And we’re still homesteading! Will FINALLY got our big round baler working again after first a blown hydraulic hose (with a fitting that only New Holland makes — Will cut it off and retrofit it to work) and after only two bales, a blown big bar chain (that only New Holland makes repair pins for). It took a week and plenty of work as Will and our friend Eric had to replace a dozen and half pins/links that were worn and waiting to break. After fixing it, we were kind of scared to start baling again! But 20 bales later, Will is busy cutting hay today in the 90 degree heat.


Meanwhile, I’m busy dehydrating our huge crop of broccoli. Honestly, the plants are better than waist high this year and the heads are the size of large dinner plates! Wow! It’s dehydrating nicely and I have several heads done now with a new batch cut up and in the trays. I have an electric dehydrator, but living off grid, we only use it when we have the generator on as the draw on the batteries is significant. So I sit the trays in the greenhouse to start out then when the generator is on (to pump water, etc.) I stack them and use the dehydrator. It takes about 2 days and they’re done crispy dry. So good in stews and soup during the winter! And dehydrated broccoli takes up so little space. Broccoli is one thing I don’t can. Yucky!


Our little Norland apple tree is just loaded and we’re starting to eat the apples. Yesterday the wind blew hard and several fell off. I beat the chickens and turkeys to a dozen but they got a few. Today, I saw the turkeys standing in a circle under the tree, looking up. You could just see their pea brains thinking; “Hey, why aren’t they falling off?” But it wasn’t windy so they didn’t. The Norland makes a crisp, juicy, slightly tart snack apple that we really love. And boy is it productive! — Jackie


  1. All of you will tons of broccoli I am so jealous. Have always had a horrible time trying to grow any of the cabbage crops. Jackie please do an article on growning the members of hte cabbage families so I can figure out how to grow them. Thanks!

  2. Must be a good year for broccoli mine went crazy this year and is still going, that’s never happened before!

  3. We, too were just blessed with 25 (!) heads of broccoli that came in all at once. I’ve been a busy gal cutting, blanching, and drying. It is sooooo delicious! Wish you a wonderful seminar Jackie! We would so love to be there to visit with you again! I’m sure all will have a wonderful time.

  4. Jackie

    Do you blanch the broccoli before dehydrating? Like you, our broccoli is going strong, so if I keep my son from eating it all, I might have a chance to dehydrate.



  5. Mike, I remember doing the salt water soak on my broccoli to kill the worms. Here are two better ways to get edible broccoli: BT comes as a spray or powder but read up on it to be sure you are getting a natural, OMRI certified product. I use it on cabbages, kohlrabi and broccoli. The other method is a physical barrier. I use the cheap round tomato cages and wooden clip clothespins with floating row cover. Put the cage over the young plant, then cut a piece of floating row cover large enough to drape over it and go down to the ground. Clip it to the tomato cage with the clothespins, then anchor the bottom with dirt or rocks, water as usual through the row cover, and watch for your crop to mature. Cabbage moths go crazy at the smell of any of the brassica family and will find a way to get to the plants through the smallest hole so you have to seal the bottom well. If you grow the Calabrese broccoli that sets the side shoots, you can reach in the tomato cage spaces to pick them without uncovering the entire plant. And of course you can make your own wire cages with 4 inch openings. Another Jackie reader suggested using clip clothespins for plant labels – you can write the date you set out the plants and the variety on one of the pins you use to clip the row cover to the cage.
    Floating row cover usually lasts 3 to 4 years. You could also make a wide row plastic pipe or 4 inch opening wire fencing low tunnel covered with wide cheap netting from a fabric store to keep your plants in, but as with the floating row cover, be sure to anchor the bottom of the netting.

  6. Jackie

    What, if anything do you use to keep the worm out of your broccoli?

    I raised that crop for years and soaking it in saltwater to kill the worms was the worst part.

    Thanks and good luck on keeping the baler and other equipment running.
    One is either using it, paying for it or working on it. Sometimes all three.


  7. I want to come so bad to one of these but we have three fairs in the next two weeks and I am tied up. But on a good point, I put up 12 pints of yellow beans today. They will taste good this fall and winter. Got a ton more to do. Between roasting almonds and running to the next fair.

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