State of the Homestead: July 2019

This actually should’ve been a June post, but the year has gotten away from me.

It’s a fight to the death between me and weeds. I think they’re winning. 🙁 It just gets too hot for me to stay out there past 10am.

Still, I’ve got a lot of harvest in despite the weeds. The tomatoes have done phenomenally this year. They’re just now ripening. I’ve made several cans of salsa and have plans for pasta sauce, dehydrated tomatoes, and fresh eating. The best ones, I slice into thick rings and drizzle salt and olive oil on them.

My nemesis

Squash: Okay, the squash bugs hammered me again. We actually built screens for the squash bed. It would’ve helped if I had gone ahead and put them in BEFORE the menace arrived.

Two things of note with the squash.

  1. I planted marigolds in the bed with the squash. They’re supposed to drive off squash bugs. Not only were the squash plants significantly smaller, but the marigolds only kept the bugs off by a small margin. The marigolds are pretty, but they did nothing for the problem.
  2. I also planted slightly later in the hopes I could beat out the squash bugs. This helped a little. It’s the only reason I got a few squash before the plants became inundated. It was enough to make three squash casseroles. Not a great return, but it’s better than nothing.

I’ll definitely put the screen up earlier next year.

Peppers did great! I’ve canned several quarts of the sweet banana peppers. Greg asks for this every year. I finally found a vinegar recipe I liked. Not too sweet and not too vinegary. I think these will turn out good.

Potatoes have been delicious. I only did one small box of potatoes which is enough for fresh eating. I took the tiny spuds from this harvest and replanted them. It might be a little too hot to start them but we’ll see what happens. I usually get three harvests from my small potato box.

I planted a few veggies in the front landscape. Mostly cherry tomatoes and greens. I was hoping to do without a fence, but every day, the deer munch on my chard and comfrey. They don’t have the least care if I come out and yell at them either. They only take off when Nana chases them.

Front yard landscape: The weeds are bad in the garden but even worse in the front yard. I managed to finagle a truckload of wood chips from a tree trimming company. I used part of them for the front yard.

First I lay large pieces of cardboard over the area not currently planted, then add the wood chips. I still need a lot more wood chips to finish the job, but at least it’s a start. It should cut down on my weeding time.

I hadn’t planned on covering the open land with chips, but it’s a temporary barrier. Hopefully, by the time the cardboard and chips rot down, I’ll have enough money and time to plant some more shrubbery and flowers.

Chickens: We hatched far more chicks than I expected. We plan to eat the roosters, and sell the hens as layers next year. I must admit, these particular chickens (Americaunas) are very nice birds. Normally, I have to gradually introduce younger birds to older ones, but these guys all get along. No fighting at all. It’s a relief for me.

Quail: We did good on the quail front too. I’ll be putting all but six birds in the freezer. I hope to keep these six through the winter so we can start on production right from the start. This will tell me whether it’s easier (and cheaper) to overwinter birds or buy them new every year. We shall see.

Goats: We’ve only sold one doe, which astounds me. I’ve gotten quite a few calls, but in the end they never show. I’ve never had that happen before. I sure hope we sell them before they come into season.

Nana the dog: Poor thing. She’s turned into an old person’s dog. She’s settled down into our speed and grumbles at anything that inconveniences her.

Jammy, the cat: Jams keeps me busy picking up the carcasses of various bugs and lizards he leaves behind. I take away the lizards and turtles, but he’s welcome to kill as many grasshoppers as he can catch.

We did have one unhappy experience. We think he miscalculated and allowed a scorpion to sting him. Poor little guy was laid up for two days. He wouldn’t move. He wouldn’t eat or groom himself. He limped too. We took him to the vet and couldn’t get a definitive diagnosis so she sent us home with antibiotics and pain meds. When we got back, we found a large, but disoriented scorpion.

In two days, Jams was back to normal as if nothing had happened. Typical for a scorpion sting. Since then, when he spots a scorpion he’s much more wary, hoping to kill them with a death stare. If only! 😀

We had a relatively long spring (unusual for us), but it’s hot now. It’ll be a challenge to keep plants alive for the next two months until the weather cools off a tad.

So how does your garden grow? Are you fighting weeds too, or is it too early for your part of the world?

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    • Madeline: I was so upset that he was in so much pain. We suspected a scorpion from the start, but we didn’t find it until we got back from the vet. Those vile things hurt like hell on full grown adults. On a little creature like a cat, I’m sure the pain was horrible.

  1. Carole West, Garden Up Green

    Sounds like things are busy for you. My suggestion for the quail – harvest them unless you’re raising bobwhites and hope to get them to hatch their own eggs next spring and summer, they need to be on the ground for that… It’s one less thing to deal with and buying eggs in the fall to incubate is less expensive than housing birds all winter. Just run the numbers and you’ll be able to make a sound decision.

    • Carole: You’re probably right about not over wintering them. I was never happy with the birds we bought, but I do like the ones we hatched. That’s the only reason I considered keeping my own.

      We’ll see. If it turns out to be too much trouble, I can always put them in the freezer later.


    Sounds like things are fairly active on the homestead. Sorry to hear about the squash bugs, but glad you were able to get something harvested.

    Hugs to you and the family, those with two legs and four 🙂

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