Will traveling down Highway 25 to go to another hayfield to load more round bales.

We’ve been blessed with a few days of no rain. What a miracle! And boy, have we been busy. Will’s hauling big round bales from various fields home every day to row up in our hay yard — only two more fields to go. I’ve been picking peppers, tomatoes, and more dry beans like mad. Not only do I take the seeds from the peppers and tomatoes to save but have also canned a bunch of salsa and more Vaquero relish and Cowboy candy. I have to tell on myself though; while switching from the Cowboy candy, I’d strained the extra syrup, removing the jalapeno seeds so the Vaquero relish wouldn’t be hot, then put the lid on the pot and turned the burner on under the hot water bath canner so I could process the Cowboy candy. Only I got the wrong burner. I went out to dump the scraps to the chickens and returned to the kitchen to find the syrup at a full, rolling boil. And because I’d put the lid on the pot, it boiled over, all over the stovetop, oven door, and floor! What a mess to clean up. I won’t make that mistake again. Haste makes waste…

Fall is upon us. I took this picture on our driveway.

Two of the beans I’m bringing in now are the wonderful Crawford pole beans and the Borlotto Di Vigevano Nanos. I’ll swear the Crawfords should have been named “Snake Beans” as they get so huge and fat when making ripe seed you’d swear they were snakes! And as each bean has between five and eight seeds, they are really lumpy. Those Borlottos? Absolutely gorgeous when at the shelling to nearly dry stage. The pods are bright red and white striped. They really stand out in the garden. And the flavor of those wonderful Italian dry beans can’t be beat! So I grew plenty this year after trying them last year.

I think the Crawford beans look like snake beans when they reach this stage.

We celebrated harvest season by eating our first Oka muskmelon. Although late this year — as everything was — due to the weather, these melons were worth waiting for. Will, David, and I ate a huge one. That thick meat is melting smooth and tastes like fruity honey.

Check out this Oka muskmelon. Are you drooling yet?

It’s getting near frost time, so Will and I pulled in a few of our Hopi Pale Grey squash … just to be safe. They’re so huge and productive we can hardly believe it. We heaped up a wheelbarrow full and scarcely touched the patch. We also picked some pumpkins for our friends Dianne and Gina at the Watering Can Nursery in Cook. They’re going to the Pumpkin Festival in Orr this Saturday and want to take a van load of pumpkins to sell. We just don’t have the time to go. It gets like that, this time of the year! — Jackie


  1. Hello Miss Jackie! I’m glad your garden went gangbusters. I couldn’t even get seed from my beans; they just wouldn’t turn. Will be checking yours out and looking for short season ones. Mia, it was good to see your name pop up. I hope all is well with you. I love to think back to the seminars. Wonderful memories!

    • Our beautiful trees have started dropping their leaves. Boo hoo. You know what’s coming after that……

  2. I remember from way back in the magazine (busted, been reading since it came out), your talking about/growing Hopi Pale Grey squash. Do you grow for your own consumption as well as seed preservation/sale? If memory serves, there was a push to grow for seed to avoid the variety from becoming extinct.
    My garden is done – except for weeding the perennials (it never ends it seems). Received my garlic order so we’ll be planting that here soon. Shared some with a couple we know, their first time growing it (and they are excited). I also ordered some ginseng plants (and am checking on my order as I expected it to be here already). My ramps have recovered quite nicely since we eradicated invasives from our woods. So far I haven’t seen any ginseng so I thought I see if I can restore it to our woods.
    Record year for rain, more is coming this weekend. Oh well, makes pulling weeds a bit easier.

    • Oh my yes! We couldn’t survive without harvesting and EATING our wonderful Hopi Pale Greys! Will won’t even eat a pumpkin pie made of pumpkin. He demands Hopi Pale Grey pies, there’s such a difference in the flavor. I believe so many people have started growing this wonderful squash that it’s safe from extinction now. Way back when, when we were offering free seed to help it out, we sent out over 200 packages of seed. That’s how we started our little homestead seed business; we just couldn’t afford to do that any more. (The envelopes cost .99 each and the postage was $1.75.) We’d like to try ginseng as it’s not native here. Maybe next year?

  3. Hope that all continues to go well with the harvest! It sure is a busy time of year. The driveway photo is gorgeous!

  4. The photo of your driveway should be sold or at least put into a contest somewhere. You are good at just one more thing. Have a great fall and winter.

  5. Jackie, I did the same wrong burner thing a few days ago. I put a sheet pan holding a reheated chicken down on a supposed cold burner. I did realize it was on soon enough to rescue the chicken which was extra crisp on the bottom.

    Glad yall are having good weather. It’s finally getting a little cooler here in TN. We desperately need rain–it was cloudy yesterday but no rain.

    We got our okra planted late and it should be ready by now but some critter is just stripping it–no leaves left on a whole row! We have an electric fence & a deer fence. I started sprinkling Sevin on it as soon as I noticed, but this critter doesn’t care. We do have a groundhog here but he would break the whole stalk. We’re fixing to set up the game cam out there to try to see what it is. I know okra can stand a lot of pruning but I think this has gone too far!!

    • I sure would like to send you some rain. We got another inch and a half last night so we can’t even walk in the North garden, let alone run the ATV in there to pick pumpkins. Eeek! A game camera sounds like a good idea to identify your pest. Good luck and let us know who it was.

  6. Hi guys!! We sure do miss you!!
    We have a question. Our pepper’s have no heat this year? They are not ripening to the colors they are supposed to be as well.
    A lot of our neighbors are complaining about their various plants not coloring up like normal. From tomatoes to basil everything is off. What are your thoughts??

    • Hi Mia! Wow, that’s a puzzle. We had giant vegetables this year but the peppers are hot and the colors are right. My guess that it’s the weather as that can sure have an effect on lots of various plants. Or maybe aliens from outer space????

  7. Your photo from the driveway looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting…breathtaking.
    Doesn’t seem possible that another season at your homestead is coming to a close. Wishing you strength, good weather, and no more boiling pots! Blessings.

    • Thank you Sandy. The years do seem to speed by, faster and faster. Now if I could just go as fast……

  8. Jackie;
    Your driveway pic is beautiful, Thank You for providing these pics in a large format, this pic makes a wonderful
    screen saver, have you thought about doing, a pic for each season from this location, I know that you folks
    are very busy, but a pic for each season would be neat. I love your blog and read your articles in Back Woods

    • That’s a good idea Dave. I’ll try to remember that. Thanks for your kind words. I’m glad you like the blog and my articles! It brightens my whole day.

    • I’m kind of looking for one but will withhold judgement until the beavers let me know. They haven’t been wrong yet….unlike the Farmer’s Almanac and weather service.

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