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!

You’re right, we aren’t living on Little House on the Prairie

Last month I had an unkind message sent to me saying that I needed to stop pretending that I live this little house on the prairie life. That hurt. It didn’t really hurt because I thought that I am living a lifestyle like that. It hurt because someone took time out of their schedule to to try to hurt me. But, good news, it gave me time to reflect instead.

So, even though we don’t live that yesteryear kind of life, we do have some similarities. (Weirdly enough)

1.I’ve always been transparent that we don’t have much land, but use what we have! We have less than an acre, but managed to grow and harvest over 1,000 pounds of food this summer!

Our main garden
The huge cushaw squash we harvested
Honey from our hives

2. We also don’t have a large amount of farm animals, so that’s true. We raise hens for their eggs and have a couple ducks for the same reason. We use our eggs, share some and even use them for making deliciousness like egg noodles!

Thanks ladies!

3. We don’t live solely off of our food, but we did can over 100 jars of food. Plus, we spun lots of honey, made so many loaves of sourdough bread, homemade noodles and lots of other yumminess!

Homemade bread!
Over 100 jars canned this year!

4. Everything we own isn’t homemade. But, the Mr can fix almost anything and he has been forging a lot! I have been working on teaching myself skills and I have been quilting, crocheting, making salves and lip balms and sewing in general.

All made by the Mr
I love our new curtain rods
Homemade gathering apron
Calendula salve
Crocheted dishcloths

5. We don’t have beautiful fields of wildflowers, but we do have a pretty certified wildlife habitat/monarch waystation/pollinator garden.

Pollinator garden
Raising monarchs
Sharing some blooms

6. I don’t have to cook over an open flame or wear an apron. But, I do wear an apron in the garden. I also hang my laundry anytime that I can. And, I’m big on reusing what we have avoiding anything disposable.

Sunflower gathering apron
Clothes drying the old fashioned way!

So, I figured I would end this up with my homestead kind of life photo:

So, let it be known that I do not live on a prairie, I live in a small town in Appalachia. I don’t have a huge garden or farm when compared to others, but it provides well for us. I own less than an acre, but use what we have well.

No matter what you have going on, who you compare yourself to or what others think about you, keep blooming where you are planted! 🌸❤️

Finally, a new post!

Wow! June was my last post! I am back and hoping to start sharing more of what I have been up to!

Over the summer, the garden produced all kinds of huge fruits! I grew cushaw squash that were over 20 pounds:

Monster cushaw

My Dickinson pumpkin plant decided that one pumpkin was enough, but that pumpkin is close to 50 pounds!

It was so heavy!

And my newest hobby, after taking way too long to get it started, is making sourdough bread!

So delicious!

Over the weekend, I met so many people who wanted to learn more about our way of living. They asked questions about plants that we grow, questions about honeybees and chickens. They wanted to know how to grow more plants for the pollinators and how to grow milkweed. I loved talking plants and sourdough!

I met so many great people at the craft show this weekend!

I’m looking forward to get back to writing about how our goals have been coming along. I want to share some of our exciting plans for next year. And I want to start sharing more of my favorite things that we have been up to around here!

Keep blooming friends!

Walk through the garden 6/30/20

It’s the last day of the month, so I wanted to share what’s going well and what’s a work in progress!

View from the bottom (and newly added green bean teepee)
The onions are some of my best
Only a couple pretty tomatoes, so far.
The beans are flowering!
Cucamelons are enjoying the cattle panel
Delicata squash coming along!
A bumblebee kicked back enjoying the squash bloom

The San Marzano tomatoes are growing the best. The cucumbers are growing well, so far this year! I will totally admit that I am not a great cucumber grower! The flea beetles are being terrible pests this year.

What’s growing great in your neck of the woods? Are you dealing with some pests? Keep celebrating the positives and know that every year something will be a challenge. And, keep blooming! 🌼

Walk through the garden 6/25

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!

Pole beans (with lots of weeds in the background!)
Cantaloupe
Delicata squash
My first ever kohlrabi
San marzano tomatoes
Rows of Bush beans
My onions actually look pretty good!

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!!

Weekend walk through the garden 6/14/20

Hello all! I have been gone for a little while! I have been teaching from home and basically hibernating. But, I have still been planting tons of plants in hopes of harvesting lots of food! So, I figured that I would show how well some of the plants are doing!

Zucchini
Little Roma tomato
Ground cherries
Chili pepper
Delicata squash
Onion!
Blueberries
Tiny box turtle by the garden (eating a worm!)

It’s been a weird time, but we are still growing lots of food, and even have a goal of harvesting 500 pounds of food from our less than an acre! So far, we have a long way to go!

Keep blooming friends, even through 2020!

The start of the garden!

This year I decided that I would sprout the seeds that I was growing first to make sure that they were viable. It has been working out well!

Luffa seeds
Luffas now out of the soil.

I have been busy planting and preparing the beds on the pretty days. So far, I was able to plant some onion sets, radishes, beets, lettuce and peas. Hopefully they do well!

One of the raised bed gardens!

The leaf lettuce self seeded and I’m luck to have a few heads growing right by the garlic. I also have some Swiss chad that is regrowing!

Swiss chard (ever bearing spinach)
Leaf lettuce regrowing.

I also found some extra tiny gourds that fell off of the vine and were dried in the garden over the winter!

Tiny dancing gourds! (Egg for scale!)

Hopefully everyone is staying healthy and trying to enjoy time with their families! Keep blooming through all the craziness!

Rebooting the Victory Garden

A quick history lesson on the Victory Garden: Citizens were first encouraged to turn yards and vacant lands into food producing gardens in 1917 and they were called “war gardens.” During WW2, they were called “victory gardens” and they were a way to get people at home to help contribute to the wartime effort by increasing the food needed in the states. The country encouraged citizens (especially women) to grow gardens by putting advertisements in magazines and distributed pamphlets.

One of my favorites!

Now on with today: With everyone noticing the extreme shortages when they go to the store, I think now is a great time to bring back growing more of your own food! In 1943 there were 20 million victory gardens and they produced 40% of their own vegetables! Even just a raised bed could help give anyone some greens to eat! Last year, I decided to turn my yard into more of a garden.

What my garden looked like last spring!
Then we transformed it into more garden!

I loved that through gardening, morale was boosted and gardening was promoted as a family activity and good recreation! It was also noted that many Americans were eating better than they had before the war. (And I’m sure that the fresh food tasted much better!) Maybe it will be said that Americans started eating better again after the Coronavirus.

My garden last year!

Another success in victory gardens was that community committees were formed to help newcomers. They would share resources and discuss ways to deal with pests and diseases. They were guided on succession planting and how to get the best yield from their gardens. Neighbors helping neighbors! Great idea!

So, I would love to see a reboot. So perhaps we could have, Victory Gardens 2.0! Make it a year to plant something, even just one tomato plant or a tiny bed of lettuce greens! And, if you need some assistance, I’ll do my best! So “grow vitamins at your kitchen door!” And as always keep blooming where you are planted! Especially if you are quarantined there! 😊🌸❤️

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!!

Beautiful December Week!

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!