After such a rainy end to the drought, Will has finally been able to get hay cut and baled. On Friday, he, David, and Blake put about 150 square bales into the barn and brought another 100 home to be unloaded on Saturday. Will got antsy and went down in the evening and unloaded it himself. Unfortunately, Blake slept in so Will and David went to the field and picked up what was left out there. Will had also baled fifteen big round bales. Yesterday he went to a different farm and cut a big field, so with good weather forecast for a week, haying is going on nicely.

David and Will are hard at work unloading and stacking hay in the barn.

I picked up a box of nice, ripe Georgia peaches from a Youth For Christ group at the Lutheran church in Cook. Yep, they were expensive. But it is a good group and the peaches really called to me as I tried to drive by. You know, “Can me up!” So besides eating a few, I canned up the whole bunch. Yum. One note though; I’d been buying WalMart’s Mainstay canning jars and lids as they’re cheaper than Ball. But just this last week I’ve been having a lot of sealing failures! Like four out of a dozen. Both water bath and pressure canning. And I know it’s not me. So, you might want to think about that the next time you buy jars or lids.

Another thing to watch out for is free, unordered seeds from China which have been arriving at many homes lately. Nobody knows what’s in them (bioterrorism? Invasive species? or just seeds?) so it’s strongly advised that folks do not open the packages and either dispose of them safely or send them to your state’s ag department. What next? It may just be a scam, but I know I’m sure not opening those free seeds.

I’d like to thank all of you who have been sending cash, checks, and other help via Pete Dudgeon’s GoFundMe page to help Pete and Alisha as they try to keep their farm out of foreclosure due to his accident. (See my previous post with the photo of his wrecked van.) I’m sure they are very touched by your generosity during these hard times. I sure hope we can help keep their homestead which they’ve worked so hard to improve.

I’ve been planting lots of flowers, both for their beauty and to attract Monarch butterflies. Included in those is a Butterfly Weed, which is a relative to Milkweed, which is a great food for Monarch caterpillars as well as a nectar source. Well yesterday, for the very first time, I found a monarch caterpillar happily munching on the Butterfly Weed’s leaves! I sure did a happy dance, right there. And the day before, a Monarch butterfly was sipping on nectar from the same bush. I was thrilled as we have not had many Monarchs here for years and now we see quite a few. They’re our flying flowers!

I was sure thrilled to find this pretty Monarch caterpillar on my Butterfly Weed bush.

I got out Mom’s old, well-loved old recipe book, a 1942 Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook, checking out some of the recipes Mom used the most often, as told by speckled, worn, and taped up pages. As far back as I can remember, Mom turned to that book as she planned meals. (She was of the last, I think, generation who actually baked and cooked!) Hopefully some of us are following in her footsteps, guided by a wish to live more simply and eat better. I know that beat up old cookbook, with its re-done cover of contact paper sure brings back a lot of memories for me.

I think Mom’s 1942 cook book is beautiful, despite the well-worn appearance.
Mom’s cookbook takes me back to a time before processed and frozen food when people actually cooked.

— Jackie


  1. I borrowed my mother-in-law’s 1950 Betty Crocker cookbook so often that she ended up giving it to me. I cherish it. I also have a late 1950 Better Homes and Garden cookbook which was a wedding gift and I learned to cook between the two. Another favorite is a 1946 Joy of Cooking.

    The Walmart jars seem to be fine, but the lids are not.

    My garden this year is a bust due to extreme drought. I’m using water from the kitchen sink to water 16 tomatoes and 10 peppers to save them. I’ve discovered okra isn’t much bothered by drought but most everything else has dried up. Its very disappointing to watch my raspberries dry up and die. I’ve lost about half my patch so far. Town has asked us not to water outside which is why I’m saving water from the kitchen sink.

  2. Have you tried the Tattler or Harvest Guard reusable lids? I have used the Tattler for many years and like them. You have to use a bit different method than the metal lids when screwing on the rings.

  3. I was at The Dutchman’s store in Cantril, Iowa yesterday and looking at cooks books. Thad had one I really wanted but I must have 50 or so cookbooks. I don’t need any more! That was hard to turn my back on. I don’t cook big meals much any more because it is only my husband and me. DON’T NEED ANY MORE COOKBOOKS!!!

  4. Wish we had rain. About 2″ the 1-3 of July and about .33″ total since. Crunchy dry.

    More Monarchs here this year than I have seen in several (I saw a catipiller too) and a few (or daily sightings of one) Tiger Swallowtails. They are stunning!

  5. I agree those old cookbooks from the 1940’s and 50’s and the 1960’s casserole recipes are the best. Those cookbooks were full of tasty, straightforward recipes with common ingredients. The nice thing is that those cookbooks were not just one category but contained the full-meal deal with sections on cakes, cookies, breads, meats, side dishes, desserts, etc. Lots of baking in the 1930-1950’s era probably because our societies were still mostly agricultural with most folks farming or living in very small rural towns with large yards and gardens. Farms were diversified so most farmers grew their own grain to feed their livestock as well as to sell for income. With farmers having their own grain to mill and many rural areas having a local flour mill, lots of baking in those decades and lots of good recipes.

