Best Thursday!!

Today was a normal day in third grade, but here at the homestead, it was pretty terrific!

I have been trying to save as many pumpkins as I can from the landfill! It takes so much time and energy to grow a pumpkin! I put up an event for taking pumpkins on my Facebook page, and I’ve received so many! My goal was 20, and I’m already at 22! So, I guess I better make a higher goal!

I’m beyond excited to have extra treats for the chickens and extra rotting material for my compost!

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Chickens enjoyed this pumpkin! 

We made one of our favorite less meat dishes: vegetable stir fry:

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Our delish dinner! 

Everything was from the garden: zucchini, winecap mushrooms, eggs and onions! Only the rice and carrots were bought from the store!

I was delighted to see that after I used up all the mushrooms that more had popped up!

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More mushrooms! 

And winecaps get pretty big! I decided to let some grow larger to drop spores!

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A big winecap mushrooms! 

I also found a couple of luffa gourds that I put in a different place! So, now we have been able to harvest 22!

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Luffa gourds! 

And the one and only baby chick that was hatched out this summer gave us her first egg. It’s not really brown or white. She’s a cross bred hen, but we love her just the same!

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A first egg! 

And a preview of a secret project for 2018:

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Secret project! 

The Mr is making something pretty amazing for me! (You can guess in the comments if you’d like!) It’s part of next year’s goals, so I’ll share in just a few months! Next post will be an update on our 2017 goals and accomplishments from  October.

Grow your own garlic!

If you want to grow some garlic, this is the time of year to do it! Garlic started in the fall helps the bulbs grow to larger sizes. I just put mine in the ground this weekend and I’m sure they will sprout up a bit before winter fully arrives, but that’s ok! So, if you want to grow some garlic, here you go!

Step 1: get your bulbs from a reputable company. I save mine every year, so I already know that the variety that I grow does well here! (You could always buy some from your own farmer’s market!)

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I got about 30 of the better sized cloves from these 3! 

Step 2: separate out the individual cloves for planting. Leave the paper coating on them! I don’t plant the smaller sliver pieces, I save those to cook with!

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Ready for planting! 

Step 3: make sure the soil has plenty of compost mixed in, and dig a nice little trench. The garlic gets planted about 2 inches deep.

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Ready to put garlic cloves in! 

Step 4: place the garlic cloves 2 inches down with the flat end down and pointed end up!

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It goes in the ground this way! 

Step 5: place the cloves 4 inches apart and the rows (I only did one row) should be about 12” apart.

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A beautiful row of garlic! 

Step 6: cover over all the cloves and make sure you leave a marker or something to remember where you planted it in the spring!

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That stick is my marker! 

Step 7: cover the row with something! You could use straw, wood chips, or you could use leaves like I did. (They were right beside the raised bed and free!)

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Leaves to insulate those cloves! 

Come spring time, you will see little sprouts poking up through the soil and by around June, you will be harvesting some garlic!

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Garlic from last spring! 

You will know that it is ready to be harvested when about half of the leaves are dying back and turning yellowish-brown.

Then, you will need to dry it out. This year I learned to braid it and hung it in my basement to dry out!

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Braided and ready to dry out! 

So, get out there and plant that garlic! It really is that easy! If you have any questions, I’ll do my best to answer!

Still gardening and harvesting! 

Well tomorrow is the end of September and my birthday! I have no plans, but I know we will get into something! Now, onto the harvests!! We are getting some popcorn harvested and it is beautiful! 

Popcorn!!

We also cut a few of the sunflowers down and we have some huge seeds and I plan on roasting them! (For the first time!) 

Huge sunflower heads

The cover crop in the raised bed is growing very well! I’m hoping this will keep the soil in there nice and healthy! 

Cover crop!

The next crop to be harvested in October are all of those sweet potatoes! The video of our sweet potatoes was even featured on thehappygardeninglife on Instagram and has been viewed over 5,000 times!!!


The luffa gourds are still growing and I’m really hoping that they will be ready to be harvested this year!!


