Who wants pie?!

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:

Dickinson pumpkins!

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!

Sliced in half and deseed

Roasted in the crockpot

Pumpkin purée!

The end result!

The guys say that it was delicious!

And now for my favorite fresh Pumpkin pie recipe

Have a great week and start dreaming about that pumpkin pie! (Or, if you’re like me, continue dreaming about what that garden is going to look like in 2020!

Keep blooming!!

October 2019 Goals

Hello November! Yes, it’s already day 12 of the month, but October was still beautiful! The leaves were so colorful this year!

During October I visited Ocean City MD to attend a conference and then back to Baltimore for the teacher of the year gala. It was a fun night!

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! ** I decided that this will be a December project!

2. Keep doing good for our community.

I had a book giveaway with Halloween. A few kids got a new book! I also finally got the plastic film collection box dropped off at town hall.

3. Can and save money on our groceries: I have been cleaning out the garden, so not much to be harvested! But, I did harvest all of those Dickinson pumpkins! Then, I roasted a couple and turned some into a pie!

The boys gave it 2 thumbs up!

4. Use that camper some more!: In October I traveled a few places to watch our teen play the bass drum in marching band. I also went to Ocean City for a conference and the gala in Baltimore!

**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 year.

Ocean City!

5. Compost!: We are taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in the months to come! (And getting a good many so far!)

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library has been having many guests! We got a few extra for Halloween too! Plus, we have been getting so many book donations that we need to go book bomb some other libraries!

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! I’m starting to look through seed catalogues at new ideas for next year!

Our last harvest of the year.

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!

**we have some trellis ideas for this space and ideas of what we are going to grow!

The after!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 5. Bag 4 left the house.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-It happened! We have 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– 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 had several tie tying lessons and he’s kind of getting it. Lucky for him, his momma is a good at that!

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

October was flew by! I’m still can’t believe that it’s November! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my neighborhood/homes/classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!

Keep blooming friends!!

Harvesting and planting on a Monday night

We had a light frost on Sunday evening, so I decided it was time to start bringing in most of the pumpkins and gourds!

I am absolutely proud of the huge Dickinson pumpkins that I grew this year! All 98 pounds of them! Plus, the birds helped to clean up the garden while I was working!

Beautiful colored pumpkins!

Ducks and chickens cleaning the garden!

We also were able to get more squash and a few more gourds out of the garden! Plus a few dried beans too!

Delicata squash

Scarlet runner beans

Birdhouse gourds

Spinner gourds

Egg gourds and a few jalapeños

Since the weather was so nice, I decided I better get the garlic in the ground too! And yes, there was a lot of compost added to the soil!

I saved lots of garlic for planting!

Lots of compost for the garlic!

Gorgeous strawberry blonde calendula

It turned out to be one great Monday night! If only winter went as fast as summer! Keep blooming! 🌸💚

September 2019 Goals Update

Goals are meant to be crushed, right?! That’s exactly what I’m trying to do as a mom, teacher and organic gardener. But, I don’t feel like I have been focused enough on these goals. So, I’m going to be working harder in October!

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.

We had a big book exchange in honor of my sister for her birthday! It was nice to see so many people utilizing the library!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We are still harvesting a good bit from the garden! (Especially cherry tomatoes, peppers and cucamelons!) So, not much preserving, but at least produce is still good coming in!

Purple potatoes!

4. Use that camper some more!: In September I spent some time on Tylerton Island (Smith Island) and learned all about the Chesapeake Bay and met lots of locals!

**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.

Sunrise paddling!

Smith Island Cake!

That little dot is a baby crab!

5. Compost!: We are still getting some food scraps dropped off. Plus, we compost everything that we can here! We will be taking in pumpkins, corn stalks and leaves in months to come!

Composting on the island!

Our compost is looking good!

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 are still growing well! Now the Hawaiian peppers are taking off and I’m harvesting some gourds. In the garden, the Mexican sunflowers are a great nectar and pollen source!

Hawaiian peppers

Egg gourds

Mexican sunflowers

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!

The after!

Luffa gourd growing!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 4. Bag 3 was thrown out while I was out of town and the Mr. doesn’t take pictures of our garbage. 😆

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 over 150 and I have sent in our data for all of our tagged monarchs!

Pollinator garden in late 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 been learning lessons on time management! Between long practices, not getting back until late on school nights and lots of homework, he’s still getting his work finished.

