Wednesday, February 1, 2017

What I'm Reading | Volume 1

Happy Wednesday yall!

I am starting a new series to give me a weekly blog post I don't have to think too much about & also keep up with my reading. I get most of my books from our public library but if I cannot find one there I am really looking to read I will scour Amazon & Half Price Books for the best price.

Right now I am absorbing all of the information I can as we begin the garden in our backyard & have found some fabulous books through reading other blogs & instagram feeds.

First things first: The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan. I find the books about Urban farming, suburban farming, urban homesteading, etc have excellent information on raised bed gardening, square foot gardening & getting the absolute most out of the small space you dedicate to a garden! I read all 360 some-odd pages in two days because the information was incredible & so easy to follow with different examples, graphics, and wording that anybody can understand. I think I could milk a goat now. Ha!

The Backyard Homestead

I also found the Backyard Homestead Book of Building Projects at my local library & just grabbed it as a tandem with The Backyard Homestead. I have to say it is FULL of great ideas & plans that are explained so well.



Our new home is in a completely different county & a completely different gardening zone I grew up gardening in so through reading books, blogs, watching videos & studying the back of my seed packets I was left a little overwhelmed & thinking to myself "Will this even work here?" & then I stumbled across this book at my Library...The Comal County Gardening Guide! It is written by Master Gardeners from my area who have dedicated their lives to gardening here & know what works, what doesn't, when where & how to plant everything. It even goes into depth on lawn care, trees, has photos of local pests & how to combat them, and deer resistant plants. I found it so useful I ran out to my feed store & bought my very own copy. I strongly urge you to check out your local county to see if they have something similar! It really has put my mind at ease & I don't feel {as} lost while planning out my garden.


WHAT I WANT TO READ

I am trying to decide if I want to pull the trigger on purchasing these books...let me know if you have read them or not.

The Suburban Micro-Farm by Amy Stross


The Made from Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home by Melissa K. Norris 


Until Next Time,
Lauren

Thursday, January 26, 2017

HOUSTON WE HAVE SEED STARTS!

On Sunday I started a few tomato seeds, tomatillos, jalapeno peppers, cayenne peppers & aurora peppers. I have them in a a seed starting kit/house in our spare bedroom that gets very good light. I think it's the seed starter below I got from our local nursery. They are doing well & the trays are removable so you can start at different times & comes with a clear top for the green house effect.



I have been checking on them everyday a few times a day & nothing...finally this morning (A whopping 4 days later haha!!) I have seeds that have germinated!! Some of my Tomatillos Grande Rio Verde, Italian Heirloom tomatoes, & Tomato Costoluto Genovese.


All of my seeds this year are from Baker Creek Heirlooms & Seed Savers Exchange. This is my first year ordering from these companies but I love heirloom plants & have heard nothing but good things about them! Starting from seeds is what we did growing up & {can} be a lot less expensive but a lot more hands on! I urge you to check them out! They have everything your heart could desire.

On a side note I think we have already changed our mind about the raised beds... LOL! I think Brett is rethinking how much work pavers but I'm okay with that because that means I can add more beds YAY! So I guess I will just update throughout the build process.

Until next time,
Lauren 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Starting Fresh | Planning our Garden & Landscape

Hi there! A new year equals new beginnings...in fact one of my goals for 2017 is to garden more. In 2016 we moved into our first home with a real yard & backyard all to ourselves!! Since we built our home we are the first people to have lived in it & while we got minimal landscape but not enough to satisfy my love of a good garden.

For a few weeks now Brett & I have been going back & forth on the details of the backyard garden. We knew the general idea of WHERE we wanted the garden & I knew I need raised beds. No seriously, it is an absolute necessity if you live in Central Texas & also happen to live West of i35. The soil is rocky, unforgiving, and just very hard to work with & control. It's crazy because just on the other side of i35 you have rich easier to work with fertile soil. Anywho, the hardest part so far has been deciding how we will configure this garden but I think we finally figured it out!




I know the sketch is rough & definitely not to scale but we already had intentions to expand our outdoor living area with pavers so that we have more space, can get our BBQ pit out from under our patio cover & entertain easier. Texas weather is amazing & we have friends over multiple times a week so being able to hang out in the backyard & enjoy it is a necessity for us! So the whole rear half of the yard is going to be pavers to add some more seating & potentially a fire pit & be surrounded by mega raised beds! On the right side & the rear they will be large solid pieces in the corner we have a honeysuckle plant that is already planted, it smells & looks beautiful, attracts so many butterflies & humming birds. On the left side on the pavers I envisioned two large square or shorter rectangle beds with a trellis archway connecting them for beans. Brett thinks it will look horrible with the trellis but I need a few anyway so you might as well make it pretty, it will look absolutely magical once it has crops growing on it!

I can't wait for this honeysuckle to come back up!

