2021 Goal Setting!

Happy New Year! 2020 was an interesting year. I quit sewing for fun, and instead spent time sewing many masks and surgical caps. I started teaching from home and had to brush up on high school math and science skills. And, I found a new love of baking and being content with just being home!

I know that 2021 might not be so much different than 2020, but goal setting helps me long term plan and focus on positivity. These are the goals that we are planning here:

1. Continue baking!- I started cooking and baking a lot more over quarantine. I especially found a love for sourdough baking. I love the process and can appreciate the effort put in for such a delicious outcome!

One delicious loaf!

2. Growing cut flowers- It all started when a friend asked for a couple blooms for a photo shoot. I found a love for gathering and arranging the blooms. I also learned how much more some flowers bloom when you clip some off! I always left plenty for my pollinator friends though! I’m hoping to grow many beautiful varieties and create unique arrangements!

These arrangements made me smile!

3. Upgrade the yard garden- Last year we added a nice sitting area/patio and we have more plans for making the area prettier. More blooms and more veggies!

Every year it gets a little better!

4. Create a seed library– Last year I shared many seeds by sending them out and I put a seed library in our little free library. Next year, I’m planning on making a community one. I used donations from mask making to get the card catalog, but next up we will make it pretty and find a perfect location. The second part is hard with closure of businesses, public spaces and even our libraries.

Hopefully you won’t even recognize this beauty when it’s finished!

5. Create a workout area- This is more of the Mr.’s idea, but I think it’s going to be great! I’ve got my eyes on a sweet jump rope to work on some double unders! He’s more into lifting. But, maybe I’ll have some beefy arms by the end of this year!

6. Expand Blacksmithing area and production- The Mr. has been spending a lot more time pounding on metal. Everything that he makes is amazing to me. He takes a chunk of metal and magically makes it turn into a piece of art!

I think this is beautiful!

7. Travel somewhere!- We had plans of traveling last summer, but you know… 2020. We are hoping to break out the camper again and enjoy our time together!

Such a great time!

8. Focus in the garden– I have a tendency to grow beautiful things that I don’t enjoy eating. This year, I’m focusing on growing what we love. I’m not saying that I won’t have weird gourds, or a new variety. But, more of what we can and what people take off of the cart!

Food everywhere!

9. Up our creations!- Last year the Mr. made a lot more than he has before. I kind of got lost in the mindless mask sewing. I’m sure that I’ll still be making whatever the community needs, but I also want to make what makes my creative heart happy!

Our combo effort! Bag made by me and hooks made by the Mr.

10. Teaching some courses!: This would combine my love of teaching and creating. I would love to help others learn to crochet, take on starting plants from seeds, harvesting from their garden, preserving their yumminess, even learning how to use a pressure canner, make sourdough bread or whatever else we do. We will see if this is virtually or online!

Teaching about bread making to my students!

So, what are your goals?! Let me know! Even if it’s even just one goal! Happy New Year! And, keep blooming friends!

You’re right, we aren’t living on Little House on the Prairie

Last month I had an unkind message sent to me saying that I needed to stop pretending that I live this little house on the prairie life. That hurt. It didn’t really hurt because I thought that I am living a lifestyle like that. It hurt because someone took time out of their schedule to to try to hurt me. But, good news, it gave me time to reflect instead.

So, even though we don’t live that yesteryear kind of life, we do have some similarities. (Weirdly enough)

1.I’ve always been transparent that we don’t have much land, but use what we have! We have less than an acre, but managed to grow and harvest over 1,000 pounds of food this summer!

Our main garden
The huge cushaw squash we harvested
Honey from our hives

2. We also don’t have a large amount of farm animals, so that’s true. We raise hens for their eggs and have a couple ducks for the same reason. We use our eggs, share some and even use them for making deliciousness like egg noodles!

Thanks ladies!

3. We don’t live solely off of our food, but we did can over 100 jars of food. Plus, we spun lots of honey, made so many loaves of sourdough bread, homemade noodles and lots of other yumminess!

Homemade bread!
Over 100 jars canned this year!

4. Everything we own isn’t homemade. But, the Mr can fix almost anything and he has been forging a lot! I have been working on teaching myself skills and I have been quilting, crocheting, making salves and lip balms and sewing in general.

All made by the Mr
I love our new curtain rods
Homemade gathering apron
Calendula salve
Crocheted dishcloths

5. We don’t have beautiful fields of wildflowers, but we do have a pretty certified wildlife habitat/monarch waystation/pollinator garden.

Pollinator garden
Raising monarchs
Sharing some blooms

6. I don’t have to cook over an open flame or wear an apron. But, I do wear an apron in the garden. I also hang my laundry anytime that I can. And, I’m big on reusing what we have avoiding anything disposable.

Sunflower gathering apron
Clothes drying the old fashioned way!

So, I figured I would end this up with my homestead kind of life photo:

So, let it be known that I do not live on a prairie, I live in a small town in Appalachia. I don’t have a huge garden or farm when compared to others, but it provides well for us. I own less than an acre, but use what we have well.

