No Spend May

Last month was almost a complete fail in the whole no spending. My Mr. has had his heart set on needing a new tractor. We didn’t have one at the moment, so tilling the big garden is a lot of work. On top of that, digging holes, loading up heavy things and running mulch is always a task. So, he bought a new tractor. But, he has been selling off a ton of extras including: his 4 wheeler, the Panel truck, an old jeep, accessories for the jeep and Panel truck, and other things. The garage is a lot cleaner, and we also didn’t have to pay too much more for the tractor. So, no payments or credit card purchases!

A huge accomplishment this month is that I am now payment free on my braces! My teeth are straight and my retainers come next month! Yay!

A reader on my Facebook page keeps some feral cats warm in the winter by creating wind breaks with straw bales. However, after a long winter, they were not in the best shape. She got ahold of me and I gladly took them to mulch around the garden! Yippee!

The garden is all planted and I’m pretty excited to say that most of the plants look very happy and healthy! Starting everything from seed is a lot of work, but it does save money!

I’m still working on making more food from scratch at the house. Just last weekend the Mr. was frustrated because he claimed that we didn’t have anything to snack on. An hour later we have some super delicious homemade soft pretzels. Getting out of the habit of wanting instant food is hard. I’ll start trying to make more ahead of time. (Once my summer break starts!)

The garden is slowly starting to produce. That will help to take a small chunk out of our market budget!

And this has been my go to spot for relaxing when I get the chance. I love being home and most of the time at least one dog is curled up on the hammock with me. And that’s free entertainment. 😊

May wasn’t perfect, but the savings is continuing to grow. The house is getting paid off faster and faster. And, I’m hoping to continue working on spending less this year!

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! 🌱💚

Planting, planting and more planting!

I have been busy planting every single night! I have planted apple melons, spaghetti squash, corn, beans, tomatoes and peppers. Plus luffas and sunflowers galore!

So many tomatoes that need planted!

The adorable garden stakes that are color coded! The red ones are all tomatoes and the blue ones are peppers. Tiny strawberries are coming on the strawberry plants that I didn’t remember planting!

And, I am in love with the view of our newly expanded garden with all of the trellises!

The spaghetti squash above will be trellised on our bamboo trellises, as well as apple melons, cucumbers and beans.

Above is the wonderful upcycled project that has already proven to be so helpful! The Mr. turned an old kitty litter container into a mailbox for me to keep my gloves, trowel, apron and twine in. I absolutely love it!

I hope that you all are getting your plants in the ground! My students only have 12 more days of school and we we all do ready for summer break! Keep blooming!

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!

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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,

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The inside of the bucket
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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:

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Step 1: weigh it (so we can let his customers know how awesome they are doing!) 
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Step 2: dump out the contents 
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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!

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Thank you Mallory! 

And on to Step 4:

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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! 🌱💚

Mother’s Day weekend And gardening

Every year on Mother’s Day I think of how lucky I am to still have my mom. She was diagnosed with stage 4 inoperable oral cancer 13 years ago. She has had a lot of complications, but I still have her. That’s my favorite part of Mother’s Day. Abd that’s a pretty great reason to celebrate!

This year at school we planted some marigold flowers and made some seed paper from reused office paper. And we reused juice cups!

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I hope that their Mom’s loved them! 

My sweet husband picked me out a nice gift. (Yes, he spent money during our no spend year. But, it will all be used in the pollinator garden area!)

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Gnome birdbath/bee waterer 
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I love this sign!

We spent this afternoon cutting down bamboo at a friend’s house to use on the trellis system that we are going to be constructing along the fence.

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This stuff is very invasive! I would not recommend growing it! 

We also got the other garden gate installed! I love the way that it looks! We just need to put fence around it the rest of the way.

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Second garden fence! 

Oh, and I forgot to say that the Mr. managed to till the garden in between rain storms too!

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We are continually working on building up our soil! 

And in the greenhouse we have some little seedlings making an appearance!

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Apple melons, cucumbers and zucchini! 

The peppers and tomatoes made the big move into the greenhouse this weekend. They also got repotted to give them more space to grow.

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It’s a tomato jungle in there!

This whole weekend was pretty great! We can’t put any plants out in the ground until the end of the month, so I’m hoping to give our plants a head start in the greenhouse! I hope that you all are gearing up for another growing season!

No Spend Year (April Update!)

So far we have still been doing relatively well with this whole trying not to spend money on frivolous things journey! I was so proud of the Mr. for finding a used pair of boots that he really wanted for when we go hiking. He found them on eBay and I’m pretty sure they are never worn! And he raves over how comfortable they are!

We were also able to go to the museum in Antietam, MD and camping without extra spending. We took our own food and drinks, played the free putt putt there and avoided the gift shop where everything was so expensive!

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We were working on his skipping rocks technique! 

Also, since the boy is starting his own little composting business, we told people nearby that if they were getting ready to get rid of something that the chickens would enjoy, that we would gladly take it! The chickens have been enjoying cabbage, lettuce, spinach, avocados and even some bread!

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They have been eating a lot less feed! 

And even though new buckets would look great for the boy’s composting  service, we decided to peel off labels and scrub down ones that were given to us instead! They will go out to his customers today. We did purchase easy to remove lids for them.

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He put in lots of elbow grease for them to look that great! 

And we are still growing pretty much everything from seed to save money. I love weird varieties of plants, so growing from seed is about my only option. I am going to get the squashes, watermelons and gourds growing in the greenhouse this week! They can go in the ground at the end of the month!

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All of the flowers have popped up too now! 

We also got back a nice little tax credit for the solar panels! So instead of buying something new, we dropped that money on the loan that we have for them. They won’t take too long to pay off either!

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And now for the things that I have bought: I purchased a nuc of honeybees, because most of my bees died this winter.

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They are doing well! 

We also have to buy fencing for the garden, but that needed done because of the old fencing breaking.

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It’s still a work in progress! 

Even though we are still spending money on our homestead needs, we are making huge financial strides! My braces (Invisalign) will be paid off next month. We still have no vehicle payments. We have no credit card bills (thank goodness!) and we are getting close to another $10,000 leap on our mortgage! We should have this place paid off before I’m 40!

Are you making your debt snowball roll?! We are trying!

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!)

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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!

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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!!

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Future wildlife habitat! 

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

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I think he’s beautiful! 

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

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Garlic growing! 
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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!

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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?