After a summer of drought, we were glad to see the rain, but we were also chomping at the bit to get stuff in the gardens harvested before that dreaded fall frost arrives. We have been so grateful that we haven’t seen any yet. That’s real unusual as by now we usually have been clobbered but good. We’ve harvested two truckloads and two van loads of pumpkins but there are still lots out there, as well as squash, peppers, tomatoes, beans, corn, and … Oh crap, I don’t want to think about it while my post-surgery knee is still healing! I am still taking it easy as I want it to heal. But you know it is hard.

On Saturday, David’s girlfriend’s mother, Karla, came over to help us and she shelled a whole five-gallon bucket of dry beans. I tied up ropes of corn to dry and we had a great visit.

This is some of the Bear Island Chippewa corn I strung up to dry. It makes wonderful cornmeal.

Yesterday, my doctor and friend, Amy Banks, came out to visit with her children, Ari and Harley. She asked Harley, age 9, if she’d like to live on a farm and Harley said “No.” Then I showed her how to shell beans and boy were both she and her brother hooked! They did beans, then Bear Island flour corn, which is very colorful. We went out and picked a huge pumpkin and some gourds for them to take home and then I let them dig in my stock tank raised bed for heirloom red Bliss Triumph potatoes. They both wanted to stay then. And Harley said she loved farming! Will and I both enjoyed watching the kids have such fun.

Harley and Ari loved digging potatoes!
Ari was fascinated to find out where potatoes came from.

Now, today, it’s back to work. I’m seeding tomatoes and peppers while Will is harvesting some Glass Gem popcorn. That popcorn is a little late, which is why I started it inside. But finally, this morning, I picked several ears and found such brilliant, unusual colors! — Jackie


  1. So much to do before Mr. Frosty comes to visit! Don’t forget you can eat the whole elephant… one bite at a time. :) Fortunately his first little visit down here is still about three weeks away.

    Your Provider beans I planted this fall are looking so good and first picking might just be tomorrow.

    Unfortunately the squirrels, not the coons, decimated the bed of your Pink Popcorn! I’ve never seen squirrels do that but then they stole all the tomatoes, both ripe and green, that they could and that’s never happened before either.

    Here’s to a successful “bringing in the sheaves”, be they pumpkins or other. :)

    • Amen Chris! Sorry about your squirrels. They bother our crops sometimes too. I’ve never had them get the tomatoes though. Wow, that hurts!

  2. We’re thinking of moving to Idaho panhandle or western Montana. Anyone here from that region, and can tell me about the growing season and their experience growing outside?

    • Loved living inn western Montana. Miss it so much. Our last frost was typically early June, with our first frost mid September. Then a beautiful Indian Summer. Soil in Stevensville was a delight to work. I planted stone fruit, which matured after I left. Apples grow very well there. Also rhubarb and asparagus. Of course annuals did well. My neighbor had success with raspberries. Strawberries did ok. They never made it into the house, as I ate them while gardening.
      Huckleberries and thimbleberries grow wild. You can find wild asparagus on old homesteads.
      Bulbs are prolific, with irises being a favorite in most yards.
      Surprisingly, you can even grow tobacco there. My daughter is a master gardener and landscaper there (not mow and blow). Her business page is Gaia’s Garden on facebook. Don’t be put off by the inactivity. She’s been dealing with a troll.

  3. Picked the last green tomatoes and pulled the plants. Better half tilled the garden and our hard work re: improving soil truly has paid off. Wish the recent rains had occurred earlier in the growing season but just moist enough for weeding so that’s the silver lining.
    No frost warnings in sight so perhaps the rain and nice-4-fall weather *might* allow local farmers another cutting of hay.

  4. It’s frustrating, waiting for our bodies to catch up with our needs sometimes. I’m glad the children had someone to show them the farming isn’t something to avoid. There is enjoyment and contentment in the work. It’s hard, but baby that knee until it’s healed. Things don’t take to the insults we push on them as easily when we get older.

  5. Only Jackie could have a weekend of visitors that helped her farm say “ now it’s time for work”! Those rocking chairs on your porch aren’t just for decoration, enjoy them!
    Crazy year! Same here, not so much as a night near freezing, and finally mowing the lawn in October! Anddddd we finally have mosquitoes!

  6. So glad that you are healing well! Today I picked 21 lbs of the tomatoes grown from your seeds however they were still fairly green. The weatherman said to pick because there might be frost by Thursday. I hope they can ripen up on the counter. Left some out there as an experiment to see how far I can push it. I also picked a few small watermelons and a Hopi squash. A first time I’ve grown those, and I hope I didn’t pick too soon… everything has to be a learning curve with this stuff! Eastern Washington is entering a slightly wet and possibly freezing Fall.

  7. Its rain and more rain here in the PNW right now, we will have a short break and then its back to rain! After the summer we have had, I am very grateful for it. But I have to say I am already tired of rain and the rainy season has just started! Glad you are doing well after your knee surgery Jackie and that you are getting some helpers of all sizes lol. Hope you can get everything harvested before your frosts hit.. Take care,

    • Thank you Lois. We’re in that rain, rain and more rain period too. Yuck! Makes harvest no picnic. Luckily, the knee seems to be doing well.

  8. I’m new to the blog, but used to pick up the magazine and now I subscribe and eagerly await every issue, so I don’t know what surgery you had, Jackie, but if it was knee replacement – OH BOY! I relate! I wore mine out driving school bus, which is a great job for us part-time farmers as you have the middle of the day free.
    Here in NY, our weather has been, and is strange, too. Double the amount of rain in July meant bean crop failure. Instead of picking 5-gallon buckets, I barely got 5 quarts. My corn only had one ear, even the spinach crop pooped out. Most of the potatoes rotted. Fortunately, there was time to replant a lot of things. I’ve been growing my own food for decades, so these failures were weather related, I have confidence in my skills!
    I did buy a used hoop house though, and it’s so much larger than the small greenhouse I start plants in on the south side of the hay shed. So, there is a 50′ row of beans coming along in there – and yes – no Frost in the outside garden yet.
    Jackie, I enjoyed your article on raising beef, too. I got two Jersey bull calves for free because they aren’t worth anything at the auction, and have a Dexter cow, hopefully bred, coming the end of the month. I still have pork from our last pig, and good golly, my flock of about 16 hens got so broody that we have 49 chicks survive! Only lost three.
    Life is good when you have your own ways of raising food.

    • Nice to hear from you and welcome to the blog! I didn’t have a knee replacement, just some meniscus repair so the healing is going quickly and well. We both had crappy growing seasons this year but we’re so happy our harvest is amazing, despite it. Yes, life is good!!!

  9. Hi Miss Jackie, so glad to see you are getting some help. I know it’s hard to sit still and “be good”. Our weather here in Maine is a bit odd as well. We’ve only had 1 morning so far with some light frost on the windshield and the 10 day forecast shows no freezes coming up. We might have a warmish Halloween! That would be a first. Sheryl

    • It’s so hard to sit and be good that I don’t. I manage to find some things I can to do keep at it yet rest the knee, like picking pole beans and seeding out tomatoes. Neither requires much effort or working that knee. It’s better every day. We usually have a snow storm before Halloween so we’ll see.


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