We’ve been really busting butt, trying to get our last crops in before the ground freezes and the snow starts to stack up. Yesterday, we got our first snow; big, fluffy white flakes that fell like crazy. Luckily, it was for only a few minutes, and it didn’t stick to the ground. Heck, Will was out digging our last potatoes and I was on the front porch seeding out some of the last tomatoes. Yes, it was cold — cold tomatoes, cold wind, and cold fingers. But I’m winding down to the last few varieties now and have canned up those two crates that were in the house. I’ve still got two crates of big green tomatoes in the heated greenhouse but they’re still green … so far.

While seeding cold tomatoes yesterday on the porch, it began snowing like mad.

Our potato harvest this year in the new Wolf garden was awesome! I planted two rows and on the west end, they must have gotten more water when it (seldom) rained. They were huge. I mean bigger than a quart canning jar! I’ve never had potatoes that big, ever. We’re really impressed.

Check out our potatoes! (Now if they are solid, through and through, not having hollow heart.)

We finished shelling a new-to-us bean which is now one of my very favorites. It’s called Aunt Jean’s. This is a big, fat, red and white bean I got from Canada, where it’s an heirloom dry bean. I only planted a 32-foot row on a trellis, as it’s a pole bean, in our new Wolf garden and I harvested a huge bread bowl of beans, despite our heat and drought, AND that the Wolf garden is both new and didn’t get any water during the drought until mid-summer! I can only imagine what it could do if it had ideal growing conditions.

We got a whole lot of beans from a package of heirloom Aunt Jean’s pole beans.

Today was hugely crazy as Will had made an appointment at our meat processor to take in two Angus steers. He’s sold quarters of beef from these nice steers. Then, by accident, I’d also made an appointment for 9:30 this morning, in Cook, for us to get our COVID booster vaccinations. Well, our butcher likes his animals delivered in the morning but we had to kind of rush a bit to get everything done. By visiting less with Al and driving the truck and stock trailer right to town, to the clinic, we made it with time to spare. Nothing to the shot; we didn’t even feel it. Then we drove home and went out to feed cows some pumpkins. We have literally tons of pumpkins left, after selling three truckloads to The Watering Can in town! All of the varieties produced very well, despite the drought and not being watered a bit all summer, but the Howdens went crazy. There must be 200 real big, fat pumpkins still out there. Will throws them over the fence and (hopefully) they break when they hit. The ones that don’t, we go around and smash on rocks. And even then, some bounce, rather than break. I take a hammer to mine. And boy do the cows love them! They’re good for animals too. (We had a photo of a wolf out by the Wolf garden, eating a pumpkin!) He must not have been the Big Bad Wolf… — Jackie

42 COMMENTS

  1. I saw you had mentioned your crate of carrots in the last blog. This year I tried the ‘store them in moist sand’ method, in our cool basement. Within a month I had massive sprouts and hairy carrots, so out they came. I won’t be doing it again! Luckily, it was only a shoebox full of sand/carrots, but apparently they loved the dark box and moist sand!
    So, some into fridge drawer, some freezer, and some to be eaten for supper.
    Hope your printer can find paper for you, there’s hardly any other material as important as what you provide.
    Glad you are healing fairly well; just the idea of walking on uneven potato-dug-ground sounds sketchy to me, much less digging them besides!

    • Sometimes you just “gotta do what you gotta do” on the homestead. No, harvesting on a newly fixed knee isn’t ideal. But the doctor did say “do what you want to do on it”……

      • Carrots usually sprout like that if they are too warm and have some light like a window or light bulb. If kept cold and dark they’ll last until spring is about done.

  2. Wow! Those are some amazing taters! It’s always interesting to see how just a slightest change in conditions even within the same row makes a difference. And those beans are gorgeous.

    The summer plants are about wrapped up here. The peppers were pulled yesterday and only the two beds of field peas are left. Fortunately the fall stuff is starting to kick in. We’ve had a cutting of kale, pulled the first few turnips and kohlrabi and there are 2″ buttons on the broccoli.

    BTW, thank you so much for that tip in one of your canning books we have about canning nuts. I read that last year when we were shelling the pecans that were coming down so I did three pint jars just to see. I opened one today and they were sooo good, just as fresh as if they had just been shelled and better than the ones I froze. From now on they’ll be canned!

  3. Like you, Jackie, for the first time I’ve left my picked green tomatoes in the greenhouse to ripen. It’s working out so great and we eat them slowly, just the 2 of us; instead of wrapping them individually in newspaper and waiting for ripening which didn’t work that great, especially with them in the house. How in the world do you grow big potatoes. I’m thinking my soil isn’t fertilized enough. My russets are so tiny, more like potato sets, that I’m throwing them out, my whole 3 rows of crop, after six mths growing. You’re talking about wolves eating pumpkins: we have deer eating our citrus leaves and strawberry plants, which are usually a last resort because they can find nothing else. I’ve just received your book, Summer of the Eagles, and really looking forward to reading!

