Mushroom growing, harvests, crafting and donating

This weekend was full of all the reasons why I put so much into this lifestyle that we are wanting to live.

Remember the mushroom spawn that I spread in a raised bed back in early May? Well, the mushrooms have finally popped up for harvesting! (Best find of the weekend!)

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Delicious winecap mushrooms! 

Also, a few of the birdhouse gourds had fallen on the ground. So, I decided to go ahead and pull them from the dead vibe and start the drying out process.

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Super-sized birdhouse gourds

And the garden is still producing so much! I really am not sure of what I’m going to make out of all of these tomatoes at this point!

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All picked on Saturday!
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Our first beets harvested! 

We had our last produce sale of the season, but it was unfortunately a flop. So, I gave a lot of produce to family and friends!

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Tomatoes coming out my ears! 

And now onto all the crafting that has been going on around here! The Mr has been busy beating on metal and blacksmithing lots for our upcoming craft show!

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Hanging basket hooks
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Dinner bells! 

And I have been sewing up a storm too! I’ve been working on unpaper towels and napkins. Also, I have sewing up reusable wet jet refills. Now to hope that the customers at the craft show enjoy a more zero waste lifestyle!

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Sewing so much! 

I officially got tired of my crazy long hair this weekend, and decided to get it cut off! 14 inches to be exact and I’ll be donating it to a wig making organization. I figure since it grows so fast, I might as well use it for something!

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Future wig! 

I hope that you all were able to enjoy your weekend and that your garden is still flourishing!

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Bees are still working the dandelions! 

Keep blooming where you are planted!

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July Goals Update 2017

Oh July, why did you have to fly by? We are now quickly approaching the beginning of a new school year. But with that being said, the garden is being really productive!

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We have been continuing to not eat out, and we even made the Mr a cookie cake for his birthday! I’m also pretty thrilled that our thieves cleaner is in an upcycled vinegar bottle now!

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2. Declutter 20 items per month
. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. I got rid of some of the boy’s clothes and a few odds and ends around here.

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per year. We just had to throw out bag 4 for the year.

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 4. Merge crafting and homestead business. It’s going pretty well! We made a few bucks on our honey and egg sale! Plus, we have made our 40th sale on our Etsy store!

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Honey/egg/craft sale

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. #comeonmrllewellyn!! But, we did put a nice little pond in to give the bees a watering hole!

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6. Expand the garden. I widened the area along the fence and planted plants all throughout my yard. The fence garden is doing great!

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Grow, growing, grown! 


7. Grow some different plants.
Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, and we are growing more this year! We are also growing popcorn, okra and my favorite: cucumelons


8. Make a chicken viewing area. Yeah, um, I don’t think we are going to do this now! I love watching the chickens, but life has kept us busy!
9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year, recycled their plastic cereal bowls and even planted a pollinator garden! Watch out 2017-2018 school year!!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.78 Mwh.  And our electric bill was less than $6 again!

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They are paying for themselves! 

11. Continue beekeeping. We are still providing lodging for flying insect friends! Plus, a friend gave me a barrel of honeybees that were trying to make a home on her porch!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We didn’t do much of anything this month, and it was pretty great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

Honey sale and other homestead happenings

Last weekend we had our first sale event here at the homestead! It was a honey and egg sale! We sold out of honey and sold a lot of eggs! Plus, people got to taste some cucumelons and look at my craftiness! It was great!

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Homestead sale!

We also had several people notice our garage decor! Ha! I finally got the Mr to hang the hooks he blacksmithed for the onions and garlic!

I will be sharing a walk through the garden later on the week, but I thought I’d share an update on the fence line garden! The left was this week, top right is end of June and bottom right was the end of May!

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Slowly growing!

The birdhouse gourds and growing all over the chicken run!

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Birdhouse gourds!

We have been having some great harvests this week too! Lots of onions, some zucchini, cucumbers and even a good many cucumelons!

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Our harvest this morning!

We have hit some pretty good sales on things we have really been looking for lately! First up is an amazing pond insert. We were looking for something that we could add plants to so the bees would have a more reliable water source. Well, here’s our $10 yardsale find! (We had lots of digging and prying to do, but we got it finished!)

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Tiny pond for a tiny homestead

When we were buying some chicken food at tractor supply, I found an amazing half off deal on a gardening hat!

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Love this hat!

And while I was searching for water plants that weren’t there, Lowe’s had their perennials for only $3! So I snatched up some!

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Hostas
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Yellow coneflowers

And On a totally different topic, Sherman has a play mate for a few days! We just love squishy faced dogs around here!

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Sherman loves his new friend!

Have a great week and continue to bloom where you are planted!

Beekeeping, crafting and harvesting

This week it finally rained a bit and now the garden is quickly coming to life! Everything is growing and we have been able to harvest around 40 cloves of garlic, 17 pounds of potatoes and I’m about ready to pull some onions too!

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I ❤️ this sight! 

We have also been harvesting some squash, cucumbers and some adorable tiny cucumelons!

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Tiny cucumelons

And my Sherman dog loves to help harvest everything! He has been known to pick his own green beans, eat cucumbers and zucchini from the plant and now this:

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He begs for cucumelons! 

And the bees are taking off! (Well, 3 out of 4 are doing well.) The split that I did is not doing well, but I learned how I’d do it differently next year, so all is well if I learned something! The swarms we caught are doing amazing! This queen is a laying machine!

I was able to weed the beeyard, do a check in on all the hives and rearrange them a bit. I love the accomplished feeling after checking in on the bees!

