We’re rushing more lately, knowing that our wonderful fall weather may come to a screeching halt sometime way too soon. Although the forecast is for warmer weather all this week, we’re feeling the pinch. After all, frost has happened this time of the year in the past. So, every day, I’m picking and seeding out dozens of tomato varieties, watching the rest beginning to ripen very fast now. Whew! Even with our dry conditions, the tomatoes in the Wolf Garden, without watering, are doing very well. The peppers in the Main Garden aren’t doing so well. It seems that everyone’s peppers around here are so slow to set peppers on them, and when they do, it’s only one or two at a time. I’m sure it’s the weird weather we’ve had this summer. But the good news is one of our new peppers is awesome. It’s called Donkey Ears and it’s a very sweet pepper that looks, well, like donkey ears, being long, pointed and also broad. I love the taste! It’s going to be in our gardens for a long time in the future.

One of the new tomatoes I seeded out was this beautiful Painted Lady; juicy, tasty, and gorgeous too.
Aren’t Donkey Ears pretty? They taste great, too!

Will had a great idea. A friend gave us some smaller solar panels, which are stored safely in our basement. Will decided to mount four of them as a roof on our new-to-us electric golf cart, my now-favorite go around vehicle. It already is charged via our battery bank in the basement, but he figured if he mounted panels directly on the vehicle, it would be self-sustaining. How cool is that? Yesterday, between weeding and haying, he got busy and made a bracket to hold them up there. (The light plastic roof mounts weren’t strong enough.) Now he’s deciding on which charge controller to use. We do have a smaller one, down in the basement, left over from the days when we only had three very small panels to charge our batteries. Now, with larger panels and more of them, the small charge controller isn’t enough. I’m just happy that the project is in the works. Not only will we save gas (and money), but the vehicle will provide its own power.

In his “spare time,” Will’s working on modifying our electric, battery-operated golf cart to all solar-powered.

Today, Will cut many of our ripe Amazing cauliflower heads. It is amazing how large they are and how they ripened all at once. So, this afternoon, I’ll be cutting, blanching, and freezing them for use in the winter. I am saving a couple of heads to make end-of-the-garden pickles with. These sweet pickles contain cauliflower, peppers, carrots, zucchini, and cabbage is you choose. We love them and it’s yet another way to use that late garden bounty.

The Amazing cauliflower heads are truly amazing.

— Jackie


  1. I know people say you should not can cauliflower but I did. When I heat it up, I dump the water that I canned it in and heat it in fresh water. It tastes really good.

  2. Winter is definitely just around the corner. I had 48 degrees this morning and the days are most certainly shorter. It is supposed to be very hot again this weekend, but I know it wont last. I am hoping for a long fall, but it will be what it is. The last couple of days have been almost perfect here and that is such a reprieve from the very hot weather. It is still extremely dry. Those peppers look amazing. I dont think I will be saving any seeds this year due to the drought, so I am anxious to get your seed catalog for next year. I do a winter sowing method and it works very well for me, so I hope your seed saving goes well. ( sorry if that sounds selfish) That is a genius idea Will had for the golf cart. My dad used a golf cart to go to the pasture to check sheep for years. It was the best thing ever for him and his bad knees! Prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thanks Marilyn! I’m sure enjoying the golf cart for sure. I already notice less pain and swelling in both knees (the surgery and non-surgery knee). We’re having nice weather too, but we’re having the heat this weekend (90’s) Ugh!! We’re also very dry and starting to water what we can and pray over the rest. So far, so good.

  3. I have wondered why folks don’t put solar panels on battery operated golf carts. Yay for Will thinking the same and doing it. I don’t do it because I don’t have a gold cart! :)

    Winter? We had 103 here today (better than 115!). Would have loved a fall garden but grasshopper invasion still real bad. There is still the winter garden……….

    • Hey, we didn’t until we found a good deal on just the cart we needed, even if it was a few-hour’s drive away.
      We’ve already had mid 40’s and the leaves are starting to change early because of the drought. We’re praying for a long, late fall!! Sorry to hear your grasshoppers are still bad. That’s tough.

  4. Jackie, Tell Will that he needs a YouTube channel to share all those money saving, efficient ideas he comes up with! I’m sure he doesn’t know what to do will all the spare time he has left over from daily chores and garden work. lol I hear all you need is an iPhone and computer to edit. They say the money is pretty good when you get even a 1000 viewers.
    It’s a good thing you two love what you do, otherwise your chores would seem overwhelming. Enjoy what’s left of summer, because you are so right about winter. I always open your emails first. Take care and enjoy it all.

