As if we haven’t been busy enough, getting ready for our weekend seminar, the two long rows of Provider green beans I planted for Bill and Kelly, got ripe much faster than I’d expected. Holy cow, they made tons of beans fast! But then, that’s why they’re called “Providers,” huh? Not wanting them to go to waste, I picked more and more, canning them up every day. The family came up yesterday to pick up their dog, Buddy, who we had been dog-sitting for while they were on vacation, so they had two big, fat boxes full of canned beans to take home. (I’ve got so many jars of them on my pantry shelves, it’s embarrassing!) But I finished up the basket I’d picked yesterday and also have those pint jars sitting on the kitchen island, ready to put away.

This is the last batch of Providers I’m canning. I’m giving the rest to our friend and helper, Heather.

I picked our first Early Polish watermelon and after we had lunch, I cut it open, and we all had a big piece. I gave everyone a little bowl to put seeds in. Wow was that watermelon ever sweet and juicy, despite the drought. I loved it that it had a nice, thick rind. That translates into some wonderful watermelon rind pickles — our favorite treat. And there were not many seeds for such a fat melon, either. Some early melons are pretty seedy characters, and you spend more time spitting seeds than eating melon. Not so with the Early Polish. What a darling of a melon! Of course, our Sweet Dakota Rose melons are pretty hard to beat. We’ve got some very big ones now. They’re an “icebox” watermelon but one sure wouldn’t fit on my refrigerator shelves! I can’t wait until we eat our first one.

This is our biggest Sweet Dakota Rose. I think we’ll have it for our seminar dessert.

The Blue Jays are getting into our corn. Darn birds! Even though I feed the birds, these pests tear open the ripe ears and peck the corn off the cobs. This afternoon, our friend, Heather, is coming out and will help stapling paper lunch bags over the ripest ears, which are the ones they attack. Hopefully that will save them so we can harvest seed. Will’s Seneca Sunrise is such a great sweet corn, everyone wants seeds. (Including the Blue Jays!) Coming right along is a new heirloom Canadian sweet corn, Simonett. I bought some seeds and planted all I had. Wow, what nice plants. They’re shorter and have at least two nice, long ears per plant. Will and I ate a cob raw and boy was it ever tasty and sweet. We’ll be keeping that one, for sure!

See how destructive the Blue Jays are in our corn patches. I pick every ear they start to eat in order to save it.
his is the ear of Simonett sweet corn Will and I ate. Raw! And it was so good.

Our drought continues but we had a little rain the other day, a whopping .23 inch. But, hey, anything is much appreciated. Whew! — Jackie


  1. Hello Miss Jackie, Deb and I are sad we can’t be at the seminar…such good memories! Have fun without us! I planted Providers this year and I couldn’t keep up with them either. I had two other kinds as well but I like the Providers the best. Thanks for promoting them or I might not have tried them. Sheryl

    • We’ll sure be missing you both!! Aren’t Providers impressive though??? My kind of bean. We like to munch on them raw too.

  2. + Deer likely aren’t frightened by hawks. : ) High fence, or 2-3 strands of electric fence, are the only thing that seems to discourage deer. (We use solar electric fence.)

    • We had a relatively small garden(about 15′ from the woods) but what we did was attach aluminum pie pans by paracord to the tops of a couple of the tomato cages. And one or two on the support for the cucumbers. They flip and sway in the wind and make noise when they hit the cages. Deer don’t like the sudden noise and found out that moles don’t like the vibration in the ground either.

      kathy in MS

  3. What a wonderful gift to give you son . That was a lot of hours spent to pick , snap , and can the beans for him . Not to mention the gift the the ever elusive canning jar lids .

    • We grow so everyone can eat. Folks often ask me WHY we plant so much in the gardens. It seems there’s always someone who can use what we don’t need. (I was stocking up lids over a year ago. Folks said I was nuts. Now they’re whining about having no lids… Hmmmm.)

  4. Every year you are canning like mad. Do you date, rotate and inventory as you store the current year’s harvest? It is challenging enough when one doesn’t store as much as you do be it home canned, purchased, combination of both.
    While my city raised spouse is not a city slicker by any means, he did give me a funny look the other day when I talked about corn stalks having more than one ear. GMO field corn is one per stalk of course. Gone are the days of someone escaping into a GMO field – no way could a person run between rows! I find it rather sad when a person told us that when he was growing up, the fields his family owned got almost as many bushels per acre (this was in the 30s, 40s) as they do today. GMO is con job IMHO.

    • I agree, Selena. But folks are often lazy and are easily talked into spraying Roundup on the weeds in their corn instead of cultivating it. Yep, it’s SO safe, right???? Not to mention the possible affects of the GMO business.
      I do rotate my shelves but I usually don’t date as I can so much. But I do remember my jars. Some years, the beans are more slender, other they’re fatter. Some years the corn kernels are smaller, other years, larger. Yep, I know that’s not a perfect solution, but I am lazy and just don’t bother writing on each jar after I clean them up to stock the pantry.

  5. Jackie Clay

    Dear Jackie;

    A bird-scaring tip that has worked for us, at last! Hope this helps with your marauding bluejays.

    Search amazon for ‘hawk kites’ to find the most realistic versions.
    Splice together two bamboo poles (or any other ‘rods’) to create approximately 16’ poles, however many you need. (Probably a little shorter to hover over the corn.)

    Fasten a swivel snap hook at the tip of each pole that you will use for this first set-up.

    We removed all the kite line from one of the hawks, replacing it with a straightened wire coat hanger, about 3’ total length. One end was fastened to the kite, the other to the swivel hook. This setup eliminated the possibility of kite line wrapping around the pole (the coat hanger is stiff enough not to wrap around anything) creating a 3 foot radius on which the hawk circles.

    If your ground isn’t soft enough to ‘sink’ the pole, drill a hole large enough to accommodate the pole.
    Now sink the pole, and your guard hawk will begin performing its duty.

    In our case (we were protecting apple harvest), we had a second type of set up, using two more poles, about twenty feet apart, running a smooth vinyl clothes line between them. Kite string was removed, but we left the short, central string between the wings in place. A fishing-line-type snap hook was used to fasten the short kite string to the clothesline (not the end of the poles), allowing the hawk to ‘fly’ from one pole to another. (It’s ok if the line sags a bit.)

    To prevent the hawk from wrapping around either end of the clothesline/poles, we duct taped a ping-pong ball on each end of the clothes line, about 2 ½’ from each pole. This prevents the hawk from reaching the very end of the pole, preventing tangling.

    In our case we have a couple of apple trees too far from the house for human activity to deter the normally-shy red-headed woodpeckers; they came in flocks of seven or eight, pecking ALL the apples about a month before harvest. We’d tried shiny ribbons, etc etc to no avail; in fifteen years, we’d never had ONE apple from those trees.

    After installing the two hawks, the greedy woodpeckers (and feasting blue jays, too) literally disappeared. (Smaller birds show up here and there, but they don’t seem to bother the apples.)

    NO bird pecks!!! None! But lots and lots of apples!

    Hope this works for you, too. And thanks for all the great tips you have shared with us!!

    • I’d love to see a couple pictures of your setup…. wondering if it would keep deer out of my pumpkin patch. They eat every single one every single year. Grrrr.

    • That sounds good. I’ll have to Google them. We do have corn in six gardens plus three varieties in one big one so we’d need several hawks. Thanks.

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