Despite the drought and super high (for us) temperatures all summer, our crops are finally rewarding us with their first bounty. Today I picked a basket full of nice ripe tomatoes of many different varieties as well as some very nice new-to-us Italian zucchini, Ingot summer squash, and some early Goliath broccoli. Guess what we’re eating tonight? Bacon and tomato sandwiches, fried squash, and cheesy broccoli! I can’t wait. Our beans are looking fantastic overall. I especially love the Brighstone bush beans, both for their tasty beans and the gorgeous purple flowers. I think I’d grow them just for those flowers.

I love the purple flowers on Brighstone bush beans!

Today I had to go get cortisone injections in both (very) sore knees. With all the walking around, watering, and weeding, they had gotten past tolerable to tears-in-the-eyes painful. The doctor had some X-rays taken and is scheduling for an MRI to see if there is something more serious than arthritis going on. And she mentioned knee replacement. Ish! I’d hate that but would be agreeable if it would stop the pain. But I told her only in the winter! Too busy right now so I’m hoping we can put the replacement off for a while.

We picked some nice Provider green beans to can up.

While I was at the doctor’s our friends Mike and Dara came over so she could help me out by picking the Provider beans. She had one big bag full and another half full when I got back so I sat down on a bucket and picked the last part of the row with her while we visited. That was so nice of her! Good friends are a true treasure! — Jackie


  1. Miss Jackie…just a heads up….please speak to your doctor about being able to kneel after knee replacement. Had both mine done at the same time (my doc will no longer do it that way). They feel much better but I can no longer kneel on them nor can I sit back on my heels. Makes growing plants tougher to do. Good luck, Pyro

    • I haven’t been able to kneel or crouch down for years because of knee pain so I sure wouldn’t be losing ground there. Just not having constant pain would be a huge blessing!

  2. I have a gallon jug of store bought apple cider that I have opened and very little has been used. I have refrigerated it since opening. It has not expired and I am wanting to use it but just can’t drink that much apple cider and need the room in the refrigerator. Any suggestions of what I could make, can, freeze?

    • You can put it in plastic jugs and freeze it. We make cider with friends in the fall and I use clean orange juice jugs I save all year, fill them not quite full to leave room for expansion.

  3. It’s amazing how knowledgeable and skilled you are growing your gardens in a short growing season and when people ask me any questions about how to grow a garden in a short season I always recommend you for that answer.

    Sorry about your knees. I don’t have a knee story to tell but several years ago I broke an ankle and have 2 screws in it. I was told by the doctors I would have arthritis the rest of my life in it. I beat that prediction cause have not had any arthritis.

    • I’m so glad your screws didn’t end up causing arthritis for you. That’s literally a pain! But now, with the shots, my knees are a whole lot better. Today I got a MRI to see just what’s going on with them in case there’s something that can be done to fix the problem.

  4. I can’t say that I am surprised about your knees! I am new to reading your blog but you guys work so hard! We do to but on a smaller scale out here in NH. Unlike you, we have been inundated with showers and rain this summer. Hence, things are growing way too slow. I hope my tomatoes ripen as we always can tomatoes. I am sorry to see my cantaloupe and watermelon will probably not make it to fruition. Such is gardening and homesteading. You have good years and not such great years. Take care.

    • Karla,

      I’m in Vermont, same same on the rain. I have been fighting a losing battle with the aphids and Japanese beetles this year, they have been attacking everything. I doubt I will get a single zucchini, watermelon, or yellow squash this year, meanwhile the peppers (both hot and sweet) are growing crazy. It’s been a weird year!

    • It’s been a hard year for nearly all gardeners this year. That’s why when I have a bumper crop, I can up everything I can because the next year might be like this year!! or worse

  5. My husband had a knee replacement a few years back. He was Very diligent at doing all the exercises and therapy. He can get on his knees and has better mobility in the replaced knee than the other one. It can be a great operation If you are faithful to do all the exercises while healing. I’ve met many folks who didn’t and they never gained full mobility. With your lifestyle it could be a great blessing If you are diligent with the exercises and therapy. He had had it done in the winter so he could do all the homestead stuff we do in the spring, summer and fall ☺

    • We’re mid-process with the knees; just had a MRI so we know the score. I may end up with a knee replacement but definitely would do it in the winter. And, YES! I certainly would do the exercises and therapy. No use in going half way.

  6. Well…everybody has an opinion about somebody else’s health. I’ll add my own observations. My mother will be 94 next birthday. She should have had hip/knee replacements years ago. She refused. By the time she hurt so bad she was agreeable to it, it was too late. They could no longer do the surgery due to her age and other health problems. Observation: You CAN live a long time with bad joints; but it isn’t any fun, and doesn’t get any ‘funner’ with time. Take care of yourself, as only you can know how to do. Cheers!

    • I agree; my doctor and I are talking about the need for knee replacement so we’ll see how the MRI turns out as to how soon they want to do that. NOT until winter though!!!

  7. Jackie, so sorry about your knees. Friends and family have all had knee replacement and had great success. A few had both knees replaced at one time. They didn’t want the down time for two surgeries.

    • Yeah, I totally understand that, for sure. We’ll see what the doctor says when we get the whole picture of what’s going on in there.

