From temperatures in the sixties, we’ve been having highs in the low thirties along with wind, rain, and snow. Luckily, we have lots of projects to do inside on those days like canning, seeding out beans, squash, melons and pumpkins, a few leftover peppers, and our last sunflowers.

We’ve been busy seeding vegetables (and eating lots of squash!). Here’s the dwindling pile, but we have lots more in the greenhouse.

I finished up the watermelon rind pickles then had quite a bit of syrup leftover. Luckily, I also had a small basket full of our last peppers. Remembering how I’d “invented” Vaquero Relish, using leftover syrup from Cowboy Candy (candied jalapenos), I chopped those peppers up in my Ninja blender, added them to the boiling watermelon rind syrup, then packed it in half pint jars. They were processed for 10 minutes. Now we just have to wait to see how it tastes after a week or so to let the flavors blend. I’ll bet it will be very good!

Here’s a jar of my watermelon rind pickles, a real family favorite.

On the days that it was not raining, Will and I kept busy outside, splitting more and more firewood. Yesterday, he cut up all of the leftover slab wood by our sawmill, then we split it up to use as kindling or kitchen range fuel. Luckily, even though our woodshed is filled to overflowing, our old pig houses are only partly full. So, we split it right there and stacked it indoors, where it will stay nice and dry. It won’t be long before the kitchen stove is being used regularly. At the cost of fossil fuel, projected for the future, I’m real glad we heat with wood, and I can also cook with it!

You’ll notice I don’t talk politics on my blog. That, I feel, like religion, is a personal choice and I won’t debate either here. But I will say please get out on Tuesday and cast your ballots for the people of your choice. Will and I are going to be at the polls early on Tuesday morning so I can get ready to drive our friend, Tom, down to Mayo Clinic for his surgery on Thursday. — Jackie


  1. What do your watermelon pickles taste like? I made some which tasted like a chutney or relish, not so much pickle. Is there a way to make them taste like pickles?

  2. I was just bemoaning to my son that the only color in winter seems to be the Cardinals and Blue Jays, but looking at your watermelon pickles, I’m thinking they could brighten any household!

  3. Were those hot peppers that you put in the watermelon rind syrup or a mix of hot and sweet? I’ll have to remember to try something like that next year when I make w’melon rind pickles.

    Also, have you attempted canning on your wood stove? I imagine it would take a lot of watching to maintain a steady temperature.

    We’ve only had one light mid October frost so far which was on time but we’re late getting that first killing frost. It might be coming this weekend after any remains from this new tropical storm pass by and the approaching cold front swoops in.

    Glad you’ve got everything in!

    • Those were a mix of hot and sweet peppers, as I had some extra jalapeños left.
      Yes, I used to can only on my wood stove, even in the heat of summer. You get pretty adept at getting just the right amount of wood in the firebox and sliding the canner around to hold the correct pressure. But it’s a learned skill and I really didn’t mind. Except the day I was making jelly and it was at a rolling boil when the UPS guy came. I met him at the door and took the package, only to turn my back, back to the stove, where the jelly had boiled over the edge of the pot, right onto the stove! Talk about a royal mess!!!

  4. Just drove 100 miles to see the doc, Good roads, then crappy roads then sort of good again.
    Took a different route home, which was much better.

  5. Here in golden California our leaves started turning only a week ago, and are not falling yet. Thanks for the reminder to vote. Yes, me and husband have voted!

  6. Those watermelon pickles look yummy! I am anxious to hear how the peppers taste. So glad you can heat with wood. I don’t have a wood stove and am pretty sure I will wish I did before winter is over. Working inside must be a nice change for you. Safe travels to and from Mayo Clinic. Prayers for a blessed week.

    • We’re happy with our wood heat too! My sister in Duluth has fuel oil and that’s well over $5 a gallon already. Ish! Thank you for your prayers.

  7. The watermelon rinds look really good. Would like to try that next summer. I can imagine how much produce you have all over!! What a site!!

    This weekend the cold cold front is coming in. 30s in the daytime here in WI

    • We eat like kings and I feel like we live that way too! After spending 3 days in Rochester, I was sure glad to get home to our homestead.

  8. That watermelon rind pickle makes gorgeous jars of product! Sooo pretty!
    I’ve never tried them. Maybe I’ll get brave and give it a try next summer.
    I loved seeing pup – he’s growing so fast.

