According to the weather forecast, our above normal temperatures and clear days are about to come to an end. Snow and colder temperatures are on the way. So while I hurried to can up a small amount of stew meat, Will went down to the beaver logs and began cutting. Remember last year when Will hauled in a big pile of beaver-cut logs? He never had a chance to cut them up. Until yesterday when he began the job. We split a nice load then again, after my canning was in between stewing meat and chili, I went down with him to split up perhaps our last load before snow falls once again. I mean, after all, it was 37° F above zero! We simply had to make good use of this day. Besides, it felt so nice, being out in the woods. There’s nothing like the smell of damp woods. They can’t bottle that!

I love splitting wood on our tractor-mounted wood splitter!

We split and split that big pile Will had cut up. And all the while, our watchdog, Hondo, watched. He thinks he’s keeping us safe from marauding wildlife, I think. First, he sat on the logs, then he moved down to sit on the trail, all the time sniffing the air and watching all about. But the most dangerous critter he chased off was a red squirrel. (Maybe Hondo thought it was a really dangerous, mean squirrel?)

Hondo guards us while we work … from dangerous squirrels.

We were just finishing the truck load at sundown and boy what a pretty sunset it was! Lots of red streaks through the dark trees of the woods. A great finish to a very nice day.

We finished up just after sunset. And what a pretty sunset it was!
Will and Hondo ready to head home with the firewood.

I’ll throw on some supper than get to canning up that chili. Yum! I can’t wait to eat the first batch! — Jackie


  1. No they shouldn’t but when they did they were free? And if they are convicted they are not free. I am not talking about criminal acts, but I think my comments are looked at as ludicrous and are not helpful so I won’t comment anymore or view the blog, which I have been since it went online years ago. By the way Will can apply for a patent, just sayin.

    “The Plant Patent Act of 1930 (enacted on 1930-06-17 as Title III of the Smoot–Hawley Tariff, ch. 497, 46 Stat. 703, codified as 35 U.S.C. This piece of legislation made it possible to patent new varieties of plants, excluding sexual and tuber-propagated plants (see Plant Variety Protection Act of 1970).”

  2. Beautiful sunset picture. It would make a fantastic jigsaw puzzle. Puzzles are very popular with all of us forced to stay home — 1000 pieces would be about right!

    • It’s funny, just when Will was reading the blog, he said to me “That sunset picture would make a great puzzle.”, then he read your comment. Great minds….. But that’d drive me crazy. Sort of like puzzles of marbles or leaves…..

  3. Dear Jackie,
    We had a awesome sunset on Dec. 10th. I call it fire in the sky! I have followed you for years and years: and been retired for 20 years. Still canning and enjoying the outdoors. Slowing down a bit; but still kicking, just not as hard (smile) I have had a lot of luck with dehydrating, too. I use your archives often to see what you have to say about doing things and you are ALWAYS spot on. I save seed for my Dad to plant; but 2 years ago I dehydrated some Christmas beans to eat. Later I asked him how they did and he said he was disappointed that not one came up. I explained that the ones in the quart jar were to eat. We had a good laugh over that one. He was 92 at the time but then again, I did not give him instructions !My bad.

    • Don’t feel bad; a lot of people who are new to seed saving have asked me if they should dry their seeds in their dehydrator or oven. Holy cow, that would COOK them!

    • We work outside as much as possible but when the weather turns bad; cold and snowy with wind, you’ll find us doing inside projects and me getting to do some baking. Finally!

  4. Well red squirrels are the “beasts” of the squirrel family – they will rule the roost over grays/black squirrels.
    Just reassure my fellow blog readers – there is no effort underfoot to ban seed saving. I’m sorry but I’m quite tired of those trying to stir the pot during these trying times. All I can say is be objective when it comes to one’s source of information. AND do your due diligence BEFORE posting what could be a the-sky-is-fallling a la Chicken Little.
    Aren’t wood splitters the cat’s meow? While splitting wood when the temps are in the 90s isn’t my favorite, the splitter sure makes it easier. Working smarter not harder is the key to homesteading when one is of a “certain age”.

