Top Navigation  
 
U.S. Flag waving
Office Hours Momday - Friday  8 am - 5 pm Pacific 1-800-835-2418
 
Facebook   YouTube   Twitter
 
 
Backwoods Home Magazine, self-reliance, homesteading, off-grid

Features
 Home Page
 Current Issue
 Article Index
 Author Index
 Previous Issues
 Print Display Ads
 Print Classifieds
 Newsletter
 Letters
 Humor
 Free Stuff
 Recipes
 Home Energy

General Store
 Ordering Info
 Subscriptions
 Kindle Subscriptions
 Kindle Publications
 Anthologies
 Books
 Back Issues
 Help Yourself
 All Specials
 Classified Ad

Advertise
 Web Site Ads
 Magazine Ads

BHM Blogs
 Ask Jackie Clay
 Massad Ayoob
 Claire Wolfe
 James Kash
 Where We Live
 Behind The Scenes
 Dave on Twitter
Retired Blogs
 Oliver Del Signore
 David Lee
 Energy Questions
 Bramblestitches

Quick Links
 Home Energy Info
 Jackie Clay
 Ask Jackie Online
 Dave Duffy
 Massad Ayoob
 John Silveira
 Claire Wolfe

Forum / Chat
 Forum/Chat Info
 Enter Forum
 Lost Password

More Features
 Contact Us/
 Change of Address
 Write For BHM
 Meet The Staff
 Meet The Authors
 Disclaimer and
 Privacy Policy


Retired Features
 Country Moments
 Links
 Feedback
 Radio Show


Link to BHM

Ask Jackie headline


Want to Comment on a blog post? Look for and click on the blue No Comments or # Comments at the end of each post. Please note that Jackie does not respond to questions posted as Comments. Click Below to ask Jackie a question.

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Read the old Ask Jackie Online columns
Read Ask Jackie print columns

Click for print copy Click for Kindle copy Click to read the beginning


Archive for the ‘Self-sufficiency’ Category

Jackie Clay

We delivered four quarters of beef

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Our beef is starting to sell well and we’ve been delivering, all the way down to Duluth with some 90 miles away! And in the morning we do it again with the second four quarters. Yep, back to Duluth, but also two deliveries closer to home.

People are really happy to get naturally-raised beef with no hormones or antibiotics and from animals that have lived on pasture and good care.

We got home to find our cat, Mittens, stretched out on the sofa, having a siesta in the sunshine. (It was 7 degrees out, so the sun felt good!) Mittens DOES live a rough life, doesn’t she?

Mittens-magazines
I’m having fun signing copies of my newest book, Summer of the Eagles. Requests are coming in from all over the country and it’s neat that so many different people are reading it. Not just “Western” fans. But, hey, it has something for everyone … even romance. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

It “warmed” up so Will got the old tractor started

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

oliver-will-hondo
On Saturday we were hauling hay to the horses and cattle. On the very last big round bale, the Oliver ran out of fuel ten feet short of the gate into the training ring. Luckily, the cattle did have some hay left, they were just getting more. We had to wait until we went to town to get diesel fuel.

After getting fuel, Will filled up the tractor and primed the injectors. Then he gave it a shot of starting fluid and cranked it over. But because it was still below zero, no dice.

He waited instead of grinding the battery down since it was supposed to warm up. Once it warmed up a little he put the propane heater under the tractor for an hour or so, then repeated the sequence. It fired up and before I could get down the hill, Will had delivered the bale of hay and parked the tractor in its spot by the storage barn. Now when I say “warmed up,” that means that it was above zero today — ten degrees to be exact. But with a 30 mph wind, it was still COLD. Only the dogs like the weather.

ten-degrees
We’ve got another weasel hanging around. Yesterday I saw his tracks coming from the orchard to the side of the chicken coop, around to the door where he stood with his feet up on the door sill. We’re hoping he’s thinking about MICE, as there is no better mouser in the world, not even Mittens. But after having my purebred rabbits and pheasants wiped out entirely by a weasel in one night years ago, it gives me the shivers. I’m glad we shut the birds in every night!

I’m waiting for my petunia seeds to come in the mail so I can get them started. They stay small so long and this year I want to get my hanging baskets planted with petunias early enough that when I set them out they’re flowering nicely.

Peppers go in tomorrow! Springtime when it’s 20 below! It’s a start, anyway. It’s sure nice that the days are getting so much longer. Darkness can get depressing. Even a couple more hours of daylight is SO welcome. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Colorful summer pictures are our answer to cabin fever!

Saturday, February 21st, 2015

Yard-alive
I know we are all getting pretty darned sick of winter. We’ve decided that the weather forecasters are always predicting warmer weather at the end of the week, yet it never comes! So we decided that summer photos are simply a cabin fever solution to give folks some hope to cling to as the snow blows and the temperature falls. Again.

