getting to work around the house! On Saturday my momma let me know that the Mr. was on the front page of the newspaper. The roads were a mess Friday.

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That’s him on the right. (Everyone was ok, by the way) 

On the weekend I took our recycling plus all of the recycling from school to the recycling center. It closes around 3 everyday! I can only get there on the weekend.

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So many cereal bowls! 😢

While shopping for groceries, I found some butterfly weed! It’s a type of milkweed, so I’ll be starting that along with 2 other varieties soon!

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Milkweed! 

I have some nice blisters on my fingers from where I’ve been scrubbing all of the dried out birdhouse gourds! Then, we dye them and clear coat them! They are going to (hopefully) be sold at the next craft show!

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Birdhouse gourds! 
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I think this one is beautiful! 

On Monday, I was able to hang out with my mom for a while. There is not a day that goes by that I take for granted having her. She is literally the nicest person that I’ve ever been around. ❤️ Her so much!

Then, I sewed new curtains for the camper! (A whole update will be coming soon for the camper reno!)

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So much better than before! 

And I was also able to do my swab for the #bethematch bone marrow donation. I might not ever be matched, but I’m here for whoever does match!

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It’s all sent in! 

And, of course, we spent some time relaxing!

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Sherman with his boy! 

Before we know it the weekend will be here again and we will be working on getting more accomplished! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Weekend working!

This beautiful weather awoken our working spirits this weekend. We came out of our hibernation mode for a bit!

My cousin is having a baby boy very soon and I made her a homemade gift, along with the wrapping paper that I upcycled from a paper bag! I even made a little card and bow from that single bag!

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Homemade hooded towel! 

I also was able to enjoy some crocheting and finished off projects that were almost completed!

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Crocheted dishcloths

The boy and I whipped up a large batch of lip balm. We are going to use the profit that we make from selling them to buy food for the Union Rescue Mission. Good deeds are being done! ✅

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Beeswax lip balm 

The boy and Mr. helped to measure off the area of the garden that we are going to expand and I’m going to start planning where I’m going to plant everything! And I also started putting some planning into our pollinator garden area!

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Pollinator Area planning! 

The Mr. was busy in the garage working on the camper, and doing other projects.  I’m excited that he put together our bat house and that he even painted the Batman logo on it! I love it!

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Bat House!! 

He also up cycled the mount from an old satellite dish into a holder for a flag. He’s been wanting to put a flag outside of his garage!

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America! 

And now to brag on the boy! He made this  nice trivet in shop class last marking period! I think he did a great job!

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Made by the boy! 

I’m going to enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasts! Are you all starting to plan out your garden?! 🌱💚

Baking/cooking and not spending $

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!

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Cinnamon rolls! 
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Best pizza I have ever made! 

To keep busy, I have been crocheting lots of messy bun hats!

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Crocheting away! 

I also made this matching set for an adorable little girl and her beautiful momma!

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I love the way they turned out! 

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!

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Bottle opener! 

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!

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McFlurry x2

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!

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Happy birthday to my big teenager! 

And I will continue to sit around and enjoy my footed pajama pants (feejays) and dream about warmer weather!

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Love these pants! 

Is it so stinking cold where you live?! Stay warm friends!

 

November goals update 2017

November brought the cold temperatures that reminded me that Winter is will be here to stay. It allowed me enough nice days to clean up the garden and chicken coop. So, without waiting, here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We are continuing to enjoy our deliciousness that we canned from the summer and fall including: peaches, apple sauce, tomato sauce and even ketchup! I’m also loving the upcycling that we have been doing here! That’s going to be a focus next year!

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Upcycled license plate money box!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We need to continue cleaning out the boy’s closet since he’s growing like a weed! I’m sure I will find someone here that could use them!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month. We are still on bag 6, but it’s basically full.

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Still only 5 bags thrown out! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we have been crafting away! We will be having a sale through our Facebook page and I have been working hard on hooded towel orders!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. This just won’t be happening this year. #comeonmrllewellyn!!

6. Expand the garden. We are definitely working on this! 

We will be putting up a nice fenced in area next year and driving posts for a better appearance. So, I guess that I need to be selling lots of goodies to help offset the costs!

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Putting the garden to sleep

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!

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The last of the mushroom harvest 

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

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Enjoying a warm breakfast

9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film last year. The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled 88 pounds so far! I also convinced my principal to buy a zero waste glue stick recycling box and we are also recycling our cereal bowls and markers!

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Marker recycling! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached  730 kWh! And our electric bill was less than $6!

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Still loving our solar energy!

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! I made them some sugar boards to help keep them fed this winter!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. Next year we will be traveling out west!

How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? We are hoping to accomplish just as many goals in 2018! Keep on blooming where you are planted!!💚🌱

First frosts, harvests and a touch of Blacksmithing

It finally happened this week… our first frost. It wasn’t the hardest of frosts, but enough to make us realize that the season is slowly fading towards dreadful winter. But, happy thoughts for now… garden harvests tonight! I started with the gardens around the house and we have cucamelons galore:

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Harvesting from the yard

Then, I dug up the last of the sweet potatoes!  (14 pounds more to be exact!!)

Before I ran out of daylight, I also harvested as many jalapeños and popcorn that I could find!

Since I was already close by the big garage with the forge, I decided to see what was being created!

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I’m still so impressed that my husband built this himself! 
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Making a dinner bell
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Working on the anvil
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Finished products! 

And since I have not had anytime to do much crafting, I thought I’d share the chicken doorhanger that I made with some coworkers at a paint night!

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She’s beautiful! 

I hope that you’re still getting some goodies from your garden! Only 2 more days in this working week!!! Come on weekend!