I faced that yesterday. So I dashed for the pantry, took out a pint of chicken broth, a pint of mixed vegetables, a half pint of mushrooms, and a half-pint of chicken dices. Back upstairs, I cheated and used a store-bought double pie crust (on sale for 99 cents). While I thickened the chicken broth on the stove, using flour and butter added, I quickly laid out the bottom crust in a pie tin. Then I drained the vegetables and mushrooms adding them, along with the chicken dices and broth to the thick gravy in the saucepan. I stirred them all well, then took it off the heat and turned the oven to 350 degrees. After dumping the filling into the pie shell, I moistened the rim then laid the top crust on, cutting a few slits to vent. Sealing the crusts together went fast and I put the pie on a cookie sheet (to capture any boiled-over juices) and slid the dish into the oven.

In a little more than half an hour, we were eating a wonderful, (mostly) home-made chicken pot pie. Things like this are one reason I can so much; it’s just so very convenient, besides being tasty. (You can get a few more ideas of quick meals like this from my article Great home-cooked meals from your storage pantry in Issue #114 of BHM or the Nineteenth Year Anthology.)

Having the ingredients for many recipes on the pantry shelves makes creating a quick meal pretty easy.

Today, it was fairly warm after being -27° F yesterday morning. So Will decided it would be a good day to set out big round bales for all the livestock. Yes, it was snowing, but big, fluffy flakes and it would only take half an hour or so … Uh huh, right. He brought the first bale down and came through the gate. But our cows weren’t that hungry and decided to make a mad dash for the storage barn where we keep grain. I slammed the gate shut, but three had already made the break. All I saw was cow butts with tails in the air, running up the hill. Oh crap! I jumped on the ATV and tore off after them. One never went in but two big ones were crammed in the doorway and there was scarcely room for a squirrel to get in beside them. Luckily, I had a few inches of deer corn in a bucket outside that they’d missed on the way in. I shook it and called to them and one of the “girls” decided it looked good and backed out. Not so with the other, bigger cow. I dumped the corn out on the snow, a few feet away from the barn and started the dangerous business of sliding in beside the 1,100 pound Angus who had her head buried in a feed sack. Not dangerous because she would kick or attack me, but that big a cow can accidentally hurt you, just by turning around. Luckily, she backed out and helped the other cow clean up the corn.

By then, Will had come back up the hill with the tractor so I hopped on the ATV and tore off back down the hill to (hopefully) keep them out of the big barn, where two tons of mixed grain is stored in giant plastic tote bags. He had left the gate open as the rest of the herd was busy munching on the new hay so I parked the ATV and stood ready as he drove the “bad girls” back down to the pasture. They thought it was real funny, kicking and hopping with glee, but they paraded right down into the pasture as nice as you please.

Then he went back to get more hay and got stuck in the snow. Two hours later, all the critters had new hay and we went in to thaw our now-frozen feet. Whew! Ain’t homesteading fun? But we’re never bored!

There’s getting to be plenty of snow so Will’s getting stuck with the tractor more often.

— Jackie


  1. I am interested in your canning book and your recipe book on paper could I have phone number and address for buying

    • Sorry Nancy; I missed your question. Here are the phone number and address to Self-Reliance Publications where you can buy the books: 541-250-5134 Self-Reliance Publications,
      PO Box 308, Philomath, OR 97370

  2. Yep, I remember when we first lived at Sturgeon Lake, on a dirt road. Well, clay road. In the spring there was always a big bog hole right by our house. I got lots of folks walking up, saying they were stuck there. While I always refused payment for pulling them out with our old John Deere B, some of them forced payment on me and I wasn’t too sad. The kids always said I’d run the hose out into that hole to keep it muddy. But I didn’t, really.

  3. Just had a busy day today also (not like yours though!) and was too tired to cook much. So I opened a jar of Beef Stew from YOUR canning book! I like to thicken the juice up a bit and added some toasty French bread and voila! Awesome dinner! Thanks for all your recipes and tidbits. And my hubby says thanks too! 😃

  4. Getting in a gate with hay before the cows get out the gate is very tricky business and frustrating. All the snow you are dealing with must be a challenge. I hope your feet won’t get frozen again any time soon. Boredom? On the farm? Things seldom go as planned. Hang in there…spring will come.

    • Those cows are SO smart. Me on one side holding the gate open, big tractor inbetween and cows on the other side, making a dash so nobody could do anything. Call these “dumb” animals???

  5. I grew up on a farm. We never got bored either because there was always something brewing. I the winter my dad would get people knocking on the door asking “could you please pull us out of the ditch” and he always did – what a great dad. In the summer it was the phone ringing sometimes in the night, from a neighbor saying your cows are out over in our place, or some thing like that. Anyways there was always chores to be done. But, we had fun and down time to relax to. I am not 77 yo and I think often about those days.

  6. Our ‘quick’ favorite is chicken corn chowder….made with the canned chicken, broth, mixed vegetables, corn and noodles. Going to look up your recipes in #114. Take care…

  7. You fix chicken pot pie just like I do! It is so comforting to have when I’m too tired to make something more elaborate. Since I live alone, I freeze the rest of the wedges & reheat them in the oven when I need something quick & filling!

    • You forgot how GOOD it is too! Way better than those cardboard imitations at the store with questionable fillings.

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