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! (We should be having a few more garden cart sales this year!)

September was filled with lots of fun events, and this whole teacher of the year thing is such an honor! I’m already planning out what I’m going to accomplish this year in my classroom! I hope that your completing your goals and thinking about 2020!!

Keep blooming friends!!

July 2019 Goals Update

Where in the world have I been?! In the garden! I’m constantly harvesting, watering, pruning, weeding and mulching. But, I’m not complaining at all. I love this time of the year!

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 school garden is starting to produce little cherry tomatoes. And, the farmer’s market in town is doing amazing!

3. Can and save money on our groceries: We had a decent harvest of cucumbers, so those were turned into pickles. Plus the green beans are all being canned for winter too!

4. Use that camper some more!: We were able to have a nice day at a local lake. It was perfect!

**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, especially watermelon leftovers! The chickens love it! Plus, all of those composted pumpkins have regrown some volunteers for us!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open and we have sooo many books! And check out that beautiful flag holder that the Mr. forged!

7. Grow some new plants: The ground cherries have really taken off! The bird egg gourds are going to look adorable in the spring, once they are dried out. And I’ve harvested a couple delicata squash!

Ground cherries

Bird egg gourd

Delicata squash

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 starting to harvest a good bit from this area!

After!!!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 3. We are continuing to watch what we throw out, and I’m thinking bag 3 will be leaving the house in August.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! That habitat is being loved and used by so many pollinators! The monarchs have been laying so many eggs. We have released almost 10!

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 was washing and waxing cars a lot last month. The waxing was with our personal vehicles and the washing was for a fundraiser!

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!

July was a great month for gardening! Mostly working in the garden and taking in the summer warmth!

Panorama of the garden

Tomato jungle!

Beautiful zinnias, black eyed susans and milkweed

Hoping to do a walk through the garden Wednesday! Keep blooming friends!! 🌸💚

Wednesday walk through the garden 7/17

The weather has been HOT!! When a rainstorm does happen, the plants grow right in front of my eyes! We had a nice harvest this morning! And, the flowers are blooming!

A few of the beautiful flowers blooming!

A jalapeño!

Tomatillo

So many green beans!

Bird egg gourd!

Red cherry tomato

Corn is tasseling

Dickinson pumpkin

Noodle beans

My first ripe ground cherry! It was delicious!

The garden is growing less weeds and more food!!

What are you harvesting from your garden? Growing some beautiful flowers?

Keep blooming friends! 🌻🌱❤️

Wednesday walk through the garden 6/26

I have been working every evening at pulling weeds and mulching the whole garden. It is starting to look more beautiful by the day!

Tomatoes everywhere!

We also have quite the dill forest! I’m hoping to lure in some swallowtail butterflies!

Dill!

And now for the other beauties in the garden:

Dragon tongue beans!

Zucchini!

Dickinson pumpkin

Purple tomatillo!

Potatoes ready for harvest!

Over 80 heads of garlic harvested!

It was nice finally being able to get out in the garden and work! Hoping to get the garden stand set up this weekend!

What are you harvesting?!

May 2019 Goals Update!

Only a little more than a week of school left!! So that means: warm weather and spending more time with my towering teen is coming up! Yay!

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! ** I still need to quilt this thing!**

2. Keep doing good for our community. The school garden is looking better by the day! I’m hoping to get a table at our home fest and see who would be interested in a plot at a community garden and who would volunteer to get it going next year!

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! I think I’m going to go to a pick your own farm and get some strawberries! I will only be getting a hand full from my plants.

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip! Last month I went to Baltimore and was recognized as teacher of the year for my county! I’ll be there again in June!

**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!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 200 pounds of food waste! We are still getting some compostables and I love the yard waste that’s becoming a nice mulch in my garden!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- The Library is open!! I love watching people stop by and grab a book! So far this is my favorite goal!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better, and they are looking pretty good so far! We also planted the whole garden! We are harvesting lots of radishes, leaf lettuce and a couple strawberries. And, we are planting a fig tree too!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants.

**We are getting there! Raised beds have been filled, grass is being removed and plants will be planted very soon!

After!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 2. We are continuing to watch what we throw out!

**we are still on bag 2, but it will be thrown out this week!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! The butterfly weed is blooming, along with yarrow and blanket flowers. Plus, my overwintered Black swallowtail chrysalis emerged as a butterfly!!

