Walk through the garden 6/25/17

Where in the world have we been?! Well, we took a quick trip out of town to Cincinnati and Cleveland and stayed at a fun indoor water park hotel there.  It was a great time!

Before we went out of town I had a quick crafting spell! I made up some ridiculous easy lip balm using some of my own beeswax and my Young Living essential oils! (And oils of your choice!)

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Peppermint lip balm in reused altoid tin! 

And then I made the boy a little round earbud case! He has informed me that his fidget spinner can fit in there too! Good to know!

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Earbud holder

While on vacation, we visited a bookstore so that the boy could get a few comic books. I believe that he read at least 1/2 of them on the drive home! I figure if this keeps him reading, I’ll take it!

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So many comics! 

Onward to the garden! We are finally seeing some fruit sprouting up and future deliciousness!

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Potatoes! 
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Onions almost ready! 
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Still getting strawberries! 
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Tiny cucumbers
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Itty bitty 🍅 
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Zucchini plant growing! 

I should be getting the garlic harvest very soon and I’m hoping to be able to get the beans to grow around the teepee! (Some evil critter keeps eating the sprouts!) How are your plants growing?!

Walk through the garden 6/16/17

It has been quite a hot spell this week with temperatures almost in the 90’s everyday. Therefore, I have not bothered the bees because they are already hot and I’m not one to anger already angry insects that sting.

I’ll start off with our tiny harvests! I picked a ton mulberries off the neighbor’s bush to make a pie! (Unfortunately, it turns out that I am not a huge mulberry fan! But, it wasn’t absolutely terrible!)

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Garlic straight from the garden
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Our first onion and some other yummies

The garden has seemed to enjoy this warm up! The tomatoes are full of blooms, as well as other plants!

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Tomato blooms! 
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Cucumber blooms
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Zucchini plant
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Green beans (plus lots of weeds!) 
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Pumpkin blooms 
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Tiny cucumelons 

While I was in the garden, I found a chicken behind me checking out everything!

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Rogue chicken

And the solar panels have been making tons of energy with these sunny days! Already over a megawatt by the middle of the month!

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Solar + longer days = loads of energy

We are hoping to be harvesting some more from our tiny homestead this month! Are you harvesting anything from your garden??

It feels like summer!

This week has really heated up! We have been able to go swimming and be outside all of the time. The plants are really taking their first growth spurt and I am up to 2 okra plants! All the birds are very happy too!

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Quail eggs

We have also been able to harvest a few things:

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My first garlic this year 
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Strawberries and eggs 

And as for the first week of our zero waste summer challenge, altogether we only made a little over 3 ounces of trash between the 3 of us! The chocolate chips have been put into cookies enjoyed by all of us. (That’s why it’s circled!)

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Week 1 of zero waste challenge 

I have also spotted a few beautiful flowers blooming away in the garden and the bees and butterflies seem to like them!

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Beautiful echinacea 

I will get a picture of all the yummy things growing in the garden this week!

Wednesday walk around the homestead 6/8/17

The garden is finally looking somewhat like a garden! I still have a few seeds to plant, but overall things are growing pretty well!

The pole green beans are finally coming up out of the ground towards the green bean teepee.

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Tiny green bean plants

The garlic is getting pretty close to harvest time!

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Garlic is almost ready! 

The raised bed closest to the house is looking great! Loads of onions and the strawberries have been producing well too!

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Trellis little cucumelons! 

I had to build a cage for the birdhouse gourds that are growing around the chicken run. (Or else the chickens would eat them!)

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Birdhouse gourds

The mega pumpkins are finally starting to grow a little bit!

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Pumpkin plant

And I have the tiniest stalks of popcorn growing!

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Tiny popcorn stalks! 

I talked the mister into helping me put in the tomato stakes. Last year I nearly broke a finger using the sledge. There are around 40 plants growing! And tons more that came up on their own!

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Tomatoes

The cucumbers are taking off and I’m hoping that we get more than last year! (I only got 2-3 cucumbers altogether last year!)

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Cucumbers

My zucchinis are taking their good sweet time growing this year! I’m hoping that they are able to produce a good many zucchinis before the squash bugs and cucumber beetles come after them!

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Zucchini

Don’t mind the grass and weeds all throughout the garden! It has been raining a ton here and it is hard to get out there and weeding like I need to!

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Green bean plants! 

I am shocked that the tomatoes that came up on their own are already growing blooms! They are so healthy!

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Tiny blooms!

I have been waiting and waiting for the okra to do something! Finally I found this little fuzzy seedling coming up! Yay!

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Okra seedling! 

We hope that your gardens are growing well for you! Although I shared a lot of pictures, don’t think that all is perfect here! Something keeps eating all of my luffa plants and I’m hoping to get more started so that I might get a few scrubbers this year! And, a groundhog broke into the garden and ate all of the beets. Gardening is so frustrating and fulfilling at the same time!

May Goals Update 2017!

