Growing Popcorn

Last summer one new thing that we tried our green thumb on was popcorn. We grew 2 varieties: strawberry popcorn, on the right and a mixed color variety on the left.

We noticed right away the height difference between the 2 varieties! The strawberry popcorn was much shorter than the colored variety. It also seemed like the ears of corn developed faster on the strawberry variety.

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Popcorn stalks

I left the corn on the plant to dry as long as they could and when the cold weather started setting in, we pulled the cobs off and brought them in to dry out the rest of the way.

Just now, in January, we decided to shell the corn. At first, we tried to just use our fingers, and that was painful. And then we read where if you rub 2 cobs together, they will come off easier. That worked better with less cut up fingers!

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Our popcorn!

We decided to save some of both seeds.

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Some of the seeds for next year

We used a funnel to pour all of the popcorn into a mason jar to keep everything sealed up!

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Yep, that’s homework still on the table!

And here was how much we got for a very small patch!

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Our whole harvest! 

And for the leftover cobs and husks, the chickens enjoyed looking for any kernels that we missed and kicked everything around!

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A nice winter treat! 

Now on the the important part, did it pop?! It sure did! They might not be as large as the store bought, but the taste is much better!

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Popcorn! 

Next year I’m going to focus on the strawberry variety because they seemed to pop much better, and took up less room.

So, I consider this new crop to us a success! Does popcorn make your list for the 2018 garden? I’m going to stay under these covers and dream of the beautiful weather that will eventually come! 🌱💚

2017 Goals Update!

Last year was my first year setting and blogging about my goals. It was amazing to run into people and they would ask me questions about how I was doing with them! They went pretty well and here were the results: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2016/12/31/2016-goal-recap/

This year we are pretty proud of what we accomplished! Here’s our year in review:

✔️1. Zero waste our home! We are still working on creating less trash! We took inaround 130 pumpkins to compost or feed to the chickens! My hubby also made an awesome lockbox for our produce stand using old license plates! And, of course, we grew a lot of food and preserved it! Yard to table!

✔️2. Declutter 20 items per month. It might not have been exactly 20 per month, but we continued finding homes for things that we no longer needed!

✔️3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. We crushed this goal! I’m going to go ahead and say that it’s 7 bags for the year, because the one in the garbage can is pretty much full.

✔️4. Merge crafting and homestead business. Yep, we did it!!  I’m so proud of my hubby for really doing great with his Blacksmithing! We got so many compliments on his metal creations! I’m still sewing and crocheting away, which is my love!

5. Create a summer kitchen. Ugh! This just didn’t happen. I’m ok with that!

✔️6. Expand the garden. The fence line garden provided us with a lot more produce! Plus, we cleared out a lot more space for the 2018 garden!

✔️7. Grow some different plants. The okra grew great this year. We harvested tons of cucamelons, popcorn, okra and luffa gourds!
 Plus the mushrooms were delish and it turns out that I don’t like beets

8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, we decided against this! We have some other ideas for 2018!

✔️9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! The plastic bag recycling program has started, and we have recycled almost 200 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! My coworkers are now recycling their plastic in the lounge and I have been recycling their k cups. Oh, and my students (from last year)  also planted a beautiful pollinator garden!

✔️10. Track our solar panels. We are loving the panels! This month’s bill was still only $5 and some odd change. This year we created a total of 14.26 mwh!

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✔️11. Continue beekeeping. We are still loving our bees! We caught swarms, spun honey, sold honey and even made a nice watering hole for our bees! We are still going to enjoy our winged friends next year!

✔️12. Travel more with the family! This year we took a quick trip to an indoor water park with the boy and also visited Williamsburg. Next year we are planning on taking a nice trip out west and renovating this beast:

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Camper for next year! 

Accomplishing 10/12 goals is pretty great to us! We have some great ideas for next year too! How did your goals go? Did you check off something from your list? Just keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

Green bean teepee diy!

During the 2017 growing season, I decided to build my first green bean teepee. I had envisioned my boy enjoying sitting in or hanging out in the teepee.

I saw a couple diys, but they never posted whether or not they grew well! So, here’s how I built it (And the results):

First, I had to source some bamboo to make the beast out of! Lucky for me, my husband works with a guy that has it invasively growing in his yard. So, he told us to come get it anytime we want! (Cost free!)

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Bamboo! They were about 7 feet long! 

Next, you need to really shove those bamboo poles into the ground! Like, about 6-8 inches in the ground. I just pushed mine in the ground and used my body weight to force them to stay put!

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They aren’t going anywhere! 

Then, I continued on with pushing the rest of them in the ground. It was 100% constructed by just me! I used 6 poles placed about 18 inches apart.

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I really looked like a pole vaulter shoving these in the ground! 

Up next, I used paracord to tie the tops together. I just kept tieing them together and knotting them!

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I had to use a stool to reach the top! 

I continued using the paracord to tie knots on each post to give the pole beans something to grow on. I spaced them about a foot apart from row to row. You could do it a lot closer, but I was running low on paracord!

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Green paracord for the beans to grow up!

And here is my finished project! The next step was to plant the bean plants all around it!

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Fully constructed! 

I planted the pole bean seeds really close together because something kept eating the seedlings!

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At first only 1 side really took off! 

Once I put bird netting around the seedlings, the other plants really started taking off! They did make it to the top!

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Beans enjoying the teepee! 

You can see the progression in the photos below!

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Our teepee looking great! 

So, even though I had to fight off pests, I would consider it a success! I harvested a lot of beans! But, will I do things differently next year? Yes!!!! Here’s what I’ll change:

🌱Don’t make it so tall! I couldn’t harvest those ones on the top! Be sure you can get them!

🌱start off with netting to protect the seedlings from the beginning! (We have a lot of rabbits and birds here!)

