If you, like us, are looking out on a world of white and cold, it’s a good thing to remember that there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. We’ve already passed the shortest day of the year and it’s only a “few weeks” until the snow melts. We’re all getting new seed and nursery catalogs in the mail, aren’t we? At least it gives us more time to plan for spring. Will and I have already found several things we want to add to our homestead next year!

I scrolled down my photos from this last year and was surprised at how green everything was! So maybe seeing all that green will encourage those of you who are sick of snow and cold. I think God gives us winter so we can rest up for spring and summer!



We had a great Christmas here. My sister and her son came up and we feasted on a pork loin roast basted with sweet Italian dressing, potatoes, and green beans from our garden, tons of pickles from the pantry, homemade pies and cheesecake along with plenty of snacking foods. My oldest son, Bill, and his family will be up this coming weekend for a late Christmas so we get to do it all over again. How fun. Even more so because our grandchildren, Mason and Ava, will be here for us to spoil. (We’re giving them Giant Pumpkin seeds for Christmas, among other things, so they can grow their own Giant for Halloween next year.) Oh, Will bought me an electric meat grinder for Christmas after seeing how much I loved Jeri’s! What a wonderful gift. Sigh. Who needs jewelry?

This morning, Will caught sight of something out on the beaver pond in front of the house. He grabbed the handy binoculars and called me to the window. It was a pair of wolves! They were hunting mice around the pond and playing with each other. The female went out into the middle of the ice and sat down, then ran back to play with the male. Then she went back onto the ice again. We think she was flirting with him. Breeding season’s rolling around in a couple of months. We got to watch them for about fifteen minutes before they meandered off into the woods up the creek. Awesome! — Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie

    Can you please pass on which seed catalog sells the lovely squash that you have written about. I think you called it Hopi. I had mu first taste of a grey skinned squash this past september and it was delicious. I would like to try growing some myself and pass on to our CSA farmer. As to weather we were lucky this past month up here in eastern Ontario. We had rain up until two weeks ago and grass was still green all over. Then we got the storm that came up from the great lakes and we now have 2 feet of snow and chilly weather -26 degrees celsius with the wind. The wonders and joys of living in a northern climate eh?

    Take care

    M Blaney

  2. J & L Knight,

    Yes, we do start our onions from seed as plants have gotten so expensive and there isn’t much choice in sets. We start our onions in late February, in flats. They do get a bit leggy, so I take scissors and give them a good haircut in about March. That makes them more stocky. Then we set them out in April. Our first frost free dates are usually well into June, but the weather is onion friendly by mid April. Usually!


  3. GA,

    We totally agree. We love having our wild neighbors and wouldn’t think of shooting them just because they are around us, like some folks seem to do. We’ve lived with bears, wolves, cougars, coyotes and other bigger carnivores and have managed to co-exhist happily with most of them. We take sensible steps to avoid conflicts like keeping all “garbage” and other bear attractants indoors, locking our small animals and poultry in at night, having two large dogs and understanding the big wildlife so when we encounter one of these neighbors it isn’t a frightening experience for either them or us.
    After all, the wildlife is the BIG attractant to living our remote lifestyle!


  4. Hi Jackie &Will
    Snow and cold does have its place. Moisture and helps cut down on the
    leftover insect population. The seed catalogs are a tempting. What will
    we plant new this year? We are thinking of starting our own onion plants. Any ideas when would be a good time to get them started? Have you ever started your own onion plants? Good to see you have good snow cover. It is a hope for good moisture this coming year. Your beavers were right again..go beavers!!!!

  5. Jackie,
    Yes, I agree, I also think God gave us these long winters so we can rest up and plan for the long spring and summers when we are so darn busy! I don’t have 1/8th the amount of work you kids do, being pretty disabled, can only do so much, but i sure look forward to a good long rest at the start of Fall! lol!Glad you have your family around you!

  6. As we look out on our frozen snow covered garden in Iowa, it is beautiful.
    Resting for the first green plantings. Right now we enjoy the outside and its beauty ..no mosquitos..no black flys..and here in town the kids with loud music have there windows rolled up!
    When do you start your onions seeds? The seed catalogs are a tease for
    what is to come. Everything in his time.

  7. I know what you mean about the meat grinder….my husband and I have decided to wait to shop for each other this Christmas. With 8 in the house and 2 more due in May, money is tight! I am looking at a “big” pressure canner.
    I, too, am looking forward to greener times. I live for my gardens and will be adding goats to the yard, to keep our chickens and ducks company. Sorry neighbors…..
    Happy New Year to you and yours!

  8. I’m so glad to hear you were happy to see the wolves! What we learn from our homesteads in terms of cycles and roles applies to the natural world as well, and wolves are an important part of the balance of nature. I hope more people will learn to see it that way, not as a threat but as a critical part of the ecosystem. I’d say it was a good omen for you and Will for 2013.

  9. We have tomato plants growing in our basement and are under lights about 3-4 feet tall. One has blossoms on it. My son grew them from seed. First time we have grown anything in the winter. Use your canning book all the time when I can. Hope to get a high hoop house for gardening this spring. Will be planting a much larger garden this spring due to the high cost of food and the possible shortages due to the drought in 2012. Blessings and glad to hear you had a good Christmas with family. We are also getting together with our kids and their families Saturday.

  10. Hi Jackie , Will and family. I bet it was perfect seing the wolfes play.
    Jackie I agree with you ..who needs jewelry. I take usefull things any time instead of things I dont need. Yes, winter will be over before you know it. I live in AZ and the one thing I miss is having some downtime that snow brings.
    Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year.

  11. Hi Jackie,
    I must say I am so glad to hear you saw wolves and I would love to have that
    experience some day. You mentioned that you and Will have found several items you wish to add to your homestead next year and I was wondering if you would share the item list with us? I love hearing about your ideas and usually end up adopting many of them. Glad to hear you will have time with your grandkids this coming week. I had all five of mine here today and we had fun together making memories. I love having time to cook for them and I took them to visit my infirm 89 year old mother. So have a great time this weekend with Bill and his family. Like you, I have been getting many seed catalogs. My favorites are Pine Tree, Fedco and Baker creek. I love passing time each evening looking through the pages of the catalogs and dreaming of the next garden. Thanks for the pictures from last year’s garden. Can’t wait to start growing my tomatoes and peppers this March. May you have a blessed and healthy New Year.

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