With the inflation getting so bad, when I went to the store today, I was so happy that I could wheel my shopping cart past the very expensive rows of beef, chicken, pork, eggs, and hundreds of rows of canned vegetables and fruits. Spaghetti sauce? Heck, I make my own five flavors, canning and putting it down in our fat pantry. It goes on and on, until I have picked up only a handful of items (which we really didn’t need, but I just felt like having), such as fresh broccoli and cauliflower and some ice cream bars. The ice cream bars come in handy as part of a “thank you” for friends, Dara, Mike, and Sherri, who come over from time to time to help out here.

Because of our fat panty, I am free to bypass rows and rows of canned foods in the grocery stores.
We never buy root crops, like these onions — more freedom from greedy corporations!

Yesterday was such a day. We all were busy making labels, packing seed envelopes, getting orders ready to ship today, and lots of visiting! We are so thankful to have such good friends. We’re praying for all the folks in California, who are having such horrible flooding due to unprecedented rains, especially after years of drought. I’m so thankful we live here, where we may have cold, snow, and mosquitoes in the summer, but don’t have such events. Hang in there, fellow homesteaders in California. This too shall pass. Stay safe.

As those darned prices continue to climb, we’re going to start planting more crops for our critters, especially the chickens and turkeys. After all, we already make our own hay for the cattle and horses. They, also, enjoy big feeds of pumpkin and squash, already. Today, regular eggs were $6 a dozen! I’m not seeing the prices drop much, if at all. I’d rather feed them a free squash than some $25 a bag poultry feed! (Yes, they’ll still get some poultry feed, but in the quest for even more self-reliance, we’re going to feed more home-grown feed.) And, yes, squash and pumpkin are not only edible but actually good for the critters. My egg yolks are dark orange, and the whites are firm, not runny, like store-bought eggs are.

Our chickens, like these Cornish-Rock meat birds and our egg layers, give us all the meat and eggs we can use, cheaply.

You can’t fix prices, but you can gain more freedom by doing more for yourself instead of lining the pockets of greedy corporations. How about thinking of ways you can help free yourselves from their clutches? — Jackie

50 COMMENTS

  1. l love reading your articles because I know you are one of the most knowledgeable homesteaders out there. I came across a couple of cases of chicken that I canned in 2016 and stored in the boxes that the ball jars came in. They were stacked one case on top of the other. I was worried that it was too much weight and they might have developed false seals so I opened one jar in each box. The seals were tight and the contents looked and smelled fine but I know you can’t always rely on that. Here is my question…Can I open the jars, clean the rims, put on new lids and rings and reprocess them if they seem ok? They are pints that were processed at 10 PSI for 75 minutes which is required for my area. Since you have often recanned gallon sized cans into smaller jars, I wondered if this would work for low acid foods like meat? I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

    • Not Jackie and I hope the two opened jars are in the frig BUT I’d heat thoroughly and consume versus attempting to reprocess. IMHO, you have two choices as I doubt Jackie will answer in time for the opened jars – heat thoroughly and consume or dispose where no other animal will eat it.

  2. I remember your wonderful pantry! I don’t have the basement you have so I stash everywhere else. 2023 is going to be a mess for sure. I have encouraged friends to garden but most are too busy with other things, so they tell me. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall! I have plans to enlarge my garden this year and I bought my 4th grow stand to start seeds inside. Good luck on the 17th. Remember, ice is your friend. See you on the other side. Pyro

  3. Best wishes on a quick and uneventful recovery! I was curious if you water glass eggs? I’ve seen a lot of folks online do it quite successfully with “fresh” eggs 6 months to a year out from processing. I don’t think I could do it with store bought though since they clean the bloom off. The CA drought has been so bad for years and water expensive that we stopped having a big garden, it’s just a few pots now. I plan to start up again in February once the rain deluge stops and the ground isn’t saturated. I find backyard gardeners either giving food away on buy-nothing FB groups or selling it reasonably on FB neighborhood or Nextdoor groups so i can that when i get a chance. We also have a nonprofit from the city that will strip your ripe fruit from your trees to take to food dispersal sites, a great idea rather than letting it rot. I’ve been following you a very long time and get so much joy from your postings. Take care and much health and happiness to you and your clan.

  4. I never realized how important to have a stocked pantry until now. You are right it great to go to the store and walk by the high prices. We take so much for granted. God bless you and your family.

