I’ve been cutting up and canning venison meals for days now, and I’ve still got more to go. Luckily, it’s been below freezing, and the venison is storing well out on the front porch, in plastic bags. I did more stew meat in pints, then made another 14-quart batch of chili, and 7 more quarts plus 12 pints of spaghetti sauce plus five more pints of ground venison/beef mixed. I’ll swear that venison is multiplying every time I turn my back. But that’s real nice and the pantry shelves are filling up nicely and then some! Most times it’s just Will and I at meal times, as David is staying with his girlfriend in Grand Rapids so as to be 37 miles closer to his new job, as well as helping her out around the place. So instead of canning up full quarts of some recipes, I canned 3/4 quart, leaving a larger headspace. I’ve done that with pizza sauce and others in the past and it works so well — no leftovers!

I cut up a lot of venison as stew meat as I use it in so many different recipes.
Here’s more chili and ground venison ready to go in the pantry.

Meanwhile Will has been busy cutting up firewood before wet weather comes again. Once he gets a good bunch cut, I go out and split the pile and he tosses it into the truck. (No, I’m not that macho; I use a tractor-powered wood splitter.) Now we have the woodshed full, the outside rack full, and Will is working to fill the two old pig farrowing houses too. It’s such a great feeling to have all that nice, dry, seasoned firewood indoors! Both of us have seen past times where we waded through deep snow to cut and haul not-so-nice firewood in as that’s all we had. This is so much better.

he wood shed is now stuffed with dry, seasoned wood, as is the outside rack (30 feet long). Yea!

I took the turkey out of the freezer this morning to thaw. This year it’s only going to be Will and I for Thanksgiving as we’re going to be safe and not have the big family get-together we all love so much. It’s sad but necessary as COVID is spreading out of control all across the country. I hate to see what the numbers will be following Christmas.

Oh, by the way, I’ve been asked to remind you all that if you have questions, not related to the blog conversation, please either click on the red “Ask Jackie” button next to the blog or e-mail jackie@backwoodshome.com, including your name, town/city and state. (Hey, it’s job security for me!) Thanks! — Jackie


  1. I’m alone for Thanksgiving which is a bummer. DD has called twice and grandson once for instructions on how-to as both are doing their first turkey. Grandson is having a houseful despite all the warnings and his county is epidemic. DD is just cooking for her household.

    The virus spread is because a lot people are not doing anything to prevent it. Objecting to masks, not social distancing, not staying home when sick generally showing a total lack of common sense. Many have made it a political issue or a violation of Constitutional rights issue or deny its a “real” instead of understanding it is a public health issue. Their insistence on their “rights” not to follow sensible guidelines is going to end in the new President locking down the entire country.

    I’ve not gone out much since March (groceries, doctor, gas) because I can stay home since I’m retired. I don’t want this virus and I don’t want to be part of the problem so I use my common sense and stay home. Currently I know 30 people who either are sick, just getting over being sick or are quarantined due to exposure. My dd has been quarantined 4 times but fortunately has tested negative each time.

  2. I too am laying low for Turkey Day… even though my adult children live nearby; One works in a hospital and the other has a girlfriend whose family doesn’t believe there is even a threat out there! Thus she will quarantine herself with my son and so they will both stay away. SO sad and will miss them all but nowadays we can Zoom, or Skype, or Google Meet and still make next-best-thing fun! Be thankful that we can make lemonade out of our lemons and make fun memories anyway.

  3. I, too, am wondering about the 3/4 filled jars……always thought you had to fill them to the top.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

  4. When you leave more “head space” in a jar when canning, do you add more water to fill up that space, or is it simply air space? I was always taught that jars had to be full or the product ins????

  5. Just took the turkey out of the freezer this morning? I took mine out Saturday morning and hope the most-inside portions are thawed come Thursday (you’d get a good laugh at my older daughter wigging out over sticking her hand inside the turkey – it is quite comical).
    Yes, one cannot have enough ready to burn wood on hand, even if it ISN’T your main source of heat. While we’ve scaled back how much we sell, I still remember a few years ago – no sooner getting load split and stacked and it was sold. Money was much appreciated but still work to refill the face cord in what seemed like minutes later. But you can’t beat the warmth from a wood stove.
    We’re having T-Day with our “bubble” – a bit of worry due to a COVIDIOT but all is well. Likely be the last T-Day with my Mom – it is what it is.

  6. I’m so glad to hear it will be just you and Will. Way too many of my friends are inviting folks in or going to someone’s house or both. One friend is having 3 thanksgiving dinners with various extended family combinations. Unbelievable. I’m staying put and so are my sibs and mom. We’ll have a nice chats on the phone instead.

    So glad your pantry and woodshed are filled. It’s nice to be “tucked” in for the winter.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you and Will


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