🌱 place the paracord closer together around the teepee! Then you won’t have them having a hard time growing up it!

We really got a lot of beans from this single teepee! I’d recommend this for anyone, and I enjoyed getting in the shady interior to pick beans! If you give it a try, or have before, let me know how it went for you! Keep blooming folks! 🌱💚

Creating the garden cart!!

This summer we set up little produce stands on the front sidewalk.

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Our tiny produce stand

As part of our 2018 goals, we are planning on possibly selling more produce next year! It all started out with the Mr. carving the handles:

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Hand carved! 

Followed by framing it up, repurposing old wheels and cutting and putting the boards on top:

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Already looking adorable! 

Then, he put the spindles on and the frame for the roof:

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Almost finished! 

Then today, he finished it up by putting galvanized sheets on the roof:

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I’m in love with it! 

So, even if I don’t sell a bit of extra produce, we still have this amazing, unique, perfectly husband-crafted cart!

As for the rest of the homestead, it has been soooo cold here! This morning I made our ladies a bowl of warm oatmeal to start the day!

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They loved it! 

And, another sneak peek of the 2018 goals, is redoing a camper trailer! I’m trying to pick out some cute fabric to reupholster the cushions in:

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I’m leaning towards the camping one!

And the save the pumpkins from the landfill project is going well! We are up to 78!!

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3 more pumpkins!!

And now to continue crocheting, relaxing with puppies and attempting to enjoy this cooler season! Keep blooming!

October goals update 2017

How in the world is October over?! I’m already thinking about what I’d like to accomplish next year and I can’t wait to receive the 2018 seed catalog from Baker’s Creek!! Without waiting, here are how the goals are going:

1. Zero waste our home! We have started eating some of the yumminess that we preserved and love the ketchup that we made! I have also started a pumpkin recycling initiative to encourage people to let us feed their pumpkins to our chickens or compost it for them!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. We have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff in the garage! We are planning on moving the exercise equipment in there to have a decent place to keep our health in check!

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. Bag number 5 left the house this month! We are doing pretty well!

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4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This is definitely happening! We did especially well at selling blacksmithed items!


5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!!

6. Expand the garden. We are definitely working on this! We tilled up the area for expansion next year! And we are giving a try at growing some paw paw trees next year too! (The seeds are in the fridge!)

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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! Now I’m working on saving seeds for next year! (And we are still getting more mushrooms!)


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this! I have some good ideas for 2018!!!
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 42 pounds collected so far. I have been collected lots of k cups to recycle from work. We have also started collecting our cereal bowls for recycling and I signed us up for the Crayola marker recycling program!

Oh, and the letters to our mayor worked! We now have plastic recycling (for #1 containers) here in town!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached  1.18 mwh! And our electric bill was less than $6 again! I’m interested to see how this goes with the cold weather coming!

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11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! They are “busy bees!” And I am hoping for them to overwinter well!

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Entrance reducers are on and they are prepped for the weather! 

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. I’m soooo looking forward to our winter project of working on our new-to-us camper! (A big 2018 goal!)

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How are your goals going?! Have you starting thinking about goals for next year? Keep blooming where you are planted!!💚🌱

Seed saving, tiny harvests and a new anvil

This is the time of year to be working on saving some seeds, preserving the last of the produce and starting to dream about a new garden next year!

I picked a bunch of cucamelon seeds out of a melon and then pulled the green coating off of it. They did so well this year, so I’m hoping for more next year too!

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Cucamelon seeds

The Paw Paw tree seeds that we ordered arrived, so I made sure that they were not dried out and put them right in the fridge. They won’t be ready to plant in soil until almost March!

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Paw paw seeds

I pulled the pole beans down from the top of the tee pee and saved the seeds.

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Pole beans for next year! 

Since we got a hard frost that killed everything, I brought in all the luffas and peeled/washed them. They are now drying in the basement!

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My line of luffa

And a few tiny harvests! I pulled the last itty bitty zucchini and I was delighted to find some more winecap mushrooms!

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Tiny zucchini
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Winecap mushrooms

Since it turns out that winecap mushrooms are so delicious, we are going to try to grow them in more places next year!

The Mister was busy picking up his new baby:

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80 pound Vulcan! 

It’s a nice smaller anvil that he will definitely put to use!

I also got to work over the weekend making some hooded towels. I’m hoping to get more orders for the holidays!

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Hooded towels

And I’ll leave my boy’s Halloween costume photo here!

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Star Lord from Guardians of the Galaxy! 

Enjoy the last day of the month and I’ll be posting our end of the month updates!

 

Decorating without buying and garden happenings!

Last year at a craft show the sweet girl next to us sold these beautiful things made out of corn stalks and leaves. I loved them because they were pretty and because you can just compost them after using. So, I took some corn stalk tassels, a few weeds with pretty tops and a few ears of popcorn and created this:

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Just used what we already had! 
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Corn stalks were from popcorn this year! 

I also still have some yummy things coming out of the garden! The tomatoes and pepper plants are still going strong!

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Nice little harvest today! 

Plus there were a whole basket of overly ripe tomatoes for the chickens!

The weather is supposed to be cooling off soon, so we are putting some of the luffas into the greenhouse to dry out the rest of the way!

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Another soon-to-be scrubber

The bees are enjoying this beautiful day and some are still bringing in pollen!

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Honeybees! 

And my big lump of a dog likes to sunbathe!

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Ol’ Sherman! 

I also put my garlic in the ground today (next post will be all about that!) and continued to pull up weeds and dead plants!Cleaning up the garden in the fall is so important! It doesn’t leave a home for all those unwanted pests that may have invaded your garden this summer! Enjoy your remaining hours this weekend and keep blooming where your planted! 🌱💚