What’s blooming around here?!

It officially feels like summer here! With all of these hot days, the flowers are starting to bloom everywhere. And, the pollinators are happy!!

Bumble on bee balm

Swamp milkweed bloom

Borage bloom

Purple and white coneflowers

Marigold

Purple cosmos!

Zucchini bloom

Dragon tongue beans bloom

Before (top) After weeding (bottom)

I have been doing a ton of work getting rid of those pesky weeds in the garden. I used a lot of cardboard and tons on mulch on top. Hopefully that suppresses them for a while!

What’s blooming in your garden?! 🌱❤️

Life has been busy! (But, so have I!)

Hello! I have had a long break from posting! I wish I could say that I’ve been off on adventures or vacationing. Instead, I have been spending lots of time with a loved one who has been in the hospital and not feeling well. I must admit that the waiting room in the hospital is pretty nice!

While in Baltimore, it was a quick drive over to MPT to be interviewed for the teacher of the year gala! It was a fun experience and it was so neat to have a behind the scenes view!

Since I have only been home about a week this month, I have a lot of weeding to do around here! So, here is my before picture of the garden. It will look so much better weed free!

My Mr. has been working hard on the yard to garden conversion! The space is being utilized so much better than just a patch of grass!

The butterfly weed is putting off the most beautiful blooms right now! (And the pollinators have been enjoying it too!)

Our little free library has been having a nice amount of visitors!! Plus, I have been excited to receive so many free books to put in there! Keep reading this summer kids!!

Last night I had a great moment! While working on bringBig mulch to the garden, I spotted a monarch caterpillar on the butterfly weed! So, monarch raising has officially started!

June has been a blur of running all over the state and finishing up the school year. But, there have also been lots of good moments too!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸❤️

Gardening, seedlings, composting and a new raised bed!

I have been so incredibly busy this month! I’m polishing my teacher of the year documents and getting everything for my portfolio in order. And on top of that, getting seeds planted and prepping for our 2019 garden!

Don’t mind the weeds, but I have 2 long rows of potatoes that are already starting to break their way through the soil!

I planted 6 asparagus crowns too!

Our seedlings under the grow lights are shooting up and I’m hoping to get our tiny greenhouse cleaned out and ready for more seedlings!

Cucamelons seedlings

Tomatoes

Jalapeño peppers

Ground cherries

We have also started taking in compostables and I’m hoping to get as much this summer as we did last summer!

Yesterday I was set up at a local craft show. It was a beautiful day outside, so not many people showed up. But, I did teach a couple people about the importance of milkweed for monarchs. And, I talked growing food and gardening with many others!

Last night we finally took the raised bed down to the school. I’m hoping to get the soil in it and planted by the end of the month!

This month is flying by and I’m looking forward to getting the garden planted!

Keep blooming friends! 🌸💚

Best week ever!!!

Remember how I said that I was hoping to be teacher of the year for the whole county? Well, I won!!!

I was so surprised!

It was the best feeling in the world! And I can’t wait to spread my love for teaching little humans how to take care of our Earth! (Maybe I can get more adults on board with changing their wasteful ways!)

And back to the prepping of the garden: lots of plants are growing under the grow lights!

Little lupine

Milkweed!

Oxheart tomatoes

Purple tomatillos

Today was a big recycling day at school! We collected around another 20 pounds of plastic film. And, I dropped off the plastic bottles, magazines and newspaper to the proper bins after school.

Plastic bottles and apples for the chickens

Magazines and newspapers

Chickens enjoying the leftover apples!

We completed a lab that involved taste testing apples after we learned about the process of selection! My students are never surprised with me saying “put the leftovers in the bag because the chickens will love them! And they did!

The new board that I chalked, since spring is supposed to be here! After a week like this one, I definitely feel like I am blooming where I am planted!

Have a great weekend, and you guessed it, keep blooming friends!

Sprouting seeds and being green

Winter returned this week and we have had some snow, ice and lots of below freezing temps. But, there is lots prep work going on around here for spring!

The compost is cooking away and will make great plant food for the garden!

We have a few plants growing under the lights so far. The onions and milkweed are in soil and lots more seeds are being sprouted first. The pollinator garden should look pretty nice this year!

Butterfly milkweed

Sprouted lupine seeds

Did I mention that the chicken quilt topper is finished? Well, it is!! Now I just need to learn how to quilt it!

