The Weekly Digs #218

by Becky

Preserving

I set out to go get some more grapes from the farm stand this week because I was hoping to get to 50 jars of grape juice this year. All the farm stands we go to are pretty far away from our house, so I always call first to make sure they have what I need. 

We have 3 options of different local farm stands and all three said either they had a failed grape harvest, or they didn’t have enough to sell in bulk. It was super disappointing! 

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Celery growing in the tunnel

I haven’t planted any grapes yet on our own property but this let down has motivated me to get some planted next Spring. It will still be three years until they are big enough that we will get a harvest.

I also realize that if the local farmers didn’t get grapes it means that I probably wouldn’t have been able to get them either in my garden. Fruit is tricky because it only takes one late freeze to wipe out an entire harvest. 

I love Concord, Mars, and Sunbelt grapes (all slipskin types) but recently I tried some muscadine white grape juice and it was the best thing I’ve ever tasted. 

Since muscadine grapes are native to the southeast and handle the bugs, disease, and humidity well, I’m probably going to start by planting a few varieties of muscadines before I venture into the other types.

I did end up at the farm stand anyway and I got apples, peaches, and pears instead. I got a ton of apples because I really didn’t want to miss out on the apple harvest too.

I made 7 quarts of applesauce, then decided to freeze dry some. I haven’t shared this yet, but you’ll see on next week’s YT video, we upgraded our freeze dryer to a XL size! It’s huge! I got my XL freeze dryer HERE.

We put all the apples on the trays and froze them in our deep freezer. I like to pre-freeze everything since it saves some energy.

cabbages and collards

Then we set up the new XL freeze dryer after the fact and realized even though it was a 110 volt plug in, it used a different kind of outlet and it also needed a dedicated 20 amp circuit. 

I had shown the requirements to Cam before we got it, and Cam said he must have looked at it too quickly and when he saw the 110 volt power he just assumed it was the same. 

Cam said he could probably run a line himself and do the electrical but I recommended we pay a professional just to make sure it’s all done right.

XL Freeze Dryer, not for the average user! Haha!

Cam is very handy and knows how to DIY a lot of things but I always feel a little uncomfortable about electrical stuff since it’s more risky to mess with.

I was able to convince him that we have so much on our plate already, it’s ok to outsource sometimes 🙂 We have a neighbor that is an electrician, and he will likely make it out next week to get it done.

In the Garden

In the garden, I planted two rows in my caterpillar tunnel with Napoli carrots. They mature in 55 days. I’m not sure if they will be large enough by winter, but I’m experimenting.

Planted carrots here

The grasshopper and cricket damage on my other set of carrots was pretty extreme so I hope the ones in the tunnel do better.

We are harvesting zucchini, cherry and slicing tomatoes, collards, cilantro, lettuce, green beans, and corn right now. 

Cowpeas are getting close to maturity!

Books I’m Reading

Thanks for all the blog ideas last week too! I decided to periodically add a few other interesting tidbits to the weekly digs and this one is per request: Books I’m reading right now.

First is what book is on my nightstand right now: Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms

I’m about a third of the way through the book, but so far I’m really liking it. In the intro and first couple of chapters I was highlighting so many good thoughts! I don’t think I’ve ever highlighted so much of a book before.

The other one I recently purchased and gave to my kids is 1000 Hours Outside: Activities to Match Screen Time with Green Time.

It’s a good book, but not exactly what I was expecting. The book contains ideas for things that the kids can do outside. My kids made flower crowns, picked zinnias and froze them in silicone trays with water to make flower ice, and did tic tac toe with sticks and stones.

It had some fun and creative ideas, but there were also a lot of obvious things like nature walks and playing in puddles as something to do outside. It’s a good book to borrow from the library instead of purchasing. I think it would be the most fun and used for kids ages 3-10.

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6 comments

GardenLover September 17, 2023 - 7:13 pm

So fun to read this every week!
Inspired by this I thought I’d share a few things I’ve been reading, thinking about etc.
Book: Go and Tell by Shawn Brann
Flowers: Johnnys Summer Breeze sunflowers
Inspired by: arrangements from Milli Proust
Recipe: food 52 Soft Sandwich Buns (haven’t tried but 😍)
It’s starting to feel so warm and cozy and fall like!
P.S. fellow SH readers, I’d love to see the things you have all been enjoying too in the comments 🙂

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theseasonalhomestead September 24, 2023 - 12:11 am

Love this!! Definitely going to look these up!

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Shelby G. September 17, 2023 - 8:01 pm

I have enjoyed reading your blog lately! I originally found you on youtube in Feb of 2022 when my second son was born. Lots of late nights and all during my maternity leave I got bit by the homestead bug and absolutely love your channel and content. Thank you for introducing me to this beautiful world of homesteading where hard work fills the soul!

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theseasonalhomestead September 24, 2023 - 12:12 am

Aw thanks! I’m so happy to help.

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Annette September 18, 2023 - 5:37 pm

This is very much off-topic, but do you remember the color of your kitchen counters? I’ve been looking at quartz, but I’m thinking quartzite would be wiser given how heavily we use our kitchen.

And thank you for sharing the books you’re reading. I’ve placed a library hold for Habits of the Household. Based on the number of people in the queue, I don’t think I’m your only reader in this area.

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theseasonalhomestead September 24, 2023 - 12:13 am

My pleasure! It’s so fun to hear what you guys are reading and growing too. I will ask Cam about the quartzite, I know he has an email with the type we got written down.

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