Mushroom growing, harvests, crafting and donating

This weekend was full of all the reasons why I put so much into this lifestyle that we are wanting to live.

Remember the mushroom spawn that I spread in a raised bed back in early May? Well, the mushrooms have finally popped up for harvesting! (Best find of the weekend!)

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Delicious winecap mushrooms! 

Also, a few of the birdhouse gourds had fallen on the ground. So, I decided to go ahead and pull them from the dead vibe and start the drying out process.

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Super-sized birdhouse gourds

And the garden is still producing so much! I really am not sure of what I’m going to make out of all of these tomatoes at this point!

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All picked on Saturday!
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Our first beets harvested! 

We had our last produce sale of the season, but it was unfortunately a flop. So, I gave a lot of produce to family and friends!

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Tomatoes coming out my ears! 

And now onto all the crafting that has been going on around here! The Mr has been busy beating on metal and blacksmithing lots for our upcoming craft show!

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Hanging basket hooks
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Dinner bells! 

And I have been sewing up a storm too! I’ve been working on unpaper towels and napkins. Also, I have sewing up reusable wet jet refills. Now to hope that the customers at the craft show enjoy a more zero waste lifestyle!

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Sewing so much! 

I officially got tired of my crazy long hair this weekend, and decided to get it cut off! 14 inches to be exact and I’ll be donating it to a wig making organization. I figure since it grows so fast, I might as well use it for something!

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Future wig! 

I hope that you all were able to enjoy your weekend and that your garden is still flourishing!

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Bees are still working the dandelions! 

Keep blooming where you are planted!

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Expanding the garden!

We are already thinking about the 2018 gardening season and how to improve our soil, because I don’t think that our soil could ever be too healthy! There is a nice area between the garden and the sheds that I would love to turn into more garden.

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More garden! 

Here is exactly what I have in mind:

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A girl can dream, right? 

Well, the Mr decided to help me get started on this idea! He worked on tilling the area, while I picked out some rocks and planted rye and wheat cover crop seeds.

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Tilling away! 

And now we are waiting for the seeds to sprout and we will have nice green manure for the garden in the spring!

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Finished for now! (And yes that’s a chicken finding crickets!) 

And since it’s Wednesday, I decided to share a few gardening pictures too!

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Last night’s harvest! 
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Strawberry popcorn that we grew! 
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A preview of our sweet potatoes
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Beautiful sunflower! 
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My first hybrid zucchini/pumpkin
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Zucchini cake made from the franken-fruit above! 

This week is moving at a turtle’s pace and I can’t wait for it to be over. I need a nice weekend to recover from my busy week! Keep on trying to bloom where you are planted!!💚

So much canning! (And fall garden prep!)

You’d think that mid- summer is the busiest time for gardeners. Not true! Im busiest in late summer and fall! It’s prepping, picking, and preserving all of that produce!

We had another sale yesterday! Only a few customers, but the rest of the produce was preserved for the winter months here!

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Another produce sale! 

The Mr.’s sister has an apple tree and doesn’t use the apples. So, we went and picked about a bushel of apples and made some yummy applesauce! And we have some leftover to turn into something else!

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A few apples left! 
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Making applesauce! 

I spent the majority of the day today making some chili sauce! That stuff is super labor intensive! It takes a ton of peeling and chopping of veggies to make! But, my Dad loves it, so I make it!

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Chili sauce! 

And just like every other Sunday morning, we are out of food for breakfast! So, I baked some zucchini cake using the last of our homegrown zucchini!

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There were 2, but it’s really good! 

The wheat and rye that I planted to help add fertilizer to the soil is growing fast!

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Future green manure! 

And now to leave off on a few beautiful things!

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A honeybee on my sunflower! 
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One of the adorable stray kitties around here! 

I hope that you had a productive weekend too! Keep blooming where you are planted!

Wednesday walk through the garden and lots of blooms! 9-6-17

The garden is starting to fizzle out, but we are still harvesting green beans, cucumbers, cucumelons and lots of tomatoes! I’m hoping to harvest a watermelon or 2 this season!

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Ripen quickly please! 

I’m not sure what this is growing out of the compost bin! It looks like a yellow zucchini, but it is vining like a pumpkin!

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we love our weird compost hybrids! 

We are also still getting peppers, so we will be making some Appalachian style chili sauce. My Dad loves it, so of course I’m going to make him some!

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peppers! 

The popcorn is a good bit taller than me and has tassels!

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popcorn!!!!

The pumpkin vines are dying off, but at least we are getting a few pumpkins!

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Pumpkins! 

The fall beets are growing right up out of the ground!

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we will be pickling beets! 

The sweet potatoes are growing all over the place! I can’t wait to see how much that we harvest this year!!

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sweet potato vines

And I’m pretty proud to share that we made some ketchup this year out of our own Roma tomatoes! We just used one of the Mrs. Wage’s seasoning packets!

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homemade ketchup!

And, there are lots of beautiful blooms still around for our pollinators!

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!!

Harvests and feeling like Fall

This week brought on the start of the school year, which is year 13 for my teaching career. Every year feels like I’m starting a new job. I’m hoping this year goes well!

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Third grade, again! 

And on to gardening! The strawberry bed had gotten so unruly and to be honest, I don’t get a large amount of strawberries. So, I decided to clear out the bed and I’m going to plant a cover crop and hopefully make the soil even better.

The cattle panel trellis that goes from one raised bed to the other is looking great! There are always lots of big yellow luffa blooms on it and the luffas and birdhouse gourds are growing fast!

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Sweet potatoes to the right and lots on he trellis! 
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Huge luffa! (And a birdhouse gourd!) 

The trellises in the yard are looking great!

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Growing food, not lawns! 

And I love growing sunflowers! This year our tallest is around 10 feet tall! The pollinators are enjoying the blooms and the chickens will enjoy the seeds this winter!

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Sunflowers!
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Pretty monarch! 

This weekend is going to consist of lots of canning  because we have a ton of tomatoes that need to be preserved! The end of the month update will be coming soon!

Excitement and starting work

This year will be my 13th year teaching for the same county, so that’s starting to make me feel old! But that’s not the exciting part! We were featured on a page about gardeners from around the world! If you do Facebook, it’s on Humans who grow food and it’s the same on Instagram!

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We are almost famous! Ha! 

And on to more exciting times, the Mr and I celebrated our Anniversary! We are getting pretty close to being able to say that we have been together for half of our lives! Oh my! But, even though we were on opposite shifts, I still had a chance to make some apple pies to celebrate!

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Apple pies! Yum! 

And onward to more exciting things, the pollinator garden that my students planted in the Spring is looking gorgeous! Everything is blooming! I can’t wait for them to see it!

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The pollinator garden at school! 

We have been producing a surplus of veggies, so I started setting up a stand. The first week we had one customer and I felt like we should just not bother, but the Mr reminded me that I should keep trying! So, 3 weeks later and we are getting several customers! Even the mail lady messaged me that she loved it! Yay!

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Our tiny produce stand! 

And now for some garden pictures:

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How much we have been harvesting! 
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Our almost 10 ft sunflower! 
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Green bean teepee!

Next up is our mystery pumpkin! It volunteered from a monster sized pumpkin that I was given last year, I’m looking forward to watching it grow!

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Purchase funky pumpkin! 

Overall this weekend has been one great one! (Even the pup would agree!)

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He loves hammock time!

So, I definitely feel like this homestead is moving in the right direction! Keep blooming people!