It feels like summer!

This week has really heated up! We have been able to go swimming and be outside all of the time. The plants are really taking their first growth spurt and I am up to 2 okra plants! All the birds are very happy too!

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Quail eggs

We have also been able to harvest a few things:

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My first garlic this year 
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Strawberries and eggs 

And as for the first week of our zero waste summer challenge, altogether we only made a little over 3 ounces of trash between the 3 of us! The chocolate chips have been put into cookies enjoyed by all of us. (That’s why it’s circled!)

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Week 1 of zero waste challenge 

I have also spotted a few beautiful flowers blooming away in the garden and the bees and butterflies seem to like them!

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Beautiful echinacea 

I will get a picture of all the yummy things growing in the garden this week!

May Goals Update 2017!

Do you know what today is?!?! It’s the last day of school here! Therefore, I’m on break! Yippee!! So, I’ll be posting a little more often! But, now onward with the goal update for May:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are having a family challenge with money prize between the 3 of us! The one that creates the least amount of garbage gets the $! (We are hoping to get the boy on board with eating less packaged food!) There will be lots of cooking and baking in my future!
2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. Nothing out of here this month! We really don’t have anything to get rid of at the moment!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month! Well, we just threw out the 3rd bag this year.

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It’s June and only 3 bags! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. In May we did a craft show out of town in Boonsboro, MD and we did pretty well for a rainy day! We also have hit our 30th sale at our Etsy store!

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Some items we sold! 

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. Just waiting for our favorite electrician to get to it , my Dad. 😊

6. Expand the garden. I just made the expanded area larger with fencing! Darn deer everywhere here! I was also able to get a good bit planted in our regular yard and even made a green bean tee pee for our pole beans!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year, but something keeps eating the seedlings this year! The cucumelons are in the ground, as well as the popcorn and I’m doing my best to get some okra to germinate! We also have some huge pumpkins that came up on their own from ones the chickens ate last year!

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8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. I’m not sure if, or when we will get this accomplished! But, our hen hatched out one beautiful little chick and the quail laid their first egg!


9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film this year! I also tried to start magazine recycling, but someone kept throwing it all away! Also, my students started saving their single use bowls from breakfast for me to recycle as well as packages from muffins for terracyle!

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These are only from my classroom! 

We also did research, located native plants and planted a pollinator garden at school!

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached 1.46 MWh! (And it was a gross rainy month!) We also got our bill for May, and it was less than $10! Ahh! That was a nice bill to open!

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11. Continue beekeeping. May was the month of swarms! The hive that we split off of our hive is doing well! (Pic on left) Then we got a call about a smaller swarm here in town, they are doing well now! (Bottom right pic). Next we got a call for a big swarm (middle picture.) We were then called back to the same area we got the last swarm to help get an established hive out of a tree that was being cut down. (Top right photo) So, I guess we are glad that we never got a call about the bees we ordered, but didn’t get!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went with the boy to a nice closer amusement park for his end of year band trip. It was great!
If you set goals, how are yours going?

April 2017 Goals Update!

Goodbye April and hello May! Do you know what I love about May? Everything! School is almost over, plants are slowly making their way outside and the warmth!  Yay!! This is how my goals are going so far:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! I’ve created a variety of reusable make up removers and I’m going to have to write all about how I made my own sour dough starter!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the garage and it looks amazing!

3. Create only 12 bags of garbage per year. Americans are super wasteful. We are going to try to only produce one 13 gallon kitchen trash bag per month! The picture on the left is everything that we cleaned up around the neighborhood. And on the right is the same picture from last month. We are still in bag number 2!!

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended an art walk locally and it was amazing! I met so many interesting people and heard so many nice comments on my products! Great day!!

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Check out our new banner!!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. I finally got the cooktop moved to the right spot in the garage. Now all I need to do is get my dad to run the electric to it! He’s amazing!

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Future summer kitchen!

6. Expand the garden. We have been able to expand the garden along the fence and we are looking forward to planting some luffa along there too!

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Expanded area!

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! Along with cucumelons, my fellow gardening friend gave me some Egyptian walking onions!


8. Make a chicken viewing area. In the warm months, I love sitting by the garden and watching the chickens and bees. But, I normally sit on the ground. We are hoping to make a nice seated area in the spring! And now we will have some adorable quail over there too!

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They grew up so fast!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled around 150 pounds of plastic film and I’m still working on collecting magazines to recycle.

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached around 1.5 megawatts! We are loving these longer days!

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April was a beautiful month!!

11. Continue beekeeping. Not too much to say here! The bees are doing their thing and I separated out a queen cell and some workers into a new hive. I was supposed to get a new hive, but the company hasn’t gotten back to me yet.

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Fun with bees!

12. Travel more with the family! We managed to visit so many places last year and have some major traveling ideas for this year! We went to Williamsburg, VA over Easter break and loved the history! (And gardens!)

