seed saving station

Ducklings and Seed Saving Station

Ducklings and Seed Saving Station

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary, Volume 2
Week 39: October 1, 2022

Sadie was delighted to hatch 2 ducklings at last! They peep adorably, reminding us of squeaky toys or tiny yellow dumplings.

By the second day, mother Sadie had introduced her ducklings to the wide outdoors.

They are so incredibly soft and fun to hold! The parents, Sadie and Sylvester, were a gift from a dear friend, Sarah Fullerton. I love her (and them) so much!

The calendar page has flipped to October and the antique hutch serves as a seed saving station.

Seed saving and preserving continue in earnest and so does the sunny weather, which means more of the same ahead this week, even though 🎃 pumpkin spice and sweater weather messaging are strong!

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Do the next thing

It was a week of connecting with reality. We are still adjusting to the loss of little Charla (our sweet little dog loved and shared by Miriam and me.) Trips to the garden without Charla at my heels feel strange and…solemn. But to the garden I must go, there is still (thankfully) much food to be harvested.

And so I harvest more seeds, cut up precious windfall apples for apple butter, watch roots form on my kitchen window basil cuttings, and continue my herbal medicine making. Doing the next thing is good medicine.

It’s a beautiful thing to turn imperfect fruit into something perfect, like apple butter. When the wooden spoon stands up in the crock, it’s done.

I wash dishes, clean messes, and mop floors. Keeping a Crock Pot or a broth pot going is a comfort.

I gather greens for the bunnies, chase ducklings, let the chickens out in the mornings and close them up at night, even as I stumble over large, irrefutable evidence of a bear in our yard.

Musquee de Provence pumpkin
Musquee de Provence pumpkin

We first grew Musquee de Provence pumpkins in 2005 and were immediately smitten. The voluptuous fruit, weighing 10 – 25 pounds (4.5 – 11 kg) are born generously on rambling vines with lush heart-shaped leaves. They start out deep forest green and ripen after curing to a gorgeous bronzy chestnut color. Cut pumpkins exude a sweet melon aroma!

Boiling water in the bottom chamber of the steam juicer causes the berries to release their juices. Elderberry juice, fresh from the spigot, quart after quart.

Half a gallon of raw a2/a2 milk becomes clabber for baking and sour cream, with fresh milk for drinking and cream for my morning cup of tea. A loaf of bread thaws in preparation for apple butter.

Garden teepee

Join me for tea? Would you guess the tea service is mix-and-match from the thrift shop?

glorious garden teepee
Glorious garden teepee

In a year when the garden struggled due to weather, the teepee was a very pleasant surprise. It grew and it throve and it was a delight to watch.

Comfort food

Mexican chicken tortilla soup
Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup

And I make soup. Ahhh soup.

We finished the week with a pot of Mexican Chicken Tortilla Soup made with garden veggies and herbs and home-canned tomatoes.

And through it all, Sam is wonderful. Sam goes to work, comes home, does chores. Daily offering to help and finding ways to do so. Life is good.

Thank you for reading! You are part of the goodness in my life.


Two seed saving books
Seed to Seed and The Seed Garden

One last thing. I can’t leave you without sharing book recommendations with you! These two are excellent for seed savers.

Beginner book: Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth. This is the book I started with and relied on for over 20 years.
Advanced book: The Seed Garden by Lee Alan Buttala and Shanyn Siegel.

Check my favorite online seller of used books using my sharebooklove link. Click the highlighted link in the previous sentence and then type the title of the book into the search bar when you get there. If they don’t have it in stock, create a wish list and add this book to it. Using my link earns us both points towards free books! Thank you for supporting my business, I appreciate it.

Blessings to you, friends.
Michele and Samuel

* This post contains links to products and vendors I use and appreciate for their quality and usefulness. Some are affiliate, some are not. I may earn a commission from qualifying purchases when you use the links I provide; this does not change your price.



  • So much to learn here. Amazing. Love what you do and how beautifully you show it through words and pictures.

    • Thank you, Dianne. There is much beauty and interest in the everyday and it is such fun to review the week and remember those moments. They are like jewels.


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