Last Month On The Homestead July 2023: What's Growing, Updates, & Where I've Been!


Hello!  It's been a bit since I've posted, and I apologize for that.  July was somewhat hectic, and that rolled into the beginning of August as well.  So here we are, nearly midway through August already!  How have you been?  I'm hoping this finds you and your family safe and well.  We've had a very rainy summer but have been fortunate in that flooding has not been an issue as it has for so many.  

I'm posting a "last month on the homestead" rather than "last week" as I can't even remember what I did last week.  So, an overview it will be!

The garden is doing ok.  Yes, just ok.  The tomatoes and peppers are producing prolifically as are half of the green bean plants, the greens, beets, and most of the herbs, but the rest is, well, just ok.  The weeds began their annual takeover, but I was able to spend a couple of days pulling those, so we are back to being able to see all of the plants again (and any snakes that may be visiting).  I've planted more seeds for fall.  I had hoped to get some seeds started for fall planting but that didn't happen which might be ok this year as we are receiving a fair amount of rain.  I think they should germinate and get growing in time for a harvest.  And good news, my 4 sunflowers are still alive!  Because of their late start they aren't blooming yet but I believe they will.


The hecticness of this past month was mostly due to Jay and Oliver being hospitalized.  Thankfully not both at the same time, and obviously both at different types of hospitals (Oliver is a dog although he doesn't seem to know that).  Jay was having kidney stone issues.  He has them fairly regularly (it's years between them but they always eventually show up) and is monitored annually.  So, while it wasn't a surprise that they began moving, it was a surprise when they got stuck and he had to undergo emergency surgery to have them removed.  

Once he was finally back up and running, I got sick, which is rare these days thankfully.  My illness only lasted a few days and then we had to take Oliver to the emergency vet because he suddenly began having severe breathing problems.  Thankfully all of us were back up and running before the next one was ill.  It certainly would have been even worse to have us all down at the same time.  

Oliver is still recovering and was diagnosed with an additional 4 medical issues during his stay at the emergency vet.  He's 13 1/2 years old and a French Bulldog, so no one was surprised when they continued to find new issues.  We aren't sure what it all means yet as we need to focus first on getting his breathing issues resolved and then we will meet with his regular vet to figure out the rest.


Jackson is doing well as is our feral cat friend Felix.  We haven't seen much of the other two feral cats.  One morning one of the other cats and I believe Felix got into a fight over the cat food dish.  There was a lot of hissing and some tumbling into the flower bed right off of the front porch.  Felix must have won the turf war as the other hasn't been seen much since.  Jack was sleeping through the entire incident.  Too bad, he would have gotten very excited from his window seat view.

Somehow, we missed jam season.  I just realized this the other day.  How does that happen???  Usually, we go to a local u-pick for blueberries to turn into jam and can as well as stock up on strawberries when they go on sale for the same reason.  This year neither happened.  Bummer since we used up all of our homemade jam a month or so ago.  We can make it with frozen fruit maybe in early fall.  I actually haven't canned anything as of yet.  We still have some things left from last year, but I had hoped to be able to add to my cupboards.  There's still plenty of time, so I just have to decide what items to focus on.

I've been reading the Inspector Gamache series by Louise Penny in any spare time I get (or while waiting in hospital rooms, waiting rooms, etc.....).  I'm currently waiting for the next one to be available at the library.  I enjoy her writing as it is somewhat different from most that I typically read.  

What are you reading this summer?

coop girl Dorilla

We lost two coop girls the end of July.  Do you remember me telling you about sweet coop girl Dorilla and how she would put her wing around coop girl Stella at night on the roost?  Well Dorilla passed away one evening.  I found her laying under the roosts when I went to open them up for the day.  Stella passed away just a few days later.  Isn't that interesting?  They were so close and passed away the same week.  I'm sure that both are from old age, although Stella may have been old age and heartbreak.  I would check on her in the evenings after Dorilla's passing and she was all by herself.  It's sad but I'm so happy they experienced such a loving friendship while they were here.

I had hoped to have made the oregano pesto I wrote about in the last post and report back, but my oregano is the only herb not doing well this year.  Go figure.  I finally have a way to use a bunch of it (rather than just drying it) and it didn't grow much at all.  We were blessed with a plethora of cilantro, as usual, and I've been so grateful.  We eat it pretty much daily, so it's been wonderful to pick it fresh all spring and summer.  I know a lot of people struggle with growing cilantro and I have no idea why it does well in my garden.  I suspect because I don't have full sun.  I actually planted it in succession in just about all of my garden beds.