    My favorite go-to cookbook is the UFWA (United Farm Women of Alberta) cookbook. I inherited my Mom’s 1950’s copy and I spent hours going through the recipes. It was a compilation of recipes submitted my farm women all across the province of Alberta, Canada. Each recipe had the woman’s name and nearest town listed and I often wondered about those women, who they were, what their lives were like. Some recipes were written in typical ingredient/method fashion, others were short on instructions with directions like “mix well and bake as usual”. Jackie is correct that people learnt how to cook from previous generations through verbal recipes and hand-on experience. It was assumed everyone would know the basics on cookie-making, bread baking, etc. My grandmother had the 1940’s version of this cookbook and it was the only cookbook she ever owned. Everything she made was learnt from previous generations.

    I love to cook and sometimes it is fun to try recipes from other cultures or more complicated recipes and some things have become mainstream like tacos, lasagna, Chinese stir-fry. But my go-to for most things is still the tried and true recipes in the UFWA cookbook and the Five Roses Flour cookbook. I would love to have Jackie’s Pantry cookbook (and canning book) as one of my go-to’s as well but the shipping cost to Canada is double the price of the book.

  6. Jackie….
    I made my own cook book with all of my canning secrets and recipes along with all of our favorites. I would LOVE it if you would consider doing the same and making it available to us for purchase. You were the one who first told me that you can re-can 10# cans of pork and beans and olives among other things!!! Been doing it for many years now and thank you kindly. ❤

    • I’m way ahead of you Judy. BHM carries my book, Jackie Clay’s Pantry Cookbook right now. It’s full of our own and my family’s old favorite recipes; all having no weird ingredients and none take a long time to make.

  7. Anyone looking for old cookbooks (or old books of any kind) should try ABE books. The books are graded and priced according to grade, condition descriptions are very accurate, postage is often included in the price. I like old cookbooks because the recipes often don’t require the use of modern electrical appliances which I don’t have and the ingredients are simple and “thrifty”. I especially like depression era and WWII cookbooks. They are written for a very different lifestyle.

    • Great tip, Zelda. That’s what I love about Mom’s old cookbook. It just assumes women actually COOK! And most of the recipes have very basic ingredients, available to anyone. some modern cookbooks have ingredients I’ve never even heard of and sure couldn’t get at our local, very rural market.

  8. I had terrible experiences with the Wal Mart brand lids a couple of years ago as well as 2 of my friends. I’ve told people not to buy them. I also love the old time cookbooks and collect them. They have so many good ideas.

  9. I love reading cookbooks! I inherited some wonderful old cookbooks when my mother passed, and I pull them out and read them several times a year. One is recipes from Inns throughout the US from the 1970’s. There are some incredible bread recipes in it that transport me back to my grandma’s house and the smell of her bread loaves cooling on the counter.

    • Yep, those old cookbooks are history in food. I even have some of my great grandmother’s hand-written recipes on old, yellowing paper that I’m too chicken to even handle for fear of destroying them.

      • I took the old familiar recipes in my ancestors handwriting and copied them. Then I typed them up with anecdotes about the author and or the dish. I bound them all so they faced each other and gave them to everyone in the family for Christmas one year. There still double that many I’ve never eaten stashed away.

  10. Please pass on that another package that is being sent unrequested from China has face masks in it. So many people will not realize that there could be something wrong with them.

    My SuLo Long cucumbers seeds that I got from you produce sooooo many cucumbers. Thanks for the great seeds — even if I butchered the name of them.

    • Holy cow, face masks???? One of my friends got a package from China with a ring inside. I know I wouldn’t have even opened it!

  11. My ancestors (Mom included) just wrote their recipes on backs of envelopes, tore them out of Capper’s, or……? I have quite an envelope full. You’ve got about a month before frost? Take care and be blessed.

    • I hope we have a month!! Two nights ago it dropped to 38 degrees F and that’s tooooooo cold for this time of the year. It sure scared us as it was not forecast.

  12. Great idea on dehydrating the zuccini! I looked in your canning book for how you do it but it’s not there (not being canning… lol) so how do you dehydrate it? Shredded or sliced or?? till crisp ?

    Thanks again for all your advice!

  13. I think home cooking, baking, canning, etc are experiencing a huge comeback. I have a cookbook similar to yours – my Grandma’s “Romanian cuisine”. Such treasures ♥

    • Oh yes they are! And I’m so glad to see those valuable life skills returning. A lot of folks quit and went to frozen, pre-packaged meals made out of who knows what.

  14. About your “beautiful” cookbook. Signs of repeated usage are what makes them beautiful. In our family I have been the main cook for many years so my granddaughter compiled Papa’s Cookbook now being used by granddaughters and great-granddaughters.
    One of our generations old receipes is sweet pickle relish made with zucchini. Also apple cobbler with zucchini in place of apple.

  15. Old cookbooks are just the best !!
    We are getting second cutting hay up now. Perfect weather. And straw!
    Field tomatoes are on, and we will have peaches this year 😊
    This evening I am helping my daughter pressure can green beans, her first time. I am glad to pass on these skills.

