At least now I’m starting to can in earnest. Today, I started seeding out some Leelanau Sweetglo watermelons (before they go bad in the greenhouse!) They have a nice, thick rind and while I was happily munching on the sweet, juicy, orange flesh, taking out the seeds to save, I couldn’t help myself. The thought of watermelon rind sweet pickles charged into my mind full blast. I just have to make those favorite holiday sweet pickles, as ours are all gone! Now that’s a tragedy for sure. I wouldn’t dare have a holiday meal without them. So, as things were kind of normal today, I started slicing the melon into half circles, then, as I took out the seeds, ate the flesh (of course!), I removed all of the colored flesh, down to the white rind, then cut the dark green outer skin off. Once that was done, I cut the now-white rind into inch square pieces. Now, they’re soaking in a gallon of salt water overnight. And, tomorrow, I’ll be pickling them. I can’t wait! If you’d like the recipe, just look in Growing and Canning Your Own Food, on page 103 & 104. They’re easy and so spicy, crunchy sweet!

Today I’m seeding out some sweet Leelanau Sweeglo watermelons and saving the rind to make yummy, sweet pickles.
I cut the half circles of melon, remove the colored flesh, then cut away the tough green rind.

Will got busy today, as finally, the sun came out, and cut another truckload of firewood from the piles out in the Wolf Forty. The woodshed is nearly overflowing, but we still have the two old pig houses that will hold wood so while the weather’s nice, we’ll keep on packing wood away like the beavers stockpile brush, stuck in the mud of the bottom of the ponds for winter food. Deer hunting season starts tomorrow morning, David and Elizabeth will be hunting in the morning and evening, then working on the cabin in-between times. Will went over and helped David with the propane line and filled in the ditch where the line was buried between the tank and cabin. We’re so thankful that the weather has been so nice lately! — Jackie


  1. Upcoming weather across the nation (and really, the world)is going to be unpredictable, even for the weatherman to forecast. Greenhouses and high tunnels with pots and raised beds will be the only way to grow year ’round.

  2. I love it. I have some melons to eat but they are tiny. Probably won’t pickle any of them this year. But maybe next year I’ll try and grow that variety you grew and see if I have better luck.

    I still have some cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in the ground, growing along with carrots. I just keep holding out on picking til the weather turns super cold. It’s been cold, but they haven’t given the white flag yet, so I’ll let them go til they can’t grow anymore!

    I am excited about next year. I told my husband we have to grow more tomatoes next year because my 60 plants weren’t enough, and he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. ? but I am serious. I have big plans for next year. And can’t wait to buy seeds to plant, so your new seed catalog can’t come soon enough.

    • We really love our watermelon rind pickles. Sweet Dakota Rose also has a thicker rind so I also make pickles using this variety. I, too, hate to call it quits until really cold weather hits. I still have some onions to pull!
      I’m thinking we are going to see a huge jump in food prices due to both the drought in the west and the projected increase in the already awful diesel prices. (Diesel tractors for farmers, diesel trucks to haul to the processing warehouse, diesel trucks to haul it to stores and so on…) We, too, have big plans for next spring!

      • Diesel is how we fuel our entire life. The only farm equipment that doesn’t use diesel is our skid steer and cushman. That’s it. So we are just praying like everyone else.

        I haven’t let anything go to waste for the food, as I too am concerned for prices.

  3. I have decided that I could easily can year round! I have been canning lots of dried beans, so excited about that.

    • I keep an account on a calendar, what I do each day in the garden and kitchen putting-up. I even write how many pts and qts. I have a large basement larder and am adding more shelves often, and certainly more canned goods and vac-sealed goods in food grade buckets without the cardboard boxes, of course. Saves a lot of room. Lately, am purchasing goodies to eat, to look forward to, for when the grid goes down. Can’t eat just huge sacks of pintos and rice!!! How dull that would be. Jackie’s books on this subject help tremendously and her advice in her column of Backwoods Home magazine. I click on her button on this page (Ask Jackie a question) quite often for her advice. She knows so much. I am gardening and putting-up year ’round now. It is my passion. Yesterday when I asked the Holy Spirit what His idea was to make of my pears, He said, Pear sauce. I’d never heard of pear sauce! An excellent idea! Life is sooo good!

