Warm weekend, work and another plan!

This weekend we were lucky to have some beautiful weather close to the sixties! It definitely made me start getting more excited about what I’m growing this year and it has me checking out the flowers that are coming back!

Hairy mountain mint coming up!
Green headed coneflower
Sedum sprouting!
And I have no idea where that pollen is coming from!

On Saturday I was able to meet a friend for some coffee at the local place, pick up their coffee grounds to compost, ride my electric bike to tutor a student at the library. I also started my native seeds and peppers!

Those need a 30 day cold stratification. (Plus the peppers are in a warm spot in the house!

I also was working on my next idea that I’m hoping to get moving! I’d love to be able to get a seed library for our town’s library. So, I crafted some emails for the director of the library system and our local master garden coordinator to persuade them!

I love this one that is located in Talbot county! And they have answered a few of my questions about it!

I’m looking forward to hearing a response back! While I’m waiting, I’m going to enjoy planning all of my growing spaces and working on my quilt!

Have a great week and keep blooming! 🌸❤️

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!

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!

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!

August 2019 Goals Update

Hello all! Can you all tell that I’m an elementary teacher and August is my crazy month!? Getting a classroom ready is a ton of work!! That ‘s where I have been!

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. The little free library has still been being utilized by many and I added some lollipops that have been disappearing! Plus, we have been releasing lots of monarchs and we even invite the neighbors to watch!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We have canned several canners full of green beans and even started freezing some. Plus, I made some salsa and canned it too! It’s going to taste great this winter!

4. Use that camper some more!: The Mr. and I enjoyed a Ravens game! It was our first NFL game and I enjoyed it! (Even though professional sports are not really my thing!)

**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!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off, and we are prepping for those jack-o-lanterns! But the best part is that even when we grow something that isn’t great, the chickens will help us out!

Tigger melons after chickens!

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 have been growing very well! Plus we got our first tigger melons, rainbow carrots and moon and stars watermelon!

Tigger melons

Beautiful carrots

Moon and stars watermelon

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!

After!!!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3, and it will be changed in September for sure!

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 almost 60 in August and just tagged a couple in the beginning of September!

Monarch waystation!

Our first tagged monarch

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 become a master at putting away the ducks and chickens for the night! I probably don’t want to know how the rooster ended up in the duck house!

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! (the cart is gaining momentum with this harvesting season!)

August always flies by! (That’s why I haven’t posted this sooner!) We will be getting some honey soon!

Our first watermelon!

Keep blooming friends!! 🌸❤️

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/10

The hot weather paired with the rain showers have made the garden pop! We have been harvesting lots of zucchini and a couple dragon tongue beans.

Here’s how things are growing:

Grow pumpkin vines, grow!

Corn!!!!

Dragon tongue beans

Beautiful tomato

Tomato jungle!

Baby jalapeño

Tons of tomatillos!

Ground cherries!

Yellow zinnia

I spent a little bit this morning teaching littles about beekeepers and pollinators. They lived the monarch caterpillar that I brought and I left them with a butterfly weed to plant.

Keep blooming friends! 🌸💚

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!! 

It’s been a while! But it’s Spring!

Life has been a whirlwind lately. But, Spring has finally arrived!

The milkweed is springing back to life! I think the pollinator garden is going to be pretty this year!

Swamp milkweed

Butterfly weed

The grapevine has also started to vine! It looks the healthiest that it ever has since I planted it. Maybe we will get some grapes for the first time!

We also have a lot of volunteer sunflowers popping up too!

This week we have been doing lots of green activities at school and we even planted our raised bed garden!

I checked in on both hives last night and they both look very healthy! They are bringing in lots of pollen and nectar!

I’ll soon be sharing what all we did on this Earth week!

🌸keep blooming friends!

DIY bee candy recipe

Yesterday it was a warmer winter day, so I checked in on the bees. They look pretty good, but had devoured their candy I left in there.

Since it’s only January, I decided to give them some extra food! So, last night I decided to make more candy to slip into the hives today.

Before winter set in, I put the spacers on the top of the hives to make room for bee candy. The Mr. made them by ripping down some old barn wood he already had.

Gather up your ingredients. You’ll need sugar, water, vinegar, a pot (I use an old one), pie pan or metal container to pour it in and a candy thermometer.

Start off by mixing in the sugar and water into the pot. It’s a 4:1 ratio of sugar to water. To fill up one pie pan, I use 4 cups of sugar to 1 cup of water. Pour in a tiny amount of vinegar. Just a little splash.

Stir and stir until it starts to come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, put the lid on and let it boil for 3 minutes (it will be clear at this point!)

After 3 minutes, take off the lid and put in the candy thermometer and wait until the temperature gets up to 234 degrees F.

Once it reaches the temperature mentioned above (234 degrees), take it off of the heat and allow it to cool to 200 degrees F.

Once it gets close to 200 degrees, whisk it well and pour it into a cheap pie tin. It hardens quickly, so pour quickly. (I keep a spatula close by to scrap the quickly hardening candy with!)

Allow the patties to cool completely before putting them into the hive. (In the picture above I lined the pie pan with parchment paper, but it’s not necessary.)

You can double the recipe, if needed.

Recipe for 1 pie pan bee candy:

1. Gather sugar, vinegar, water, pot and candy thermometer.

2. Mix 4 cups sugar to 1 cup water and a splash of vinegar.

3. Mix continuously until it comes to a boil.

4. Cover the pot and allow to boil for 3 minutes.

5. Take off the lid and put in the candy thermometer and continue to let it heat up to 234 degrees F.

6. Then pull the pot off of the heat and allow the candy to cool to 200 degrees.

7. Whisk the liquid candy and pour quickly into the pan.

8. Allow it to cool completely before placing in the hive.

I have used this recipe for years and the bees seem to like it! And future me, you will be thanking me for finally putting this in a place where it won’t get lost!

Enjoy and happy beekeeping! If you have hives, I hope your bees are doing ok too!

🐝❤️