May 2019 Goals Update!

Only a little more than a week of school left!! So that means: warm weather and spending more time with my towering teen is coming up! Yay!

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! ** I still need to quilt this thing!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The school garden is looking better by the day! I’m hoping to get a table at our home fest and see who would be interested in a plot at a community garden and who would volunteer to get it going next year!

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! I think I’m going to go to a pick your own farm and get some strawberries! I will only be getting a hand full from my plants.

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip! Last month I went to Baltimore and was recognized as teacher of the year for my county! I’ll be there again in June!

**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.

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 200 pounds of food waste! We are still getting some compostables and I love the yard waste that’s becoming a nice mulch in my garden!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open!! I love watching people stop by and grab a book! So far this is my favorite goal!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better, and they are looking pretty good so far! We also planted the whole garden! We are harvesting lots of radishes, leaf lettuce and a couple strawberries. And, we are planting a fig tree too!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants.

**We are getting there! Raised beds have been filled, grass is being removed and plants will be planted very soon!

After!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 2. We are continuing to watch what we throw out!

**we are still on bag 2, but it will be thrown out this week!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! The butterfly weed is blooming, along with yarrow and blanket flowers. Plus, my overwintered Black swallowtail chrysalis emerged as a butterfly!!

From the beginning of the year to the end!

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 helping with planting out the garden and he helped to make a nice spaghetti dinner this week!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! We have only sold a couple dozen eggs so far, but the garden cart will be opening this month with some produce!

(Technically the garden cart was used for the grand opening of the library!) 😆

May was the month that I got this garden planted and have been working nonstop on the food forest area! I have also put a lot of time into putting more flowers into the pollinator garden and watering lots of new little plants! We also caught a swarm of bees and paid off the solar panels!

Keep blooming friends!! 

April 2019 Goals Update

Hello May! April was a very green month both at home and school! The goals are being checked off!

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! ** I still need to quilt this thing!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The town Earth Day clean up was amazing! We had close to 40 volunteers and look at all of trash we kept out of streams and the environment!

We also had a very green week at school and had a school wide composting day. We also planted our school raised bed garden! I’m hoping that the kids get to eat those radishes and some lettuce by the end of the year!

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! We are working on growing lots this year! * here are some strawberry blooms! I’m hoping to make lots of strawberry jam this year!*

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019! This is the major change.

**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. Unfortunately.

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 150 pounds of food waste! We are still getting some compostables and I love the yard waste that’s becoming a nice mulch in my garden!

Cut grass makes great mulch!

Older food is loved by the chickens!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is so close to opening! The library placard is on the way and the ribbon cutting will be happening this month! It’s getting exciting!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! I picked up a lot of great plants at the master gardener plant sale (prickly pear cactus was my favorite find!) and I have a lot of the cooler weather crops in the ground already!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants.

**We are making progress! The swing set is gone, the little greenhouse was moved over and this month we will be getting rid of all of that grass!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 2. We are continuing to watch what we throw out!

**we are still on bag 2!!**

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! We have lots of new plants and even more coming back from last year!

We have 9 butterfly weed plants that came back!

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 learned how important that it is to help out the community and cleaned up so much for our cleanup day!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?!

Our chickens are putting out lots of eggs and we did sell some at the craft show last month!

May is the big month for this region when it comes to gardening! So much will be planted this month and I can’t wait to start showing the walk through the gardens! What are you planting?!

🌸🌸Keep blooming friends!! 🌸🌸

March 2019 Goals Update

March 2019 will be a month that I remember for a lifetime! I was named teacher of the year for my county, my boy made the high school band and all of our plans have been changed!

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!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I am still planning the Earth Day cleanup for my neighborhood and I have been doing all kinds of volunteering with the Master Gardeners. I also had another nice day to do a clean up around town!

Master gardener demo garden

St. Patrick’s clean up day

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! We are working on growing lots this year!

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019! This is the major change.

**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. Unfortunately.

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 120 pounds of food waste from the landfill. We are still composting our own food waste here at home. We have also been receiving some drop offs of chicken treats and tons of leaves.

