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Archive for the ‘Seminars’ Category

Jackie Clay

Spencer had surgery

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

Our faithful “BIG DOG” Black Lab, has Spencer, had a tumor on his hind leg. Although it was relatively small and didn’t seem attached, we opted to just leave it alone. But over the years, it grew slowly and finally developed a cyst, which broke and drained. So we decided it was time to have it removed. While he was at the vet’s, he also had a small skin tag removed from his right upper eyelid. It was causing his eye to matter in the mornings but didn’t seem to be bothering him, but we decided to have it taken off before it caused trouble for our friend.

The surgery went well and Dr. Fisher, our vet, said it didn’t appear to be cancer. So we were happy and Spencer was too when I drove to McDonalds and bought him two cheeseburgers to celebrate. Now he has a cute “little piggy” Vet Wrap on to cover the stitches. But I have to change it soon as he and Ashley’s Golden Retriever snuck down to the spring basin for a swim while she was brushing the horses. Bad dog! Otherwise, he’s good about leaving wounds alone so thankfully he doesn’t have to wear an Elizabethan collar, which is clunky and dogs hate wearing. (The collar keeps dogs from licking and chewing at stitched wounds or other sores.)

The garden is mostly fantastic! We’ve got White Flag cauliflower, Magpie bush beans and Iroquois pole beans. The corn is covered with big ears and the silks on some are starting to dry down. Our first ripe tomatoes are on the vine and we’re anxiously waiting for a taste test. (The garden is late this year, probably due to all the early high heat.)

This weekend, Will and I will be at the Orr Homesteading and Self-Reliance Expo in Orr, MN. I’ll be speaking on seed saving, heirloom seeds, and canning. And we’ll be at a booth, promoting our Seed Treasures seed business as well. If any of you can come, we’d love to have you drop by for a visit! And next week is our homesteading seminar. We’re busy getting ready, deciding menus for our afternoon lunches and other getting-ducks-in-the-row stuff. We did have one cancellation due to a lady’s back going out on her so if anyone would like to fill her spot, let us know. (218) 780-4902.

Our Hansen’s Bush cherries are getting ripe and I’m looking forward to making jam. They are SO good! This year, I’m saving their seeds to add to our seed listing next year. They are very easy to start from seed. A bird dropped one in an empty pot on our deck and now we have a bush cherry started. (I also saved seeds from our huge rhubarb. Right now, the stalks are two inches in diameter and the leaves are thirty inches across!)

I’m really enjoying our flowers this year. So far, my favorite is a daylily called Seashells and Lace, a very ruffled pink with a yellow throat and lighter edge. Mine came from Dancing Daylily in Georgia.
Becky has WONDERFUL flowers at reasonable prices.

Gotta run. I’ve got some shelves to put together for our front closet. Right now our winter boots are piled and overflowing onto the floor! Hopefully tonight it will be much more organized. Well, maybe… — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Our homestead has grown another 40 acres

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

The forty acres adjacent to ours (down what we call the Wolf Road, an old lumbering trail off our driveway) was for sale by the Potlatch Timber Company. And, as David needed a place to build his own cabin and we knew more cattle pasture would help out our homestead, we decided to buy it. Luckily, the Credit Union helped us finance it! So now we have 160 acres of wild land, which we’ll share a corner of with David and the rest with wolves and other wildlife.

Our rainy weather stopped at least temporarily, so we’ve been making hay every day. One of the fields is the one Will had plowed up and planted in timothy and alsike clover. It did very well and we were able to get it cut and baled without any rain. Today, Will’s out round baling another field which isn’t as good, by far, but it is hay. (Please God, send those black clouds way south of that hay field.)

Yesterday, my oldest son Bill and his family drove up. We all went to the lake, five miles away, where there’s a nice, sandy beach. It was hot and all of us went swimming and it sure felt great! We had a barbecue and then came home and went up to the berry patch so Mason and Ava could pick blueberries the size of nickels and sweet red raspberries. (Of course, we all ate them too, but, hey, grandkids NEED to pick and eat berries!)