Indigo-blue-beauty
I decided to look back at September 6th photos of our place and share the COLOR with you. We are SO color-deprived in the winter! When you look at bright summer photos, your eyes can’t absorb what they’re seeing!

Goliath
I’m starting petunias and peppers next week and have already dug out my potting soil and containers. That should help. Hang in there, guys, spring IS coming! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We’ve found plenty to keep us busy this winter

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Packing-peas
With our new mini-business, Seed Treasures (www.seedtreasures.com), we keep hustling, sorting, and packaging seeds. Will does that while I package envelopes and fill the orders. We used to be kind of bored this time of the year, but not anymore.
Sorted-seeds
It’s such fun, too, as we get letters from a lot of different people all over the country and they share bits of their lives and gardens with us. I can’t wait to hear how some of our crops perform for them.

Partnership
I got back from Duluth and Federal Court jury selection late Tuesday and all day yesterday I played catch-up. I wasn’t too sad to find out that the case finally settled out of court, allowing us jurors to get back to our lives. My bed never felt better than it did last night!

Are any of you rabbit breeders? I’m working on a “secret” project and would like to hear from you. I especially need photos of your rabbits, hutches, etc. As we’re not raising rabbits now, I don’t have access to these and hardly anyone raises rabbits, other than a couple of pets, up in our area.

Thanks! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: footings for retaining wall and eating collard flowerettes

Tuesday, February 17th, 2015

Footings for retaining wall

Will’s work on the barn and retaining wall has turned out to be so beautiful. We are wanting to build a retaining wall also about 18-24 inches high. How deep did you all put in the footers before starting the rock work?

Nana from Texas

Our footings are 8 inches deep with plenty of rebar and wire, and are twice as wide as the wall is thick — 12 inches wide as our walls are 6 inches wide. In the barn, our walls are 8 inches wide so the footings are 8 inches deep and 16 inches wide. When building a retaining wall, you should lean the wall into the bank ⅛ inch per foot, bare minimum. If your soil is not sand and gravel, you should install drain holes along the bottom so that any moisture doesn’t get trapped behind the wall, eventually cracking it. Our soil is 100% rock, sand, and gravel so this isn’t a concern, especially beneath the house. — Jackie

Eating collard flowerettes

I read with interest your reply to the reader asking if broccoli leaves can be used like kale or collards and you affirmed that indeed they can be. I also want to tell you the opposite can be true. Down here in the lower South I let my collard plants overwinter and they normally do quite nicely, but the time comes, especially when sitting in the garden for almost a year that they go to seed. What I noticed was that the flower stalks look remarkably like broccoli or broccoli rabe so I cooked some up as broccoli spears and were they ever good! In fact, they had a delightful taste and texture almost like asparagus and broccoli together. I continued to pick the spears as they appeared and got a harvest of about 3-4 weeks from them, for multiple pounds long before the spring-planted broccoli was ready. The spears grow faster and longer than broccoli spears and because of that fast growth were exceptionally tender. My next project is overwintered kale flower stalks!

Dave Franklyn
Tallassee, Alabama

Thanks for the information, Dave! What a creative bunch homesteaders are. I know I find myself continually experimenting with this and that to see just what would happen if… I know a whole lot of folks will be eating collard flowerettes in the future! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Tomorrow I get to do my civic duty

Monday, February 16th, 2015

I got a jury summons a while ago and was kind of hoping that the trial would be cancelled. (I live 90 miles north of Duluth, where the Federal trial will be held and have to report at 7:15 a.m.) It’s going to be -18 tonight and the parking lot is three blocks uphill from the Courthouse. Bad knee and that cold wind whipping up from Lake Superior right down the hill means I’m not looking forward to it at all.

Summons
Actually, without a fully informed jury, it kind of scares me, basically deciding without all the information on a person’s future. Justice is not always just. I know from experiences of loved ones.

AND our Subaru is out of commission. Old ‘Ru is starting to have a really bad vibration in the rear end and New ‘Ru is at the mechanic’s getting a heater core leak fixed. It was fogging up the windshield and driver’s window and antifreeze fumes like that can kill you. So there was no putting that off. Luckily, I can borrow David’s truck for the drive.

Hopefully I’ll be home tomorrow evening and get back to my life. It’s been a stressful week, knowing that jury selection is coming up. I’ll be in the shower at 4 a.m. and on the road by 4:45. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Our cold weather is back

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

But we’re not complaining. We know you folks back East are suffering record-breaking snowfalls with nowhere to put it all. Been there. We know where you’re coming from. Luckily, our winter has been great, although light on the snow. We only have about a foot on the ground. Honest. And it’s not been too cold, either. So when we hit a week of sub-zero weather, it feels cold now. But we know spring is coming fast. In fact, in two weeks I’ll be starting my petunias and peppers. Yeah, green things!

