We did get a little rain off and on. Not a great deal but enough to keep things going. We’re so happy with the gardens. Everything but the corn in the North and Wolf gardens is weeded and/or mulched. And it’s beginning to set ears already. We’ve got little and not-so-little melons on most of the vines. In fact, the Sweet Dakota Rose watermelon is going bonkers! Some of the vines are nearly waist high. I couldn’t see an elephant lying down in those thick vines!

Even our “extra” peppers in the North garden are doing well without watering in this drought.

I picked our first Ingot summer squash and boy are they good, sliced and fried with a little onion. And those bush squash are just loaded! What was I thinking, planting five of them? This year we tried Early Polish watermelon and I’m pretty sure it’s a keeper. We already have a dozen or more fat watermelons, some as large as basketballs.

Our Ingot summer squash is fantastic this year.

I just picked and canned up the first picking of our Provider green beans. I got eight pints and there are hundreds of almost-ready beans on those same bushes. So I’ll soon be putting up many more jars of our favorite green bean. Mmmm!

The beans and corn all look fantastic.

Will’s busy haying. The fields are so thin this year; where he would normally get twenty round bales, he’s just getting four. That’s pretty sad but the drought has been affecting so many other farmers all across the country that way. Look for food shortages in the future. Especially when some of the more southern states have experienced huge rains, effectively destroying crops. Boy, sometimes it seems you just can’t win. We’ll probably be selling some cows to be able to get by with reduced total bales. I won’t be so sad; some of the cows have been getting out lately, looking at lush grass just outside their eaten down pasture. Some of the bad-boys have been squeezing right through five strand barbed wire. Hey, I saw them do it and I wouldn’t be able to fit through where they got out. No, the wire is not sloppy! So the bad cows are in the winter cow yard, eating hay. At least they didn’t get into any of the gardens.

We are starting to get ripe tomatoes!

Javid is still in the hospital, recovering well but adjusting to the colostomy bag, which he is not happy about. But better that than having the cancer spread.

Over the weekend, David and Elizabeth came to work on their cabin. They got nearly all the upstairs insulated so they’re making good progress. They’re pretty happy that the water hole has been supplying our Wolf garden nicely. It means their well in the same spot will be a good one. Will has been using Old Trusty, the big dozer, at his friend’s to shove out willow brush and small trees in exchange for using his friend’s big excavator to deepen our irrigation pond at home as well as put down David’s well casing. We hope to get the water line also dug in by winter for them. Then they’ll have to save up for a septic system to be installed. At least the cabin is on a gravel ridge so they can have a septic system. Around here, if you’re not on good draining soil, you must put in an expensive above-ground mound system, costing between $15,000 and $20,000. Not cheap! — Jackie


  1. Happy to hear about the progress of your gardens, David’s house, and Javid’s recovery. Starting to harvest here in Michigan! The heavy rains we received in June and July were good for some things, not so good for others (tomatoes), but we adjust! Thanks for the updates Jackie. Always wonderful to hear about what’s happening at your homestead!

    • It’s been a struggle to keep things going all over the country this year, it seems. But we gardeners just keep plugging along, dealing with what we must. And, over-all, we usually do get great harvests of at least some crops!

  2. I have never posted a comment but I wanted to let you know I have been following you for over 17 years and you have been a wealth of information. I love learning from you!

  3. Every thing looks great. .How do you keep disease and bugs out of your gardens . I sprayed every 3or4 days ,using organic spray, we had so much rain in July I no sooner got it sprayed usually about 3 days later it poured so I sprayed and still ended up with diseases

    • We’re blessed to live in such a remote area. No other gardens from which to receive bugs and disease. We do have them both, from time to time though. We’ve had septoria leaf spot on our tomatoes and got that handled with copper spray and this year we had both blister beetles and grasshoppers, which we powdered with pyrethrin dust. Sometimes it can sure be a struggle. Be sure to pull and burn any severely affected plants and all plants of diseased species and burn them. Both diseases and some insects can over winter in the dead vines so don’t compost them.

  4. Your gardens look great. Want to thank you for the Strike beans, they don’t quit. The Hopi Pale grey are looking good, and the Glass Gem popcorn from you are about 12 ft tall & tasseling nicely. Can’t wait!

  5. I have a question. Living in FL, neither the terrain nor the temperature are conducive to having a root cellar. Not to mention the humidity. Thankfully, most of the year, I can pick dinner right out of the garden. And I freeze and dehydrate excess. But, I would really like to store carrots, potatoes, beets, and aliums root cellar style. I’ve seen a company called Root Cellar that makes outrageously expensive refrigerated “pantries”. But there has to be a better way than that. I’m only storing for 1. Maybe an old frig I could set at the right temp?

