Last night we had six inches of fluffy new snow, covering the evergreens around our house, making it look like a Christmas card. Only we live in this Christmas card all year long. How lucky can a person be, anyway? Yep, despite the dire news on the TV about a new strain of COVID in the UK, we’re getting ready for Christmas like usual. Even though it will be a very “small” Christmas dinner. Possibly David and Elizabeth will come. Although I just spoke to David and he said she’s been having contractions all day so that may not happen. And, of course, we can’t go to the hospital, due to COVID restrictions if this turns out to be the big day. Talk about biting one’s nails!

Our homestead looks like a Christmas card today. This is sunset over the beaver pond, down from the house.

We put up our Christmas tree yesterday and let it fluff out all night. And today I went ahead and decorated it. But it did feel lonely as usually there are at least a couple of “helpers.” Will’s not much of a holiday guy so he pretty much sits and reads tractor ads while I decorate. It does look lovely though. (And putting up the tree inspired me to wash the windows behind it and also to sweep up the floor where the couch had sat for months. (No, we don’t have dust bunnies — more like dust elephants!)

Today I decorated our Christmas tree even though we won’t be having the big family dinner, due to COVID this year.

Already I’m drawing out plans for our nine gardens, figuring where we can put what, so they are sufficiently isolated in order to harvest pure seed from everything. And if you don’t think that’s a chore! Whew! I just think I’ve got it figured out when I remember something else I absolutely must grow next spring. I also really want to get a small, permanent greenhouse built as our plants tend to get leggy and wind damaged as they get big, just before being transplanted outdoors. Now I carry the plants out onto the back deck where they get more sun than in the windows. But if a wind or storm comes up suddenly, they get blown about and sad looking. I know we can do better as years ago, back in Sturgeon Lake, I had an attached greenhouse to the house and grew hundreds of stocky, healthy plants to transplant out to our market gardens. We always try to think of ways to make what we do easier and better — a never-ending task. Even with the COVID vaccine out there, we feel there’s going to be a steep economic decline and possible food (and other) shortages in the future. So, as we say here, add more manure to the gardens, cut more firewood, and plant more beans! God will do the rest. — Jackie


  1. Wishing you and your families a healthy Happy New Year! I’m new to your site but have so enjoyed all the wonderful information you share. Living in Iowa, we are thankful for growing seasons that allow big gardens and laden fruit trees. Of course, Covid-19 continues to ravage many and the derecho left much destruction behind. Our gardens took a beating but there is always something to salvage and the storm left lots of wood for our fireplace. We’ll be nothing if not warm! We do what we can to raise and process as much as we can. The cellar shelves are lined with jars of food and the freezers are full. Had to laugh at one young man who wondered why we would go to so much work. I told him that God has promised to provide but He doesn’t plant it, harvest it, can it, freeze it, etc. We get to have some skin in the game. He’s been faithful as always, in spite of bad storms, viruses, etc. Your Christmas tree was so beautiful and what a picture out your windows. Such a peaceful place to live. In the middle of Iowa we try to do the same and actually Covid has ‘helped’ us do that. Long distance waving at neighbors and friends isn’t quite the same but we do try to connect with others as much as we safely can. Love the coming new grandbaby; we welcomed our 8th and 9th great-grandbabies in 2020. So blessings come in the midst of trials. So love the wonderful information you share. Just soaking it in. Jeanne

  2. Such a pretty Christmas tree and peaceful snowy surroundings. Great job on the tree!

    I’m also into the spring garden planning and about done. Trying to rotate everything and juggle other factors is like doing a giant jigsaw puzzle. I can only imagine your added challenges of isolating things for seed harvest. Looking forward to growing the pink popcorn and Seneca Sunrise corns this coming year and glad I bought the seed early!

    Merry Christmas to you and your whole family!

    • We love our puffy tree! It’s hard to think, but spring is rushing up, right through all the snow so I need to get busy and draw up plans for a permanent greenhouse so we can get the seedlings out into more sunshine without me spending 3 hours every day moving plants in and out plus watering them. I could use those hours more productively!
      We’re so lucky we didn’t run out of many varieties of seed; we sure didn’t expect the COVID surge in sales when we planted.
      You have a wonderful Happy New Year and stay safe!

  3. Merry Christmas Jackie to all your family! What a lovely tree. No room for one here in our travel trailer, but I’ll be doing some special holiday baking. We are building our own home here on 7 acres in North Georgia. Slow going as we are not using the bank, but when it’s finished we will be debt free. Don’t you think the things you plan and struggle for give the most satisfaction?

    When I have a real kitchen at last we’ll be putting in a garden and canning. I have your wonderful book so I’m ready!

    • Oh definitely! I do hate debt! When we built, it was pay-as-you-go, even though we spent one winter with no insulation in the roof and construction tarps in place of shingles. But it was so worth it! How exciting that you are in the process. You’ll LOVE the end product. Have the best New Year and stay safe!

  4. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ve read your stuff for a long time, years and years, lol! I’ve not been able to do anything yet due to circumstances and health but I’m hoping to pass it on to my kids. I do try to stock up on anything I can when shopping so that’s something, at least.

    • Hey, we all do the best we can at the time and where we are. It’s amazing at how much you can do, even in difficult circumstances if you just keep at it. Merry Christmas!!

  5. What a beautiful picture to share with us.
    I would love to read your baby arrived on Christmas day.
    Merry Christmas.

    • Maybe….. So far, nothing. I guess it was false labor pains. I’m wearing out the floor pacing around so I think I’ll go bake more cookies! Merry Christmas!!