  5. It is a blessing to be able to walk past the expensive canned goods and meats at the market! When I shop it is mostly for pantry staples that I can’t produce on my own. According to some of my friends, I’ll “can the cat if it moves too slow”! It’s a good feeling, looking at my full pantry and deep freezers. Going out to collect eggs each day is a blessing.
    I am keeping you in my prayers. I’ve know many that have had the surgery and done fine. A lot of it is up to you, so I have no doubts that you will do great. God bless you and keep you.

    • lol on the “can the cat if it moves too slow” comment. Those of us who live frugally don’t always know if a comment like that is a compliment or not.

    • Thank you so much! My husband said “She cans everything that doesn’t move. And if it does, she shoots it, then cans it.” I took that as kind of an off-handed compliment and pretty true.

  6. Thanks, Jackie, for thinking of us in California. We live in far north California, maybe 2 hrs from the Oregon border. We’re in the foothills and top of the Sacramento valley, and look down on the valley from our mountaintop. No, we aren’t seeing any flooding, but they are seeing some way below Redding. It’s been raining forever here, no more drought, no more spring in January. I’m so glad. I’m selling my eureka lemons to a juice bar, and canning our mandarins, and harvesting navel oranges. So thankful for all the preserving I’ve been doing. So grateful to the Lord, and keep you in my prayers. Love your posts and are planning my garden now! Here in zone 9 things will start going in the month of March. Love!

    • Back at you, Elizabeth! I’m glad you aren’t getting flooding. We’re up on a big ridge so if we ever flood, Noah will be building another ark. I’m already looking forward to gardening this spring, even though, for me, it’s a few months away.

  7. Jackie: I wanted to can my mandarins and one book said “not recommended”, so I went to see what you’d say. After all, you can just about anything! Thanks for the orange canning recipe in Growing and Canning Your Own Food. I knew I could count on you! I love showing off my prepper larder. Because of you I haven’t been afraid to can. I’ve done butter, cheese, meals in a jar, chicken, beef, lard, and made my own orange-cranberry sauce, nuts and many, many other foods, because I was inspired by you, Jackie!

    • I couldn’t have said it better myself, Elizabeth! Jackie is such an inspiration…and was an inspiration decades ago when I started reading Backwoods Home. She was so “different” and now, look! Homesteading is cool – what everyone aspires to!

      Thank you, Jackie, for being true to yourself and teaching so many. Your courage encourages us! xx

      ~ Holly

    • Aww, how sweet of you! I’m so glad self-reliance has taken off, and with it canning. Like I’ve said, self-reliance equals more freedom.

  8. Just curious, do you have a plan if things go totally crazy and gangs start roving looking for something to eat? I know it is a dystopian concept but five or six years ago few thought we’d be in the current situation. I know the long drive way will help. Again good luck with the surgery, will pray. By the way I do have a list of people I give surplus produce to rather than trying to make a buck at the local farmers market!

    • We’re really lucky; you can’t Google us and we’re really off the beaten path for gangs to come find. But we can protect ourselves. Will’s a Vietnam vet and I’ve hunted all my life. I hope it doesn’t come to that though.
      Yep, we give a whole lot of produce away to friends and neighbors instead of selling it. Friendship is worth more than money.

  9. My husband texted that news reported 42 million chickens put down because of Aveian bird flu. Prices won’t go down on eggs anytime soon!!

  10. Good luck with surgery & I love the pictures that you post. My grandmother had a pantry like yours. It refreshes my soul to see all the canned goods💕

  11. Best wishes on your upcoming surgery. My 6 hens lay 4/6 eggs each day-more than the 2 of us can consume. The excess is taken eagerly by family and friends. We’re well stocked and I plan to grow wheat again – poor results last time. I have cleaned fields and have a lot of corn for my chickens. I too feed old squash and not meat table scraps to the chickens. They love it. It is peace of mind to have the root cellar full and wood cut for heat. Don’t worry or hurry your recovery. Could you send me this year’s seed catalog-blessings to you.

    • The catalog is on its way to the printer tomorrow. As you are a customer, you should get yours right off the press. (If not, please let me know, as last year several were “lost” in the mail.)
      Thanks for the good wishes on the surgery. No, I sure won’t hurry the recovery but I will really get serious on the rehab.

  12. Right there with you, so blessed to live the way we do. praise God my kids realize it too and the grandbabies are learning. My grandbabies have been coming out to milk with me before they were 2yrs. old. I see you are sending out seeds, have you sent out the seed catalogues already. My daughter called the other day to see if I had gotten mine, which I haven’t. All 3 of our girls are ordering your seeds now. God be with you as you have surgery next week.

    • Our new catalogs are on their way to the printer tomorrow. They should be out soon. If you don’t get yours, as a customer, please let me know. Okay?
      I’m happy, too, that many of my kids are gardening, canning and stocking up on food and supplies. My grandkids love coming out at harvest to help pick and pull produce.
      I feel God’s peace about the surgery so I’m less scared. Thank you!

