August Goals Update 2017

August was a month of birthdays, our 14th Anniversary and buying our new-to-us camper!  So, pretty great if you ask me! And, here’s how the ol’ 2017 goals are going!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are still rarely eating  out, making our own cleaner and buying second hand when possible!

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My thrift store haul! (Back to school clothes for me!) 

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. A major high five goes to the Mr!! He sold our roof top tent, camping trailer, and 2 sets of tires and rims! Go him!!

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. We also cancelled our garbage pickup because for $15, we can take our whole year’s worth of garbage to the landfill and still have extra money to spare!

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Still only 4 bags for the year! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. I have not been getting too crafty lately. The beginning of the school year does that to me! But I am still getting some things made!

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I’m working on more garden aprons! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!! Well, he isn’t an electrician so we shall see about this! But not to worry! We are still preserving all of our harvest!

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6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard. The fence garden is starting to fizzle out. The sunflowers are huge and the green bean trellis is growing pretty well too!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons! All are growing great!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!

9.Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, and we are going to be doing the same recycling program this year! Plus, I’m going to green up the faculty lounge!

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Our beautiful little pollinator garden! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.7 mwh! And our electric bill was less than $6 again!

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We are loving our panels still! 

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for our flying insect friends! They will be getting a mite treatment and I’ll be checking in on their food supply! Right now they are really busy collecting nectar and pollen

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All the pollinators are loving our sunflowers! 

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and only a few this year. But, next year has us excited! We got a great deal on a truck camper! With a little work, this baby is going to help us travel out west in 2018!

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Our new to us camper! 

Hopefully you made August a productive month too! Tell me how your goals are going!!

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Last honey harvest and trellises

We harvested the last bit of our honey for this year! We want to make sure that our bees have plenty of time to prep for the winter! And let me tell you that this batch of honey turned out beautiful!

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Beautiful honey! 

And now I have some wax that needs melted down and filtered!

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Unmelted beeswax

And now on to trellises! We don’t have a ton of space, so we utilize fences and make our plants grow upwards. It increases our harvests and allows plants better air flow too.

We are growing a green bean teepee. One side looks great and the other is catching up from a rabbit nibbling away.

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Greenbean teepee

I made the trellis below out of unwanted bamboo growing in a friend’s yard. On the left is green beans and on the right is birdhouse gourds.

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Bamboo trellis

And this is the fullest that the cattle panel trellis has ever been! To the left is cucumelons and to the right are birdhouse gourds and a luffa plant.

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So much blooming and growing

The view looking up in the trellis is beautiful! The gourds are happy growing down!

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Inside the trellis

We also use the chicken run area to grow on. It provides us with birdhouse gourds and also gives the chickens a much cooler space!

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I ❤️ it when the chicken run looks like this!

And the bees love all of these blooms too!

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Little native bee enjoying the gourd blooms!

And we finished off the day with a yummy dinner including homemade fried rice!

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Delicious! 

For the rest of the evening, we will be roaming the garden and enjoying the cooler evening! Keep blooming where you are planted!

July Goals Update 2017

Oh July, why did you have to fly by? We are now quickly approaching the beginning of a new school year. But with that being said, the garden is being really productive!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We have been continuing to not eat out, and we even made the Mr a cookie cake for his birthday! I’m also pretty thrilled that our thieves cleaner is in an upcycled vinegar bottle now!

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2. Declutter 20 items per month
. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. I got rid of some of the boy’s clothes and a few odds and ends around here.

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 year. We just had to throw out bag 4 for the year.

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 4. Merge crafting and homestead business. It’s going pretty well! We made a few bucks on our honey and egg sale! Plus, we have made our 40th sale on our Etsy store!

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Honey/egg/craft sale

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!! But, we did put a nice little pond in to give the bees a watering hole!

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6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard. The fence garden is doing great!

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Grow, growing, grown! 


7. Grow some different plants.
Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!
9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, recycled their plastic cereal bowls and even planted a pollinator garden! Watch out 2017-2018 school year!!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.78 Mwh.  And our electric bill was less than $6 again!

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They are paying for themselves! 

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for flying insect friends! Plus, a friend gave me a barrel of honeybees that were trying to make a home on her porch!

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 didn’t do much of anything this month, and it was pretty great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

We got some new additions to the homestead!

This weekend we were able to get a lot accomplished! (Which is why I had to post before my end of month update!)

I’ll start off with some gardening excitement! The fence line garden is really starting to fill up!

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Even one sunflower bloomed! 

I have been picking lots of produce and was excited to finally get a green pepper! I’m not a very good pepper grower!

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Green pepper! 

And we had a ton of cucumbers this year so far! Last year I couldn’t get any to grow! Funny how that works out sometimes! Anyway, we turned them into delicious bread and butter pickles! We pickled some cucumelons too!

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They taste just like Granny’s did. ❤️

And the chickens loved the leftovers!