6.Little free library/seed sharing- Well, the cabinet turned out to not really work. But, the Mr has been working away at creating a library from scratch! It’s looking great!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! I decided to pick up a few more seeds online. I have big plans!!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants. We planted a couple blueberry plants, but have plans for more. And, we need to break down that swing set!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 2. We are continuing to watch what we throw out!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! Our milkweed is growing so well! And I’m happy to report that many lupines are growing well too!

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! Turns out he already knew how to use a saw and square properly and helped to make the raised bed garden for my students!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?! (Change in plans!! Turns out my boy is going to Disney World with the band. So, we will be putting any money that we make from crafting/blacksmithing and gardening towards this trip!)

March was a great month! I’m looking forward to getting more seeds planted and planting the raised bed garden at school. I can’t wait to get my garden planted and beautiful! What all are you planting right now?!

I know that I am looking forward to warmer. weather!!

🌸🌸Keep blooming friends!! 🌸🌸

February 2019 Goals Update

In February we got way too many snow days off from school! The weather seemed to turn into super winter, with a few nice days hidden in there! But, the grow lights started shining here and seedlings are starting to pop up!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. the chickens are all sewn on in rows and I will be working on the perimeter pieces this weekend. I will be practicing on my mom’s long arm sewing machine soon!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I will be going to a town meeting next week (I missed the one last month) to get the ball rolling for an Earth Day cleanup in April. I’m hoping to encourage our community to pitch in! And, I’m still the chief recycler at school. (Self appointed!) We have recycled over 300 pounds of plastic film and 1,000 plastic bowls from breakfast.

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! And we are using up all of those green beans that we canned last year quickly!

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019! (We know that it will be to the northeast!)

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 95 pounds of food waste from the landfill. We are still composting our own food waste here at home. We are planning to have a few drop off points certain days. We just need to find businesses who would like crazy compost collectors nearby!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- We got a free cabinet that we are going to turn into a little free library with seed give away in it. My sister loved to read and I feel like it would be nice to build one in her memory. We are hoping to have it built and do a ribbon cutting in the Spring. (Since the Mr. finished our tv stand, he is now working on this!)

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! I also got a lot of extra seeds in a seed swap, so we have added purple tomatillos to our list too!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants. (once the weather changes, we will say goodbye to that swing set!)

9. Keep reducing our trash We are still on bag 1! We are going try to make our own package free version of foods that we love that unfortunately comes in wrappers. I love making our own tortillas and zucchini cake! (Shredding and freezing zucchini from the garden make a great treat in the winter!)

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! Our milkweed is growing so well! And I’m hoping to finally get some lupines growing too. I haven’t had luck with them in the past.

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! In February when my low air light was on in the car, the Mr. made sure to show him how to fill it up and where to find the info on how much air to put in the tires.

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?! (Well, I’m going to be buying a good many raspberry canes and blueberry plants. And, maybe a fruit tree. So…)

This month seemed to fly by to me! I’m going to be focusing on planning my garden, starting my tomatoes, peppers, cucamelons, ground cherries, tomatillos and a few luffa plants this month. Then next month, I should be able to get some of the leaf lettuces, peas and other cold weather crops in the ground! (Plus I’m trying to get a raised bed garden at school!)

And how are your goals rolling along?! Keep blooming friends! Spring is so close!!

January 2019 Goals Update

Dear January and all 499 days in the month, you lasted forever! And it has been so stinking cold and snowy! But, this weather makes me appreciate future warmer days. I’m really hoping that the bees pull through this coldness! And on to our goals:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. The finished quilt will be 54 chickens in all. I’m finished 27 already!

2. Keep doing good for our community. This month my biggest accomplishment was that I officially became a master gardener. I did just shy of 50 hours of community service to get this name badge! I will be going to the town meeting this week to see how we can do another town wide clean up day.

3. Can and save money on our groceries. We didn’t do a great job of canning our garden goodies last winter, but we are enjoying our home canned salsa! (With homemade tortilla chips)

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019! (Still figuring out where we will be going!)

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 70 pounds of food waste from the landfill. We are still composting our own food waste here at home. We need to figure out how to be more efficient with composting next summer. Driving house to house was a little too much!

Our little vermicompost

6.Little free library/seed sharing- We got a free cabinet that we are going to turn into a little free library with seed give away in it. My sister loved to read and I feel like it would be nice to build one in her memory. We are hoping to have it built and do a ribbon cutting in the Spring. (We haven’t started building it yet!)

