I was surprised, nearly shocked, today when I went out to the Main garden to check things out when I discovered King of the Early bush beans seven inches long already. Wow! Even the Providers are only five inches long. The Glass Gem popcorn is way over my head too. (Okay, I’m kind of short but not that short!

These King of the Early dry beans sure surprised me this morning. Look how big they are!

I lost some Provider bean rows to the *#@! cows so, even though the season is kind of late, I’m getting ready to plant again in our best garden, our old Main garden. I soaked the seed of the Providers (our quickest to mature beans) in warm water for several hours and planted them in some freshly tilled, moist soil. They need 55 days to make good sized beans, so we’ll be racing the first fall frosts with this planting. But if you don’t plant, you won’t get anything; gambling like this, you might. And with the uncertain COVID times, I decided to replant.

Yesterday when I went outside, I saw twin fawns just outside our backyard gate. The mom always keeps her fawns fairly close to the house. She has for several years now. I think she thinks they’re safer that way from wolves and other critters. I ran inside and grabbed the camera and managed one shot before they spotted me and bounced off. Pretty cute little guys!

These twin fawns are right outside our backyard gate.

I’ve been dehydrating broccoli, a few heads at a time. I really love it in broccoli-cheese soup and casseroles. And it’s so easy to store up too, lasting for years in a big canning jar. I do cabbage shreds that way too. They’re so handy for many recipes!

Broccoli dehydrates very nicely, as does cabbage.

Will and Blake are finishing up putting the double fence (really triple, with the electric) around the North garden. Today they’re installing a heavy pipe gate, hung on wood posts with braces where we drive through with the tractor and other equipment. I’ll be so glad when that’s done. and I’ll also be very glad when it dries up enough that I can get in and till it. Despite rain yesterday, all day, Will said you can carefully walk in there today without gathering up heavy balls of clay on your feet, so I hope… — Jackie


  1. I planted more than I originally planned due to Covid. However, we’re in severe drought with no measurable rain since early May. The soil is powder and the few “teaser” showers we’ve had hasn’t even dampened the soil. I can only do very limited watering so am not looking at much of a harvest.

    I had two rows of beautiful beets about 3″ high and then we had two extremely hot and windy days and the plants just plain and simple dehydrated and were gone. Germination has been very poor due to lack of moisture and high heat. All that work and expense for basically nothing is very disappointing.

    • Gee I’m so sorry. That’s hard, especially with COVID lurking around even worse. We only do what we can do and pray for the rest.

  2. Please tell us how you dehydrate your broccoli and then how you use it. I’ve dehydrated lots of food but didn’t have success with broccoli. The twin fawns are awfully cutr 😍

    • Broccoli is so easy to dehydrate. I just cut the pieces about as large as my thumb and 1/2″ thick or so, then lay them out on the dehydrator tray. I’ve found using the screen inserts helps keep you from losing the little dry pieces later. I dehydrate at about 150 degrees until crispy dry. I don’t usually re-hydrate it but add to soups and casseroles with the liquid such as a white sauce with cheese added or chicken broth for instance. It’s really good that way.

  3. I’m dehydrating broccoli (which I did blanch)now, but I never thought of cabbage shreds. I’m hoping for a big crop so I’ll do some that way. I really do a lot of dehydrating as it is such a space saver, and you can do it at the same time you are canning something else. All your hints of ways to use our produce sure are appreciated. Like you, with Covid throwing everything into uncertainty, I’m trying to maximize space and stretch the season. I have volunteer squash, tomatoes and potatoes in my raised beds and compost piles and I’m letting everything grow. I hope we all have long seasons after much needed rain in the Virginia mountains.

    • Just FYI I don’t blanch either my broccoli or cabbage before dehydrating it. It tastes better that way. Yep, we’re growing lots extra here too and I’m going to dehydrate and can like mad.

  4. Do you have to blanch the broccoli before dehydrating? Everything looks great. My broccoli is slow to crown, but it appears to be finally starting.

    • No I don’t blanch my broccoli or most other foods before dehydrating, despite directions otherwise.

  5. Wow, great idea on the cabbage/broccoli drying! I have dried just about everything but that sure had not occurred to me!

  6. Those beans! Blessings for the rain….we have had 0.15″ this month. Sure hope your beans make it. Appreciate your insights and stamina…great lessons for all.

    • We went from absolute drought to drenching. Our weather seems to be stabilized for now. (Please God!)

  7. Hey Will and Jackie! I re-read the Jess Hazard series for the fourth or fifth time, and get something new each time. Your depth of understanding and appreciation for the Apache really wowed me! Please write more! We had a cute little kitten ‘hitch’ a ride with us from our neighbor’s farm 6 miles away. Somehow, he/she rode safely outside of the car, and we quickly came to really like having a cat. I bought all sorts of cat stuff, even a cat condo, then realized where she belonged and returned her, the children were so happy to see her, we knew we did the right thing. Now I will try to find another, as we have all the cat stuff. That one we named “your cat’, as neither of us THOUGHT we were cat people. Aaahhh the lessons we learn!

    • So true! Who would have thought tough old Will was a cat guy??? But Mittens sure has him trained! I’m so happy you like the Jess Hazzard series. I’m working on a fifth in the series; it’s my “hobby” and fun time. I couldn’t just let Jess ride off into the sunset; I’d miss him too much!

    • I sure hope some of our rain makes it down to you folks. We’ve had enough for quite awhile!

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