When I got up at 5 a.m., everything was orange. The trees, the grass — everything. The smoke was so dense I thought we had a fire nearby. You couldn’t even see across the beaver pond! But all that smoke was from a combination of two fires, one big one in southern Canada and the other, a growing fire about 80 miles southeast of us called the Greenwood Fire. Boy that smoke got our sinuses messed up and our throats clogged. But today, the air was clear, and it sure felt good. The fires are still raging but the wind changed so we aren’t getting the smoke. I sure wish the rains would come and put out those fires. The one in Canada probably won’t go out until we get snow. That’s a scary thought, huh?

Our friend and helper, Heather, came over Monday to help. I’d bought some paper lunch bags so we experimented putting them over the most mature of the Seneca Sunrise sweet corn ears which the Blue Jays were pecking open and eating. In an hour, she’d used most of the bags I’d bought so I headed back to town to get more. (We’ve got lots of corn and even more Blue Jays!) So far, there has been no more damage to the bagged corn, so it seems to be working.

Heather spent the afternoon bagging sweet corn to save it from the Blue Jays.
We staple the bags shut below the ear to keep the bags in place, despite wind.

Our last seminar starts this Friday, so we’ve been busy getting ready for it. Our friends, Dara and Mike came over this morning and stayed all day helping out. Dara is also our chef and wool spinner for the seminar. It’s wonderful to have such good friends. It makes life much better. — Jackie


  1. Just read a thread on another forum about the four corners potato. Have you heard of it? Talking about a potato that can handle the type of weather the southwest is getting. If I read correctly, it was cultivated 11,000 ago. They are talking about planting to get more seeds for distribution. Sounds a lot like you as far as using heirloom and Native American seeds.

    They also mentioned and show a picture of their harvest of Hopi Pale Grey. Looked wonderful.

    kathy in MS

  2. Just wondering what happened to your “Growing and Canning Your Your Own Food Book By Jackie Clay”. Went to buy it for a friend and I don’t see it. Just wondering. I’m sad not seeing it.

    • The company ran out of books! I guess it was a COVID thing. Sam Duffy plans on getting it reprinted early this winter. That’s an expensive book to get printed due to the spiral binding but they sure didn’t plan on running out! So sorry.

  3. Oh….you have a wool spinner this time! How lovely!!! Good luck and enjoy. Can’t wait to see pics from the seminar!!! Sheryl

    • We actually had TWO wool spinners!!! It was sure fun and we got to feel a lot of different types of wool, from angora rabbit to Samoyed dog and alpaca!

  4. I’ve had similar problems with corn and have used duct tape-works well. The Blue Jays know when something is good. Just tape the end of the ear. We’ve had “Smokey skies “ here also. Harvest is in full swing. I really enjoyed my time at your seminar-it was inspiring and Dara is a great cook.

    • I’ll give the duct tape a try. Thanks for the idea. The bags do work very well too. The folks at the seminar wanted to have a one day alumni picnic yearly. Maybe we’ll do just that. It would be fun!

  5. I came from 47 years living in LA suburbs, way back when there was orange groves and breathing room (but smog!). Moved to Spokane, WA about 15 years ago and a culture shock awaited: Bible belt, mid-west cuisine, and many you-pick farms, miles of Palouse wheat fields and four seasons. I hope you find that niche that you seek… it’s out there! Jackie is an example of the sort of folks that have a work ethic and values that we need much more of in our society :)

  6. Darn those pesky bluejays. Hmmmmm…… wonder what they would taste like after you have gotten them corn fed? LOL Hope the paper bags work! I have heard of bagging corn when it is tasseling to help prevent cross pollination.

    • Yep, that’s where I got the idea. And YES, it does work!!! I’ve often thought of “Four and twenty Blue Jays, baked in a pie…”

  7. Hi, Jackie,
    I want so much to belong to a community; a very small community, with a good, word of faith Christian church, where we can go make friends/relationships, where we can help each other in our endeavor to be self-reliant. We’re now looking into moving out of the over- regulated state of California, and our children in Oregon, too. Your life is so busy and hard, it sounds like, but look at the friends you have, friends that truly love by their actions. Congratulations!

    • I hope you find what your heart desires. Less populated areas tend to be more community centered. Our life may be busy but it’s not hard. We all face challenges in our life of some sorts or another. By overcoming them, we grow.

    • PS, I do know a lot of homestead folks in California. Perhaps you could reach out through the magazine and link up.

Comments are closed.