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?

Easter break time!!

I have been quiet here on the blog lately! When I’m not working outside on these beautiful nights, I have been sewing lots of orders and prepping for craft shows!

I’ll share a few projects that I finished up:

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Hooded towel

And I crocheted this 100% cotton bath pouf:

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Cotton bath pouf

Now as for gardening, the mister and I are expanding the garden space along the fence line! The fence will be filled with luffa gourds soon! (Hopefully!)

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New garden area

The plants under the grow lights are enjoying their life! They are growing quickly and will soon be ready for life outdoors!

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Cucumelon plants! 

The mister tilled the garden over the weekend! And, I was able to even plant the potatoes and beets. Hopefully they will start growing soon!

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Tilled garden!

The strawberry plants are growing fast and they are even blooming! We are already dreaming of all the delicious strawberry jam coming our way!

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Strawberries!

This week I have been trying my hand at making my own sourdough starter. So far, only a few bubbles. If all goes well, I’ll post how this works out!

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Sourdough starter starting!

This weekend we have some fun ideas and are looking forward to spending time with family! If you celebrate Easter, enjoy it! 😊

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!

March 2017 Goals Update

March was quite a mix of gross snowy weather and beautiful weather! Seeds have been started and we have been forging and sewing up a storm! So, here’s how it is going:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We are going as package free as we can this summer and have been trying to make some yummy copycats! So far the crackers were a success! And check out those unpaper Birdseye towels that we will be adding to the shop!

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. This month we cleaned out the boy’s bookshelf to make room for a new shelf. At least 50 things out of that room this month!

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! We are just now starting bag 3 in April!

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Bag 2 for the year! 

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. This month we attended our first craft show as Llewellyn Homestead. We made a few sales and met a lot of nice people! And on top of that, our gardening aprons are for sale at a super cute local business! That’s so exciting for us!

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. (And continue preserving our harvest!) **coming before canning season!**

6. Expand the garden. We did get the onion sets and kale planted this month! Lots of little seedlings are living under the grow light for now!

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Onion sets and kale in there! 

7. Grow some different plants. Luffa gourds were so fun to grow last year and we are growing them again! We are adding so many different plants that I will have to wait until they are growing to show them!

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Cucumelons coming up! 

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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Adorable quail!

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled 115 pounds of plastic bags since the start of the program in January! And now I’m trying to get people to recycle those millions of magazines that are sent to schools! (And the secretary at our school started recycling the copier toner! Who hoo Stacey!!)

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Recycling those teacher magazines! 

10. Track our solar panels. This month we reached a Megawatt! That’s 1,000 kilowatts!! So far we are loving those panels!

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Solar panel production!

11. Continue beekeeping. Last month the bees had the joy of snowstorms and 70 degree weather  odd weather! But they are doing great and we will be getting another hive this month! And I’m going to be putting out some swarm traps to catch some bees!

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Listening to the hum of 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 didn’t do much this month, but we have been thinking of all the places that we need to visit! (Maybe somewhere for Easter?!?!)

We are so ready for gardening season!

If you set goals, how are yours going?

How we make less trash

I love, love, love running into people here where I live that actually read my little blog! Such a compliment, especially since I am far from a writer. The first thing they always are curious about is how we create such a small amount of trash. So, here’s what  we do here that seems completely normal to us!

*We don’t use paper products. (Well, we do use toilet paper) no paper towels, napkins, paper cups/plates. We have our unpaper towels for both our house and lunches

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Cloth unpaper towels

*Meal planning- I plan out the meals for the week so that I only buy what I need. I don’t throw out uneaten food here.

*Be a fixer/maker. We try our best at fixing anything that breaks. I can patch/sew/repair fabric things and the mister is an amazing trouble-shooter and fixer. We also make a ton of things that others buy, like soap, all purpose cleaner and even pretty much anything that the mister can create!

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Homemade soap!

*No food in the garbage: the chickens and worms get anything that is leftover that we don’t want, or pieces of peelings.

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Chickens get leftovers
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Worm castings from red wrigglers

*be a baker-yes, we make a lot of our own breads, cakes, muffins, cookies and anything else that normally comes in a wrapper. I enjoy it, and definitely need to work on this more. I tend to be better at this in the summer time!

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Homemade bread

*we are non-shoppers. Shopping isn’t a hobby or exciting event for us. If something is needed, we look for it second hand. Then, if we can’t find it we buy it new. We also always take a list and use our reusable bags.

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Second hand work pants

*Say no to plastic wrap! I use the reusable beeswax wraps that I made to cover up bowls and plates. We also use containers and reusable sandwich bags, so no ziplock bags are used here!

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Beeswax wraps! 

*Grow what you eat! We grow a lot of the foods that our family really likes and love the fact that our dinner traveled a whole 10 feet from our yard to our table!