    • Yeah, others have asked us to do YouTube videos but, honestly, we just don’t have the time. It seems that the days just fly by, leaving undone work to lose sleep over.
      We do love what we do, even though we get pretty tired kind of often. After all, who can do 67 hobbies they love every day???

  5. Dear Jackie,
    You and Will are “Chicken Soup” for the soul. I love your pictures and lifts the spirit when it is down. What a wonderful idea about the solar panels! Take care of that knee and with winter on the way, you might need to sleep with a hot water bottle. My shoulder replacement is a better weather predictor than the Weather Channel! Heat helps.

    • Yeah, I switch heat and ice packs. That seems to help the best for me. I truly love those solar panels Will added as a roof for the golf cart. What a great idea!!

  6. Like you it’s very busy for us. We’re freezing home processed sweet corn, digging potatoes, canning tomatoes, dehydrating peppers, and finished sauerkraut. I’m back to full steam and no assistive devices (status right knee replacement). The knee is sore at night requiring ace wrap and ice/heat. Winter is coming. I’ve enjoyed having 4 grandchildren helpers (ages 6 through 12)-they know they’ll have access to this bounty. My wife teaches the girls (3) basics-sewing, knitting, cooking etc. They enjoy it. The oldest is a boy who is my main help. I still have some more wood to cut but I’ll wait until my balance is better. I love the idea of solar panels on the golf cart roof-very smart.

    • @Everett Lindsey – please cross train the grandchildren. You may find each has “non-traditional” strengths. While a child might *not* have the skill/strength to do accomplish , it is always good for s/he to at least know *how* it should be done.
      And do ensure good balance before using the chainsaw. We’d miss your posts and your family would miss you.

    • Yep, I just noticed our potato vines have died down. Time to pick potatoes soon. I’m so glad your knee replacement is doing so well!!! I’m looking forward to having the other one done as two days ago, I was standing in the bathroom, ready to take a shower, when it simply shot with horrible pain. I was on crutches all day!!! And depressed. Thank God, after resting lying down all day, then night, I woke up and the pain was gone. Whew!! That was scary.
      I’m so glad you have good helpers! Those kiddos are so much fun in the garden.

      • I agree with Selena; I was my dad’s “boy” and loved to learn plumbing, carpentry, masonry and other non-girl projects, as I do today. I believe in letting the individual child’s interests guide what they learn; we’re all different. I HATE sewing, crocheting and knitting. It drives me nuts where some women find it relaxing. See what I mean?

        • LOL.. I was the oldest and no brothers. Guess who mowed lawn and did other things with Dad?
          I’m with you – I have *no* patience for sewing (I can do buttons), crocheting or knitting. I’ve done some embroidery (decades ago) but it just didn’t hold my interest very long.

    • I’m glad to say I have ” a Will”. And yes, worth their weight in gold PLUS mine shares cleaning duties with me. Also changed diapers (cloth and/or disposable). We go with our individual strengths but neither of us likes dusting LOL.

      • I’m very happy to have Will! Sometimes we have our battles, but soon get over them. Of course, we’re BOTH right!! It doesn’t help to have a wife that does guy stuff, I”m sure.
        I hate dusting too and you’ll never see will dust, but he WILL vacuum sometimes.

  7. Funny about winter is coming – better half split more wood today. We sell some (small circle of buyers) and what doesn’t stack/present well, we burn ourselves. Our conveniently located “seconds” rack is partially full with a bit more to stack (one only has so much energy as one ages – aka don’t be stupid and overdo it).
    Found a ripe slicing tomato that was only visible from one angle in my garden so tomato on lunch sandwiches tomorrow and BLTs (we have lettuce lol). I think the zuke and summer squash are about done. We did get a lot from only two plants (some day I will have a bigger garden but I need to be a less full time worker for that to happen).
    I thought the last “heat dome” was it but we’ll have one more round of not-quite-heat-dome weather but hot enough, especially for September. But we know the days are getting shorter so it can’t bake quite as long.
    Cool idea re: solar for the golf cart. I’m sure you’ll let us know how it turns out.

    • We’re due for 90’s this weekend. I hate that but am glad it’s not freezing!! We always have a pile of “ugly wood”, that is, forked, twisted or non-stackable, nice wood for the piles. We throw it in a pile to the front of the storage building to burn first. Will’s cutting firewood from a 2-year-old pile of logs/poles, but mostly trying to get the hay wrapped up.

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