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!

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!

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! 

DIY Vanilla crockpot yogurt

Here lately I have been looking for ways to reduce our waste even more. The boy loves to eat yogurt. He takes one in his lunch most days. So, the problems are: 1. We really don’t know about all of those ingredients 2. We can’t recycle those cups in this area. 3. I don’t want to buy a yogurt making contraption!

Here is the list of ingredients for this super delicious vanilla yogurt that is picky kid approved and can be make in your crockpot:

1/2 gallon of whole milk, container of yogurt (to use as a starter), regular white sugar (some say you can use honey), Vanilla extract and a crockpot.

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The ingredients

Step 1: put the whole half gallon of milk in the crockpot and turn it on low for 3 hours (yes, this will take lots of time!)

Step 2: unplug the crockpot and spoon 1 cup of the warm milk into a bowl with a half cup of the store bought yogurt. Whisk  it together and then whisk it back into the crockpot.

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Make sure your yogurt has live cultures

Step 3: whisk in the 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 Tbsp of vanilla into the crockpot. Then grab a couple towels and wrap them around the crockpot.

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Bundle up that crockpot!

Step 4: Let it sit this way, still unplugged and wrapped in towels for about 9 hours. (The longer it sits, the tangier it gets. I don’t like weird tang!)

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Just about finished!

Step 5: I used it as is, but thought it was a little thin. So then, I should have used cheesecloth to strain it, but I used coffee filters. Go with the cheesecloth to strain faster. It takes about 3 hours to strain over a bowl with a cheesecloth lined collender.

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Straining away

Step 6: package it up in some nice ball jars and store it for about 2 weeks. I highly doubt it will last that long.

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How much I had before straining!

And the picky boy’s review: he claims it’s better than the yocrunch that he loves! I know, candy in yogurt, ugh!

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The boy’s snack!

I like mine with fresh fruit and the hubby likes his with some coconut.

Don’t be like me and time it out horribly and be up after midnight on a Sunday trying to put the yogurt in the jars. Be smarter! The next time I will start the whole process at 8pm and then let the crockpot sit at 11pm to be ready at 8am the next morning! It takes about 12 hours altogether!

I’m going to give this a try with 2% milk and post an update! I’ll keep you posted!

Homemade brown sugar

I’m still on my quest of creating less waste! I try to bake a lot at home, so I use brown sugar in many recipes. Unfortunately, it comes in a plastic bag that turns rock hard in no time. Turns out, it’s crazy easy to make! So, here ya go!

Materials: Molasses, regular white sugar, bowl, measuring cups and spoons and storage container

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2 main ingredients

Step 1: measure out 1 cup of white sugar

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1 cup white sugar

Step 2: add in 1 Tablespoon of molasses (it’s quite sticky!) for light brown sugar lie I made or 2 Tbsp. For dark brown sugar

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1 Tbsp molasses 

Step 3: I started with trying to stir with a spoon, but it just didn’t mix easily. So, I used my hands and made quick work of it!

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Mix it up! 

Step 4: store in a tight sealing container!

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Beautiful brown sugar! 

That’s it!! All done!

I waited a couple weeks to post about this because I didn’t want to recommend something that turned rock hard over night. And this does not!! It’s 3 weeks later and it is just as soft today as the day I made it! I’m thinking that this is cost effective as well! So, enjoy making some fresh brown sugar!

 

Zero waste?!??

We have already decided what our goals are going to be for this year! (And I will be posting them later this week.) So, spoiler alert, one goal is going to be to reduce the amount of trash that we produce.

So, next question, what is zero waste? It’s just as it sounds! Creating no garbage! It doesn’t mean recycling tons. It’s actually purposefully not creating trash. Some can put their whole years garbage in a mason jar. We are not there yet, but looking to improve! So, the goal this year is to continue on to creating even less trash! (Yes, this is exciting to me!)

I figured that I should share what we already do!

1. We grow our own food! Which means no packaging and no traveling long distance for our food!

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Growing our own food!

2. I have hobbies that don’t create excess waste! (And create food!)

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Beekeeping (and raising chickens too!)

3. We can, a lot! Between jams, jellies, sauces, fruits and veggies, summer and fall are quite busy for us! But reusing jars every year is a great feeling!

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We ❤canning!

4. Buy second hand! No excess packaging, plus no extra waste being created!

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My goodwill finds!

5. We use beeswax wraps to cover bowls and food, instead of plastic wrap! They can be reused or composted at the end of their life!

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Beeswax wraps

6. I already said we grow our own food, but we also reuse containers to start our seeds in.

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Reuse containers for seedlings

7. I upcycle garbage into crafts. The juice pouches below were donated by student lunches. We also avoid items that are single use.

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Upcycled crafts

8. We eat in almost every day of the week. It allows us to avoid styrofoam containers and single use plastic. (Yes, we both work full time and have a child!)

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Our yummy orange chicken (homemade)

9. We compost everything that we don’t eat and the chickens don’t eat. Some things go in the compost pile and others go to our composting worms .

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Our red wrigglers make great compost!

10. I crochet our washcloths and dishcloths and avoid those plastic loofahs and sponges. Since they are cotton, they can be thrown in the compost at the end of their life.

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Crochet dishcloths

11. I kind of mentioned this already, but we give the chickens some leftovers and in return, we get eggs and great compost for the garden!

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Our compost machines!

12. We use cloth napkins and towels in our home. We don’t use paper towels at all here!

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Unpaper towels and napkins

13. We make our own soap. It allows for no packaging or weird dyes and fragrances.

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Homemade soap!

Now that you know what we already do here, we are going to try to do even more here in the year to come!

Did anyone else set some goals to green up this Earth? Please share if you did, or do something that I might want to try!