Turned trashed into a pumpkin roll

I have been collecting any pumpkins that are unwanted. We have collected right around 150 so far! We have also rounded up a few mums, bales of hay and ears of dried corn.

Pumpkin drop off!

I posted on Instagram this picture of pumpkin number 100!

Isn’t it beautiful!

Well a sweet soul informed me that I was holding a fantastic variety called Galeux D’Eysines.

A close up view! (And on my school books, since I was showing it to my students!)

This is a nice heirloom variety from France that has been grown there since the 1800’s. It wasn’t brought here until around 1996! Galeux is French for mangy or scabby, so not a delicious sounding name! 😆 But, it’s a delicious variety. So, I pulled this beauty out of the chicken food bin and roasted/puréed it!

It was the brightest orange inside!
Beautiful pumpkin purée!

Then I followed this easy recipe: https://www.gimmesomeoven.com/pumpkin-roll-recipe/ and the pumpkin was transformed into a delicious and enjoyed pumpkin roll!

My first pumpkin roll ever made!
Look at that slice!

And you know that I saved the seeds! I have already shared some with a few friends!

Big, healthy seeds!

So, sorry chickens! This one wasn’t for you! I’m planning on making a couple more pumpkin rolls and a few pies! Happy baking, and I enjoyed telling the Mr. that he was eating a trash pumpkin roll! 😆

Rebooting the Victory Garden

A quick history lesson on the Victory Garden: Citizens were first encouraged to turn yards and vacant lands into food producing gardens in 1917 and they were called “war gardens.” During WW2, they were called “victory gardens” and they were a way to get people at home to help contribute to the wartime effort by increasing the food needed in the states. The country encouraged citizens (especially women) to grow gardens by putting advertisements in magazines and distributed pamphlets.

One of my favorites!

Now on with today: With everyone noticing the extreme shortages when they go to the store, I think now is a great time to bring back growing more of your own food! In 1943 there were 20 million victory gardens and they produced 40% of their own vegetables! Even just a raised bed could help give anyone some greens to eat! Last year, I decided to turn my yard into more of a garden.

What my garden looked like last spring!
Then we transformed it into more garden!

I loved that through gardening, morale was boosted and gardening was promoted as a family activity and good recreation! It was also noted that many Americans were eating better than they had before the war. (And I’m sure that the fresh food tasted much better!) Maybe it will be said that Americans started eating better again after the Coronavirus.

My garden last year!

Another success in victory gardens was that community committees were formed to help newcomers. They would share resources and discuss ways to deal with pests and diseases. They were guided on succession planting and how to get the best yield from their gardens. Neighbors helping neighbors! Great idea!

So, I would love to see a reboot. So perhaps we could have, Victory Gardens 2.0! Make it a year to plant something, even just one tomato plant or a tiny bed of lettuce greens! And, if you need some assistance, I’ll do my best! So “grow vitamins at your kitchen door!” And as always keep blooming where you are planted! Especially if you are quarantined there! 😊🌸❤️

Homestead-y week for winter

Sometimes it’s hard to have too much to post on here in winter. Nothing is really growing, other than the indoor plants. Absolutely nothing is being harvested and some days it feels like winter will be lasting forever!

It looks like fog, but it’s snow!

I am hosting a little local seed swap and I love seeing the varieties that are coming in!

So many great varieties!

I turned the huge pumpkin compost last weekend, and that beast is becoming one hot compost! I’m weirdly proud that there weren’t any chunks of pumpkin in there anymore. And look at that temperature!

Hot composting! 130 degrees!

On the cold days, I have been spending some evenings working on quilt number 2. The second row is finished!

I love that square with lots of bees! 🐝

And, I’m still turning those Dickinson pumpkins that I grew into some pumpkin pie! They make the most beautiful colored purée that I’ve ever seen!

Pumpkin to purée to pie and extra to chickens!

It’s nice seeing the bees flying around on the pretty days.

And I’m not going to lie, I’m still enjoying relaxing with my Sherman dog.

He is seriously the most snuggly pup I have ever had. I hope that you are staying warm and attempting to enjoy this cold season!

Keep blooming, even in the winter!

Imperfect review #2

Box number 2 arrived a day late, but in perfect shape. The funny part is that it wasn’t late due to the company. It was due to the weather. It snowed around 4 inches quickly on Tuesday! But, it still arrived nice and cold and everything looked great! (Plus they credited our account a couple bucks for the inconvenience!)

So, what came in the box?!

This is the 1-2 person box!

We received mostly what we requested. We wanted a mango, but it wasn’t available. (We were refunded) and we asked for a delicata squash, and it was substituted with a butternut. (Anyone have a favorite butternut recipe? Drop it in the comments)

So far we turned the lettuce, some spinach, a tomato and the chicken into chicken salads. They were delicious!

The oranges and kiwi will be enjoyed in our lunches. The potatoes and onions will be some sides for something hamburger-ish meal.