No matter what you have going on, who you compare yourself to or what others think about you, keep blooming where you are planted! 🌸❤️

2020 Goals update

I’m proud to say that even though our life has been much different, we have still been able to do so much! Here’s where we are at since the last update:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– Since the last update, we have put work into cleaning up the garage. I have also been letting go of a lot of clothes that I have no idea why I was holding on to them. Over covid break the Mr. lost about 20 pounds and I lost 10. So, goodbye lots of poorly fitting clothes!

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– Masks, masks and more masks. I made and gave away a ton of them. The money that I did receive will be going towards creating a free seed library for our town! I’m so looking forward to seeing people enjoying growing their own food and flowers!

I made hundreds of masks and many scrub hats too!
The future seed library! I’m so excited about this idea!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– This year I definitely had a bounty! My best growers were the cushaw squash, but I did get a monster Dickinson pumpkin! Plus, the pollinator garden turned out beautiful. I actually starting clipping blooms and sharing their beauty! Overall, I grew around 1,000 pounds of food!

We grew about 5 that size!
What a huge pumpkin!
Our beautiful blooms!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I spent so much time sewing masks, that I took a long break from sewing! I started baking everything sourdough, and I love it! I also started making my own calendula salve from my blooms! That’s fun too!

Sourdough bread
And the Mr. has been making so much in the forge too!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious. There were no big trips, unfortunately! We spent most of our time here, enjoying sitting on our newly created patio. We did get to go to Northbay and do zip lining and a ropes course. That was a great time!

Our little patio that we made!
We had so much fun!

Secret goal! We accomplished this a month or 2 early! We are debt free! We are super excited about this! Read about it: https://littlellewellynhomestead.com/2020/02/16/were-debt-free/

Even though everything has been strange and different, the garden brought me to my happy place daily!

Never a dull moment in there!

The world is weird right now, but I know that we have found a lot to smile about!

Keep blooming!

Amazing photo of my sulphur cosmos by tydrew photography!

July 2019 Goals Update

Where in the world have I been?! In the garden! I’m constantly harvesting, watering, pruning, weeding and mulching. But, I’m not complaining at all. I love this time of the year!

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 school garden is starting to produce little cherry tomatoes. And, the farmer’s market in town is doing amazing!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We had a decent harvest of cucumbers, so those were turned into pickles. Plus the green beans are all being canned for winter too!

4. Use that camper some more!: We were able to have a nice day at a local lake. It was perfect!

**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, especially watermelon leftovers! The chickens love it! Plus, all of those composted pumpkins have regrown some volunteers for us!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open and we have sooo many books! And check out that beautiful flag holder that the Mr. forged!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries have really taken off! The bird egg gourds are going to look adorable in the spring, once they are dried out. And I’ve harvested a couple delicata squash!

Ground cherries

Bird egg gourd

Delicata squash

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 starting to harvest a good bit from this area!

After!!!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3. We are continuing to watch what we throw out, and I’m thinking bag 3 will be leaving the house in August.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! The monarchs have been laying so many eggs. We have released almost 10!

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 was washing and waxing cars a lot last month. The waxing was with our personal vehicles and the washing was for a fundraiser!

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!

July was a great month for gardening! Mostly working in the garden and taking in the summer warmth!

Panorama of the garden

Tomato jungle!

Beautiful zinnias, black eyed susans and milkweed

Hoping to do a walk through the garden Wednesday! Keep blooming friends!! 🌸💚

Our little free library opened!

We checked another goal off for the year! We wanted to make a a little free library that our neighborhood could enjoy and encourage my students to read extra over the summer!

So, last weekend we finally opened up our library with a little get together.

My husband completely constructed it himself. Parts of it is made from upcycled barn wood and I love the personal touches that he added to it! It has a hand forged handle and dog leash holder.

At our little get together I made cupcakes, some kettle corn and had some drinks too. We had a place to drop off books and a couple people swung by to get some books and look at the seeds inside. (We have a seed swap box and a small container of dog bones for people walking their pups!)

My niece was the grand opener of the library! She is named after my sister and that is who the library is in memory of. Her Aunt, my sister, was a reader. She loved reading and she always was giving me books to read. (She didn’t understand why I didn’t love reading as much as her!)

I also made a book pillow as a giveaway! It was really easy to make and I’m hoping that the winner loves it!

So many books dropped off!

After wrapping up the party, I saw a message about a swarm of bees nearby that someone needed out of their tree. It was pretty close by and I’m happy to say that we were able to get them!

The bees have since been moved into a full sized hive and they are building comb fast! It was a good sized swarm!

Last weekend was memorable and I’m glad that I was able to provide a little extra something for my neighbors and enjoy time with family and friends!