    • kWe get only one cutting on nearly all our fields, due to our short season and lack of ability to plant alfalfa. We do plant a little and also some clovers, but as most of the fields we cut are quite a way from our house and don’t belong to us, we don’t haul manure to them or buy commercial fertilizer. PEACHES??? Oh my! How lucky you are. Our first tomatoes are just starting now; it got really hot early in the season and that set them back.

  16. In a Facebook group I’m in this book was just talked about as being a good one. I got a copy of the Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook from my MIL when she moved into a nursing home. She didn’t cook much and it’s in good condition for it’s age, still has the original cover.

  17. Loved all of the news in your update, especially seeing your mom’s old cookbook. Thanks for the recipes too! Glad that the haying is going well for you. Good to see that pic of David. He sure has grown into a fine young man that you can be proud of. As always, best to you guys as your summer progresses!

    • Finally haying is clicking right along, due to a stretch of dry weather. Thank GOD!!! I am proud of David and all of my children. They’ve grown up to be such great adults!!

  18. Jackie I love seeing your mom’s cookbook! Mine from my mother is patched with bumper stickers and some political stickers from the 70’s and 80’s! I’ve added a red and green chili sticker to the bunch to put my mark on it.
    Anyways.. in the pick of your cookbook it says peanut butter bread – can you post that recipe? :)

    Sandy from NM

    • Sure thing. Here’s the recipe:

      3 C flour
      5 tsp baking powder
      1 tsp salt
      1/2 C sugar
      1 C Dates or candied orange peel, finely chopped
      1 1/4 C milk or orange juice
      1/2 C peanut butter

      Sift flour, measure; add baking powder, salt and sugar. Sift again and add dates or orange peel.
      Add orange juice or milk slowly to the peanut butter, blending thoroughly. Pour into flour mixture and stir just enough to moisten the dry ingredients. Do not beat.
      Turn into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees F about 1 hour.

  19. My daughters are into recipes from their grandmothers/great-grandmothers. They been making pasta and one of the most labor intensive pasta dishes (involves 1 inch squares of pasta with filling that is NOT eaten with a tomato based pasta sauce – pasta needs to be rolled about the point of being translucent). I’ve been guiding them as to what their grandmother’s pasta looked like for that dish. She made beautiful pasta. Both love to cook and bake so all is not lost (one likes to sew). And a surprising number of their friends are into gardening, canning, cooking/baking, eating fresh. Millennials are much aligned but are far more in tune with self sufficient living than most give them credit.

  20. I too have had lots of failures with the mainstay lids from Walmart. I use the jars but put an “X” across the lid and only use the lids when I store dry goods in the jars. The mainstay lids just don’t work well for canning.

    • Up until this year I had good results with Mainstay lids and jars. But they had to have changed something.
      That’s too bad; no more Mainstay products for me!

    • Will was going nuts after all the rain following the drought. But the rain sure boosted the hay fields; lots of new growth in clover and birdsfoot trefoil, giving a whole lot bigger yield than he’d of had before the rains.

  21. A couple of years ago I tried those Walmart mainstay lids and had a number of failures, so I quit using them. So glad you got some rain and now some sunny weather to finish getting the hay in. I just had a friend contact me about some free summer apples, great for applesauce… And tomorrow I pick up a truck load of corn from a local farmer. I take orders for neighborhood and we get a good deal when they just dump it in my truck. So freezing corn and corn relish is on the to do list this week. It is a abusy time of the year and I think we are wise to can and process as much as we can.

    • That’s great news on the corn! Mine should be starting to come in, in about two weeks; I can hardly wait. But then EVERYTHING will be coming in about then. Isn’t late summer great??? You’re right about canning as much as we are able due to the resurgence of COVID, country-wide. It isn’t going away any time soon and, personally, I think things are going to get VERY bad. I do hope I’m wrong.

  22. My garden zucchini is going crazy! Honestly in a year like this it’s a blessing. Will you share some recipes and preserving ideas?

    • Besides the regular uses of zucchini like frying with onions and maybe a bit of ham or bacon, zucchini bread, I love making zucchini bread and butter pickles, following the regular cuke bread and butter recipe. Here’s a great recipe for making zucchini=strawberry jam:
      6 C seeded, grated or finely shredded zucchini
      6 C sugar
      1/2 C lemon juice
      1 20 oz can of crushed pineapple w/juice
      1 6 oz package of strawberry gelatin
      In a large pot, bring zucchini and sugar to a boil, stirring frequently. Boil 6 minutes. Add lemon juice and pineapple; boil 8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add gelatin and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Ladle into hot pint or half pint jars. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath. If you live above 1,000 feet, adjust your time to suit your altitude; consult your canning book for directions.
      You can vary the flavor of gelatin for different flavored jam if you wish.

      Zucchini also dehydrates very well and you can even make flavored zucchini chips by tossing the sliced zucchini with various flavored rubs like hickory smoked, chipotle or garlic.

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