We just had two nasty days of pouring rain. Yuck! So today, with the sun out, albeit 50 degrees, we’re back at work. Will’s up at the sawmill, cutting more boards for our porch roof and barn while I’m pulling the rest of the carrots and cooking down more tomato puree with the Mehu Liisa. For some reason this year our stored tomatoes we’d picked green tended to rot before ripening. So I have to pick through them carefully so I don’t get any rotten spots in the tomatoes I cook down for sauce. On the other hand, our onions, which have been plagued with neck rot for the last two years, turned out as solid as rocks. So I can’t complain and am very glad I canned tons of tomato products last year.


Spencer is very happy to have a sidekick around the homestead. Hondo shadows him inside and out and is quick to learn the ropes. (Look at mama chicken; don’t try to chase her chicks. She flies in your face and flaps her wings on your tender nose! Watch the goats; don’t try to bark at them. If you do, they chase you and stomp their feet on your butt.) Big dogs know stuff like that. Hondo is learning. And Spencer is so gentle with the little pup with the needle-sharp teeth who climbs on him and bites his ears. He just gets up and moves when the playing gets too rough. They’re already best buds. And Hondo already knows how to get into Will’s lap when he sits in his chair. He tried the flying leap but never got the timing right, so now he jumps then starts climbing up Will’s legs. Perfect!


We decided to go out of pig raising. We had been selling pork but after a couple of customers were unsatisfied with their country-smoked meat (which we had a local processor do), Will and I decided that it was too much stress on us because we really care about what folks say about food they buy from us. We had two litters of Red Wattle pigs, some of which we had planned on raising to sell for pork. Instead, we advertised weaner pigs and one fellow came and bought all of both litters! Now we have three sows to sell, one of which is bred to farrow next month. We’ll always raise a couple of pigs to butcher for ourselves and my son, Bill, and his wife. But we’re done selling pork. It’s really kind of sad for us. (We will still be selling beef as there’s no smoking involved!) Homesteading is full of ups and downs…just like all of life. — Jackie


  1. Hanza,

    Different folks said our smoked pork was “not smoked”, “way too smoky” and “tough”. Others said it was “wonderful” and they would gladly buy again. Who knows? We just couldn’t handle it as we love our own pork and hoped to give others the same experience. It’s a case of a few ruining it for everyone, I guess.

  2. Praise Jesus. Thank you Jackie for letting us know. So glad to hear your daughter-in-law is doing well. Will keep her in our prayers.

  3. All,

    I’m SO sorry to have worried you! Will’s daughter was in a car accident and needed us to come down to Illinois. She’s fine, but sore. (Check new blog for more news.) Don’t blame the office. It’s all on me. We had to leave so fast I never thought to call and couldn’t blog because we were working so hard down there and I didn’t have my computer (No Iphone either!) I’m so touched that so many of you care for us like family.

  4. Thank you for the update Lisa! Agree with Deb above… if you ever need us, we will come!!!

  5. Thanks Lisa Basso. I was going to call today. And I agree Deb office should keep us informed. I’m sure a lot of you were like me, checking several times a day. Jackie, I’ll still keep you in my paryers and hope to hear from you soon.

  6. An f.y.i. to Backwoods staff especially Annie Tuttle, could you please let
    her faithful followers know that all is well if Jackie cannot blog? So many of us have been concerned and fretting. If she is unable to blog, give us a heads up. We are all like family and follow her site everyday. I think we need to send in the infantry if she does not write after a week. Especially with a new puppy, we know she would not leave the homestead if it was not
    necessary. Okay, Jackie, we wait as patiently as we can to hear about you and Will. Most homesteaders are solitary people but will come to the rescue in a heart beat for one of our own.

  7. Finally! I can relax now, have been checking here maybe 20 times a day, so worried. So happy she and her family are fine.

  8. Just dropping a note hoping all who love Jackie see this. Just spoke with Ellen in the BWH office Monday am. Ellen had spoken with Jackie on Friday. Jackie and Will is fine and will be back blogging soon. Had some personal/family business focus on, but all is well. I am sure your prayers have been helping a lot and she is most grateful for them.

  9. I too am missing you. Really hoping you are just swamped with harvest activities and don’t have time to write. I was playing catch up too, it was nice the snow has held off for now. I love your canning book, it’s so easy to follow, almost like your right there. I am praying for you as well.

  10. I have been praying for you Jackie since I met you. You and Will scared all of us when you fell off the roof. And we are not getting younger and things
    get harder. Please let us know so we may pray and send good thoughts your
    way. You are two of our favorite people and I miss you.

  11. Amen to the above! look guys our minds can go off in many directions, but speculating gets us no where. I suspect that those who believe that prayers bring answers are doing it. I join you all in a prayer of agreement for all to be well for our friend, mentor, and heroine, Jackie…….Rick

  12. I’ve been checking daily for over a week. Hope all is okay. Anyone out there know what’s going on please let Jackie’s friends know.

