It took a long time as I made four batches of jerky (different flavors) and diced the rest up for stewing meat. I got so much venison canned that I had to rearrange my pantry! That’s a good thing, though. Not that it needed sorting a bit…(If you’d like some tips on canning your own meat, check out my article, You can safely and easily can your own meat in Issue #105 of BHM, the Eighteenth Year Anthology or my book Growing and Canning Your Own Food, available through BHM and Self-Reliance Magazines.)

Bad news — my faithful old Maytag wringer washer that I’ve had for 30 years finally bit the dust. The gearbox just wore out. Of course I didn’t find that out until I went to wash a big load of clothes. I’d been busy canning, and those dirty clothes just sort of piled up until “later.” Luckily, we had another Maytag wringer washer in the storage barn that I’d picked up at the dump some 14 years ago, figuring a spare might come in handy some day. Well it did! Will wheeled it in through the snow, all the way into the living room, where he set about to check it out. Yep, the motor and transmission worked great! But the wringer wouldn’t engage. We looked it all over and commented on the four foot long ¼-inch tube that led to the bottom of the wringer housing. Hmmm… I’ve had several wringer washers and Mom also had two and none ever had that. After much pulling things apart, Will finally discovered that the tube connected to a plunger in the housing. Evidently that was a safety thing. Missing was a foot pedal with a bellows or air bladder that when stepped on would send air up the tube and the plunger would engage the wringer. When you stepped off, the wringer would stop. After disconnecting everything, Will got the wringer working normally.

Will finally got the spare Maytag up and running after a lot of tinkering around.

The old machine had been leaking transmission grease, so we had a horrible chore cleaning up the filthy floor in my laundry room. It took hours and a can of Citrol to remove the worst of the grease, bit by bit as it is flammable and we didn’t want a fire! With both the washer and rinse tub out of the laundry room, it gave me a chance to also wash the walls and window behind them. So today, everything it ready to put back into place. It takes so little to make a homesteader happy!

And of course, I’m getting ready for the big family doings for Thanksgiving. Everybody has their favorite foods that I must cook. So today I begin both baking and cleaning up my canning mess from the venison. Luckily, the weather’s been nicer and some of the eight inches of snow that fell from the latest storm is melting — that’s encouraging. — Jackie


  1. So glad that you had the extra washer and could get it working!! I had a regular Maytag washer that died for good about a year ago. I had it for 33 years!! Unfortunately, they don’t make them to last anymore.

  2. Hi Miss Jackie and Will! Sure hope T-Day was lovely. Loved the picture of the washer and sure wish I had one. I’m actually just popping in here on 1 Dec. because I saw that the Duluth airport is closed because of the storm. I hope Javid and all of you are safe and warm! Pyro

    • Yep, we’re all fine. Javid missed Thanksgiving dinner though as they ended up with 24″ of snow! The sun’s out and it’s beautiful.

  3. Hope it was a great holiday for you and the family Jackie! So glad that Will was able to tinker everything back into working!

    • So was I! We did have a nice Thanksgiving, although quiet as it was just David and his new girlfriend, Will and I. Bill and his family hosted Kelly’s parents for Thanksgiving and the weather was too snowy for Javid to risk the drive up from his new house in Duluth.

  4. My mother had a wringer washer. As a child we weren’t allowed near it when she was using it. The picture brought memories for me. I have sent for your book on canning. Can’t wait to recieve it. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your family.

    • Yup, they can be dangerous. My late husband, Bob, ran his whole arm through the wringer when he was about three years old. No serious damage though. I hope you use my book a whole lot! Canning is such fun and saves the family tons of money too.

  5. Love the washer. I have a similar one it also had the bladder we bypassed it clean better than any new one. It feels so good when you get things cleaned up. We recently did a like change out I said to myself how dirty things were behind things one thing led to another I ended up painting the cabinets adjacent. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving.

    • I know how that goes. I’m now going to rework the whole laundry room….. Thank you. We did have a great Thanksgiving!

  6. We had a wringer washer when I was a child. I was always fascinated by how it worked. I hope you have a joyful Thanksgiving gathering with your family. It’s just me and my husband here, but we’re doing a small traditional celebration. My thing is a cup of coffee and the Macy’s parade while the turkey cooks. Happy Holidays!

    • I always loved watching Mom’s too. And my kids also loved watching mine. They get clothes so much cleaner too. I always hate when I have to wash something at the laundry in town; they are never “clean” clean. Happy Holidays to you too!

  7. I’m also doing the Thanksgiving prep today. I’m lucky my daughter is home from college and her and her younger sister are cleaning house. I got my venison canned also, 34 pints. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • It’s funny. You cook for three days, eat for 20 minutes then spend the next day cleaning up your mess. Hmmm. I just canned up the rest of the turkey and finished cleaning. Ahhh.

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