Due to lots of requests, Will and I have decided to do what may be (due to our age, etc.) our last seminar. It will be held August 28th, 29th, and 30th. As usual, we’ll be covering a lot of things from making cheese, harvesting and saving seeds, to building a cheap hoop house (hands on). A deposit will hold your spot; we’re limiting the seminar to 15 people so everyone gets personal time. If you’d like more information, just e-mail me at jackieclay2007@yahoo.com. This seminar might change your life.

Alisha, our wonderful apprentice, arrived after a harrowing road trip on icy and foggy roads through northern Wisconsin. But she was ready to go yesterday when we went to the local spinning group’s gathering. My friend, Dara, gave her a spinning wheel and Alisha is learning to spin. We all had a great visit and last night, Alisha was settled in on the couch, spinning away on her wheel. We had to laugh — Mittens, our cat, was fascinated with the wheel and especially the spun yarn. She loves any kind of string: boot laces, corn ropes, bean strings, or hay string. She hopped up, closer and closer, reaching out a cautious paw to touch the wheel in action. She simply drooled at all that “string!”

Mittens was helping Alisha spin!

On Saturday, we showed Alisha our last Olinka pumpkin. She had never seen a naked seeded pumpkin before and was very interested. I gave her a seed to try eating and it passed, even though it wasn’t roasted. They are very good! So then I had her open up that pumpkin and take out the seeds to save. I’m sure she’ll be planting this one for sure. It is a neat pumpkin and so pretty too, as it is dark green with orange stripes.

Alisha had fun taking naked seeds out of an Olinka pumpkin.

For three years now, I’ve been wanting to replace my old gas kitchen range. It works fine but the grates over the burners are lightweight and when I can food, they tip and slide out of place, creating a lot of drama while I try to use a fork to pull them back into place under the canner while I hold the full canner up off of them. Finally, the stove I wanted went on sale, and luckily, I had just gotten a check that would cover the cost! So David and I took his Yukon to Lowe’s and brought the stove back. Then he and Will worked for two hours, exchanging the natural gas jets for propane ones, fitting all the parts together and getting it hooked up. Of course, Will had to clean the floor where the old stove had sat for 14 years. No mess, right? Ha ha.

Will and David working on getting our new kitchen range ready to use

The grates on this stove are very heavy and in just two pieces so my canners will sit just fine on them with no messing around. But then we ran into problems. As this is a “modern” stove, it has digital controls. Well, we live off-grid and don’t have an expensive pure sine wave inverter. And the stove doesn’t like that! The top where the electrical digital read-out lights are heated up after a couple of hours. I was so disappointed. But I can just light the burners on top with a lighter and it cooks just fine. To use the oven, we’ll have to either just bake for a shorter time or turn on the generator while it’s on and run it off the generator not the inverter. Oh well, you learn to adjust when living off grid on a shoestring. Maybe we’ll find a cheap, pure sine wave inverter in the future.

My new stove in place. It works great … with a little dinking around.

— Jackie


  1. When I was looking for a new gas range, I actually brought my canning pots to see how they would fit. My adult children laughed at me and I am sure the salesman thought I was a little crazy but I wanted to make sure they would fit. After all I was partially buying a new stove for canning purpose besides my old stove had burners that didn’t work. I ended up getting one that didn’t have the back portion so my larger pressure cookers would fit better. It is a slide in range and it works great for my canning needs. So happy you received a new stove and are getting a pure sine inverter so it works with the oven.

    • I’m glad you found the ideal stove for your canning. It’s harder to find that perfect, reasonably priced stove than you’d think!

    • The ones I looked at were double in price what I paid for this one. With the new pure sine wave inverter it will work perfect. I just finished canning a bunch of diced potatoes and WOW how nice it was!!!

  2. Fatigue can be very hard to bounce back from the older we get….
    We all love you and understand, though it’s a bummer, for sure!
    Recommendation: I use a heavy-duty rollator (wheeled walker with a seat).
    This greatly cuts down on fatigue while working outdoors, so I’m not paying for it for days afterward.
    Also for sliding things, to make them non-slidey, put some beads of silicone caulk on the bottom.

    • Good ideas Patrick. I’m not that fatigued yet but I’m sure it’ll come. Got a bum knee that slows me down some but I’m still walking along….after a few gimping first steps…. Good idea for the traction!

  3. Looks like a good stove. On the inverter a quick Amazon search has four fairly low wattage pure some wave inverters for under $100. How about a dedicated inverter just for the stove. I know that is not ideal and it might require a dedicated 12 volt battery if you have a 24 volt system but it beats eventually burning out the oven ignitor. Just an idea.

    • Hmmm good idea. I’ll have Will check them out. We already have dedicated batteries for the digital propane fridge and 12 volt water pump. Thanks!

    • Hey Howard, I owe you tons of thanks. Will did check out the pure sine wave inverters on Amazon and found several under $200. Wow. Guess what we’re ordering??? And the good news is that some are big enough to handle our whole house too. THANK YOU!

  4. Jackie, back in Mo. I had a stove with a top with those kind of grills and it was the best thing EVER! Boy, if I could have taken that stove with me, I would have! That was 2006, and I still long for that stove! Lol!

  5. What do you mean ‘due to your age’? You are a young chick. We are only older is we want to be! You and Will are the greatest at what you do at the seminars. Have a great rest of your winter ‘down time’.

    • Ha ha ha. Our “down time” involves packing dozens and dozens of seed packs every day, filling orders and mailing them out. I haven’t even had much time to write! Yeah, I’m 73 going on 74 and have a lot of arthritis which doesn’t help feeling young or doing what I do. I’d like to be only as old as I want to be; I’d be thirty again!

  6. Love your new stove Jackie as we have one like it We always unplug are during Thunder storms as lighting came in and fried the electrical timer and stuff 3hundred dollars to fix that Well we were lucky and had it fix for nothing as it was still under warrantee Now we unplug for safety reasons

    • Whew, that was scary for sure! We had a similar lightening strike in New Mexico that fried our TV, answering machine, my computer and more. And they weren’t under warrantee.

  7. I love this blog. I’m a relative newcomer and so glad my brother told me about the blog! New stove looks very nice.

  8. That looks perfect for canning! My burners are the same as your old one, I have to be real careful setting the canner on, so it stays put.

    • I’m hoping it is much better for canning than my last one. I sure got tired of trying to hold the canner off the burner grate and using a fork to try to pull the tipped grate back into place.

  9. Love the look of the new stove. Dinking around or not you guys got it work. So glad that Alisha is back to help you guys. I may be a little jealous of those lucky 15 that is going to be able to attend the seminar and gets to meet you. Enjoy the new stove, having Alisha back to help, and life in general. Love to you, Will, and David.

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