Will has nearly all of our firewood cut up. We split it, then he hauled it into a huge pile in the woodshed, so it stays dry. Now he has to get it stacked. It’s amazing how huge piles shrink so much when you neatly stack it. We’d like to get even more in as we burned nearly two years’ worth of wood last year when we had a very long winter with record snowfall. We’d like to get stocked up again. We sure have enough wood around, already in piles, here and there all over the homestead. We’ll never run out!

nly part of our firewood is neatly stacked — lots more in a huge pile, in front of it, yet to go.

I’m seeding out the last of the tomato varieties and have been busy canning up salsa and more tomato sauce. Last night, I did 9 quarts, a pint and a half-pint of nice, thick sauce. Yum! I still have a crate and a half of tomatoes to go but I’m trying to get the last tomato seeding done so I can move on. Boy, we sure have some wonderful tomatoes! After many years, we’ve weeded out all of the ho-hum varieties. Even after we picked pounds and pounds earlier in the year, then gave hundreds of pounds away to folks who could use them, and I picked crates of them, we still had lots that went bad after our recent hard freeze. 197 tomato plants are too many to cover! They do make valuable addition to the soil, when plowed under though. Our chickens have eaten so many tomatoes they just yawn when I dump a bucket of tomato scraps in their yard.

Here’s my latest batch of tomato sauce that I canned last night. Lots more to go.

I have to laugh at our horses, donkey, and mule. We’ve been giving them various corn husks and stalks so when they see the golf cart coming, all their ears pop up, pointing our way. Will cuts the stalks with a machete after we pick a section of corn, then he loads it on the golf cart and gives some to the cows and some to the horses. All appreciate it very much! Of course, the house is stuffed full of drying varieties of corn. This year, we have five varieties of sweet corn, four kinds of new flour corn, and two popcorns tied up on strings, everywhere in the house! It does look great, though.

Our cows and horses are always interested to see how much corn “leavings” we have in the golf cart for them.

Will picked the last of the watermelons (Bozeman), and brought it in, along with the Costata Romanesco zucchini, which turns a beautiful dark green and orange striped color when mature. All went into the greenhouse until I can get the melons seeded as they don’t keep long. I did seed out the Costata Romanesco and want to try baking or frying the flesh as it smelled divine and was a pretty orange color like a winter squash. Harvest time is such fun!

Our house is stuffed full of vegetables!

— Jackie


  1. Selena, yes ! isn’t it disheartening to see how much waste people do. PLASTIC bags around compostable leave. disgusting at the smoldering “dry” leaves. Wish people were more considerate of the air pollution and landfill overuse.

  2. Yep, I just wish I had all those wasted leaves, right in my gardens!! I love leaves and sure hate to see them wasted or hauled to the dump.
    We’ve had a fire going for a week now, with highs in the mid 40’s F. Of course, the lows hover in the mid 30’s. That fire sure feels nice.

  3. Those lovely piles of vegetables are so wonderful. I love squash and am looking forward to getting seed from your seed business. I didn’t save any seed this year because of the drought and poor production. That crate of tomatoes looks good. I love making stewed tomatoes to can. It makes the best chili and tomato soup. Im glad your wood gathering is going well. Who knows what this winter will bring. My brother has been busy getting wood up for the winter. About every two days he will say I think I will get 4 more loads. That was about 16 loads ago, lol. Isn’t it fun to watch the animals when you bring treats? I give scraps to the sheep and they sure know what that scrap bucket is. They are just crazy for apple peels, lol. Prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thank you! All that hard work, bringing in and putting away vegetables and firewood sure pays off big dividends, later on. I also took a crate of tomatoes down to my son, Bill’s family, so they can also can up some tomatoes. Even our chickens can spot the scrap pail and come running with their necks out, racing to see who gets dibs on the first tomato scraps.

  4. Hey Jackie and Will are self sustaining people, wish we all could be as industrious. The picture in your living room is pretty and so homey. Love to hear from you, thanks for the updates.

    • We are really enjoying bringing in all the crops. The greenhouse is stuffed, as is our house, not to mention the pantry. I’ve got boxes and boxes just sitting on the floor, waiting to go on the pantry shelves. I am so blessed!!

  5. I’m sure you are glad with all you’ve accomplished. I finally finished my wood pile too. Interesting for me I dug sweet potatoes before the frost. At first I thought I didn’t get any. However after digging another 6-12 inches the yield was respectable. I don’t water so I think the roots/nodes went deeper seeking moisture. Do you pick your sweet corn before fully mature and then dry? Does that affect germination.

    • We pick our sweet corn after it’s mature, when possible. We’ve found that bagging the ears protects it from not only birds and squirrels but also corn earworms. Sometimes, if the birds are getting at it badly and we can’t bag it, we’ll pick it as long as it’s in the dough stage, following the milk stage. This corn germinates great. Picked earlier and dried, the corn often will get puckered and very small. This sometime germinates, sometimes not.
      Good you got sweet potatoes. We can’t grow them, even in our hoop houses. We’ve tried and tried. So we grow great squash, instead!

  6. Congrats on your progress! I’m as happy seeing the stacks of our firewood as I am seeing shelves of canned goods (almost)! We’re just two-legged squirrels this time of year.

    • Yes, we are. I laugh when I see a squirrel running across the yard with a bit of corn ear in its mouth, seeing myself, stocking up for winter.

  7. Tilling tomatoes under? I had always understood that introduces various germs and unhealthy organisms into the soil that would carry over and quite possibly cause disease outbreak next year.

    • That’s what I thought too. I’ve always been careful to keep dead tomato plants out of the compost pile and garden soil.

    • No, no. We don’t till tomato vines under. Just the fallen tomatoes. The vines, we gather in a pile and burn them.

      • I always chop my tomato vines up (and all parts of vegetable plants that are done with production) and dig them back into my rows soil to decay during our winter, and also compost them. I can’t say I’ve seen any bad results. I’ve only seen them have blossom end rot (lack of soil calcium) and tomato worms. I think that in this very dry area, which is typical of far north California, we seldom have pests or diseases.

  8. Hi Jackie, Glad to hear you getting caught up on things. I didn’t put a garden this year because of us moving here and then I fell down the stairs. Damaged some ligaments in knees and elsewhere. I’m lucky I way that I don’t tend to break bones but tear ligaments. Painful but they’ll heal eventually. Still trying to pull the house together after the craziest move I have ever done. That’s why I bought no seeds from you. Sorry about that. Next year I have to get a garden in. Hopefully things will have healed and the chaos will have ended. 😆 One day, one step at a time.

    • I’m sure glad to hear you didn’t have a serious fall down the stairs. A friend of our son, Bill’s, fell down a long flight of stairs recently and really got banged up badly, requiring surgery and a long rehab. Poor Dan!! But even so, it sure could have been worse.
      My first “garden” here was seven tomato plants, which froze to death on June 27th! So don’t feel bad. There’s always next spring.

  9. lol.. I’m looking at the harvest in the room and spy the 2/3 of Sarge. We have a lot of wood that the better half keeps corralled in one area based on when ready to use. Got a fire going as I type – not that cold out per se but it is damp and rainy. So glad we perservered and got the garden areas ready before this rain hit.
    And always so nice when one can make use of all of a plant – human consumption/seeds, animal consumption, and/or soil booster. I find the number of leaves people bag and put out for pick-up unbelievable. Even if you don’t compost, mow them up as good for the lawn. Worst are the ones that burn piles of leaves that are *not* dry (especially when they burn in the ditch along the road – smoke can be a hazard). Or carelessly burn (large pile, windy, and/or burn warning).

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