The Weekly Digs #169

by Becky

Still no rain here and above average temperatures 90ºF-100ºF all week. I know I sound like a broken record since I’ve been saying this for weeks. I’m writing it again because all of our actions are affected by weather with homesteading!


  • Made the first big batch of canned dill pickles 12 pint jars. I share where to find the recipe and a few edits HERE.

In the Garden

  1. Watered the orchard. This is a big deal because I’ve never had to water it before. It’s also a big deal because we have no water near the orchard. 

We took our water tank on a trailer that we normally use for animals and brought it to the orchard. I let every tree have 5-20 minutes of water, depending on size. Our orchard is a quarter mile from our house. 

It took a lot of time, but it was good to stand there and observe what was happening around the trees. I found bagworms on several of the trees and picked them off and put them in a bucket of soapy water while I waited.

Our future plan is to move our retired chickens down to this area. But first a fence needs to be built to protect the trees and the chickens. We hope to do this project in the fall. 

Cucumbers in our refrigerator awaiting preserving!
  1. Harvesting cucumbers, cabbages, onions, dill, basil, and other various herbs. We also got our first harvest of green beans this week! 
  1. Worked on trellising our tomatoes. This happens often but I’ve been behind so I’m trying to get caught up on this.
Peppers are coming soon
  1. Cam is working on irrigation. I originally thought I’d be able to do it but I’ve been swamped with other garden/preserving/housekeeping tasks. He seems like he knows what he is doing much more than me, so that is probably a good thing he is taking over that project.
  1. Planted Nothstine dent corn. Two 40 ft garden beds.
Planted corn!

Farm Animals

  1. Pigs are doing well! They have cleared out their first paddock and Cam moved them to a new one today.
  1. We had an issue with the chicken tractor that housed the meat chickens. They are still fairly small at 5 weeks (heritage breed Delawares), and kept escaping. The door had a small hole where the hardware mesh wasn’t staying put even after constantly stapling it down. After it just wasn’t working, we decided to redo the whole door with plywood. Problem solved, but we lost 3 chicks along the way to predators 🙁
  1. Cows have been uneventful, which is so good. They are staying where they are supposed to be! I started feeling a little panicked this week because the grass is dying in places. 

We have plenty now but I don’t know how this lack of rain will affect us in winter. Last year we only used one bale of hay over the winter  but I’m not going to bank on that this year. 

My favorite plant in the garden right now, echinacea. It’s swarming with life from butterflies, bees, wasps, flies and moths.

Edited to add: I wrote this Saturday morning and at the time of publishing this Saturday night, we got rain! Just a little bit, not even enough to show on my rain meter but it is more than nothing. The plants will be able to rejuvenate some and I am so grateful! 

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Kate July 5, 2022 - 7:28 pm

Wahoo for rain! And green beans!! We are in East Central Mo and finally got some good rain on Saturday. So thankful!! We also don’t have our irrigation system up and running yet. Not good water pressure to the distance of our main garden so watering takes a bit of time. Our sweet potato/sunflower field is far from the
house so we’ve been filling barrels of water and hand watering all 300 plants. Fun times!
Thanks for sharing all of your successes and failures. I’ve been gardening for 12 years now but I still learn so much from you.

theseasonalhomestead July 10, 2022 - 5:26 am

Wow, I know how hard hand watering is…I’m glad you got rain! We used to fill water from our creek and use it to hand woter our garden before we had a well here.

PamR July 5, 2022 - 10:38 pm

Love your echinacea! I had wondered if you had herbs and flowers, as I seldom saw them. We’re going into a drought also and today I had to water my little trees. Fortunately they are close enough to the house to use hoses.

Being in New England, I’m a good bit behind you and harvest is just starting here.

Susan Freeman July 6, 2022 - 5:59 pm

I too made dill pickles this week using your recommended recipe and subbing the ACV for white vinegar. That’s the first time I’ve tried the low temperature pasteurization and I’m dying to see how they taste. I didn’t remember to parcel out the spices as you suggested, but will do so next time so I don’t waste them sitting in the left over brine. I’ve also made several batches of the salsa. Oh my gosh…so good. Every time my 25 year old granddaughter drops by to visit, she “steals” a jar. I hope you get a reprieve from the intense heat in your neck of the woods. We’ve had a lot of rain in the Washington DC area where we live.

Korgan Rivera July 9, 2022 - 1:00 am

I built a compost bin earlier this year and stapled the hardware cloth down on all the frames. I’ve since learned that staples are only good to temporarily hold wire to frames. The far better solution is screws with washers. The weight of my compost pressing on the cloth is enough to pop out the staples. I’m guessing also that the wood contracting and expanding with temperature and humidity lets the staples slip out easily.


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