We’d gotten a foot the day before yesterday and darned if we didn’t get another 10 inches last night! We knew the snow and below zero temperatures were coming so Will and I set out four big round bales for the horses and cows last night. He had the drive and the road down to the barn plowed and I’d snow-blown my trails to the woodshed, storage barn, and goat/chicken shed, plus a trail down to the goat pasture, where Whinny, Ava’s pony, is wintering. When it started snowing while we were setting out hay, we kind of thought it would stop after a while. Ha ha!

When you live off grid, the first thing you do after a big snow is clean off the solar panels, which Will is busy doing.

We woke up this morning to nice, bright sunshine. And almost another foot of light, fluffy snow. So, we set about doing all we’d done two days ago — plowing and snow blowing. Now, when you’ve got a mile and a half long driveway, that’s a lot of plowing. Especially when you count the yards. And especially when the darned plow gets cranky and won’t dependably go up and down, let alone angle at the touch of a finger … or a whole hand. It took Will over an hour of steady plowing to get us cleared out. Meanwhile, I got on the snow blower and again cleared trails to our buildings. I’m sure glad we have that amazing snow blower! Shoveling sure takes a long time when you have so much to do.

I was busily clearing out our paths with my new Christmas snow blower this morning. Yes, I was wearing tennis shoes!

Tomorrow, I’m setting about canning up the leftover ham from Christmas dinner. Of course, I’ll boil the bone and use the broth to make Will’s favorite bean soup too. It was a cheap, on sale ham but surprisingly, it was tasty too. I’m about out of canned ham so I’ll be glad to refill the empty spots on the pantry shelves. If I have energy, I’ll also can up some baked beans as we love them as a side dish or doctored a bit, for a main-dish meal. We are so very blessed to eat so very well!

I promised Peggy to include a Christmas dinner photo with me in it, even though I have a goofy look on my face.

— Jackie


  1. SNOW! We got a bunch here in Northern New Mexico, FINALLY! It has been so dry so far! I was shovelling the snow from the driveway AND the street onto the flowers and yard.. my neighbors think I am crazy. LOL

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. I can meat often, but have never canned ham. Do you do it in chunks, or slices? Plain water, or some kind of broth? In what kind of recipes do you use the canned ham? I take that back; I got too clever for my own good, and canned ham loaf patties in the sauce one generally bastes the loaf in when baking. Since you are not supposed to use either milk nor bread in canning, I substituted well-cooked grain for the bread cubes, and water for the milk. My husband finds them rather ‘tough’, so I slice them thin and use in sandwiches (not often, but I won’t toss/waste them). We got slammed with snow last week, in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains of CA. Not nearly like yours, but tons of residents without power, still.

  3. Our snow started later than predicted but continues to come down. May be hard to tell how much given how much it is blowing. And it never fails, despite the “if you don’t need to go anywhere, stay home”, far too many on the roads.
    The newbie watched it snow for a while, he wasn’t sure what to make of it. Glad he’s safe as the coyotes have been out in full force. Not only do we hear them, but tracks in the yard where we usually don’t see them.

    • When it snows like that, we definitely stay home and enjoy the day. So many wrecks because people “must” go shopping! Even though they knew the snow storm was coming for several days…. We’ve been hearing coyotes too but Hondo does a good job keeping them in the woods.

  4. I have to tell you, I just made my best loaf of bread, ever. Not that it will win any prizes, but… I’ve tried everything, and given up completely. I only make it now to control ingredients. I’ve read your books; I’ve read other articles in BHM; I’ve bought a bread machine; I’ve used my Excalibur. Tasty, but solid. Not like my grandma’s or friends. Yesterday, I had time to both can and bake bread. Perfect combination. I started as soon as the jars were in the canner. First rise was near the canner that I had just turned off. For the second rise, I put the still warm jars around my loaf pan. Got the best rise, ever. Tastes so good.

    • I’m so glad. Warmth is the key to getting a great rise. I open the warming oven doors on my wood kitchen range and sit the bread pans up there and get a great rise. Happy baking!!

  5. It’s nice to see you in the picture! You look happy and blessed. The other pictures were nice, but it’s good to see you also. Snow blowers are handy, we have one also. We have an old jeep that we hook a plow to but our driveway isn’t near as long, but Brian takes care of the neighbors too. I shovel in the chicken run, but only to the duck pond, which has a heater in it. We have a wild squirrel that has a few nests build in the trees behind our house. I’ve named him Mutt and he comes out to eat scratch with the yard birds. I know you don’t really do anything to celebrate, we don’t much either. Our nine year old granddaughter is spending it with us this year, so chips and dip and disney movies!

  6. Jackie that is not a goofy look, you just look happy! We have had temps in the upper 70s and low 80s here this past week, so a little snow would at least cool things off. Happy New Year. I look forward to your posts in the new year.

    • Wow, that’s a WARM holiday season, for sure. We’re heading for something like -30 tonight so send us some of your warmth. Happy New Year!!

