The Weekly Digs #172

by Becky

It’s come to the point where a few of my perennials aren’t going to make it in the heat and drought. The blueberries love water and they are the ones that have suffered the most. At least from what I can see right now.

Oh it’s so sad! I’ve been watering deeply once a week but this heat and dry weather is relentless. I covered all the soil in the spring with wood chip mulch to help but with the heat it is not enough.

I’ve never seen the grass look so brown and dry in the middle of summer

We are going on 7 weeks now of no rain accumulation and 90-105ºF. We had a sprinkle of rain on the 4th of July but it was too little. It looks like we might get some rain next weekend. I have been praying it will rain soon.

I keep thinking there must be something that we are supposed to learn from this dry weather. I’ve started to make a list of things that we need or things that we can do better.

Here’s my list so far:

1.Add at least a couple of rain barrels on the barn for water catchment, this would allow us to get water to the pigs or orchard without hauling it. We would need to add gutters to the barn, but Cam thinks it will be a pretty simple job. In weather like this, the water would have been long gone and used by now but it still would be nice to have some back up.

2. We also have under consideration having a shallow well dug that has a cistern underground and hand pump attached. Our current well is 650ft deep. Static water level is around 250 feet. The reason for 650 feet deep is to get to 15 gallons per minute. The shallow well would be ~250-300ft deep and we would have it at the lower portion of our property.

Thankfully we’ve had no problems with the well, the pump, or electricity, but it makes me super nervous to rely completely on it. I used to think we could haul water from the creek or ponds, but our creek and ponds have hardly any water in it right now.

Watering dent corn and beans

3. Hook up all the berry rows to irrigation soon. (Update from the time I wrote this… I was mulling over the over sad the state of the berry plants (actually there was a lot of tears happening) and told Cam they might die. He said it will be so expensive buy more, why don’t I just go hook up the water right now?

We originally intended something more complicated to water but Cam said he could simplify it and get it up and running in one night if it means saving all the plants. I am thankful for him all the time, but when he drops everything to save the day, he is my true hero!

Generally, we get plenty of rain, even in summer. I’ve never had to worry about water issues before, but it’s definitely been a good learning experience.

In the garden

  • Harvesting squash, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, lettuce.
  • We weeded the entire caterpillar tunnel this week.
  • Spent a lot of time watering. Even though we have some of our drip irrigation set up in the vegetable garden right now, I have enough directly sown seeds that I have to put on the overhead sprinkler and drag it around. I drag the sprinkler from my garden to the kids garden and finally over to my berry rows. 

Preserving

  • Made another 4 gallons of cucumber kimchi.

The recipe for my cucumber kimchi is still in development 🙂 I don’t like to add shrimp or fish anything so usually keep it pretty simple- cucumbers, onions, carrots, ginger, garlic, salt, tiny bit of sugar, and gochugaru.

I also have my homegrown Korean peppers I dried from last year to make the gochugaru. The ones I grew are wickedly spicy! I actually mixed half store bought gochugaru and half homemade because mine was so spicy by itself. The stuff you buy is very mild.

I made one batch with sweet rice flour and one without. I never have that ingredient on hand but thought it might be nice to try since I think it’s more authentic that way. It’s slightly thicker with the rice flour but has a bit more sweetness to it that I’m not sure if I like. Either way, the kids gobble it up, they aren’t picky.

I blanched and froze the celery I chopped last week. As I mentioned, we want to freeze dry some chicken soup, but this week was SOOOO busy. I didn’t have enough time. When I get time, the celery will still be there and I still have a few bags of carrots stored in the refrigerator.

I need to make homemade broth and cook up some chicken to make the soup. I haven’t decided if I will add noodles or rice or wait and add those things when it comes time to rehydrate the food. To be honest I”m not really sure what’s best. We are still pretty new to freeze drying but really have been loving the results so far!

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11 comments

Joanna Kowalewski July 24, 2022 - 6:35 pm

I’m so sorry that this year is so hard on A LOT of homesteaders and farmers. I say prayers everyday for everyone to catch a break and get some beautiful rain 🙏❤️🙏

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theseasonalhomestead July 24, 2022 - 11:13 pm

Thank you Joanna!

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Laurel M. July 24, 2022 - 10:15 pm

Don’t give up! I think you’re right, there’s something we need to learn from these difficult times. Rain barrels have saved me many times. City irrigation doesn’t run until April here. This week in Come Follow Me I read the line, “The Lord’s work rarely goes unopposed. ” I think that applies to our families in these times and also that providing for them is a commandment He will help us keep.

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theseasonalhomestead July 24, 2022 - 11:12 pm

I love that, thank you for sharing it with me 🙂

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Bobbie July 27, 2022 - 8:06 pm

Hey Becky! Thanks for all the great tips/advice/recipes. I was wondering, is it essential to use pickling/canning salt when canning? I always use Redmond’s real salt in my home…can I just use that? Thanks for your help!

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theseasonalhomestead July 27, 2022 - 9:59 pm

Yes! You CAN use Redmond’s real salt too! Some salts have additives, that is why they recommend canning and pickling salt. But I know Redmond’s doesn’t so it’s totally safe to use.

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Karen July 29, 2022 - 1:51 am

Like you, I ponder the reason this gardening season has been such a struggle. There have been tears here too. But I can’t help believing that in the long run it is making us that much more resilient. Thank you for sharing your stories and for being so determined to provide good food for your family. It’s inspiring.
(BTW, the bunny your son trapped looked very similar to the one we caught. How can something so small do so much damage?!!)

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theseasonalhomestead July 29, 2022 - 6:55 pm

Yes, I’m sure there is a reason behind it all. Wishing you the best with your garden!! 🙂

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Neroli July 29, 2022 - 7:47 am

I’ve not seen bone broth preserved in jars
before, I thought that you’d need sugar in
any preserving.
I used to do a lot of bottling, but I gave up
because we can’t have any sugar now.
Thanks Becky, your videos have been
encouraging .

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theseasonalhomestead July 29, 2022 - 6:52 pm

Many canning recipes don’t require sugar. Bone broth is one of them. You need a pressure canner for this. I have a video on it here https://youtu.be/VCUYAe4BIQQ

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PamR July 29, 2022 - 6:09 pm

The man who got me started doing the soil balancing, Steve Solomon, has a book out that might help you a lot with the drought things:

Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times

Here’s the link for the kindle edition (I think it’s also in book form):

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0097D7IV0/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_hsch_vapi_tkin_p1_i0

This would give you some ideas of how to weather drought, etc.

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