  13. I pray that your surgery goes will and so does your recovery. I had to give my chickens away to my step daughter. She loves them and emails pictures to me. She brought me my first dozen of eggs last week. I live in town and where I live they are illegal. But I was in the hospital and felt I couldn’t take good care of them throughout the winter here in Michigan. I love chickens they are so much fun to watch, I named the runt of the 10 babies that I got in Jun, Henrietta. She was the bully of the chickens. I began to suspect she was a Henry when they were about 3 months old. Sure enough Henrietta was a Henry and is still bullying the chickens around. They are happy with their new home and are now laying. I miss them though.

    • I’ll bet you do. How nice your step-daughter could take them for you. Thanks for your prayers. I really appreciate them.

  14. I am thankful almost every day that I live on my own 5 acres, and can, garden, etc. I agree everything is so expensive right now, but my food bill is very low. I agree with your post, and enjoyed seeing your shelves of food just waiting to be eaten.

    • Yep, we went shopping so we had some easy things for Will to fix while I was in early recovering from the surgery. We sure didn’t spend very much, though! We’re so lucky to live like we do; we eat like kings and the worries are very few.

  15. I grew up in the country but now live in the city with an HOA..I have four different citrus trees and have a hard time giving some of it away..I can’t figure people out..free food is always good you would think…can’t wait to put my garden in I am in zone 9…yes I am thankful for my pantry..prices are nuts and keep going up.. Jackie I hope you heal fast after your surgery…stay warm

    • Thanks so much! I know what you mean. We drive past several homes with really nice apple trees in the yard. And nobody picks them!! Not the owners or friends or neighbors. We sure would ask but we have all we can do to handle our own fruit. So sad, though. Today, I saw apples at $2.99 a pound. So, one big apple weighs a pound. Wow! Dad used to get 3 cents a pound for his beautiful Red Rome apples when he had his little commercial orchard. Times have sure changed!

    • I canned juice from my limes, and lemons, and took limes to church and everybody wanted free ones. Now I’m selling my lemons to a juice bar now.

  16. A neighbor of ours got into an argument with the milkman over the freshness of eggs. She told him that when the whites spread way out and are runny, it indicates the eggs are old and showed him the difference between two eggs. He finally said, “Ah, what do you know”! She said, “I was raised on a farm, have a Home Economics Degree, and have been teaching Home Economics for 20 years!” She was one of my mother’s best friends and passed away a few years ago at around 90 YO. God Bless you, Janet!

  17. MiY chickens finally started laying again! We buy chicken feed at 13.50 a bag, and I am so thankful for all the stuff we have that I’ve grown! I finally had to buy onions last week, as my home grown ones ran out. Next year I plan for more, and can’t wait to grow them. My potato store is running out too. Not too many left. But my canned goods are stillholding out for now. Thankful for that!
    I am so thankful for the meat I have in the freezers outside, instead of all the stuff at the store. I do buy fresh fruit a lot because my kids love it, and it’s good for us all. But sometimes it’s a little crazy! Our local store had strawberries for 7.99 a small box for a while! They are back on sale now thank goodness!

    Can not wait to order seeds!

    • Wow! $7.99 a box for strawberries! And I’ll bet they were from Mexico too. We’re not a fan of the toxic chemicals they use on commercial farms down there, so wait until they say made in the USA. We, too, do buy some fresh fruit for a treat. But I’m so glad to have such a big, fat pantry!

  18. Good luck with your surgery next week. I’m 14 months out from both of mine. Other than some residual stiffness in the morning. I’m back to my normal routine. Been canning like crazy all week trying to make room in the freezers. We are killing hogs next Monday & need the space!

    • Thanks Rebecca! So nice to hear you’re recovering nicely. I can’t wait! My doctor will only do one at a time, with about 6 weeks between. I hope that will happen! Isn’t it great when we “have to make more room in the freezers”??? When son, Bill, came back from Colorado with a bull elk’s meat, we had to scramble to find a smaller freezer to hold it all; his own freezers were full.

  19. We’re fortunate to have a family owned egg farm not all that far from us (less than an hour’s drive). Free range, no antibiotics and worth what they charge.
    Prices are nuts but remember, at some point, demand goes down as does the price.
    Will be keeping you in my thoughts come Tuesday. And nothing wrong with ice cream bars.

    • Thanks Selena. The stores around here are really having a hard time stocking those expensive eggs. So, someone must be buying them. Not us.

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