Productive weekend!

This weekend was cooler and I swear I could smell fall in the air. And, the leaves were blowing through the air! I have a love/hate relationship with that season. I love the cool and crisp air, apples and fall activities. But, knowing winter is on the way bums me out!

I started off by spending at least 6 hours pulling weeds, putting down newspaper and putting mulch on top. So much work, and I have 3 more sides, but it’s looking so much better!

Less weeds!!

Less weeds!!

I transplanted so many, like 60 strawberry plants into their new home. I probably have at least 60 more plants that needs a new home! 🙂

So many strawberries!

So many strawberries!

I harvested another pumpkin, and I love the shape of this one! This one has potential for being chosen as the carved pumpkin. I like having lots of extras because the chickens love pumpkins and they especially love them when it’s cold outside and it’s something different.

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Another pumpkin!

I found this praying mantis in the garden. It was a big one for sure! Don’t worry, it went right back to where it was captured!

S/he was huge!!

S/he was huge!!

I took the last of the tomatoes and turned them into spaghetti sauce. This will taste so much better in winter instead of the store stuff!

Pressure canned spaghetti sauce

Pressure canned spaghetti sauce

We are huge weekend warriors here on our tiny homestead!

Walk through the garden Wednesday 9/9

I’m going to be honest here… I came home from work, made dinner, worked on a sewing order, went to my Granny’s to pick apples, came home and checked out the garden quickly and ended the evening with homework help. It was a busy but good evening!

I started off the day by dropping off some yummy tomatoes to one of my awesome neighbors! I have some awesome neighbors! And she always reminds me that I was born 100 years too late! It’s true! 😉

Neighborly love!!

Neighborly love!!

I then went through the stuff that my neighbor throws into our yard over by the woods and found that he was throwing all of these out! At least 12 of them! Yes, the chickens will love them!

Found treasure in the compost!

Found treasure in the compost!

One of my favorite parts of the day was going to my Granny’s to pick her apples. She told me all about how my Pap Pap planted the yellow apple tree and how he would’ve loved to have seen how huge the apples were. I love hearing her talk about my Pap. They just loved each other so much! I get a lot of my gardening love from my Granny and Pap Pap!

Lots of apples!!

Lots of apples!!

At the end of the evening I picked all of the bigger beans off of the trellis and ended up with almost 2 pounds of beans! Yummy!!!

That's a lot of beans!!

That’s a lot of beans!!

So, not a big gardening evening, but it was pretty good!

Minimalist Monday (Labor Day edition!)

It’s been a while since I posted anything on my minimalism journey! I basically try to purposefully live with less. I think that prior to the past couple of years, I had become a big old consumer!

One thing that I have majorly tried to cut out are disposables. There was a day when I thought that when we ran out of paper towels that I needed to run to the market to buy more. That day is over! I make my own from leftover fabric and serge the edges.

Hanging to dry on this beautiful day!

Hanging to dry on this beautiful day!

We usually just throw them in with whatever we are washing! And the funny part is that we only have a retractable clothesline! Works great for us! We have certain napkins for lunches, others for everyday use and some for cleaning the countertops. Then, after washing and drying the towels, I just shove them in the towel house!

Towel house!

Towel house!

I really like this set up because they don’t require much effort. I just shove them in the top of the towel house and when we need them, we pull them out of the bottom.

We also have cut back on cleaning supplies. We make our own cleaner and I have sewn up some wet jet refills!

Wet jet refills

Wet jet refills

They just stick onto the bottom of the wet jet and I wash and dry regularly. I think that they work even better! And the best part is that they last for years! See! Living with less can actually be fun! (At least to me!)

Wednesday walk through the garden 9/2

We are still harvesting a lot from the garden! Most days we get over 4 pounds of tomatoes and about a pound of green beans every other day!

All heirloom!

All heirloom!

And that apron I made for myself is amazing! It makes picking green beans a breeze! Just yesterday I had 2 lbs of green beans in the bottom and 2 lbs of cherry tomatoes in the pocket!

Loving this apron!!!

Loving this apron!!!

While picking those green beans, I had a little buddy that kept trying to bite me! He was very feisty and liked the looks of my feet in flip flops! It eventually slithered away!

Garter snake that didn't like me

Garter snake that didn’t like me

I have harvested 4 pumpkins already, but many are still growing! Our goal is to have at least one for carving during Halloween! The chickens are going to love eating all the extras!

Still growing pumpkins!

Still growing pumpkins!

I started gathering up the sunflower heads to dry in the basement. I’m sure the hens will like them in the middle of winter!

Crazy looking sunflower!

Crazy looking sunflowers!

And lastly, my neighbor threw these back up into our woods. The hens were beyond thrilled when they got a few! The will get the rest tomorrow. Lucky ladies!!!

My found treasures!

My found treasures!

Until next time!!!

Weekend work!

I’m sure back in the day, they had more time to preserve their food. But, today where we both work full time, it takes weekends and evenings to get that work finished. The weird thing is that I find this kind of work so rewarding and it seems a lot less like work. And, I also know that I will be thanking myself when I don’t have to buy some of my produce from the market! I can just open the cabinets! We have canned and canned the past couple weekends!

Lots of spaghetti sauce!

Lots of spaghetti sauce!

We snapped pound after pound of beans! I can honestly say that I am tired of bean snapping!

