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!

Sourdough, my new favorite obsession!

Since March, bread became scarce, yeast impossible to find and eating at home the norm. So, I decided that starting to make sourdough should be on my to do list!

It turns out that getting a starter going takes more work than I thought it would. After so many weeks of failure, we finally got one going! And, the results were pretty great:

Yay! Bubbly and good smelling starter!

Next up was gathering the supplies that were necessary. There’s a long list of things that make it easier, but I just needed a food scale, bread and whole wheat flour and a cast iron combo cooker. Here’s my go to: https://www.amazon.com/Lodge-Cooker-Pre-seasoned-Skillet-Convertible/dp/B0009JKG9M

I love this combo cooker!

I also eventually bought a banneton basket. But, you could just line a bowl with a floured kitchen towel and it works the same!

Some dough with a banneton

And to safeguard my awesome starter, I dehydrate some. It took too much work to go back to making starter again! (And it’s easier to share this way too!)

Dehydrated starter!

After many loaves of bread, I have noticed that every single one is unique. The scored line changes the top of the bread and sometimes it cracks right through the scored line and other times it doesn’t. Regardless, I think they are the most beautiful loaves of bread!

Such a pretty loaf!

I’ll be reopening my Etsy store by the end of the month and sharing sourdough starter, along with some hand forged bread lames that the Mr. made!

I love mine!

I’ll be sharing my recipe that has been created from other recipes on here soon too! Happy baking and keep blooming!

Yum!

Imperfect review #2

Box number 2 arrived a day late, but in perfect shape. The funny part is that it wasn’t late due to the company. It was due to the weather. It snowed around 4 inches quickly on Tuesday! But, it still arrived nice and cold and everything looked great! (Plus they credited our account a couple bucks for the inconvenience!)

So, what came in the box?!

This is the 1-2 person box!

We received mostly what we requested. We wanted a mango, but it wasn’t available. (We were refunded) and we asked for a delicata squash, and it was substituted with a butternut. (Anyone have a favorite butternut recipe? Drop it in the comments)

So far we turned the lettuce, some spinach, a tomato and the chicken into chicken salads. They were delicious!

The oranges and kiwi will be enjoyed in our lunches. The potatoes and onions will be some sides for something hamburger-ish meal.

I want to slice and bake those huge carrots. I’ll have to report back on how those turn out!

And we use brown rice and sweet potatoes in the homemade dog food that we make. This guy is allergic to so much!

Another favorite part of these boxes is that I can try out different produce before I try growing it. The acorn squash is being tried out before we grow it this summer. I’m hoping that we like it! I think they are so pretty!

Next week we are skipping a box to make sure that we use up everything that came in! (Another thing that I love about this company!)

Overall, very happy with box #2!!

Imperfect food review #1

In the winter we do eat a lot of our own canned food. However, we miss access to fresh foods. We can get a lot of things from the grocery store, but usually don’t. Why?! It’s because it usually doesn’t taste good. Things go from rock hard to spoiled and don’t ripen. I just get tired of wasting money on things that end up in my compost pile or fed to the chickens.

So, we decided to get an order from imperfect food. They deliver here (with minimal and recyclable packaging) and it’s customizable. I’m picky and there are certain things that we just won’t eat. Now, on to our first order:

This is the small 1-2 person box!

It’s missing the sweet potato that was used in making some dog food (our bulldog has extreme allergies) and one fuyu persimmon is missing too because I ate it! (Pretty good!)

Overall, it was exactly what we put in the cart and I was able to form my meals around what we received. We only had one apple with a bad spot, but not a big deal. I compare priced the items at our local store and it’s almost exactly the same price ($32 ish). *and that’s not including the promo code that we got to use on the first box.

Here’s what we did with what we have used so far:

We have snacked on the oranges

The beef was used in tacos and we loved he sautéed Brussels

Some carrots were used in the bean soup

I made a tiny jar of apple/pear sauce

The chicken became orange chicken

New potatoes were boiled and then sautéed. Yum!

Lemon bars!

I was really impressed with the order and I am looking forward to receiving the next shipping! I plan on using this service until we start harvesting again and then I will take some weeks off and visit our own farmer’s market and enjoy eating local.

And, I was not paid or encouraged to do this review! It was my own honest review!

Keep blooming friends!

Who we are!

Hello all! We have had a nice influx of new people to our little blog since Mavis over at onehundreddollarsamonth.com featured my husband’s Blacksmithing hobby!

C6934D78-CCF7-43C9-9159-3CC08FBECBAE

I really appreciated my Mr. being chosen! 

1. So obviously, my husband is a backyard blacksmith! He’s pretty awesome and makes all kinds of metal creations, including my favorite dinner bells!

