We’d been expecting a freeze and preparing mightily for it, but when we woke up to white on the grass, it was still sort of a shock. We did all we could, covering the pole beans (which are later maturing than bush beans) and Oka muskmelon vines in the Main garden with quilts. Plastic tarps do protect, but when the temperatures dive to the twenties, the icy cold goes right through them where the quilts insulate the plants. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough quilts to do the beans too but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about homesteading it’s you do what you can do and pray for the rest.

We woke up to frost on the tarps that covered our pole beans as well as the grass.

Well, the temperatures went into the mid-twenties two nights in a row so the gardens, except for the muskmelons and two hoop houses with peppers in them, are finished for the season. Now all I have to do is pick all those dry beans! And that’s a mighty chore as there are more than 25 varieties in various gardens. I guess I’ll be a busy girl.

Then there are the last of the apples to pick and peppers to make sweet pickles and relish from. And there are fifteen crates of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness to can up in different recipes. But with COVID-19 surging again, it seems more of a blessing than a chore.

We have lots of crates of tomatoes on the front porch, waiting to be turned into lots of different recipes which I can.

After the first frost, Will went down and picked a whole bunch of Lakota squash. They were grown in a protected area next to the training ring barn, but the leaves had been badly burned by the frost and we wanted to make sure the squash was in the house before the next one hit. These and Arnie’s Golden Buttercups are such pretty and tasty squash we’re thrilled to be growing them. Last year the Golden Buttercups were on trial in the North garden and those darned voles ate nearly 100 of them as they’re so sweet! Not this year though. There don’t seem to be anywhere near as many of the destructive critters around. They go in cycles and we hope this will be their down cycle!

Aren’t these Lakota squash beautiful? And big this year too!

I hope all of you are safe from the Western wildfires that are raging. Know we’re praying for you. As if COVID-19 is not enough … — Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie! I got the seeds today- thank you. I am looking forward to the book. I plan to do my first canning this coming Friday, Lord willing. I am near Spokane WA and the smoke is so thick it looks like fog. Thank you for prayers for rain. That would be a blessing. I enjoy your blog. God bless!

    • We keep praying for enough rain to put the fires out or at least so the firefighters can get it under control. I’m sure it’s horrible, living close to the fires!

  2. We are back down to a level one in Boring Oregon, with heavy smoke pooled here. My daughter’s house us still at a level 3 above Sandy, so her family is living in their motorhome at her brothers here. The fires seem to be stalled at the moment thank God. The nearby town of Estacada came very close to burning as the fire was within half a mile. A friends step daughters place was a total loss along with all of their stock over in Washington. We diffently need all your prayers and appreciate all the help we can get. Its hopefully going to rain later this week. Stay safe all.

    • Believe me, you have our prayers!!! Those fires are horrible. In the mountains of Montana where we lived, we often were threatened with wildfires but luckily, we never had to evacuate. I feel so sorry for those who have lost so much due to the fires. We’re praying for rain for you all.

      • Thanks Jackie,
        We were downgrated from 2 to one this week and my daughters area went from 3 to 2 and was able to return home tonight. They are leaving everything packed up and their motorhome was left at her brothers just incase the wind shifts again. The Riverside fire is only 3 percent contained at this point. What saved us was actually the heavy smoke as it kept the temperatures down and the humidity up, as weird as that sounds. The city of Estacada near us is still evacuated, praying for rain only this weekend and no thunderstorms.

  3. Jackie, I know you have lived in various places in the US, but I am always perplexed that you live where there are such short growing seasons and harsh climates. I lived for 15 years in the Twin Cities of MN and north, but my idea of north is Forest Lake (an hour north of the TC) and that was harsh enough. I can’t imagine living so close to Canada! Homesteading is tough enough without doing it where nature does not seem to be forgiving. Your reasons for this would make a great article!! (I know living in nicer climes draws too many people and not enough land, but there must be a happy medium. I live outside Concord, New Hampshire and we have 4-6 months of winter as it is….) thanks for considering discussing it as I am sure I am not the only fan/reader who is interested! :) Hugs!

    • We’ve found there is no perfect place or climate. You deal with what you have. We moved here as there is little wild land left in the US that we can afford. We like people but value the wilderness and need it in our lives. Yes, sometimes it is tough. But so is having neighbors who party all night, shoot your dog when it got out one time, do drugs or let their livestock roam through your front yard because they don’t want to fence them in.
      We really don’t hate winter. In fact we do actually like it as it gives us some down time to recuperate from summer work.

  4. I own a Excalibur food dehydrator and it is very reliable and efficient. So much smoke outside that we can not go out there so I must dedicate this day to processing herbs for teas and cooking. At least we are not affected by anything but smoke here in Spokane, WA. Seems like the entire west is going up in flames. It looks apoplectic!

    • An Excalibur is on my wish list. They’re so much better than my cheap dehydrator. Yes, these fires are reaching Biblical portions. It’s so scary!!! And with COVID too….. We pray daily for those affected and for soaking rains in those areas. One of Will’s friend’s family is among the missing and we also pray they are safely in a shelter somewhere.

      • I bought an Excalibur fall 1999 and I’ve never regretted it. Right now one of my daughters is using it and has went to town dehydrating items from her CSA box and other purchases.
        As with other brands (Excalibur, Troybilt), I wonder if today’s quality is what it once was.

  5. I was wondering, what do you do with the Lakota squash that is pictured. Not to seem ignorant but I have never seen these before.

    • These squash are much sweeter and tastier than acorn squash, which we quit growing when we found others we liked much better. We bake them, make pies from them and use them in casseroles.

  6. No frost for me yet but miserable cold wet weather. You pray for rain and then pray it stops when you get too much (we humans are never happy). The Hidasta beans from you did very well and I’m still picking Strike green beans. I’ll have to ask Darla how she grew the Bear Chippewa Corn -I’ve had my second year of coon capers eating them all in spite of an electric fence. It really is a busy time of the year until snow flies. Now to pace yourself and get the work done.

    • We and Dara haven’t had coon problems. THANK GOD!! When we lived near Sturgeon Lake, we fought them constantly. A 2″x4″ 6′ fence with two or three strands of electric wire on the outside kept them out of the gardens but the cornfield??? Not so as it was too big to fence.
      Yeah, this time of the year sometimes I feel like I’m chasing my tail!

    • Cheryl, I’ve been very happy with my nesco dehydrators, I’m on number 3 now since 2005. Spent more dollars on the all american canner by choice, and still think it was a good choice. I’ve done everything from from herbs to jerky to figs to eggs in my nesco, no complaints. Love it!

  7. You are so inspiring. We used to have a garden and I canned and froze produce. My husband is semi-invalid and can barely care for himself most of the time. I am 75 and miss the garden soooooo much. I was a helper in the garden but he was the mainstay as I worked outside the home and raised our 3 sons. I am more interested in dehydrated food now. What do you think about the Presco 4 tray dehydrator?

  8. Beautiful squash and tomatoes!
    Do you can up anything similar to the Rotel brand tomatoes & hot pepper sold at the grocery? I can’t seem to find a close recipe.
    Sorry to hear of your early? frost. Nothing but rain here the last week. Need to pull all the onions and let them dry before they turn to mush.

    • Yes I do. I use the spaghetti sauce (without meat) recipe, using some hot peppers in place of the bell peppers and omitting the Italian spices. It works out very nicely!
      Isn’t it terrible? Here folks in the West are having drought and wildfires and we keep getting rain.

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