I want to slice and bake those huge carrots. I’ll have to report back on how those turn out!

And we use brown rice and sweet potatoes in the homemade dog food that we make. This guy is allergic to so much!

Another favorite part of these boxes is that I can try out different produce before I try growing it. The acorn squash is being tried out before we grow it this summer. I’m hoping that we like it! I think they are so pretty!

Next week we are skipping a box to make sure that we use up everything that came in! (Another thing that I love about this company!)

Overall, very happy with box #2!!

2020 Goals!

I have been setting goals for close to five years. Writing them down and reflecting on what I have achieved makes me feel much more accountable.

One big change for my goals this year is that I’ve reduced the number of goals. I normally have about 12, but this year I have five main goals! And, here they are:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– I have been able to get my trash down to around 6 bags a year. I also want to get rid of the things that are not meaningful. I’m hoping to find a home for a lot of the extra things around here!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I try to volunteer often, and I’m always looking for more opportunities where I can do more. I’d love to focus on volunteering that aligns with gardening, growing for the pollinators.

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I love growing food for the bees/butterflies and some for us too! I have already made a few seed purchases of new varieties!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– In 2019 I didn’t do much crafting. I was officially in a crafting rut. This year, I’m going to work on creating and crafting! (So will the Mr.!)

My favorite creation from last year

I ❤️ watching him create!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious.

I’m not too sure where we will be heading this year or how local it will be. But, we will be camping, seeing places that we haven’t been to before and hopefully hiking some trails!

Secret goal! I also have one not yet posted goal. I’m going to post about it when it is accomplished!! And, hopefully it will be soon!

I hope that you have created a couple goals for 2020!

Keep blooming!!

Imperfect food review #1

In the winter we do eat a lot of our own canned food. However, we miss access to fresh foods. We can get a lot of things from the grocery store, but usually don’t. Why?! It’s because it usually doesn’t taste good. Things go from rock hard to spoiled and don’t ripen. I just get tired of wasting money on things that end up in my compost pile or fed to the chickens.

So, we decided to get an order from imperfect food. They deliver here (with minimal and recyclable packaging) and it’s customizable. I’m picky and there are certain things that we just won’t eat. Now, on to our first order:

This is the small 1-2 person box!

It’s missing the sweet potato that was used in making some dog food (our bulldog has extreme allergies) and one fuyu persimmon is missing too because I ate it! (Pretty good!)

Overall, it was exactly what we put in the cart and I was able to form my meals around what we received. We only had one apple with a bad spot, but not a big deal. I compare priced the items at our local store and it’s almost exactly the same price ($32 ish). *and that’s not including the promo code that we got to use on the first box.

Here’s what we did with what we have used so far:

We have snacked on the oranges

The beef was used in tacos and we loved he sautéed Brussels

Some carrots were used in the bean soup

I made a tiny jar of apple/pear sauce

The chicken became orange chicken

New potatoes were boiled and then sautéed. Yum!

Lemon bars!

I was really impressed with the order and I am looking forward to receiving the next shipping! I plan on using this service until we start harvesting again and then I will take some weeks off and visit our own farmer’s market and enjoy eating local.

And, I was not paid or encouraged to do this review! It was my own honest review!

Keep blooming friends!

2019 Goals Finale!

Hello 2020! After staying up finishing my quilt on New Year’s Eve, I am proud to say that my goals went pretty well this year!

2019 can be best described as the craziest roller coaster ride that I have ever been on. The ups have been going fantastic places and meeting fabulous people! The rough part has been watching my favorite person battle cancer and have way too many complications.

Beekeeping in December!

Crabbing in the Chesapeake Bay

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– ✔️ Yes, it’s finished! And I love it!

2. Keep doing good for our community.✔️ we have done a lot with our little free library and also decorated the town for Christmas. We helped organize the town cleanup and did a few of our own street cleanups.

3. Can and save money on our groceries:✔️ We has a pretty rocking garden this year. We canned so many green beans, some salsa, jams and some pickles!

Moon and stars watermelon

Dickinson pumpkins

4. Use that camper some more!: ❌Maybe in 2020!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so we couldn’t get the camper out.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: ✔️We composted 148 pumpkins, several bags of leaves and over 100 pounds of holiday waste. So much future garden food!

Holiday composting

6.Little free library/seed sharing- ✔️The Mr. built it, so many donated books towards it and many have utilized it. And the best part, it’s in memory of my sweet sister who loved reading and always wanted to be an author.

7. Grow some new plants: ✔️We grew so many new plants this year! The ground cherries turned out to be my favorite! But I also love how different and pretty that the Dickinson pumpkins are! Plus, the nest egg gourds are beautiful!

Our last harvest of the year.