  7. Hello Jackie! I sure love your Christmas pic with the family. I love those big dinners too.
    I got a Presto Electric Canner for Christmas and so tickled. Now I can watch my regular canner for short canning periods and use the new guy for those 90 minutes episodes. I’ll put the meats on first and then move on to my vegetables while it has started working. I love your planning ahead note. Hey, we have to plan ahead, don’t we!! I have been hesitant to can meats; but with your book and my new canner I will forge on ahead this year.

    • Yea!!! Once you get started canning meats, you’ll wonder why you didn’t jump in sooner. It’s so easy and the result is so convenient when you go to make a meal. No cooking the meat; it’s already cooked in the jar!! Happy New Year.

    • We were happy and laughing at how Bill had to leap over the dogs to get to his chair before the camera took the picture. Blessings back at you!!

  8. I am coveting your snow! We normally have snow here in lower MI but none so far this year. Some yards still have green grass.
    Happy new year! Your blog is a blessing

    • Golly, I wonder if coveting snow is a sin? Gee, I’d send you some if I could. This year has sure had some strange weather all over the country. Have a very Happy New Year!

    • And a very Happy New Year to you too Rita! We’re glad to see the snow as we know what it will mean, come spring. And it will also mean folks’ septic lines won’t freeze this winter, hopefully. We’re all vaccinated and try to be very safe. Being homebodies, it’s pretty easy (unless you fall on the ice, get kicked by a cow or ???)

  9. I agree with Deborah-you don’t look goofy-you look like your blessed and bursting with joy and fun. We have maybe 2 inches of snow in spots-the squirrels are still running around digging up and then replanting the walnuts they have all over and my small pond isn’t frozen as yet. We had a ham as well for Christmas, yes and cheap and so so tender. Looks like you got your new snowblower just in time. Is this a more normal snowfall for up there-and should help with the drought you have had. Happy New Year to you and your family-looking forward to reading of the adventures next year will bring-we are hoping to be up there onn our place next winter(fingers crossed).

    • Wow! Your squirrels are still stashing walnuts? Ours can’t find the ground under two feet of snow. Yes, we did get the snowblower in the nick of time. I’ve used it every day since. Yes, this is a more normal snowfall this year and so far, the weather’s just what the beavers forecasted this fall. So, we’re praying the drought has ended. Have a very happy New Year!!

  10. there was a news report. Sorry I don’t remember where it happened but a young man about 5′ tall jumped off a rock or something in his yard and went straight down. He totally disappeared in the snow.

    kathy in MS

    • Easy to believe. Many years ago, in Minnesota, we had a big blizzard and the newscasters were warning snowmobilers to stay away from the power lines; the snow was actually that deep!! The county had to bring in front-end loaders to load dump trucks, in the road, because the snow was too deep to plow. Now THAT was a BIG snow!!!

  11. I also don’t think you look goofy. What crossed my mind was someone had said something you thought was hilarious and you were trying not to burst out in laughter.
    Gotta love snow rakes (purchased or improvised). We occasionally have to rake some of our roof which of course requires shoveling one area, again.
    We got our first appreciable snowfall (I don’t count .1 inch that barely stuck to the ground as a snowfall) this week. Hope you got snow only, not the snow, wintry mix, rain trifecta like we did. And some fog of course for good measure. More snow in the forecast then the MN cold will hit down here. So glad our new addition has been out of the elements for a week now. And as you saw, no blood so far. The newbies (despite their age) don’t quite understand the catching more flies with honey than vinegar lol.

    • Actually, Bill had just vaulted over the dogs, trying to get to his chair and look normal, before the camera took the picture on the timer.
      We did have some freezing rain, which turned to snow last week, but this last has been snow only. And the temps are diving to the -20’s below zero so we’re very happy Buffy is in a warm house with plenty of loving, instead of cowering in a ditch. Have a very Happy New Year. So, is the new “guy” a guy or gal?

      • Oh he’s a guy, not full grown, and already almost 11 lbs. He is a big boy. Forecast (at this moment in time) is looking like 6+ inches of snow. And again at this moment in time, gusting winds which predicted, thankfully, to be under 50 mph.

  12. Well, I’m tired just reading all you two manage to accomplish. The snow is beautiful to people from the south. When we have a dusting of snow everybody buys milk and bread so we don’t have to drive. We’re not very equip with plows.

    • Aw, we don’t do all that much, Sue. We just keep plodding along, humming a tune. Even though the snow brings more work, we do love it. Especially the absolute silence a snowy eve brings.

  13. I love reading your posts. No one can hold a candle to the knowledge you have on homesteading. Nearly anytime I have a question I turn to your books or blog to find the answer.
    Thanks for all you do!

  14. Not goofy, happy! Glad you and your family had such a nice Christmas. Hoping for a happy New Year for all of you. Believing a better year ahead for us all. Praying for peace and health. It won’t be long until the little seedling pots come out and we’ll do it all over again.

    • I’m already plotting out our gardens…some for the fourth time this winter. Hey, with six, it takes a whole lot of figuring, way before I can start planting seeds inside. Maybe I’ll go take a nap instead…. lol Happy New Year!!

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