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!

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Braided garlic! 
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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!

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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!

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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?!?!)

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Homemade pizza! 

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

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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.

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My hammock buddy! 

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

Mushrooms and gardening

One of the best parts about our quirky (but totally normal to us) way of life around here is everyday is like a life science lesson! Yesterday our wine cap mushroom spawn finally arrived!

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Wine cap spawn! 

So, what is spawn you might ask?! Well that’s exactly what the homestead lesson with the crazy boy was yesterday! It’s wood chips that have been inoculated with spores from the winecap mushroom and allowed to start mycelium growth! In easier terms, it’s like the roots of the mushrooms that your putting in an area to get them to grow there! That’s exciting stuff! Bill Nye would’ve been proud of that lesson!

So we took that spawn outside and broke up pieces and basically made layers of spawn with straw and lots of water. Fungi like things wet and decomposing material. I love teaching that little knucklehead of mine about all things science-like!

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Hoping to eventually get some 🍄!!

Now on to the rest of the garden! It’s been raining, a lot! And seedlings are loving it!

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Baby beet! 
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Potatoes that need me to hill them! 
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The newly planted onions 
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The oldest onions sets planted
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Beautiful garlic
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Salad bed of leaf lettuce, arugula and spinach 
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June bearer strawberries

And I’m pretty excited about our volunteer pumpkins! My friend’s dad gave us the gigantic pumpkins that he grew last year for the chickens. Now there are huge pumpkin seedlings coming up where they ate them!

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Maybe a huge pumpkin this year?!

This weekend I will be crafting like noone’s business, since we have a show next weekend. Hope that you enjoy your weekend!

Walk through the garden 4/19/17

Could it be?!?! Our first Wednesday walk through the garden of 2017. Even though not much is going on until the end of May (our last frost date), we can see the start of a great gardening season!

The garlic is growing nicely! And I just added some compost around them to help feed them a touch

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Garlic growing! 

The onions and strawberries growing in the raised bed are coming along!

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Onions! 
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Strawberry blooms! 

And I was pretty shocked to see that some of my potatoes have made their way above the soil already!

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Potato plant! 

My Granny’s rhubarb is looking great!

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Rhubarb! 

I really thought that since the grape vines didn’t really grow last year well, that they wouldn’t come back. But look at how healthy it looks:

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Grape vines! 

And the mister had taken the wheels off of an old wagon that was falling apart years ago. Well, I decide to use it for a salad garden. In it I have arugula, lettuce and spinach.

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Salad wagon! 

The boy was beyond delighted to find some frog or toad eggs in the tiny pond (puddle) above the garden:

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🐸 eggs! 

I will leave you with a picture of me splitting my hive, since I found a pretty nice capped queen cup. I got the future majesty and some nurse bees to move into a new box. (this was a first and I’m hoping it turns out well!)

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Splitting the hive! 

I hope that you are seeing lots of signs of Spring where you live!

How we make less trash

I love, love, love running into people here where I live that actually read my little blog! Such a compliment, especially since I am far from a writer. The first thing they always are curious about is how we create such a small amount of trash. So, here’s what  we do here that seems completely normal to us!

*We don’t use paper products. (Well, we do use toilet paper) no paper towels, napkins, paper cups/plates. We have our unpaper towels for both our house and lunches

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Cloth unpaper towels

*Meal planning- I plan out the meals for the week so that I only buy what I need. I don’t throw out uneaten food here.

*Be a fixer/maker. We try our best at fixing anything that breaks. I can patch/sew/repair fabric things and the mister is an amazing trouble-shooter and fixer. We also make a ton of things that others buy, like soap, all purpose cleaner and even pretty much anything that the mister can create!

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Homemade soap!

*No food in the garbage: the chickens and worms get anything that is leftover that we don’t want, or pieces of peelings.

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Chickens get leftovers
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Worm castings from red wrigglers

*be a baker-yes, we make a lot of our own breads, cakes, muffins, cookies and anything else that normally comes in a wrapper. I enjoy it, and definitely need to work on this more. I tend to be better at this in the summer time!

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Homemade bread

*we are non-shoppers. Shopping isn’t a hobby or exciting event for us. If something is needed, we look for it second hand. Then, if we can’t find it we buy it new. We also always take a list and use our reusable bags.

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Second hand work pants

*Say no to plastic wrap! I use the reusable beeswax wraps that I made to cover up bowls and plates. We also use containers and reusable sandwich bags, so no ziplock bags are used here!

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Beeswax wraps! 

*Grow what you eat! We grow a lot of the foods that our family really likes and love the fact that our dinner traveled a whole 10 feet from our yard to our table!

