Like most homesteaders we know, we struggle with cash this time of the year. Grain prices have been horrible. Hay, which we buy from a neighbor in big round bales, is expensive and we use a lot of it with so many steers (which we hope to be able to sell as sides and quarters of beef). Even mailing homemade Christmas gifts is expensive today. But we make do and try to keep the focus of Christmas on its true meaning, not on money. It helps a lot at this time of the (frantic) year to count our many blessings when the world seems so crazy.

We have our health. We have each other. We have a wonderful family and lots of great friends. I work with a great bunch at Backwoods Home Magazine. We have made tremendous strides on our homestead. We actually live in a Christmas card! (Our pretty log cabin sitting in the piney woods on a hill overlooking a beaver pond.) Our livestock is fat and happy. We have a gorgeous, decorated tree in our living room. Our pantry is bulging with lots of home-raised food. We have cords and cords of firewood and logs for lumber to saw later on so not only will we be warm but we will be able to build more animal shelter from home-sawn lumber. Our garden and orchard are doing well. I could go on for hours. You see what I mean.

It’s too easy to get down, being broke, hearing the news of the Newtown school shooting and other horrible happenings worldwide. So when I start to droop, I start counting our blessings and it always gets better right away. I hope it’s the same for you as you prepare for the holiday season. — Jackie


  1. This is a little late for a Christmas wish Jackie but still wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog and reading about your progress. I wished we could do the same as you but at our age (70) starting out now is out of the question. We do though what we can. I have your canning book and use it all the time when I can. I wished I was your neighbor so I could be more than a blog friend.

    So a late Merry Christmas to you and all your family. If Jesus hadn’t been born there would be no Christmas so lets give our lives to him as he gave his life for us.

  2. Merry Christmas, Jackie to you and all of your family. You are a much loved lady. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with the rest of us to help better our lives. You are such a blessing.
    May you have a wonderful, blessed New Year.

  3. Merry Christmas. Thank you so much for your help, your example and your good common sense. I pray you will have many blessings in the New Year.

  4. GOD to continue HIS blessings on you and yours, including your animals- – – You can rightfully judge a mans character- – – by the way he tends [and loves] his animals- – – – Thanks for being YOU ! ! ! !

  5. Like so many others, MERRY CHRISTMAS, Jackie and family. May God continue to bless you and yours throughout the coming year. For He has blessed us with you and your willingness to share your knowledge, that so many are gratefull for.

  6. Sweet Christmas to you and your family! Thanks for doing what you do and providing for the rest of us wonderful inspiration!

  7. The best things in life are the fruits of our labors, thank you Jackie for reminding us. And Christmas doesn’t cost a penny to anyone who seeks after it’s true meaning.

    Bless you and your family.

  8. Amen! We have been living on near-broke for over 12 years. We are now approaching 65 and retirement yah, right. We have nothing compared to you and your husband, yet, we have everything…..that we need for now. The joy of Christmas that is available to all to enjoy this time of year is ours year ’round. He works in wondrous ways, maybe not giving what we ask for but always providing what we need. Merry Christmas Jackie to you and all your loved ones and thank you for the time you share with all of us.

    Merry Christmas to all and to all good health and good living.

  9. Thanks for the uplifting posting. Merry Christmas to “Jackie” who I quote often as if you were a much loved neighbor. You are one of my cherished blessings. Stay warm and healthy, we depend on reading of you, Will and David, our dear Backwoods friends.

  10. I count YOU among my blessings! I have learned so much from you over the years…and while I will likely never be as self-sufficient as you, I am way better off now than before I started following you in Backwoods Home.

    A very Merry Christmas and a healthy Happy New Year to you and your family!

  11. You have a lot of people that you don’t even know who wish you the best in everything!
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!
    (You sure up early!)

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