The Weekly Digs #127

by Becky

Meat for the Freezer

Cam has been calling around to butcher shops to see if we could get our pigs and cows in for an appointment this year. He already had a pig appointment for the end of November but the pigs got big much quicker than anticipated and we really wanted them in before then so the pig feed bill wasn’t so high.

He was able to get an appointment for the pigs at the end of September with the processing place we prefer! And in calling around, he also had the receptionist of one place tell him that she had an opening for Thursday for a cow! 

He found out on Tuesday about the cow opening that was just two days away. Cameron and I weren’t sure which of our cows we should send. The cow we thought we were going to take to the butcher this year ended up being pregnant and having her baby just a few weeks ago. 

Our alternative option was “Grannie”, an older Mom we have who had a calf in April. She is non-stop mooooo’s and Cam said he really wants to send her off. Another option was “Jethro”, a year old steer. 

After consulting with more experienced friends they said Grannie’s calf was still too young to be weaned and she would be better off with her Mom’s milk because winter is coming soon. So Cam took Jethro. Dexter’s are small naturally and because Jethro is a year old he was really small, 455 pounds. The ideal is between eighteen and twenty-four months old.

But we just really needed some beef for the freezer this year because we have been buying it at the store. The next one we take in, we will wait until the more ideal time for butchering.

We also plan on building a separate fenced area next to the pond for our bull, that will help with the unplanned pregnancy problem. Haha!

In the Garden

This week was wickedly hot and humid here. It was around 95 degrees all week and it only gets to 75 at night. No rain.

My carrots managed to germinate though, which is nothing short of a miracle. 

My second crop of cucumbers is bearing fruit at last. And right when that happens the squash bugs and cucumber beetles move in with a vengeance. We have had a steady stream of cucumbers all year but never enough for a batch of pickles to can. Because the bugs demolish them.

We started to harvest the yellow wax beans. They are so delicious and I prefer them over green beans. The variety is the same I grew last year, a winner for sure, it is called “Goldilocks”. 

The peppers are doing well in the heat, along with the cowpeas. Tomatoes got some serious pruning by hornworms this week. If it’s a little it’s ok, but it is pretty extreme. I pulled off over twenty hornworms in one day and I’m sure I didn’t get them all.

I plan on pulling the plug on the majority of tomatoes as soon as I’ve hit my quota that I need for canning a year’s supply. 

I need to do 18 more pints of salsa, probably 14 more quarts of diced tomatoes, 14 more quarts of spaghetti sauce, and 18 pints of pizza sauce (pizza sauce acts as tomato sauce when I use it in recipes). 

I’m half wondering if my tomatoes will call it quits before I reach that but it’s worth a shot.

  • I direct sowed Coastal Star, Winter Gem, and Merlot lettuce 
  • Direct sowed Daikon Radishes and Black Spanish radishes

I still have a lot of fall planting to do but it has just been too hot. 

Preserving

In the midst of our busy schedule, Cameron and I were super sick for a day this week. That put me quite behind but I did get some preserving done.

  • Canned 7 quarts of spaghetti sauce
  • Made and froze a couple quart bags of pesto

Cold Room Update!

The new a/c came this week and we got it and the Cool Bot installed! It took a little trial and error since at first we thought the a/c compressor wasn’t turning off when it hit the desired temperature. But it was, the fan was just really loud. 

It works great! We only set it to 55 degrees but the room feels very cold because our house is always at 76. I will turn it down another ten degrees this week so it stays at 45. I am wanting to keep some of my fermented foods stored in that room too. 

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6 comments

Sarah August 29, 2021 - 8:54 pm

Becky,
Your posts inspire me every week. Thank you for sharing all about your homestead. I will have to try those beans next year!

Reply
theseasonalhomestead September 5, 2021 - 3:54 am

Thank you Sarah. I love hearing that.

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Katie September 2, 2021 - 2:11 pm

Just wanted to say Hi! I just found your blog and have enjoyed searching around your site 🙂 My family just moved to a 1930’s home in the middle of town (so, much bigger lot) from our cookie cutter subdivision. I’ll also be staying home full time soon. Over the summer I finally learned to can, and my goal is to start growing food next summer in a portion of our yard. I love reading about other’s experiences to add to my knowledge base.

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theseasonalhomestead September 5, 2021 - 4:01 am

Hi Katie! That’s so fun and exciting! That is great that you learned to can, you’ll be ready for next year when you have your garden going. 🙂

Reply
Laurel M. September 5, 2021 - 3:04 am

Yay for the cold room, I can’t wait to see it!! When you take down your tomatoes will you post a picture of how you tie them up/control the jungle? I’ve tried everything and I think cages might work best but I don’t want to store them…

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theseasonalhomestead September 5, 2021 - 4:06 am

I do the Florida weave method for my tomatoes. It works great up to a certain point and then the tomatoes start to flop everywhere when they get huge. I keep trying new things every year too. At this point it is so heavy you can’t see much of how it’s tied but I’ll definitely take some photos next year if I do it again.

I think you are right about the cages. They are easy to set up and low maintenance afterward but do take a lot of space. My favorite cage is the homemade ones made of concrete mesh, they are very tall and sturdy.

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