I know some of you will go “Ish! Squash?” But don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! I was pretty nervous when I made Thanksgiving pumpkin pies for Will. He’s a pie-snob and once when I was opening a pumpkin to save its seeds, I decided to make a pie or two out of the meat to avoid wasting it. So I did. And when I served Will a piece, he took a big bite then said “What IS this?” making a face. I replied it was pumpkin pie, of course. (I mean it didn’t look like cherry or apple … “It sure doesn’t taste as good as a Hopi Pale Grey pumpkin pie, though.” he replied. So since then I’ve always made Hopi Pale Grey pumpkin pies for their fruity, rich taste. But then, fast forward to this year when the cows got in and ate all our Hopi Pale Grey squash. Oh oh. Thanksgiving and Christmas were looming and what the heck was I going to do for pies? We easily chose a new squash, Borchardt’s Wonder as our second favorite, right behind Hopi, last year so I took a deep breath and opened one, baked it and then made pies. Will agreed they tasted just (or nearly) as good as the Hopi pies! And they did.

Borchardt’s Wonder squash makes a great pumpkin pie … and lots of it, too!

We’ve got a big Howden pumpkin I’ve been saving as it’s a perfect shape, color, and size. And the cows somehow missed it when they raided the Sand garden this summer. It must have been hidden under thick vines or something. Every time I walk past it, I mentally pet and talk to it as it’s so beautiful. But one of these days pretty soon, I’m going to have to open it and save the seeds to continue the line as few pumpkins will store more than a few months into the winter. I know I’m going to miss that gorgeous pumpkin!

Here’s my “pet” Howden pumpkin. Isn’t it beautiful?

We had a quiet but lovely Thanksgiving. Of course it was just going to be Will and I. But about two hours before we were to sit down to dinner, David called and said he and Elizabeth were on their way to our place. I had cancelled the family get-together but something was lost in the conversation I guess. So it was the four of us. We social-distanced as much as possible and David is COVID tested every week at work. (They’re very COVID-sensitive at his new job; anyone caught not wearing a mask will be fired on the spot!) We had a nice meal and some good conversation, then they went home. Will and I will self-quarantine for 14 days … just to be sure

David and the “snipped” beaked turkey.

While David was here, I had him catch our big domestic tom turkey off his perch as his upper beak was growing way too long, making it hard for him to eat enough. That 30 pound turkey is way too much for me to handle and David is taller than Will so it was easier for him to catch the turkey. Two snips and the turkey was good to go and is now happily eating his fill with ease. I just used a dog toenail clipper; worked like a charm! — Jackie


  1. I agree, we’ve been using buttercup squash for pies the last few years and love them. These seem to be the sweetest and best tasting we have tried up to this point. I think folks just get locked into the tradition what they and there families have been doing for years, Start a new tradition.

    Jackie, when will the new seed catalog be coming out?

    • The new catalog is at the printer right now and should be out (we hope!!) next week. I used to not tell my family what the pies were made out of. For instance, I make green tomato (fake apple) pies and green tomato mincemeat pies as well as squash pies. Now it’s just Will and I so he’s adventurous and I do tell him. My kids??? Not so much way back, although now they, for the most part, will not wince when I tell them they’re eating green tomato pie.

  2. Glad to see David was wearing his glasses. This should be a “don’t try this at home moment.” Chickens are pretty easy (sometimes) when you use a net. We have only had experience catching chickens and guineas but if the guineas got loose they went for your eyes. Should definitely wear eye protection. Shutter to think what a turkey could do to your eyes.

    • Turkeys don’t peck at your eyes but boy can they ever flap you with their wings. The safety glasses and hard hat were pretty much meant as a joke as the last time David caught that turkey, he got a cut on his hand from the tom’s spur. So he wore gloves, a hard had, safety glasses and heavy boots.

  3. During some financially tough years when we were also raising our 3 sons, I had the bright idea to replace pumpkin with sweet potato and butternut squash cooked meat. I made muffins, pies, bread in every size of baking pan and even sweet potato biscuits. I haven’t bought a can of pumpkin since.
    My husband and I also canceled our Thanksgiving dinner that had originally grew to include 13 this year, which is a small number for us. A son tested positive the week before and long story short, it was just my husband and I for the day. The son is improving and we are thankful.

    • And so am I! COVID is nothing to screw around with. Sure, more older folks die from it, but so do some younger ones. We are super careful; better safe than dead!
      Long ago, when we were really poor, one time I was alone with my kids and nothing to eat but a pumpkin and milk. I cut the top off it, added milk and brown sugar inside, put the top back on and baked it on a cookie sheet. You’ll never believe how good it was! We ate the whole thing for dinner! We feel so blessed now to have a full pantry and freezer.

  4. I’m with Will, ugh….”pumpkin” pies are gross! Sweet Potato, butternut or acorn squash, etc are so much better. (I can’t garden, in an apartment)

  5. I’ve always used butternut squash for my pumpkin pies. Husband and I think they have a nice rich flavor.

  6. I had to have store bought pumpkin pie this year due to losing our house in the Santiam wildfire….. of everything I lost, I can honestly say my canned Hopi Pale Grey squash is missed the most….thank God for insurance….I will be growing lots of squash next year :)….. I may keep a few jars in a safe deposit box in the future….just incase…..oh well…. stuff can be replaced….. everything burned right up to the barn…..the animals all made it……that is what matters. Stay safe everyone….it has been an interesting year. Thank you Jackie for everything. I am reading your book “Starting Over”…it gives me strength.

    • Oh Laura, I’m so sorry you lost everything. But you didn’t, as you are alive and fighting back. Good for you, girl! Life sure throws you some curves, doesn’t it? I’m praying for your new start!

    • Yes they do. Mom made them often. She got her recipe and taste for them when, as a child, she lived in Virginia.

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