As we’re too busy to do any major celebrating, we just went to our friends’, Mike and Dara’s, after they invited us to join them for a gathering for lunch. When we got home from that enjoyable get together, Will and I both crashed — both of us ended up fast asleep! Wow, that was a surprise, for sure.

But, today, we’re back at it again. I guess we needed the rest, huh? While I packed up seed orders to go to the post office, Will was busy, tilling and mulching the Sand Garden’s tomatoes, peppers, and got started on the beans. We had some extra room in the Wolf Garden, so we planted a dozen long rows of sweet corn, just for eating and canning. (Who knows how food prices and availability will be, come fall?) Every time I go to the store, I see big empty spaces, here and there, in every store. Plus, I’m sure you’ve noticed the big jumps in prices for food. Yep, the cost of fuel for those tractors and semi-trucks factors in, but holy cow, how do some folks afford food? I’m sure glad we raise most of our own.

Will, finished with the 250 tomatoes, starts mulching the beans.
Don’t the tomatoes look great, all mulched? Now there will be no weeding there! Hooray!

This spring, I did something strange. I’d been wanting some “Fish In The Garden,” ceramic goldfish, which swim on steel brackets, through your plants. I’m talking about years’ worth of wishing. But this spring, I bought three of the “seconds,” for a reduced price. And I put them up in our flower bed by the driveway. Oh, how I love those silly fish! It makes me smile every time I see them. You need a little smile in your life; kind of like the two plastic flamingos I have in front of the house. Flamingos in Minnesota? Folks always do a double take, then laugh. It’s worth it. Life can be way too serious some days!

I sure enjoy seeing my fish in the garden every day.

Good news guys. My book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food, is supposed to be reprinted on July 7th, after a long wait for paper, due to supply chain problems! Yea! Just in time for canning season too. — Jackie


  1. Perfect placing of your fish!! I had to do a double take. I thought the top photo was an underwater photo in your pond, and wondered how you keep your water so clear! hahaha

  2. Have you ever dried sweet corn for making soups/casseroles etc? I’m sure you have, but if not, you need to give it a try! It is an old PA Dutch custom to have dried corn casserole at Thanksgiving. And it’s like candy, so caramel-y and sweet.

  3. YES Tim Inman ~ PLEASE post your recipe! I would love to have them.
    Those fish are both beautiful, and fun!!
    I’m so glad you and Will had a chance to rest a little. You both work so hard all of the time.
    Those mulched beds are gorgeous.
    I have some of your very helpful books and I love them! I am lucky enough to get an email offer from Backwoods Home to purchase them.
    Take care, and thank you so much for your updates ~ I sure do look forward to reading them while I drink my morning coffee.

  4. Your canning book has been laying out opened on my kitchen table this week! I’ve been canning dry beans. They’re so handy to have when you’re a single old bachelor living alone in the country. New ones coming up in the garden for next year.

    I have ‘perfected’ the home version of both Heinz Beans and Bush’s Original Beans. Would you like my version of these recipes? Available on request….

    My favorite dry bean? Vermont Cranberry Bean. Ideal in chili and mashed for ‘refried’ beans.


    • You bet! I’m sure others would enjoy your recipe as well. I think our favorite dry beans are Iroquois and Aunt Jean’s. But every year we discover new ones; how fun!

      • Your Aunt Jean’s and Iroquois are out growing up on my fence right now! Can’t wait to give ’em a try.

        Can I just post the recipes on my blog for everyone to see? What’s the best way to do it. Glad to share!

    • I LOVE cranberry beans! They are the creamiest bean I have ever made. I tried ordering some from Amazon but they were all out😢😢😢

    • Yes, please, Tim. I would love to try both your baked bean recipes. I am always looking for good tried-and true recipes to make good meals with lower cost food items. The grocery store food prices here in Canada have gone insane. Prices went up, not ten or fifteen cents as usual but up by dollars!

      Sadly, my home in the country is still very much at the stage of still being my heart’s dream but I keep looking and praying for a way to make it a reality. I sure do miss having a garden.

  5. We got lucky here in the PNW where I live, rain the day before the 4th and the day after, so we dodged that as people where shooting off fireworks like crazy around here. It was nuts! The big fireworks are banned in Oregon, but it never stops people, they just go over the Columbia River and buy them in Washington! I love your gardens Jackie, mine is in pots, but I spite of a late planting season are going crazy. Love the fish 🤩

    • Aren’t they cool, though? Our gardens are doing great but boy do we have weeds this year. Ish!

  6. fish are cool! definitely one needs something to bring a smile just lookin at.
    they look swimmin :) nice to see someone’s else planting a lot of tomatoes!!

    • We do love our tomatoes; you can make so many different canned recipes out of them, which we really enjoy.

  7. I love those fish! Sounds like you and Will were in need of a rest. The fourth here was pretty quiet too. We had a noontime cookout at Dads and just enjoyed each other’s company. My garden is looking good so far. I have picked beans once and got my first summer squash. My cabbage is ready and I’m debating whether to make kraut or try to can some plain cabbage. This is the first year I have ever grown cabbage. I continue to try to build my pantry stores as I am concerned about what is to come with prices and shortages. Prayers for a great week!

    • Thanks Marilyn. We, too, are thinking shortages and high prices are just beginning. Another reason for growing plenty and canning it up! I’m glad you had a great cookout with your dad.

  8. That is good news!! I have been looking or that book everywhere!! And guess what!!?? My birthday is July 7!! ❤

    • I’m not sure if the magazine is taking pre-orders. You might call customer service at

  9. I also need a another copy of your growing and canning your own food book. Can you let me know how to order it?

    • You can either get one through BHM or from us, listed in our Seed Treasures catalog.

  10. Fortunately people took the red flag fire warning seriously so we didn’t hear any fireworks. We have has highs in the 80’s for a week or more and both hoop houses and the green house have gotten over 100 every day with both ends open! There used to be a swampy pond next to the road between Valdez and Kenny Lake that people used to put a couple plastic flamingos on the far side every year. The brush along the rode side edge has grown up so much that you can hardly see the pond now.

    • We had such a pond, just off of the highway to one of our larger towns. Every time I went by, I laughed. That’s why I went out and bought my very own pair of flamingoes! Now I don’t need to drive to laugh. Boy, you ARE having hot temps. I don’t like 80’s and higher!!

  11. We Love the fishes! You are right, it definitely brings a smile! Glad ya’ll had a fun and restful 4th.

    • They are so funny, just swimming away through our flower bed. When you look closely, the fish have smiles on their faces too!

    • We use a local, wet-area grass, reed canary grass, that Will harvests on a couple of our hayfields. Straw works great, too, if you don’t have reed canary. Using regular hay can turn your garden into a hayfield! Lesson, hard learned by me.

  12. Been wanting to get a copy of your canning book for my sister. Can I go ahead and send the order to get in line? Can I put on the order form to send to her. I live in MS and she lives in TX.

    kathy in MS

    • I think that would be fine. I’m sure your sister will really appreciate your thoughtfulness.

  13. Well, we did NOT have a quiet 4th of July here! It has been going on for days, and we live on 11 acres 5 miles out of town. A bit of a concern as we have not had any measurable rain in three weeks and the temperatures are hovering near 100 (in SW Missouri.) That mulch looks wonderful. Love your fishes…made me smile, too. Blessings.

    • Gee, I’m sorry you’re having dry, hot weather and folks not thinking how dangerous it is to shoot off fireworks in those conditions. A neighbor of my sister shot off bottle rockets and the spent ones landed on her roof. She was NOT a happy camper about that!

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