Holy cow! Would you look at that udder? I’ve had cows with smaller udders than our precious Buffy. We keep thinking that surely today she’ll kid, and she still is waiting. As we had her running with the buck, we don’t have a breeding date, so we will just have to keep peeping at her and hoping.

In the meanwhile, we’ve set out 70 tomatoes and peppers in Wallo’ Waters, planted 20 long rows of sweet corn, 12 rows of various Native American flint corns, plus beans, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, cabbages, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower and beets. And on to the squash, melons, pumpkins and more spinach. Having a big garden is great, but boy do you get tired planting it. I just keep thinking about all that food in our pantry this fall…

Readers’ Questions:

Best paint for OSB siding

We have a shed/”guest cottage” made of the same sort of stuff as your goat shed. It was on our property when we bought it–don’t know how long it’s been up. A few years I’d guess. We recently primed and painted it inside and have given it a coat of latex barn paint outside.

Hubby is dubious that this will last long. It does have a shingled roof (multi-colored). Do you think one more coat of barn paint would do to make it last–or should we have used oil based or must it have some kind of siding?

Its a useful building. I hope to use it for guests as our family all live out of state–and also part of it will be a potting shed/green house.

Mary T.
Charlotte, North Carolina

Another coat of barn paint should do the trick, but watch the walls; in a few years you may need to do it again. If the OSB starts to swell or peel from moisture, you may need to put siding over it in the future. My old goat barn was unpainted for three years, and now it has three coats of red stain. It “ain’t pretty” but it will stand until we build a new barn in the future. — Jackie

Leaking Wallo’ Waters

I have a question on Wallo’ Waters. I have been using mine for a couple years, and they all sprung small leaks and will not stand up now. It seems to me that I should be able to patch them, but I am not sure how. Can you help? How long have you been using yours?

Los Alamos, New Mexico

There are repair kits that are available where you buy the Walls which repair 6 cells for about $2. I have so many that when I get one that has over 3 leaking cells, I mark those and cut repair cells from those. I gain about 8 repair cells for each Wall I cut up. I’ve also made temporary (1 season) fixes, using those popsicle clear plastic tubes that the kids squeeze the popsicle out of. The plastic is thinner, but I’ve made quickie fixes using those.

I’ve had some of mine for more than 20 years now. The newer ones seem to be much less durable and some tend to blow out the seam between cells. But they are still a great idea! I have 70 tomatoes and peppers out now in them. — Jackie

Surprise USDA visit

I operate an in-home daycare, live in farmland outside of city limits, and began, step-by-step building a mini-farm on our small piece of land. We now have chickens, ducks, goats, a piglet, rabbits, and garden like crazy, just purchased two 100 foot commercial greenhouses for private use, and this weekend put in 30 more fruit trees in our orchard.

PROBLEM: Yesterday, a USDA official came by to check on what kind of animals we keep! I told him that ours are for a petting farm for our daycare… But what’s going on? Why is big brother watching? What can they do to us? We operate a licensed beautiful daycare, and the animals are extremely well cared for in a picturesque setting, loved and tame from all the loving they receive.

Laura Marshall
Stanwood, Washington

I have no idea of why they came. Perhaps they thought you might have wild animals, such as deer. It IS scary. Probably you won’t hear from them again, but if you do, I would talk to your lawyer if they (the USDA) won’t give you a straight answer about WHY they came. I don’t think they can DO anything to you, as they certainly have no reason to, but they can sure frighten the heck out of you! — Jackie

Bread machine sourdough

I am looking for an answer to this question–hope you can help. Can you use a bread maker to make sourdough bread? If so,do you have a recipe?

K. Beard
Durham, North Carolina

Yes, you can. A lot of bakers only mix and knead the dough in their bread machines, then bake it in the oven, although Mom used this recipe in hers.

Best Bread Machine Sourdough:

1/2 cup warm water
1 cup sourdough starter
2 1/4 cup bread flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt
3/4 Tbsp. active dry yeast

Place ingredients in bread machine (following manufacturer’s directions on order of wet and dry ingredients). Use quick setting. I hope you have good results. — Jackie

Strawberry jelly

I hope you won’t think that I have lost my mind…I made strawberry jelly this morning, crushed the strawberries, used lemon juice…the whole thing. Put them in jars and…forget to process them! The jars are cooled now…Can they still be processed or what can I do now ?

