We’ve been fighting against frost, which has been threatening nearly every day. We’ve been picking, husking corn, pulling in beans, and, lately, covering rare crops as we were under a frost advisory. Yesterday, our friend, Heather, and her two kids, Providence and Charis, came to help out. Two days ago, other friends, Dara, Mike, and Sherri came to help pick dry beans and tons of tomatoes. Meanwhile, I’ve been running back and forth from the Sand Garden tomatoes, choosing tomatoes and varieties from which to save seed. To keep them straight, I write the name on one tomato of the variety, then pack all of those together, with others that vary in color or shape, writing names on those too. With almost 130 varieties, I want to make sure I have adequate seed from all of them. And, boy, that’s a challenge!

These are some of the tomatoes we sent home with Dara and Sherri. We “pay” our help well.

On Monday, we had a group from way down south by the Twin Cities, come visit our homestead to learn about seeds. It was a fun group and they got to taste a lot of tomatoes as well as learn a lot too. We really enjoyed having them and hope they took a lot of information home.

Here’s our group of visitors we had on Monday. We really enjoyed the visit!

Yesterday, we were almost sure to get frost, so we doubled down and picked tomatoes by the crate full. These were both to save seeds from and for me to can up when I get a spare moment. (Yeah, right…) We were really happy with two varieties of corn, Seneca Blue Bear Dance, a very rare meal corn, and Navajo Robin’s Egg Blue, also a very rare Native corn. The Navajo corn is late, and Dara started seeds inside, then she and Sherri planted it in the Main Garden. When it was just setting ears, the plants all turned brown, and I didn’t think any corn would be harvested. Boy was I wrong! Will and Mike went down there and picked a whole crate full. But, like the Blue Bear Dance corn, the Navajo corn had been attacked by those darned blackbirds. However, we still got plenty of corn.

See how the birds have damaged our corn?

Puppy, Sarge, continues to be a very good puppy. He’s joined in with all our activities, enjoying the company we’ve had about. And all the petting! He even helped Will pull in the very last Seneca Sunrise sweet corn. He’d grab an ear and pull the whole plant up by the roots, then run up to the house to EAT the corn. We didn’t mind as they were very small second ears, and many had also been eaten by the birds.

I’m amazed at the beautiful, lavender sweet pepper, Oda. It grows on a very short, small plant but produces up to a dozen or more nice peppers anyway. And so flavorful and pretty too! — Jackie


  1. I have been a preserver of food for at least 30 years, but have never grown that many crops to preserve. So I say keep up the “good work”. Bette

  2. Hey those tomatoes look familiar!! Put up 17 quarts of corn and just finished peeling and chopping the tomatoes. Tomorrow canning lots of salsa! Glad you avoided the frost!!

    • Right now, we have crates of tomatoes in the greenhouse and living room, waiting for me. I’ll swear I can hear them calling my name while I’m trying to sleep!

  3. We’ve had temperatures in the 40’s here. It’s a crazy time of the year for harvesting before frost. I dug carrots today and some varmit decided to nibble of several of them. I am harvesting, canning, dehydrating and juggling it all. I don’t know how you keep up with everything. Although I feel overwhelmed at times I don’t find it stressful. Will you use any row cover on some of the crops? Your harvest looks bountiful and beautiful.

    • We did cover some of our most rare beans and melons but last night it got to 25 degrees so that was the end to that. Hopefully we’ll continue harvesting even though there was freezing, both those crops and the hundreds that are piled in the house and greenhouse.

  4. How I would like to be there to help. You pay very well. We had 3 days of 100 degree weather just this week. ?

    • I saw 103 one day this week…… So hard to wrap my mind around what Jackie and Will are dealing with…… Dodging the frost already. It gets mind boggling.

  5. I love the color of the ear of corn in your last picture. It is beautiful! I am glad you guys have such good friends and neighbors that are able to pitch in and help you harvest. You really need it. That is such a huge harvest.

  6. Sitting in Fairbanks Alaska right now. We left right before the Oda peppers started to come on and hoping we still have a few when we get home. Had a couple of the first ones before we left and they are a great pepper!

    • They are really one of our very favorites. Nice thick walls, sweet flesh and so hugely productive for such a small plant!

  7. I’ve been praying like crazy for you with the frost! I took my chances tonight and didn’t cover the garden. I hope I didn’t make the wrong choice! Been a long day today and I just am bushed. I’m higher than some of my neighbors, and they pulled the frost advisory for my county. We shall see! So glad that your stuff is all picked?

    • Not all picked but we’re done with picking squash, melons, tomatoes and peppers. Still some corn, beans, carrots, potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower to go…..

  8. We all know you’re running your collective butts off harvesting so don’t worry about blogging. Good to know canines are “always helping” (a well used phrase from lolcats).
    Dig a bit of weeding prior to planned tilling – bonus of some volunteer garlic.

    • Sarge is really getting into gardening. Well, harvesting. He loves corn so we’ve re-named him the Corn Dog.

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