I have been collecting any pumpkins that are unwanted. We have collected right around 150 so far! We have also rounded up a few mums, bales of hay and ears of dried corn.
I posted on Instagram this picture of pumpkin number 100!
Well a sweet soul informed me that I was holding a fantastic variety called Galeux D’Eysines.
This is a nice heirloom variety from France that has been grown there since the 1800’s. It wasn’t brought here until around 1996! Galeux is French for mangy or scabby, so not a delicious sounding name! 😆 But, it’s a delicious variety. So, I pulled this beauty out of the chicken food bin and roasted/puréed it!
Does anyone else see other gardens and then get worried that yours isn’t great enough? Like garden envy? Turns out that social media is pretty great at only showing the pretty pictures! So, before I show my pretty pictures, know that flea beetles are trying to eat everything in my garden. It has taken me replanting several squash plants so many times because either they didn’t germinate or something are them. Oh, and the ants are trying to farm aphids on everything. EVERYTHING!!!!
And now, here are my pretty pictures!
I think the last several days of rain have helped to get the garden growing! Today my goal is to dig up the garlic! Anyone else dealing with some pests? Do your best to keep blooming!!
I have to start with our backstory! This wasn’t a quick journey or one that was just started without much thought.
Rewind way back to 2005. We started our year off by having a beautiful baby boy. I had just graduated college (with some debt) and didn’t have a job. The Mr. was working and bringing in a decent income. However, we were barely making ends meet and babies are expensive.
Fast forward to the end of 2005, my beautiful and healthy 25 year old sister passed away very I expectedly. She was so close to really getting to the good part of life. She had just landed a better job. She had a great boyfriend and was starting to make some money. But, life just ended.
Still in 2005, my mom was battling 2 types of cancer, bills are crazy with those treatments and money was tight. (Hang in there, I’m getting to where our debt free journey begins, but these experiences definitely have altered my thinking.)
Moving on up 10 years. I finally heard of Dave Ramsey, money envelopes and a debt snowball. We had lots of bills and not a lot of savings. We brought our nest egg up a bit, and achieved our first big financial goal. We paid off my car!
Now we are up to March of 2015. We still have quite a mortgage and a truck payment, but the debt snowball was rolling. We tracked our money and budgeted like we should have been for a long time. And finally started writing everything down.
Our repurposed financial notebook
We started paying down the truck by making double payments (since we were used to paying the car payment, we just continued putting that amount towards the truck) and finally got that beast paid off in February of 2018. Yay! All that was left was the mortgage and the solar panels. So, we started making extra payments on the panels (we put what we used to pay for the truck and car towards the panels) and by May 2019, those were paid for!
And last, but not least is the house. We had been putting any extra money that we had towards the mortgage. It had been getting paid down a little at a time. From May until now, we have been paying every extra bit towards the house. And here we are in February of 2019, and we just paid off the house.
Here we are in 2019 debt free. I’m not even 40 yet, so now I question how much longer I will continue to work. I enjoy teaching, but I also enjoy spending lots of time with family, sewing, growing food and spreading my love for the environment.
I’ll end by saying that I didn’t share our story to be braggers. We live in a much different way than most. We don’t drive new cars, have the newest of anything, eat out often, live in a high end neighborhood or go on amazing vacations. I’m proud that we decided to achieve this before we were old.
The take away is that anyone can do this with time and dedication. Your journey might be longer or shorter. I acknowledge that we are blessed with good jobs (teacher and trooper), but we did not come from money. We are very proud of our accomplishment!
It has been so incredibly warm this week! Like, 60 degrees warm! I won’t complain at all!
Let me share my favorite thing that I got for Christmas:
I plan on riding this sweet ride to and from work when the weather allows. It has both a pedal assist and a throttle. It is ridiculously fun to ride!
I made some sugar patties for my bee friends and I was even able to get them out into the hives. The bees did not enjoy my visit, but I feel better knowing that they have a little extra food for the winter!
I also spent a nice chunk of the day moving the aged compost into the garden and turning the pumpkin compost into a new container. We took in a total of 148 pumpkins and we will be taking in holiday compost buckets this weekend!
Aged compost. Look at those worms!
The yummy dinner that I whipped up tonight was mostly homegrown! We are still using produce from our garden! Those are some of our homegrown potatoes and our last delicata squash. Roasted in the oven is the way to go with them!
And lastly, I have been enjoying my indoor plants. I am loving succulents and propagating them! This little baby is adorable!
I hope that you have had a few moments of joy during the holiday season! I’m trying to knock out the last of my goals for 2019 and I have some ambitious goals for 2020!
This year I grew one really different looking pumpkin! I read that it’s the same kind of pumpkin grown and used by the Libby company. The funny part is, that it looks more like a squash than a pumpkin!
They grew really well here and were not attacked by vine borers or squash bugs too badly.
Since they are pie pumpkins, I couldn’t wait to make a pie! (Always make sure that you start with a variety of pie pumpkin! Field pumpkins are stringy and do not make a good pie!)
Now onto the pie making process! First I harvested these beauties:
After that I cut them in half, took out the seeds, roasted them in the crockpot (you can do this in the oven too), scraped out the softened pumpkin, puréed it and then mixed it with other pie ingredients!
Hello all! Can you all tell that I’m an elementary teacher and August is my crazy month!? Getting a classroom ready is a ton of work!! That ‘s where I have been!
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! ** When momma feels up for it, we will quilt it!**
2. Keep doing good for our community. The little free library has still been being utilized by many and I added some lollipops that have been disappearing! Plus, we have been releasing lots of monarchs and we even invite the neighbors to watch!
3. Can and save money on our groceries: We have canned several canners full of green beans and even started freezing some. Plus, I made some salsa and canned it too! It’s going to taste great this winter!
4. Use that camper some more!: The Mr. and I enjoyed a Ravens game! It was our first NFL game and I enjoyed it! (Even though professional sports are not really my thing!)
**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.
5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off, and we are prepping for those jack-o-lanterns! But the best part is that even when we grow something that isn’t great, the chickens will help us out!
Tigger melons after chickens!
6.Little free library/seed sharing-The Library has been having more guests, since the garden cart has been out so much!
7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries have been growing very well! Plus we got our first tigger melons, rainbow carrots and moon and stars watermelon!
Moon and stars watermelon
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 are still harvesting zucchini, purple tomatillos, green beans, carrots, luffas and peppers too!
9. Keep reducing our trashWe are now on bag 3, and it will be changed in September for sure!
10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have a monarch waystation! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! We are still finding caterpillars out there. We have released almost 60 in August and just tagged a couple in the beginning of September!
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 has become a master at putting away the ducks and chickens for the night! I probably don’t want to know how the rooster ended up in the duck house!
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 are slowly making a little bit at a time! (the cart is gaining momentum with this harvesting season!)
August always flies by! (That’s why I haven’t posted this sooner!) We will be getting some honey soon!