Below are some before photos of our yard. This is the absolute extreme version of a before because it is January. So far in the last 16 days we have had 20 degree days, 89 degree days, rain & frost!! So all of our plants (or lack thereof) look rough to say the least & our grass is dormant...atleast I hope so HA!



I want to get started like yesterday but I'm going to try to hold off for at least a week. I'll just to have to start some of my seeds to curb my excitement. This is going to be a ton of work but so rewarding!

Monday, January 2, 2017

My 2017 Goals

(Brooke Taelor Photography recently took some awesome pictures of us in our new home & I will be sharing soon!! Until then you can view them & the rest of her incredible work on her website.)


Hey Yall! 2016 was an absolute JOY & full of new adventures, new experiences, and life lessons. We bought our first home, celebrated the lives of family who passed, family who came into the world, and friends who got married. We spent so much time with our families, got to fish, hunt & spend lots of time outdoors, and even go on a few adventures while we were off work. Do you know what was missing? Blogging! If there was anything I feel like I regret about 2016 would be that I didn't blog about my life in 2016 because it was such a huge year for me & my little family, that brings me into my goals for 2017...

2017 Goals

1.) I AM  GOING TO BLOG MORE!!!! There are no if's, and's butt's about it. i am going to try something new and literally plan out the time I am going to blog...which would bring me into my next goal, organization.

2.) Be More Organized. I wouldn't consider myself an unorganized human. I have a tendency to write every single little thing in my planner, I usually know where every single thing is at any given time, and I don't forget events. I want to improve my organizational skills by actually checking my planner (guilty of just not looking at it when I know I'm busy, OOPS!), meal planning more often, decluttering our lives & our home, and also planning my day better to schedule my workouts, blogging, etc. A few weeks ago I stumbled across The Blooming Homestead & the absolutely FABULOUS printables she has on her blog & I printed this family planner to use to keep track of keeping the house clean, our records, grocery lists, meal planning, etc & let me tell you...IT IS INCREDIBLE! & beautiful, what more could you need? She also has fabulous home budgeting tools. printables for around the house & a great blog!

3.) Budgeting! I am not bad at budgeting, I pay all of my bills & pay them all on time. It's my "free" money I want to get better with, it disappears so quickly & I feel like I just have nothing to show for it & it drives me crazy. Maybe that also can coincide with organization.

4.) Gardening. I love gardening, I've blogged about gardening here before but since I had very little going on in my town home I was limited to what I could talk about. I am SO EXCITED about having a backyard & expanding my garden, being more adventurous in the garden & growing our own food! I'd love to meet some other people my age that have a passion for gardening. Today I am actually planning on drawing up the plans for the raised beds I want in our back yard so I can put B to work. You can see the tiny garden I had in my town home last year here.

I wasn't exaggerating when I said tiny HA!


5.) Canning. This just kind of go's with gardening, I know from experience & the amount of things I'd like to grow that we WILL have leftovers & I want to be able to actually use/preserve them beyond just freezing vegetables. I know the basics of canning but I want to improve my skills & use them!

6.) Recycle More. We have city recycling that we pay for each month & this is the first time in my life that I have this resource at my fingertips so I am working consistently at memorizing what can & can't be recycled in our city & actually getting it into the recycling bin. I'd also love to work on repurposing things around the house if possible but we'll see how that goes. LOL

I know it may seem weird that I didn't post "Resolutions" but I honestly don't like the idea of a resolution. I feel that a GOAL is more attainable & realistic. It may just be a different word with the same meaning but it works for me...it's all mind games. What are your goals for 2017?

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Kitchen Coffee Station

I knew when we moved into our home I wanted a "Coffee Bar". I use the term coffee bar lightly because I am the only one who drinks coffee & I'm not even as big of a die hard coffee addict as most people seem to be. I drink my coffee therefor I have a {not so glam} Keurig on our counter.



I am the girl who hates clutter but if it's going to exist it needs to have a real purpose, be functional, and easy on the eyes. Insert tiered rack...I'm not so sure where this one is from, Brett's mom gave it to me (She has the best finds!). Use whatever you have on hand whether it be a cute little bucket, a galvanized stand, a cake stand, anything!! It makes my k-cups, sugar bowl, honey, and trinkets instantly organized & functional.





I got my creamer cow at Kohls for only $8.99, the Pioneer Woman collection at Walmart has them in assorted colors as well. I believe they're sold out or discontinued online but I still see them in the stores. My mug, cozy pumpkin, & bowl were all TJ Maxx finds.  I see canisters, mugs, jars all over Pinterest & Instagram that look like my "Thankful" mug & I'm not sure who originally made them. After intense insta-stalking I found a lady that seems to make/sell them? You can find her shop here. I may have to snag some of those canisters soon! The Fowler's honey is local Texas Honey!! I love any chance to support local families, farms, business', etc so when I saw it at our local meat market I had to snag it. Come to find out the are actually located in La Vernia, Tx which is very close to us so I love it even more! You can buy their honey on their website here.


