Needless to say, I’ve been having computer issues.  You see my Vista won’t let me attach photos to articles or e-mails, including my blog.  We’ve tried everything humanly possible, but finally Dave said to call in the computer repair guys to see if they can fix it.  Sometimes I really hate technology!
I do better with low technology.  The photo below was taken two days ago when David and I were splitting up a big pile of firewood.  He, his friend Zack and our carpenter friend, Tom had gone to a piece of woods and hauled several loads of firewood, so we are already gathering wood for NEXT winter.  There is something peaceful in preparing well in advance.  I’ve cut and split wood in a blizzard, at night, because I had to.  But doing it ahead of time, when the weather’s nice is SO much better!
Now if I can just get this computer to work.
P.S.  Yeah!  Tonight it let me attach a photo in ten minutes.  Well, it’s SOMETHING!

Readers’ questions:
Tire wood holder

Suggestion for splitting wood- you may already know about this- not as much fun as with two people, but if you gotta do it yourself– use an old tire to hold the wood upright while you split it- keeps
the wood from falling over, and together for you to pick it up and toss into the wheel barrow.

Bob Taylor
Poulsbo, Washington

Yep, I know about the tire wood holder.  But, of course, it’s faster and more fun with two people working, as you said.  One guy wields the axe; the other sets the blocks and picks up the split pieces.  But you’re right; the tire does hold the wood upright nicely.

Storing potatoes for seed

I have seeds stored for future use, but how do you save potatoes to plant two years later.

Dan Wicker
Howell, Michigan

Sorry Dan; you can’t store potatoes for two years.  Potatoes are a renewable seed source.  That is you need to plant at least some every year if you are going to save your own seed potatoes.  By the spring following the fall you’ve picked your potatoes, they are starting to sprout.  When the weather warms up, it’s time to get them planted so you’ll have more for next spring.

Montana homestead

I haven’t been reading Backwoods Home very long and ordered a subscription for my husband’s birthday this month, along with the 11th and 12th year anthologies. I just read from the 11th year
(2000) that you homestead about 20 miles out of Cascade!!! I lived in Cascade (for about 2 months,) in the spring 1998 and now live in Fairfield (since October 1998).

I very much like reading your articles and tips and day to day homesteading. You really are an inspiration to me. I have been especially touched by your writing of losing your husband as I lost my son almost a year ago. I just tonight copied one of your articles to give to my friend, who lost her husband to an aneurysm over before last Thanksgiving. I know she will be encouraged by what you wrote.

I hope we can one day meet, and swap seeds or cuttings. Thank you for your insight and knowledgeable guidance. I am so excited that you live so close!!!

Resa Wagner-Pittman
Fairfield, Montana

Sorry to disappoint you.  We moved from our Montana homestead four years ago and now live on a much larger wooded piece of ground, complete with a creek and two beaver ponds.  This is where we were living when Bob died and later we went on to build our log home.  Of course it’s not finished yet; we’re paying as we go.  But we really love it.  I’m sure Bob would be proud of our progress.  Losing him was more than hard, but we’re keeping going forward.
I am extremely lucky, in that a sweet single homesteader guy started writing to me about a year ago.  And since then we’ve written hundreds of letters, burned up lots of phone satellites and had a great visit where he lives in Washington a month ago.  Hopefully, he’ll be coming out here, come spring, to join our little endeavor. — Jackie

Canning cakes, soaked in liquor?

Do you have any recipes for canning cakes, soaked in liquor?

Pam Pliska
Portland, Oregon

Sorry, Pam, but I just don’t do liquor in any form; don’t like the taste. — Jackie


  1. Hello?

    How does one “interact” with my blog? I’m totally clueless. I e-mail my blog to Dave and he posts it. I interact with my computer; I call it all sorts of bad names and it doesn’t attach my photos. Sort of a hate-hate relationship!


  2. Computer problems are the worst! But of course, it’s hard now to see how we ever lived without them, especially for those of us working from home and/or telecommuting. When my internet access goes down–a not uncommon occurrence here in rural PA–I feel like I’ve been plunged back into the Dark Ages. As opposed to the phone! If it never rang, I’d be happy. Glad yours is back up and running, and I’m especially glad to see David looking so happy after that horrible ordeal with flesh-eating bacteria. Thank God for youth and resilience!!!

  3. Jackie,

    I have a thought about Dan Wicker’s potato saving problem. I hope you don’t mind me throwing in my 1.28 cents (after taxes).

    Assuming the reason he needs to store potatoes for two years is because he doesn’t have garden space available for a potato crop on a given year, he could plant one or more potato stacks. BHM ran a good article by Charles Sanders on uses for old tires. Potato stacks were one of the uses mentioned. Being veritcal, they only take about three to four square feet of ground space. One or two good stacks might yield enough potatoes for planting the following year. Here is a link to the article on the BHM website:

  4. You might want to interact with your blog using one of the many tools. I use BLOGDESK; Microsoft has “Windows Live Writer”. YMMV ;-)

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