After two weeks of sub-zero highs, we’re dancing around in the sunlight, with temperatures melting the snow off our roofs and making our chickens sing. Will went over and paid for his new bulldozer and is now getting stuff ready so he can go over and see if he can get it started. (It hasn’t run for five years.) Between seed orders, he’s been studying his owner and repair manuals so he has a good understanding of it when he makes a try at getting it running. The yellow paint has dulled as it’s a 1980’s model so I’m calling it “Old Rusty.” Will’s not so thrilled with that name!

It’s so nice to see water dripping off the icicles everywhere.

Our wild turkeys are now getting pretty tame. When Mom turkey came last fall with her kids, the young turkeys were pretty wild. Now they come running like dinosaurs when they see me with a bucket of feed for them and the deer. I’m wondering if when it’s nesting time, if they will stick around or go off with Mom like she’s always done in the spring. I sure hope they stick around! But we will have to do a little extra fencing as they duck under the pipe gate, going to the back yard and gardens, and enjoy fluffing in the dust under the spruce trees next to the duck yard. They’d also love to fluff in the garden dirt and eat tender plants, though!

Our wild turkeys have tamed down considerably. We hope they’ll stick around after nesting season.

I just discovered a very handy, cheap, tool. It’s a corn sheller, held in your hand, and it makes very quick work of shelling smaller cob corn. My hands used to get very sore, shelling corn both for seed and to grind for cornmeal as I’d do many cobs at a time without gloves on. (I hate  wearing gloves, even in the winter; they restrict my ability to feel what I’m doing!) I’ve been looking for years at the Jung’s catalog, studying their popcorn sheller. It’s less than $10 but for some crazy reason, I never bought one. Just two weeks ago, as I was shelling another big batch of corn, I decided I’d go ahead and buy the sheller. Boy oh boy, am I happy I did! It not only keeps my hands in good shape but shells corn so much faster than I could shell it by hand.

Here’s my hand-held corn sheller we love for use on popcorn and most smaller cob corn.

We also have a big corn sheller you clamp on the side of a garbage can, insert a cob and turn the handle. But that one’s too big when you’re only doing a couple pounds of corn. That little sheller is just the ticket and stores easily in my silverware drawer. I love it! — Jackie


  1. Love the simple tools (like corn sheller) that make jobs a little easier. I just finished a book you recommended: ‘Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden’. Wow! So much interesting gardening and preserving information. They sure knew how preserve without any equipment! Absolutely amazing! I’m curious if you’ve ever tried shelling corn how she described… setting up a tent (theirs were under their outdoor drying rack) and beating it with a stick? :)
    Linda in SW Montana

  2. You know, Jackie, I didn’t know a blog could be so delightful. Thank you so much for sharing a little of your life-happenings. I learn a lot. This will be my first year to grow popcorn and I will be going to Jung’s right away for that tool! The Lord gives such beautiful and practical ideas to people. I hope you are well. I pray for your family and think of that elbow spot on your skin. I’ve just ordered a couple of your pantry and cook books. You seem to have marvelous energy and creativity, and just keep going. How do you do it all? God Bless, from far north California

    • I’m thinking folks sure get nudged into creating such useful things sometimes! We’re well, here. I just got my second COVID vaccination and all went well. No side effects whatsoever. I feel much better about that now! I may even get a permanent; my fine, straight hair looks a fright, no matter what I do with it. And I sure don’t fuss! In two weeks I go to have a little more skin cut out of my arm but the initial biopsy sight is flat and clean so I’m not worried. Some of my “energy” kind of drains out but I find when you just keep doing SOMETHING, a lot gets done.

    • That’s a cob of Bear Island Chippewa; it comes in a wide variety of beautiful colors; some nearly solid and most a pretty mix.

  3. Wish we had a corn sheller growing up, all 8 of us kids would set in living room and shell corn for pigs and cows. We never had a TV so that and outside work was our entertainment, wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

  4. Back in the 1950’s we moved to my grandfather’s farm and grandparents moved into our house in town. Dad bought a Farmall H (I think that’s right) spent the winter overhauling it and painted it with John Deere paint. He’d worked for John Deere as parts manager before starting farming. We lived a half mile from the highway and everyone who say that tractor in the field thought Dad had a brand new John Deere. Closer than a half mile they’d realize it wasn’t! Maybe you should buy Will some paint for Old Rusty.

    Isn’t it amazing that such a simple old fashioned hand held devise like your corn sheller can make life so much easier. I can recall rubbing two cobs together to shell of corn for the chickens which wasn’t all that easy for a pre-teen.

    • Hmmm. David has some partial cans of Cat Yellow from when he worked at Ziegler Cat. Pretty close to Dresser Yellow. But Will HATES to paint. We’ll see how that goes.
      Yep, before the sheller, that’s how I shelled corn and there were always some stubborn cobs that refused to give up their kernels so I’d have to pick at them with my fingernails. After a few such cobs my hands hurt!

  5. I hear you re: turkeys dusting. Haven’t had them eat any plants but had to “rescue” a couple of plants that were knocked around. Those of us with smaller gardens can “fence” around the plants but not an option for you. Covering the “open dirt” areas with straw helps somewhat.

    • Aw, mine are too smart for the straw thing. They even scratch through the snow to find “good” dirt, then make a big fluff spot!

    • Wild turkeys can be albino (very rare) but you will see varying shades of what is termed “smoke phase”. Some white feathers to a lot of white yet not albino.

    • That is the daddy tom. He’s a domestic turkey of ours, a Narragansett, one of the heritage breed turkeys, originally bred from wild, hundreds of years ago. One of his daughters from the wild hen also shows some white feathers.

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