It sure makes a difference in both what you get done in a day and how you feel if it’s sunny and warm. Of course when the sun’s out, our solar panels are charging like mad. We haven’t had to run the generator for three days. And, of course, Will’s busy at work putting up our new panels. (If he just doesn’t fall off the extension ladder while he’s putting up the three highest panels…)

Will carrying up the solar panels from the barn, where they were stored.
Don’t the panels look beautiful? I’m going to plant fancy daylilies in a bed around them!

On Saturday we drove to son Bill’s, for our grandson Mason’s eleventh birthday get-together. It was nice to visit with everyone and enjoy watching Mason open and play with his new Leggos.

I finished canning up the last of the turkey. It’s so nice to have all of the turkey finished. I got ten quarts of turkey with broth, plus we ate a good meal and snacks from the same bird. I’ve got the new beef neatly stacked in our freezer and the pantry is bulging. (I’ve also filled quite a few of the storage shelves in the basement that Will told me “These are not  for food!” when he built them. He sure isn’t complaining now.)

Here’s a pretty (and tasty!) new corn we grew out this year — Pink Flint popcorn. We love it!

I’m busy updating our new website, adding a ton of new stuff and trying to get the catalog ready to go to the printers. Whew! Of course we’re also planning what we’ll be planting in the spring and where to put it all. We sure don’t have a lot of prime agricultural land. The main garden is on gravel, as is the house garden and berry patch where we also plant some vegetable crops. The new Sand Garden is … well … sand with manure added — very promising, seeing as how well it did as a brand new garden this year. But the Central and North Gardens are on white clay and kind of low ground so too much rain sure affects them badly. My son Bill has an old Simplicity riding lawnmower with a tiller attachment we’re going to buy. Hopefully, I will be able to till between the corn and other crops in those gardens. In the past, Will has run the big TroyBilt tiller there, but when he starts haying the grass and weeds try to take over. I can run that tiller for about half an hour and my knee gives out. With the Simplicity (if it works!) I can sit and till which will result in a completed job several times during the summer — a big improvement. Sometimes I envy those growers who have all the perfect equipment they use to till their plots. But then, we’re not buried in debt either … A big thing to consider, for sure. — Jackie


  1. Good Morning Ms. Jackie:
    The solar array is really taking shape. I know you will enjoy the power from it.
    On a separate note, I was waiting for the Keurig to brew my first cup the other morning and a question occurred to me. What could used K-cups be used for? We usually make 6-8 cups a day. I knew the grounds were good for the garden so I opened one up to see how much trouble it would be to get them out. The grounds are held up off the bottom by a fine meshed cloth “sack” which is glued to the cup. I thought about containers for starting seed. Uniform size, hole in the bottom, bottom watering, etc. The small size concerned me. Wondering if you or any readers had any thoughts or experience.
    Thanks for a very good blog,
    Lively Creek Farm

  2. Hi Jackie! I was wondering if you were going to post about the set up on the solar panels, what products you used to achieve charging, ect. I am very interested in that. Thanks

  3. Jackie and Will – if anyone deserves for things to be easier, it’s you two! Love those solar panels – Merry Christmas to all!

  4. We absolutely HATE debt! Even though we sometimes have to get loans to buy land, tractors, vehicles, etc. we NEVER mortgage our home 80 acres, which is paid off in full and has been for years. Just in case. The other stuff; well, if push comes to shove, we can stand to lose it and still be okay. Congratulations on the venison. David hunted at his brother’s and never got a look at a deer close up enough to shoot. But we’re not sad as we butchered three steers and kept a quarter. Plus I have tons in the pantry I’ve already canned up. We’re happy campers! We’re still in process on the outdoor boiler, but it’s coming much closer. The concrete hardened in the pad and the lines are ready to hook inside the house. It’s getting there.

  5. Just a thought.
    You mentioned the Simplicity as a small riding tractor and I know that John Deere made several versions of a very small lawn tractor that had tilling capability.
    There no doubt are many others out there that not only could be used between the rows such as corn but also used to till in green houses and perhaps even hoop houses.
    New ones are out there but what would be a good used one to look for ?
    This subject might make a interesting article.

    • Hi Reg,
      Most tractor manufacturers make sub-compact garden tractors; Kubota, John Deere, New Holland, etc. I’ve never used one before, new (can’t afford!) or used (still can’t afford most!). So I’m not a person to write this article. Maybe at some point, after I’ve had some experience. Right now we’re trying to figure out how to rescue Bill’s old Simplicity which has sunk into the ground over the years; tires are still up tho…..

  6. You have an amazingly productive garden, despite less than ideal soil. I canned old lentils last week on a snow day using your instructions, and made your pumpkin soup, a favorite. We’re always looking for ways to make gardening easier here too as we age (60 & 57).

    • I had to laugh at your comment; “less than ideal” soil. I’ll have to remember that when I’m standing shin deep in clay mud in the North Garden! Seriously, though, our gardens are so productive due to us adding literally tons of rotted manure each year. Not only does it provide fertility but also loosens the soil, actually building soil and it feeds the microbes. So we get production while each garden improves.

  7. Hi Jackie – We are creatures of sun and light aren’t we! Wonderful to see the solar panels go up. On a more mundane note, what is the name of the new website – itching to see what you have available! Happy Christmas and blessings of the holidays!

    • Yes we are! We’re tickled to have the last three up now. Ta da! And Will didn’t fall off the extension ladder. I have 911 on speed dial…. Our website is or you can simply click on the Seed Treasures box in this blog to quickly access it. I think you’ll be surprised at all the new varieties and photos. Merry Christmas!

  8. Having seen all that you do it truly amazes me. Debt is a yoke to be avoided but on some purchases inevitable–ie land, house, equipment. It would be great to never talk to a banker. We had extremely good luck in getting 10 deer in the family and the largess was given to others– with keeping what we needed. We’re on a warming trend here and it makes outside work very tolerable. I’m still looking for the “perfect small tractor” for the smaller work. When you hit 70 any work saver is appreciated. I always look forward to winter as a time to recover, plan, and rest up (somewhat). I really applaud Will’s work that cannot be easy. Did you get the outside wood stove working?

Comments are closed.