After watching the news and seeing the devastation from the band of killer tornadoes that ravaged the center of the country, we feel so lucky to be living in a nice, warm house, with our loved ones safe and everything snug. Our prayers go out daily to those affected by this horrible storm as we realize they have a very hard row to hoe, overcoming all that has happened. I ask that you join in my prayers too as that’s all many of us can do.

I finally got another quarter of David’s deer cut up. As we have lots of stewing and ground meat canned up in the pantry, I decided to make this one into mostly stew. So I spent the day cutting meat, then adding potatoes, carrots, onions, and celery, along with tomato sauce, in a turkey roasting pan. So far, I’ve got nine quarts and a pint canned up and a little more in the canner right now. It sure smells good!

I spent the afternoon putting together this giant batch of venison stew, getting ready to can it up.

When I went down to get potatoes, I noticed one of those huge Dakota Pearl potatoes had a damp spot on the end, indicating rot starting. So I brought that one up. It was, honestly, as large as two of my hands! And when I peeled it, there was only one small bad spot and the whole giant potato was as solid as could be. Wow! I expected at least some hollow heart as it was raised in a summer of drought, with irregular watering at best. What a surprise!

This huge potato had just one small wet spot and turned out 99% solid!

I did have to laugh though. When I was making the stew, I took the peelings out onto the driveway where we feed the deer squash and pumpkin bits. And right away, three deer popped up. It was peculiar; here I was making venison stew…

It was kind of weird; I was cooking venison stew and feeding our neighboring deer at the same time.

— Jackie


  1. And #4 is behind the bulldozer!! Gee, I absolutely hate it when folks dump off animals. There’s always a home out there for castoffs….if a person just takes the effort to find one.

  2. That stew looks amazing! I pray for all those affected by that killer storm. My middle daughter lives in KY. Their tornado sirens went off, but thankfully no damage in their town. The devastation is unbelievable. I like to feed the birds, but have a running battle with squirrels,lol. Have a blessed day.

  3. Prayers for all affected by the storms. Love your story of feeding the deer while you process a deer. As a side note…. before feeding deer in your area make sure it is legal. Some states it is illegal to feed them as a private citizen (Colorado is/was one of those states). Stay safe to one and all.

    • Yes, it is legal here, though frowned upon. However, we live in the middle of the National Forest and there is no Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) around so we don’t feel bad about providing our wildlife with squash, pumpkins and other garden by-products.

  4. Praying for those who lost family, homes and the injured. I can’t fathom the heartaches people are experiencing.
    Your stew looks delicious. I ordered an All American canner earlier this fall and it’s back ordered until next May. I am looking forward to canning stew and meats along with vegetables next year.
    You have encouraged me and given me confidence. Thank you. Merry Christmas.

    • We’ve been praying non-stop for those folks. I sure wish I could bring some of them up here for Christmas to give them a reprieve before they start over again!! Congratulations on taking that big step toward more self-reliance via home canning. You’ll absolutely LOVE it!! Merry Christmas to you!!

  5. Jackie. What’s the secret to keeping squashes over winter? I grew a few butter nuts and brought them in after they dried on the vine but 6 have already become mouldy

    • One secret is to harvest them before they get frosted upon. Even though they don’t show signs of damage, being frosted will usually damage the skins, making them prone to mold. Another is to keep them at room temperature, not in a cool area. For years in the past, I’d carry my pumpkins and squash down to the cold basement for storage, then back up after a few month’s time, rotting. Now, I pile them up in the entryway/living room and they stay good until the next fall or even later if we don’t eat them up. Finally, some squash are outstanding keepers where others aren’t. For instance, acorn squash barely will make a couple of months where Hopi Pale Greys will last for two years or more!

  6. Praying for those tornado stricken to have food, clothing and a warm place to sleep while they regroup and rebuild. I can’t even imagine living thru such devastation.
    So glad you and Will are safe and snug. We depend on you two and appreciate all that you do!!!
    Have a great Christmas!!!

    • Prayers definitely help but boy I wish we could do even more for those folks. Have a wonderful Christmas and be sure to count your blessings!!

  7. My husband spent a lot of time cursing squirrels and shooting them this year. We have a nut tree grove and the squirrels seem to get more of our harvest than we do. The last few weeks he has been feeding the squirrels. LOL.

  8. Love the deer story! My sister in Pennsylvania is processing and canning up a deer this week, and we were talking about this very thing…how cute and adorable their little faces are, but at the same time how thankful we are when we have jars of venison lined up on the shelf to feed our families. :)
    Praying with you for all the families affected by the tornadoes. :(

  9. I too put out food (and water) for wildlife. Their senses are phenomenal – no sooner than I feed (not always the same time of day), they appear.
    I hope you’ve made some venison sausage – might be nice for Xmas breakfast/brunch.
    Had a visiting feline tonight – not feral, size indicates adult (or what could be a really large adult!). Not sure if roving from the area or a recent dump (we live in a high dump area sad/mad to say). Looked well nourished yet gladly consumed the bowl of food I put out. I see feline semi-regular not-regularly-fed barn cats/dumps that I’ve yet to entice to eat what I put out. Yet I continue to try.
    Glad to see IL looking at safety areas/protocol re: tornado. Extremely sad for those in other states. Seems worker safety was not a priority and like it or not, building codes/storm shelters seemed to be lacking.
    Took me a second look to see deer #3!

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