Well, make that two Christmases. It’s sort of like 12 Days of Christmas — only just two. The first will be Christmas Day when it’ll just be Will, David, and me. In years past I’d make a full, blow-out Christmas dinner on Christmas. Then I’d do it all over again the following weekend when Bill and his family and Javid would come. (It’s too much for Bill and Kelly to have Christmas morning at their house, opening presents, then hurrying the kids away from their presents to come up here for dinner. Plus that way they can spend Christmas with Kelly’s folks, who live nearby.) But doing two big Christmas feasts has just gotten to be a little too much so I’m only having a nice dinner on Christmas, then doing the big feast on the following Saturday for the whole family (those who live close enough to come).

I’m even looking forward to the mess as the grandkids tear through their presents as well as us older folk.

So I’m plotting out the cookies, breads, rolls, pies, and other goodies to bake this year, using mostly old family favorites. The most requested is our Hopi Pale Grey squash “pumpkin” pie. As I have plenty of squash, I’ll be sure to bake two pies to ensure we have enough. (If you’d like this recipe, it’s in my book, Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook, available through BHM.)

I like to make plenty of cookies. (Gee we may have to eat the leftovers…)

The loggers are nearly finished across the creek so we won’t be waking up at 5 AM to lights over the woods and ponds anymore. (It seems kind of like a sci-fi movie, seeing those lights hovering in and over the trees!)

Our weather’s warming up after that -32 cold snap, which we sure didn’t enjoy. By the third week in December, it seems like winter has been winter for an extra long time as our first snow was October 3rd. Then it suddenly got real cold. But we do have lots of snow and that’s good for the perennial gardens, fruit trees, and water lines. Cold with no snow is bad. By Sunday, the temperatures are forecast to be above freezing. (It’s nice to think about, but I’ll believe it when I see it!) Happy homesteading! — Jackie


  1. Merry Christmas to you! No slow time. I’ve not even had time to put the next Jess Hazzard Western into print although it’s sure roaring through my mind at night. The seed catalogs come first class and I’m told they will forward them. We were hoping to get them out before January but that may not happen quite so soon. Let me know if you get yours so I won’t be worrying, okay?

    • I sure will do that. Thanks.
      I read your next blog and love how pretty your Christmas tree is, and the lights reflecting on the windows. Looking forward to the next adventures that Jess has, too.
      Des Moines had an all-time high temperature for Christmas Day of 60 degrees. Crazy.
      Glad you can enjoy your time with family,

  2. Back in the 80’s, I had to drive up in the hills to park for work, past a mill pond. They had this thing a guy would stand up on and go around the pond marking logs. Let just say, it was Soooo spooky with the fog hanging on the pond and that guy standing and LOOKING like he was walking on water with that fog floating around his feet!
    Merry Christmas all!

  3. Happy Solstice and Merry Christmas to you, Will and Jackie! We’re sick here in Minneapolis, so your picture of “pumpkin” pie is enough to put our preparatory progress to shame. You’re always on our minds…

    • Oh so sorry to hear you guys are sick! I hope you recover really soon. I miss you; please come up when spring comes. Now Solstice has passed, Spring is so much closer!

  4. Merry Christmas to you and your family. I’m also learning to adjust to new traditions as my girls get older. Two no longer live at home but are still close enough to be here for Christmas. Now more of the cooking and hosting will be my job as my parents get older. Have a good time with the family and hopefully this warmer weather holds.

    • Merry Christmas to you too! Traditions change, just like we do. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas I can’t even begin to list them. We’re healthy, happy and warm. Happy Birthday Jesus.

  5. Be grateful the family will be together, I know that you are. My family lives in Michigan and his lives on the east coast. Wishing you and yours the best for the holidays.

    P.S. Please send me a new catalog. Thank you in advance.

    • I know what you mean. I have grandkids in Massachusetts, South Carolina and southern Wisonsin we see seldom if ever. So sad. But life is life. Happy Holidays! Yep, you’ll get your new catalog!

  6. The best skill a homesteader has – flexibility. Having had to do the Xmas morning, get dressed, and drive for Xmas dinner (albeit not a long drive), I appreciate your flexibility with Bill and his family. Everyone will enjoy the days more than being rushed, rushed, rushed.
    We’re doing the Xmas Day meal again this year – in-laws have passed on and my Mom can no longer do the Xmas Eve meal (and it would be too much for my Dad though he could do it – he’s pretty self-sufficient). IMHO, even if the menu is peanut butter sandwiches, having family together is the best.

    • Amen to that! You’re sure right about flexibility. That works for everything. If plan A doesn’t work, figure out a plan B on down the line, as necessary. Merry Christmas!

  7. Hi Jackie and Will, Merry Christmas to you and your family. So grateful you will be able to have all the family at one time. Those grans are going to have two celebrations, they are blessed to have extended family.

    • I wish we really could have all the family up here to celebrate but, unfortunately, I have children and grand children scattered all over the country so some will be missing but not, certainly, forgotten! Merry Christmas!

  8. Jackie…..Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family. You are such an inspiration to me! Hope this coming year proves to be bountiful and as easy as possibly can be on a farm!! God Bless You and yours.
    Janet Carter
    PS… also want to know how to get a seed catalog….

    • Merry Christmas Janet! God has certainly blessed us this past year and now. To get a catalog, just e-mail me at jackieclay2007@yahoo.com with your mailing address and I’ll get you a catalog as soon as it comes from the printers.

  9. Merry Christmas Jackie to you and your entire family! Thanks to each of you for sharing your stories. Enjoy your double celebration, and we look forward to hearing from you in the New Year. Many blessings to you!!!

    • Happy New Year, Peggy! We’re just getting ready for “Christmas dinner #2″….if the snow storm doesn’t block it; 12” forecast for tonight!

  10. I pray you know how encouraging, heartwarming and inspiring your everyday lives are that you share with your readers. Often can relate to the real life stories and chuckle with you all on the more lighthearted ones. Thanks for giving courage to keep on keeping on though life is not always simple and straightforward. Have applied so many of your ideas to our lives over the years on our farmette from your books and blog. I would just like to take this time to let you know how grateful this reader is. Wishing you and yours a very blessed Christmas!!

    • Thank you SO much! We really appreciate your kind words. Homesteading is not all rainbows and butterflies. But it is very rewarding if you just keep plugging away. Have the best Christmas ever!

  11. Merry Christmas Jackie & Will and family. I ordered a seed catalogue from you last year. Does that mean I’m on your list to get one this year too?

    • Everyone who ordered from us last year or the year before automatically is mailed a catalog. If you didn’t and want one, just e-maiil me (see above) and I’ll make sure you get one.

  12. For the hunters in your family………put a blob of red on the kill spot of those reindeer. Then put a silver candy ball in place.

  13. Dear Jackie and Will,
    Sure am thinking of you guys and wishing you and yours a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s holidays. It seems there is no ‘slow time’ for you, ever! But when you do get around to completing the seed catalog and address those labels, I am concerned that the post office might not forward it to me, since they toss some magazines. If there are other snow birds on your mailing list, do they have that problem too?
    Please send my seed catalog to: 4901 Daffodil #180, McAllen TX 78501
    if you are mailing it out after the first week of January. I can’t miss out on seeing what you’ve come up with for 2020! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the education you provide, and the inspiration I get from observing the two of you in action. Remarkable!
    Stay warm, safe and sane,
    Erin Porter

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