Because of lots of public outcry, the NAIS, a government “wonderchild,” sponsored largely by large agribusiness type animal/poultry growers, apparently shriveled and came to a standstill last year. The NAIS is basically an animal/poultry identification system, wherein each and every homestead and individual that houses even one or two animals or chickens, will be required to register and identify each and every animal on their place. It gets even worse. What if you sell, show or give an animal away? You have to document each movement (at your expense, of course). And what if the animal dies (they do, you know!). It’s looking like they are wanting an autopsy at your expense to prove what the animal died from.

This Franken-bill is, in my opinion, only the start. The government has learned not to cause public outcry by taking giant steps. So it nibbles away at our freedoms in tiny bits that are “for our safety and own good.” They say things like “mad cow,” “bird flu” and people agree to anything.

Now they’re talking about tracking the vegetables farmers grow and sell (or give away) because of “bacterial contamination,” etc. For crying out loud!

For more information on this, check out:

and on the NAIS: and

Most of you readers know me pretty well and know I’m not highly political or radical. This stuff scares the crap out of me. First it’s your animals and vegetables and pretty soon it’ll be your children. We need to keep informed and active on this one or we’ll lose yet another freedom that will about kill self-reliant living! Gee…could that be what this is really all about?

Oh, by the way, we have our radiator fixed and a new, used fan on the way. Wow, it was hard to find parts!

Readers’ Questions:

New book

I was wondering when you are going to publish your own cookbook? I know one person asked and you said sometime next year, just wondering when next year was. I can’t wait to get one of them!

Teresa Ro
New Freedom, Pennsylvania

I have just finished the new book and we’re working to put in photos, etc., along with all the finishing editing, etc. But it’s a book on growing and canning your own food, not a cookbook (although it does have a lot of recipes on how to use your home canned foods). It won’t be too long before it is available. — Jackie

Buying wheat from the feed store

Can a person buy their wheat that they are going to bake with and eat from the local feed store?

Bonnie Plasse
Rolla, Missouri

In a survival situation, that wheat would sure be okay. But it isn’t cleaned like wheat is that is destined for your table. It has more dust, small bits of chaff, bug parts, etc. If you want cleaner wheat, buy it from a bulk foods store or bread wheat outlet. — Jackie


After reading “Jackie’s Childhood” in the March/April 2009 “Ask Jackie” column, my mom and I wish you would write your autobiography pre-“Starting Over”. You are an interesting person and we enjoy your writing.

Pam Ayala
Arlington, Washington

Me interesting? You should just ask my kids. They agree I’m pretty boring. I will mention this to Dave and see what he thinks. — Jackie

Canning pasta, shredded zucchini, and pickled squirrel

I recently received a free issue of BHM and was so impressed I ordered a 4 year subscription and all available back issues. I love the straight forwardness and the canning issues, I am learning a lot. Now my questions are: May a person can spaghetti, made with burger, noodles, and ingredients? And how would you can fresh shredded zucchini? And have you ever heard of a recipe for pickled squirrel? Myself and my wife love to can and when I come up with something useful I will send it in.

Conel Rogers
Makanda, Illinois

While you can home can pasta and rice recipes, such as chicken rice or chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, when canned, is a quite dense product, as you have much more pasta in it. So I wouldn’t recommend canning it. Can your seasoned sauce, complete with favorites, such as mushrooms, meat balls, sweet red peppers, or roasted tomatoes. Then just boil up your spaghetti pasta and you’re in business.

Shredded zucchini doesn’t can up very well; it gets mushy. It’s better frozen or dehydrated. Or best used fresh from the garden, of course.

I’ve never heard of pickled squirrel, but I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it. Any recipes out there? — Jackie

Growing grass for chickens

We would like to know what type of grasses chickens prefer to eat. We know chickens will eat anything, but we wanted to know if there was a type of grass or ground cover that chickens like better. We were thinking of clover, maybe vetch, or alfalfa. Also which would be the most nutritious?

Robert & Gloria Leustek
Gladstone, New Jersey

You’re right, thinking that legumes like clover, vetch, or alfalfa are both highly nutritious and loved by chickens. We are planning on turning our chickens out into our new orchard where it was planted in clover, along with the wheat and oats we harvested last fall. They will be “free ranging,” and also fenced in at the same time, being able to scratch, eat clover, bugs, and weeds at will. And they’ll stay out of my other gardens! — Jackie

Canning meatloaf

I found where you told how to can meatloaf in Aug 14, ’07 blog. Can it be roasted or baked in a wide mouth glass jar or does it have to be cut up and put in a glass jar after it is baked?

