Despite soil that feels like walking in the desert, all our hard work watering and mulching the nine gardens is paying off. Yes, we’re really, really tired. And if you’ve ordered seeds recently from our seed business, you’ll notice it is taking a little longer for us to fill and send your orders. Yep, we spend most of the day dragging hoses and sprinklers around in all but one of our gardens. Remember, too, that two of them are over an acre in size. We keep getting forecasts of rain, but it seems to slide north or south of us, not quite wetting our ground. But the corn is setting nice ears, many of the plants having up to five ears per plant! And oh my, the beans! I canned up a big batch of Providers just three days ago and already it’s time to pick that row again. No wonder they got named “Provider,” eh?

Our Provider green beans are sure filling up the pantry quickly.

The grasshoppers are still mightily with us. When you walk, a cloud of them rises up ahead of you. Now some of them are as long as your finger! And, yes, they’re eating. Luckily, they seem mostly to be eating the cabbage family, bean, and corn leaves. But they’re also eating some of my flowers too. I don’t want to spray or powder them because we have lots of pollinators and butterflies the pyrethrin would also kill. I’ll admit I get a little angry when I see them perched on one of my fancy daylilies, munching away like mad. I’d like to turn our chickens out but then they get into my peppers and tomatoes besides eating bugs so that’s a no-dice.

I do get mad to watch grasshoppers eating my fancy daylilies.

Yesterday when I was walking in the goat pasture I spied something gray and big in the Hopi Pale Grey squash vines. Did I leave a white bucket in there somewhere? Was an alien spaceship docked in the vines? I looked closer and it was a basketball sized squash, already turned blue-gray! That sure was a surprise. And lots more squash are in those vines too.

We love our Finnegan Farms Dwarf sunflowers. They are so cheerful.

The Finnegan Farms Dwarf sunflowers are blooming beside the greenhouse. Even with no water, the plants look healthy and strong. I love those often-foot wide blooms. This year, they’re a little smaller than usual because of the lack of rain. But some are still large, and all are so pretty. I especially love the way sunflower blooms travel around, always facing the sun. That’s so cool. I remember driving across North Dakota where there are hundreds of acres of sunflowers and seeing every single one facing the sun, all day long. — Jackie


  1. We have had guineas for several years. Not only do they keep ticks away but they make short work of potato beetles and squash bugs without hurting the plants. We have not had a big grasshopper infestation for many years. I am not sure how the guineas would work with them. We got chickens last year after many years of not having them. Our gardens are farther away from the house and in the sun. When I let the chickens out in the afternoon, they stay around the house in the shade. So far the only flowers they have bothered are my daffodils. They roll in the dust and dig up the bulbs. In Kansas, we have had too much rain, not enough rain, and very hot days. Our garden is not producing as well as usual. We hope for some more moderate weather soon. Deer ate our sunflowers and worked on our melons and sweet potatoes. We finally put up an electric fence around that garden.

    • Yes, guineas do eat a lot of bugs. But, truthfully, I can’t stand their noise as I’m a pretty quiet-loving person and they don’t stop, especially when someone drives in or the dogs trot by. My chickens dug fluff holes in all my flower beds, destroying many of the flowers. So in the orchard they stay! Our gardens are sure struggling too with high heat and NO rain to speak of for a long, long time. Thank God, our fences have kept the deer out. They can sure be destructive, can’t they? Eeek!

  2. My Hopi Pale Grey are going great guns even with our drought here in Central Oregon. I’ve got to look through your books to see how I should can my Hopi Pale Grey. I also want to see if you have a pie recipe for them.
    We have regular solar panels but the Sunflower solar panels have always fascinated me they follow the sun like their namesake.
    Hoping for rain for us all!

    • We’re praying for a good rain, too. I use my regular pumpkin pie recipe and the result is fantastic. Will won’t eat regular pumpkin pie if he can get Hopi Pale Grey pie!!!

  3. I planted 2 seeds of the Hopi gray squash planted in raised beds and I have loads of blooms but they die off. I was bummed I wasn’t going to get any then lo and behold 2 we’re hiding on the ground. I did a happy dance.

  4. The drought is less for me in southern Wisconsin. Recent storms have brought much needed rain and blew down several trees. These are to be added to the woodpile. Tomatoes are really coming now as well as sweet corn. We can always talk about the weather it’s so unpredictable. The climate report was worrisome.

    • Yep, it is. But, as we say here, when we can’t do much about something, “Plant more beans.” At least you can do that. And, of course, it’s more corn, squash, etc…… I’m glad you finally got rain. We haven’t been real blessed in that department. Yet.

  5. Nice job! My hat is off to you guys. We are in central New Hampshire. We had a seriously cool, wet July into August. But now we are in for a 3 day heat wave. My winter squash and the cantaloupe I am trying this year have hardly produced anything. I’ll be lucky if we get two cantaloupe and a couple of small, pie pumpkins. That’s the way it is here in NH. I don’t plant string beans because of not being able to keep up with them as you mention. But I admire you and your gardens!

    • So sorry to hear about your squash and cantaloupe. Unfortunately each year brings certain challenges and we don’t get a crop. This year, for us, it was fruit. Not a single kind anywhere on the homestead, both wild and tame.

  6. Jackie, Did you try Arbico Organics for grasshopper/cricket bait and other organic pest control? If you start early and are persistent you can eliminate grasshoppers.

    • I wanted to as I’ve used it in the past with good results. But they were out of it, as were everyone else.

  7. North Central Wisconsin, got bout 9 inches of rain in the last 2 weeks, after an initially dry summer, sorry some of it isn’t hitting you guys too. Question- do you ever have a problem when ur beans are first germinating and coming through the ground that some of them have no leaves? They just look like stumps? And they weren’t chewed off by a critter, some of them just come up that way.

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