The garden, which has been dinking around for weeks with nothing ripening, IS ripening all of a sudden. We’ve got quite a few ripe tomatoes now, chiefly our favorite, Moravsky Div, and Mia’s Italian Paste, both tasty and very early. At our recent tomato tasting, Moravsky Div was one of the top five in taste.

The Blue jays have started attacking our corn. Both Will’s sweet corn, Seneca Sunrise, and my Bear Island Chippewa flour corn are attracting them. To save our crops, we’ve been busy pulling ears, shucking them and getting them in to dry. Last year I strung them up on ropes and dried them on the front porch, until the jays discovered them and started eating them. Now I’m bringing them inside, to the enclosed back porch and greenhouse/sunroom. And both corns have been very productive, despite the late season.

This is just a little of our productive Bear Island Chippewa flour corn. Some cobs are 10 inches long with 12 rows!

I’ve started picking peppers from which to harvest seed. We are very pleased with our Jimmy Nardello sweet Italian peppers and hope to have plenty. My friend, Dara, came by yesterday bearing a five-gallon bucket of her “extra” peppers saying if I happened to make Cowboy and Cowgirl Candy, she’d like a couple of jars. No problem there! My mouth is already watering. We use a lot, both as “pickles” and in stir-fries and casseroles.

Here’s a couple of our first Jimmy Nardello peppers. So good fried!

I’m packing for my trip to the Denver Self-Reliance Expo. I’d love to meet you, if you can come. I’ll be speaking both Friday and Saturday and will be manning the Self-Reliance Magazine booth. If any of you have been following Discovery Channel’s series, Alaska: the Last Frontier, you’ll be tickled to find out Eivin and Eve Kilcher will be there too. What fun! I hope you’ll come by and say hi.

Because I’ll be gone from Thursday to Sunday, I’m scrambling to get things done before the trip. It’s hard to be away from home this time of year, especially when so much is needing doing. Luckily, Will and David will be home to pitch in. They’re also working on David’s cabin footings. Last night David went out and strung work lights in the trees around the site, powered by a deep cycle battery and inverter. The days are getting shorter and he wants to be able to work from the time he gets home until bedtime. We saw tracks where deer had already been to the site and peered down into the holes. I suppose they wondered how big those gophers were, anyway! — Jackie


  1. Howard,

    We are blessed to not have received either frost or freezing weather so far; very unusual, but we’re happy as our garden is really late this year. Yes, Lipstick peppers turn red; i.e. the name. Wow! 125 voles. That’s a lot! Our count is down, thanks to Mittens our wonderful hunting cat who leaves a row of dead critters on our doorstep every day.

  2. When can I order some Tomatoe seeds for next year. I was going to this spring but so much has been going on here ( the most serious hubby having Cancer the second time ) I didn’t get them ordered. Can I order them this fall to have for come spring? Thanks so Much. Love reading about all u all do. Thanks

  3. Anyone ever come to Ohio?? We heard about your Growing and Canning book at an event in January. Just started canning and am convinced you have the best book on the market. Thank you for this nice price—you don’t even want to know what I paid for mine on Amazon. Hope you get a cut! The four I just ordered go to my children and a young couple from Church.

  4. Happy Autumn! I wonder if you keep a soft inventory of all your food storage. I was particularly shocked at mine as I was being hard on myself about not canning my h this year.

  5. I purchased a package of the Nardello peppers to give to a friend Eunadell (I think) “Dell” Nardello. She had never heard of them so it was such fun!

  6. Our season is running late too but some of my neighbors have had killing frost in mid August! We missed that one but any thing frost sensitive that was not in the hoop houses or green houses has frozen.
    We use tank top.propane heaters to keep them thawed to give us more time. We pretty much gave up on heating the squash as they are suffering the effects of too much moisture. We have found that heat in late April and early May pays lots more dividends than heat in late September.
    Are your lip stick peppers supposed to turn red. We have lots set but they are all green.
    We are up to 125 voles in traps so far!

    • Utopia Gardens purchased seed this year from you, at first I had problems with germinating the tomatoes seeds, but the harvest of the plants were wonderful. Yes the lip stick peppers and the aruba peppers are out of this world, they make great stuffing peppers and are so nice to have red sweet peppers so early. We love your blog and cookbook and all of the advice you have given us through the years. Thank you, Cindy and Kim Peterson

  7. I’m interested in the Italian sweet peppers. I’ve not seen any sweet ones that look like that, but if you say they’re good, I’m game. I just passed on info to my step daughter about the Denver expo, as she lives outside of Denver. I hope you have a great show.

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