From the beginning of the year to the end!

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 been helping with planting out the garden and he helped to make a nice spaghetti dinner this week!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! We have only sold a couple dozen eggs so far, but the garden cart will be opening this month with some produce!

(Technically the garden cart was used for the grand opening of the library!) 😆

May was the month that I got this garden planted and have been working nonstop on the food forest area! I have also put a lot of time into putting more flowers into the pollinator garden and watering lots of new little plants! We also caught a swarm of bees and paid off the solar panels!

Keep blooming friends!! 

Composting week and garden beginnings!

Last week was international composting week! It was fun to spread the message about the importance of composting and answering lots of messages about it!

The biggest question that I get a lot is: “can I just make a pile of my food scraps in the yard?” The quick answer is no. A compost pile needs to be almost equal amounts of greens (most things in your kitchen, even coffee grounds) to browns (sawdust, chipped leaves). Any pile that’s out of proportion will either give you a stinky mess or not break down quickly.

We received a compost drop off last week and it is quickly composting in the pile!

My mom is always sweet and saves me her compostables too! She even wraps them in newspaper to avoid plastics!

We try to recycle most of our paper, but we also use some in the compost bin. I just make sure to work in under the compost, so that paper isn’t flying all over the place on a windy day!

Another reason that I love luffas is that they go straight from being used and into the compost bin. They can be used for a long time before they need to go into the compost!

And I figured that I should show off some of the pretty things going on in the garden! The newly planted blueberry bushes are blooming! (And I think I see a few tiny berries!

The Spring raised bed has come to life and the radishes are even ready to be harvested!

The strawberries are starting to look more beautiful by the day too!

I’m going to be attempting to grow some winecap mushrooms underneath of the trellis. Hopefully I have a harvest by fall!

And lastly, I was able to score a couple fig trees for Mother’s Day! Hopefully these beauties grow and we can taste a real fig in a few years!

I can’t wait to share how our grand opening of the little free library went and how much we enjoyed having family over for the event!

🌸keep blooming!

March 2019 Goals Update

March 2019 will be a month that I remember for a lifetime! I was named teacher of the year for my county, my boy made the high school band and all of our plans have been changed!

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!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I am still planning the Earth Day cleanup for my neighborhood and I have been doing all kinds of volunteering with the Master Gardeners. I also had another nice day to do a clean up around town!

Master gardener demo garden

St. Patrick’s clean up day

3. Can and save money on our groceries. I am hoping to make a lot of jam and jelly this year! Somehow I didn’t make any last year and the store bought stuff just isn’t the same! We are working on growing lots this year!

4. Use that camper some more! Last year we remodeled and fixed up the camper and traveled to Yellowstone and back. It was a great trip and we have another family camping trip to plan in 2019! This is the major change.

**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. Unfortunately.

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 120 pounds of food waste from the landfill. We are still composting our own food waste here at home. We have also been receiving some drop offs of chicken treats and tons of leaves.

6.Little free library/seed sharing- Well, the cabinet turned out to not really work. But, the Mr has been working away at creating a library from scratch! It’s looking great!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! I decided to pick up a few more seeds online. I have big plans!!

8. Yard to garden our bottom yard. We doubled the size of the garden last year and produced lots of extra food. This year, we want to take out our huge swing set that hasn’t been used in such a long time and start getting rid of grass. I’m hoping to turn this area into more food production with trees, bushes and understory plants. We planted a couple blueberry plants, but have plans for more. And, we need to break down that swing set!

9. Keep reducing our trash We are now on bag 2. We are continuing to watch what we throw out!

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! Our milkweed is growing so well! And I’m happy to report that many lupines are growing well too!

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! Turns out he already knew how to use a saw and square properly and helped to make the raised bed garden for my students!

12. Keep track of $ from gardening– I’d love to eventually break even on all of our gardening! So this year we will see if we earn more than we spend on all of our efforts! Maybe?! (Change in plans!! Turns out my boy is going to Disney World with the band. So, we will be putting any money that we make from crafting/blacksmithing and gardening towards this trip!)

March was a great month! I’m looking forward to getting more seeds planted and planting the raised bed garden at school. I can’t wait to get my garden planted and beautiful! What all are you planting right now?!

I know that I am looking forward to warmer. weather!!

🌸🌸Keep blooming friends!! 🌸🌸