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!

Mushrooms and gardening

One of the best parts about our quirky (but totally normal to us) way of life around here is everyday is like a life science lesson! Yesterday our wine cap mushroom spawn finally arrived!

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Wine cap spawn! 

So, what is spawn you might ask?! Well that’s exactly what the homestead lesson with the crazy boy was yesterday! It’s wood chips that have been inoculated with spores from the winecap mushroom and allowed to start mycelium growth! In easier terms, it’s like the roots of the mushrooms that your putting in an area to get them to grow there! That’s exciting stuff! Bill Nye would’ve been proud of that lesson!

So we took that spawn outside and broke up pieces and basically made layers of spawn with straw and lots of water. Fungi like things wet and decomposing material. I love teaching that little knucklehead of mine about all things science-like!

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Hoping to eventually get some 🍄!!

Now on to the rest of the garden! It’s been raining, a lot! And seedlings are loving it!

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Baby beet! 
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Potatoes that need me to hill them! 
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The newly planted onions 
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The oldest onions sets planted
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Beautiful garlic
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Salad bed of leaf lettuce, arugula and spinach 
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June bearer strawberries

And I’m pretty excited about our volunteer pumpkins! My friend’s dad gave us the gigantic pumpkins that he grew last year for the chickens. Now there are huge pumpkin seedlings coming up where they ate them!

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Maybe a huge pumpkin this year?!

This weekend I will be crafting like noone’s business, since we have a show next weekend. Hope that you enjoy your weekend!

Pretty busy for February!

This weekend just absolutely flew by! I swear that we had more touches of this and that all weekend. I was summoned to go pick up the old jars of food from my Granny’s to get rid of. Of course I get to keep all of the ball jars. Definite win!

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Nice inheritance of jars!

Since the weather was so beautiful, I knew it was a chance to really clean out the coop. That was a lot of work!

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Clean, clean, clean! 

Then, I finally got around to cleaning out my vermicompost bin. There were lots of worms and also lots of worm castings! My seedlings will enjoy this boost when they get put in the ground!

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Worm castings

I was also able to take a picture of my fence area. It’s where I grew the luffas last year. I’m hoping to expand it out and landscape it in!

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Random planning where I could put plants 

And now where my Sunday disappeared to: spinning honey. Since we lost a hive over the winter, we decided to go ahead and harvest the honey. Thank goodness we have a kid that has a crazy amount of energy. He spun at least 90% of the honey out of the frames! Go boy go!

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Lots of honey! 

Finally, we were forced to take out our first bag of garbage this year. Sherman wasn’t even sure what we were doing. So, that’s bag number 1!

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First bag of garbage

And I had to share this sweet piece of jewelry that was passed down from my Granny. My mom can remember her mom wearing it to church when she was a kid. So, I wore it to church today.

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So vintage that it’s awesome! 

So, here’s to another week! As a teacher I get to enjoy Valentine’s Day with 8 year olds and enjoy receiving some sweet teacher valentines! Enjoy your week!

Urban homestead kinda weekend

It’s hard not living on a big ol’ farm, but living the way we do. We constantly get people saying “but you live in town” or ” well you can’t have (filling the blank with whatever animal) at your house!” Which is totally true! But here’s the kicker, we are doing so much with what we have! Here are a few examples of things we did around here just this weekend!

I gave Izzy dog a nice solar powered fur cut! It was so sunny, so her clippers were being powered by the sun!

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Beautiful girl! 

While gathering eggs I found our first Easter egger egg in the coop! She takes most of the winter off from egg laying!

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Welcome back so egg laying! 

Next I threw some banana peels into the worm bin in the basement and realized I need to clean out the worm castings. Their 💩 is great plant food!

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Garden gold! 

It has rained a lot here this winter, instead of snowing. So, the area around the coop was super muddy and gross. I got to haul more and more buckets of wood chips to their area. It looks so much better!

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All cleaned up! 

At work Friday, these apples were being given away because they had some bad spots.

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Beat up apples

At first, I was going to just chuck them in to the chickens. Instead, the chickens just got the bad spots and I made some yummy apple muffins! Zero waste breakfast tomorrow!