  6. Thank you for all you do to educate and inspire us to become more self sufficient! Wishing you a Merry Christmas in this different year and hoping for a healthy new grandchild! Hard to believe the little boy we’ve watched grow up in your articles is all grown up and soon to expand his fmaily!

    • I know what you mean! It’s hard to not think of our “kids” as kids anymore, isn’t it??? Merry Christmas!!

  7. Merry Christmas!
    Hope you and Will find a deep peace that only that Christ Child gives.
    Thank you for all the help and advice that comes to us in your articles. You are so generous with your knowledge and time. Especially, with all 9 gardens!!

    • Merry Christmas to you Jacquie! You’re very welcome. After all, you are all now my family too. We’ve got to stick together!

  8. So pretty! Wishing you a joyful holiday season! I baked a birthday cake today, for our 6 year old boy… We won’t be inviting anyone either, but I’ll make it as festive as possible for him.
    Nope, the vaccine is no magic panacea against worldwide recession. Being prepared had never made more sense.

    • That’s a fact, Anna. And that’s why we do it; we never know what’s around the corner. We sure don’t live in fear by far. But we feel more content, not having to rely on someone else to save us in everyday emergencies through life. God will help us but He expects us to do our part as well.

  9. Merry Christmas Jackie…
    Thank you for all you do for me throughout the year. You may not know it but I truly enjoy reading these blogs. It is a very bright spot in an otherwise very dark world. We believe things are about to take a very drastic downturn as well and are preparing to the best of our ability. God is with us and will get those who are his home safely. God bless you and please have a nice, worshipful Christmas. ❤

    • You have a very Merry Christmas, Judy. I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. I know I enjoy my small visits with all of you every week. Especially when we all feel a bit lonely due to COVID.

  10. Merry Christmas and all good wishes for the New Year. I agree things might get worse before they get better. New Year’s resolution is just to make to 2022 in one piece. Like you I’m garden planning. I want to try some of the new things in your catalog this year.

    • I hear you, Franci! I’m thinking we’ll need to get our hustle on this coming year, in many aspects of our lives. You have a wonderful Christmas and a great New Year!!

    • Glad to hear that Everett. Here, too! Snowing like mad so I’m baking cookies. Have a wonderful Christmas and stay safe.

  11. Your picture is beautiful . That should really help keep your spirits up . Congratulations on a new grandchild . What a blessing that is .
    I think those of us that are fortunate enough to live in the country and have enough property to raise our own food are very blessed during covid . I know those that don’t , are really struggling . My heart hurts for folks this past year .

    • Still waiting on that new granddaughter. It looks like it was a false labor. Will and I talk every day about how blessed we are, living like we do. I hate watching the news and seeing all the sickness, death, depression and hunger across the country. I can only watch so much of it without getting depressed myself. You have a wonderful Christmas, despite COVID!

  12. Wishing you and yours a very Happy Christmas Jackie! This seems like the perfect year to celebrate all that is good despite the hard year it has been. I’ve been baking up a storm and our little group of three will enjoy! Also taking goodie baskets to friends and family and dropping them off at a “safe” distance on the front porch!

    • Good for you, Robyn! I’m sure everyone really appreciates your thoughtfulness!! There’s always good around, even in such hard times and you’re a good example of that. Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

  13. Beautiful picture! I’m having to enjoying Christmas through others this year, and your photo is so warm and welcoming, thanks for sharing it. Congratulations on the baby that’s on the way!

    • I wish I could pull you right into that picture Tracie! I’m waiting with bitten nails, for that baby. False labor the other day so we still wait. Merry Christmas!

    • I love our home and homestead, right in the middle of the woods, especially at Christmas time. It’s like living in a Christmas card! Merry Christmas!

  14. Merry Christmas Will and Jackie!! Your tree is beautiful!!

    I can’t wait to see the seed catalog. You are right there are many in our area with reduced hours of work or no work at all. So sad and then all this bickering.

    And what does $600 do for covid? Maybe $6000 would set us straight and give us a little cushion! Oh well. Like you said keep working and planning!

    God bless you and your family!!!

    • You’re right, and that $600 is more insulting when you find out a huge chunk of today’s covid bill is going to unrelated items in foreign countries. We are going to be in a world of hurt for the next four years at least. Pray without ceasing, and help others as much as we can. We can find peace in our faith and family this Christmas.

    • That $600 is a drop in the bucket; it isn’t even half a month’s rent and I know folks who are 3-4 months behind in their rent….not to mention things like car payments, insurance, phone, etc., etc., but even a little will help some folks a lot. It’s better to trust God than the government, to take care of us! Merry Christmas Mimi.

  15. Even if everyone on earth could get vaccinated tomorrow and got the second shot on time, the economy is not going to recover for at least a year (if we’re lucky). The lack of federal leadership in 2020 haunts and will continue to haunt the US.
    While my garden is not as extensive as yours, I work through plans in my head. It is a comforting thought as I fall asleep.
    Take comfort that at least David and Elizabeth are local. And you and Will have been being very, very careful during COVID-19.

    • Oh God YES, we have been VERY careful. It’s nothing to mess around with! I agree on the economy and think it’ll be a couple of years (if we’re lucky) before things start to turn around. Too much damage has already been done; business closing, folks hugely in debt, due to lost jobs, evictions looming, etc. I’m seeing a tsunami heading for us in the spring. And I sure hope I’ve VERY wrong! Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

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