And now for the most beautiful bloom that has ever been in my garden:

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An okra bloom!!

Gorgeous, right?! First year grower here, so this made my day! And we are still dreaming of some fried okra! My husband loves fried okra!

Weare proud to announce some new friends that came to live here with us this weekend:

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A barrel of honey bees! 

Yep, a barrel of bees! They were not being enjoyed living on a friend’s back porch. So, she got ahold of me and I gladly took them off her hands! They were already doing orientation flights and flying off to look for pollen and nectar this morning!

And on to another perk of being an in-town homestead, is free food! Our neighbor loves gardening and he often has some leftovers! Here’s a whole bucket of pieces for the chickens:

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Our hens eat like queens! 

And last, but not least is we scored a used chipper off of the yardsale site! We have been wanting one to use to add chipped material to our compost. It’s not new, but I know it was well taken care of!

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Our new to us chipper! 

So after all that work this weekend, I’ll leave off with this picture:

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Sherman in a hammock! 

Obviously, the weekend was rough on him too! I hope that you had quite the productive weekend too!

Honey sale and other homestead happenings

Last weekend we had our first sale event here at the homestead! It was a honey and egg sale! We sold out of honey and sold a lot of eggs! Plus, people got to taste some cucumelons and look at my craftiness! It was great!

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Homestead sale!

We also had several people notice our garage decor! Ha! I finally got the Mr to hang the hooks he blacksmithed for the onions and garlic!

I will be sharing a walk through the garden later on the week, but I thought I’d share an update on the fence line garden! The left was this week, top right is end of June and bottom right was the end of May!

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Slowly growing!

The birdhouse gourds and growing all over the chicken run!

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Birdhouse gourds!

We have been having some great harvests this week too! Lots of onions, some zucchini, cucumbers and even a good many cucumelons!

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Our harvest this morning!

We have hit some pretty good sales on things we have really been looking for lately! First up is an amazing pond insert. We were looking for something that we could add plants to so the bees would have a more reliable water source. Well, here’s our $10 yardsale find! (We had lots of digging and prying to do, but we got it finished!)

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Tiny pond for a tiny homestead

When we were buying some chicken food at tractor supply, I found an amazing half off deal on a gardening hat!

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Love this hat!

And while I was searching for water plants that weren’t there, Lowe’s had their perennials for only $3! So I snatched up some!

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Hostas
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Yellow coneflowers

And On a totally different topic, Sherman has a play mate for a few days! We just love squishy faced dogs around here!

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Sherman loves his new friend!

Have a great week and continue to bloom where you are planted!

Beekeeping, crafting and harvesting

This week it finally rained a bit and now the garden is quickly coming to life! Everything is growing and we have been able to harvest around 40 cloves of garlic, 17 pounds of potatoes and I’m about ready to pull some onions too!

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I ❤️ this sight! 

We have also been harvesting some squash, cucumbers and some adorable tiny cucumelons!

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Tiny cucumelons

And my Sherman dog loves to help harvest everything! He has been known to pick his own green beans, eat cucumbers and zucchini from the plant and now this:

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He begs for cucumelons! 

And the bees are taking off! (Well, 3 out of 4 are doing well.) The split that I did is not doing well, but I learned how I’d do it differently next year, so all is well if I learned something! The swarms we caught are doing amazing! This queen is a laying machine!

I was able to weed the beeyard, do a check in on all the hives and rearrange them a bit. I love the accomplished feeling after checking in on the bees!

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Bees at work! 

For the upcoming fair I am entering some of my items made from my bees wax and honey. I’ve made some lipbalm already, but I’ve also made some melt and pour honey and goats milk luffa soap.

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Luffa soap with honey and my luffas! 

I was also being crafty and made a craft that depicts some part of beekeeping. So, I made a langstroth hive pillow.

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I ❤️ the way it turned out! 

Also, we have lots of flowers blooming and so much beauty around here!

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Gladiolus beauties! 

And of course with the summer rain, comes some beautiful rainbows!

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Walk through the garden 7/5/17

It’s the first check in during July! I love this time of year because it seems like the plants grow so fast with the warm weather and long days!

The pumpkins are blooming and I love seeing our pollinators at work!

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Hot honeybees! 

The tomatoes are growing fast! We have cherry, slicing and Roma tomatoes growing!

The rest of the garden is growing well too!

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Zucchini #1!
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Tiny green pepper
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Pole beans on one side are growing 
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Monster birdhouse gourd plant 
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Tiny okra plant! 
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Cucumbers galore! 

I have also started thinking ahead to my fall garden! Since a jerk groundhog ate all of our beets earlier in the season, I’m trying them again!

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Beet seedlings! 

I’ll finish on this beautiful scene! These hydrangeas in my landscaping are just looking beautiful!

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Beautiful flowers! 

Do you have anything growing well this year? Have you thought about your fall garden yet?