Now that we’re feeling better, I’ve been zooming around playing catch-up. I’ve got 132 tomato seeds started (I only have another 132 to go! After all, we’re trialing more than 50 new varieties this year. That’s in addition to the 18 varieties we like and are growing again. All are open pollinated so we’ll be offering seeds again next year ( see box above). And since our “business” is growing greatly, we’ll need a whole lot more seeds next year for folks to choose from. So far we haven’t run out of a single variety, but are getting a bit low on a couple of the favorites.

The days are getting warmer and I’m busy canning meat as we’ll be emptying our freezer on the back porch. When it’s warm, that “energy star” rated freezer sucks our battery bank dry very quickly, so we need to empty it before too long. Right now it’s pretty full of beef, pork, and chicken.

Yesterday I canned up a big batch of taco meat and some pepperoni. Today I’ve got hamburger thawing and also a big boneless pork loin. I’m going to make chili with some of the burger as we’re getting low on that. I’ll use some of my quarts of home-canned tomato sauce and tomatoes in the chili. I can up tons of tomato products when we’re in a tomato flood in the fall. Then I mix it up with things like chili, baked beans, soups, etc. when I have the time. Yum. — Jackie


  1. Anne Lowe,

    Yes, I do season it. Not quite as heavily as I do when I make it fresh as some spices, especially “hot” spices tend to get hotter during canning/storage. So I do add some when heating it up to use. Yep, I do can sloppy joe mix; it turns out great and is SO handy!!

  2. Dave,

    Nope, we can’t afford it. Come Spring, it’s emptied out with everything eaten or canned up. Maybe some day we’ll have a big enough solar array/ batteries to be able to, if we move it to the cool basement. But not now.

  3. I do the same each year. When wild berry season comes around,if it has been a good picking year I take all of the older berries out of the freezer and steam juice them. I can up all of the juice in quart jars so when I decide to make jelly I just have to measure juice and make it with a minimum of mess. I usually make between 200 and 250 jars. (we share a lot). Do you season your taco meat so it is ready to use? I am thinking od making sloppy joe mix to can also. Have you ever canned that? Thanks, Anne

  4. Really glad to see you and Will are doing so much better! I noticed a new book on Homesteading, written by you, that I may have missed seeing earlier. Telling my kids what I want for my BD next month, lol. Hope to have a copy soon.

  5. Jackie,

    Well that answers the question I had in mind to ask how you store so much meat in your freezer when you are off grid. Store in freezer during winter then can everything up come Spring. Do you run your freezer at all during the Summer?


  6. Jackie & Will, the canned meats look great! Received our seed order and felt it was very professional with a personal “Country” touch, thanks. The Hopi Grey and Mule Trains are already bursting up from the homemade potting soil and are reaching for the sky!! Like you, our weather keeps swinging like a yo-yo, and we’ve raised and lowered the flaps so often on the hothouse it’s about to fly away(like wings). Best to you and Will from our homestead to yours!!

  7. Jackie, so glad you are feeling better and the weather is warming up your way. Your seedlings sure are looking good! I have started to plant some of mine in their Wall O Waters here in Oklahoma. I will have to try canning up some pepperoni soon. I had never though of canning it up.

  8. Great mind must think alike… been pulling out some of the great ground beef of yours to do similar canning..taco meat, chili and just ground meat! Making room in the freezer. However if I could find the energy/motivation/time to start some more seeds would be wonderful…send some of that energy my way! Enjoy the soon to be nicer weather coming our way!

  9. So glad to see things getting back to normal for you two! Thanks for the update and the pictures.

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