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Jackie Clay

While I’m taking it easy, Will’s working hard

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Okay I’m a bum, but, hey, I had knee surgery on Thursday. I overdid it on Friday, moving tomatoes and peppers out onto our enclosed porch. So Friday was a pain (literally!). And I did follow Doctor’s orders; he gave me no restrictions, just do what my knee would let me. I had two tears in my meniscus, so I guess the repair took a bit more than we talked about prior to the surgery. Luckily we castrated baby pigs and disbudded the goats before the surgery! At any rate, I’m real lucky to have a homesteader husband who took over all the chores with no grousing. So he’s been extra busy! Today, my knee feels some better so I have hopes that in a few days I can get back at it again. I don’t do “sitting around” real well!


All of a sudden, everything is turning green. Our garlic and chives are up and pretty. Even the yard looks green again. Our flower bulbs are popping up and some are even blooming. Boy, does that cheer us up after all that snow.



We’re starting to get trees and shrubs that we ordered this spring: Evans Bali pie cherries, Crimson Jewel bush cherries, Hansen bush cherries, two plums, and a pear to start off with. Our orchard looks great and the trees are swelling with buds. I can hardly wait for blooms. But last night it was 22 degrees so I hope they wait awhile so we get fruit this year! — Jackie

14 Responses to “While I’m taking it easy, Will’s working hard”

  1. betsy pitchford Says:


    Hope you are feeling better. I also had the same knee procedure last week. It’s hard to take it easy when there is so much to do in the garden. Thanks for the advice on saving my “vinegary” salsa. Do you have a salsa recipe that you recommend that does not require vinegar as an ingredient? Can lemon juice be safely substituted for vinegar in water bath canning?

    Scottsboro, AL

  2. Tauna Says:

    Glad to get the good report of your recovery. Yes, take it easy. (I’m chuckling even as I typed it!)

    It is good to see the green. Garden planting time always makes things much happier!

  3. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Thanks for the update Jackie! I’m sure your faithful followers were all wondering how the surgery went and how you’re feeling. It’s hard to keep a good homesteader down! I’m not surprised that your sweet Will is handling things without a grouse. He’s a prize! Take care of yourself and enjoy this beautiful spring that has finally come.

  4. Robin putman Says:

    So glad to hear your on the mend. Love love your rock wall. Great job, Will. I read you are receiving your fruit trees. Where do you order from? We would love to put in a few fruit trees but didn’t know best place to purchase.

  5. Sheryl Says:

    It’s good to hear you are doing well so far. We have been worried about you.

  6. Kelli Says:

    Jackie, You take it easy now. Will can get the work done and what doesn’t get done, can wait a little longer. Just rest and heal. You don’t want to hurt that knee again.

  7. Sherry Says:

    Glad to hear you are doing well. Try to enjoy your recovery, you will make up for it soon enough!

  8. Carol Says:

    We’re all praying for a speedy recovery for you. Just remember how great it will be to be back feeling 100% again, and ready to tackle all that spring has waiting for you. Take care of yourself, Jackie.

  9. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    All modern recipes for canning salsa (and most tomato products) call for adding either vinegar or lemon juice as some of today’s tomatoes are very low acid and not safe to can without adding one of them (use interchangably).
    If you grow your own tomatoes and choose only old varieties that are high acid, you can safely omit the vinegar or lemon juice while canning.

  10. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    Yes, Will is truly a prize! I’m so glad we found each other. It’s hard to believe we’re already approaching our second anniversary!

  11. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    We buy our trees from both St. Lawrence Nursery and Fedco Trees, both in northern New England, in zone 3. If you live in a friendlier growing zone, most any good nursery is fine. We don’t have that option; other more southern nurseries use root stock that isn’t hardy up here. I’ve killed a lot of trees learning that!!!

  12. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    Thanks for the well-wishes! I appreciate them a whole lot. I’m improving daily and WILL be so glad to be back to speed. Some days I feel like biting myself because there’s so much to do but I do realize that healing takes time and I AM following the Doctor’s Orders!!

  13. zelda Says:

    Jackie, You don’t practice no-till gardening? There must be a reason why after all your years of growing food in different places you made the decision to still till your gardens. Yes, I’m a no-till gardener. I don’t grow green manure cover crops over the winter, which would have to be tilled in or chopped up somehow, but I do cover the dirt with alfalfa hay and then pull it aside to plant. If and when you have time and want to share the information, will you tell us why you till?

  14. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    No we don’t practice no-till gardening. First off, our garden was new on bare land which was a gravel pit. No fertility whatsoever. And full of ferns and trees, roots and stumps. All of which had to be chopped repeatedly and worked in. Then there are the rocks. Every year we till and remove rocks…less each year. To build fertile soil, we added tons of rotted manure and compost. Tons. That also had to be worked in. It’s getting so we have about a foot of black garden soil now with very few ferns and roots. No till gardening is fine for smaller and some medium sized established gardens, but for us with an acre or more in garden and that garden being pretty new, we do till.

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