Certified wildlife habitat!

One of our goals for the new year was to turn the front lawn by the garage into a wildlife habitat, and I’m happy to report back that we did!

The check off sheet for certification:

D8925A62-16D6-4916-B5BB-FBEDC459761F
Food, water, cover, places to raise young and sustainable practices
img_2311
My rough draft last year
img_3365
After lots of hard work getting rid of the grass
AD607B5E-0E00-4F8C-B0D0-1D40A0AF392A
And this week!

And now all of the requirements:

food: we have raspberries, lots of pollen and nectar, a walnut tree and sunflowers for both pollen and nectar as well as seeds

water: we have 2 bird baths and a tiny pond back by the garden

cover: we created a small brush pile and we have a wooded area and tiny pond

places to raise young: we have milkweed for baby catapillars, pond, bat house, pollinator hotel and trees for the birds

sustainable practices: we capture rain water, use lots of mulch to reduce watering and keep soil from eroding, reduce watering, plant lots of native plants (and plan on adding more every year!), hand pick weeds and invasive plants/insects, reduce lawn area and compost like no one’s business!

 

image-11
We started many native plants indoors last winter (coneflowers, milkweed, yarrow, bee balm)
55F188D5-6064-4740-B627-4A2799351A99
I keep seeing beautiful cardinals enjoying the seeds
053F6670-0A1A-4793-9427-072909BE3465
Not Native, but a polllen and nectar source
12000AD0-07C3-4D24-9145-10D4D6385D5B
Nasturtiums and the pollinators are enjoying the blooms now
img_4009
Echinacea
img_4010
Black eyed Susan (a Maryland favorite!)
C039C70F-1DAE-4474-A90B-A4B82C7F162B
Another variety of black eyed Susan with a native bee
EC2B6D5C-BC64-4A9F-B8A2-A18A18C0A972
Birdhouse gourds volunteered to come up here
0E71A2EE-5C3D-43AF-ABEB-547E401C2BB4
Upcycled bamboo sign post
CD7BB114-B826-4C38-AF4E-9DDE41FEA7C9
The solar lights along the walkway

It is far from perfect, but I plan on working on and adding to it every year. My husband enjoys not having to cut the grass in that area anymore and the wildlife have really moved in to this area! I see so many different birds, lots of different bees and beautiful butterflies flitting around. Plus, with more birds, I have had less issues with some insects in the garden! I’ll post a picture of it at the end of the season! Keep blooming friends!

 

 

June Goals Update 2018

Happy July all!! June was a fun month of finishing up school and traveling! Plus, the garden is taking off!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– ✅it happened! Everything is growing pretty well and I’m hoping that I get a great harvest!

2. Fix the camper– We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! We are going to update it some more, now that we lived out of it for 2 weeks!

3.Travel out west- We did it and enjoyed every single stop! (And the last blog posted was all about our adventure!)

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. We are finally starting to see what we envisioned! The pollinator hotel is being used, and flowers are blooming!

5. Reduce garbage– Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Bag number 2 was just taken out!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This month I didn’t do a big do-good gesture, but the boy’s composting service has kept around 220 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- this month we were able to pick up some pallets and the Mr. turned them into compost bins that the chickens gladly turn for us! Post will come later on how to make them!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! The little sprouts are starting to look like trees!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! I also was able to pick up some ground cherries at a local nursery!

Genovese tomatoes

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.47 MWh and just the connection rate for an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this weekend! We will have garlic, eggs and some birdhouse gourds! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month things grew so well while we were out of town! I hope that your gardens start to produce some fruit and veggies for you! Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

May Goals Update 2018

It’s June!!! Only another week and a half of school, the garden is coming to life and the temperatures are on the rise. I love summertime!

And here’s how the goals are going:

1. Expand the garden– it happened! The whole thing is planted! I have walkways and I’m doing my best to keep the weeds at bay! The trellises are all looking great 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! And the Mr. custom fit the bamboo mat for the bathroom area!

3.Travel out west- That camper is officially ready for adventure! It’s going to be happening this summer! I really want to see a buffalo, a few Great Lakes and the beautiful sights in Yellowstone! Oh, and spend another summer with my boy before he’s all grown up!

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There’s a grass patch in front of the garage that is begging to be returned to nature. So far we have raspberries, blueberries, black eyed Susan’s, brown eyed Susan’s, echinacea and a wildflower mix. And I’m pretty sure that some wild yarrow is coming up! And we are up to 2 inhabitants in the pollinator hotel!

