The Weekly Digs #181

by Becky

In the Garden

Cow peas

The weeds took over my berry rows about mid summer and then they just stared at me every day when I walked outside. But there were always tomatoes to pick, or bugs to shake off into buckets, or something to preserve and I never picked the weeds.

Then they grew huge in the lush, amended soil.  But over the last few weeks, I took on the task of getting those weeds under control so my berries could grow better. Since most of the plants are individual bushes or blackberry brambles, I put my push lawn mower on a super low setting and mowed all the weeds on the row and left the plants.

It actually worked really great. Then we laid down cardboard, and when we ran out of cardboard we used contractors paper purchased from the hardware store to smother the weeds. Last, we added mulch. 

Fall is a good time to sheet mulch and I hope to add even more mulch over winter to get it all to a thick layer so there are less weeds and less work in summer. We still have four rows left to do but have made good progress thus far. 

Berry Rows

It also is much more enjoyable to look out over that area and see it all neat and pretty!

This last week I transplanted celery into my caterpillar tunnel. I also planted spinach, yellow heart winter choy, north pole lettuce, and vates collards in soil blocks. Some of them will mature before winter, while others will be the first thing we eat in the Spring when the daylight hours start to lengthen.

Celery baby!

Speaking of Fall, It’s officially that time of year! I have a love/hate relationship with Fall and Winter. I love the weather, the cooler temps, having less bugs, less humidity, and the landscape colors around us are just beautiful! I’m also ready to have a breather from the garden and preserving work 🙂 I love reading and finally have a little more time in Fall and Winter to do so.

Green Beans are looking good!

However, going into this time of year means seasonal depression is on the horizon. Well at least for me it is. I felt it already coming on this week, and some days I could not stop myself from crying, and then I had a terrible time sleeping as well, which of course makes it even worse. I go outside and eat some holy basil when I think of it, because it helps a bit! I need to dry some still for winter! I had a really good and happy summer so I am at least grateful for that.



I picked up five half bushels of grapes from the local farm stand. They had a fantastic grape year so the grapes were cheap because of the abundance. We ate a half bushel fresh because we all love the slip skin type grapes (except for Cam, he doesn’t like the seeds in them)!

Then I started to juice the rest, our favorite variety is Sunbelt but we also got some Fredonia to try. We don’t make a ton of juice or drink it often. It’s a special treat to have with meals around the holidays. But we all love it! 

So far I made 9 quarts. I have another 3 quarts I need to finish up tonight. 

I also made a bunch of chicken broth because we butchered our chickens last week, then pieced some of them out into cuts. The carcasses get made into broth. 

The middle row is where the celery is located, the left is the broccoli, and then to the left of that is cabbage, on the far right, dried beans.

It was the first time we dispatched older hens in an effort to keep the meat. It was a different experience and much tougher to pluck them and eviscerate. 

Since I’ve heard the meat on an older hen is generally more tough, I cut the meat into pieces and canned it.

  • 9 quarts grape juice
  • 14 quarts chicken stock
  • 7 quarts diced chicken

New Chicks

We got more meat birds because our incubator kept having only a 50% hatch rate. They came in the mail this week but unfortunately we had a huge loss of birds twenty out of sixty didn’t make it. Luckily all the rest have thrived since they’ve been here.

This is a Delaware broiler we breed. Kids were letting it have the drivers seat on the tractor.

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Laura September 25, 2022 - 11:10 am

I’m sorry you had a tough week. Hopefully this week is better for you.
I always look forward to reading your posts and watching your videos. Thank you for sharing with us!

theseasonalhomestead September 27, 2022 - 2:20 am

Thank you <3

PamR September 25, 2022 - 1:34 pm

I have had SADS for decades. In the past I had good success using a SunBox Jr every morning before 9AM. I had to use it for 45 minutes but it varies from person to person. I found I had to start it in August before the light dipped to 12 hrs or less. And continue until April. Made a huge difference for me.

Our 18 month old laying flock was butchered each year as soon as the new flock had started to lay. All meat from them was ground up for ground chicken. We used a lot of ground chicken. We never found a way to use the meat otherwise as it was very tough. And the carcasses went into bone stock, simmered 12 hours. I always put some vinegar into it to leach the minerals, etc out of the bones.

theseasonalhomestead September 27, 2022 - 2:19 am

Ground chicken is a great idea! I didn’t even think of that. I will try it next time if we have older chickens.
I’ll have to look into the SunBox too.

