The Weekly Digs #208

by Becky

Hi friends! It’s about time I come back with more updates on what’s going on around here. Over the past few weeks we have been adjusting to life with a newborn. 

We have still been working in the garden and preserving, just at a slower pace. 

Here’s the garden just a few weeks ago. I hope to record a June garden tour video next week, things are changing fast!

Here’s what we’ve been working on:

In the Garden

On May 17th, I planted winter squash, lemon squash, and melons. I remember the date because it was when I was in the middle of labor. It was painful but productive!

Pulled out cabbages this week. We got a few for food, but the rest were eaten by cabbage worms. Then the heads split from intense rain after drought-like conditions. I’ve hooked up a lot of irrigation to my garden this year, but this was one row where I didn’t hook up the drip hoses. 

The worm-filled, split cabbages were fed to chickens instead. It wasn’t much, maybe 6 or 7 heads or cabbage. I took the good cabbages inside, there were about 5 heads for us. I never grow much in spring, we like cabbages more as a fall crop.

Last week Cam and kids planted corn. It was one thing on my list to do before the baby came, but that didn’t happen. I’m glad they were able to get some corn planted because I pulled out my very last bag of frozen corn from the freezer this week!

And this last week, we put hay on the potatoes. The hay is from our land so I don’t have to worry about herbicides 🙂  The photo above was taken before we put the hay down.

Cover crops, buckwheat and sudangrass


Cam and Kian got up early on Friday of this week and picked blueberries at our local U-pick farm. They got 20lbs. We froze a couple bags, ate some fresh, and put some in the freeze drier. I’ve never had freeze dried blueberries before, they are so delicious!

We also picked about 15lbs of snap peas from our own garden and some shelling peas (I haven’t weighed those yet, but it’s less). The shelling peas are hard to catch at the right time. I picked a few pounds that we ate with dinner and by the time I got out there again the peas were starting to be big and not sweet anymore. 

I will likely be pulling out the shelling peas this week and planting cowpeas. 

We blanched and froze the peas and snap peas. 13lbs snap peas and 5lbs sweet peas (after shelling).


The night I went to the hospital to have the baby, I asked our good friend and neighbor to watch our chickens. Their family did so before while we were on vacation this winter.

The only additional thing we added was we had all the turkey poults and chickens outside where our woodshed is located. 

Woodshed earlier this year

The morning after Riggs was born, our friend called us in tears. She said there was a fire at our woodshed and it had partially burnt down from one of the chick’s heat lamps overnight. Both the brooders were reduced to ashes and debris. 

Some of the posts were burned and needed to be replaced. They found 2 chicks and 4 poults still alive and wandering in the grass but the other 20 had died in the fire.

We were shocked at first, but after a few minutes, I was feeling bad for my friend who was feeling like it was her fault. 

Even though they had adjusted the heat lamps, it actually was something that could have been prevented on our end. One of the heat lamps was missing the protective cage and that was the one that fell and set the whole thing on fire.

I debated whether or not to share this at all, because I didn’t want my friend to feel any worse. 

But I thought it was a good warning to anyone keeping chicks in their home. I will never use that type of heat lamp again, even with the cages on them, it is still pretty unnerving. 

Instead of using heat lamps, we are going to switch to a heat plate. Although I’m not sure if they are safer or not.

The whole incident helped Cam and I realize that even though it was unfortunate, there were a lot of miracles surrounding it.

First of all, we’ve kept chicks in our garage many times. I had chicks in there last year. But this time, Cameron was adamant this time about having the chicks be outdoors. 

If the chicks were in the garage, our entire house would have burnt down that night. No one was home with us being at the hospital and our kids at my sister’s house. It is a very scary thought. I am so thankful for Cam’s foresight and listening to the Spirit. 

Needless to say, we will not be keeping chicks in our house or garage EVER again. And overall, I felt grateful because it could have been so much worse.

Kids put up a new 2×4 to hold the weight of the roof, since the post on the left got burnt so bad it wasn’t touching the ground anymore.

Another miracle was the brooder boxes were close to our wood boiler and Cam’s parents RV and neither of those had any damage. 

We had also debated putting the chicks in the barn and I’m glad we didn’t do that either because we likely would have had it burn down if they were there. Since they were under the woodshed away from other more expensive outbuildings, they were literally in the best spot possible. 

Maybe next time we will build some stand alone brooders with a roof and the ability to withstand weather so they can be off on their own. It was a good learning lesson for us to be more careful.

You may also like


Joanna June 18, 2023 - 2:28 pm

It’s so good to hear from you!! I think of you all the time ❤️ I’m sorry about the fire 💔

GardenLover June 18, 2023 - 2:52 pm

Thank Jesus you had little bird survivors and that you weren’t keeping them near the house! I wonder if the heat plate is any safer? I’ve heard the Brinsea is good. I feel like those other lights aren’t safe but they’re more economical than the heat plates. So sorry for the loss of your sweet birds, hoping they’re up in heaven ❤️

Nat June 19, 2023 - 6:34 am

So sorry to read about the loss of you turkey poults and chicks but glad that no other damage was done – it certainly would have been a sad homecoming if your homestead had been damaged. It just goes to show how easily these things happen. I have just finished stripping out and cleaning our laundry where our chicks covered it with sawdust from there digging. They are all feathered up now so happy that I have been able to relocate them to outside. They are both messy and smelly – good job they are cute.
You will have to update your ‘About Me’ when you get the chance Becky to read ‘Mom of five’. Sounds like you are doing really well although I can just imagine the extra workload just in washing alone.

PamR June 22, 2023 - 6:59 pm

We had a near thing after using heat lamps for many years. We went with the biggest Brinsea heat plate and they worked fine in our brooder.

theseasonalhomestead July 16, 2023 - 4:37 am

This is good to hear!

Ashley July 9, 2023 - 11:52 am

Our chicks really enjoyed the heat plate. They seemed to like it with the back lower and the two front corners higher so that they could choose how far to go in and how much heat they wanted.

theseasonalhomestead July 16, 2023 - 4:35 am

This is good to hear!


Leave a Comment