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!

January 2020 Goals Update

January felt like it had 6,500 days, but I was able to start the year off in a productive way. And, here those goals are going:

1. Get rid of more, use less and be more minimalistic– So far, we haven’t filled any trash bags. But, I was on a mending kick and fixed several shirts and a couple pairs of pants that needed holes fixed.

2. Do good, be a good person and spread kindness– I am in the process of organizing a little mail-in seed swap. (Hopefully I get enough people to participate!) and I finally have the final weight of the amount of compostable trash that we kept out of the landfill!

3. Grow food, flowers and enjoy new plants– I have ordered most of the seeds that I will be planting! So far, I have starting winter sowing some of the native flowers that will be growing!

4. Be creative! Craft, forge, sew and do whatever makes our creative souls happy!– I have decided to see another quilt this year and I already finished the first row. Hopefully I love this one as much as I do my chicken quilt.

The Mr. has been working on restoring restoring ’49 Ford F1 pickup with a 302 small block engine!

5. Travel, spend as much quality time that we can with our ever growing teen. Time is precious.

I really enjoyed my trip to Annapolis as the teacher of the year. I have seen so many nice places and met great people. Definitely an experience of a lifetime. I’m loving Maryland more with every trip!

Secret goal! I will be sharing this awesomeness at the end of the month!!!

I hope that you are crushing your goals! If not, you still have 11 months to get it together!

Keep blooming!!

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!!

Chicken Quilt Reveal!

It all started out with a pattern that I found on Pinterest! I made a test square using scrap fabric and I decided that in 2019 that I would make my first quilt! Here’s the pattern that I used to make a Chicken quilt square

I learned from a few mistakes and started whipping out the squares!

All together I made 40 chickens and I spent one afternoon placing the squares exactly where I wanted them to go! Once I had them perfectly placed, I cut and sewed the squares together.

And then I sewed on the edging.

The quilt sat around asking to be finished for way too long. Then, on New Year’s Eve, I decided to finally quilt it. Lucky for me, my mom has a long arm machine and didn’t mind spending an afternoon teaching me how to use!

Next up, I cut off all of the extra batting, trimmed the backing, and used it to be the edging!

The front!

The back!

The finished project!

I am loving the finished project and I’m already planning out what the next quilt will be! I am so glad to put a big ✔️ next to my last goal for the year!

Now that it’s 2020, what are your goals for this year?!

Potato stamp wrapping paper

I catch myself getting a little bummed by how much waste is created by the holidays. So, I do my best to cut way back on gifts, give experiences and avoid all of the holiday excess.

When it comes to wrapping paper, so much if it is not recyclable. Then, there’s the plastic tape and ribbons. So. Much. Trash!!

This year I decided to make my own paper using things that I have around here. My momma taught me how to make potato stamps when I was young.

I used a couple of my homegrown potatoes. (Yes, that one is a purple potato!) I cut them in half and then just drew on some easy shapes. Then I cut them out:

And nope, I don’t get the newspaper either! But, my husband rescued these from work! And yes, that oui yogurt cup was rescued too!

So, after the potatoes dry off for a bit, I painted on some craft paint that I had here. Then, I stamped it on the newspaper. (By the way, make sure that you read the pages a little first. I avoid the obituaries and not so great articles!)

Don’t these stamps look beautiful all painted and ready to be used?!

I can’t wait to see our paper put to use!

Then, it will either be burned or composted!

How are you all bring a little more green this holiday season?!

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! 🌸❤️

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! 🌸💚

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! 🌱💚

Chicken quilt update!

Over the past 2 weeks, I have been working to get the top of the quilt pieced together! I am hoping to finish this up before garden season starts!

The layout!

Then, I started making rows, 8 in all!

First row of the quilt!

Next up I started putting the rows together. (This part was my favorite because it finally started looking like something!)

It might just be a quilt!

Then, I had a snow day in the middle of the week! So, I was able to get more rows sewn on!

And here we are this weekend finishing up all of the rows! I still need to place the edge pieces around the perimeter next.

I think it’s beautiful!

And here’s a main reason why I need to work on finishing this beauty:

So many seeds!

I picked up so many seeds in an online seed swap! (Through Instagram: frugal seed swap!) and I can’t wait to grow so much more this year!

And at some point, I’m going to relax with this pair and enjoy the last day of the weekend!

Keep blooming friends! 🌱❤️

The active pair!

Winter arrived!?!

Here in the Appalachian mountains of Maryland, the snow arrived. Usually we will get a few dustings before a major storm, but not this year. We got over 10 inches between Thursday and Friday!

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Lots of snow and ice to clean up! 

And did I mention that the Mr. enjoyed using the tractor to clear the driveway? It was like watching a little boy play!

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Clearing lots more snow! 

Since we had school cancelled for 2 days, due to the snowstorm, I was able to put up the student’s artwork around town for the holiday season! Those are the Santas that my students made!

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Small town decor! 

And because I wanted to use my time well, I finished a lot of projects that had been needing finished! There were lots of patches that needed sewn on uniforms and hooded towels to finish up. And they are all completed!

On Facebook, I was tagged in a post about making a crown earwarmer. It was a quick project that was fun and easy! I don’t have a little girl, but it seems like many like this sort of thing!

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Crocheted crown earwarmer

I have also been wanting to learn how to do some brush calligraphy and just started with some crayola markers around here. I think I’m kind of getting it! I need something to do since the weather is so cold!

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Just reusing the back of my boy’s worksheets! 

While sitting on the couch yesterday, I noticed that the cactus that I received as a gift 4 years ago is back to blooming!

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Beautiful! 

Im not sure if it is a Christmas or Thanksgiving cactus, so chime in if you know!

Hope you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy time with your families!