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Our smaller raised bed garden

*we are preservers! We grow what we enjoy and then preserve whatever we can. We enjoy our own tomatoes sauces, jellies, green beans, onions, garlic and potatoes all throughout the winter.

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Our own green beans!

*we are recyclers. Our small town does not recycle a lot. We recycle what we can here. I don’t believe that recycling is the great answer with plastics, but what we can’t refuse to use we do recycle.

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Our recycle bins! 

* we compost!! Coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit peels, papers and cardboard get composted. The mister also burns some of the cardboard too.

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The worms love some old newspapers!

* We are leftover eaters. I take leftovers in my lunch a lot, in reusable containers. That means not much eating out, so no straws (they’re terrible), styrofoam cups or even condiment packages.

*reusable everything! We refill our foam soap pumps, use and make our own cotton dishcloths (that can eventually be composted).

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Crochet dishcloths

That’s more than a handful of what we do. We are far from perfect and we are going to  continue working on leaving this planet a better place! If you can think of anything else to add, please leave a comment! And remember that I look at this as a way of life and not a competition. 💚🌎

Walk through the garden 9/7

The garden is really slowing down and I have been busy clearing it out! I have harvested MANY sunflower heads!

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Future chicken food!

The areas that were finished producing food have been ripped out and I planted some red clover cover crop to put some nitrogen in the soil! To my surprise, it’s already sprouting!!

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Red clover

The pollinator garden is still producing many beautiful flowers! The gladiolus flowers are now blooming pink and yellow. There are also a few roses and I think that the coneflowers might still flower! Maybe!

There are still a few plants doing great! The raised bed above is really taking off with sweet potatoes and butternut squash!

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While the birdhouse gourd plants are dying off, I think we are going to get a few nice sized gourds!

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Birdhouse gourd

The temps and humidity just felt disgusting outside tonight. So, I wasn’t surprised to see how much the bees were bearding this evening! They were some hot bees!

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Bearding bees!!

I decided to make some zucchini cake! It is super easy!! I just follow the directions for making a cake mix, add a half cup of chocolate chips and grate a whole zucchini.

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Zucchini cake! 

When I went around to throw the football with the boy, I thought the jeep was picture perfect. My husband enjoys working on these in his spare time and he’s thinking about selling this one.

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Rustic and full of history

And when I came in, I worked on sewing an etsy order and then made some adorable new bandana hair ties!

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I hope that your having a great week and that you are as excited as I am to be over the hump! Onward to Thursday!!!

Walk through the garden 8/31

Slowly I see the summer slipping away. The tomato plants are slowing down and the pepper plants are too. I’m not sure how many more veggies that I will be harvesting. But tonight, it was still great!

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Great harvest!

I was pretty excited to find a friend policing the garden! With so many other bad bugs, it’s great to see some good ones!

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Praying mantis 

I am still shocked at how the butternut squash have taken off! We might just get one this year after all!

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Butternut squash

Finally the couple of loofahs that I planted in the garden are doing something!

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Finally a loofah!

And the loofahs around the fence are starting to get ready to be harvested! At first I was concerned that they were diseased or something! But, they eventually turn almost brown before harvesting!

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Getting closer to harvest! 

And due to the 13 pounds of tomatoes picked every couple days, we have been canning a lot of nights. Last night we worked on some pizza sauce and they all sealed!

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Pizza sauce! 

And im still making some hair ties to put in my etsy shop! So, I had my sleepy and totally non-resistant model Sherman try one on!

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What a pretty boy! 

Looking forward to a holiday weekend and probably the start of cleaning out the garden for a cover crop and lots of canning!

Too busy weekend

I have this weird quality to always saying yes to helping someone else, even when I really don’t have the time. This weekend has been filled with crafting for others, holding a produce stand with the boy, taking care of a friend’s store for the day and going out for an anniversary dinner.

This doesn’t even include doing fun things like laundry, grocery shopping, canning and cleaning.

And, I managed to overfill a bucket and break the handle right off! Nice, right?

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My garden fail!!

But to focus on the positives, the boy’s sale went well and he had lots of customers! He even delivered to a few close neighbors!

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Owen’s produce sale! 

The chicken coop is being taken over by the birdhouse gourds, zucchini and sunflowers! I think that it looks perfect!

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I love the coop right now! 

These pretty tomatoes grew themselves this year:

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Heirloom somethings! 

I think they are black krim, but I’m not sure!

We took what seemed like a million tomatoes and cooked them down and they turned into 3 quarts of tomato sauce! Do you ever wonder how store bought spaghetti sauce is so cheap??

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Tomato sauce! 

I thought that I should end this post with some beautiful sunflowers:

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2 on the same plant!

So, basically I’m going to work on relaxing more on the weekend and enjoying family. Oh, and totally saying no when I really don’t want to do something!

Have a great week!!