Since we are expecting copious amounts of rain today through Friday, we spent the last few days madly picking various crops. We are still having trouble with blackbirds by the hundreds eating our corn so we picked all that was ripe. Some of it was bird-pecked, some not. We picked Painted Mountain, which the birds loved, Bear Island Chippewa, all of the remaining Yukon Supreme sweet corn, and more Seneca Sunrise. The was not dried down yet, so we spent a few hours husking and stringing it up on ropes of used hay string. I tie one ear on the bottom then wrap a loop of twine around the stem, twist it once, and go on to the next ear. At the top I tie a loop and then hang it up on a nail or hook on the enclosed back porch to dry. Luckily, we’ve found that this not-yet-dry corn is viable for seed, and when properly dried, it’ll not only keep for making cornmeal but also for seed corn next spring.

Our enclosed back porch is full of drying tomato and pepper seeds and lots of ropes of Yukon Supreme and Bear Island Chippewa corn.

To get ahead of the blackbirds, I also picked four five-gallon buckets full of sweet corn to can up. Like everything, all of our crops are extra big this year. Why? I don’t know, but we’re grateful. I canned up plain sweet corn, then the next batch, I added chopped up red and green sweet pepper to make Mexican corn, which our family likes not only plain but mixed in various recipes — I even add it to cornbread.

I spent a pleasant hour cutting sweet corn off the cob to make Mexican corn. I love my front porch!

We also picked baskets full of various dried beans. When it rains so much, the pods lying on the ground often begin to mold before it dries up. We picked Tiger Eye, Goose Gullet, and more King of the Early. Real nice beans this year — and plenty of them. This afternoon I’ll go out and pick all of the Dragon Tongue beans to can up as both snap beans and mustard bean pickles (a family favorite). These pickles don’t have a strong mustard flavor. It’s more like a honey mustard sauce. In fact, I also can up the leftover sauce to use for dipping sauce. (If you’d like the recipe, check out my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food. And there are tons of other recipes in the book you’ll love to can up this fall.)

We’ve also been working at getting in more firewood. Will cut up a huge pile of wood last week and he and Alisha (the wonder girl!) have been piling it into our old plow truck and stacking it dry into the woodshed. We’ve got lots of wood, as usual, but it seems like we have even more this year. I just saw a big pile of logs Will and David had stacked up out in the cow pasture woods. I’m so blessed!

Will is working on cutting up and getting the remains of a huge pile of firewood inside while it’s dry.

David is busy working on his cabin, getting ready for winter. He finished the deck on the front of the house then built an outhouse. The hole had been there for awhile but construction of the actual outhouse had been put on hold until the house was dried in. Now the house is up, the bench is built, and he just needs to add a toilet seat to prevent slivers. I’m sure he’ll add a door eventually, to keep out the blizzards but for now, it’s got a nice view and who’s to see? That’s a bonus for living in the middle of the woods.

David worked on his outhouse this weekend — a necessary item on the remote homestead.

— Jackie


  1. Give them another month; they aren’t “talking” yet but they sure were right about our dry summer!!! Okay, so now it’s wet but they needed the pond deep this summer or it would have about dried up.

  2. We too have been pounded with rain. It makes outside duties that much more challenging. I have 1/3 acre of sweet corn and will have many ears left over after giving a lot away and putting up 40 quarts. I plan to let the corn mature and harvest (if the deer/turkeys/crows/coons leave it alone). I would like to grind into corn meal. What grain grinder do you use and recommend. This corn patch I placed the electric fence around the perimeter and won over the critters-yea. I harvested a new variety of bean for me-black coco very prolific dry bean. Stay dry!

    • I’ve got both a Victorio hand grain mill and a NutriMill, both grind our corn very well. You will be real happy with your cornmeal as sweet corn cornmeal is extra sweet, yet corny. I’m glad your electric fence kept out the varmints! They’re so destructive. I don’t mind sharing, BUT…… Now if an electric fence would only keep out the blackbirds!!!

  3. I know this is probably a stupid comment or one that has already been brought up before . But is there a possibility that in the near future your canning book can be sold as an ebook that can be sold as a download that someone can just print off to avoid such an expensive shipping fee ?

    • If bought through Backwoods Home Magazine, the shipping charges are $50. Not sure what the postage would be if purchased and sent through other options. Not sure if it is the weight or the size or just the postage costs from USPS to Canada.

  4. Jackie – love reading your blog about your life and your farm and family. Quick question – I bought some N. Georgia Candy squash seed from you two years ago and they are great growers and producers. But is there some trick saving their seeds? The seeds I got are pretty fat ones but I have not gotten them to germinate. Any suggestions? Let the squash mature? Dry the seeds longer?

    • Let the squash mature completely before harvesting. The stem should be a bit corky and the skin quite tough. Then let the squash cure in a warmer location for at least a month. This helps the seed mature and the meat of the squash get sweeter. The seeds should be picked and laid out on a plate or cookie sheet until completely dry. Then you should be just fine.

  5. Gotta love those corn curtains you have! My Dad had a busy time back in late 40’s when he put up my folks outhouse. Hence he got all except the roof and for quite awhile my Mom was NOT a happy camper with no roof and the Oregon roof came! Lol! Great family story!

  6. No matter what the harvest, we deal with what we get.

    I always have to shake my head when people go “ick, an outhouse”. On private property, an outhouse is *not* like an outhouse/port-a-pot in a high traffic area. And I’ll take outhouse/well or septic/well any day of the week over city water/sewer.

    We need to figure out how to get DonnaB a cookbook that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

    • Thanks for the thought, Selena. It is difficult to get books in Canada from small independent U.S. publishers. Our two main booksellers are Indigo Chapters and Amazon Canada, neither of whom carry Jackie’s cookbook or canning book. Amazon Canada is actually very disappointing as it only carries about 1/4 of the items that Amazon US has. There is one copy of Jackie’s book showing from a third-party seller but $150 is way out of my budget. (No matter how much I love Jackie!)

      I tried to order through Backhome Woods Magazine as they will put the books on sale now and then. However, shipping is $50 to Canada. With the book only costing $25, that is double the costs and adds up to $75. With currency exchange, it about $100.

      I might just have to take a trip to visit and pick up a book in person.

      • Does it cost that much for an individual to ship a book or two? I thought FedEx had reasonable shipping to Canada? I don’t live near the US-Canada border but I can’t believe there isn’t someone that does that could do a “book deal”.
        I had hoped Abe Books had a Canadian dealer but no dice on the books you want.

      • DonnaB I don’t know if you can do it but Jackie’s books are on Kindle if you don’t have a chance to get the regular ones yet.

      • Thanks, Ruth for the suggestion but I don’t use e-readers. I much prefer print books; easier on the eyes and more flexible for use.

    • I can ship you a book much cheaper than BHM quoted; check out the seedtreasures website in the box above. Just click on it…..

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