A second library that we visited!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! Add ginger to that list!

Regrowing ginger!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants.

9. Keep reducing our trash We are still on bag 1! We are going try to make our own package free version of foods that we love that unfortunately comes in wrappers. I tried to make my own belvitas, but they were not great. But I did make some delicious pierogi and we haven’t bought microwaveable popcorn! That pampered chef popper is loved by my teen!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! We started cold stratifying a lot of milkweed seeds to start in the Spring!

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! In January the boy learned to properly load and unload the dishwasher and how to do laundry. Next month shall be something else!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?! (Nothing going on here yet!)

This month I have been working hard on my teacher of the year paperwork and I feel like that’s where a majority of my time went. But, when your peers nominate you, of course you do your best work. I’m very proud of this life I’m leading and the lessons I teach along the way! So, February will hopefully be more productive and I’ll get a lot more accomplished around here!

And how are your goals rolling along?! Keep blooming (even on those gross weather days) friends!

New Year Goals 2019!

Happy New Year! Every year I try to set a dozen goals and give monthly updates to keep myself accountable! (And because I love sharing our journey!) Throughout the year when I think about what I would like to accomplish, I make a running list. Some ideas get put into the future file. Some go into the never ever file and others make the cut! And without further ado, our 2019 goals:

1. Sew my first quilt– I have been wanting to try a new craft for quite a while. I wanted to take on a bigger project, and I wanted to make something for us. It’s going to be a chicken quilt and I found a great pattern online Here .And since I was super intimidated, I tried out a practice one. Even though it is far from perfect, I think that I’ve got this! I think!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I loved being able to help organize an Earth day clean up and donating to our local mission rescue. I plan on helping our community by organizing a clean up group and doing monthly street clean ups.

3. Can and save money on our groceries. We didn’t do a great job of canning our garden goodies last winter. I want to can more jellies, green beans salsa and other deliciousness!

Catsup!

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019!

The Badlands

5. Compost!! We are going to continue composting every Wednesday at school and greening up school in general! I’m hoping to have a school wide composting day on Earth Day! And, we are hoping to help our neighbors compost. Maybe we can compost 1,000 lbs again!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- We got a free cabinet that we are going to turn into a little free library with seed give away in it. My sister loved to read and I feel like it would be nice to build one in her memory. We are hoping to have it built and do a ribbon cutting in the Spring.

A local little free library we visited!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. A little bit at a time!

9. Keep reducing trash! We produced almost 6 bags of garbage last year. This year we are trying for only 5! So, monthly I am going try to make my own package free version of foods that we love that unfortunately comes in wrappers.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! So we will add plenty of nectar and milkweed for monarchs to lay their eggs on. Last year we loved looking through the milkweed for caterpillars and raising them to become adults. It was so much fun! So this year, we would like to tag them and see if any of ours make their way to Mexico!

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! We will be working on something new every month. Examples: sewing on a button, cooking meals, using tools appropriately, changing a tire, properly ironing and folding clothes. And weirdly enough, my brother bought this book for him for Christmas:

And if you are local, you can feel free to bring your kid over if you think it is a skill that your teen needs to learn too!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?!

So, there are our big plans! We hope that we will be able to accomplish them all! And we also hope that you all do too! Keep blooming friends!

End of the year 2018 goals!

Setting goals for the past 3 years has helped keep me focused and motivated. I love being able to look back at what we have been able to accomplish in a short period of time! Here are our 2017 goals, and the link for our 2016 goals .

Now on to the goals:

✔️1. Expand the garden- it happened! In 2018 we almost doubled the size of the garden, made lots of trellises and grew lots of food! It was a wonderful treat to see our hard work pay off!

✔️2. Fix the camper- Since we bought a second hand camper that needed a good bit of work, and we are pretty handy, we were able to go on a trip of a lifetime for not a ton of money! We were able to camp comfortably and not eat out too much!