    • Heck yes, Kim. Just get an old refrigerator and slide in your root crops. Do be sure it can be turned quite low, as in 40 degrees for too cold a temp will make potatoes get black spots in the white flesh. Also, onions store much better at regular house temperature than in cold root cellars. Carrots store best washed, dried and packed into plastic bags with holes punched in them and sealed, in the fridge. Potatoes and beets like to just be laid in a bin and slipped into a cool spot.

  6. In addition to the “mo’ poo-poo”, do you use any type of fertilizer?
    My garden is struggling. Drought, heat, insects and pests, crab grass like I’ve never seen before, and now even the transplanted rhubarb, which WAS doing really well, is rapidly dying. Onions are golf ball sized, potatoes are small, tomatoes are so-so…quite a disheartening mess. But, it is providing some food and hopefully next year will be better. And being out there is still my favorite spot to be, followed by my kitchen where I’m canning, yay!
    So happy for you having good results, and that Javid is recovering and David is getting to do more at his home too. Hooray!

    • We do sometimes spray the foliage of plants with fish emulsion and spread blood meal around the root area of struggling plants as it’s a good source of organic nitrogen. Sorry your garden is having a tough time. That’s your new garden, isn’t it? They usually are pretty disappointing that first year. And this year was sure horrible!!! Try putting up some shade for the rhubarb plants. Even a cloth propped up on stakes will help keep the sun from killing this normally sun-loving plant.

  7. Note for Javid: My Mom (94) had an emergency bowel surgery several years ago. She didn’t like the colostomy bag idea either. She had colon cancer 47 years ago, so there just wasn’t much for the surgeon to work with this time. She has learned to deal with it now, and has decided emphatically that she does not want to have a second surgery to reconnect. “It isn’t that bad,” is her new position. Cheers!

    • Oh, forgot to say, The Hopi Grey’s are doing fantastic! Can’t wait to try them for a meal. Thanks for the seeds!

      • Thanks for the information on your mother. It’s good to hear from real life folks who are dealing with some of life’s unpleasant things. I’m glad your Hopis are doing good!! When you pick them this fall, wait a month or more for them to cure as it makes them more flavorful and sweeter too.

  8. $15-$20K for a mound system is cheap – more like $25K-$30K in my area. Hence we take care of our septic system – aka pump it regularly, don’t disturb the leech field, don’t drive near/over the septic area.
    We’ve been eating our first tomatoes. You just can’t beat the taste of home grown.

    • Holy cow! That’s expensive!!! Unfortunately everyone who doesn’t have ideal soil for drainage now has to have a mound system in our area. And in our severe winters, the pumps often fail which messes up the whole deal. Glad we have a nice septic and David can have one too!

  9. Your gardens are very nice!! My is not so nice this year. Too many deaths of family this spring. So we do the best we can. I love hearing what you are harvesting. How are the beavers? I sure hope we get snow this winter to bring up the water levels.

    thanks for sharing!

    • We’ve sure been struggling trying to keep everything going. Like you said, we do the best we can. The beavers have been kind of quiet lately but at night, they’re sure cutting down lots of trees. (Maybe storing the branches up for winter food? We haven’t seen them stuck in the mud yet….) I’m with you, hoping for lots of snow this winter. Even rivers around here are drying up to pitiful drizzles.

  10. I thoroughly enjoy hearing about your family and all your goings-on at your home place! I see you grow a lot of heat-hardy plants. Do you grow celery? This is my first year, and I need help knowing when to harvest. Mine is not even a half inch width; nothing like store-bought. Thanks.

    • We usually do grow celery although with as much as we had to grow, due to COVID interest in our seeds, we didn’t. We harvest celery just before the first frost. It usually isn’t as thick as the commercial celery as we don’t use chemicals to grow it. But it sure tastes great and I can up lots of pints and half pints, which get lots of use during the winter.

  11. We built log home in 2004 on 20 acres near Glacier Park. County required that we install engineered septic…over$20k! Now uphill neighbors living for 3 years, no septic. County ignores my request for help! Guess double standard exists for septic rules!

    • He really has, despite the drought, heat and bugs. Maybe he just wants to see how tough we are???? lol

  12. Our only garden is 150×125. We Have processed all the beans we wanted and gave away 2 bushel. Zuchinni and summer squash have got gone bonkers, and are also giving it away. 4th of July tomatoes are more than plentiful, the Amish Paste will be ripening soon. Corn is early this year, processed everything we will consume. Peppers are plentiful. Dug one potatoe mound and will be getting the rest dug soon. Everything is early, and the rain timely. Lower Michigan.

    • Sounds great! Our Amish Paste are already ripe and that’s unusual as they’re more of a late season tomato around here. Have you ever made Bread and Butter pickles out of smaller zucchini? They are VERY good!

    • Wow, that’s hard as we have 9 gardens. Two are over an acre, one about 9,000 square feet, one 1,000 square feet, one 500 square feet, one is about 4,000 square feet, one, 3,000 square feet, one about 600 square feet and the last only about 200 square feet. All is a rough estimate as most are odd shaped in part.

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