In Northern Minnesota, nothing much is easy. We had a couple dozen apple trees plus cherry and pear trees in our little acre of orchard. And they were doing great. But two winters ago, we had record-breaking winter temperatures: 90 days below zero. We lost about six apple trees and the rest took hits from mild to extreme. This spring we pruned them all, Will sawed out the dead trunks, and some were beyond help. So we ordered trees to replace them. The old saying “plant till you’re planted” sure rang true! So we re-planted trees.


Luckily, all the survivors are looking very good as are the cherries, apricots, and plums in our other little orchard in the “back yard.”

I’ve got to start canning up hamburger as we’ve got a lot that needs canning before hot weather. It’s so very handy all canned up and ready to heat and eat! We love it. I just lightly brown and crumble the burger, spoon it in jars, leaving 1 inch of headroom, and process it — no liquid added. It turns out great every time.

By the way, our baby goat Sir is getting smarter; he follows me like a dog for his baba. And he’s doing great. Who’d have thought? — Jackie


  1. Just looked you up for a quick suggestion on dehydrating soup meats and as usual got detoured into reading all of your articles to catch up since it’s been so long since I’ve visited. Forgot how much I really enjoy reading about your homestead, family and farm animals and grabbing a few new ideas from your blog. Jackie, you’re so appreciated, even when I don’t get to visit as often as I would like. Maybe you need to have a regular summer camp for adults :0.

  2. Rick,

    Yeah, I know what you mean. Although we raise “meat goat” crosses, we, too feel a pet-connection to our goats and can’t eat them. (I’m sure in a survival situation, we might have to re-think that but for now, Sir, along with Hondo and Spencer, are safe.)

    Congratulations on your blooming apples! We’re excited as our baby apricot is blooming for the first time and the four year old one is COVERED with blooms!

  3. Miss Jackie, Three cheers for Sir aka Sirvivor, and his increasing intelligence. I believe that is due to your patience and good care. Those bottle babies always become like a shadow….I raised all our goatlings on the bottle as they become so tame and easy to work with and then become gentle milkers, however I just could never personally butcher a wether we had bottle raised….they went to market….We always felt our goats were as loving as the family dog. We did however, heave a sigh of relief when the 2 a.m. bottles could be given up and the babes could wait for 6a.m. and the morning milking.
    I am so happy some of my new apple trees are blooming for the first time!!!!

  4. zelda,

    Yes, I’ve got several Explorer series roses and they’re all doing well. Try some grapes from Fedco. We got a dozen and they are all alive and growing after three years with minimal care. (Okay….grass, weeds and rocky, sandy soil…)
    We’ve also had wonderful success with Canadian cherries such as Crimson Jewel, Romeo, Juliet and Crimson Passion as well as Evans Bali. We bought ours through honeyberry usa in Bagley, MN. They do have a website if you’re interested. These cherries are “real” pie cherries, not just small cherries you can’t get the pit out of.

  5. Lisa,

    Strange you suggested Shadow because that’s his mother’s name!!! She’s speckled white with a darker black “shadow” over her head and shoulders.

  6. The fruit tree mortality where I live is the same as yours due to climate. I’ve lost track over the years of the number of trees lost to winter and spring conditions even with protection – mostly cherry and plum. Haven’t been able to winter over a grape yet. My trees are all small therefore grafted and although there are good newer cold tolerant rootstocks once the tree sap starts to flow and there’s a hard freeze, most trees can’t survive that. Trees need consistent cold and a freeze-thaw spring is deadly. Like you, I’m planting new trees this year and maybe another grape, but can’t depend on getting a crop ever. Hope the fruit tree breeders and growers will make better progress on fruits for marginal areas as more people move into them and want to grow food. The Canadian Agricultural Experiment Station response to citizen requests for roses that can be grown near the Arctic Circle is a wonderful example of what can be done – I have three of their Explorer roses and they perform exactly as claimed, wouldn’t plant any other kind. It would be wonderful if they were working on fruit trees next.

  7. So glad you newly planted trees are doing well… my black raspberry on the other hand is not. Still hoping one day to see a little sprout but so far nothing! Did the chill thing most of the winter, but thinking it is not to be! Alas, maybe next year! Got to have hope! I also did a batch of ground beef and thinking a doing another round, because like you said, it sure comes in handy. Glad Sir is doing well, maybe you should call him ‘Shadow’. Happy planting!

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