Happy almost weekend and keep blooming! 🌸❤️

Homestead happenings with Blacksmith made hooks

This week was a cold icy week and we didn’t have much school. So, that means that the teen was eating everything that was in our house! I eventually had to make extra yummy food! We had homemade fajitas (so easy to make! Flour, water, salt and shortening)

We also decided that we needed something yummy, so I thawed out some frozen zucchini and used the eggs that were frozen from the polar vortex to make some zucchini cake:

The Mr. has been busy in the shop working on a big project for the house! (Which I cant wait to share when it is finished!) But, he was also able to whip up a few hooks for someone else’s project!

At school, I managed to snatch up all of the plastic bottles from the faculty lounge to recycle for them. And, I happened to snag up some rolls for the chickens that were being thrown out!

And a sweet neighbor, who was part of our summer composting program, dropped off more treats for the chickens!

Maybe it’s the days getting a little longer, or all of the treats, but I’m just glad to see my hens finally laying some eggs!

For the rest of the weekend, I plan on working on my teacher of the year paperwork, sewing on my chicken quilt, starting my plans for the garden and spending time with my family.

🌱keep blooming friends! (Spring is right around the corner!) 🌸

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!!

October Goals Update 2018

Adios October! And oh my goodness there are only 2 more months this year! However, I feel like we have made the most out of 2018! So, we are ready for November!

1. Expand the garden- ✅it happened! It has been cleaned out and the chickens and ducks have been enjoying getting to run through it! I loved the layout of it this year!

Our October Garden

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!

Picnicking in Yellowstone!

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! 🌏💚

Old faithful!

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! Everything has slowly died off, but I have saved so many seeds for next year! I’m hoping to add more native plants!

Milkweed that I saved from a lawnmower!

Seeds that I will be using next year!

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 4, so I think we have a good chance of making it!

6. Volunteer/Donate/Do Good Every month- I gave away an old Halloween costume and spent tons of time working on our composting program for school. Between phone calls, meetings and emails I have a lot of time wrapped up in it!

7. Repurpose, remake, mend, repair-  This month I participated in a seed swap to give out our seeds that we have a lot of and make room for new varieties! Oh, and the Mr. fixed my phone case that I accidentally broke. Yay for a resourceful spouse!

8. Paw Paw trees- Our 2 little trees are looking great! They were repotted and put outside to get used to the weather. They are starting to lose their leaves now! They are preparing for winter!

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 just enjoyed some kale and broccoli from our garden just last week!

11. Continue tracking the solar panels- October was also a rainy month, but we still produced enough power to keep our bill at the $5 connection rate!

12. Work on garden cart sales- We sold our Blacksmithing and sewn crafts at a local craft show and had a great weekend!

I am pretty proud of the steps that we are making towards achieving our goals! And, I have a list of close to 30 different goals that are on the chopping block for 2019!

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

Keep blooming friends! 🌱

Busy but back!

We have been crafting and Blacksmithing every hour of the day that we have had available for weeks to prepare for a craft show. It’s the main one that we do, so we wanted to have a decent selection!

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Our little bit of everything! 

We almost sold out of the different forged items that the Mr. made!

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All kinds of handles! 

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Railroad spike pulls 

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Business card holder

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Park bench business card holders 

And I managed to make a few different items this time too!

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Luffa soap 

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Beeswax lipbalm 

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Crocheted cotton dishcloths 

We also sold some of our homegrown goodness!

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Birdhouse gourds and glass gem corn 

And if you are looking to win some of the seeds from plants that we loved growing this year, head over to the homestead Facebook page and take a chance!

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Giving away on Facebook until the end of the month! 

This weekend is dedicated to finishing up our son’s Halloween costume! Hopefully he will be the best looking 5’ 6 inch jawa!

Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚🌸

An improved garden door and organizing

Over the weekend, it was very cold for April and we even had snow falling. Since I couldn’t spend any time outside in my garden, where I’d rather be, I spent my time finishing up projects around here and the Mr. was busy working on our garden door!

The door had been falling apart, so we were going to buy a new one. But, instead of wasting money, the Mr. added supports, gave it a fresh coat of paint and replaced the screen with wired fencing! That should keep out the critters!

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Before and after! 

And then he surprised me by using his Blacksmithing skills to create a handle! It is absolute perfection to me! Look at that beautiful leaf on the bottom!

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I ❤️ This handle! 

And before you look at the next picture, don’t judge me  😳 It’s in the garage and this is the dumping grounds for all of the canning supplies, gardening stuff and random odds and ends.

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Definitely the before picture! 

And after a majority of my weekend, I am proud to say that my canning items, beekeeping boxes, baskets, containers and everything else down there is actually organized!

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And the after! ❤️❤️

This month I am taking on the challenge of 30 days if picking up trash here in the beautiful state of Maryland! It’s shocking how much is all around when you are actually looking for it! And here is what I rounded up on week one:

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All only in a week! 😢

Since I didn’t want to leave off this post on a negative, here’s a picture of how wonderful the pepper plants are looking! They are going to get repotted soon!

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Peppers everywhere! 

I hope that you all are getting ready for your summer and using whatever time that you have before the busy season to prep!! 💚