Last Week On The Homestead: Rain, Oliver, and Garden Happenings!


July 11-17, 2022
Happy Monday friends.  We received rain!  Not a lot but every little bit helps.  I enjoy early morning strolls through the garden in the days after a rain.  It's amazing how quickly things change!  Plants seem to grow in inches overnight.

Mosquitoes and flies are in abundance at the moment.  We started making our own bug spray, comprised of 7 different essential oils, about 9 years ago.  It was created because we wanted something natural that deterred more than one pest and we didn't want it to smell so bug spray-ish (= no citronella).  Who wants 4 different bug sprays for 4 different pests?  The essential oils are lemongrass, cedarwood, wintergreen, eucalyptus, geranium, and a pinch of both lemon eucalyptus and garlic.  We've found it works very well on all bugs we've tried to deter.

I completed my direct sowing of seeds for a late summer/early fall harvest.  I've not always been diligent about trying to fill my raised beds with fall veggies but this year I'm making an effort to change that.  Brassicas, sugar snap peas, green beans, lettuce, greens, radish, beets, and carrots will hopefully be harvested.  Our spring sugar snap peas did ok.  The plants never grew as tall as they always have in the past and some died shortly after providing only a handful of peas.  I'm hopeful that falls harvest will provide us with enough for fresh eating and freezing.  Of the brassicas, cabbage is the only one that I don't love although it's such a great veg to add to many dishes.  I opted not to plant it for summer harvest and instead planted a few for a fall harvest.  I prefer it cooked so it made sense to me to harvest in fall where I can add it to warm, comfort food dishes.

Oliver went in for bloodwork on Tuesday.  His doctor has been running some tests every few months because of concerns noted in bloodwork back when he was drinking excessively.  Although that turned out to be diabetes insipidus, we were still testing him because his kidney values were a bit high initially and then normalized.  Unfortunately, it was discovered this week that he is in the beginning stages of kidney disease.  My poor little man.  We are certainly hoping it progresses slowly.

Many of you responded favorably to my last "last weekend on the homestead" post so I think I will continue with these.  Again, I won't be writing them weekly, instead I plan to highlight a week here and there.  Sometimes it may be weekly for a while and then skip a few.  Thank you for your response - I appreciate the feedback!

I harvested radish, bok choy (I had a couple more plants that I didn't see the previous week), lettuce, kale, sugar snap peas, blueberries, chives, basil, asparagus (only 8 spears), broccoli, parsley, onions, cilantro, arugula, and zucchini.  Four zucchinis to be exact!  We are off to a good start.  We celebrated the start of zucchini season with what else?  A chocolate zucchini cake of course!  

Felix (not our cat) continues to take his job as my outdoor supervisor quite seriously.  I'm happy that he's finally comfortable enough to hang around me.  Always at a safe distance, of course, but at least he is curious and interested in being around when I'm outside.

We had a craft show on Saturday in addition to our Sunday farmer's market.  The craft show actually ran Saturday and Sunday and we usually do Sunday as well by splitting - my husband goes to one and I go to the other.  This year, however, with Olivers medical needs, it just wasn't possible.  We have a wonderful pet sitter who is with him when we are at the market or shows but he doesn't always take meds from her (so stubborn) so I can't count on him doing so and risk that he wouldn't receive his meds on time.  As a result, we are limiting our craft shows for now.

For the business, I made deodorant and lotion and cut and wrapped a whole lot of soap!  Jay worked in his woodshop turning handles for kitchen utensils as well as a couple of special-order shave brushes.  A part went out on his lathe at the beginning of the week and the company sent the replacement out right away allowing him to fix it and continue on.

An organic farmer at our farmers market has cherry tomatoes already so I purchased some on Sunday.  They are soooo delicious.  It was worth the splurge (and it definitely was a splurge).  We savored them.  I also purchased a couple of cucumbers.  Ours are still a week or so away from being ready.  I traded products for some berries, beets, and a baguette (I just realized, all b's!).  All of the rest of our veggies that we ate this week came from the garden and the sprout jars.  

Hoping you had a wonderful week and wishing you a great week ahead!


  1. I should try the bug spray! I have all the EO's, except for the wintergreen. That's wonderful you got some good rain. Everything seems so much happier when it gets adequate rain.

    Sweet Oliver. I hope he'll do well for a good while. I also sowed fall crops today... broccoli, cabbage, kale, beets and collards. My husband sowed carrots yesterday. Here's to an abundant fall harvest for us both!

    1. Hi Laurie - Everything is definitely happier with rain. Regarding the bug spray, without the wintergreen it will still be pretty effective but if mosquitoes are a main pest for you, you'll want to add the wintergreen. An abundant fall harvest indeed!

  2. Sorry to hear about Oliver. Poor boy has been through it, hasn't he? And you!
    Praying that he is comfortable.

    Your market display always looks so inviting. I'll bet you're selling a lot of bug spray. I made one recently with EO and it seems to be working.

    The garden is doing well and it sounds like you have a good jump on the fall plantings. Garden On!

  3. That first photo of the garden and shed is lovely I don't think I've seen one from that angle for a while. Your soap and wood turning business sounds so lovely and being a team in the business makes for a great family goal. Have a great week.

  4. So grateful for the rain we received as well...although the garden is full of weeds now. Oh well, that's on Saturday's to-do list! Terrific you're planting fall veggies in your raised beds...I've never done that, but such a good idea - you inspired me, maybe I'll drop a few seeds in, too! I understand how you worry about Oliver...they're such a big part of our families, aren't they? Sending him good wishes...and you too, take a little R&R for yourself. Feet up, something cool to drink, a good book. Mary

  5. Thanks so much Kathy. We do enjoy being able to run the business as a team. Wishing you a wonderful week as well!

    Mary - yes, I think all gardens are getting overrun with weeds about now. I hope you do plant a few things for fall! Thank you for the good wishes for Ollie - he is indeed a huge part of our life. I like your thoughts of R&R!!


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