What an unusual year this has been. And from what I hear, all over the country too. We’ve got another snowstorm moving in on us and it’s snowing like mad. Preparing for it, Will hauled two more round bales out to the horses and cows so we didn’t have to do it today. (It really pays to listen to the NOAA weather radio.) I have to laugh though — our turkey family is getting very tame and comes running for their corn, which I dump out twice a day for them and the deer. You’d think the deer would run off the turkeys. After all, they’ve chased our dogs and even our faithful, late, wolf hybrid, Yuta. But no! Those turkeys spread out their wings and run the deer right out of the yard. It’s really pretty funny. Unless you’re a deer, I suppose.

It’s the end of Youth deer rifle season and our grandson, Mason, 12, shot his second deer. Way to go, Mason — we’re really proud of you! Now Dad and Mason are cutting up venison, preparing to can some and make jerky out of the rest. Now that’s an incentive if I’ve ever heard of one.

Bill and Mason with his deer. Not bad for 12 years old.
Bill and Mason with his deer. Not bad for 12 years old.

Will’s busy cutting up squash and pumpkins and saving seed from them. It’s a real temptation to roast the Olinka pumpkin seeds instead of saving them, let me tell you. But after we have what we feel is enough, we will eat some of those yummy seeds. I can’t wait!

We have two big piles of Olinka pumpkins so Will is busy taking seeds from the most mature, which get orange stripes as they cure.

Our friend Vala, in Montana, just sent me two bags of Hopi Pale Grey seeds from squash they’ve eaten recently. Thank you so much Vala!

I love my canned rutabaga. We eat it in pasties, stews, meat pies, and mashed as a side dish.

Tomorrow I’m canning the last of the rutabagas and hope to start on more carrots. Will found a big box of clean, empty pint jars I’d put away in the basement so I can’t wait to fill them right up. Then I’ll make a big batch of canned chili as I noticed our stock of canned chili is only about half what it was. (Can’t run out of chili!) — Jackie


  1. In eastern NC we rarely get snow but the cold weather with the first killing frost is at best only weeks away. Yesterday was 80 degrees. We are harvesting field corn, peanuts, cotton, & soybeans on our farm. Started digging sweet potato fields yesterday since we have rain coming in at the end of the week from the remnants of Hurricane Zeta moving northeast. I’m still harvesting Rattlesnake green beans, Red Ripper peas, & okra. Even had the last watermelon last week. Pantry is bulging at the seams & I’ve started moving books to open up space on shelving on the back porch!!! Abundance is good!!!!

    • You sure said that, Rebecca! We’ve even had to move shelves to make more room. What a “horrible” problem!!! lol

  2. Plugging along: I live in a giant old farm house. There is a ‘mowing border’ of two bricks wide that goes all the way around the house, right up next to the foundation. My wife did this all by herself. How? Well, she always said I was a ‘gulper’ and she was a ‘sipper.’ Every morning, she would go for her walk by starting at the brick pile. She picked up two bricks and carried them around on her walk. She finished by laying those two bricks in place next to the house. Now, they go all the way around! Plugging along gets the job done. Cheers!

  3. Jackie, in your opinion, what is the best tasting pumpkin for pies that you grow? And will it grow in southern California? Thanks, I would like to place an order.

    • In my opinion, Winter Luxury can’t be beat for pumpkin pies. (Unless it’s Hopi Pale Grey squash, which is our favorite!). Yes, they’ll grow in southern California.

  4. I know the feeling. I noticed my chili stores getting very low also. So I canned up extra quarts once my cabbage and tomatoes were ready to harvest (I have a wonderful Beef (or venison) and Cabbage Soup that is really Beef/Venison & Cabbage Chili). Now I should be set until next year…I hope.

  5. I have to say you are like the energizer bunny-always going, going, going. I love all the stories and though I don’t do half of it, love that you are out there doing and able to squeeze in the time to share it all.

    • maybe not always going or going but slowly? Sometimes it’s just a plodding pace but remember the hare and the tortoise? There’s something to that old fable.

  6. I love keeping up with you! How many years are mason jarred canned goods edible for?
    Keep safe and warm, hugs

    • Jars of home canned foods are good for decades provided they were canned correctly and the lids don’t rust out. I’m talking about thirty or forty years +! This is why I can. Plus it is so very convenient to have all that pre-cooked food available at the drop of a hat.

  7. When you can chili do you put meat and beans in it or add them later? Take care friend.

    • Yes, my canned chili has meat, beans and tomato sauce; all ready to dump out and heat. It’s a real go-to meal, especially in the cold. Sometimes I bake cornbread right on top of it for a complete meal.

  8. Jackie, I am constantly amazed at all the things you and Will accomplish. You both must be high energy. Do you ever rest? Love your blog.

    • Sure we rest. After all, I’m 74 for Pete’s sake. But when you just keep plugging along, a lot gets done. No daytime TV for us!

  9. Hard to believe that Mason is 12. Even more it is hard believe that David is a grown man but time marches on.

    • You can ask it here, Diane, but if you want to send it to the magazine, others will benefit from your question being answered.

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