We keep opening pumpkins and squash as we use them, saving all the good seeds to sell in our Seed Treasures seed business, which is doing well. I’m glad to report that we’ve sent seeds to every state in the union now, from Florida to Alaska. (By the way, any of you who bought seeds, I’d LOVE to see pictures of your garden this summer/fall!)

Hopi-seeds
Just a note to let you know Spencer is 100% back to normal again and sure loves getting his pills 3 times a day. Why? Because I bought small cans of turkey cat food. I put a pill in the center of a tablespoon of food and he gobbles everything right up. Yum! We will be back at the vet’s to get him started on other antibiotics to treat his Lyme disease as well as getting Hondo tested and vaccinated if he comes up clear.

Our critters are all doing fine. The goats are doing well back up the hill in the old goat barn for the winter, having free choice hay outside the stock panels and grain being fed in a heavy duty plastic sled I bought on sale a week ago. The sleds work great to feed grain as they are SO easy to clean out before new feed is dumped in. In the summer, I can even scrub them out, if needed.

goats
I’m happy to report that my Western novel, Summer of the Eagles, is selling well and has several 5 star reviews on Amazon. Would any of you who purchased the book, either on Kindle or as a paperback, give a review, also? I’m told that it really helps not only sell the book but place it higher in Amazon’s promotion list, which is important. Thanks! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning Mostarda di frutta, canning pickled eggs and canning beans, and new All American canner

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Canning Mostarda di frutta

I have recently discovered mostardas, and I think the pear variety I have been experimenting with is great. I used a pint of home canned pears in water (no added syrup/sugar when I canned them), and added 1 tsp ground yellow mustard, 1 tsp brown mustard seed, 2 T apple cider vinegar, ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp pepper. Heated to boil, let simmer 20 minutes.

Most people add sugar, but I love it like this. Would it be safe to can it with the added spices and apple cider vinegar in a water bath canner?

Chrissy Mullender
Luray, Kansas

Yes, this would fine to can in a water bath canner. The pears are high acid and you are also adding apple cider vinegar. Enjoy your pears! — Jackie

Canning pickled eggs and canning beans

I would like to start off by saying how much I enjoy your books along with Backwoods Home Magazine. After the Bible they are the next most must read in our home. I have even purchased your canning and pantry cookbook for 2 of my 3 daughters and a friend. Our third daughter, who just got married will be getting them this year for Christmas.

I have 2 questions for you. In the Sept/Oct 2014 issue of Backwoods Home there was a article on things not to can and I noticed that pickled eggs were mentioned. Last year I canned pickled eggs using your recipe, so I am wondering if this is still okay? I didn’t have a problem with them and was thinking that maybe the shelf life isn’t as long. My second question is when canning beans is it okay to use Jacob’s Cattle in the recipe for the beans? I figure that it probably is and am embarrassed that I am even asking. I hope you don’t think I am a dipsy doodle, but I want to just make sure what I am doing is okay. There is a lot of work in canning and I just want to make sure it’s a good outcome. You are my canning guru, so thanks for taking the time I know you are very busy. I love canning and have been teaching my daughters. There is a gentleman at Church that told me if he stood still I would probably can him. Only if it’s in Jackie Clay’s Growing and Canning Your Own Food.

Robin Cousens
Sterling, Connecticut

Yes, I read that too. What Patrice meant is that there is no “tested” recipe for canning pickled eggs. Unfortunately the experts don’t bother testing a lot of tried and true recipes we’ve used for years. But folks have been pickling eggs for generations and I don’t know of a single illness resulting from them. Mine last for years just fine.

Yes, you can use any beans in bean recipes. No, of course I don’t think you’re a “dipsy doodle!” Sensible questions are always good questions that lots of other people probably wonder about too.

Hey, it’s said here that I’ll can anything that holds still long enough. And if it doesn’t, I’ll shoot it first, then can it up! That guy better watch out! — Jackie

New All American canner

I am so excited because I just got an All American canner. The first time I used it, it made a vacuum inside the canner. Getting the lid off was terrible. Could you, possibly, do a video or post good quality photos showing where the Vaseline goes? The instruction book that comes with the canner only uses words to describe where to put it — and they aren’t completely helpful!

Deborah McEnulty
Priest River, Idaho

All you do is take your index finger and lightly rub Vaseline all around the inside top of the canner body, where the top lid fits against the beveled part. Done deal. If you’re still not sure, I will gladly post a photo for you. I’m so happy you got an All American canner! You’ll love it! — Jackie

 
 


 
 

 
 
 
 
 
Copyright © 1998 - Present by Backwoods Home Magazine. All Rights Reserved.