The Weekly Digs #174

by Becky
Published: Updated:

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Wild Animals are Hungry

The fun for this week has been trying to figure out what animals are getting in my garden. We knew something was getting in but didn’t know what or how. We saw watermelon cracked open and eaten and it was getting the corn ears too. 

Today, I went out in the kids garden in daylight and a jet black animal rushed past me. I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. It sort of resembled a cat but I don’t think it was one. The good news is I figured out where it was getting in.

We have two access sections of the fence for vehicles and it was getting under it. We will add some chicken wire today so it will cover the opening. Electric on top of the fencing has been set up for about a week and works really well.

Hopefully once the gap is covered that will be the end of the problem. I saw animal tracks everywhere but I’m not sure they are from the same animal I saw.

In other news I watched as a larger black animal killed one of our roosters and ran off with it. I told Cam it looked like a dog. He said he had seen a black coyote around the property yesterday. That was about 7am in the morning. The roosters are completely free range but we keep the hens in the chicken tractors thankfully.

With the lack of rain we had this year the animals seem more hungry and willing to take risks. We did get rain again this week and it’s been so great for the plants.

In the Garden

  • Harvesting watermelon, corn, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, green beans, basil, parsley, and summer squash.
  • Starting soil blocks of fall crops, winter density lettuce, chinese cabbage, green magic broccoli, bunching onions.


  • Freeze Dried Pizza Sauce. Turned out so good! I’ll share the recipe on my blog soon. It made 4 pint jars and we put some in a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber for long term storage.
  • Canned 14 quart jars peaches
  • Working today on making tomato sauce and sloppy joe starter from THIS BOOK.

Days are long and busy this time of year. I recorded a garden tour which I was hoping to get done today but it looks like it will be more like Monday. Hard to keep up with it all but we feel blessed with the abundance of the season.

Cooking tomatoes. I don’t usually do them this way, I like the oven roasting method because it’s more hands off but had so many tomatoes they wouldn’t fit in the ovens. This is a 30 quart pot and it’s filled to the brim! We harvested 45lbs of tomatoes today.

In the News

Cam and I had a news article published about us this week. Unfortunately you can’t read it unless you are paying for a subscription for the Epoch Times but for those of you who have one, or would like to have one, here is the LINK. I was kind of worried how it would turn out, sometimes the news can skew what you say and do, but I think they did a good job.

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Katie C. August 7, 2022 - 12:35 pm

Your peaches look lovely! I’ve only done 8 pints of them. Do you use syrup? I prefer using apple juice. I use reconstituted unsweetened frozen. It’s in the Ball book.

That’s a great canning book. All tested and safe recipes. I had some rather small tomato seconds that I bought from a vendor at the farmers market. They didn’t peel well so I finally cored them and bagged them up for the freezer. I figure the skins will come right off when I take them out and then I’ll put them through my food mill. I want to try making pizza sauce since I now have a pizza stone 😋

theseasonalhomestead August 7, 2022 - 7:20 pm

That sounds good! Yes freezing them and then putting the tomatoes in a strainer over a bowl will drain out all the excess liquid and save you a lot of time too! I do my peaches in a sugar syrup. I used to do honey, but the flavor was too overpowering. I’ll have to try the apple juice sometime!

Katie C. August 8, 2022 - 11:49 am

According to the safe canning group that I belong to on Facebook, you need to keep the juice with the tomatoes when you defrost them because it might change the acidity. I used to drain it too. Now I don’t. I don’t want to make anyone sick. 🙄

theseasonalhomestead August 8, 2022 - 2:02 pm

Interesting! I hadn’t heard of that so I double checked on National Center for Home Food Preservation and it did have information that said “don’t drain tomatoes”. Thanks for the info! Good to know so I can pass along correct safety information. Bummer that you can’t do it though, it would save so much time.

Korgan August 7, 2022 - 1:32 pm

Isn’t The Epoch Times a far-right newspaper? That’s a little surprising.

theseasonalhomestead August 7, 2022 - 7:12 pm

Perhaps that’s how it’s categorized based on a google search. I’m not quite sure what you are surprised about. They strive to give unbiased news which I appreciate. We are in the section of their paper that does uplifting stories. I can’t think of many other news outlets that actually share positive things on a regular basis.

