Composting week and garden beginnings!

Last week was international composting week! It was fun to spread the message about the importance of composting and answering lots of messages about it!

The biggest question that I get a lot is: “can I just make a pile of my food scraps in the yard?” The quick answer is no. A compost pile needs to be almost equal amounts of greens (most things in your kitchen, even coffee grounds) to browns (sawdust, chipped leaves). Any pile that’s out of proportion will either give you a stinky mess or not break down quickly.

We received a compost drop off last week and it is quickly composting in the pile!

My mom is always sweet and saves me her compostables too! She even wraps them in newspaper to avoid plastics!

We try to recycle most of our paper, but we also use some in the compost bin. I just make sure to work in under the compost, so that paper isn’t flying all over the place on a windy day!

Another reason that I love luffas is that they go straight from being used and into the compost bin. They can be used for a long time before they need to go into the compost!

And I figured that I should show off some of the pretty things going on in the garden! The newly planted blueberry bushes are blooming! (And I think I see a few tiny berries!

The Spring raised bed has come to life and the radishes are even ready to be harvested!

The strawberries are starting to look more beautiful by the day too!

I’m going to be attempting to grow some winecap mushrooms underneath of the trellis. Hopefully I have a harvest by fall!

And lastly, I was able to score a couple fig trees for Mother’s Day! Hopefully these beauties grow and we can taste a real fig in a few years!

I can’t wait to share how our grand opening of the little free library went and how much we enjoyed having family over for the event!

🌸keep blooming!

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!! 🌸🌸

A Great Earth Week!

This week started off with my family composting their food waste at our Easter get together!

On a Earth Day I took the scenic route and walked to work! It was a great workout! (Our view really is absolutely beautiful up here!)

The next day at school, my husband picked up the topsoil for our raised bed garden and my bff teacher and I were able to get the bed ready for planting during our planning!

And the students were able to get radishes and leaf lettuce planted the next day!

On Friday we held a school wide composting day and the students checked out some of the bottom of the compost pile. They loved seeing what their pizza crusts and other leftovers turned in to!

And check out how much trash was picked up at our town wide clean up!

We had close to 40 volunteers! I’m hoping to keep this going again next year and bring in even more help!

And look at this gem that my boy found sticking up out of the dirt in a ditch:

This evening I was cutting the grass. When I looked down, I was shocked to see these beautiful mushrooms sticking up out of the landscaping! They will be delicious!

And finally, I took in a few hens that tended to be escape artists and enjoyed visiting a neighbor. They are fitting in well so far! And, they lay beautiful blueish-green eggs!

It was a great green week and I’m looking forward to continuing to spread more green-ness wherever I go!

Keep blooming friends!

Gardening, seedlings, composting and a new raised bed!

I have been so incredibly busy this month! I’m polishing my teacher of the year documents and getting everything for my portfolio in order. And on top of that, getting seeds planted and prepping for our 2019 garden!

Don’t mind the weeds, but I have 2 long rows of potatoes that are already starting to break their way through the soil!

I planted 6 asparagus crowns too!

Our seedlings under the grow lights are shooting up and I’m hoping to get our tiny greenhouse cleaned out and ready for more seedlings!

Cucamelons seedlings

Tomatoes

Jalapeño peppers

Ground cherries

We have also started taking in compostables and I’m hoping to get as much this summer as we did last summer!

Yesterday I was set up at a local craft show. It was a beautiful day outside, so not many people showed up. But, I did teach a couple people about the importance of milkweed for monarchs. And, I talked growing food and gardening with many others!

Last night we finally took the raised bed down to the school. I’m hoping to get the soil in it and planted by the end of the month!

This month is flying by and I’m looking forward to getting the garden planted!

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!! 🌸🌸

Sprouting seeds and being green

Winter returned this week and we have had some snow, ice and lots of below freezing temps. But, there is lots prep work going on around here for spring!

The compost is cooking away and will make great plant food for the garden!

We have a few plants growing under the lights so far. The onions and milkweed are in soil and lots more seeds are being sprouted first. The pollinator garden should look pretty nice this year!

Butterfly milkweed

Sprouted lupine seeds

Did I mention that the chicken quilt topper is finished? Well, it is!! Now I just need to learn how to quilt it!

And before I started any seeds, I needed to plan my garden and make sure that I had room for everything that I wanted to grow. I needed to start my long season crops!

At school this month we have reached some green milestones! We have recycled over 300 pounds of plastic film, 1,100 plastic cereal bowls, and have saved 100 pounds of food waste from the trash! (Since the beginning of the year!)

Snow on the compost!

So many bowls. ♻️

And, here at home, we finally had to take out the trash for the first time in 2019.

And I always enjoy sharing a picture of our beabull! He thinks he’s a tiny baby.

I’m feeling the nerves coming on pretty strong for tomorrow! I have my interview to compete for the county wide teacher of the year. I just want to represent myself and school well! I could use lots of extra positive vibes sent my way! So, here’s to a nerve wracking Monday!

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!!

Greening up the school and indoor plants

We are still working on recycling what we use and composting on our Waste free Wednesdays at school. This week we decided that the recycling bins needed cleaned out and counted.

We have a terracycle box for our glue, the markers go to colorcycle through crayola and the crayons go to the color initiative.

So far we have gathered around 400 glue sticks and 8 pounds of markers and 8 pounds of crayons. I’m so glad that I have students who love to help count everything.

We also composted on another waste free Wednesday and the compost was cooking nicely when I turned it! We have composted around 70 pounds of food waste this year!

And how lucky am I to have neighbors who drop off food scraps that the hens would love. (They scarfed them down!)

And now for the indoor plants:

I think that the pineapple plant that we are trying to regrow might just make it!

When I was taking down the Christmas crafts from the windows in town I ran across a beautiful old Christmas cactus. I was gushing over how it is so hard to find a real Christmas cactus and she told me to take the pieces that her daughter had cut off. And guess what?! They are rooting!

The ginger that we are trying to regrow is sprouting! I can’t wait to see what this 89 cents worth of ginger turns into!

Today I was able to freshen up the chicken coop and then turn the huge compost.

That compost is mainly the remains of all of the pumpkins and leaves. It is decomposing really well for temperatures being cold.

The weekend is quickly approaching and I am really looking forward to getting more work done around here before winter weather returns! Happy almost Friday everyone! Keep blooming (even in February!)

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!

Lots of accomplishments and a busy week

I’ll start off with what I am still surprised by… I was chosen as the teacher of the year for our building! I’m very proud of this! I’m going to do my best to represent my school well on the county level and spread a little green teacher love!

This week I was officially announced as a master gardener! It takes a lot of time, but I enjoy it!

We have been busy around this place!

At school the kids are getting so much better at composting! They are the ones that tell each other what goes into the bin. But now I need to figure out how to get the unopened/uneaten food to the places that can use them! (Not in the garbage) Look at all if that waste:

I’ve got some ideas, but need approval and to make sure that it can all be kept in the fridge until it goes to a place that needs it. I’ll figure it out!

Last night I made some more honey lollipops and I will be taking pictures next time to share that process! They are easy and delicious!

I also have been reminding the teen quite often about needing to wash his face. Teens! So, I decided that he would appreciate some Star Wars scrubbies. And he does!

And for dinner this evening I made some pierogies. I followed the recipe for the shell and used leftover mashed potatoes for the insides (plus onions and bacon pieces). https://eatingeuropean.com/authentic-polish-pierogi-potatoes-cheese/

And this is how many 1/2 of the recipe made:

And now for the rest of my evening!

I hope that you all are getting some things accomplished this week! Keep blooming!