If you set goals, how are yours going?

Friday Funday (well, my version of fun!)

Don’t expect to read about something crazy amazing, like winning the lottery or taking a once in a lifetime trip. Nope, just what’s going on now that the weather is beautiful!

The bees have been buzzing around doing bee things! And I officially have tiny green strawberries and loads of blooms!

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Strawberry blooms

And although I don’t like creepy staged pictures where it looks like life is just perfect, I had eggs in my hands and these flowers were growing in my garden… so, I used the opportunity for a cute “L” photo!

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L for Llewellyn! 

And the arugula, leaf lettuce and spinach in the old wagon are growing!

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Salad wagon

I spent the evening hilling potatoes, checking on seedlings and finally moving the quail into their outdoor home!

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Quail dust bathing! 

And just when you think the day can’t get much better, I got to meet up with an old friend and barter some sweet potato slips and luffa plants for some onions and pepper plants!

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Best gift ever! 

And I didn’t even mention that our solar panels are loving these long, sunny days!

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75 KWh!

Today was a great day and tomorrow I will be at a local arts walk selling (hopefully) some of my craftiness! Have a great weekend!

Earth Day Weekend! 

The boy and I waited most of the morning to go pick up litter around the neighborhood because of the downpour. But, wouldn’t you know that it rained all day, so we just went out in it anyway. 2 hours of picking up garbage! I figured it was some good volunteering for both of us! And we finally took care of a cushion that has been on the street for a month! 

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Garbage from 2 streets!

Would you believe that these were the most commonly found items: cigarette butts, styrofoam McDonald’s cups, plastic bottles and plastic wrappers.

After viewing all that waste, I spent the afternoon/evening working on ecofriendly crafts! 

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I think they turned out pretty awesome! I’m hoping others will too! 

And the mister used his blacksmithing skills to make some railroad spike gardening trowels. These are basically indestructible! 

Blacksmithed garden trowel

I was also able to check in on the honeybee hive I split and almost got stung because they are doing just fine! And then cleaned the chicken coop and planted my assorted onions. 

Onion sets!

And of course I put them in the ground in a sequence. It went yellow onion, white onion, purple onion for all 100. Do other people do weird things like that? Probably not. Ha! 

I checked in on the baby quail that are not babies anymore! They are so easy to tell a male from a female. The females have dots on their chest and males don’t. They are both beautiful birds! 

Male on left, female on right
Great solar day!

And check out that solar day that we had on  Sunday! Beautiful day! 

I have a lot to get accomplished for the weekend with a craft show and the end of the month! Enjoy your week! 

April needs to get it together!

How in the world can it go from 70 degrees and beautiful to snowflakes and 30 degrees? That’s part of living in the mountains! Here’s how beautiful it was earlier in the week!

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Beautiful day! 

I was able to check in on my hive and the bees were more calm than they were last time I was in there! Thank goodness!

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Getting the smoker ready! 

The plants under the grow light are all doing great! So far I have luffa gourds, Roma and slicing tomatoes and cucumelons. The peppers always take forever to germinate!

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Seedlings! 

Earlier in the week I went to see an orthodontist. My teeth have always been crooked and I’m so tired of them! So, it might cost me a small fortune, but I’m getting them fixed! While I was out, I stopped in the only bulk store near here and picked up some bulk Castile soap and popcorn!

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Bulk shopping! 

I used that soap to mix with thieves oil and make my own cleaner. I’ve made my own cleaner for years, but I’m loving the thieves oil’s smell! It makes my whole house smell so clean!!!

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Homemade cleaner! 

And those baby quail are growing up! They are all getting their big bird feathers. I must admit that these baby birds are so fragile!

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Baby quail

I’m going to be spending my weekend cleaning, sewing and getting orders finished! Hope everyone has a productive weekend!

Enjoying this regular week

You know how you have a totally normal 5 day week. Everything is just, well, normal. Same work, nothing special, blah, blah, blah. Well, I’m enjoying this normality!

First off, I bought some quail eggs for the kindergarten at my school to hatch out and they did! I actually got to see one enter this world. It was a beautiful sight!

Over the weekend my momma told me that she is finished with cleaning out my Granny’s home. Then, she gifted this amazing hooked rug that was handmade by my Granny:

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Granny made rug

I also finally got around to making some Birdseye unpaper (or cloth) towels. We have been paper towel free for a couple years! These are being tested now by us, so if they pass the test, they will be for sale on our etsy shop!

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Unpaper towels

Spoiler alert 🚨: this summer we are going package free, so we are trying to make the things we normally buy packaged. So, just yesterday we made some crackers. The boy is kind of addicted to plain crackers. He thinks these will work just fine!

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Homemade crackers!

And I’m just going to leave this cute bunny face here in case you need something to make you smile:

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Willy the rabbit

I’ll be reporting back this weekend with the March wrap up! Come on weekend!