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!

Greenfest, gardening, mushrooms and swarms

Happy Mother’s Day weekend and I must say that this weekend was so busy! But, it was a great kind of busy. On Friday I spent the evening prepping everything for  Saturday’s Greenfest in Boonsboro, Md while the mister took the boy to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. (By the way, they said it was great!)

It was a really cold craft show, but we sold a good bit of our crafted items!

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Our craft show items!

I sold several gardening aprons, and got lots of compliments on them as well! And I still have 2 in the print below and will be adding them to the Etsy store!

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Love this gardening apron! 

And the mister got a lot of compliments on the railroad spike bottle openers as well as the bolt bottle openers! And I love the garden spades!

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Garden spades and bolt bottle opener

The mister was also able to get the itty bitty greenhouse all set up! Since I managed to accidentally bake my original seedlings, round 2 seedlings are in the greenhouse!

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Greenhouse! 

And we got our first strawberry tonight! I bet you can guess who wanted it! But the boy actually got it and said it was delicious!

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Fruit and veggie thief!

I don’t want to jinx myself, but the mushroom spawn seems to be spreading out well and looks very healthy!

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Mushroom spawn!

Then, just tonight, I had 2 calls for bee swarms! The first one seemed to be some bees that are taking up residence in a house. I’m not sure if I can get them to move out of there! But the second call was a beautiful swarm!

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Honeybee swarm!

I was able to get pretty much every bee! And I’m hoping they learn to love it here!

I was able to get a few minutes of relaxation on the new hammock with my lazy pup!

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Hammocking! 

It was a great weekend and it might take until Wednesday for me to get caught up around the house! I really do love all this fun homesteading life of ours!

April 2017 Goals Update!

Goodbye April and hello May! Do you know what I love about May? Everything! School is almost over, plants are slowly making their way outside and the warmth!  Yay!! This is how my goals are going so far:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! I’ve created a variety of reusable make up removers and I’m going to have to write all about how I made my own sour dough starter!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the garage and it looks amazing!

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! The picture on the left is everything that we cleaned up around the neighborhood. And on the right is the same picture from last month. We are still in bag number 2!!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended an art walk locally and it was amazing! I met so many interesting people and heard so many nice comments on my products! Great day!!

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Check out our new banner!!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. I finally got the cooktop moved to the right spot in the garage. Now all I need to do is get my dad to run the electric to it! He’s amazing!

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Future summer kitchen!

6. Expand the garden. We have been able to expand the garden along the fence and we are looking forward to planting some luffa along there too!

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Expanded area!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! Along with cucumelons, my fellow gardening friend gave me some Egyptian walking onions!


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. We are hoping to make a nice seated area in the spring! And now we will have some adorable quail over there too!

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They grew up so fast!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film and I’m still working on collecting magazines to recycle.

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached around 1.5 megawatts! We are loving these longer days!

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April was a beautiful month!!

11. Continue beekeeping. Not too much to say here! The bees are doing their thing and I separated out a queen cell and some workers into a new hive. I was supposed to get a new hive, but the company hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

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Fun with bees!

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 to Williamsburg, VA over Easter break and loved the history! (And gardens!)

If you set goals, how are yours going?

Earth Day Weekend! 

The boy and I waited most of the morning to go pick up litter around the neighborhood because of the downpour. But, wouldn’t you know that it rained all day, so we just went out in it anyway. 2 hours of picking up garbage! I figured it was some good volunteering for both of us! And we finally took care of a cushion that has been on the street for a month! 

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Garbage from 2 streets!

Would you believe that these were the most commonly found items: cigarette butts, styrofoam McDonald’s cups, plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.

After viewing all that waste, I spent the afternoon/evening working on ecofriendly crafts! 

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I think they turned out pretty awesome! I’m hoping others will too! 

And the mister used his blacksmithing skills to make some railroad spike gardening trowels. These are basically indestructible! 

Blacksmithed garden trowel

I was also able to check in on the honeybee hive I split and almost got stung because they are doing just fine! And then cleaned the chicken coop and planted my assorted onions. 

Onion sets!

And of course I put them in the ground in a sequence. It went yellow onion, white onion, purple onion for all 100. Do other people do weird things like that? Probably not. Ha! 

I checked in on the baby quail that are not babies anymore! They are so easy to tell a male from a female. The females have dots on their chest and males don’t. They are both beautiful birds! 

Male on left, female on right
Great solar day!

And check out that solar day that we had on  Sunday! Beautiful day! 

I have a lot to get accomplished for the weekend with a craft show and the end of the month! Enjoy your week! 

Easter break time!!

I have been quiet here on the blog lately! When I’m not working outside on these beautiful nights, I have been sewing lots of orders and prepping for craft shows!

I’ll share a few projects that I finished up:

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Hooded towel

And I crocheted this 100% cotton bath pouf:

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Cotton bath pouf

Now as for gardening, the mister and I are expanding the garden space along the fence line! The fence will be filled with luffa gourds soon! (Hopefully!)

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New garden area

The plants under the grow lights are enjoying their life! They are growing quickly and will soon be ready for life outdoors!

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Cucumelon plants! 

The mister tilled the garden over the weekend! And, I was able to even plant the potatoes and beets. Hopefully they will start growing soon!

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Tilled garden!

The strawberry plants are growing fast and they are even blooming! We are already dreaming of all the delicious strawberry jam coming our way!

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Strawberries!

This week I have been trying my hand at making my own sourdough starter. So far, only a few bubbles. If all goes well, I’ll post how this works out!

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Sourdough starter starting!

This weekend we have some fun ideas and are looking forward to spending time with family! If you celebrate Easter, enjoy it! 😊

March 2017 Goals Update

March was quite a mix of gross snowy weather and beautiful weather! Seeds have been started and we have been forging and sewing up a storm! So, here’s how it is 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 going as package free as we can this summer and have been trying to make some yummy copycats! So far the crackers were a success! And check out those unpaper Birdseye towels that we will be adding to the shop!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the boy’s bookshelf to make room for a new shelf. At least 50 things out of that room this month!

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 are just now starting bag 3 in April!

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Bag 2 for the year! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended our first craft show as Llewellyn Homestead. We made a few sales and met a lot of nice people! And on top of that, our gardening aprons are for sale at a super cute local business! That’s so exciting for us!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. (And continue preserving our harvest!) **coming before canning season!**

6. Expand the garden. We did get the onion sets and kale planted this month! Lots of little seedlings are living under the grow light for now!

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Onion sets and kale in there! 

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! We are adding so many different plants that I will have to wait until they are growing to show them!

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Cucumelons coming up! 

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. We are hoping to make a nice seated area in the spring! And now we will have some adorable quail over there too!

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Adorable quail!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled 115 pounds of plastic bags since the start of the program in January! And now I’m trying to get people to recycle those millions of magazines that are sent to schools! (And the secretary at our school started recycling the copier toner! Who hoo Stacey!!)

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Recycling those teacher magazines! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached a Megawatt! That’s 1,000 kilowatts!! So far we are loving those panels!

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Solar panel production!

11. Continue beekeeping. Last month the bees had the joy of snowstorms and 70 degree weather  odd weather! But they are doing great and we will be getting another hive this month! And I’m going to be putting out some swarm traps to catch some bees!

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Listening to the hum of bees! 

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 this month, but we have been thinking of all the places that we need to visit! (Maybe somewhere for Easter?!?!)

We are so ready for gardening season!

If you set goals, how are yours going?