Enjoy your weekend and I’ll be posting how September has been for our goals! 

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!!

Mushroom growing, harvests, crafting and donating

This weekend was full of all the reasons why I put so much into this lifestyle that we are wanting to live.

Remember the mushroom spawn that I spread in a raised bed back in early May? Well, the mushrooms have finally popped up for harvesting! (Best find of the weekend!)

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Delicious winecap mushrooms! 

Also, a few of the birdhouse gourds had fallen on the ground. So, I decided to go ahead and pull them from the dead vibe and start the drying out process.

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Super-sized birdhouse gourds

And the garden is still producing so much! I really am not sure of what I’m going to make out of all of these tomatoes at this point!

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All picked on Saturday!
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Our first beets harvested! 

We had our last produce sale of the season, but it was unfortunately a flop. So, I gave a lot of produce to family and friends!

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Tomatoes coming out my ears! 

And now onto all the crafting that has been going on around here! The Mr has been busy beating on metal and blacksmithing lots for our upcoming craft show!

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Hanging basket hooks
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Dinner bells! 

And I have been sewing up a storm too! I’ve been working on unpaper towels and napkins. Also, I have sewing up reusable wet jet refills. Now to hope that the customers at the craft show enjoy a more zero waste lifestyle!

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Sewing so much! 

I officially got tired of my crazy long hair this weekend, and decided to get it cut off! 14 inches to be exact and I’ll be donating it to a wig making organization. I figure since it grows so fast, I might as well use it for something!

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Future wig! 

I hope that you all were able to enjoy your weekend and that your garden is still flourishing!

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Bees are still working the dandelions! 

Keep blooming where you are planted!

So much canning! (And fall garden prep!)

You’d think that mid- summer is the busiest time for gardeners. Not true! Im busiest in late summer and fall! It’s prepping, picking, and preserving all of that produce!

We had another sale yesterday! Only a few customers, but the rest of the produce was preserved for the winter months here!

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Another produce sale! 

The Mr.’s sister has an apple tree and doesn’t use the apples. So, we went and picked about a bushel of apples and made some yummy applesauce! And we have some leftover to turn into something else!

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A few apples left! 
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Making applesauce! 

I spent the majority of the day today making some chili sauce! That stuff is super labor intensive! It takes a ton of peeling and chopping of veggies to make! But, my Dad loves it, so I make it!

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Chili sauce! 

And just like every other Sunday morning, we are out of food for breakfast! So, I baked some zucchini cake using the last of our homegrown zucchini!

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There were 2, but it’s really good! 

The wheat and rye that I planted to help add fertilizer to the soil is growing fast!

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Future green manure! 

And now to leave off on a few beautiful things!

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A honeybee on my sunflower! 
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One of the adorable stray kitties around here! 

I hope that you had a productive weekend too! Keep blooming where you are planted!

Wednesday walk through the garden and lots of blooms! 9-6-17

The garden is starting to fizzle out, but we are still harvesting green beans, cucumbers, cucumelons and lots of tomatoes! I’m hoping to harvest a watermelon or 2 this season!

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Ripen quickly please! 

I’m not sure what this is growing out of the compost bin! It looks like a yellow zucchini, but it is vining like a pumpkin!

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we love our weird compost hybrids! 

We are also still getting peppers, so we will be making some Appalachian style chili sauce. My Dad loves it, so of course I’m going to make him some!

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peppers! 

The popcorn is a good bit taller than me and has tassels!

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popcorn!!!!

The pumpkin vines are dying off, but at least we are getting a few pumpkins!

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Pumpkins! 

The fall beets are growing right up out of the ground!

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we will be pickling beets! 

The sweet potatoes are growing all over the place! I can’t wait to see how much that we harvest this year!!

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sweet potato vines

And I’m pretty proud to share that we made some ketchup this year out of our own Roma tomatoes! We just used one of the Mrs. Wage’s seasoning packets!

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homemade ketchup!

And, there are lots of beautiful blooms still around for our pollinators!