Common Sense Home Good News Letter 8/20/22

“Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions; they pass no criticisms.” – George Eliot

We said goodbye to a dear little friend this week. Our favorite member of the duck patrol, Miss Blue, passed away in the coop overnight.

Miss Blue was a special duck, very patient, with running commentary on everything going on in her domain. People may think that ducks just say “quack”, but Blue had a vocabulary, from happy musical “quack-a-lackas” to chastising chatter.

The duck patrol ducks are five years old now, and Duncan and I tuck them in together nearly every single night. They like to work with us in the gardens, and it’s a joy to watch them move around the homestead. Miss Blue will be greatly missed, but I hope we will always have duckies here on the homestead.

When a beloved pet passes – be it dog, cat, duck, rabbit, or other – the world is a little less bright, but how lucky we are that they shared their light for the time we had with them.

This week the pace of harvesting started to pick up, so we were making dilly beans and pickled green beans while we still have fresh dill. I had hoped to get to canning tomatoes and drying zucchini, too, but that will have to wait until Monday.

I was talking to a friend about an odd phenomenon we’ve both noticed this season – poor fruit set on vine crops. She said another friend who owns a pumpkin patch noticed it, too. Lots of big healthy looking vines, but very few fruit. With as many plants as we have, we should have cucumbers and squash coming out of our ears – but we don’t.

It seems like some insect populations are down, too. There just aren’t as many flies, mosquitoes, and pollinators around our place this year. I don’t miss the flies and mosquitoes, but I’m sure the songbirds do. Maybe that why the swallows left early this year?

We finally got enough rain to break the drought, but it’s still a very odd growing season.

How has gardening and crop production been in your area? Are you noticing differences this year, too?

Next week I’ll be talking about zucchini flour and updating one of the Weekly Weeder posts, but for now I have to check in with my husband, who is helping out at a neighbor’s place.

All our best to you and yours,

Laurie (and August IV, August V, and Duncan)

August and Laurie

A few people have contacted me about the Magnetude jewelry I mentioned a while back in the newsletter. Yes, I’m still wearing it, though I do take the bracelets off more now in the summer because life is messy!

I was on our Tuesday Zoom call this week, and Dr. Tracey shared a great testimonial from a recent event she was at. An older gal was browsing the display, and tried on one of the bracelets while she was looking at other pieces. She only had the bracelet on for about 10-15 minutes, but by the end of that time she was able to fully bend her arthritic pinky finger that normally hardly bends at all. (It had been injured in an accident years earlier.)

The jewelry contains bio-compatible magnets, far-infrared (FIR) balls and negative ion balls. There are studies showing that each of these components may help with issues such as inflammation and improving blood flow.

Everyone is different, so if you want to try them, I suggest starting out with one or two pieces to see how you feel, and then go from there. If you have a sore spot, get a piece that you can wear near the sore spot if possible (like the gal with the arthritis in her pinky). For instance, the Atlas base is small enough that it can be tucked inside a knee wrap.

You can learn more at

visit Magnetude jewelry
Magnetude slider bracelets and necklaces

This week’s featured articles…

True story, August (husband) singed hair off his hand testing the different lighters in this article, but he and Duncan have settled on their top lighter picks for everyday use and emergencies.

August used to be in the Boy Scouts many moons ago, and of course they had favorite lighters they used for camping, but many of the designs have changed since then.

best lighters
Lineup of lighters

We had heavy rains last weekend (the neighbors said they had over 3 inches in their rain gauge) and come Monday morning, the early cabbage was popping like popcorn.

Once the heads split open, they won’t keep long, so we got together to have a sauerkraut making party. I pulled our early cabbage, and my friend Dorothy brought her split heads, and another neighbor came to read to the younger children while we did the cleaning and chopping. We ended up with around 45 pounds of cabbage (9 gallons) in the 15 gallon crock. Dorothy’s son stomped it down like old fashioned grape stomping for making wine.

If you’d like to make kraut, you don’t need to make such a big batch – unless you want to. We have basic sauerkraut instructions here.

If you mix red and green cabbage, you can make some crazy hot pink colored kraut.

Pink sauerkraut

Popular on Instagram – our kraut making party and stomping the kraut.

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