Nancy Foster
Dallas City, Illinois

I used to just pack the meatloaf mixture into wide mouth quart jars, raw and process it that way. But now canning experts don’t recommend raw packing a dense product like meatloaf. So, instead, I make mini-loaves, just a little larger than my jars to allow for shrinkage during baking, then put them in a roasting pan, side by side and bake them just long enough to thoroughly heat them inside and shrink them down. I pack them hot, into hot jars and make a broth from the pan drippings and tomato sauce and pour over the meatloaf, leaving 1″ of headspace. These are processed (qts) at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes. If you live at an altitude over 1,000 feet, consult a canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary. — Jackie

Canning cream soups

I was wondering if you could tell me the recipe AND how to pressure can cream of chicken (or mushroom, or whatever) soup? I’m convinced that what I can make at home will be much healthier than what I buy in the store. And I use it a lot as a base for recipes.

Sarah Axsom
Natchitoches, Louisiana

Unfortunately, this doesn’t work at home. If you make a condensed version like store bought soup, it’s too dense to home can (the center of the jar doesn’t always heat enough to kill bad bacteria), and if you use a homemade cream of whatever soup, with milk, it tends to curdle and look yucky. What I do is to can up small jars of chicken bits in broth or diced mushrooms in water, then when I want cream of… soup, I make a simple white sauce (2 Tbsp margarine, 2 Tbsp flour heated together, milk added to make a thicker soup and add the chicken or mushrooms.) It takes only a couple minutes and is much better, and more healthy than store soup. — Jackie

Growing enough to can

My question is concerning how to figure out how much of each vegetable to can and to eat fresh. Our garden was too small last year to do what I wanted. I know you wrote about this but can’t remember where to find it. I have your first CD and have been subscribing for 2 or 3 years.

Also, I feel like such a dork! I made a comment to you on line that you should write a book on dairy goats. I’d ordered the little book Starting With Dairy Goats and WOW you wrote it. I feel fairly confident with our upcoming kidding the first week of April. Now if I can just get the girls comfortable on the milk stand all is well.

Good luck with that radiator problem. My husband has a portable mill. When big equipment goes down it can be an economical killer to get it up and running smooth again.

Dinah Jo Brosius
Battle Ground, Washington

What we do is to eat all we want fresh and can the extra. Very soon you discover what you really need to grow more of in your garden so you have enough to do both. I used to alternate some foods so I had more room. Herbs, especially, I grew on alternate years, saving the room for more carrots or beans that we ALWAYS ran out of by the next summer. Of course, I expanded the garden every year until I had enough room for everything I needed and even a little room to try “exotics” we weren’t used to having in the garden.

We finally found a local radiator guy to fix the radiator; we couldn’t find a used or even after market NEW one anywhere in the country; I spent 3 days on the internet and phone. And just yesterday, we found a fan for it. (When the fan bites a chunk out of the bottom tank of the radiator, it really, really damages it!) So in a few days, Will should have the dozer back working again. Thank GOD! — Jackie

Turning jars upside down after processing

Are you suppose to turn processed jars upside down for 15 minutes or so after removing from the canner to insure them sealing?

I’ve been canning for years and have never heard much less done this. I’ve not had a problem with jars not sealing either. My friend tells me that it must be done that way.

Nancy Hanson
Washburn, Wisconsin

No, don’t turn your jars upside down to seal them. In fact, this can cause jars NOT to seal. Check all your canning books and manuals. None say to turn them upside down. Old recipes for jams, jellies and preserves that weren’t water bath processed used to say that and I suppose it did help them seal because the whole contents of the jar remained hot that way. But it’s much better to be sure your jars seal by water bathing them instead of inverting them. — Jackie

Canning butter

I tried canning butter for the first time. I noticed on the bottom of the jars the butter is liquid, the body of the jar is solid looking and the lid is sealed tight. Is it normal for the butter to be liquid on the bottom and the rest solid? Is it safe?

