Yea, sunshine! (And the snow went away too.)

We’re back at it in full force. Although it was cloudy and rainy, the snow went away and today we’re seeing some sun too. Tomorrow and Friday are supposed to be in the fifties so we sure have a lot planned for those days.

I’d decided to pull the rest of the carrots in the main garden and can them up. So I took a bucket down with the spading fork and oh oh! It looked like someone had dug before me! I mean dug! There were carrots lying on the ground and the soil was well tilled. There were chew marks on many of the carrots. I looked closer. Deer tracks! Last winter they’d hopped the back gate, which was only four feet high. To avoid this happening again, David and I had taken down a 6-foot high dog kennel we weren’t using anymore and put the panels up across the space where the gate was and then up the hill against the fence where the old fence was kind of miss-mashed together. We were confident we’d solved the deer-in-the-garden problem. We were wrong. They’d jumped into the 6-foot high fence on the goat pasture side and stretched the fence down in a couple of places. Now the deer are hopping into the goat pasture, then over the sagging wire — another fence to fix. The up-side was I did dig a bucket full of nice Scarlet Nantes carrots and picked up some the deer had just nibbled on a bit. So the carrots did get canned up, filling the pantry shelves to bulging.

Javid finally got back to Cook on Friday, but yesterday he called me and told me during the move from one hospital to the next, they’d lost his shoes! So right in the middle of canning I had to make a run to the town of Virginia, 25 miles away, to pick up some shoes for him. But in Walmart, I met friends, Mike and Dara, and they said they’d be happy to drop his shoes off for me so I could get back to canning. They had to drive right through Cook on their way home. So they got a chance to visit with Javid, he got his shoes and was tickled to have another visit. I’d been there the day before so I wasn’t going to be so interesting to talk to.

Here are the sweet watermelon rind pickles boiling in the syrup. (You first remove the tough green skin and pink parts.)
We love Sweet Dakota Rose watermelon!

Besides the carrots, I also got a big batch of Cowboy Candy canned up and also three half-pints of sweet watermelon rind pickles. (You can find this delectable recipe in my book Growing and Canning Your Own Food.) We simply love the short season watermelon Sweet Dakota Rose! Not only does it live up to its name “sweet” but it has many less seeds than a lot of watermelons, plus the rind is thick enough to make great sweet pickles! What a win-win situation. — Jackie


  1. No, Cindy, we aren’t licensed to sell potatoes. Just seeds. Too many regulations and we don’t grow certified seed potatoes. They’re Dakota Pearl; maybe a local nursery that sells seed potatoes can order them for you?
    The beavers are getting set for a very snowy and cold winter. Boo hoo!

  2. Awhile back I canned up some quarts of Pork and Beans with Tomato Sauce from your “Growing and Canning Your Own Food” book. Tonight I opened my first quart, I added another quart of beans and a bit of water and baked them an hour to heat through and meld the flavors. They were so good. My book is starting to look well used and it amazes me how much money I have saved and enjoyment I have had canning up my own.

    • I’m so happy you like the book. Mine, too, is looking pretty used with food speckles on commonly made recipes. Even after all these years, I always open the book to the food I’m about to can to quickly read up and make sure of things. It’s so easy to make a mistake in the time for instance….

  3. When you can a small batch do you fill the other empty areas with water filled pints/quart jars in the canner? The watermelon rind looks delicious. I don’t think I’ve ever conquered the deer even with a 6 foot high fence but the fence sure helps. We’re getting rain and snow. It’s been a wet year. Still a lot to do before the winter starts.

    • No. I just put the filled jars in and let ‘er rip. Yep, there still IS a lot to do before winter!

  4. We have defeated the deer! We have a very tall scavenged fence–some of the top part is actually a very strong netting. Of course it isn’t nearly the size of your gardens and I’m beginning to think I’ll have to downsize next season.

    It doesn’t work with the groundhogs, raccoons, squirrels, etc though. We’ve tried electric fence, noisemakers, etc and still have trouble with them. I throw out our stale bread & crackers, popcorn in my front yard. last week I had a raccoon on the porch! He sure was beautiful–fat & sassy (probably from eating sweet c orn in my garden) and didn’t want to leave.

    • I had pretty good luck with coons and squirrels by putting a stand-off electric wire about a foot up from the bottom, then another another foot above that, over the tall fence.

  5. We have a huge deer problem here in SW Virginia, and have found that if you take a book-sized piece of aluminum foil, fold it a couple of times to make a long strip, spread a little peanut butter on it and fold it over the electric wire so that it sticks out a bit (like a tag)…the deer try to taste the peanut butter, get popped in their nose or tongue…and don’t want to mess with it any more! Also works on raccoons, groundhogs, stray dogs, etc. Took care of a lot of problems for us! Sweet corn growing three feet away…they don’t even try since we did this!

    • I did try this but our deer didn’t seem to want to taste the peanut butter. They just hopped over the fence….

  6. Jackie,

    We had a four foot fence with a six foot fence on top of it and the mule deers still got into our garden. I had read about using a double fence so we did that. We have a split rail fence with rabbit fencing stapled to it and then about three feet away from that we put t-posts about ten feet apart. On those t-posts we put six strands of electric fence wire (not hooked to electric). So far we’ve had it two years and the mule deers will not jump it. We were told the double fence messes with their depth perception and they will not go over it.

    By the way, don’t waste your money on rabbit fencing. Those critters can still go through that fence. We should have used chicken wire.

    • Yep, I’ve seen rabbits run through 2″x4″ wire. Chicken wire works better, as you’ve found out. Wow, your mule deer jumped a ten foot fence??? Mine in Montana were much more agreeable. Our 6′ fence kept them out nicely. Yours must be real athletes!!

      • They actually found a way through where we put the bottom part of the fence and the top part of the fence together. They were determined to get through any way that they could. They haven’t gotten over the double fencing yet.

  7. Well Jackie! Looks like I will be adding to my list of wants from your seed catalog!! I just love your pictures!! Gives me ideas. I dug potatoes today with the help of my friend. Will you be selling those potatoes that you grow and love so much. Sorry I can’t remember the name.

    Isn’t this crazy weather this year? Glad I am getting things done outside. One of these days it’s going to turn to winter and stay there. So how are the beavers doing?

    Thanks again for all your pictures!

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