We’ve been incredibly busy harvesting this last week. It’s been raining hard — off and on — but we still have to get crops in before the first freeze hits. And looking at the forecast, it looks like it may happen next week. When you just have a garden, it’s not so hectic due to the size of most folks’ gardens. However, we now have six big gardens and with the seed business, a whole lot more stuff to bring in as opposed to what we used to harvest when it was for our own eating and pantry. Luckily, our fall has been beautiful (between rains), with above normal temperatures, both day and night.

Between rains, our fall colors have been fantastic. This was last evening, right at sundown.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been canning what I could squeeze in, doing salsa, cowboy candy (candied jalapeños), and Vaquero relish (a moderately spicy pepper relish). No, I still haven’t seen any canning jars or lids in the stores!

Our friend, Mike, heading to the beans through the tomatoes. Most of the plants are about done now and the garden is red with tomatoes.

Then there’s my knee. Yesterday I took the “day off,” driving down to Cloquet to have a follow-up appointment with the surgeon who worked on my knee two weeks ago and to have my stitches out. That went well and he said I had no restrictions other than not to lift objects that are too heavy. But it took most of the day, driving down the 80 miles, waiting around the hospital, and seeing the doctor.

Our living room is now stuffed with beans in crates, buckets, and bags!
Will devised this way of helping crates of bean pods dry down; a DeWalt battery powered fan below the crates sure helps.

Today, friends, Mike, Dara, and Dirk (who attended our seminar), came to help pull in beans. The ground was sloppy out in the North garden, where most were located, but we kept at it and brought in buckets, bags, and crates of various beans, both bush and pole. Now the entryway and living room are full of beans! And because most were at least a little damp, we’re challenged by trying to get them dry before they heat or mold. Will borrowed David’s DeWalt battery powered fan, which he set up under a tier of crates of beans. Then the ceiling fan is running with a fire in the wood stove. We’ve also got beans drying in the enclosed porch, on old sheets. Luckily, we’ve got most of the corn harvested, and some of the pumpkins, squash, and melons. I’m still seeding out tomatoes as well. And, yes, the kitchen does have fruit flies, despite my traps. Oh well, it’s all part of the harvest and we know it will soon be wrapped up. (I hope…) — Jackie


  1. Glad you had folks who came and helped. Happy news about your knee. I’m planting garlic, onions and potatoes in converted kiddie pools and in grow bags this weekend. I’m in zone 9b. Hoping to grow enough to sell later with a garden as soon I figure out what is with the soil. I think it’s acidy and if the tests are come back that way I’ve got to fix it. Thank you for all your great articles and books.

  2. There you are! And busy as all get out. The work is neverending, isn’t it? I’m one of the ones that just has the one garden (and some raised beds). My husband says it’s too big, but I can a lot of our own foods. I save a few seeds from some of the favorites, but wouldn’t be able to do a seed business. Even if the doctor says no limit, take it easy on that knee. You want it to last .

  3. I picked all the tomatoes and pulled the plants because a frost or two has arrived here in Eastern Washington. The bill Bean Bean variety from you has made the biggest tomatoes I’ve ever seen! It was a good run and I have lots of green tomatoes catching the morning sun as they ripen in the entryway. There was over 25 pounds so salsa, sauce, etc is next :)
    It’s always good to get to read about other gardens in the different parts of the country. Jackit is an inspiration to us all!

    • jSo glad your Bill Beans did so well for you. They’re our very favorite tomato and that’s saying a lot! Isn’t harvest time great???

  4. Good to hear from you, but surely understand how busy you are… and still recovering! You all amaze me with what you get done. Hoping things continue to go well. Thanks for the update Jackie!

  5. You remind me of my dear grandmother who wrote me years ago and said she was cutting down on her garden. She was in her 80s then. When I went to see her that summer she didn’t have one garden. She had three! I laughed and it is such a fond memory. I hope to be just like her! Take care of yourself and enjoy the harvest!

  6. Glad you are doing so well. Try not to overdo. I wanted to tell you that one year, the tomatoes were not real juicy on the vine in late October, no frost either. I got the idea to dehydrate them and it worked. I sliced fairly thin, dried them with skins on, and then put in blender and made powder. That was 6 years ago and I still have a tad in a mason jar just for experimental purposes. As long as it is dry, its good. I did have to knock the jar around this year as it was hard as a brick but still good. Enriches the tomato flavor in anything. I also did some two years ago with red ripe ones in August. It just took a little longer to dry them. I also have put green tomatoes in cool storage(before frost) and had red ripe tomatoes at Christmas dinner. I am longing for the old red tomatoes I see in your pic!

  7. Jackie! I must have missed some blogs concerning your knee and the surgery. My prayers are with you for a speedy recovery on that. I am glad to hear you had some help with the gardens, nothing would get me more angry than to have a harvest and no way to get it stored. You’re blessed to have some excellent help. I’m also holding your seed business in high prayer because without a store of seeds where are we going to be? The world is changing and by the grace of God, homesteaders can help the planet continue. Thank you for all you do!

    • Thank you Ethel. The knee is doing better and yes, we really appreciate our friends who help out from time to time! We’re forecasting a big food shortage coming up in the country so I sure hope everyone out there grows a big garden and puts away plenty in the pantry.

  8. Most people plant less as they get older you and Will have gone the other direction. I don’t know how you do it! With just my medium sized garden – I have had to put so much produce/fruit in the freezer for canning later. With the exception of our peppers. I swear my one Jalapeno plant produced enough to feed a village. We are set with pickled Jalapenos, Jalapeno Jelly, canned Jalapenos.

  9. Smart idea using the fan from underneath (but don’t tell Will I said so :-).
    I’m so glad friends came to help. I would if I lived nearby and Deb would come to cheer us on!
    Our weather in Maine is unusually warm as well and it is letting everyone get all the outdoor preps ready which is nice. Soon, it will be time for hot cocoa by the fire and some rest…sweet.

    • Sure, but that’s when our seed business gathers steam. But, hey, that’s what keeps us young, right??? I know you would be right in there helping. But every time I use my NutriMill or Mehu Liisa, I think of you!! So, see, you’re still right here.

  10. Not gonna lie, I was worried about you folks. I know you’re swamped with things to do to beat the freeze. Thanks for the update and hope those beans dry out before they mold.

  11. Thanks for taking the time for the update! Knew you were swamped this week, with such a small window for harvest. Blessings as you continue to encourage all of us.

    • No problem. We took special care to grow extra this year as we look for a big food shortage heading our way and folks will sure need to grow a big garden next year to keep everyone fed. (I sure hope I’m wrong about this!!)


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