8EB9E6DF-0347-418C-9C21-3649FF45E64B

He even did the brickwork on his forge 

37C3E9A5-06EE-433B-BE1C-BE2ADB7EFDED

Dinnerbell in the works! 

2. We try to grow as much food as we can and preserve our over abundance!

IMG_8658

Our main garden. 

IMG_8725

We ❤️ Tomatoes

3. I am a beekeeper! I love having them to help pollinate everything, and also the delicious honey and wax for crafting!

9A13635F-7EC5-4DAE-BEDD-99E126689C4E

IMG_8671

Baby bees!

4. I also love growing lots of flowers to keep the pollinators happy, and have plans to grow a much larger patch of pollinator friendly plants this summer!

IMG_8734

Our state flower: black eyed susans!!

IMG_8882

My favorite flower: echinacea! 

5. We keep chickens to give us lots of delicious eggs and they help us create less trash by eating leftovers!

BC33EAE0-D5A6-4244-B50E-A6B82E79502D

Our ladies enjoying some leftovers! 

6. I’m the eco warrior at the school I teach at. I teach my sweet 3rd graders about caring for our precious Earth and do the recycling for our building! Someone has to do it!

F4D07124-D4D3-40D3-923C-80E17F8D2693

Recycling for the staff! 

7. I love crocheting and craft everything from toboggans to washcloths to sell at local craft shows!

DF35757F-6148-4C57-8C49-2995A94FE50E

Crocheting! 

8/9. I love both sewing and upcycling whatever is headed towards the trash into something useful!

404A9B22-BB10-4CA3-AB1D-4F97702292FD

Upcycling and sewing! 

10. We try not to produce an over abundance of garbage and strive to be zerowaste!

88B37DD1-CA50-485A-AF31-CDA7ADE14738

Less waste! 

11. We have been tracking our solar panels and how they are working out for the past year!

00AC2F83-3712-4CAC-87D1-A4531A2E672C

We are on year 2 of having our solar panels! 

12. We try to eat at home and cook all of our own food! It helps to save money and I know what’s in my food!

IMG_9384

My cinnamon rolls

IMG_8546

My pizza! (Don’t worry, I make lots of healthier food too!) 

So these are a few things that we have going on here on our less than an acre in a small town! We really appreciate anyone taking time to read about our tiny homestead happenings!

Baking/cooking and not spending $

This weekend is a continuation of below freezing weather. I’m really missing those warm summer days and growing my own food! However, I have been enjoying making soup with the tomatoes that I preserved and eating my own pickles, catsup, garlic and green beans!

I have been making most of our meals from scratch, and made some awesome cinnamon rolls earlier in the week and then a pizza that was perfection today!

95A9A77D-0AB5-4811-9D05-28B1E311D71E

Cinnamon rolls! 

A32C2CDA-1932-40E9-8BE8-DF262BA16F4E

Best pizza I have ever made! 

To keep busy, I have been crocheting lots of messy bun hats!

DF35757F-6148-4C57-8C49-2995A94FE50E

Crocheting away! 

I also made this matching set for an adorable little girl and her beautiful momma!

9551077A-F07A-4192-AF4C-AC3445DF0B08

I love the way they turned out! 

While I have been crafting, the mister has been out pounding on the anvil! This is a bottle opener for a friend out of a railroad spike!

0AC189D5-7F39-4BDA-9898-C65E59727BE4

Bottle opener! 

And the only extras that we have purchased so far: a McFlurry for my birthday boy and another for a neighbor that shares his day!

55A8CABB-058D-4B24-87B4-5148F9CAB09D

McFlurry x2

And we also bought the boy an ice cream cake for his day! It was a great deal at 1/2 off because it was a Christmas cake! I added some extra frosting, some sprinkles and put the 13 on it. No one knew it was a Christmas one!

C3C00B31-F8DA-4045-950A-F6E6DBA8D58C

Happy birthday to my big teenager! 

And I will continue to sit around and enjoy my footed pajama pants (feejays) and dream about warmer weather!

11D37DB9-0CB5-4795-A57C-6A2B7D189822

Love these pants! 

Is it so stinking cold where you live?! Stay warm friends!

 

Expanding the garden!

We are already thinking about the 2018 gardening season and how to improve our soil, because I don’t think that our soil could ever be too healthy! There is a nice area between the garden and the sheds that I would love to turn into more garden.

IMG_9455

More garden! 

Here is exactly what I have in mind:

IMG_9456

A girl can dream, right? 

Well, the Mr decided to help me get started on this idea! He worked on tilling the area, while I picked out some rocks and planted rye and wheat cover crop seeds.

IMG_9472

Tilling away! 

And now we are waiting for the seeds to sprout and we will have nice green manure for the garden in the spring!

IMG_9473

Finished for now! (And yes that’s a chicken finding crickets!) 