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Bees at work! 

For the upcoming fair I am entering some of my items made from my bees wax and honey. I’ve made some lipbalm already, but I’ve also made some melt and pour honey and goats milk luffa soap.

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Luffa soap with honey and my luffas! 

I was also being crafty and made a craft that depicts some part of beekeeping. So, I made a langstroth hive pillow.

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I ❤️ the way it turned out! 

Also, we have lots of flowers blooming and so much beauty around here!

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Gladiolus beauties! 

And of course with the summer rain, comes some beautiful rainbows!

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Walk through the garden 6/25/17

Where in the world have we been?! Well, we took a quick trip out of town to Cincinnati and Cleveland and stayed at a fun indoor water park hotel there.  It was a great time!

Before we went out of town I had a quick crafting spell! I made up some ridiculous easy lip balm using some of my own beeswax and my Young Living essential oils! (And oils of your choice!)

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Peppermint lip balm in reused altoid tin! 

And then I made the boy a little round earbud case! He has informed me that his fidget spinner can fit in there too! Good to know!

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Earbud holder

While on vacation, we visited a bookstore so that the boy could get a few comic books. I believe that he read at least 1/2 of them on the drive home! I figure if this keeps him reading, I’ll take it!

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So many comics! 

Onward to the garden! We are finally seeing some fruit sprouting up and future deliciousness!

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Potatoes! 
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Onions almost ready! 
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Still getting strawberries! 
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Tiny cucumbers
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Itty bitty 🍅 
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Zucchini plant growing! 

I should be getting the garlic harvest very soon and I’m hoping to be able to get the beans to grow around the teepee! (Some evil critter keeps eating the sprouts!) How are your plants growing?!

May Goals Update 2017!

Do you know what today is?!?! It’s the last day of school here! Therefore, I’m on break! Yippee!! So, I’ll be posting a little more often! But, now onward with the goal update for May:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are having a family challenge with money prize between the 3 of us! The one that creates the least amount of garbage gets the $! (We are hoping to get the boy on board with eating less packaged food!) There will be lots of cooking and baking in my future!
2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. Nothing out of here this month! We really don’t have anything to get rid of at the moment!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month! Well, we just threw out the 3rd bag this year.

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It’s June and only 3 bags! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. In May we did a craft show out of town in Boonsboro, MD and we did pretty well for a rainy day! We also have hit our 30th sale at our Etsy store!

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Some items we sold! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. Just waiting for our favorite electrician to get to it , my Dad. 😊

6. Expand the garden. I just made the expanded area larger with fencing! Darn deer everywhere here! I was also able to get a good bit planted in our regular yard and even made a green bean tee pee for our pole beans!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, but something keeps eating the seedlings this year! The cucumelons are in the ground, as well as the popcorn and I’m doing my best to get some okra to germinate! We also have some huge pumpkins that came up on their own from ones the chickens ate last year!

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8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. I’m not sure if, or when we will get this accomplished! But, our hen hatched out one beautiful little chick and the quail laid their first egg!


9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year! I also tried to start magazine recycling, but someone kept throwing it all away! Also, my students started saving their single use bowls from breakfast for me to recycle as well as packages from muffins for terracyle!

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These are only from my classroom! 

We also did research, located native plants and planted a pollinator garden at school!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.46 MWh! (And it was a gross rainy month!) We also got our bill for May, and it was less than $10! Ahh! That was a nice bill to open!

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11. Continue beekeeping. May was the month of swarms! The hive that we split off of our hive is doing well! (Pic on left) Then we got a call about a smaller swarm here in town, they are doing well now! (Bottom right pic). Next we got a call for a big swarm (middle picture.) We were then called back to the same area we got the last swarm to help get an established hive out of a tree that was being cut down. (Top right photo) So, I guess we are glad that we never got a call about the bees we ordered, but didn’t get!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went with the boy to a nice closer amusement park for his end of year band trip. It was great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

Greenfest, gardening, mushrooms and swarms

Happy Mother’s Day weekend and I must say that this weekend was so busy! But, it was a great kind of busy. On Friday I spent the evening prepping everything for  Saturday’s Greenfest in Boonsboro, Md while the mister took the boy to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. (By the way, they said it was great!)

It was a really cold craft show, but we sold a good bit of our crafted items!

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Our craft show items!

I sold several gardening aprons, and got lots of compliments on them as well! And I still have 2 in the print below and will be adding them to the Etsy store!

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Love this gardening apron! 

And the mister got a lot of compliments on the railroad spike bottle openers as well as the bolt bottle openers! And I love the garden spades!

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Garden spades and bolt bottle opener

The mister was also able to get the itty bitty greenhouse all set up! Since I managed to accidentally bake my original seedlings, round 2 seedlings are in the greenhouse!

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Greenhouse! 

And we got our first strawberry tonight! I bet you can guess who wanted it! But the boy actually got it and said it was delicious!

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Fruit and veggie thief!

I don’t want to jinx myself, but the mushroom spawn seems to be spreading out well and looks very healthy!

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Mushroom spawn!

Then, just tonight, I had 2 calls for bee swarms! The first one seemed to be some bees that are taking up residence in a house. I’m not sure if I can get them to move out of there! But the second call was a beautiful swarm!

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Honeybee swarm!

I was able to get pretty much every bee! And I’m hoping they learn to love it here!

I was able to get a few minutes of relaxation on the new hammock with my lazy pup!

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Hammocking! 

It was a great weekend and it might take until Wednesday for me to get caught up around the house! I really do love all this fun homesteading life of ours!