The beavers are telling us it’s going to be quite a winter!

All of the beaver families around here are building very big lodges and are damming up higher and higher. And their brush, which is stuck in the mud, is getting very plentiful. That tells us they need extra food and deeper water so they can swim under the ice in the winter to harvest their food. So we are getting ready for lots of snow and cold. Luckily, we’ve had a break in the weather with both some sunshine and a bit warmer weather — into the low fifties during the day. Will is busy working on the big run-in shed for the big livestock and I’m finishing up with the last of the harvest. I only have two thirds of a 5-gallon bucket of carrots and a crate of apples left to can so I’m feeling relieved.

If you look carefully, you can see the 5-foot high beaver lodge behind the spruce tree and the big pile of brush the beavers have stock piled for winter feed to the left.

Over the last few days, we got the main, house, and sand gardens cleaned up and Will tilled them. Today he plans on stealing an hour or so to haul manure onto the asparagus while I blog and wash clothes. (Some jobs just never go away, do they?) David and Ashley have moved to Chisholm for the winter, sharing a friend’s home. I sure miss them a lot. I’m hoping they get the roof on their cabin before heavy snowfall. Unprotected wood rots pretty fast here in Minnesota so I wake up at night thinking about that. They wanted to be closer to work for winter and instead of 25 miles, they will only be 6 miles away.

Will and Hondo tilling our main garden.
Now three gardens are all cleaned up and tilled nicely for winter.

On Saturday I planted 300 daffodil and tulip bulbs and today I got the front flower bed mulched with fresh wood chips. Only two more to go and they’ll be ready for winter. Gee if a person just didn’t have to sleep … — Jackie


  1. I was just mentioning to a friend about Jackie’s beaver reports! Glad that you’re making good progress on the winter preps.

  2. My husband just asked me the other day what Jackie’s beaver report was. Guess we need to split and haul some more wood!

    • I know we are! Today will was out in the rain cutting up more firewood and we already have a year’s worth high and dry in the shed, all split up. (Can’t have too much firewood…)

  3. Hi Jackie, so glad your canning is coming to a close (for now). Do you still wash clothes with your wringer washing machine? David and Ashley will be missing all your good cooking this winter.

    • Yes, I still wash with my wringer washer I’ve used for nearly 40 years now. (They don’t make ’em like they used to, do they???) And I’ll bet they do miss my cooking and all the home-grown food in the pantry!

  4. Jackie is the recipe for cowboy candy in your canning book? I can’t seem to find it. Thank you. I really enjoy your blog

    • Thanks Robin! No, the recipe isn’t in the book as I discovered it after I had written the book. Here it is for you, though.

      3# jalapenos
      6 C sugar
      2 C white vinegar
      1/2 tsp. turmeric
      1/2 tsp. celery seed
      3 tsp granulated garlic

      Slice jalapenos. Add all ingredients but peppers into large stockpot. Boil 4 minutes at a rolling boil. Add peppers. Bring to a boil and boil hard for 4 minutes. With slotted spoon, pack peppers into 1/2 pint jars. Bring syrup to hard boil and boil hard for 6 minutes to thicken. Ladle over peppers. Leave 1/4″ headspace. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes.

      I usually double the syrup then use the leftover syrup to make Cowgirl Candy. This is sliced SWEET peppers of various colors which are dumped into boiling syrup. When syrup comes back to a boil, you lift out the peppers, pack into jars, re-boil the syrup then ladle over peppers like you did Cowboy Candy. Process for 10 minutes. This is a tamed down version of Cowboy Candy. It is a bit spicy but not hot at all. We love both of them!

  5. Was just wondering how your beavers were predicting for this year! Looks like it’s even going to be cold here in Oklahoma for a change. I think I’m going to get ready for ice storm power outtages.

  6. Everything looks great at your place. I still have to do the tilling of my 3 garden plots. All the old plants in the gardens have been pulled and piled up to burn. We’ve turned the cow/calves on to the corn stalks (to lesson the hay needed this fall). Canning all done for meat except meat. I make lists of things to do and the day is gone. Some things never come off the list. I guess it isn’t the pace of progress just progress that we need to strive for daily.

    • Yep. Sometimes I think I need lists of lists….. As long as we get some progress made I’m happy. Usually…..

  7. Thanks Jackie. I love your homestead. Such a wonderful place and such a beautiful home. Weather is strange here in the Pacific Northwest this year…been an Indian summer. No rain to speak of for months! Here’s to a cozy winter for us all.

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