When we woke up it was negative 16° F! In Minnesota that’s cold for early November. Those beavers were sure right so far! So we run out, do chores then come back and work inside. Saturday, David called to tell me he got a spike buck, first thing opening morning. It looks like he’ll be getting lots of jerky — which he absolutely loves — and I’ll be canning up lots of stewing meat. So I’ve been working like mad to get the carrots canned up and out of the way before the new, frozen meat hits the house. I also received two big boxes of diced, frozen potatoes in restaurant-sized plastic bags. I had those in the freezer but we are getting a steer and cow butchered next Monday, and will be needing freezer room. So I’ve also been canning up those potatoes. They do can up very nicely and will make great hash-browns or additions to stews down the line.

My latest canned goods — potato dices and more carrots.

In between that, I’ve also been seeding out squash like mad, trying to find some more floor in our entryway and living room. Next to our very favorite Hopi Pale Grey squash, we have a close runner-up. It’s Borchart’s Wonder, a large, oval, pink squash with a bluish blossom end and “belly button.” I’ve cooked two now, and boy, is the meat ever sweet and velvety smooth. I made two “pumpkin” pies out of it and Will gave it a thumb’s up.

Check out this big Borchart’s Wonder squash. We ate it for two meals and I also made two pumpkin pies from this one squash!

This afternoon I’ll be finishing up the last bucket of carrots and I’ll be glad. Then I can find my sink in the kitchen again; it’s been full of carrots and a big bowl of carrot peelings lately.

I’ll be glad to have my kitchen sink cleaned out again. Lately it’s been full of carrots!

Does anyone else have a bunch of mice this fall? Holy buckets, Mittens has been catching them like mad, and I’ve even trapped a few in the house. I’ll swear I could make a fur coat… –Jackie


  1. Last year was awful here in western central Maine for mice and rats (although I only saw rats outside thank goodness). This year I was quicker with the corn meal mouse bait and I have not seen any evidence in the house. Hurray! Sorry to hear so many are having issues.

  2. Weather here in Southern Wisconsin atypical, one day 4 degrees this week 11/20 high predicted to be 50? Ground isn’t frozen which is good as I have some more fence to put in with hand post pounder. I’m curious about your potatoes–did you blanch them before freezing? I have yet to ever can potatoes but have 150 lbs in the root cellar. I would like to can some of these. I had one son get an 8 point buck the hard way–with his car. His car lost the battle on that one. No one hurt thankfully. He said he was trying to save ammo-Hah! The DNR doesn’t let us have it and we’ll wait for hunting season to reduce the critters on the road. Stay warm

    • They were blanched before being frozen. Wow, your son couldn’t take the deer he hit with his car??? What a shame. In our neck of the woods, you just have to call and they’ll give you a permit to take the deer home. A few years back, I kind of “bragged” I’d never hit a deer. Then I hit two that year!! And, boy do I ever watch for them…always have. But when they come leaping up out of the ditch at night at a full run, you don’t have a chance. I’m glad your son wasn’t hurt! (They called my Ford Taurus “The Deerslayer”.)

  3. I hear you. One night I heard our cat, Mittens, playing on our bed while we were asleep. Thinking that strange, I turned on the light. Playing alright….with a LIVE mouse. Eeek! Will swatted it off the bed as it ran over him. Then Mittens caught it and finished it off. But I didn’t sleep so well after that, thinking she may do a repeat performance!
    We had a nasty growing season but were still blessed with a tremendous crop so I’m not complaining.

  4. Mice are here also. The wretched things! Glad to know I’m not alone. So thankful for you all to have a great garden. I haven’t had one for two years, but am planning to have one this coming year. Looking forward to getting my Seed Treasures catalog to start planning. Stay warm!

    • It’s great to hear you’re going to garden this coming year! Exciting! We are already planning on what we want to plant. So far I’ve trapped six mice ON MY KITCHEN COUNTER. Ish! But the traps have remained empty for three days now so I’m hoping.

  5. We thought we were the only ones with a mice problem. We killed 23 in two days. We have never had a problem before. Your squash looks awesome!

  6. We have been catching three to five voles a day in about six working sets. I use wide trigger traps. Can’t have a cat. Here in the copper Basin it has been mid teens to mid twenty for the last week. I understand Anchorage has been above freezing and warmer than Alabama’s than yesterday with spring willows blooming. When the jet stream loops down bringing an arctic air mass to give the lower 48 a real cold snap alaska often gets warm air from the Pacific to fill the vacuum in the north. Sea ice the last couple of winters has been scarce enough that several villages normally protected by ice are suffering severe erosion.

  7. Mice? Man. Yes. We have our very own herd!!??
    Our small barn has had 6 or 7.
    Not as many in the house. 4 all at once. I thought we had all the holes plugged.
    Where are they coming from?
    I was thinking of your beavers last week during the snow and 9 or 10 degrees in early November. They have been right on.
    Doesn’t bode well for the rest of the winter …❄️☃️??

    • Or would that be a ‘pack’ of mice? I think many of us here are old enough to have heard of both ‘Pack Rats’ or ‘The Rat Pack’. So..would anyone know? :-)

    • Ours are finally thinning down in the house. I haven’t seen any sign nor have trapped any in three days now. But the traps remain set. We, also, thought we had everything sealed, every crack even. Ha ha.

  8. Jackie, glad to know it’s not just us that have had more mice. We have several barn cats we’ve had to turn loose in the house and we are still catching at least one mouse per day in the trap! Keep up the good work. I LOVE reading your posts. I feel like I know you. Kind of like a one-way pen pal. :)

  9. I have one more batch of carrots and I will be done with them also. I know how you feel my fingers turned orange from all the carrots I have done. I also canned some up for my 3 daughters so my grand babies can have some nice carrots as they are all starting on food. Moving onto potatoes next too and just finished up som celery and onions. The canning never stops here, but Praise God we are blessed with it.

    • Praise God, for sure! There are so many people, worldwide, who lack so much. I wish I could send them some canned goods. We do send seeds out to folks who need them and wish we could harvest even more but it’s only Will and I……

  10. We had a visiting nurse in to check on mom a couple days ago and the nurse says “I think that’s actually a real mouse your cat is playing with…” Yep, well actually, a large dead mole she brought up from the basement. Thankfully it was already dead, otherwise lively pursuit occurs. A little embarrassing! But the nurse was a country girl and she didn’t freak out.

    Our weather here in the Finger Lakes region of NY is also very cold for November, and it doesn’t just feel like a cold snap. I lost almost all of my fall crop of raspberries when they froze solid :-( Thankfully I socked away a bunch in the freezer from last year’s bumper crop. Was not a good year for gardens here at all.

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