The Weekly Digs #126

by Becky

Homeschool

We had a lot of changes around here this week. The big one is that I started another year of homeschool with the kids. We do a little bit of school all summer but now we are spending more time on it. It’s easiest to start when schools start locally.

Now that we have our home all finished, we have a classroom! It has made a world of difference. We start at a set time, ring the bell, close the doors, and that means it’s time for school.

People have often told me not to make my homeschooling like public school but I have to say that schedule, order, and routine suits me and the kids much better. Sure, we have fun still, but I love the structure!

7:30am-12pm we are in school, and like any teacher, I am there the whole time. Usually they each need individual help and in the rare times they are all working and no help is needed, I’ll plan out the science or history lesson.

In the Garden

All the hours spent in school, has meant a big shift in the time I get to spend in the garden. I’m lucky if I get an hour outside! I’m trying to stay calm about it but a non-present gardener generally means more problems because I’m not there to catch them right away.

For example, I covered my cabbages with row cover to keep the cabbage worms off but I had a small hole the moth found its way in. The result was tons of caterpillars that I didn’t notice until they had done some major damage to the cabbage. I got the caterpillars off today and will have to keep a more careful eye on it. 

Also the weeds are more than I can handle right now! I plan on doing some sheet mulching over the top of some problematic weed areas.

We get so many bugs here. But that also means we get so many BUTTERFLIES!!

But I’ll focus on the good garden news:

  • Tomatoes have had an excellent year! The kids help with a garden job each day and for the past few days it has been to bring in tomatoes. My counter just keeps getting loaded with them. I don’t know how many pounds we’ve had but at the end of the year I could probably estimate based on how much each canning recipe takes.
  • Peppers are doing great as well. I am dehydrating all of them now. We eat a few here and there for dinner but the majority gets put up for winter.
  • Planted more carrots 
  • Planted more Chinese cabbage
  • Started harvesting cucumbers from my second succession of cucumbers.
Tonight’s Dinner, homemade pizza by Cameron. Basil, homemade sauce, heirloom tomatoes, homegrown red onions and olives as toppings.

Preserving

With the help of my family, we preserved a large amount of food this week.

  • Froze 15lbs green beans
  • Froze 45lbs corn
  • 2 quarts dehydrated green beans
  • 1 quart dehydrated corn
  • Canned 18 pint jars salsa
  • Canned 14 quart jars diced tomatoes
  • Canned 17 quart jars peaches in syrup
  • Canned 6 half pints peach butter

We picked up some peaches locally to get some in winter storage. Wow, local peaches are always so much tastier than what gets shipped from thousands of miles away! 

Before canning salsa
After- Made some progress!

Cold Room Progress

We are getting our cold room cooling system ready. We went back and forth on if we should do a mini-split air conditioner unit or window unit. It will run with the Coolbot which overrides a/c sensors and will take the temperature down to what we need, which is about 45 degrees fahrenheit.

I really wanted to avoid the window unit, mostly because it would be an eyesore in the front of our house but function won over looks this time. The air conditioner arrived in the mail this week, along with the coolbot. 

However, the air conditioner was badly damaged in shipping and we had to take it back. We have a new one coming hopefully by next week! Once it’s here we can get the system set up.

Also, I can’t remember if I’ve mentioned this here before but the reason we are doing a cold room over a root cellar or a basement is because we live in an area with really poor drainage. Consequently, we were not able to have a basement or root cellar because they flood easily. Also, root cellars don’t stay very cold here in the south.

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4 comments

Katie C. August 23, 2021 - 12:31 pm

Your canning looks good! I tried a new canning recipe: Ball spreadable fruit. In this case it was peaches with Granny Smith apples for pectin. No added sugar too 😋

I still need to can some Ball’s Zesty Salsa. My stash is running low and my tomatoes are not performing enough. I’ll have to buy some canning tomatoes at the farmers market. Jalapeños are coming in by the ton.

Have you ever grown cayenne peppers? It’s the first time for us. I want to try to make red pepper flakes which I use all the time. Are the peppers supposed to turn red? Right now, they are huge and green. I think I might run the dehydrator out in the car port. What I’ve read says that the fumes can be rather eye watering.

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theseasonalhomestead September 5, 2021 - 3:51 am

I haven’t grown cayenne peppers before but I have friends who have! Yes, I believe you wait until they turn red. Running the dehydrator outside sound like a smart idea 🙂

Reply
Karen Velthaus August 25, 2021 - 3:13 am

Love this!! I am a teacher and love your classrooms! Good for you all. Loving all the garden news. I just canned my peaches from my yard tonight. Small yield but a yield and better than last year. Canned our tomatoes this weekend with more coming in. A great pepper we have added to our garden is the Jimmy Nardello – yummy!!! We usually roast them. I make it with corn into a great salad or on top of pizza or sometimes we stuff them with pork and veggies. I would love to hear how you grow that Chinese Cabbage – I am from NY. Keep up the great work.

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theseasonalhomestead September 5, 2021 - 3:53 am

Hi Karen! I grew up in upstate NY in the finger lakes area. That is fun that you live there! I haven’t heard of Jimmy Nardello pepper before, I’ll have to look into it, it sounds good! My chinese cabbage usually does well but it’s getting hit hard with bugs this year. We’ll see if I get any! Next year, I am going to add bug netting!

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