And since it’s Wednesday, I decided to share a few gardening pictures too!

IMG_9494

Last night’s harvest! 

IMG_9497

Strawberry popcorn that we grew! 

IMG_9460

A preview of our sweet potatoes

IMG_9464

Beautiful sunflower! 

IMG_9458

My first hybrid zucchini/pumpkin

IMG_9483

Zucchini cake made from the franken-fruit above! 

This week is moving at a turtle’s pace and I can’t wait for it to be over. I need a nice weekend to recover from my busy week! Keep on trying to bloom where you are planted!!💚

So much canning! (And fall garden prep!)

You’d think that mid- summer is the busiest time for gardeners. Not true! Im busiest in late summer and fall! It’s prepping, picking, and preserving all of that produce!

We had another sale yesterday! Only a few customers, but the rest of the produce was preserved for the winter months here!

IMG_9454

Another produce sale! 

The Mr.’s sister has an apple tree and doesn’t use the apples. So, we went and picked about a bushel of apples and made some yummy applesauce! And we have some leftover to turn into something else!

IMG_9475

A few apples left! 

IMG_9477

Making applesauce! 

I spent the majority of the day today making some chili sauce! That stuff is super labor intensive! It takes a ton of peeling and chopping of veggies to make! But, my Dad loves it, so I make it!

IMG_9484

Chili sauce! 

And just like every other Sunday morning, we are out of food for breakfast! So, I baked some zucchini cake using the last of our homegrown zucchini!

IMG_9483

There were 2, but it’s really good! 

The wheat and rye that I planted to help add fertilizer to the soil is growing fast!

IMG_9449

Future green manure! 

And now to leave off on a few beautiful things!

IMG_9478

A honeybee on my sunflower! 

IMG_9480

One of the adorable stray kitties around here! 

I hope that you had a productive weekend too! Keep blooming where you are planted!

Excitement and starting work

This year will be my 13th year teaching for the same county, so that’s starting to make me feel old! But that’s not the exciting part! We were featured on a page about gardeners from around the world! If you do Facebook, it’s on Humans who grow food and it’s the same on Instagram!

IMG_9344

We are almost famous! Ha! 

And on to more exciting times, the Mr and I celebrated our Anniversary! We are getting pretty close to being able to say that we have been together for half of our lives! Oh my! But, even though we were on opposite shifts, I still had a chance to make some apple pies to celebrate!

IMG_9305

Apple pies! Yum! 

And onward to more exciting things, the pollinator garden that my students planted in the Spring is looking gorgeous! Everything is blooming! I can’t wait for them to see it!

IMG_9312

The pollinator garden at school! 

We have been producing a surplus of veggies, so I started setting up a stand. The first week we had one customer and I felt like we should just not bother, but the Mr reminded me that I should keep trying! So, 3 weeks later and we are getting several customers! Even the mail lady messaged me that she loved it! Yay!

IMG_9339

Our tiny produce stand! 

And now for some garden pictures:

IMG_9317

How much we have been harvesting! 

IMG_9343

Our almost 10 ft sunflower! 

IMG_9328

Green bean teepee!

Next up is our mystery pumpkin! It volunteered from a monster sized pumpkin that I was given last year, I’m looking forward to watching it grow!

IMG_9332

Purchase funky pumpkin! 

Overall this weekend has been one great one! (Even the pup would agree!)

IMG_9302

He loves hammock time!

So, I definitely feel like this homestead is moving in the right direction! Keep blooming people!

 

Pollinators, gardening, relaxing

Yesterday was just a really great day and not for any one certain reason.

Ive been working on braiding the garlic that I’ve been harvesting! It will hang nicely on a few hooks that the mister made for me!

IMG_8517

Braided garlic! 

IMG_8512

Blacksmithed hooks! 

In the garden, the cucumbers are looking really good! That makes me pretty excited because last year I had a rough time keeping the cucumbers alive!

97545E43-1BE8-4722-BCC5-66560B0CDDAA

Almost ready to harvest! 

My pollinator garden has come back from its first year looking amazing! I think my cone flowers didn’t even bloom until August last year! This year they are huge and blooming now! There are always so many butterflies and bees all around it!

IMG_8534

Handsome monarch on echinacea! 

Last night, my pizza dough was spot on! Sometimes it’s just not great, but last night, perfection! (Can you tell that we are not big cheese eaters here?!?!)

IMG_8546

Homemade pizza! 

While the boy was at vacation bible school, I was weeding the garden and harvesting a few more potatoes and some garlic.

IMG_8553

Our harvest on the anvil! 

And a lot of yesterday was spent chilling on the deck. The temperatures were perfect for hammock laying and playing some uno.

IMG_8537

My hammock buddy! 

I hope that today is just as great of a day! Happy Thursday everyone!