Join Janet on her adventures as a designer, writer, maker, and farmer in montana. no two days are ever the same. you might even see a bear or two.



Elysian was able to register for the Food and Farm Expo, too, so she’s going to come with me. Her farming interests are slightly different than mine—she has goats and I don’t, so she is taking a goat workshop—but that just means that we’ll have lots to talk about on the ride home.

She did a “tomato tasting” the other night (I’m borrowing her picture but I don’t think she’ll mind):


Isn’t that a lovely plate of tomatoes?

This is only her second year of having a garden and she was worried that nothing would grow. I don’t think she’s worried about that anymore. She put in a lot of hard work and her garden is doing extremely well. She grew 10 different varieties of tomatoes but said that the Cherokee Purple was her favorite. That is one of my favorites, as well, and we grow it every year.

Many of the seed companies will throw in a free packet of seeds with an order. Baker Creek sent us a packet of Purple Russian tomato seeds, so I planted them. Apparently, though, I didn’t read the seed packet closely enough to realize that they were a paste tomato. That’s fine—I will never turn down extra paste tomatoes—but I was certainly puzzled when some of the green paste tomatoes I brought in to ripen turned red and some turned purple:


Oregon Star on the left and Purple Russian on the right. I need to have a tomato tasting of my own and compare their flavors.


I still need a new bag. This is the accessory equivalent of having a closet full of clothes and nothing to wear. As much as I loved making and using my yellow Noodlehead Redwood Tote—probably the only yellow item I will ever “wear” because yellow makes me look like death warmed over—it’s really a summer bag and I need to switch to something more seasonally appropriate.

[The husband is fascinated by all these rules women have about what is and is not seasonally appropriate garb. He wears the same thing 365 days a year, adding or subtracting layers as necessary.]

I pulled out my Fremont Tote from last spring and moved all my stuff over to it. For the moment, that works, but I have some issues with that bag. One is that the black waxed canvas portion has softened up. A lot. For some reason, that batch of black canvas was not as heavily waxed as other batches of fabric I purchased from that same seller. After just a few months of use, it feels like normal, unwaxed canvas. It’s floppy compared to the sage green waxed canvas on the front of the bag, and I don’t like floppy bags. I want a bag that can stand up on its own. While I was in town this morning, I checked a couple of sporting goods stores to see if I could find some Otter Wax with which to re-wax the bag, but all I could find was silicone waterproofing spray.

I’m not a huge fan of the grab handles and the top zipper. I also need a slightly larger bag. There is just no getting around the fact that I haul a lot of stuff with me when I go out. I think that’s a side effect of mom-hood and the constant litany of questions:

  • Do you have any water?

  • Do you have anything to eat?

  • Do you have a band-aid?

  • Do you have a nail file?

  • Do you have any lip balm?

  • Do you have any hand cream?

  • Do you have any ibuprofen?

  • Do you have a Kleenex?

  • Could you carry this for me? (Even my brother-in-law is guilty of this and asks me to put his sunglasses in my purse when he’s not using them.)

It’s no wonder my purse starts to look like Hermione’s Magic Bag after a while. (The answer to all of those questions, by the way, is “yes.”)

I still want to make the Metro Hipster Bag. What I need to do eventually, though, is to design a mash-up of all the bag patterns I’ve made so far, taking the best feature of each one and incorporating them into the perfect bag. The problem is that I am stuck in food preservation mode for at least another month yet. I haven’t had time to sew much of anything. I may get out my red waxed canvas Bramble Bag and switch to that until I have time to make something.

I haven’t forgotten about the apron patterns or the Big Sky Knitting Designs website, but the ripe produce is shoving aside everything else on my list. I did another 14 quarts of apple pie filling yesterday, cut up more pears to dehydrate, and put four more gallon bags of tomatoes in the freezer. More tomatoes are ripening on top of the freezer. Elysian said she might take the rest of the apples. I still have more beans to shell. The grapes are close to being ready. It all comes at once.

Mom's Car Delivery Service

Mom's Car Delivery Service

The Husband Goes to Spotted Bear

The Husband Goes to Spotted Bear