The gardens and flower beds are doing great. We pick peas every day and harvest broccoli to go with them. We’ve got a couple of tomatoes which are getting orange and will be red in about two days. Can’t wait! We’ve got to get the potatoes hilled up and run the tiller in the Hopi Pale Grey squash patch as the weeds are getting thick. Darned them, anyway! We’ve got peppers on the plants, some of which are getting ripe. I can’t wait to make salsa. For the first time in decades, I ran out of salsa. Wow, I won’t let that happen again. Our onions are terrific this year, as are the beans. I think it’s all this heat.

Will and I worked last night, getting the irrigation lines ready to water. We noticed the corn is saying it needs watering as the leaves are closing up during the day. Last year it was so wet we didn’t have to run the irrigation pump once. But we will tomorrow. If we let them dry too much, the stressed tomatoes will develop blossom end rot. And who wants a nice tomato with a black blossom end?

We’ve still got three places open for our fall homestead seminar. And this may be our last one as we really need to do a little “downsizing,” putting more efforts in getting things done around the homestead instead of doing self-reliance expos and us doing the seminars. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Spring is officially here — we saw robins today

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

Will bummed me out this morning. He got up earlier than I did and saw our first robin in the tree in our backyard. But I one-upped him when I drove to town this morning to mail a bunch of seeds; I saw two robins just to the side of our driveway and three more, coming back from town. Then I saw a red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, and eight bald eagles, really close up, feeding on a road-killed deer. Of course, when I got home the chickadees were still gobbling up the suet in the basket on the front porch. Lots of wildlife this morning!

And, when I got out of the car, I took a peek at the daylily bed beside the driveway which had been buried under four feet of plowed snow all winter, not expecting to see anything. There were daffodil noses poking up three inches! How exciting!

I’ve just got a couple more peppers to transplant and I’ll start on the first tomatoes. Those tomato seedlings are pretty leggy as they sprouted in a bag-covered flat much earlier than I’d expected. But I’ll just plant them deeper in the cups, covering most of the stem with potting soil. They’ll grow roots along the stem and will do fine regardless of their leggy start.

We’ve got seven people signed up for our homesteading seminar this August so we have room for seven more. If you’re interested in coming, be sure to get your deposit in. We had to turn away folks from our previous seminar and that made us feel bad. We’ve got lots planned for this one. — Jackie

Jackie Clay


Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

We’ll be having another homestead seminar, limited to 14 people, August 25th, 26th, and 27th. Subjects to be covered include: Canning meat & mixed recipes, homestead tools, raising heirloom vegetables, saving seeds and much, much more. Check it out on; click on seminars. Hope to see you then! It may well change your life! Secure your spot now. Email for more details.

Jackie Clay

Spring in February?

Monday, February 20th, 2017

We’ve had a very warm week; over 50° some days, with sunshine! The first day, Ashley and I set out lawn chairs in the driveway and sat down to absorb some fabulous vitamin D. We were in our T shirts! It felt SO very good. Now you folks living in more hospitable climates may figure doing this at 50° is NUTS, but when we’ve been used to below zero temps, 50 seems so very warm.

And it wasn’t just us, either. I had to go to town to mail some seed orders to people and when I got back, my friend, Dara, was sitting in a chair, knitting! I had to laugh.

Then on Saturday, David and Ashley helped haul out trees which Will had been cutting. They were stressed by bud-worms then carpenter ants got into the bottoms of them, which killed the trees. So before they fell and rotted, Will cut them down, limbed them and the “crew” started hauling them out of the woods. David used the four-wheeler for a while, then his snowmobile, giving the four-wheeler to Ashley. We all had a fun day and ended up with over a cord of fir which will be cut, split and stored for next year’s firewood. Will figures there’s over two more cords right in that small area. (We start cutting firewood EARLY in the spring so it’s all split and stacked under cover to dry well before use the next year.)

Today it’s raining like crazy and we even saw lightning. Pretty crazy winter weather, for sure. I guess the beavers were right, after all. They said we’d have an average winter; no crazy cold or snow. And, so far, that’s just what happened, no matter what the weather forecasters and the Farmer’s Almanac predicted.

