After such nice a week or two, winter’s back. Last night it was down to 12° F with a thirty-mile-an-hour wind. I’m so glad Will and I hurried to get ready. We sure are happy we didn’t get the snow they forecast. Instead of 12 inches we only got half an inch.

Will got the tube in the big tractor tire this morning, so (I think) the tire will soon be out on the tractor instead of in our dining room. I’m a homesteader, through and through, but that huge tire was a bit awkward to explain to visitors.

I’m busy writing and also printing off seed package labels for the rush of orders that will come soon. I also ordered some new varieties of seeds for us to trial next summer, which is sort of an on-going process. We love to try new varieties; who knows when one will become our new favorite? I am also buying a few fancy daylilies (on the online Daylily Auction) to plant in a new flower bed come spring. Looking at all those colorful flowers is fun and sure makes the winter go by faster.

I’m also painting the cover for the new Jess Hazzard novel, Spring of the Vultures, which will come out soon. While browsing online, looking at Morgan horses, I came across photos of a Morgan stallion who made me think of The Hawk and why I love Morgans. All that up-headed fire but no craziness sure appeals to me.

My sister e-mailed me a photo she took in her backyard, near Duluth. David sure had a bum hunting season, I guess he should have hung out at Sue’s! She saw a beautiful 8-point buck come out of the woods, snooping under her bird feeders. He sure is pretty. And I know David will drool. — Jackie


  1. I often peep in to read your updates, kinda hanging around the fring, checking out what real Minnesota homesteaders are up to these days. I enjoy reading about real people who choose to live a life far different than my own suburban work a day world. (On the internet,I can do that!j. And, originally hailing from near Mpls, MN, I enjoy reading about “ up north”. I used to can a LOT when we lived in the hills of Pennsylvania, way away from town, where the snow could get deep enough to keep us off the road for three days, but now we are in Indiana and east of the lake affect snow belt, and things are more accessible now. Anyways, just wanted to say thanks for sharing your lifestyle here and all you’ve been up too. My husband and I really enjoyed the deer from Duluth!
    Stay warm,

  2. Jackie,

    What are your top three sauce tomatoes? You have some amazing varieties and Im going tomorder a few seed packets fir Christmas.


    • Golly, that’s a tough one as we have so many favorites, old and new. I really love Purple Russian, Mia’s Italian Paste and G. Chalmers paste but we also love others. Whew!

  3. Jackie, it’s starting to cool down in Nebraska as well. Not so much snow just yet but the temps are getting closer and closer to single digits during the night. It’s really comforting to mix up a big pot of soup from the canned summer produce. There’s many stuffed peppers left with potatoes in the storage room. I made the mistake and grew only butternut squash this year. They don’t keep very long and are all gone. In your gardening experience what is the best squash to grow for storing?

    I can’t say that I’ve ever had any tires in my living room but then homestead life is a bit different than Urban living.

    Have a great day on the homestead.

    Nebraska Dave

    • Howdy Dave,

      My all-time favorite long keeping (up to over 2 years under the bed!) squash is Hopi Pale Grey. Not only does it keep wonderfully but it’s our favorite tasting squash of all. We’ve discovered squash keep much better at temps in the high 50’s and 60’s than in the root cellar after finding a few Hopis under my bed after 2 years that were in perfect condition. (Shows how often I clean house, huh??)

  4. I would like to put my name on your list for a seed catalog to be mailed to me. My seeds I ordered from you before are running low, time to get some more from a great source. Thank you!

  5. We have had a week of 30 to 40 degree temps during the day and 10 degrees at night. I did not harvest the last of my onions (about a dozen) until today. They look to be frozen. Are they ruined? Can I use them for soup? I guess I will know more when they defrost. I did not plant very much as I am new to gardening in southern Utah. Did I mess up terribly? Thank you for your help.

    • Your onions are probably okay; they usually are fine until below 20 degrees or so. If they are not soft, they will be okay for any use. After all, in most climates, onions can over-winter in the ground and then go on to produce seed the next year.

  6. I am so ready to order seeds from you. Everything i grew from your seeds last year was superior. i am already planning how to expand my garden area next year.

    • I’m so happy you had such good results in your garden! We’re already clearing and adding another 1/2 acre garden to our homestead because we NEVER have enough room for all we want to try.

    • You can either write or e-mail us at (8533 hwy 25, Angora, MN 55703). We’ll be happy to send you a catalog. Until you get one, just go to the box below and click on it to see our website and lots of photos.

  7. I wish we would go back to -20 or even -40! We were supposed to have 15 inches of snow yesterday. Trouble is we had an inch of rain first then the snow at 33 degrees so it was so heavy that the subdivision road and our drive way are blocked by bent willows that have to be shaken, cut, and thrown off the road before we can finish plowing. It could be worse: the pass to Valdez, Alaska 60 miles south of us had six feet of snow over three days and has been closed by avalanches for two days. Hope we get your catalog soon.

    • I sure hear you! Our mile and a half long driveway has lots of brush on the sides along with smaller trees mixed with the big stuff. When we get ice or heavy, wet snow, they all bow over. What a mess! Most times, we can just run our plow truck out with the plow up first and that shakes/breaks things so we can get through. But sometimes we have to chainsaw our way out to the road.
      Our catalog should be at the printer’s soon and the very day we get them, they’ll mail right from the printer. Hang in there; it’s coming! We’re excited about seeing it.

  8. Yay for the next book!! My 15 year old daughter is enjoying the stories. We are thankful to have such good clean literature. Thank you

    • I’m not so happy with a lot of current literature, either. It seems it’s either (or both!) sex and violence to the max. I write so my pastor and mother wouldn’t be embarrassed to read them. But they’re still exciting and fun.

      • Miss Jackie, I am a pastor and admire your books because there is a good story line with out getting a dose of porn or feeling sick inside because of graphic violence and cruelty. Many of the modern westerns are VILE on both of these counts. I let them remain on the library shelves!! Thank you for letting Jess be a guy I’d like as a friend!
        Regarding the buck in your photo… I saw a buck in the brush line behind my barn a few days ago. Time was when I would have shot him. It is hunting season here. But he was safe. They often bed down there when the hunting action gets a little too brisk on the mountain behind us. I have plenty of meat canned, and not everyone gets to entertain wild deer so near their homes as you and I. BUT occasionally in the early mornings of summer the deer try to harvest too much of my garden produce.When I see them I cut loose a few loud whoops and scare them into deeper cover. Let them eat alfalfa from a nearby field! I like to can or eat fresh what I grow. Rick

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