    • One warning about Summer of the Eagles: Don’t start it in the evening. A lot of folks have chewed me out because they “had” to stay up all night, reading it!
      I can’t give tips on growing such huge potatoes as I think God did it. The Wolf garden is pretty new and it didn’t get much water so go figure. We’re just grateful. We ate one big one last night and it only had a tiny, itty bit of hollow heart, which surprised us.

  4. I finished out the garden yesterday. A half a bushel of assorted hot peppers was the last of this year’s bounty. I’ll dehydrate them for powder and then my garden preserving is done. I’ve tried to save the seeds from some of the better producers, but don’t seem to have much luck. All heirlooms, all processed according to instructions, but the only things that grow well the next season are pumpkins, squash, marigolds, and zinnias. You have the touch. We had 31° last night here in Maryland. Time to get some of the wood on the porch. Take care of that knee and God bless you and the family.

    • Aw, seed saving is just a learned homestead skill. If you failed the first time, keep at it. You’ll get the knack and will be so happy you’re saving so much money. Yep, winter’s coming. Yuck! Thank you for your blessings!

  5. A great harvest despite the challenges of the weather. Good things happen to good people IMHO.
    Is Buffy not helping? lol.. My cat gets a bit miffed when I talk about other cats. So far, she’s not a Buffy fan despite their histories being very similar.
    The followers of this blog are a breath of fresh air. I am *so* tired of fear-mongering/profit-seeking “preppers”. A shortage does not mean unavailability.
    I’ve got my eye on another area on our property that would work as an annual garden. Not large by Jackie standards but a sufficient size area none the less. I’ll start working on the better half for planting more potatoes.

    • We enjoy keeping prepared; it’s not a fear thing. Freedom is SO neat! Not having to depend on stores or others is wonderful!! It’s great you have another section to turn into another garden. Isn’t it fun???

  6. Miss Jackie….I sent you an order but I know you are sooo busy. I am in no hurry so finish what you need to first. Those beans are beautiful. The magpies I got from you have done so well and are just gorgeous. I love to run them through my fingers. Sheryl

    • Yeah. One woman at one of the shows we attended was running her fingers through boxes of various beans and she said “This is better than sex!”. We still chuckle about that one. By the way, your seeds should be in your mailbox real soon.

  7. What kinds of potatoes were those big ones? Ours stunk this year. But we’ll eat what we got.

    Love all the veggies you had. Can’t wait for your catalog!!!

  8. Loving your interesting blog
    Those potatoes are something
    Was wondering if you hollowed
    Out a center long area, could you
    Fill it with sausage/ meatloaf like
    My sister does her squash???

  9. I have to say, I was shocked when you said that was a qt jar next to the potatoes. Can you imagine making foot long french fries out of them! And Aunt Jean’s beans are the prettiest I have ever seen.

    • No. That was a pint jar next to them. I meant that they were as large as a quart jar. Sorry. We thought Aunt Jean’s were so very pretty and so very productive too!

  10. I love those potatoes! Wow! Once you get all your veggies canned and seeded, hopefully you can rest. Prayers for your knee to be healed completely! Love your blog Jackie! 💜

    • Sorry; I was misleading. The potatoes were larger than a quart jar but the one in the photo is a pint. So you were right. Will weighed one and it weighed 3 pounds.

  11. New ground always seems to produce more and better. I truly think changing the plots every two – three years with good grass for nitrogen helps tremendously. We used a new potato garden this year that was so good the wiregrass we missed grew right through some of the potatoes. They’re still awesome potatoes.
    I wonder if a wolf ate the pumpkins would a coyote eat them as well. We’re currently covered up with the nasty things but thankfully no loss of calves to them. We do have to watch the golden and bald eagles though. They also are prospering here in Virginia.
    The beans are awesome and hope to find some for myself next summer.
    Take care Jackie and Will!!!

    • We think the huge size was from a combination of really good basic soil (sand/clay) and the rotted cow manure Will spread on it. Then we had such a long growing season this year too. I’ll bet coyotes would eat pumpkins. Our dogs do if they’re cooked.

  12. Love beans. Just can’t get over God’s handiwork makinng all those colors and varieties. And they taste good too.
    Right now, my pole beans are just coming on. Pickig about half a pound a day. Eventually, I’ll save some seeds for planting; but can I save more for cooking?

  13. I hate to be the bearer of bad news——but wolves who eat pumpkins, will huff and puff and blow your house down. Love that bowl of beans.

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