Nest egg gourd

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. ✔️We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We harvested zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow next year!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash ✔️We took out 7 bags of trash this whole year! Since I have been away a lot this year, I can say that I missed out on always getting pictures! But, we will try to do better in 2020!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-✔️ It happened! We created a monarch waystation! That habitat was loved and used by so many pollinators! We released 186 butterflies (108 females and 78 males) plus a few swallowtails and even this beauty:

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– ✔️He had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that! Plus, he’s so much better at managing time and tracking his own grades.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– ✔️We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We made some spending $ for his trip and lots of neighbors enjoyed the cheap and local produce!

The last garden cart of 2019

Disney World was a delight!

See you later 2019! I am planning out what I’m going to accomplish in 2020 in my neighborhood/home/classroom! I hope that you’re completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

Beautiful December Week!

It has been so incredibly warm this week! Like, 60 degrees warm! I won’t complain at all!

Let me share my favorite thing that I got for Christmas:

I plan on riding this sweet ride to and from work when the weather allows. It has both a pedal assist and a throttle. It is ridiculously fun to ride!

I made some sugar patties for my bee friends and I was even able to get them out into the hives. The bees did not enjoy my visit, but I feel better knowing that they have a little extra food for the winter!

I also spent a nice chunk of the day moving the aged compost into the garden and turning the pumpkin compost into a new container. We took in a total of 148 pumpkins and we will be taking in holiday compost buckets this weekend!

Aged compost. Look at those worms!

The yummy dinner that I whipped up tonight was mostly homegrown! We are still using produce from our garden! Those are some of our homegrown potatoes and our last delicata squash. Roasted in the oven is the way to go with them!

And lastly, I have been enjoying my indoor plants. I am loving succulents and propagating them! This little baby is adorable!

I hope that you have had a few moments of joy during the holiday season! I’m trying to knock out the last of my goals for 2019 and I have some ambitious goals for 2020!

September 2019 Goals Update

Goals are meant to be crushed, right?! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do as a mom, teacher and organic gardener. But, I don’t feel like I have been focused enough on these goals. So, I’m going to be working harder in October!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. Everything is sewn and I just need to quilt and bind it! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**

2. Keep doing good for our community.

We had a big book exchange in honor of my sister for her birthday! It was nice to see so many people utilizing the library!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We are still harvesting a good bit from the garden! (Especially cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucamelons!) So, not much preserving, but at least produce is still good coming in!

Purple potatoes!

4. Use that camper some more!: In September I spent some time on Tylerton Island (Smith Island) and learned all about the Chesapeake Bay and met lots of locals!

**so here’s the change: I have lots of traveling with being the teacher of the year, so I don’t think that we will be doing much traveling this summer.

Sunrise paddling!

Smith Island Cake!

That little dot is a baby crab!

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off. Plus, we compost everything that we can here! We will be taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in months to come!

Composting on the island!

Our compost is looking good!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having more guests, since the garden cart has been out so much!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries are still growing well! Now the Hawaiian peppers are taking off and I’m harvesting some gourds. In the garden, the Mexican sunflowers are a great nectar and pollen source!

Hawaiian peppers

Egg gourds

Mexican sunflowers

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. That swing set was reassembled by a friend for her adorable twins. We are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!

The after!

Luffa gourd growing!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 4. Bag 3 was thrown out while I was out of town and the Mr. doesn’t take pictures of our garbage. 😆

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! We are still finding caterpillars out there. We have released over 150 and I have sent in our data for all of our tagged monarchs!

Pollinator garden in late September!

11. Teach the teen life skills– the boy is growing up way too fast. He will be in high school next year. I want him to be ready to be an independent adult when he decides to leave the nest many years from now!

*he has been learning lessons on time management! Between long practices, not getting back until late on school nights and lots of homework, he’s still getting his work finished.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– We decided to use the money made from the garden cart to go towards the teen going to Disney with band. We are slowly making a little bit at a time! (We should be having a few more garden cart sales this year!)

September was filled with lots of fun events, and this whole teacher of the year thing is such an honor! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!!

Keep blooming friends!!

Visiting Tylerton Island and learning about the Chesapeake Bay

The past few days I went on one memorable adventure. Since I was chosen as a teacher of the year, we were given a trip to Smith Island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay! I walked away with a great group of new friends and a fire in my soul to make the world a better place.

Such a beautiful little town with amazing people!

A baby blue crab that we found combing grasses in the Bay!

We have a lesson with a local and she taught us how to make a Smith Island cake!

Sunrise canoeing in the bay!

We caught crabs!

I found a beekeeper on the island!

I got to pull in the rake that we used on the seas grass!

Kiss the fish before you set the trap!

My napkin for the couple days!

We found a pomegranate tree!

The compost bin in the kitchen

The compost bin outdoors!

I loved this sink setup!

The facility that is run by The Chesapeake Bay Foundation was beautifully green. There was a compost bin, recycling and the kitchen that was so efficiently green. I can’t say thank you enough to the people who made this happen. I am one happy greenie and I can’t wait to share with my students! Students learn even better when they can tell that you are passionate about certain topics, and they will definitely see my love come out when I talk about the bay from now on!