Unfortunately I think my Keurig is either possessed or about to crap out on me. Some days it will make a half a cup of coffee, some days it'll make a full cup, and last week it decided to make a cup for my entire town & pour all over my counter, floor, & cabinets! So if anybody has any suggestions for single serve coffee makers please help a girl out.


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Our own piece of Texas

Whew! Life has been a whirlwind lately! Shopping for a home is NOT for the faint of heart. Maybe it's a little better at different times of the year & different areas of the country but I never would have thought actually finding a home would be such a nightmare.

The good news is that we now have our very first home!! On June 30th we closed on our very first home ALL THE HEART EYE EMOJIS!! Since we closed almost a month & a half ago we have been busy busy busy. We keep saying all we want to do is sit in the house & enjoy it but between unpacking, working, decorating, we are occupied 110% of the time. I haven't even taken real pictures of our house.


I had all expectations to have the perfect picture in front of our first home in our perfect outfits we wore to our closing....& then life happens! We live in the Texas Hill Country so it was about 286 degrees outside, we were sweaty, and it was HOT so our cute clothes were ditched in about 2.3 seconds.


The sunsets are so dreamy! We are so blessed to be able to afford our first home at such a young age but we have worked SO HARD for it. We couldn't be more thankful & grateful. Until next time!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ten on Tuesday: My Garden


I stumbled upon Sept. Farm blog by Karli & couldn't stop reading. I thought I'd join in on this Tuesday's link up! Yall have to go check out her blog later.

We live in a townhome right now with no yard (I know, torture) but I cannot have a porch without some greenery. I may sound a little biased but I have quite the green thumb & gardening is one of my favorite things to do (but really doing anything outside is my favorite) & I cannot wait to have a yard & be able to expand my garden & landscape.

So right now we have a few containers Brett built me with some yummy & pretty goodness growing inside!




1) Cilantro! YUM. I've always loved cilantro & use it a few times a week cooking. That's probably the Texan in me...ALL the mexican food please! If you use Cilantro regularly plant more than you anticipate you need. Also, fresh home grown cilantro is SOOOOOO much more flavorful than store bought Cilantro! In my home made salsa with store bought cilantro I probably use half the bushel but with my homegrown cilantro I can use 10 leaves or less and actually taste the cilantro.



2) Jalapeno Peppers. Yall the amount of peppers we eat through out the year is ridiculous. Again, put in everything. They are effortless to grow in this area as we get a decent amount of rain during the spring & plenty of sunshine. One thing I've learned with peppers is the less water, the hotter they get. For us this is a good thing, for others not so much so beware.

3) Habanero Peppers. These are Brett's favorite. The one below just showed it's face & I just let it hang out until it turns orange. I don't use them in as much cooking as they are H.O.T. but I do like to put them on his side of the pizza, make sauce out of them, and garnish some of his foods.



4) Serrano peppers. Okay I promise this is the last pepper we are growing...for now ;) I love the flavor & heat these little peppers pack! Just a effortless as the rest of our peppers.

5) Basil. mmmmmMMMMmmmm! I LOVE BASIL! I only use it for my pizza because this girl can down some fresh margherita pizza any day of the week. Fresh basil is 100x better than the dried basil & buying fresh basil every time I went to the grocery store was just getting expensive. Basil is very sensitive but will let you know when it needs more water (gets wilted) but if it gets too cold overnight or in the morning it will die. So this is a good plant to start indoors (even in Texas) until you are absolutely sure its not getting below 50 degrees at night then put it outside and it will grow faster than you can use it!

6) Cherry Tomatoes. I am ready to get a yard so I can explore growing hybrids and heirloom tomatoes. I'm not crazy about cherry tomatoes but I will definitely use them in salads & pizzas. Our little (big) plant now has 3 little guys growing on it



7) Blackberries. Brett surprised me with these on my birthday & I think next year if I do okay with these I will definitely grow quite a few more bushes because I don't think this one bush will produce enough for us but we will find out soon! It's got some beautiful berries growing on it now.



8) Strawberries! All the heart eyes!! Strawberries have always been a struggle for me, I'm not going to lie. This one is still alive but has yet to produce any fruits for us so we'll see what happens. Yes, im tending to my garden in slippers.



9) Green onions. (I think) These are growing like crazy! I don't cook with them often so if yall have some recipes or ideas on what to add them to let me know because I'd hate to see them go to waste.

10) Flowers. Every girl loves flowers amiright? These caught my eye on my birthday on a quick trip to Lowe's (I know, that's a joke. There's no such thing) to pick up my Dyson & I couldn't resist. I brought it home & divided it into 3 different pots & they're doing great. I do feel like this pot is dwarf like on our porch but B got it for me for my birthday as well so it needed some love.



What's in your garden or dream garden? Link up below! I'd love to see your 10.

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