Colleen Lebo
Jonestown, Pennsylvania

Yes, that is normal. Mine has it in the pantry, right now. To prevent this, you can heat your butter while melting it, stirring as you do, to drive off the excess moisture in the butter. Some folks shake it as it cools to mix in the liquid so it doesn’t settle. I don’t. As canning butter is “experimental”, I can’t tell you that it is safe. I can tell you that I’ve used it for years with no problems, as have many, many other people. — Jackie


  1. On the cream of … soups, I’ve been using this one for over a year now with no problems. I thought you would like to pass it along. There is very minor seperation, but nothing unsightly. Much better than storebought. This is the base soup, replace mushroom with chopped chicken & increase processing time by 20 minutes.

    � 1/3 cup butter
    � 1 pound mushrooms, chopped or sliced
    � 3/4 cup flour
    � 2 quarts meat stock (chicken bouillon may be substituted)
    � 1 T. salt
    � 1 tsp. lemon juice

    Melt butter. Add mushrooms and cook until brown.
    Add meat stock, saving enough to mix with the flour.
    Make a paste with meat stock and flour.
    Mix all ingredients and heat until it boils.
    Put in jars and process in pressure canner for 45 minutes
    at 10 lb.pressure.
    When opening to use, add equal amount of milk and soup.
    Very good!
    Makes 5 pints.
    NOTE: I have tripled this before and it just fits
    in my large stock pot for simmering. I buy mushrooms when they
    are closing out at discount prices because they aren’t
    real fresh. They make the best soup! I use this soup
    just like you would the soup you buy in the store.
    My husband loves it!! I haven’t bought store soup in over a year now.

  2. Jackie,

    You said “Because of lots of public outcry, the NAIS, a government “wonderchild,” sponsored largely by large agribusiness type animal/poultry growers, apparently shriveled and came to a standstill last year.” Don’t you believe it! It did not come to a standstill – it just took a little side trip right into H.R.875 and several more bills to try to gain legitimacy and more funding, and the USDA plans to ignore those of us who want no part of the program.

    On March 17 the Brownfield Ag News reported about H.R.875 that “DeLauro assured Farmers Union delegates that small farms are not the primary focus of her bill. “We are conscious of the needs of small farms and the strains they already face. The legislation addresses foods under FDA jurisdiction only – NOT the US Department of Agriculture. And it does not include mandatory (only the opportunity for it) animal I.D.,” says DeLauro.

    DeLauro says small farms would need to develop a food safety plan and identify critical control points, “We included technical assistance for small farmers to help them comply with the law while targeting the large, high volume food processing facilities that pose the highest risk to the food safety system,” says DeLauro.”

    On March 31 it was reported also in the Brownfield Ag News that “ Vilsack would reach out to those who oppose animal ID” – to change our minds, I’m sure, because his cohorts are not so ‘undecided’!

  3. Yes, Jackie, PLEASE consider writing an auto-biography about your life up to “Starting Over”…I agree, you are truly an interesting person, and we all learn so much from you! If nothing else, think of it as a “Public Service”-type project! You certainly would be doing all of us a HUGE service to learn from you!

  4. This bill (HR875) seems to be very similar to a bill passed regarding protecting children from lead-based-painted toys, etc., the one that was worded in such a manner as could have definitely been applied to home-based businesses, small clothing manufacturers, etc. The intent was great but could have been (and may still be) catastrophic for manufacturers of ANY item intended for children. Perhaps HR875 has noble purposes, but it appears to benefit large agribusiness (who determines what is an “approved manner” to grow vegetables?) and take away our farmers’ markets, roadside stands, CSAs, etc. I don’t know of a single case of Salmonella or E. coli illnesses caused by my local farmer’s market last summer! But I am going to be “protected” by this bill? I DON’T THINK SO…..and I plan to contact my local senator/representative to vote DOWN this bill.

  5. We used to have the two years manadatory service except it was for young men over the age of 18, they called it the draft and they were prohibted from political anything.

  6. I just read another note about this bill. It will not just say what you can use, it reads that they can require you to use certain things to make the food supply safe. In other words, if you gardening organically, you are out of luck if they decide that crops should have a dose of Round-up to protect the food supply or that you MUST use hybrids.

  7. I have been contacting friends about this “Food Safety Modernization Act” Actually, the way it is written, you have to register if you grow(garden), store(pantry) or process(kitchen) food products even if they are not for resale or to be given away. I believe that it is unconstitutional but that hasn’t stopped the current Congress and administration. And it seems to intend to dictate what you can use for fertilizers, herbicides(don’t use them) and could possibly be extended to control seed sources. The representative pushing this is married to someone that works for a large seed company. This company has been accused of going after farmers after the farmers’ fields are contaminated by cross pollinating with the company’s product. On the surface, this makes it even more scary for me. I have contacted my representative and both my senators objecting to it even though it is still “in committee”.