✔️3.Travel out west-  We did it and enjoyed every single stop! We visited 3 of the 5 Great Lakes, camped on Lake Erie. Then camped at the top of the lower peninsula of Michigan. Drove through the upper peninsula and saw our very first moose! Camped in Minnesota and swam in the coldest pool ever! Camped in my favorite place, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, where we saw bison and prairie dogs for the first time! And hiked so many trails! Next up was Yellowstone! The geysers were so different than we expected and we loved seeing all kinds of wildlife, including grizzly bears at a distance and an elk right beside our truck! After that was Mount Rushmore, the pickers place in Iowa and lots of miles! Great experience!

✔️4. Create a certified wildlife habitat- There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature, and we did it! We raised monarchs, watched hummingbirds visit our yard and saw beautiful blooms instead of just grass! Read about how much we loved it Here!

✔️5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. Number 6 is still in the can, so I think we can call this a success!

✔️6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- This goal has been my favorite this year! I have enjoyed spreading the good! We have donated food to a local mission, dressed as both the grinch and Santa, donated labor and time through the master gardeners program, started a composting program at school, composted for our friends/family/neighbors, decorated the town with holiday decor and many more things! It wasn’t always fun, but giving does great things for your soul!

✔️7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  I have fixed clothes, instead of buying new. We have turned old doors new again for our garden and revived our camper! We were able to collect over 1,000 pounds of old food and turn it into garden food, and compost/feed to the chickens 183 pumpkins! And my favorite upcycle surprise was the broadfork made by the Mr!

✔️8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are now dormant! I’m hoping that they come back next year! So, we did grow a couple little tiny trees from seed!

✖️9. Build a pizza oven-  we decided not to do this quite yet! We are thinking about how we want to use the space where the oven was going to go.

✔️10. Grow different produce- We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds/tiny gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I am hoping to give another big try to ground cherries!

✔️11. Continue tracking the solar panels- 2018 was the year of rain. It rained way too much, and the sun was not out nearly enough! But, power was produced and the bill has been consistently low!

✔️12. Work on garden cart sales- We have sold at craft shows, and had several produce sales here this year! The neighbors seemed to enjoy the source of produce and I enjoyed sharing my extras!

So, 11/12 goals completed is a success to me! I believe that we have our 12 main goals for next year set! And, goal setting is my most favorite thing to do every December!

Are you thinking about next year yet? Anything that you think we should give a try to?

Keep blooming friends!!

No Spend Year November Update

It turns out that not spending money blows people’s minds. They have no idea how staying home, making meals here and avoiding purchases would be possible. But, here we are, chilling out the house, shopping thrift stores and very rarely eating out. Recently I had to go to Kohl’s to buy my long legged 13 year old dress pants and we both did not enjoy shopping. It was foreign to us, but I had a gift card to use on those pants! And, they cost us $0 using that gift card!

So, we have been spending some money on our crafting. I’ve been using what I already have, but also creating new things like our honey suckers. It allows us to give lots of Christmas presents that are homemade and make money on the extras! I can use some of that earned money on the few gifts that we are purchasing!

Other than spending lots of time crafting, I have also been composting pumpkins like it’s my job! Why?! Because this will become garden food for the gardens and will help us produce lots of food! So, that’s well worth our time!

I unfortunately ripped a huge hole in my favorite jeans when picking up pumpkins. I’m going to do my best to find a pair second hand, but at least I have a second backup pair. And, I’m going to try to fix my original pair!

And checkout this awesome vest that was on the free table at school! I love finds like this:

Although the picture below looks like I eat alone, that never happens. I just took the picture before anyone joined me! But anyway, packing a lunch saves a ton of money! Plus, I swear leftovers taste better the next day!

This year for Christmas we are focusing on spending time with people instead of overspending. I love that my parents and brother don’t have to stress about buying gifts for each other. We get the kids something practical and spend more time together!

And, we decided to not buy wrapping paper and have been using my parent’s newspaper instead! And it can even be recycled afterwards!

We are slowly paying off our solar panel loan and our mortgage might just be paid off in less than 2 years! I can’t even imagine being debt free by 40, but it might just happen!

Do you have some financial goals? We started with paying off small debts and working that debt snowball towards our larger debts. Don’t let a setback make you give up! Keep pushing forward!

November Goals Update 2018

Hello to the last month of the year! November was filled with lots of good deeds, celebrating Thanksgiving with family, collecting compostables and working on homemade presents!