And before I started any seeds, I needed to plan my garden and make sure that I had room for everything that I wanted to grow. I needed to start my long season crops!

At school this month we have reached some green milestones! We have recycled over 300 pounds of plastic film, 1,100 plastic cereal bowls, and have saved 100 pounds of food waste from the trash! (Since the beginning of the year!)

Snow on the compost!

So many bowls. ♻️

And, here at home, we finally had to take out the trash for the first time in 2019.

And I always enjoy sharing a picture of our beabull! He thinks he’s a tiny baby.

I’m feeling the nerves coming on pretty strong for tomorrow! I have my interview to compete for the county wide teacher of the year. I just want to represent myself and school well! I could use lots of extra positive vibes sent my way! So, here’s to a nerve wracking Monday!

Keep blooming friends! 🌱💚

February 2019 Goals Update

In February we got way too many snow days off from school! The weather seemed to turn into super winter, with a few nice days hidden in there! But, the grow lights started shining here and seedlings are starting to pop up!

And now, the goal updates:

1. Sew my first quilt– The craft that I wanted to try was making my first quilt. the chickens are all sewn on in rows and I will be working on the perimeter pieces this weekend. I will be practicing on my mom’s long arm sewing machine soon!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I will be going to a town meeting next week (I missed the one last month) to get the ball rolling for an Earth Day cleanup in April. I’m hoping to encourage our community to pitch in! And, I’m still the chief recycler at school. (Self appointed!) We have recycled over 300 pounds of plastic film and 1,000 plastic bowls from breakfast.

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! And we are using up all of those green beans that we canned last year quickly!

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! (We know that it will be to the northeast!)

5. Compost!! Composting at school is still going well and we have diverted around 95 pounds of food waste from the landfill. We are still composting our own food waste here at home. We are planning to have a few drop off points certain days. We just need to find businesses who would like crazy compost collectors nearby!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- We got a free cabinet that we are going to turn into a little free library with seed give away in it. My sister loved to read and I feel like it would be nice to build one in her memory. We are hoping to have it built and do a ribbon cutting in the Spring. (Since the Mr. finished our tv stand, he is now working on this!)

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds! I also got a lot of extra seeds in a seed swap, so we have added purple tomatillos to our list 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. (once the weather changes, we will say goodbye to that swing set!)

9. Keep reducing our trash We are still on bag 1! We are going try to make our own package free version of foods that we love that unfortunately comes in wrappers. I love making our own tortillas and zucchini cake! (Shredding and freezing zucchini from the garden make a great treat in the winter!)

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 hoping to finally get some lupines growing too. I haven’t had luck with them in the past.

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! In February when my low air light was on in the car, the Mr. made sure to show him how to fill it up and where to find the info on how much air to put in the tires.

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?! (Well, I’m going to be buying a good many raspberry canes and blueberry plants. And, maybe a fruit tree. So…)

This month seemed to fly by to me! I’m going to be focusing on planning my garden, starting my tomatoes, peppers, cucamelons, ground cherries, tomatillos and a few luffa plants this month. Then next month, I should be able to get some of the leaf lettuces, peas and other cold weather crops in the ground! (Plus I’m trying to get a raised bed garden at school!)

And how are your goals rolling along?! Keep blooming friends! Spring is so close!!

It’s a freezing out there, so I craft weekend!

Over the weekend the temps dipped around zero and just walking outside was painful! Add snow that turned into compacted ice, and even getting to the chickens is a pain. So, lots of inside activities are going on!

First up is my first quilt ever! I’m making the little chickens in groups of 9 and do an assembly line when making these! (And I had to fit in my chicken pin cushion too!)

And now I am up to 27 chickens (the sewn quilted variety!)

And a cold weather miracle started happening… the chickens started laying eggs again! I don’t put an heat lamps or lights in their coop, so I let it up to them to start laying whenever they’d like. And I only had to buy one carton of eggs this winter, so not too horrible!

Since everything has been so cold, not a lot of anything plant related has been going on. But, I am trying to get a real Christmas cactus to grow roots. I am also trying to regrow a pineapple from the top and grow some ginger from store bought. And the ginger is starting to grow some little buds!

They aren’t huge buds, but they are growing! If it continues growing, it will become a deck plant this summer!