  8. Jackie,
    They DO have a bill that essentially takes your children. It’s called “The Children’s Bill of Rights”.

    It was signed by Bill Clinton but wasn’t ratified by Congress. Dear Hillery and Nancy are pushing it through even as we speak!

    This “Bill of Rights” gives the government final say about your children’s health care, education (so much for homeschooling!), etc…

    This bill gives children the “right” to listen to whatever music they want to.
    (So, if they want to listen to vulgar, obscene music; music that depicts police as murderers or women as rightful prey to be abused, you can’t tell them to turn it off??? Think gangsta rap!!!)

    The “right” to be freed from being taught that your religion is true, you can only teach that your beliefs are “equal” to other beliefs, therefore optional. And if they don’t want to go to church, but stay home and play video games…..

    “Right to access appropriate information and to a balanced depiction Of reality.” (WHO’S reality???)

    “16. Right to a diverse environment and creativity
    Children have the right to have many different things, people, and ideas in their environment.

    Children have the right to listen to music of their choice.

    Children have the right NOT to have their creativity stifled.”

    So children have the “right” to be around pedophiles, criminals and other people that the parents may not want the child around. And again, you can forget homeschooling.

    There’s a LOT more that on the surface sounds pretty and very reasonable, but when you ask yourself WHO will decide when these “rights” are being abridged, then you really see the danger of this bill.

  9. “First it’s your animals and vegetables and pretty soon it’ll be your children.”

    They’re already moving on that. Check out HR 1388:

    It introduces mandatory volunteer service as a requirement for those 18 and under, and proposes a study on the possibility of making that same type of service mandatory for the entire population. It also talks about special uniforms for those serving, “camps”, etc. And one of the ammendments reads:
    “Prohibited Activities- A participant in an approved national service position under this subtitle may not engage in the following activities:

    `(1) Attempting to influence legislation.

    `(2) Organizing or engaging in protests, petitions, boycotts, or strikes.

    `(3) Assisting, promoting, or deterring union organizing.

    `(4) Impairing existing contracts for services or collective bargaining agreements.

    `(5) Engaging in partisan political activities, or other activities designed to influence the outcome of an election to any public office.

    `(6) Participating in, or endorsing, events or activities that are likely to include advocacy for or against political parties, political platforms, political candidates, proposed legislation, or elected officials.

    `(7) Engaging in religious instruction, conducting worship services, providing instruction as part of a program that includes mandatory religious instruction or worship, constructing or operating facilities devoted to religious instruction or worship, maintaining facilities primarily or inherently devoted to religious instruction or worship, or engaging in any form of religious proselytization.”

    Read the whole bill, its straight out of Hitler’s playbook. And its already been passed by the House.

  10. The government can’t guarantee safe, contaminant-free food now, so how is this piece of legislation going to be any better? The answer–it’s NOT going to be any better. It is simply going to be another money making instrument for those bent on stripping citizens of their God-given rights.

  11. it won’t be long and they will be telling us we can’t can our own home grown food. I guess I did not ask my question right. I want to bake my meatloaf right in the jar and then put it in the pressure cooker. I will send another note.

  12. I think Jackies post was pretty interesting. It does seem to me the government , even as broke as it seems to be, continues to non-stop push at every edge of freedom in this country–as if looking for weak spots to encroach upon it. Given how uninformed people are as to what actually is the role of government under our constitution– it cant’ be very long until freedom is assaulted and quashed completely in our country. What an awful shame, what was the greatest beacon is near dimming.

  13. Jackie,

    I followed the link to H. R. 875. Believe it or not, the bill already has 39 cosponsors. That is hard to imagine. There is a section for question and answers. The questions and answers are both submitted anonymously which means that many people have questions but anyone can throw out an answer, be it right or wrong.

    What we need to do, is everyone that subscribes to or reads your blog, needs to contact these cosponsors and ask some hard questions. Those questions should be……what do you as a cosponsors believe to be the answers to the questions that are posed there. If they can’t give an educated answer, then why are they sponsoring the bill in the first place.

    You are right, it scares the crap out of me too. There are some very serious questions and answers on that website. Now is the time for all to come together before it will be outlawed that we can’t do that either.

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