Bonny September 30, 2022 - 6:05 pm

Love the idea of ground chicken! Totally gives me an excuse to get a meat grinder 😛 😛 😛

Joanna September 25, 2022 - 3:19 pm

I’m sorry you had a rough week with your depression. It breaks my heart to hear that. I pray you find some way to ease it 🙏
The garden and the berries look fantastic! Were you able to get any sort of harvest yet from them?
You all are doing an amazing job at this life called homesteading. Baby steps until you reach a more doable (weed free) garden area. Don’t kill yourself! Stop and ” smell the roses” so they say.
I enjoy everything you write and every video you make!
Thank you ❤️

theseasonalhomestead September 27, 2022 - 2:15 am

Thank you so much. I needed your words today 🙂

Kim Davis September 26, 2022 - 11:52 am

I also suffer from SAD and therefore dread the fall & winter months. I definitely sympathize with your struggle and I will add you to my prayer list.

theseasonalhomestead September 27, 2022 - 2:12 am

Thank you Kim. I will pray for you too 🙂

Vicki September 26, 2022 - 9:02 pm

Our family really enjoys your videos. It is very inspiring to watch the family grow and preserve your own food. It is very eye opening to see how much work this entails. While our family would love to buy property and grow our food we realize how much time it would take and not sure we have the time with having full time jobs. However, we are considering getting a freeze dryer and buying from local farmers to store food. I pray you have a better winter season and God blesses you for sharing all your knowledge with us!

theseasonalhomestead September 27, 2022 - 2:14 am

Thank you so much! Yes, it definitely takes a lot of time. Local farmers are a great alternative!

Laurel M. September 28, 2022 - 4:24 am

Becky, you’ve made a difference to me. You are an instrument in God’s hands. I hope this week is better.

Elisabeth September 29, 2022 - 8:01 am

I just read this post again. I’m so sorry about this seasonal depression. I hope it wont last long. And that you stop getting it.🙏
Have you ever tried nettle, dried or fresch. ?
If you take 2 teaspoons dried nettle each day. It is like a mutlivitamin pill. It works wonder. My moods and PMS is just a memory since I started with it. The only problem is if I forget it. then it is back
I use Blutsaft too. Do not know if you have it over there. The brand is Salus Floradix.
I know about two people starting with nettel each day, both of them had normalised blood preassure after a month. Well one had actually to low. They had to stop medication. And both had been on meditation for many years for high blood preassure.. I would not recommend people to use it instead of meditation. I just wrote it so you would be aware of possible reactions to nettle. It is good to check the preassur extra careful if you start eating nettle and have those problems.

My kids love nettle in the Green sause I do to spaghetti. It is just nettle, onion, garlic a bit of good cheese , cream, pepper and salt. Mix if you like. My kids want it mixed. Instead of nettle anything Green will do, kale, chard.

Do remember if you dry it yourself, use not warmer than 45degrees celcius. Do not mix in i mixer, because the mixing makes the nettel really warm.
Finally. Do not harvest nettel from a place with manure.

Take care and enjoy all colours in the fall. You are in my prayers!
You are a real inspiration. Thank you for sharing gardening and life with us.

Bonny September 30, 2022 - 6:23 pm

I’m with you on the SADS. I can’t handle when DST changes and it’s dark at 5pm. I remember the winter my son was born was unusually gloomy and I’d sit up at 4am nursing him, waiting for sky to lighten so I could finally breathe. That’s one reason I’m OK with Texas summers because it means more daylight overall and being outside is truly my happy place. Tucking into making something has always calmed my spirits — crocheting a doily (because they take forever to make) allows time to pass while making something beautiful for a minimal cost. Do you listen to the Follow Him podcast by chance? That’s a pretty great podcast to listen to when things start to feel heavy — the guests they invite have such beautiful insight into the Gospel and gives an added spiritual boost during hard days.

I do have to say, your content/videos are certainly uplifting to others and you are blessing people through your experience and struggles.

I was going to message you on IG but your account disappeared. Anyway, I wanted to see if you have heard of and/or thought about growing Sorghum for syrup? I know you have loads of other stuff going on and you want to slow down but you had mentioned you’d like to start growing your own wheat (which would be so cool!) and the two seemed a bit related. I’m going to try to find some seeds and grow a small patch next year — feed for livestock and sap/syrup for us!

theseasonalhomestead October 2, 2022 - 2:13 am

Hi Bonny, my Instagram account was disabled. I don’t know for sure why, but since it happened on the day I talked about chicken butchering, I’m assuming it was because of that. I made a new account for the time being @theseasonalhomestead2.0 I have heard of Sorghum for syrup but haven’t thought about doing it. It is a fun idea, let me know how yours turns out!

Bonny October 2, 2022 - 4:54 pm

Isn’t that so crazy?! I don’t understand how much lude and graphic content can flow through these platforms but the minute you mention butchering (or even milking a cow), alerts sound and you’re censored.

I just read your latest post and wanted to say — ducks can be great in the garden. I had an awful pill bug and grasshopper problem and tinkered with putting my ducks in there. They were awesome until they ran out of bugs and ate my cantaloupe foliage 😛 It’s not a permanent solution but they’re easy enough to move back and forth out of the garden and they don’t wreak havoc the way chickens and geese do. My whole life is filled with trial and error right now — trying ever so slowly to figure out this gardening thing 😛

Tori March 29, 2024 - 4:36 am

Becky, I love , love, LOVE your blog! I’m addicted to your garden! LOL I’ve been watching videos and reading from the beginning to this post right here…it’s taken me about three evenings, so far….my gramma sweared by drinking grape juice for any kind of sore throat. It had to be Concord grape, made from concentrate, by the company that starts with a W. I’ve been wanting to try and make my own for years. You’re inspiring me to do just that! On a side note, I used that same concentrate to make jam one time and it truly tasted just like their commercially made jam. But again, I want to teach myself to make it from scratch and KNOW what all is going into it, organically💗


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