Will and I are continuing to rush around every day, pulling in ripe vegetables, taking the seeds from some crops like peppers, tomatoes, and melons and shelling dry beans in preparation for winter. We’ve been making great progress, although it never seems like we get enough done each day. Fall rains have begun, so we have to work around that, watching the weather constantly. On dry days, we hurriedly pick dry beans and corn, and gather up tomatoes so on those wet days we can sit on the porch and take the seeds out of tomatoes, prepare them for canning, shell dry beans, and tie up ropes of corn to finish drying in the house. (If we don’t, the “cute” chipmunks make short work of it!)

Over the weekend, more work was done on David’s cabin. Even though it misted rain on Saturday and poured Saturday night during a huge thunder storm, Sunday dawned sunny and HOT! (Who ever thought we’d see 87° F in mid-September? This is Northern Minnesota, after all.)To make it easier to work, as well as safer, David built a scaffold, using extra 16-foot rafters and some OSB. What a wonderful idea! It saved plenty of time, made work easier and everyone was safer, to boot. Now nearly all the rafters are up and David’s going to try to get some OSB on the roof, come next weekend. Here’s hoping for nice weather and sunshine.

This is Saturday morning before work started. See the wonderful scaffold David invented and built?

David is tickled with the huge shipping crate he got at work. He added a set of hinges to one side to make a door and now they are hauling stuff from their storage unit home. That’s going to save them some money down the road.

David’s making good use out of this shipping crate turned storage shed.

Javid is continuing to heal from his pressure sore but has been transferred to Golden Valley, more than 200 miles south, for continuing his I.V. antibiotics and rehab. That sucks as it’s too far to buzz down for a visit. But we are able to talk every day and that helps. We’re all waiting for the day he’s released to come back to Cook!

Will’s trying to clean up all the crops on the west end of the North garden so he can get the leftover debris chopped and tilled under. Before winter hits, he wants to get a good covering of manure there, as it really needs it. Where the pumpkins on the East end looked fantastic due to lots of manure, the west end didn’t get manured and the wispy, short corn stalks sure show it. But the rest of the gardens look great, although the Central garden is very weedy. However, it did produce well and hopefully next year we will have less rain so we can till it more frequently!

We were simply thrilled with our melons this year. They were planted outside, not in the hoop houses, and went on to produce lots of big, ripe melons. We were especially proud of our Oka muskmelons. Many weighed four pounds and were oh, so sweet. In fact, I cubed three of them, after removing the seeds to save and rind. So we will be enjoying juicy muskmelon for dessert tonight.

Take a look at one bucket load of Oka muskmelons. We ate more and still have some in the garden. All from two hills!

Of course, we always try new crops and one of our favorites this year was Papa’s Red, a gorgeous red flour corn we tried. On the short plants, in the Sand garden, we got lots of nice, long ears of varying red coloration. Many were bright red! I’m thinking I’ll try grinding some as it will make a very pretty cornmeal. Then there is Brad’s Atomic Grape tomato! These small wonders not only taste great but seem to have every color in the rainbow on the outside. And they are super-productive too. We love this new tomato from tomato guru, Brad Gates of Wild Boar Farms.

We were stunned by the unique beauty of Brad’s Atomic Grape tomatoes.

We’re praying the nice weather sticks around, although we really don’t want 87 degrees again! We still have a ton of stuff to bring in. — Jackie


    • Yes, I do can up some muskmelon as sweet melon balls. The trick, I think, is to use slightly under-ripe melons. If they are ripe enough to eat, they are usually too soft to pickle well; they turn to mush.

  1. I bought some Brad’s Atomic Tomatoes at Farmer’s Market today. They are over the top in color. They don’t have much tomato taste to me. The taste is pleasant and mild and a bit sweet. A good tomato for a surprise on a salad plate or relish plate and good for those who can’t tolerate a more acid tomato.

    • Mine have a decent tomato taste, but I’ve found they have to be soft-ripe to get the best taste. Then they’ve got a lot of orange in them. Otherwise, they are wonderful in a mixed salad, just for the stupendous color!

  2. Hi Jackie…its been awhile since I last wrote.I haven’t been on line so it’s all new news about David’s cabin…Im so glad that he will be living near to you and Will.He was just a little boy and you and your former husband and you parents were all living in a camper while you were bullding your house.Time went very quickly..So glad the Lord put Will into yourlife after your husband’s death.Ive learned that He provides for every need that we have..God bless you all…

    • We’re praying our weather allows us to get that cabin dried in before snowfall! It’s our best gardening year ever after last year being our worst. You win some. You lose some. That’s life!

  3. Oh, my, wish we could find some of those shipping crates! Good to see the cabin coming along so well.

    We didn’t have much produce from our garden this year & I think I will downscale next time. We sure don’t have the energy you have!

  4. Have you noticed what the beavers are thinking about the future cold? It’s always so interesting to find out how they are building/ have built their dens in prep for winter.
    I can’t wait to see your seed list this year! It’s so encouraging to find veggies that do well in this short seasoned north!!

    • So far, no news from the beavers but I’ll sure be watching them soon. They sure beat the weather forecasters and Farmer’s Almanac for predicting our weather!

  5. Love watching the progress on David’s and Ashley’s house, as well as all of the harvesting going on at your homestead. Still hot in Michigan (we usually follow your weather) but we are supposed to have some cooler weather this weekend. Hope you get some of that. Still processing our garden too as well as the orchard apples. Sure is a busy time of year for those of us who love the dirt!

  6. It hit 90 here in southern Wisconsin, today I picked more apples and sliced them to dehydrate. Tomorrow we will can pears as we have a bumper crop. My Hopi gray squash looks ready to harvest as the leaves are turning gray. Some of this squash is oblong and some are a flattened round shape. Is this normal? Your melons look delicious. Any advice re Hopi squash? I think you could write a great article on homestead kitchen utensils ie corn/grain grinder, canners, apple pealers, juicer, ice cream makers,cast iron cookware, kraut cutter-the list goes on. Often I think I have acquired quite a collection of “stuff” to do stuff. I am planning to get a nut cracker for the walnuts-I’m tired of using a hammer. I love your blog and know what effort it takes to do all you do and WOW.

    • Yep. Hopis come in all shapes. The mature color is blue-gray and you’ll notice the stems getting rough and tough. I am working on an article on handy kitchen utensils as they are the pride of my kitchen! So keep an eye out.
      Our winter apples are just ripe so I’ll be doing apples too, real soon. Boy do they taste good, too!

  7. So glad David’s house is coming along nicely. Also I’m very happy that Javid is continuing to heal. Sorry they took him so far away but he will be healed and back so. Your melons look awesome. Hope the weather holds for you. Bless you all and take.

  8. It’s so exciting to watch the progress on David’s home. I’m sure he’s anxious to get it move in ready.

    • Yes, he is. But he knows it’ll take another year to get there. Working a full time job, plus as much overtime as he can, and days getting shorter slows down work progress.

    • Thanks, Pam. Yes, we sure will have Brad’s Atomic Grape seeds in our catalog. They are awesome! (Why eat boring tomatoes???)

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