We woke up to thundering rain this morning. It had rained all night and now, in the afternoon it’s still raining. Gloomy except for we know that, finally, our drought of all summer has definitely broken. Thank God! Two days ago, the forecast said frost, so our friends, Dianne and Gina from the Watering Can in Cook, came out to pick pumpkins. We sure had a great time, finding and carrying out to their truck, nice, round, fat, orange pumpkins, our earliest crop. They ended up with a truck and van nearly full — and that was just some of them. They’ll be back to pick more in a few days as the rest of them continue to ripen. Dianne’s husband, Mark, came with them and our friend, Heather, was also here. So it was a quick, fun job and nobody had to work hard.

I’ve been continuing to harvest tomatoes and corn, taking the seed out of about a dozen varieties of tomatoes every day. Every time I go out to the Sand garden, I find more “favorites.” One of our best newcomers is Sasha’s Altai, a Siberian tomato that Sasha, a local Siberian gardener, carried 20 miles to an American seed gatherer, saying it was the best tomato in the whole country. Now that’s dedication! And Sasha was far from wrong. Such a tasty tomato! And so productive too. Another favorite is a striped plum tomato with awesome coloration called Gargamel. This gorgeous tomato sure livens up salads with both its taste and coloration. Wow! Is all we could say.

Aren’t these Gargamel salad tomatoes awesome?

Our friend from southern California, John Carone, who had attended two of our seminars with his wife, Mia (who gave us our wonderful tomato, Mia’s Italian Paste! and others), came for a visit. He had been working in the Twin Cities and drove up for a visit. We sure had a great time, catching up and showing him around the gardens. He was wowed by some of our cherry tomatoes and I’m sure they’ll be growing some of them real soon. John and Mia and their kids have become extended family to us so we were sure sad to see him go. He promised they would come visit sometime soon.

We feel so blessed to live in our beautiful woods.
Every time I pass this maple on our drive, I’ve got to stop and gaze in wonder.

The fall colors are spectacular this year, I think chiefly due to the drought. I love driving down our driveway now. Just think, folks drive hundreds of miles to see the fall colors and we get to see them every single day! — Jackie


  1. Jackie, I always enjoy your articles in Backwoods Home and the one in the latest issue on Off-season Canning was very good. I keep hoping that during some cold snowy winter, you may have the time and energy to write an autobiography. I learned a lot from Starting Over and would love to know more about your earlier life as a mother of eight children. Please think about it, those of us with large families could learn from you. Thanks for all your wisdom of experience. Linna

    • I didn’t mind writing Starting Over but doing an autobiography? Probably not as I always think< who'd care??? A lot of autobiographies are so boring. Mine would probably be too!

      • Dear Jackie, I hate to argue with you, but I think I speak for many who look at you as a friend and mentor in many areas. I’m sure that a story of raising your family would inspire lots of readers. Please think about it. Linna

  2. Here it went from beautiful fall colors on Sunday to six inches of snow Monday night and Tuesday. Yesterday we dug about three hundred and fifty feet of potato row. My daughter shoveled off the snow and pulled the vines and I dug them. Friends helped picked them up. I still have to lay them out and sort them a couple bags at a time. It’s snowing again today, couple inches so far. It’s a little early, even for here!

      • We live in the southern part of the Copper Basin, Alaska. If you go 30miles further east you are in the Wrangels Saint Elias National Park.

        • Thank you! It’s so nice to know what area people are referring to when they post comments of how the weather is affecting their gardening. It’s interesting to hear the challenges people face in different areas of the country, but most do not say where they are writing from, so you are left wondering things like ‘why are they surprised about frost in August or snow in Sept?’ haha But if they are writing from Texas or Florida, ya I suppose that would be a big deal! :)

  3. I love following Jackie. But for anyone out there, how do I keep rodents out of my yard, and out of a camper that I live in. Thanks.

    • It wasn’t so beautiful nor productive when we moved here; just stumps, small trees and rocks. Shows that hard work pays big dividends in the end.

  4. We miss you guys so so much! Our kids and I loved hearing all about Johns adventures while visiting! Can’t wait to see your faces again!!! Lots of love, Mia, John and family


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