And I started prepping the milkweed seeds for growing this year. They need to cold stratify for about a month. So, into a damp coffee filter and then into a container followed by the fridge they go. They will go into the soil around the end of February!

And I won’t lie, I also enjoyed relaxing on the couch with the pups! I started working on the paperwork to compete for teacher of the year and needed to relax a bit afterwards!

And that’s pretty much how the weekend worked out! And now to work a few more days until the next weekend!

New Year Goals 2019!

Happy New Year! Every year I try to set a dozen goals and give monthly updates to keep myself accountable! (And because I love sharing our journey!) Throughout the year when I think about what I would like to accomplish, I make a running list. Some ideas get put into the future file. Some go into the never ever file and others make the cut! And without further ado, our 2019 goals:

1. Sew my first quilt– I have been wanting to try a new craft for quite a while. I wanted to take on a bigger project, and I wanted to make something for us. It’s going to be a chicken quilt and I found a great pattern online Here .And since I was super intimidated, I tried out a practice one. Even though it is far from perfect, I think that I’ve got this! I think!

2. Keep doing good for our community. I loved being able to help organize an Earth day clean up and donating to our local mission rescue. I plan on helping our community by organizing a clean up group and doing monthly street clean ups.

3. Can and save money on our groceries. We didn’t do a great job of canning our garden goodies last winter. I want to can more jellies, green beans salsa and other deliciousness!

Catsup!

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!

The Badlands

5. Compost!! We are going to continue composting every Wednesday at school and greening up school in general! I’m hoping to have a school wide composting day on Earth Day! And, we are hoping to help our neighbors compost. Maybe we can compost 1,000 lbs again!

6.Little free library/seed sharing- We got a free cabinet that we are going to turn into a little free library with seed give away in it. My sister loved to read and I feel like it would be nice to build one in her memory. We are hoping to have it built and do a ribbon cutting in the Spring.

A local little free library we visited!

7. Grow some new plants: This year we are hoping to grow ground cherries better. Plus, grow blue pumpkins, corn and more gourds!

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. A little bit at a time!

9. Keep reducing trash! We produced almost 6 bags of garbage last year. This year we are trying for only 5! So, monthly I am going try to make my own package free version of foods that we love that unfortunately comes in wrappers.

10. Create a Monarch waystation and tagging supplies-Last year we made a wildlife habitat area and we will continue to add to it! So we will add plenty of nectar and milkweed for monarchs to lay their eggs on. Last year we loved looking through the milkweed for caterpillars and raising them to become adults. It was so much fun! So this year, we would like to tag them and see if any of ours make their way to Mexico!

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! We will be working on something new every month. Examples: sewing on a button, cooking meals, using tools appropriately, changing a tire, properly ironing and folding clothes. And weirdly enough, my brother bought this book for him for Christmas:

And if you are local, you can feel free to bring your kid over if you think it is a skill that your teen needs to learn too!

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?!

So, there are our big plans! We hope that we will be able to accomplish them all! And we also hope that you all do too! Keep blooming friends!

No Spend September Update

This no spend year has been much harder on the Mr., instead of myself. He’s is the spender and I am the saver. I was so proud of him for not buying me expensive stuff for my birthday! He even reused a gift bag that I had saved! ❤️

As a gift, I got a grab bag of seeds, compost thermometer and a new pair of sanuks, since mine were getting holes. (Btw, MIgardener has these grab bags for only $10!) Phenomenal deal!

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30 seed packs picked at random! 💚

I also decorated the house for Fall with what I grew. Everything is from the garden and I spent a whopping nothing!

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Our beautiful glass gem corn!

I have also been saving lots of seeds, so that I don’t have to buy more next year! So far I have put up several types of beans, dill, cosmos, ground cherries and I’m working on fermenting cucamelon seeds.

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Cosmos seeds

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We saved the Paw Paw seeds from our hike

Speaking of hike, we enjoyed going out to a local trail. We stopped at a comic book store that my boy loves along the way. So, it was a great family day!

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Beautiful hike

I also enjoyed raising some monarchs that were on the milkweed! It was free to do and so much fun! The whole family enjoyed searching for the tiny caterpillars on our plants!

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One of our handraised beauties

We were able to start paying more on the house since I am back to work and are planning on becoming debt free in less than 5 years, pending health and staying accident free! Keep pushing on and thinking twice before buying those wants!

Does anyone else have some tips for saving more? Please share in the commmebts! 😊