Several years ago my friend, Dara, planted a Hopi Pale Grey a few dozen yards away from a Marina Di Chioggia, a bumpy, round, blue-green Italian squash which is also a Cucurbita maxima. Yep, they happily crossed and Dara was thrilled at the “children.” Many of the squash ended up big, roundish, glowing orange squash. They had the Hopi Pale Grey flavor and a blue “belly button” on the blossom end but were more round than most Hopis are. She loved it so much, she began breeding select squash to save seeds from the best new squash, which started out a hybrid (two different varieties crossed) and ended up, years later, as a stabilized new variety!

See the Hopi Pale Grey “belly button” on Dara’s squash?
This is North Morning Moon, the newest variety of squash on our website. Dara gave me seeds to share.

See, it doesn’t take scientists to develop new breeds of open pollinated vegetables. Many have been created, on purpose or accidentally, by plain home gardeners. We went to visit Mike and Dara yesterday and she gave me one of her North Morning Moon squash to take home to eat. I’ll be baking part for dinner tonight and canning up the rest for later on because it has a thick orange meat, which is also flavored like the wonderful Hopi Pale Greys. I can’t wait!

Just look at that glorious thick orange meat!

For folks that are interested you can check out more information about squash by reading my article in BHM’s 23rd Year Anthology

Our weather’s finally moderated. Whew! That -37 was getting old. The last night it was that cold, Ashley’s car slushed up and overheated as she drove home from work. It turned out her antifreeze was mixed 50/50 and that was only good to -25, according to the container. Figure it out; -37, driving 60 mph. The windchill figured out to something like -90 F. Sigh, the challenges we meet daily, living in the northland. Son, Don, who lives in coastal Alaska, always has much warmer winters!

Today Will set out more round bales of hay and is working on the sawmill. At 28 above zero, it seems like springtime! Last night the wolves woke us up, howling right across the beaver pond from the house. We like to listen to them sing but our dogs do not. So we had four big dogs with various vocal talents howling in the house at 5 A.M. David got up and turned his spotlight out on the pond and saw five or six wolves. They got up and moved on and that was the end of wolf song (and dog moaning) for the night. — Jackie


  1. Miss Jackie, I also am very pleased for you all to have gotten out of those extreme minus temps. The New squash looks lovely and if tastes great too what a blessing! I too hope your cattle goats and other stock are safely inside if the wolves are prowling so near your homestead. I love the idea of bears, cougars and wolves once again the Wild, but really don’t want them near enough to endanger my place. We see bears and coyotes pretty often and have occasionally seen a cougar. No wolves!
    Blessings Rick

    • We have wolves all the time on our homestead. But so far they haven’t caused any damage in 13 years. Of course that’s always a possibility but when you move into their territory, you take a few chances.
      We’re really glad to have gotten higher temps, too. But I hear East of us was pretty horrible. I hope you escaped that.

  2. Jackie,
    I also went to order North Morning Moon and could not find it, also could not find any prices anywheres……….let me know as I want to order soon before the squash is sold out…..
    Liz in Maine

    • I just added North Morning Moon to our website. While Dara did give me seeds, I don’t have so many I could feel comfortable adding them to our catalog. So they’re on the website, on a limited basis until we’re sold down; we have to have enough to plant, come spring!

  3. Glad you’re getting a break from the awful cold! Love the squash and the wolf visit story. Thanks for the update!

  4. Oh that new squash looks so good. I will have to try it. Where does your son live in Alaska? I was raised in Ketchikan in southeastern, it is an island. Have family there and in Anchorage. Planning a vacation there this summer. Last time I visited, abt 2 years ago, I noticed so many people had small green houses. It never gets warm enough in southeast Alaska to raise peppers, tomatoes, etc. cool weather crops do great. Glad it has warmed up for you. We are finally getting some rain in the valley and mountain snow…we need the snow pack, it is so low for this time of year.

    • Don lives in Ketchikan. So we’re always bantering back and forth about his “tropical” weather.

  5. How would one get seed for this new squah…looks yummy. I have so enjoys your “letters” over the years and your books, just wanted to take this chance to tell you have been an inspiration to us for ages.

  6. Hey Jackie, Love that North Morning Moon! I don’t see it in your catalog? How do we purchase some seed? Thanks, Bunkie.

  7. I don’t recall having read anywhere how you protect your livestock from wolves. That must be quite a challenge.

    • It hasn’t been much of a challenge. Our goats and poultry are inside good fences and shut inside at night when the wolves are roaming the most. We have a mule, Domino, who pastures with our horses and cattle. She absolutely HATES anything canine and would eat wolves alive. Really! She’ll run top speed across the pasture to bite and tromp canines and almost killed Spencer. Luckily, Hondo ran between them and lured her off. She can’t run fast enough to catch Hondo. We were really scared, though.

  8. Beautiful! I’m going to order some of those North Morning Moon seeds. I found a paper plate with Hopi Grey seeds on top of the fridge where I put them to dry 2 years ago :-( Checked germination on them, and it was almost 90% after all that abuse!

    Glad you’ve got a mini-heat wave going on. Amazing how warm even single positive digit temperatures feel after double digit negatives!

    • Hopi Pale Greys are SUCH tenacious squash. I first realized how long they would store when, after two years, I found two under my bed. (Shows you how often I clean, doesn’t it???) They were perfect.

      We’re SO enjoying this warm-up but know it won’t last. But it did give us a break and perked up our spirits.

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