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Not even half of how many we snapped!

We did end up with 14 pints of green beans and they were all grow in our garden. We also had lots leftover so we froze them to put in our doggie food. Our Sherman dog is allergic to something in all dog food, so we make him his own food.

Just can't tell this pup no. :)

Just can’t tell this pup no. 🙂


Muskmelons!!!!

This was my first year growing these! To be honest, I didn’t even know what they were when I got the seeds with my heirloom seed collection. After research, I decided I would give them a try. I started the seeds indoors along with my tomatoes and peppers way back in April and they did nothing! Or so I thought. When I went to plant my peppers, I noticed that they had sprouted roots. So, I gave them a shot and put them in the garden. They were slow growers, but I did end up getting 3 delicious melons from those 2 plants!

Tiny baby muskmelon!

Tiny baby muskmelon!

I normally don’t even like cantaloupe, but it turns out when it’s really fresh and right out of your own garden it tastes amazing! Even the Mr. likes it!

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2 of our 3 melons!

After this season, I believe that they have earned a spot in the 2015-2016 garden! I still can’t believe that Fall is almost here! I have saved some seeds and I will see how they grow next year!

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Wednesday walk through the garden 8/26

School is kicking my butt this week and is dragging! The garden is missing all of my extra love and care. The zucchini are pretty much finished for the season, but now we are starting to harvest pumpkins!

1 of the 2 pumpkins that we harvested so far!

1 of the 2 pumpkins that we harvested so far!

While some pumpkins are orange and ready to be pulled from the vines, others are still very green and still growing!

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Very green pumpkin!

I was very excited to harvest our first muskmelon this week and to my surprise, a second one was ready to be harvested this evening! The last one was amazingly tasty, so we have high hopes for this one too!

image imageWe still have some sunflowers blooming and reminding us that we have many beautiful days ahead of us! 

Wednesday walk through the garden 8/19

Um, yeah, it’s technically Friday! Do I need to say that I’m a teacher and it’s my first week back to work and I’m exhausted! But, back to the garden… It’s doing amazing still. The zucchini plants have rebounded and we have more tomatoes to can!

Yippee! Some more zucchini!

Yippee! Some more zucchini!

Roma tomato

Roma tomato

I am so glad that we are finally getting some green peppers so that I can use them in my spaghetti sauce that I need to make and can!

Green peppers!

Green peppers!

Our egg production is slowing down, and it definitely doesn’t help that we have a hen that thinks she needs to hatch out some eggs! Ugh! And yes, that is shredded paper under my hen. I use that instead of hay and the ladies have no problem with it!

Ms. Broody pants

Ms. Broody pants

It was a pretty rainy day, but was able to clear up enough to let me get out in the garden for a bit! And this was the sight from the deck. It is pretty living up in the mountains!

Beautiful rainbow after the storm!

Beautiful rainbow after the storm!

Soap making!

Let me first say that soap making isn’t for everyone! I’ve read tons of tutorials, watched videos and used all precise calculations. The recipe that I used was from the crunchy urbanite and it seemed like a great place to start! Here is the recipe:

The recipe!

The recipe!

I mixed the lye into the water and wow did it heat up instantly! I made sure I had on long sleeves, goggles and was in a well ventilated area when making this!

I then heated the olive oil to 100 degrees. Once the lye and oil were the same temp I started mixing in a big bucket with a stick mixer. Once I got it to trace, more like a custard, I put them in a mold. (Learn from my mistake and don’t use anything metal. The lye eats away at it!) This was also the time that I added the essential oil. I used about 25 drops of orange oil in mine. Wrap the soap molds in a towel to insulate it and step away for 24 hours.

Next day, I cut the soap into the size that I wanted and put them on a rack where they can cure for 6 weeks! This recipe made me about 34 smaller bars of soap!

Remember, this can be dangerous and you must do your research first! Please, please, please be careful when making your own!

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Crazy yesterday!

This is my last week off before returning back to work. (Yes, I’m a teacher!) And, I’ve had a great summer! Yesterday though was one interesting day! I started off by looking at my massive amount of tomatoes and deciding that I need to make some pasta sauce!

Delicious spaghetti sauce!

Delicious spaghetti sauce!

And I even canned this yummy stuff! I’ll be thanking myself this winter when everything is white and I miss the taste of summer!

Before a nice visit with my Granny, I checked on my chickens and they were being so loud! Squawking and running and then I figured out why! I came within a few feet of a red tailed hawk! That bird was huge and I could see a free chicken dinner in his/her eyes! (But I must admit that it is a beautiful bird!)

Red tail hawk!

Red tail hawk!

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The hawk resting in a tree!

After the Mr made his way home from work, we made our way up to Garrett County for a “fun day!” It’s funny that we live only minutes away, but rarely go there! And, it has some of the most beautiful sites that are on this Earth!

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Fields of sunflowers!

After the quick drive, we visited the discovery center and learned about our local ecosystems and visited the aviary where we saw a bald eagle and golden eagle. (Both we beautiful!) and made our donation to the center and received some milkweed seeds in return! (There will be a butterfly/bee garden in the 2016 growing season!)

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#savethemonarchs

Afterwards, we actually ate out (@ uno’s) and visited an arcade. The boy claims that it was the best day ever!

We made our way home and I gardened and took one pup on a walk. It was a good day!