That’s what I get for complaining about all the rain we got in October and the first week in November. So, yes, the rain did stop; it froze and is now snow! You thought we were busy before this? Now we’re putting a rush on our work as here in northern Minnesota, when November snow starts, it only gets colder and this snow on the ground will be here, come spring. So Will’s busy re-wiring the barn well and burying the cable, spreading hay around the well casing and getting ready to pour cement into the footings for our solar array. Yesterday I helped him dig the six holes for the Sonotube forms to go in. As our weather forecast is for colder weather, the cement has to go in today and then be covered with insulation so it cures slowly.

I want to share a winter tip for those of you living in cold country. In years past, our vent for our toilets/bathtub etc. would frost over in cold weather as the relatively warm, humid venting air/gas would exit and the frost would build up. Soon you’d start to smell a stinky sewer gas odor in the house. Peeeeuuuuu! I had an idea and climbed up on the roof and added an elbow of PVC. This lets the opening point downward and no more frosting up of that white PVC vent! It’ll work for you, too — no plumber required.

See our white PVC waste vent, with it’s neat elbow which prevents frosting over in cold weather?

I’ve finished canning apple juice and applesauce. Whew, there’s sure a lot in the pantry now. And that’s a good thing. I use applesauce not only as a dessert but in baked goods too. I use less sugar in cakes and bars and they still come out sweet.

Here’s my counter full of apple juice, sauce, and seeds, seeds, seeds!

Now I’m cutting up squash to not only can but also for their seeds. (if you’d like to learn more about saving seeds, check out my article Saving seeds, in issue 129 of BHM or the Twenty Second Year Anthology.) I’ve done several of our favorite Hopi Pale Greys and have made several tasty pies, which never last long.

We love the summer scallop squash, Striped French Mix (which is a mix of colors of these often bumpy scallop squash).

A new favorite is really a summer squash, a scallop called Striped French Mix (Patisson Strie Melange Squash). Of course you can eat them when small as tender, nutty flavored summer squash, which is where they shine. But those mature squash get huge! They nearly cover a chair seat. And they are so cool — the colors range from white with yellow stripes to green and white, gold, and nearly black. Most are also beautifully warted. They make such a pretty fall decoration and have hard skins so they keep well too. (I had to use a hatchet to open mine to get the seeds!) And as a bush squash, they don’t take up much garden room either. They’ll always be in our garden from now on. — Jackie


  1. Jackie, You always impress me. And my 82 year old mom always says: ” how does Jackie Clay can ______ [whatever]? I look it up and she does it like you would. Thanks for just being you. Ruthie Ledford

  2. Aren’t those major shopping trips exhausting??? I hate going to town. I’m glad your daughter was there to help you unload. It sure helps, doesn’t it?

  3. I live in SouthernWestern Michigan and we had about an inch of snow but any on the ground has already melted. A little on the garage roof is still there. Not ready for this weather. I have enjoyed your blog Jackie for some years and look forward to reading it. I didn’t do any canning this year due to medical issues. Am low on tomatoes and applesauce too so hope we make it through the year until next canning season as I sure hate to buy store bought tomatoes and applesauce. No comparison on taste. Our greenhouse has no cover – need to purchase a new one. I am in my sun room and looked out and saw water dripping off my roof.I guess the snow there is melting too. I hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving.

    • And you too, Ruth Ann! I love to see water dripping off the roof…unless it’s from rain, rain, rain. I hope you’re feeling better and can get back to canning. Nothing at all tastes as good as home-canned food.

  4. Mother nature dumped about 4 inches on us here in lower Michigan last night and this morning. It’s beautiful but not yet welcome! Glad you’re making progress on all of the canning and projects!

