It was a real race yesterday as black clouds gathered above. It sure didn’t help when we saw a pair of turkey vultures sitting on the old farmhouse chimney, watching him go around and around! That was kind of creepy. (Vultures often nest in abandoned barns, so we figured that was their summer home and they were just hanging out, watching the activity.) They were there from morning till night. A few drops of rain fell but that was all. By late afternoon, Will had all the field safely baled up. It was a very nice field of birdsfoot trefoil too, mixed with lush grass so we were happy.

It gave us the creeps to have vultures sitting on the abandoned cabin’s chimney, watching Will as he went around the field, baling hay.

Meanwhile, I cut up apples and started the Mehu Liisa simmering. Then I went down to the Sand garden and picked a small basket of tomatoes to seed. For a while it looked dismal, but with less heat, they’re coming on fast now. I took a quart of apple juice from the Mehu Liisa and ran the apples through the Victorio tomato strainer and canned up the sweet applesauce. Only three pints but there are a lot of apples left.

Today I got more tomatoes to seed and was tickled at the Amos Coli Paste, which has very thick meat and few seeds. And, of course, our darling, Dancing With Smurfs is just loaded, as usual. This cute brick red cherry with a purple top is adorable when you pull the stem off to reveal a yellow star!

Aren’t the Dancing With Smurfs cherry tomatoes cute? They taste great too.

Our melons are really cranking out the fruit now! We have some really big Sweet Dakota Rose melons, ready to pick. (But I’m always chicken. No matter that they do have a yellow instead of white spot where they touch the ground, indicating ripeness, I’m always afraid to find I’ve picked an unripe one!) Will’s not so cowardly, however so I know we’ll be eating some watermelon soon. Then I get to make our favorite watermelon rind pickles! The Blacktail Mountain watermelon in the Wolf garden are wonderful. Lots of nice fat melons, despite the cows getting in there earlier.

We love the fact that we can now grow nice watermelons like these Sweet Dakota Rose, outside, even in northern Minnesota!

I’m just stunned at our rutabagas. We’ve got a couple that are just huge and it’s still early for them. I love Laurentian rutabagas because they can get big but don’t get woody. So you get more bang for your buck, so to speak. I’ll bet that one rutabaga will make three pints, canned up. Can’t wait!

We were stunned to see how big our rutabagas are getting so early in the year.

— Jackie


  1. Those vultures are on the lookout for small critters that may turn up as the hay is baled. So glad you made it before the rain. It is quite a dance. I may even get to garden next year….this hip replacement already feels better and it’s only 5 days old! Blessings.

  2. My son, Charlie, planted a huge melon patch this spring as his summer job. This is his first year, but he’s already had return customers. Our watermelon isn’t ready yet, but the honeydew is sold out and we are almost out of musk melon. He said he is going to plant a second garden next year. I am very proud of my 13 year old son! Teach a man to fish right!?

  3. All my melons died out there this year. Such a bummer. When you use the Mehu Liisa to make juice, how do you then make apple sauce? I have one and I’ve never used it. Kevin Peterson from the fire department in Cherry bought it for me. And I’ve never tried it. I have wild plums I want to juice, as well as my apples and crabapples and I never knew I could use this and still make apple sauce! Maybe I need to reread the directions. I’m33 weeks pregnant Today and really feeling this baby. I’ve got lots of corn but it’s not there yet. I did plant popcorn for fun and I’ve actually got an ear on every stalk! I’m guessing I just let it go until they are dry? Anyways, I got the new canning book I ordered from you! Thank you.

    • First, congratulations on your pregnancy! To make applesauce, I halve the apples and put them in the fruit section of the Mehu Liisa then extract a quart of juice. This leaves cooked, soft apples with some juice still in them. I then run them through my Victorio tomato strainer, a crank type tool that separates the skin and seeds from the pulp, which becomes your applesauce. With plums, I halve the plums, removing the pits. Then to juice them, just put them in the top of the Mehu Liisa and fire away until the juice pretty much stops. Do check the water in the bottom from time to time as this takes a few hours.
      Yes, to get popcorn, just let the ears dry on the stalk then shuck them and lay them to finish drying where the squirrels and birds can’t get them.

  4. Wow, beautiful rutabagas, we call them swedes here. Very little damage showing on the leaves, do you have pesky white butterflies that lay eggs on leaves of brassicas? The caterpillars do so much damage here. If you do have them how do you deal with the little blighters? And, looking at your melons, I’m so jealous. I can’t seem to grow any worthwhile specimens. I just wish I had access to the seeds you sell, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind our climate which is mild in comparison. I can only wish. Thanks once again for a delightful post.

    • We sprinkle pyrethrin powder on the leaves or spray them with Bt ( Bacillus thuringiensis ). These are natural products and both do a great job keeping all the cabbage family free from cabbage worms. The melons we are growing are the first we have been able to grow outside. And we are so happy we now can harvest ripe melons!! Where do you live? I’d be happy to give you access to our seeds.

Comments are closed.