Our driveway looks like you are driving through a Christmas card.

It’s Christmas Eve here and it’s so busy at this time of the year. Right now I’ve got our biggest Hopi Pale Grey squash in the oven baking as noholiday around here is complete without Will’s favorite “pumpkin” pies. Really, no pumpkin comes close to the flavor of our good old Hopi squash! Then there are two apple pies and a cheesecake to whip up.

Luckily, a couple of days ago, Ashley and David showed up and Ashley helped me make a big batch of various Christmas cookies. So we’ve got Best Ever Spritzes, Apple Butter Bars, Peanut Butter Blossoms, Sour Cream Cut-Out cookies, and more. I’ll be baking a nice ham and some potatoes au gratin and of course a green bean casserole, all courtesy of our garden and homestead — can’t wait!

Ashley came over and helped make Christmas cookies.

We’ll have Javid, David, and Ashley for dinner, a gift exchange, and plenty of visiting. Our oldest son, Bill and his family will be up next weekend for a second “Christmas” as they spend Christmas Day with her parents. So we’ll have a whole Christmas Week.

Mittens and Hondo have claimed the couch by the Christmas tree.

I have to laugh — we have our tree up and both Mittens and Hondo have taken to lying on the couch next to it. I think they, too, enjoy the pretty tree. (And the warmth from the wood stove right across the room from the couch!) We’ll be sure to have a white Christmas as both yesterday and the day before, we had a beautiful, light snowfall with no wind at all. The light snowflakes are clinging to every twig, pine needle, and branch — very beautiful. Especially driving down our mile-long driveway. It’s like driving through a Christmas card! We love it.

There’s no wind so every twig carries a beautiful load of fluffy snow.

Will has the wiring all pulled into the house through the underground conduit as well as the water lines from the wood boiler. Right now he’s out getting the combiner box hooked onto a post under the solar array. It won’t be long at all before we start using six of those wonderful panels.

Merry Christmas and a very Happy Holidays to each and every one of you! — Jackie


  1. Jackie,
    Happy New Year to you and your family. I pray that 2019 will be healthy, joyful and prosperous for all of you. Thanks for sharing your home and homestead with us. I learn so much from you and it is such a pleasure to read your posts.

    All those cookies you listed in this post sound so delicious. It is fun to have a helper and do a Christmas baking spree. Are all these cookie recipes in your cookbook?


  2. Christmas blessings to you and Will and all of your family Jackie. We wish you a very happy new year ahead – one of good health and prosperity!

  3. Jackie,
    This year I have 3 Hopi squash. Could you tell us start to finish (cutting them and everything) how to make your pumpkin pies. We want our husbands to love our pies, too! Ha Ha

    • Oops, I missed this one! Forgive me? Cut a squash in half at the waist. Take the “guts” out of your squash by hand and save the seeds. If you planted no other C. maxima squash they’ll be pure and you can replant next year and also share with friends and family. If they may have crossed, you can toast them on a cookie sheet after cleaning them and sprinkling with salt. You don’t eat the shells but the meat inside, like a sunflower seed; the hulls are too thick. Anyway, place the seeds into a sieve and run warm water over them under the faucet while working the seeds with your hand. When clean, dump on a cookie sheet. Either just lay out to dry for next year’s seed or sprinkle with salt and put in the oven at 250 degrees for about half an hour.
      I scrape the inside of the squash to remove the stringy layer of meat then put the squash in the oven on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees until tender. Then I cheat. After making and placing rolled out pie dough over two pie pans, I dump the filling all into my blender in this order:

      1 C milk
      2 eggs
      2 Tbsp butter
      2 Tbsp flour
      1/2 tsp salt
      1/4 tsp ground cloves
      1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
      1 tsp ground cinnamon
      1 1/2 C squash meat
      Put on the cover and whiz until well blended. Pour into a pie shell and bake in the oven at 375 degrees until a knife comes out clean when inserted in the center.
      Repeat with the second pie if you want two pies. You probably will!
      You can also find this recipe and plenty more in my book, Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook, available through Backwoods Home Magazine.

  4. Jackie, God bless you and yours. Christmas is such a wonderful time for family and pray God blesses you with a wonderful, productive, healthy New Year. I so appreciate how you blog about your family. My son has built a couple of cabins, my Dad and Grandpa were hard workers. Mom and Grandma got together for cooking, canning, baking – big get-togethers for making hay. Gone are all those days for us – that generation all gone now. There are fewer of us and more city people mixed in that don’t have that kind of upbringing. What a blessing I had growing up! Thank you again for your words – I’ll be ordering more seed later! Gave away some Hopi Pale Gray seeds with Christmas presents! Everyone loved it!! I need to order your whole series of Jesse Hazard books – loved Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour!!

    • Oops, I missed your comment; so sorry! I totally understand what you say about people not having that kind of upbringing. It’s so sad!! They don’t have a clue what they’re missing. I cherish all the times Mom, Dad and Grandma worked on and on while I tried to help. Then, later, I actually needed their help to teach me new skills. I’m so happy you gave Hopi Pale Grey squash seeds away. To think, they were SO VERY close to becoming extinct! Whew. That was a close one. If you love a true, old-fashioned western, you’ll love Jess Hazzard. No horrible violence, graphic sex or filled with cuss words. Several pastors endorse the books and that makes me feel real good. Happy New Year!

  5. Merry Christmas, my friends. Enjoy your winter wonderland. You deserve a winter break with all the preparations you have made.

    • Thanks, Margie! I don’t think that winter break will be coming; we have a major snow storm getting ready to hit us.

  6. Best wishes for a healthy and happy honesteading year to you and yours. Your advice and entertainment are appreciated.

    • And to you, Nina! You won’t be sorry you plant Hopi Pale Grey squash. It’s the best! Yes we sell seeds; just click on the Seed Treasures seeds on the blog and it’ll take you right to our website so you can see photos of them.

  7. Merry Christmas! Beautiful pictures. Such a wonderful time to visit with family and recognize our many blessings. Wishing a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year for you. Everett

  8. Hi, and Merry Christmas to you and yours. Jacki, I will send in for
    the Backwoods Home Mag. likely before the new years. I need to see if
    I can reorder the other mag and yours together.

  9. May your picture-perfect winter wonderland last through the holidays and add to the joy as your family gets together. God bless you all.

    • It made it through Christmas and still looks wonderful. Everyone in the family commented about the drive in. Thank you!

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