    • Red squirrels are not “nice” neighbors. They even fight each other all the time. Just like people…..
      We love our wood splitter. After years of splitting with an axe and maul, this is SO much easier and easier on the body. Working smarter is wise for everyone. It helps keep your body from hurting so much when you get our age!

    • Be sure you aren’t mistaken in that assumption. New cultivars are being patented by breeders now, I believe. It’s coming. I’ve seen the prohibition notice printed on string tags of things I purchased recently.

      • I’m not talking Monsanto and other GMO – aka non-hybrid/heirloom. And when it comes to “cultivars”, which are usually propagated via cuttings, not seeds, odds of the “plant police” showing up when you plant a daughter is slim to none. Or even when germination tests are “required” for heirlooms as far as that goes. Rest assured that I have plenty of asparagus plants that originated from seeds of other asparagus plants. Rest assured I’ve shared heirloom seeds and still walk this earth as a free woman. The stupid person who sells patented (or fake) items on Craigslist, eBay etc. deserves to be busted. And note your “I purchased recently”. Red flag to me that selling seed or cuttings is, to be blunt, stupid.
        Think about it – what a better way to scare sheeples “you can’t save or swap seeds”.

      • Seed varieties which are patented; you’ll notice the initials PVP at the end of the description; are a money making ploy of breeders who want total control over that variety so nobody else can raise and sell those seeds. It isn’t a government plot, just a greedy ploy. Just don’t buy any PVP plants or seeds. I know I don’t! Nor will I ever.

        • Nearly all PVP seeds or plants are the result of years of work and can be expensive to create. Do they have a place? I really believe they do in agriculture and horticulture operations as the plants are very consistent, have disease resistance and tolerance bred into them. Are they needed in homestead and backyard gardens definitely not. I admire seed savers as they bring back and even create OP varieties that can be more delicious, nostalgic and even fun to grow, but more importantly they preserve the gene pool that may be needed some day. As far as big corps. making money I believe in the market and don’t want to restrict money making by anyone. To be free all need to be free. I do fear what may be coming though.

          • You have a point, Larry. But also many newer open pollinated varieties, such as Will’s Seneca Sunrise sweet corn, also took lots of work and years to create. Not patented, though; anyone can breed and benefit from it. Yeah, for field crops, maybe. I also believe in everyone needing to be free. Up to a point. (Should rapists be free to rape?) Just saying.

  5. Beautiful sunset! Glad you got all that wood all cut up. Here’s hoping you have a mild winter and don’t need it all.

    • Remember, our beavers say it’s going to be a relatively mild winter. We’ll see. (But after years, I still don’t quite trust rodents!)

  6. It may seem odd to say but “that’s a beautiful load of wood”. Funny -that’s what I did yesterday with my “neighbor “ who lives 2 miles down the road. We both noted what a great day to be alive and outside. We didn’t feel like we were in our 70’s until that night. A winter storm is coming – hah bring it on. Stay warm-again COVID is rampant here and we isolate. Stay well.

    • Yep, COVID is rampant here too and yes, we DO isolate, mask up if I have to go to the Post Office to send out seeds and use plenty of hand sanitizer and hot water and soap when I get home. Plus Echinacea and Vitamin D3, just because…..
      We love the outdoors and working in it. What satisfaction to see that wood all stacked neatly up, under cover!

  7. You have way more energy then I do Jackie. I moved 110 chickens yesterday to our greenhouse for the winter and I was so tired. They are in their new home now and can finish growing to full maturity and lay eggs in 2 months. We rented a wood processor for cutting and splitting our wood which was great but then the stacking began.
    You are an inspiration to all, thank you for sharing your wisdom and weekly activities.

    • Aw, gee, after all how much energy does it take to stand and split wood?? I did get a Charley horse in my left “splitting lever” hand, though! But I changed hands and finished up just fine.

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