As the spring weather continues to be warm and very dry, we’ve been working hard on clearing and preparing the new pasture for seeding. It was a terrible tangle of old logging debris, low ground willow, and alder brush. Will dozed it off a bit two years ago, then further cleared again this winter. Finally, it’s down to tidying up by removing old stumps, pieces of log, big roots, etc. So yesterday, Will, David, and I walked the pasture, picking up this trash and loading it into the bucket of our Ford tractor. It took many trips to the edge of the woods, where we have piles of brush and debris, but pretty soon, we did have it fairly clean.

Then Will began tearing up the ground with the old John Deere field cultivator he rescued from our friend and neighbor’s junk pile. When we got it, the tires were rotted and the whole thing was rusty. But after putting on a pair of tires from the dump, loosening up the rusty parts, we were able to get it to working. There is absolutely NO way this ground could be plowed yet. In a few years we will, but now we just want to get it ready to seed into pasture. So we used the old field cultivator. Trouble was that even by removing the outermost teeth, it was still too much for the tractor on the wet spots and hillside. So we finished with Old Yeller.

As soon as Will finished, I hooked up to the disc and further chopped the sod and roots. Today I dragged a harrow over it with the four wheeler, and seeded it into reed canary grass (handles wet conditions well), birdsfoot trefoil, and alsike clover, with oats as a nurse crop. Again I harrowed it to cover the seed, while Will went to work tearing up the worst spots that were not finished yet. That went well, and tomorrow, we’ll seed in that. And pray for rain!

Readers’ Questions:

Amish relish

Just rec’d my new Jackie canning book. Love it but have a question. On page 95, Amish Relish, I do not see an amount listed for vinegar. How much vinegar and is it cider or white?

Lois Kraushaar
Havensville, Kansas

Oops! You win a “find Jackie’s mistakes” prize! That should be 2 quarts of vinegar. Either white or cider. White vinegar will make a brighter relish, but cider tastes stronger, so choose either. We’ll remedy that error on the next printing. Thanks for finding it. — Jackie

Okra seeds and haltering a calf

Last year I had several cowhorn okra plants to get over 6ft tall and 6ft wide with many branches. I would like to share the seeds I have left over with anyone that would like some. The man at the feed store told me that they no longer carried cowhorn okra because it had become hard to come by. Anyone wanting these seeds just need to email me. My email is:…

…I also had a question about our calf. When should we put a halter on her? And will her mother hurt us if we take her out of the pen without her?

Deanna Lynne White
Lacombe, Louisiana

I like to start putting a halter on calves right after birth or as young as possible, as they learn quicker and are much less strong then. Mama cows vary, but if your cow is fairly tame, she should go along with taking the calf out of the pen. But you should try it a little at a time. Keep the baby close at first, then see how that goes. You may need to go slow or Mama may just act relieved! — Jackie

Preserving eggs

I’m new at food preservation and homesteading. I’ve recently gotten several ducks, 3 Pekings and a mated pair of Rouens. The Rouens are starting to give eggs and I’d like to know what are the best techniques to preserve eggs? Thank you again for your help.

Laura H.
Macon, Georgia

Fresh eggs will keep in your refrigerator for many weeks, as do the eggs you buy in the store, which are weeks old when you buy them. While you can pack them in waterglass and keep them in a crock in the cool basement, I don’t do that any more as it is a slimy dive for each egg that I don’t relish. You can freeze your eggs, just like you do chicken eggs, breaking them and pouring them into a plastic freezer box. You can either freeze whole eggs, with the yolk and white in the same container or separate the whites and yolks, as some recipes call for so many egg whites or yolks. — Jackie

Freezing goat milk

Not a question but a solution to a problem. For once I have something to give, not ask. When I have extra goat/s milk, I like to freeze it for next winter. I don’t like putting it in plastic, so I freeze in glass jars. The danger of course is the breakage. SO, here’s the solution. Put in milk, leaving a large head space, then lay the jar down sideways in the freezer until frozen. Then you can sit it up. By laying on the side, the air space is spread out and does not break the glass.

Gail Erman
Palisades, Colorado

Good news for folks wanting to freeze their extra milk, Gail! — Jackie

Canning meatloaf

I think I read where you canned meatloaf. Maybe not. Can baked leftover meat loaf be canned?

Nancy Foster
Dallas City, Illinois

I seldom have any meatloaf left over! It’s one of our favorite “snack” foods, the day after it was for dinner, sliced and on a sandwich or just plain. But yes, it can be canned. I’d suggest using a thin tomato sauce, ladled over meatloaf slices about an inch thick. Boil the tomato sauce, then ladle over warm meatloaf. Leave 1″ of headspace and process as for any meat; 10 pounds pressure, 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts, taking altitude adjustments into consideration (see your canning book for instructions on this).

What works great, now that dense products are not recommended for canning — and meatloaf is a dense product — is to make meatloaf-seasoned meat balls and can them, after browning, in a tomato sauce. You can then season them and use in spaghetti or bake on opening, as “meatloaf”. — Jackie


  1. My neighbors had 11 children, they would sometimes by 24 – 36 dozen eggs at a time. Their way of freezing eggs, especially the ones to make cakes with, was to put the two or three eggs, as needed per recipe, in the cups of muffin tins, freeze them, then put the eggs in separate baggies. She kept these in what I would call a plastic shoebox. She also would poke each yoke with a toothpick to keep it from blowing up.

  2. My family love, love, loves the taste of your canned meatballs with mushroom sauce Jackie – and I love, love, love the convenience! When in a hurry, I just heat a quart of those, open a jar of canned potatoes, a jar of carrots, applesauce and in no time at all I have a great meal all from my home canned goods!

  3. i had thought about making the meatloaf into balls but did not do so. There is not enough left to can any way as my 27 year old son came and ate. Next time I will make it into balls instead of a loaf. Good idea. Thank you

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