We are reminded that the next season is right around the corner as we make our fall products for our soap & mercantile company.  It's hard to believe that time is almost here!  I used to forget to enjoy the last of summer because I was so excited about the anticipation of fall, my favorite season.  But now, I make a conscious effort to fully embrace each day of the year, regardless of what it brings.

**Our thoughts are with all of the people on the island of Maui.   My husband and I lived on Oahu when we first got together and were later married on Maui. It is heartbreaking to see the devastation and loss.  

What about you, have you had a nice summer?  How did your garden do this year?  What foods are you preserving for winter eating?


  1. Goodness, that sounds like a challenging time you all had! So glad you are on the other side of it now. I can relate to your garden doing just OK. Ours too this year. The only thing we've harvested is cucumbers, tomatoes and some basil. I'll harvest our first zucchini this weekend. No canning here either, except for the ever present broth. A strange year for sure! I'm currently reading Eating on the Wild Side, which is not my usual fiction, but enjoyable. It's always sad to lose chickens. I have one now doing poorly, who is on up there in years. Enjoy these lovely summer days!

    1. I've heard of that book, although I've not looked at it as of yet. Always good to know more about items we can forage. Oh gardens....they are so unpredictable, aren't they? Thank goodness we are harvesting tomatoes, or I would really be bummed. Sorry about your chicken. It is indeed always sad to lose them. I will hope for both of us that our harvests pick up in this last month (ish) of summer!

  2. Goodness me you've had a whirlwind of emergencies. Glad everyone is on the mend now. Love that first sunset photo the place looks great. Have a great week. Kathy A, Brisbane

    1. Thanks so much Kathy. Wishing you a wonderful week as well!

  3. That sky behind your home is stunning!
    I'm so sorry to hear about all of the health troubles y'all have been having. Praying for continued healing. Are there certain foods that trigger kidney stones or is it just common for some folks to have them?

    I'm fairly pleased with any ole thing I get out of the garden. I'd never survive on what I grow, for sure, but I enjoy it and it still astonishes me what happens to those little bitty seeds when you put them in the ground. My saying is, "I plant the seed, God does the rest."

    I'm so sorry to hear about your chooks. I'm sure they were bonded for life and hopefully they are together somewhere better than here. At least they had a great life with you here on Earth.

    I look forward to fall every year as well, but like you, I am striving to live in the current season. Fall planting does make it easier to get through these dog days of summer.

    Enjoy your weekend and bee well! daisy

    1. Thanks Daisy. I took that photo after a rainstorm. I was on my way back from the chicken coop when I saw it and knew I needed to run in to grab my phone and take a quick picture.

      They say specific foods should be avoided to help prevent kidney stones and my husband has eliminated a lot of them but is now working on eliminating the remainder. Others have said it doesn't work. Who knows? All you can do is try.

      Yes, to living in the current season. It takes constant reminders on my part, but it is so worth it!
      Wishing you a wonderful weekend and week ahead as well!

  4. Sorry to hear about your husband and dog. Scary and painful stuff kidney stones are. Where you have had a lot of rain, we have had virtually none. That means full blown heirloom tomatoes doing very well. I typically do not grow sweet bell peppers because I do not have a full day of sun in my garden and they used to not do as well in the PNW. I do have plenty of jalapenos and poblanos. The cabbage is sweet and delicious and I have fermented a quart of dill cukes. There is always too much to do this time of year and I get weary at my age. The temps aren’t so bad today but we have everything closed up because of the smoke from the fires. I wish I could give you some fresh oregano. It reseeds all over the place. Regardless, this time of year is a gift of all this fresh produce that tastes so much better than anything from the store. I have not read any Louise Penny but do know she has a huge following and lots of titles from which to choose. I am reading Homestead which is a story of a young couple homesteading west of Anchorage in the 1950’s. Should be really interesting. Wishing you the best and hopefully all will be well this fall at your place.

    1. Thanks Josephine! Happy to hear that much of your garden is doing well. Yes indeed, there is much to do this time of year. Sorry to hear about the wildfires in your area. I've seen that on the news. And isn't it so strange how we've had more rain than you this year? You've probably had higher temps too.

      Yes, bummer that we don't live closer. I would love some oregano! My oregano has always grown like crazy too, but I don't know what has happened this year.

      I've heard of that book, Homestead, but haven't read it. I read the 2-book series The Winds Of Skilak, also about Alaskan homesteaders. It was pretty good. I believe their adventure was in the 80's.

      Wishing you a wonderful week and thank you for stopping by!


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