Do you know what today is?!?! It’s the last day of school here! Therefore, I’m on break! Yippee!! So, I’ll be posting a little more often! But, now onward with the goal update for May:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are having a family challenge with money prize between the 3 of us! The one that creates the least amount of garbage gets the $! (We are hoping to get the boy on board with eating less packaged food!) There will be lots of cooking and baking in my future!
2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. Nothing out of here this month! We really don’t have anything to get rid of at the moment!

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! Well, we just threw out the 3rd bag this year.

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It’s June and only 3 bags! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. In May we did a craft show out of town in Boonsboro, MD and we did pretty well for a rainy day! We also have hit our 30th sale at our Etsy store!

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Some items we sold! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. Just waiting for our favorite electrician to get to it , my Dad. 😊

6. Expand the garden. I just made the expanded area larger with fencing! Darn deer everywhere here! I was also able to get a good bit planted in our regular yard and even made a green bean tee pee for our pole beans!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, but something keeps eating the seedlings this year! The cucumelons are in the ground, as well as the popcorn and I’m doing my best to get some okra to germinate! We also have some huge pumpkins that came up on their own from ones the chickens ate last year!

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8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. I’m not sure if, or when we will get this accomplished! But, our hen hatched out one beautiful little chick and the quail laid their first egg!


9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year! I also tried to start magazine recycling, but someone kept throwing it all away! Also, my students started saving their single use bowls from breakfast for me to recycle as well as packages from muffins for terracyle!

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These are only from my classroom! 

We also did research, located native plants and planted a pollinator garden at school!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.46 MWh! (And it was a gross rainy month!) We also got our bill for May, and it was less than $10! Ahh! That was a nice bill to open!

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11. Continue beekeeping. May was the month of swarms! The hive that we split off of our hive is doing well! (Pic on left) Then we got a call about a smaller swarm here in town, they are doing well now! (Bottom right pic). Next we got a call for a big swarm (middle picture.) We were then called back to the same area we got the last swarm to help get an established hive out of a tree that was being cut down. (Top right photo) So, I guess we are glad that we never got a call about the bees we ordered, but didn’t get!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went with the boy to a nice closer amusement park for his end of year band trip. It was great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

Garden happenings, beekeeping and lots of work

I’m elated to say that this week is my last week of school and from here on out I will be busy taking on all this homesteading!

I’ll start with my beekeeping fun. All the hives seem to be doing well and are laying lots of eggs. The newest swarm that I got has been really busy laying eggs! Great job on picking that queen!

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You can see the brood! 

When we pulled the hive out of the tree being cut down, we put some frames of their brood in there to help get them started and attached them to the frame with rubber bands. Well, they showed me how much they liked those bands!

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They don’t like the rubber bands

The mister has a friend that has a ton of bamboo growing in their yard. That stuff is so invasive and grows too fast! But, they let us cut some for free to turn into tomato stakes and a green bean teepee!

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Bamboo! 

Around the homestead we have been gathering lots of eggs and some delicious strawberries!

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Homegrown food! 

The mycelium from the winecap mushrooms are really enjoying this wet weather!

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Fabulous fungi!

I was also given a fixer upper kind of project by a friend! Her camera strap was looking sad and needed recovered! So, 30 minutes later, I had removed the old fabric and made it pretty again!

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Pretty again camera strap! 

The solar panels did great last month!! Our bill was for only $8.16 and we even got a credit back for over $80 from previous months!

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Solar is kicking butt!! 

So that’s a quick update here on our tiny plot of land in the middle of a small town!

It’s planting season!

This weekend was the perfect planting weather, cooler with rain showers in sight! I planted tons of tomato plants, a few luffa gourds, cucumelons, popcorn and relocated a few tomatoes and pumpkin plants.

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Newer garden area

I also relocated the two pumpkin plants that didn’t succumb to a hard frost to a better area. They are going to grow around the popcorn plants! (Hopefully!)

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Volunteer pumpkin plant 

The birdhouse gourds are coming up nicely! Once they get a good bit larger, they are going out to grow some more birdhouses. We sold almost all of the ones that we grew last year!

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Birdhouse gourds

I’m shocked to see that the potatoes are blooming already. They still have at least another month before harvesting them, but they are liking the weather so far this growing season.

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Potato blooms

I also took some time during this dreary day to get around to sewing! I made my itty bitty niece a sun bonnet. The first is 6-12 months and the next one is 12-18 months. Oh, and yes I had to use a stuffed pup as a model!

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6-12 month size 
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12-18 month size 

I might just have to add some bonnets to the Etsy store! They would fit in well with the homestead theme.

Today we also ran up to a native plant sale for a school project. Lots of work ahead in the next week!

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Native plants

And we also had to finally throw out our 3rd bag of trash of the year this weekend.

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#3 for the year! 

So, still a slow season here! But, we have lots of great ideas and work ahead for us! And yes, garden work makes me excited for the week! I hope that you all have a lot of fun ahead of you!