We sure are. Yesterday we got four more inches of snow and it dropped to -21° F last night and the high today is -4. But at least the sun is out and that makes us feel better. I shouldn’t complain because it’s usually -35 below this time of January, but this winter started with snow on October 3rd, so I guess it just feels so long. We’re supposed to get another six inches tonight and tomorrow. Sigh. Now where are my seed catalogs and garden maps?

Our decorative dog house is nearly buried in the three feet of snow on the ground, with more on the way.

That’s the one plus — as winter is getting shorter, we are into planning mode. Yep, the Seed Treasures catalog is all done and we got our first boxes yesterday! Everyone on our list is having their catalog mailed out today from Stevens Point, Wisconsin. With that done, we can sigh and get on with normal life. Will’s got tons of seeds packed up now so we get a break. We do know that soon orders will come flooding in. And that’s a happy thing; they’re so much fun to fill and get sent out. We add love to each and every seed!

This is just a small portion of our bean seed we’re sorting through, trying to decide what to plant in 2020.

I just found out that an old seed-saving friend in Washington has an old flint corn I used to grow way back when, and she has saved some for me. I couldn’t find a good source anywhere and was getting desperate. Seneca Blue Bear Dance is a beautiful Native American meal corn with exceptional flavor to go along with the gorgeous blue and white kernels. We are trying to find and grow more Native crops, so when Tessa said she had seed I did a giant happy dance.

Won’t be too long before the gardens look like this!

My oldest son, Bill, and grandson, Mason, are coming up this Sunday so we can grind some of Mason’s venison into jerky sticks. So I need to get out my grinder and make sure I have a tip small enough as I haven’t made any sticks with it yet. That should be fun (and tasty!).

I’ve just been thinking about how much homesteaders reduce the carbon footprint on the planet. Most people buy store food which has traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, from farmer (who uses fuel, buys fertilizer, chemicals, etc.) to processing plant (which uses fuel, electricity, wrapping, etc.) on a truck (which uses fuel), then to a wholesaler (on that same truck) and finally to the store, often hundreds of miles away. We won’t even talk about foods imported from foreign countries.

It feels real good to use few fossil fuels on the homestead for electricity.

Our meat travels only 20 miles to the processor, having been raised on our own pasture and hay (yes, we do use fuel but it’s hardly a drop, compared to commercial trucking). Our fields are fertilized with our cattle’s manure. Our vegetables are grown with perhaps two gallons of gasoline for fuel for the tractor and rototillers. And we pick them right from the gardens and put them on the table. No fuel, electricity, or wrapping involved. We burn wood from our own woods; a winter’s heat costs about three gallons of gasoline for the chainsaws. Our electricity comes chiefly from the solar panels and wind charger — no pollution or cost. Ah, doesn’t that feel great? — Jackie


  1. I want to make sure I’m on your catalog list. I asked for one last year but didn’t order due to medical issues at the time. I’m hoping to be able to plant a small garden this year. Its cold here and it snowed all last night and its 24 degrees here at 9:00 pm. I think its supposed to snow here for the next 3 or 4 days off and on, and this is in the south west corner of southern Michigan in zone 5.

    Ruth Ann Martin
    2307 Fairfield Ave
    Kalamazoo,MI 49048

    • I’ll make sure you get a catalog Ruth Ann. It sure helps to pass the cold months, planning a nice garden. Come on spring!

  2. We have had ice storms the past two weekends along with 5 inches of snow each time. Nice and sunny today with 16 degrees but windy. It’s supposed to drop to the single digits tonight. That’s winter, ugh. So looking forward to the arrival of Seed Treasures catalog so I can plan my garden. Stay warm!

    • That’s what we’re doing. Had another 14″ of snow on Saturday. It’s really starting to stack up. But the good side is our water line shouldn’t freeze!

  3. Jackie, I think the lower Delmarva Peninsula, Maryland’s Eastern Shore, is the perfect place to live. We are between the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. We’ve had days in the upper 60s this month, but the cold has arrived. It’s 30 tonight and windy. We don’t have many days in the single digits and rarely any below zero. Great growing season, can plant some things as early as March 15 for spring planting and can also do fall planting of a lot of crops. We are mostly rural with a few small towns and small cities spread between the three lower counties of Maryland. Friendly people and great seafood abound. We have lots of wildlife on the Shore, too.

  4. The early part of winter was too mild but we are making up for it! It hasn’t been above -25 for nine days, and we had lows below -40 three of those. At least two more before any warm-up so yes, we are getting tired of it

    • We haven’t been that cold. Yet. It started out with -27 in October, then “warmed” up some. But LOTS of snow this year. Starting so early makes winter seem so long.

  5. Hey, some of us can’t plant frost sensitive crops until June 12th. And I’ve lived where we got blizzarded out on the Fourth of July! So whine we will but move? Never!

  6. Expecting up to 7 inches here in Gregory MI tomorrow. Sure looking forward to getting your catalog!

    • I know I’m sure looking at my seeds. It takes my mind off snow. We’re getting up to 10″ tonight….

  7. We in Iowa have blizzard conditions, everything is closed. But I did get my rx’s delivered so all right in my world! Lol! You kids up north are such hardy souls!

    • As much as we whine, we absolutely love it here. Sometimes not the snow and cold but what the hey?

  8. There is a reason I live in West Texas. Every few years we see snow. The snow last a few hours and then is gone again. Today we finally got rain. We go months without rain where I live. I already have, saffron, leeks, garlic and onions planted. I need to do my starters, but I have a week trip starting tomorrow, so it will be done when I get back. We don’t have a long growing season, but two short seasons. Nothing survives the heat in June and July. But as I said it rained and the muscoveys are enjoying it. My turkeys and chickens are not thrilled. We did not get much rain, but every bit is welcomed.

    • Yep, I hear you. We lived in NE New Mexico for seven years. We did get snow and cold but it wasn’t like here. But even there, in Zone 5 we had our challenges with wind, heat, wind and cold nights at 6,200 feet. There IS no perfect place, I’ve found. So am very content right here.

  9. We are *just* getting winter here. Barely any snow since our Halloween dump until last weekend. Got about 3 inches which is almost gone as the ground isn’t frozen. But starting today, winter is making her presence known. Rather cool this morning (I won’t admit it is cold unless it is -50 or below, a mental thing lol) and predicting five inches tomorrow/Saturday plus the ever popular “wintery mix”. I’ll take snow over ice any day of the week. I hope this not bode for a lingering winter but it wouldn’t be the first (nor the last) time this area had multiple inches of snow/blizzard in April.
    Those of us who don’t dare plant until at *least* 3rd week in May have to live with starting plants then practice patience.
    But we’re well-supplied and ready to cocoon if need be. Always plenty of inside work to do plus the best exercise there is – shoveling snow/snow removal.

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