Now on to the goals:

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! It has been cleaned out and now I am working on making lots of compost to feed the soil! I loved the layout of it this year!

2. Fix the camper- ✅We fixed up our camper and loved using it on a trip of a lifetime! I catch myself thinking about the fun that we had this summer often!

3.Travel out west- ✅ We did it and enjoyed every single stop! I loved hiking the trails and still think about how we packed a lunch, went on a long hike and then ate our lunch while watching buffalo and wild horses in the distance! 🌏💚

**and we have ideas on where to travel in 2019**

4. Create a certified wildlife habitat ✅ There was grass patch in front of the garage that was begging to be returned to nature. So, we did! Read about how much we loved it herehttps://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2018/11/11/so-whats-so-great-about-our-certified-wildlife-habitat/

5. Reduce garbage- Last year we made 7 bags of garbage and we want to make less than 6 bags this year. We are up to 5, but the Mr. didn’t take a picture!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I enjoyed playing in a fundraiser basketball game, dressed as the grinch for our Christmas tree lighting and helped to decorate the town. And, we did a street cleaning on a nice day too! (This goal has been my favorite this year! I have enjoyed spreading the good!)

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  Just yesterday I got to see what my husband has been working on! He turned some scrap metal into a broad fork! I have been wanting one of these for a long time! He is amazing!

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are now dormant! I’m hoping that they come back next year!

9. Build a pizza oven- ❎ we are not doing this one this year. We are trying to figure out how we are going to change up the backyard next year! (We have an interesting plan for next year!)

10. Grow different produce- ✅We have grow so many different plants! Huge gourds, different melons and glass gem corn! I am hoping to give another big try to ground cherries!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- November brought about a foot of snow all at once. That left our panels covered and producing no power for about 1 week! And it rained a lot too! However, we still had no bill this month!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We will be at a craft show next weekend and I’m looking forward to taking some of the crayon wallets that I made! (plus everything else!)

We really enjoy setting goals, even when they all aren’t achieved!

Are you thinking about next year yet? Anything that you think we should give a try to? I only keep a running list when ideas pop into my head on my phone! (It has 35 ideas! 😳)

Keep blooming friends!!

So, what’s so great about our certified wildlife habitat?!

One of my favorite projects this summer was turning a patch of grass that we were annoyed to cut into a wildlife habitat. I envisioned bees, butterflies and birds flying around and beautiful flowers. And it was exactly as I imagined!

Here are some quick reasons why I absolutely loved this space last summer!

1. It was so beautiful when the flowers were blooming! I had no clue there were so many species of moths, butterflies and bees here!

2. It looked so much better than just the plain grass that was there before! When we built the garage, most of the topsoil was scraped away from that area. Now, from heavy mulching, the topsoil is increasing! And, my picture from last spring was pretty close to what we did!

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Before 

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After

3. We got way too excited when we saw native bees in the area and especially when they were using our upcycled pollinator hotel!

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Part of the pollinator hotel 

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A native bee on a teddy bear sunflower 

4 I have had people ask why I went to the trouble of certifying it and not just create it for free. That’s a great question! But here is what I have noticed, so many people have stopped and asked me about the sign. Questioned what the area was for. Or, who it benefits. The sign catches attention and creates conversation! We usually talk about everything that I’m mentioning on here! It spreads a great message!

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I still love the reused bamboo pole! 

5. And my most favorite part, that I didn’t even know would happen was raising monarchs! I loved finding tiny caterpillars on the milkweed and bringing them inside! I loved all three of us hunkered over milkweed plants screaming “I found one!!” As we pulled the leaf off of the plant to assure the safety of the caterpillar! We released close to 20 this year!

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A tiny baby! 

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Chewing on swamp milkweed 

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From caterpillar to chrysalis 

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The send off! 

So, where or what are the plans for next year in this area?! Well, I am planning on planting even more milkweed! (I saved lots of seeds!) I would love to actually get into tagging them before releasing them.

I also want to have more host plants for the swallowtail, like parsley and dill in this area. I’m hoping to get some native coral honeysuckle for around the archway to bring in more hummingbirds and add more nectar sources.

So, I’d highly recommend taking a patch of unused area and giving nature a helping hand. It was more than rewarding!