Carol Stone
Port Saint Joe, Florida

If they were my jars and they sealed, I would just leave them alone. The worst unsealed jelly will do is develop some mold on the top, which you just scrape off. We used to do this all the time before we used two piece lids on jams and jellies. Paraffin was used instead, which often came loose and the jars got a little mold on the tops. If the jars are not sealed, you can dump the contents in a large pot and gently heat it, stirring until it liquifies. Then bring it to a boil and again ladle into hot, sterilized jars, cap, and process in a water bath canner. — Jackie

Baking meatloaf in a canning jar

I have read your answers to canning meatloaf. You bake it in a pan and then put it in a jar. Is it possible to put it in a wide mouth pint or quart jar and bake it there and then put it in the canner? It cuts out a whole step and the canning jars will take the heat of the oven. I don’t think it will be any more bulky in the jar then it will be in a pan so it should bake all the way through it.

Nancy Foster
Dallas City, Illinois

It is not recommended that foods be baked in the dry heat of an oven, by jar manufacturers, so we don’t do that. The loaf also shrinks a lot, so you end up with less loaf than jar. — Jackie

Heavy bread

I bake multigrain wheat bread and it tastes great. Problem is, it weighs a ton (4-1/2lb loaves), is somewhat dry, and for some reason, never cooks the same, at same temperature, same cook time. It always rises well, generally doubles on first rise, punched down, shaped into loaves and rises double again. Rises again during cooking. Many times, cut loaf resembles a large doughnut, with a large opening all the way down the middle of the loaf. Any idea of what may be causing these problems?

Ken Mask
Simi Valley, California

Check your oven’s temperature. I had one that I set at 350 degrees and had the same hollow bread as you describe, then found out that it started out at 500 degrees! Wow!

You might try adding some dough enhancer such as gluten to your bread. Many multigrain breads are very dense and rise but don’t get light enough, even though they do rise. I think it’ll help your bread. — Jackie

Getting rid of ants

Could you tell me a good way to get rid of ants in the house?

Katherine Jasperson
Belle, Missouri

First get rid of anything the ants are eating, such as sugar crumbs on the kitchen counter or dry pet food. Then sprinkle Borax around the area they seem to be coming in. If that doesn’t do it, try mixing boric acid, sugar, and jelly. They’ll eat the mixture, which is toxic (the boric acid) to them and bye bye ants. Of course, keep it away from pets and children. — Jackie

Identifying chicken breeds

I bought a straight run of chickens from my local Tractor Supply about a month ago. I am trying to determine the breed, because no one at the store seemed to know for sure. I estimate their age at 8 weeks, they are white in color, and seem large for their age. I believe they are a Cornish Rocks or possibly a Cornish Cross (due to their size). How can I know for sure?

Stephen Maynard
Milton, West Virginia

You probably have Cornish Rocks or “meat chickens.” They are the most commonly found chicks on the market today because they grow so quickly. This is your clue. They have thick yellow legs and really get huge fast. Don’t do like I did, though, and keep a few as breeders. Every single one I have done this with had the legs/feet go bad; they just can’t stand the weight. Butcher them and you’ll have the best and most meat possible! — Jackie

Water bathed spaghetti sauce

I previously water bath canned (3) quart jars of spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Can I reprocess them in a pressure cooker now and be safe with its contents?

Tim Schaefer
Rochester Hills, Michigan

You can do this only if you have refrigerated the three quarts. Water bath processing is fine for spaghetti sauce WITHOUT meat, but you must pressure can sauce with meat. If you refrigerated the jars, dump out the contents, heat it to nearly boiling, then ladle the hot sauce and meat balls into hot jars, seal, and process in a pressure canner. Use new lids. — Jackie


  1. I do not have the “chops” of canning that Jackie does but I have been canning meat for three years now and my family’s two favorites are meatballs in spaghetti sauce and meatloaf. To can meatloaf, I form it into the approximate shape I want (in my case a wide mouth quart jar) and stuff it into the jar. I then run a chop stick through the center to leave a small hole all the through the meatloaf. I don’t know if this step is necessary but it seemed that it might help insure even heat distribution and it does no harm. I then process it as cold pack directions in the “Ball blue book of Canning”; in other words I do not precook it in a pan, I just process it at 11 pounds pressure for 90 minutes (IA, 1000 ft. elevation). I hope this helps.

  2. Just wanted to let everyone who reads your blog know that you truely read your questions and answer in a timely manner. Thanks for the answers you’ve given me to questions I had and couldn’t find answers for anywhere else I looked. Thanks again Kbeard

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