Where do the days go, anyway? I’m thinking we have to give up sleeping or something, between normal homestead chores, canning, and getting ready for the 2020 garden. Already we’re starting to get seed catalogs and that makes Will and I feel so behind. I’m also germination testing some older seeds. We donate year old + seeds to missionaries in Uganda, and this year we are also donating some to an organization which is helping out-of-work coal miner’s families here in the U.S. I wish we were rich enough to send cash too as there are so many worthy folks out there helping everyone from handicapped children to disabled veterans. Oh well, we do what we can and hope others will too, especially during this season of giving. We really don’t need a whole lot of things, after all, when others are struggling so.

One of our thrills today was seeing some 2012 cabbage seeds I’d “put away” (i.e. lost…) are germinating nearly 100%. And I have nearly a pound. So I’ll divide that up between folks who can use them.

Here are the cabbage seeds I am germination testing; nearly 100% are beginning to germinate!

This morning we woke to the sound of logging in the woods across the beaver ponds. We contracted to have about 14 acres of that land logged this year. We can only access it in the winter as it’s across the creek and ponds. We asked them to leave a fringe of big trees along the creek and ponds so we won’t be looking at clear-cuts later on. We made this decision so we can pay down our land loan on the Wolf Forty acres. We absolutely hate being in debt so this made sense. I know from experience how fast those trees will re-grow. When we bought our land, it had recently been logged and the trees were all short enough I could straddle them. Now, 15 years later, they are 40 feet tall. The “ugly” only lasts for a few years. And we are saving all the big pines over there too. The deer will love it as when Will cleared some of our first garden land, the deer were right in there with his ‘dozer, munching on the small branches and bark of the trees — while he worked!

We are having the woods beyond the creek and beaver ponds logged to pay down debt.

Your woods is like your garden; it gets mature and can sometimes be a benefit to you to either thin it for firewood or lumber or log to pay off debt. We love our trees (which is why we bought the Big Pine forty this past spring when we really couldn’t afford it, but sometimes a “crop” can help out financially.

This buck was tired of waiting for me to come feed the deer and took matters into his own hands.

I have to tell you about “our” deer. We do feed them, looking at them as “wild livestock,” although we haven’t “harvested” one for years. David hunts at his brother’s hunting camp and we have had so much other, domestic meat that we haven’t bothered with the deer. Will looked out one morning a few days back and a nice four point buck was eating out of the bucket we had whole corn in. I hadn’t gone out to do chores yet and he was impatient. Where is she? We could hear him think as he happily munched on corn. — Jackie


  1. I too feed the deer here in WV. They are so tame that they stand right beside me and eat. Some will even sniff my hand when I hold it out to them. They stand out there and watch for me to come and sometimes lie down beside the feeders if I’ Not quick enough.

    • Yeah, we’re suckers too. In Montana we had a doe bring her fawn right up in the side garden, which was unfenced then. Both bedded down right next to one of our squash plants, less than 5′ from the house.

  2. Hi Jackie,

    I was wondering if you are working on your own seed catalog that we can order from or if you are talking about the seed inventory you are planning on buying for yourself. We would love to order some seed that will do well for SE corner of MN. What recommendations do you have for fruits and vegetables? Can you share any catalogs that are worth ordering from? We would love a bigger variety of Hardy fruits that can take our winters. Thank you for writing this post, it has made me eager to plan! God bless you this winter.

    • We are working on updating our website, getting the new catalog ready for the printer and I’m madly printing out labels for the seed packs. The catalog should be ready in a couple of weeks. As for hardy fruits, check out both Fedco Trees and St. Lawrence Nurseries. We have bought trees from them for years now and because they specialize in trees for cold climates, their stock does very well here. Some catalogs, besides ours of course, that are good include Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange and Adaptive seeds.
      Thank you for your blessings. We sure need them.