  5. I have canned a lot of applesauce and pie apples from your canning book this year too. I have canned for years off and on when I had a garden. We are now living where we have 1 functioning green house and two others to cover. Also two large garden areas we are revamping. We need to put in a water tank and do some work on the well that does all the gardens. We did not grow anything this year because of it. Today I made Hillbilly Housewife blog sites tomato sauce from tomato paste and canned it.
    I do have one question. I never see rice canned. I was given some rice that does not want to get soft. I have had beans do that and they get soft when canned. I wondered about rice, but no instructions except for in soup. Do you know if you can pressure can rice?

    • A bobbie wensby on The Rebel Canners Facebook Site posted this;

      Jackie, what is your input on it please.

      Pressure Canned Rice
      scant 2/3 C brown short rice
      mix with water
      fill with water to 1/4″ below 1″ mark
      vent 10 minutes
      jiggler on
      get to pressure
      time for
      17 minutes this is pints

      • The only thing I do differently is to use boiling water to add to the rice. Brown rice works much better as white rice usually gets mushy. I do use a little white rice in some of my soups and it doesn’t seem to matter; just go very lightly with it.

      • Thank you both for the info on the rice. I wondered how to store some brown rice as it can become rancid they say. Plus easy to add grab warm up and use for a meal.

  6. + Speaking of squash reminds me of the Geraumon Martinique seeds we purchased from y’all this past growing season. Wow! After nineteen years of trying to find a winter squash that could stand up to Ohio’s deadly squash bugs AND has great flavor, you’ve introduced us to the best ever winter squash!!!! Deep orange flesh is ‘dry,’ deliciously moist but NOT watery, mushy, or stringy. Our family loves this smooth, outstandingly nutty/buttery/sweet-flavored squash. Perfect size; easy to handle when cutting; average three-four generous servings each. The squash bugs swarm over the plants and fruit, but can’t damage this incredible moschata. Now that we’ve discovered Geraumon Martinique, it will be the ONLY winter squash we plant. Thanks so much for growing these and sharing the seeds with us. They are FANTASTIC.

    God bless and prosper the work of your hands,

    • Thank you Nancy. And a special thanks for letting us know how your Martinique squash performed for you. We,too, love this squash. You did save seeds, right? lol!

      • +
        Not this year, because this past summer we were still ‘trial planting’ a bunch of other winter squash varieties, which undoubtedly crossed. But now that we’ve found ‘our one true love,’ we’re sticking solely with the Geraumon!!!

        Besides, we want to keep your business growing and order more seeds from you. : )

        God bless,

  7. You are such a breath of fresh air in uncertain times, Jackie. You give me such pleasure, reading your blog is inspiring. I’d love to read about you growing up in Jess Hazzard country, have you written about that?
    I’m busy planting my spring vegetables and seed. The garlic and onions are beggining to fatten which is good as I have just run out of last years harvest. Picking snow peas and shelling peas, yum, exciting times.

    • Thank you so much, Susan. I wish I HAD grown up in Jess Hazzard country. But lo, it was Detroit, of all places! But I have traveled to and in Jess’s beloved Upper Green River Lakes area both on foot and on horseback as it’s a wilderness area, still today; no vehicles allowed. Thank God!
      Enjoy your planting. We won’t be planting until February. And that’s in the house.

  8. I mentioned to my professional plumber – you know, the $90 an hour + $75 trip charge guy with the truck full of parts – that because of the extreme cold and wind where I live I thought it would be a good idea to put an elbow on my waste vent pipes with the elbow facing downwind so my pipes didn’t ice up. Naaahhhhhh said he. Waste of time and money. Wouldn’t work. Sometimes you just want to bang your head against the wall because it feels so good when you stop.
    Really had a good laugh when I saw your posting.

    • Tell your high-end plumber it DOES work. We had ours frost up every single year…many times a year, until I decided to try it. Not one frosted vent since. I know what you mean about banging your head against the wall. I just scream in the wind. (Doesn’t hurt as much!)

  9. Down here in Iowa we are expecting the white stuff this evening, but not much of it, thankfully! I made the 70 mile round trip to Sioux City and got the majority of our groceries and main ingredients for Thanksgiving, whew,! Thankful for a daughter that came over to just to help us unload!

Comments are closed.