  13. Been checking everyday for your blog. A lot of us are concerned. Praying all is well. You are like family to us. Miss hearing from you.

  14. I had a ton of green tomatoes last year as we had an early freeze. I had great results with Jackie’s Salsa recipe in her book Growing and Canning your own food. I just substituted green or half ripe tomatoes in the recipe and it was wonderful. And by the way if you don’t have this book, you are sure missing out. Everything I can with her recipes is SO good! Thanks Jackie for sharing your tried and true recipes with us.

  15. I just checked in, too, to see if you might have posted something. Hope it’s just the ‘busyness’ of the season that’s keeping you from your computer.

  16. I miss you too, keep looking for a new post and it’s been so long that I am worried. Hope everything is ok!

  17. Jackie & Will,

    We had some of your pork chops last night for dinner and they were spectacular, of course. I think knowing that you aren’t planning to sell more pork made us savor them even more. As Melinda said, we are disappointed you are getting out of the pork “business,” I totally understand. We certainly don’t want to cause either of you any extra stress or worry. In the meantime, we’ll enjoy every morsel we have left. We might need to get the jump on moving out of town so we can raise some ourselves! Thanks for everything! Hope you’re all staying warm up there.

  18. I can certainly understand that stress. Fortunately we sell our little bit by a whole or half of hog…they deal with the processor. If they don’t want the smoked stuff that is between the customer and processor. It sure takes a whole lot of stress out of the picture. My carrots are terrible this year…the goats are loving the treats that I give them though. LOL

    I just want to tell you how much I enjoy your cookbook/canning book. I have other family members enjoying your blog and books. :)

  19. Jackie ,I hope that you and Will take some comfort knowing that we love and appreciate all the time and effort you give to teach and encourage us…I wish that I was closer…Would have loved to try the meat out..

  20. I sure understand the stress that frustrations can bring and the wish to have the worry gone. Hope you’re both feeling much better having made the decision!

  21. Maybe those complaining pork buyers had previously only had chain grocery store pork, and didn’t appreciate real home grown quality. Maybe the problem was on their end because they didn’t take care of it or cook it properly.

    Did you ever find out exactly what they were complaining about?

  22. Melinda,

    We’re real sorry to disappoint you and other good pork customers but honestly we didn’t sleep well for three weeks after all the problems. Our last three sows were bought earlier this week so all we have left are our two butcher pigs. You’re always welcome to come knocking on our door!!! And if we do decide to raise a few more pigs, you guys will be at the head of our list.

  23. Ellandra,

    I really don’t use half-ripe tomatoes and don’t have any recipes for them; it’s either green or ripe…..

    ]We’re real sad about going out of the pig business; a fellow came and bought our three sows earlier this week. Maybe some other time down the road we will consider selling some un=smoked pork but probably we’ll just raise pigs for ourselves and family.

  24. Noooo!!! You showed us how amazing REAL pork chops are, got us addicted to your awesome bacon, and are now throwing in the towel because of some confusion over the hams? OK, I totally understand… I know how much you, Will, and the processor care about producing and selling a quality product, and I know how much time and emotional energy you spent sorting this all out. Still, I’m incredibly bummed.

    When you wrote to ask me to cook up a ham and let you know how it was (because someone else had made a complaint), I cooked and tasted it with an air of suspicion. I also majorly over-cooked it. (The core temp got to 195!) Over-done, dried out ham tastes like smoky salt. And I’m telling you, that processor uses cloves as one of the seasonings in his rub, which is new to me and kind of funky in a good way. Once I got to the moist meat surrounding the bone, I was in ham heaven.

    Selling off the piglets is a pretty clear signal that you and Will are through with selling pork, but we’ll be first in line if you ever decide to give it a go again. And we may come knocking on your door later in the year when we’ve run out of our own!

  25. I just cleaned up the tomatoes since we’re expecting a freeze soon. A lot of my tomatoes are split or cracked, so they won’t last long enough to ripen. Are there any recipes for half-ripe tomatoes that you’d recommend?

    It’s a pity about the pork, a few complainers can ruin everything! Any chance you could just sell un-smoked pork the same way you’re doing with the beef?

  26. Jackie

    That is too bad to hear about the pork/meat sales. Jim/Peter and I really have been enjoying the pork we bought earlier this year, but I understand the level of worry/stress is not worth it. I used to sell hand-piped cut-outs and cakes for extra money, but it wasn’t worth the stress, now I just make them for some close friends, etc. Hondo sure looks like a handful, but I am sure Spencer will train him right! Been busy with beans and tomatoes, and looking towards pulling the carrots and beets in the nest couple of days. Thankfully we have had an extended fall, but looks like it is coming to quick end soon. Take care.


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