Our weather’s been totally unusual this year, but with the current warm spell, we’re thankful and making the best of it. Will’s cutting hay on his last big field and I’m still picking beans if you can imagine that. Our apprentice, Alisha, came for a visit and kicked right in, helping like crazy, picking and shelling beans. Will showed her how to tread on dry bean pods to split them open, releasing the beans, of those varieties which had totally dry pods. It goes much faster that way. We picked and picked. Whew. There are a lot of crates of drying bean pods, beans, and buckets of bean pods everywhere! But with COVID-19, we know folks will be needing seeds for their gardens next spring.

There are still some dry beans left in the garden to pull in. These are Carminat purple podded snap beans.
Although the garden was frosted, these Oka muskmelons survived under old sleeping bags.

Our old wild turkey hen raised four poults this summer and we saw them off and on right into fall. Yesterday, Will saw a turkey in the woods, on the driveway — just a quick glimpse. We sure hope Mom is bringing the “kids” home for the winter. The family started out two miles from our place and the last we saw, they were a mile away and headed home. We hope.

With fall upon us, the colors are beautiful in the woods.

I’ve got a big pile of laundry to get done so this will be a quick blog. Stay safe everyone, both from storms and fires, not to mention COVID-19. — Jackie


  1. Thanks Jackie for all you do and for telling us about it!
    ? Can you harvest rhubarb all year?
    Mine had just a few stalks in the spring and now it has several beautiful ones but I’m not sure they are safe to eAt

    • They’re probably safe to eat but usually tough and stringy this time of the year. I’d give them a good mulch of rotted manure and lots of it, then harvest like crazy come spring.

  2. Do you dehydrate any of your food? Meat? veggies? fruit? What brand do you use? I’ve got a generic, but thinking of an Excalibur. How do you store it? Our climate is very humid. I’ve been thinking about putting it in canning jars and sealing them. Or maybe those seal a meal things that suck the air out.

    • Hi, Kim–
      I dehydrate a lot of our garden produce, partly because we live in a small cabin and I just don’t have room for a lot of canned stuff. You can store loads more dehydrated food than canned food! I have two dehydrators: a Nesco brand (round and white with stackable trays) and an Excalibur. I much prefer the Excalibur as I think it dries more evenly and isn’t quite as noisy; it does cost more, however. The only time I really use my Nesco is when I dry onions or garlic outside. I dry my garden produce–favorite thing is tomatoes–and then seal in mason jars with my Food Saver jar sealer. Then I store these in metal cabinets. The produce keeps for years this way! Main thing is to dry the food completely, then seal in the jars and keep away from light. Love using tomatoes–don’t even fully dehydrate them, just with a kiss of olive oil in a stir fry, or thrown into soup at the last minute (no watery, tomatoey soup–just nice and brothy). Of course, they can be fully rehydrated and used that way for sure. Also like dehydrating zucchini and making zucchini and cucumber chips; green beans are good too if you follow the Ball method. Fruit is very easy to dehydrate as well. I have made jerky a few times, but generally don’t dry meat. Lots of great info out there: http://www.backpackingchef.com has loads of ways to use dried food; and lots of books provide great info (Mary Bell’s books; The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook by Tammy Gangloff, etc.). Have to say everything I have dried is so much better than the commercial stuff! Enjoy!

    • Yes, I dehydrate a lot of food, from fruits to meats. I would definitely recommend an Excalibur but only have a Nesco brand now as I can’t afford an Excalibur yet. You’ll love dehydrating and it becomes as much as an addiction as home canning! Have fun.

  3. Jackie I was at Costco the other day and surprise surprise no canned veggies except for tomato’s and no canned fruit..I am just glad that I know how to can and some people even in my family call me a crazy old lady meat prices are out of this world also I just keep smiling and stocking my pantry whenever I get tired I think of you and Will and tell myself keep moving lol

    • You’re crazy like a fox Roswitha!! This situation is only going to get worse and a lot of folks will be re-thinking that “crazy” home canning and stocking up thing pretty soon.

  4. Jackie, Save lots of those Carminat beans! We tried them this year for the first time and loved them! So tender and tasty and big and unique looking! They have earned a spot in our garden along with your Providers! Take care.

  5. With your crazy weather shifts, sounds like you’ve returned to Montana! :) The weather is the biggest challenge for sure. Thankfully we saved most of the garden from the 25 deg on Labor Day (boy was THAT a job!), and I was able to harvest our biggest batch of tomatoes today that would have all been lost.
    Ditto what Sue said…THANK YOU for taking the time to post. I can’t tell you how many times I get frustrated and consider giving up, and into my head pops the thought, “If Jackie can keep going with a good attitude after cows eating all her hopi squash, I can handle the challenges in my little garden”. :)
    Blessings from SW Montana, Linda

    • And back at you, Linda! Yep, that danged weather sure tries to foul us up. But it keeps us on our toes! So glad you got your harvest in.

  6. This whole nation has had weird weather this year. We have seen record breaking highs for various days (both high and low highs). And we have gone from 90 one day to a high of in the 60’s the next. Then the smoke from CA. Then add in Covid……. Things are tough right now. Wish more folks had a deep pantry like some of us do. Bless everyone.

    • Yep, I sure feel sorry for those who laughed at preparedness, calling those who practice it “nutcases” and “weirdos”. A learning experience for us all, for sure!

  7. Yes the chores seem never ending this time of year. Glad that you got some help too. We have copied your weather here in Michigan although we went down to 30 only and now are back on the beautiful 70s and even 80 again. Hoping it continues for you to get it all done. You two amaze me!

  8. I love fall. But the work never stops. Lol. Glad you’re have nice weather. Do you ever dry can potatoes? It sounded interesting but I wasn’t totally sure. Enjoy this weather because the snow will be flying soon.

    • No, I have never dry canned any vegetables. I might give it a try just to see. Yep, they’re calling for snow on Saturday. Ish!!!

  9. Hi Jackie, your a busy, busy bee. With all you have to do, you still find time to post a blog for your readers. Thank you for keeping us in the loop. Are you going to wash clothes in the wringer washing machine? One summer we were in a severe drought, and I washed on a wringer because we didn’t want our well to go dry. I loved it.

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