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Apple muffins! 

Last night I realized I needed to make up some yogurt for lunches this week. I used 2% milk and it came out a little more runny, so I had to strain off the whey to thicken it up. It’s delicious!

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More homemade yogurt

And between all that I was able to craft up a ton of items! I got an order for 60 white beaded bracelets! I’m half way there already!

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Loads of craftiness! 

And of course I played some uno with the boy, visited family and even got to see my beautiful little niece smiling so big. Made my ❤️ so happy! And of course this makes me smile as well:

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Sherman! Our crazy boy! 

Seriously, whose dog sits like that? Our crazy pup!

This month has flown bye and I can’t wait to update you all on our progress around the homestead! Have a great week!

Pretty great day! 

To many, today was just an ordinary Tuesday, but to me it was remarkable! It started out with a 2 hour delay. When you’re a teacher, that’s a pretty great start to your day! While sitting here for a longer morning, the power company finally came to hook up our new meter for the solar panels! They are finally up and running! 

Solar power at work!

Then, we got the final format for our new homestead logo and we love, love, love it! It’s going to look great at craft shows with all of our products! 

Our logo!

Then after working a much shorter day, I had one of those dinners where I was able to help create less waste and use up food that was on it’s way to going bad. We made chicken salads, croutons from clearance bread and made chicken stock from the leftovers and will make some chicken noodle soup later in the week! 

At the end of the evening I spent it crocheting some chicken hotpads and adding the labels with our new logo! 

100% cotton crocheted hotpads

By the way, those are for sale on my Etsy shop: llewellynhomestead.etsy.com 

So maybe it doesn’t take much for me to be excited, but I am really looking forward to our new business venture! 

Here’s to more regular days turning extraordinary! 

Thanksgiving break!

I have had a great break! As a teacher, I get a nice break from work! 

We enjoyed a nice Thanksgiving spent with family and eating my mom’s delicious meal! That was followed by lots of reminiscing.

Then, we have spent the rest of the break doing our homesteading thing! My friend’s dad is an amazing gardener. He grew these super mega sized pumpkins and traded them to us for some chicken eggs!

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Huge pumpkins! 

The chickens have been working on 1/2 of the first pumpkin for about 3 days and still haven’t made much progress!

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chickens and their pumpkin

We have also been decluttering so much! I have been actually making some money selling stuff on a local Facebook yardsale group. We had been holding on to so much that we don’t use! We even decluttered the dog’s toys!

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Decluttered dog toys! 

And I’m extremely proud to say that due to our hard work this weekend, we have exceeded our goal! We have purged 2016 things in 2016!!!

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Goal met!!!

This year we have also downsized our Christmas decor. We even were lucky enough to have our Christmas cactus start blooming!

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First bloom! 

We even downsized our Christmas tree to a smaller second hand tree. Instead of having such a hard time dragging out our old big one, we had this one set up and decorated in a half hour! We love it!!

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Our Christmas tree!

I have also been crafting lots and lots! I have even been working on crocheting some cute mouse toys for kitties!

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Crochet kitty toy

I’m starting to notice how much easier it is to clean and find things from decluttering! It feels so freeing! 😊

Crazy weather weekend!

So, Friday I was able to get the laundry to dry outside and clean out my strawberry bed. It was seriously over 70 degrees!

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Strawberry bed

The chickens enjoyed patrolling their run area and eating whatever they found!

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Chickens begging for treats

Then, we woke up to a cold, snowy morning! It’s true that this is not even enough snow to worry about it here, but it’s just so cold!

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The dogs love eating fresh snow!

Since it was disgustingly cold, I finally put all of my crafts back on the shelf in my craft room. I have a lot of orders to complete before Christmas!!

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A shelf of crafts!

Then, I got this picture sent from the mister while I was teaching today! I have been hearing the turkeys back in the woods, but they decided to come check out our yard!

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Turkeys!

And after running a ridiculous amount of errands to sell off lots of yard sale items that I have decluttered, I noticed this beautiful sunset!

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We have been decluttering fools here last week! We even sorted through the dog toys and got rid of an embarrassing amount of broken and unused toys! Hope that you have a great week!