KC August 24, 2022 - 1:13 am

Epoch Times is HIGHLY problematic, a top promoter of Qanon disinformation & propaganda. Their M.O. is “gather likes [and followers] with soft stuff and dollars, then pivot” to dangerous disinformation once they’ve suckered you in. Your perception of them as giving “unbiased news” is exactly the perception they’re seeking to cultivate, while the exact opposite is, in fact, the case. Very dangerous disinformation propaganda organization.

A “good investigation of The Epoch Times by @kevinroose. Another chapter in what is a definitive story of the last decade: unscrupulous actors building complex FB networks of hyperpartisan news & viral garbage for reach & ultimately destabilizing everything,”

theseasonalhomestead August 24, 2022 - 4:00 am

Appreciate your perspective. However, I think they did a good job at being truthful with the story they did on our family.

Sarah August 8, 2022 - 1:55 pm

I saw your article in the Epoch Times. I was so excited. They did a really good job showingthe things you have worked so hard to accomplish, it seemed to be an extention of your own blog. What a great way to share your wisdom and experience with like minded people who aren’t satisfied sitting around waiting for Washington to make things “better”. Thank you for taking the risk of criticism and helping countless others learn to eat off the land. It’s a radical thing to do in this age.

theseasonalhomestead August 8, 2022 - 1:57 pm

Thank you so much! I really appreciate your comment 🙂

Wendy R August 8, 2022 - 10:21 pm

Everything looks amazing! Well, except for the eaten melons of course, what a bummer and sorry about the rooster. Do you guys have fishers down there (also called fisher cats)? They are very dark brown/blackish and ferocious predators.
I just read the last couple of blogs so catching up, we also need to get a hot wire asap for our corn plot. Trying to figure out what to get, also need to do one for our berry garden area. I think it sounds like you did a single hot wire at the top of the fence vs a pre-gridded hot fence? It gets confusing to me as far as the whole being grounded thing goes.

theseasonalhomestead August 13, 2022 - 6:06 pm

I don’t think we have fishers here. I’m thinking it must have been a cat but definitely a stray since it was very bony and strange looking. This week we also found there were raccoons getting in the garden. A single strand of hot wire is at the top of the fence about 3- 4 inches above the welded wire. It works well! It gets a very strong pulse electric current because it never gets grounded out from weeds growing up and touching it. I like that. The raccoons and other animals were getting under the fence but we got the hole filled in now.

Roni August 10, 2022 - 1:51 pm

Peaches look amazing. Did you hot pack? Water bath or pressure can? Mine tend to float to the top. 🙁

theseasonalhomestead August 11, 2022 - 4:30 pm

I hot pack with a water bath canner. Peaches have so much air in them if you heat them a little before canning it gets a lot of the air and you can pack them very tight. I cut the peaches in halves, fill the jars with the peaches, then fill them again with more peaches because the peaches will settle in the jars as you pack. I pack as many peaches as I can leaving just enough room for the headspace. Only then do I fill with the syrup. That is what helps them still look full and not all float to the top even after canning 🙂

Rachel Espino August 10, 2022 - 7:56 pm

My garden is still slow to produce but I hold out hopes I will have tomatoes toward the end of the summer. I did buy 100 pounds of Amish tomatoes for $60 and managed to process two batches of salsa, three batches of tomato sauce, and a batch of tomatoes. I still have a little leftover in the refrigerator to make some soup with. I need to remember to make it! I had a horrible potato crop, so I purchased potatoes from Azure and have been canning those for the last two days. I will order more next month. I do have some in the dehydrator as well.

theseasonalhomestead August 11, 2022 - 4:32 pm

Awesome! I hope your tomatoes produce for you!

Lisa August 12, 2022 - 1:27 am

I’m excited to hear about an Epoch Times story. I will head over there and check it out. I came here to see if I could glean some peach canning information. Your jars look just beautiful.


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