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! I volunteered at a STEM festival and helped to educate kids about the importance of bees! I saved all of the water bottles from being thrown out during a school event and the boy’s composting service has kept around 70 pounds of food waste out of the landfill!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair- the Mr. turned a broken window into a planter for the wildlife area! He also painted up and installed a cat litter container (now mailbox) in my garden so I’m not losing my garden trowel as often! And I turned some unused worksheets into notebooks for the boy to write down compost weights on! Great upcycling month!

8. Paw Paw trees– These native trees have grown near here for such a long time! We are now up to 2 seeds sprouting! I was hoping to at least have that many for cross pollination!

9. Build a pizza oven– I do believe that we are putting this off for another year.

10. Grow different produce

I am proud to say that the Tennessee dancing gourds are growing, along with the apple melons and all different kinds of tomatoes! The only seeds that didn’t germinate at all were the oriental long beans. Not a one!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- May was a nice solar month, despite lots of rain! 1.6 MWh and just the connection rate fir an electric bill! (It’s around $5)

12. Work on garden cart sales– I am hoping to be able to put something out for sale this month! Maybe at least eggs! That cart is too pretty to not be used!

Last month I worked every single free minute in the garden. On more than one occasion I had a bad feeling that I bit off ore than I should have. But, not everything is planted and growing. I hope that your gardens are taking shape! 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!

FCE6B68F-A33A-4416-9B54-C34145645614
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,

CB27580E-EC71-47E8-822C-97EA95310210
The inside of the bucket
A0CAF262-BB2C-4F89-92AB-C980C9D803CE
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:

2C571D79-E109-4C83-AF0B-69B56000A9D5
Step 1: weigh it (so we can let his customers know how awesome they are doing!) 
87233B54-D100-490D-9C40-8B120D1392D1
Step 2: dump out the contents 
1CDCD66B-7DBC-43F0-A588-3ADFE82C5D78
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!

image
Thank you Mallory! 

And on to Step 4:

6DC81281-ED5D-4144-BF6D-CA4590ADFC83
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! 🌱💚

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!

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!)

38E5765F-6E7D-4DBB-BAB8-0D4C6E7F62CD
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!

806CD484-778F-4CC0-874B-C87266D84DB9
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!!

39320768-6424-4F0E-B8FF-6B6EF176B766
Future wildlife habitat! 

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

7D050DB5-B4C2-48B3-8436-42B2CB297BE1
I think he’s beautiful! 

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

B012A945-A14A-4701-8104-7E9CEF89CCAA
Garlic growing! 
24F2010D-E91E-478A-89E2-087E6CE50867
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!

1526A41B-C9F6-4A00-92E4-35A7F2802EB7
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?

Happiness is simplicity!

Yesterday was quite an interesting day. I had been the middle person between the county waste service, our school and an outside source that provides insight on how to start composting at our school. We had a meeting and I thought everything was going well. The great news is that it was well received by the staff! The bad news is that our maintenance department is very against it. But, obviously they don’t know me well, because if they did they would know that this girl has lots of fight in her for this beautiful planet!

35BD1395-C118-4E3C-AA5C-15E9568EFC63
I still am super enthusiastic about getting the program started! 

Since I used to be the person that would be ridiculously angry and say things that I would regret, I’m proud to say that I have become pretty calm the older that I get. It’s hard to be mad when there is so much happiness in my heart! So here’s a few things that get me up and going in the morning:

-Teaching anyone about the environment, gardening and beekeeping! Even my student teacher interns!

37167327-D2C1-4669-96AE-6D77210E20C9
Their goodbye gift from me (since we talked about all of the things at my tiny homestead often!)

-Growing everything from seed! (Or just watching anything grow!)

F5805378-9103-4EE2-9086-FAAAAF91DFE6
Our grow lights are pretty filled! 
E2E38398-C9B3-48F9-9981-C1E052218818
The paw paw seed sprouting! 

-Watching everything come back to life in the spring!

1FC45A36-E3F8-4EC0-BF1E-0608E33A057C
Our wine cap mycelium coming back! 

-Watching the bees awake from their long winter!

6EBD3083-525F-4303-A409-9CF5B50D35E0
Look at all of that pollen that she’s bringing in!

-Cleaning up this world and spreading goodness! With so much negativity in the world, I’m trying to make it a little better!

4DA7BD11-C573-48CD-B074-4E43A666F084
2 streets of trash! 

-And, of course, raising this kid to be compassionate towards others, a good citizen, to have a love for our planet and everything in it and to live life meaningfully!

D03A58B7-DFE0-4EF7-BF6B-155589C40583
Such a good heart in this one! 

When life kicks me down, I choose to think of all of the good around me and there’s a lot! What gets you up in the morning? What brings you out of your funk and makes your heart happy? Keep blooming (even on cloudy days!) 🌱💚