  8. Don’t let the thought of knee replacement bother you. Have had two partial and after ten years of use just had a full replacement The new replacements should be good for ten or more years of good use and the best part is the pain is gone. The only downside is you can’t be working on your knees anymore but you can always learn new ways around that

    • I haven’t been able to get on my knees, even in bed, for years. So if I can’t after a replacement, no ground lost there! Thanks for the sharing of your experience!

  9. I would like to know about the squash bugs too. The little ones are hatching out and they are bad. Killed all my squash plants and cucumbers and are on tomatoes now. Have been using diastemas earth and it hasnt helped much

    • I would suggest spraying with pyrethrins spray. It has quick knock down and is non-toxic to people and pets.

  10. So sorry about your pain try e every thing . Then surgery. Your gardens are so gorgeous! I’m so jealous!!! My beans and tomatoes just won’t even flower ! Of course it’s been well over 100 for way too long. Stay vigilant

    • Yep, I am about at the end of my “try everything” and am considering surgery if the MRI I just had shows that’s the best alternative. High temperatures sure hinder garden production!! Hopefully, it’ll cool off in time to get a harvest.

  11. I have leg issues, including a bone disease. I am allergic to metal internally, so no metal replacement parts for me. Titanium is used mostly. For topical quicker relief, I use Aspercreme with Lidocaine, the roll on bottle is wonderful, putting it just exactly where needed with minimal mess. I hope you get pain relief soon that is a good long answer to the problem.

    • I’ve used Aspercreme but the Absorbine Cooling Gel horse liniment works much better for me. We’re working on a more permanent solution than topicals and cortisone shots. Here’s hoping….

  12. I had knee problems for over a year! Inflammation fighting prescription(taken on the worst days) and resting it in between all the walking and chores. Resting and getting it up(when resting) and wearing a knee brace got me back to normal again. I am very happy camper to be normal again!

    • I’m so glad the knee brace and resting got you relief. They didn’t work for me. So onward to more drastic cures I guess.

  13. I am sorry to hear about your painful knees. You decide what is best for you. I have friends who have had replacements and those who had injections. It’s up to you what will work best.

    Your produce is beautiful!!!

    • While the injections work for awhile, it isn’t a cure for the problem. We’re discussing knee replacement for this winter if the MRI I just had shows that is necessary.

  14. Harvest is the best time. Here in zone 9, I’m harvesting muscadines and starting to set out my warm weather fall crops, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant.
    I asked about root storage in Florida. Thanks for your answer. But, can you be a bit more specific about potatoes? My house is kept between 69 and 73. And both commercially grown sweet and white either sprout or rot in the baskets I store them in. It’s a fairly dark spot in the lightest (and most convenient) room in the house. What can I do better?

    • Girl!! I’m here with you. I’m in Tampa. I don’t keep my home quite that cool, but I will tell you the closest thing to a basement or root cellar is under my bed. It must be nice to have an entire room dedicated to your root vegetables. Perhaps, I’ll consider something like that. I just won’t have a guest room.

    • What Mom and Dad did when they lived in New Mexico was to change their second bathroom into a “root cellar”. They installed a small room air-conditioner in it so it stayed at 45 and blocked the window so light couldn’t get in. That worked very well for them.

    • I have had both knees replaced, nothing else worked. Got my life back. Wish I didn’t wait so long. Tuff surgery and recovery but worth it!

    • Hey, I’m definitely considering it. I’d rather have serious pain for a few weeks than this bad pain that’s ongoing. I haven’t been able to kneel down, even on a bed, for years.

  15. Question – squash bugs. Besides removing the plants, what else to prevent a recurrence next year?
    My husband has had good luck with “lubricant” injections in his knees. He knows he’ll never be pain free but it has made a world of difference. Injections last about 6 months, covered by Medicare, and *no* downtime.

    • Re: squash bugs, I’d till the ground in your garden as that usually kills off any that are trying to over-winter in the top layers of the soil. Don’t mulch next year as that provides a great hiding place for the bugs. At the first sign, spray your plants (with the exception of the flowers which would also kill pollinators) with pyrethrins spray. If you don’t leave any garden residue, including compost piles in or near the garden, you should have a much reduced load next year.
      Yep, I’ve done the shots but I’m thinking it might be time to step up to surgery. We’ll see how my MRI turns out that I had today.

  16. Jackie, I had bilateral knee replacement in 2007 and have never regretted it. It’s probably the best way to be pain free if you are bone on bone. X-rays will show that. Although I had both done at once, doing one knee and then two months later, if need be, doing the second one is probably the better way to go. Best of luck to you….Sue

    • Thanks for your experience. Sharing that sure helps me make decisions! Just had an MRI so we’ll see how things look there. I’m thinking both at once if the doctor is willing. I’m sure one at a time is easier to recover from but there’s the time thing and it seems I never have enough of that!!

      • I’m with Sue on this one; I had a total knee replacement at age 52–yeah, very young but very needed. Unfortunately, it had to be re-done 4 years later, they call it a Revision(!), this time at Mayo in Rochester. At that time they said I could do my other knee in 6 weeks…um heck no! it is now 8 years later and I have found that the one has taken the pressure off the other one, so I continue to keep my “real” knee for kneeling down first, then can gently place the other one. Very happy with the decision.
        The thought of having both legs at once was more than I could consider, but many folks have done so. Just had to throw my 2 cents in, too!
        And yes, fairly new garden; last year was first time. And thanks, I will try to shade the rhubarb.

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