  4. Watermelon rind pickles are great. I too have cutting downed trees into blocks to split during the winter. Last year I thought I had cut 2 years worth of wood but I used it all up. There is always too much to do. Soon the deer season hunt will begin here. Did David put in a chimney for wood heat?

    • Not yet. He plans on putting on an addition for a livingroom and bedroom for Delilah next year and the wood stove will go in there. If he puts it in the existing dining-livingroom, he would have to use double wall pipe and he has to go up 33 feet. It’s currently $125 for a 2 1/2′ section. Whew!!1
      I love watermelon rind pickles, especially when you use something most folks throw out to make somthing so good!

    • We are still burning in our woodstove, firewood from the Carr fire in Redding, Calif. in 2018. Piles and piles that customers gave us from their burned up land. Of course by now, it’s all very dry and burns up quickly in the woodstove, but we’re so grateful for it all. Our church was Blessed with equipment and full-time crew they used for years to go to each property and cut down and split all the burned, dead trees. While my favorite tool is the chainsaw, it’ll be a while before I get to use it again! I love this outdoor life.

  5. Dear Jackie,
    Yep, I thought my canning was over until I ran across a old fella selling apples real cheap on the side of the main road last week. I bought a whole bushel and have made tons and tons of apple butter. He didn’t know what kind they were but I am pretty sure they were red delicious as they were bright red and soft. I used my grandmother’s recipe from memory and everyone just loves it. My husband said he never liked apple butter but he had only eaten store bought. He said there was no comparison to my home made. But we already knew this! He ate his first bite with a spoon and no toast and then went on to eat the whole jar by itself. The old recipe uses a touch of cloves, allspice, nutmeg and cinnamon to taste. Love your blog!

    • Isn’t apple butter good??? I make bars with it and folks think they’re eating date bars. (The recipe is on page 231 of my Pantry Cookbook.) My canning is NEVER over!! I always find goodies to put up.

  6. Looking forward to seeing some photos of the finished pickles! Best of luck with hunting…and wood piling…and seed saving….and canning….yup, busy. Blessings.

  7. Totally awesome David AND Elizabeth are hunting. And it isn’t only hay one makes when the sun shines. Heat of any sort will make working in his cabin(home) much easier. Always so nice when one’s kids have a place of their own. While mine may not be in their forever homes, they have a place of their own that is MUCH cheaper than rent. Both still have “stuff” here at the house (one kid more than the other) – they’ll have to deal with it at some point in time.

    • They saw many deer and even a wolf, but no bucks and this is a bucks only year for us. David proposed to Elizabeth after a day on deer stand last year. I thought that was unique.
      David spent the weekend, during times off-stand, to put up more and more insulation in the house. It’s getting warmer and warmer in there! I hate to see young folks paying rent as it’s money down a rat hole. They hardly ever get ahead. I’m happy David and Elizabeth will be starting out with a home that is theirs, even if it does take a lot of work and time.

    • Our son has decided to live minimally, in his van (down by the river–from Saturday Night Live). Actually, he and his new bride, of nearly a year, both live in the slightly converted van. It’s tough living, but no rent payment. Saving all monies (other than up-keep of van and for meals) for purchase of piece of land. Delivering for Uber eats, etc. and roaming the northwest states working and investigating where is best for them to live. They write and publish books for sale, also. Young people are so different than used to be.

  8. Hi Jackie, my mother in-law made the best watermelon rind pickles. Made me nostalgic for the good ole days. She taught this city girl how to can.

    • My grandmother, also, made watermelon rind pickles. And, still, they’re a family favorite!! I’m so glad you learned to can from her.

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