    • I know watermelon rind pickles sound kind of yucky. But they’re so very good, especially if you love cinnamon and cloves. Instead of a spice bag, I just boil the spices in the syrup. It seems to intensify the flavors, which we love.
      Sarge has already grown 6″ and put on a bunch of pounds. He’s so much fun!

  9. We got 6 inches of snow last night. It is melting slowly today and thankfully the roads are clear. We did get to the polls today to cast our vote. I do have a pretty big pile of pumpkins and other squash in my family room and I want to get the pumpkins canned. We will go through the rest of the squash through the winter. I am eager to try the Lakota Squash since I got those seeds from you. Because I planted the Hopi Grey last year I couldn’t plant the Lakota until this year. They produced very well. I only have 2 acres so I have to be careful what I plant to keep pure seed.

    • Yep, even with 200 acres, we’ve got to be really careful. We can only plant 5 of each species of pumpkin or squash each year. Fortunately, we’ve got gardening friends who fill the gaps for us.

  10. Jackie at first glance i thought you had a five gallon bucket of hydraulic fluid in your kitchen. Then i saw some kind of plant matter peeking out.
    My husband is 82 and still wants to burn wood. Even though lp gas is thru the roof like every fuel i wish he would not work so hard and use the furnace. We dress in layers and have the windows covered but it’s still hard on fixed income.

  11. Enjoying the warmer time here too. Packing things around my kitchen and house to make room for us to actually live in the house this winter, as we are rarely inside in the summer. It’s a tough project, but not awful. I’m always glad when things come together and it looks halfway decent.

    We have been working on wood, fencing, hauling cattle home, weaning, and beginning the process of getting our pole building up. I am just praying for a mild November so we can finish it. Please pray with me!

    Hopefully Tom’s appointment will go well. My husband and I have to get to the poles this afternoon, just so much to do, as you well know!

    • I will pray with you for a mild November; there’s always so much left to do, isn’t there??? Tom’s surgery went perfect; his hole in his heart was plugged and he’s good to go. What a relief!!
      My house is awful this time of the year, cluttered with produce, crates and pails of beans, seeds all over the floor. And don’t even look at my kitchen!!! Hopefully I can get it whipped before too long…..

  12. It’s been really nice to have these bonus warm days. I have never had so much time to get “pre” winter work done. For the first time in years and think I’m ready for winter-I expect the usual fun of frozen water founts and pipes and snow drifts -but heh that’s winter. It is supposed to be 70 on Thursday then boom- Friday high of 32. I voted and agree no sense talking about politics.

    • My feelings exactly. We just vote and don’t fight others about our own take on politics. We went through the same weather. Boy did 31 ever feel COLD with all the wind we got! I’m so glad you’re ready for winter; we aren’t. But kind of close now.

  13. I’d rather have snow. Still picking up small debris from Ian and now Nicole is knocking at my door.
    Going to have a bumper crop of Seminole pumpkins this year. Hoping to find good savory recipes for them as need to avoid sugar.

    • I hope Nicole left you alone!!! Try stuffing those Seminoles. Yum!! Unfortunately, I can’t seem to grow them here; not enough warmth, I guess.

  14. Here, here on voting. Few people realize the sheer amount of work that goes into running an election – polling places, supplies deliveries, Election Day, tallying and returning counts/ballots, and pick up of election supplies. Delivery/pick-up days are no piece of cake, Election Day is a long day for poll workers/election officials. We do our civic duty and work the elections. I will tell you that while we’re paid, we’re not getting rich by any means but that’s okay. Some states make it easy to vote by mail (per election or permanently) so please consider that option if getting to your precinct is difficult.
    Yes winter is coming and one cannot underestimate the need for kindling. If you have trees, small branches can be picked up and if need be, broken into smaller pieces. Makes picking up sticks a bit more fun when you use them for kindling (or your fire pit). And you just can’t beat wood heat IMHO (as my wood stove keeps me warm and toasty). We’re blessed with mostly hard wood trees either from our property or neighbors. If I win the lottery, I’ll send you a semi truck of hard wood (and help to unload and stack it)!
    The leaves are no where near done falling and every year, we’re guaranteed leaves on top of any snowfall. What comes down before snowfall amends the garden and/or provides a nice base for the compost bins.

    • We understand what election officials go through; one of our friends is an election judge and she sure keeps busy on THAT Tuesday!!
      All our leaves but the oaks are done falling. And we don’t have many of those either. I’ll be rooting for you to win that lottery!!!


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