      • Oops, I didn’t share recommendations with you. Some good varieties include:
        Provider and Crawford snap beans, Iroquois and Louisiana pole beans (dry beans), Seneca Sunrise sweet corn, Hopi Pale Grey and Borchart’s Wonder squash, Sweet Dakota Rose watermelon, Oka muskmelon and Clear Dawn onions. For tomatoes? Try Bill Bean, Moravsky Div, Burracker’s Favorite, Gargamel, Lovely Lush and Coyote.

  3. They are creatures of habit. We sure like watching them. One night I looked over Will’s head while he sat reading in his chair to see a deer head peering in the window, right behind him. They’re THAT scared! In Montana if I didn’t get up early enough, we’d have one or two come up onto our front porch and peer in the bedroom door at us.

  4. You are madly getting your seed catalog ready and I madly trying to put together my seed order!

    We finally let a friend bow hunt this year in our woods. There are an awful lot of them Herd needs thinned just a bit.

    Thanks for the update

    • I’ve been so busy I haven’t even started looking around for new crops to try this year. Every year we try quite a few new-to-us vegetables. Some do well and we’re happy with them so we add them to our seed list. Others not so hot so we just eat them and don’t bother saving any seeds; they’re a dead end. Yep, just like the garden, deer herds do need to be thinned from time to time to keep them healthy.

  5. We ended up feeding the noise this summer – they are all of our peas just as they were ripening. I don’t begrudge the three that came after free up and cleaned up cabbage leaves and broccoli plants etc.

    • I’m assuming that’s “moose”? In Montana, we had several that came and ate with the horses out of the same tub. Our fence was high enough to discourage them from going in the gardens but I know if they really wanted to, they would just crash through it!

      • Yes moose this pad is small enough that typos are easy. I have had some luck with electric on top of the 4 foot high board fence with chicken wire on the bottom for the rabbits. Moose step over 4 feet. My neighbor finally put up 8 foot high woven wire.

  6. Our pennies have to be watched here but we have always given of our time, physical labor, extra produce, and other items such as clothes or household items we no longer use. One never knows if the cash they give goes to those you need it but I know our physical help and household items get to those who really need it and appreciate it. I think it is fantastic that you are giving seed to help others.

    • I know what you mean about wondering where the cash goes you donate. That’s why I only donate to a few places I actually know does good work. We, too, seem always strapped for cash and it’s discouraging at times to receive all those letters from various charities this time of the year, asking for money. The seed is much easier for us to donate! And we KNOW folks will be eating well because of those tiny seeds.

  7. Good luck to you with all of the chores you have going! You’re both amazing at what you accomplish!

    • Sometimes I meet myself coming and going. Like tonight. I was washing clothes, updating our website, updating our seed catalog and making a tamale pie for supper. Well, I was heating the meat/tomato sauce base on the stove while I whipped up a batch of cornbread for the topping, turned the oven on, added the batter to the pan then dashed upstairs to work on the website. I kept smelling this kind of scorched smell but figured it was crumbs in the oven. Oh no. When I went down a few minutes later I discovered I had forgotten to PUT the pan in the oven!!! Talk about a brain fart! There the oven was nice and hot and the pan of tamale pie, scorching merrily on the burner. Luckily, I was able to lightly dig the cornbread/meat/sauce off the scorched bottom and it didn’t taste burned at all. Whew!!! On to the seed catalog and wash……

  8. Several years ago we had a cold, very snowy winter in southern Michigan, and the deer couldn’t find food due to the amount of snow we had. It drove them out of their usual forest area near our house and into the area of houses nearby. At night they would line up one by one and create a path between our house and our neighbor’s house to travel looking for food. Well that winter ended and we haven’t had a winter with that much snow since but the deer still follow the path they created that winter between our 2 houses, which they had never done before that. My husband, who is a light sleeper, sometimes sees them in the night, and the path is visible when we have snow. My husband has been a hunter all his life and we have eaten many deer but due to his age, has quit hunting. We still love watching them though when we see them.

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