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Our smaller raised bed garden

*we are preservers! We grow what we enjoy and then preserve whatever we can. We enjoy our own tomatoes sauces, jellies, green beans, onions, garlic and potatoes all throughout the winter.

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Our own green beans!

*we are recyclers. Our small town does not recycle a lot. We recycle what we can here. I don’t believe that recycling is the great answer with plastics, but what we can’t refuse to use we do recycle.

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Our recycle bins! 

* we compost!! Coffee grounds, tea bags, fruit peels, papers and cardboard get composted. The mister also burns some of the cardboard too.

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The worms love some old newspapers!

* We are leftover eaters. I take leftovers in my lunch a lot, in reusable containers. That means not much eating out, so no straws (they’re terrible), styrofoam cups or even condiment packages.

*reusable everything! We refill our foam soap pumps, use and make our own cotton dishcloths (that can eventually be composted).

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Crochet dishcloths

That’s more than a handful of what we do. We are far from perfect and we are going to  continue working on leaving this planet a better place! If you can think of anything else to add, please leave a comment! And remember that I look at this as a way of life and not a competition. 💚🌎

February 2017 Goals Update!

February came and went and we were able to get some major things accomplished! The mister got his forge up and running and I have been crocheting and sewing like a maniac! So, here’s how it is going:

1. Zero waste our home! We already do a good bit to avoid creating trash, but there is always room for improvement! We have been replacing packaged food with homemade. We phased out packaged lemon bars with homemade! The only leftovers were egg shells that were dried and crushed for tomatoes and lemons that were put in the compost!

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Zero waste lemon bars! 

2. Declutter 20 items per month. Last year I decluttered 2016 items from this house. We were able to get rid of 12 things this month. A few of the mister’s shirts and cups that we don’t use!

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They found new homes! 

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! We had to take out our first trash bag and the second is only halfway full! (Spoiler alert, I have some crazy ideas for less garbage this summer!)

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First bag of garbage

4. Merge crafting and homestead business. The mister has made some bottle openers with his forge and I’ve been making some aprons! My aprons will be carried in a local store, so that’s kind of a big deal!

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Gardening/gathering aprons

5. Create a summer kitchen. We will be turning a spot in the garage into a nice canning area. (And continue preserving our harvest!) Hopefully this will happen before strawberry season! 🍓

6. Expand the garden. We won’t be planting the grandparent’s garden this year, but we will be expanding our own garden! The garlic and rhubarb have started doing their thing!

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Garlic and rhubarb

7. Grow some different plants. Last year I was so excited about the luffa gourds that I grew. I’ll be growing them again along with some other different plants. So far on the list: luffa, strawberry popcorn, cucamelons and birdhouse gourds.

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Birdhouse gourds from last year!

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!

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Egg production is picking up! 

9. Green up my school. Schools create an absurd amount of trash! My class recycled 55 pounds of plastic bags through the trex program and we saved the hug drink cups from the garbage in my class!

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They will be recycled! ♻️ 

10. Track our solar panels. So, February was our first full month of solar energy. We produced about 840 kWh this month!

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Solar power! 

11. Continue beekeeping. Well, the bad news is that the yellow hive didn’t make it. The good news is that we were able to get lots of yummy honey! We are planning on getting another hive in April!

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Raw honey!

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 didn’t do much this month, but we have been thinking of all the places that we need to visit!

So, there you have it! February flew right out the window, and in a March I need to get moving on gardening! Only 30 more days until the next recap, so get to work! 😊

If you set goals, how are yours going?

Pretty busy for February!

This weekend just absolutely flew by! I swear that we had more touches of this and that all weekend. I was summoned to go pick up the old jars of food from my Granny’s to get rid of. Of course I get to keep all of the ball jars. Definite win!

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Nice inheritance of jars!

Since the weather was so beautiful, I knew it was a chance to really clean out the coop. That was a lot of work!

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Clean, clean, clean! 

Then, I finally got around to cleaning out my vermicompost bin. There were lots of worms and also lots of worm castings! My seedlings will enjoy this boost when they get put in the ground!

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Worm castings

I was also able to take a picture of my fence area. It’s where I grew the luffas last year. I’m hoping to expand it out and landscape it in!

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Random planning where I could put plants 

And now where my Sunday disappeared to: spinning honey. Since we lost a hive over the winter, we decided to go ahead and harvest the honey. Thank goodness we have a kid that has a crazy amount of energy. He spun at least 90% of the honey out of the frames! Go boy go!

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Lots of honey! 

Finally, we were forced to take out our first bag of garbage this year. Sherman wasn’t even sure what we were doing. So, that’s bag number 1!

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First bag of garbage

And I had to share this sweet piece of jewelry that was passed down from my Granny. My mom can remember her mom wearing it to church when she was a kid. So, I wore it to church today.

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So vintage that it’s awesome! 

So, here’s to another week! As a teacher I get to enjoy Valentine’s Day with 8 year olds and enjoy receiving some sweet teacher valentines! Enjoy your week!