We’ve been really busy, seeding out the melons and squash in the greenhouse as we’re heating it with propane, and it really isn’t sealed up tight enough for economical heating yet. We’re trying to get it emptied out so we can turn off the propane heater before we run out of propane in the 250-gallon propane tank. It’s amazing just how many pumpkins, squash, melons, and peppers we crammed in there! As I remove and clean the seeds from several squash or pumpkins, Will takes them down to the cows. Boy, do they really enjoy the treat! I also feed some to the goats (favorite so far is Theron’s Winter squash) and the chickens (they like Arnie’s Golden Buttercup best). Our friends, Mike and Dara, have also been coming a day or two a week and helping out by filling seed packets and stamping envelopes. Thank God for good friends!

Isn’t this Giraumon Martinique squash lovely? It tasted just as good as it looked and then some.

Then David brought home a deer, following hunting season. Of course, he doesn’t have time to process it and Elizabeth is going to school plus caring for Delilah, so he wondered if I could can it up. Yep. I can. It was frozen solid when he brought it, but thank God he skinned it first. To get it quartered, Will and I are cutting it up, frozen, with his battery powered reciprocating saw. Hey, that works slick! First, we cut off the entire rear quarters, then Will cut the quarters in half through the backbone. It took one afternoon and night to mostly thaw out one quarter. It had just enough ice in the meat to make cutting it up very easy. I cut part into stewing meat and part into chunks to grind for hamburger. I’m so happy with our electric meat grinder, which made grinding the chunks a snap. I did mix it with about ¼ fatty hamburger that I bought at our local market. (Our beef hamburger is extra lean so that wouldn’t work!)

Here’s some of the first quarter of David’s venison, all canned up.

Yesterday afternoon, I went ahead and canned up that processed quarter, then ground up the yucky scraps for the animals’ treats. Boy, even though it was mostly silverskin, gristle, and yucky meat, the ground meat looked good enough to eat. I sure won’t be eating it but Spencer, Hondo, Mittens, and Buffy will sure enjoy it. I’m freezing it into Ziplock lunch bags so I can make it last. I don’t want to give them too much at a time or they’ll get the poopies! — Jackie


  1. Yep, too much meat will give dogs awful gas, which is why I’m parceling out small packs of the ground meat for treats; emphasis on SMALL!!!

  2. Jackie do you mind me asking what brand of meat grinder you have;Thanks. I always love reading your articles and blog:)

    • I don’t mind at all. My grinder is an Easton, which Will got on sale at Menards a few years ago. It was around $100. And it sure does the job easily. It stuffs sausage and meat sticks too.

  3. All that squash sounds so good! It’s my favorite! Hopefully things will slow down a little for you soon. What a blessing to have Mike and Dara to help. Happy canning.

    • We sure gobbled it up that night! Yum! And Spencer and Hondo each got a skin with some meat on it for a treat. Yes, having friends helping out sure helps a lot! We greatly appreciate them.

  4. We have three options on grinding, I have a really good hand grinder which we mostly retired, we have a grinder attachment for the kitchen aid which works for small to medium batches and a large semi commercial one for big batches but that is too heavy to haul in from storage for small batches and clean up after.

    • Yep, I’ve got a big, heavy duty, bolt-down hand meat grinder that I used for years. It got retired when Will bought me the Easton electric meat grinder, which is much easier on my bum shoulder. For around $100 it was a super homestead helper!

  5. Oh that canned meat looks so good!! You are doing a great job! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!!

    • And it tastes as good as it looks too! I hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year too.

  6. I did the same with one my sons. He has and electric meat grinder-really slick. I have the old fashioned hand crank-that will stay on a shelf. We added 20% beef suet and packaged in freezer bags. Weather here in southern Wisconsin to be 50 and I still have spinach to harvest. How do dry your squash seeds? You are REALLY busy.

    • I also have an old fashioned, heavy, bolt-down meat grinder in the cupboard but the electric grinder is so easy and fast too. And we thought we had it warm at 40 degrees for a day!! Drying squash seeds is easy. You just squeeze them individually out of the strings, rinse them in a wire sieve under running water to clean them up a bit, then drain and pat dry with a towel and lay out in a single layer on a cookie sheet where it’s warm and protected from mice, who will gladly eat them all. Once dry, they can go in jars or containers that are insect-rodent proof.

  7. I remember one winter, we got a buck so late, we just left the meat hanging in the garage and cut what we needed for a meal. Couldn’t give any to our dog, though. Gave her the most awful smelling gas we couldnt stay in the house with it.

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