We’ve been having quite a response to our fall homesteading seminar and so far, three people have sent in their deposits. I’m thinking we’ll fill up for sure. That’s nice, I’m sure we’ll have lots of fun, as always! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We spent Sunday delivering beef to customers

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017

Ever have to be in two places at once? Not uncommon for us. For instance, we had two steers butchered and yesterday was the day we’d arranged to meet various customers who bought quarters of beef. But it was also the same day our son, Javid, was going skiing! Luckily David and his girlfriend, Ashley, drove Javid to the Giant’s Ridge Ski hill while we delivered beef.

Javid used to ski in Montana, using adaptive equipment and he has sure missed it here. He joined a special program here and yesterday he had a ball on the slopes. I asked David if they put him on the bunny hill. David laughed and said, “No, it was a pretty good hill!” And because David snowboards, I took his word. So we got it all done and everyone was happy.

Today it’s snowing pretty good and I’m getting ready to can up a big batch of baked beans. Like our beef, our pork is getting a little old so I need to use up the hams and bacon we have left. And we all love baked beans! So the beans are soaking and I’ll get at it soon. Mmmm!

We’ve finally set our program for the fall seminar so if any of you are interested, just click on the Seed Treasures link and check out what we’ll be offering in August. We’ve already got four people signed up so if you’re interested, I’d suggest getting signed up. We can only accept 14 people so everyone can get a good, hands-on experience.

It’s hard to believe we’ll be planting seeds soon! Especially when it’s snowing outside. But we’re real excited and are already discussing the wheres and hows of our 2017 gardens. And with the political unrest, we will be planting even more. Just in case … — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We took time to party

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

On Saturday, we drove down to my son, Bill’s, for granddaughter Ava’s fifth birthday party. The weather was nice and we had a great time visiting with all the family and Bill’s friend, Andy and his family. Again, the kiddos played Pie Face and both Mason and Ava got a face full of whipped cream.

Thank goodness, our severe winter weather has broken. Yesterday it was sunny and 31 degrees and today it almost hit 36! Wow, I can tell you it sure feels great, just being in the sunshine and breathing in warm air. I’m sure we’ll still have plenty of snow and cold but a break is sure welcome, and it’s supposed to last for a whole week!

Let me tell you about a very positive business deal we just had. Four months ago, we bought a battery for our ATV from DB Electrical, online. Two weeks ago, it fried. I got busy and found the order number and Will called, hoping there was some sort of warranty. He was on the phone for exactly two minutes, 22 seconds and the guy said “It’s in the mail.” A replacement, that fast — it seemed unbelievable! No “Well, you must have done something,” or “We don’t warranty electrical products.” Just “It’s in the mail, should get to you on Wednesday.” Wow! So anyone who needs reliable service check out DB Electrical. I know we’re lifelong customers now.

It doesn’t seem possible but in three weeks I’ll be starting my first garden seeds: peppers and petunias. Once seed starting begins, spring seems a whole lot closer, doesn’t it?

Will and I have decided to offer another homesteading seminar here at our place, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 25th, 26th, and 27th, providing there is interest. A lot of people have been asking about another seminar so here is your chance, should you decide you’d like to come. I’ll be posting more information on our website,, in the near future. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

The Orr Center Homesteading and Sustainable Living Expo was a great success

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016


Will and I attended the Expo on Saturday and Sunday, taking our Seed Treasures booth, seeds, and vegetables and promoting Backwoods Home and Self-Reliance magazines, of course. I gave the keynote address each day, one on canning, the other on gardening and seed saving. Both were well attended by excited and very interested people.

After the workshops, we had a chance to visit with many of these people at our booth and answer even more questions. Needless to say, both Will and I were pretty tired last night.


The gardens are doing extremely well. Friday evening I picked two ears of Will’s Seneca Sunrise sweet corn for us to try. Oh my! It was SO good I almost went back for a dozen ears more! The ears were nearly eight inches long, had 14 rows of delectable, nicely sweet, tender corn. And Will checked out the Bill Bean tomatoes and found one was ¼-inch short of being the same size as a 5-quart ice cream pail. And it’s still green, not ripe! We think it’s going to be over 4 pounds easily.


And BEANS! We’re simply blown away by the production on the various bean vines. Some of our new ones are stupendous. And I can’t pick a favorite. There’s a dozen or more we simply love. Like pretty Gold Marie Vining and Purple Dove. And Magpie, Iroquois, and Folsom Indian Ruin and… It’s so great to be doing what you love every day! — Jackie


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