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Jackie Clay

I’m hunting up my pepper seeds and my jiffy pellets

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

It’s mid-February (does THAT seem possible?) and pretty soon I’ll be starting my peppers and petunias. They take a long time to get big. After the peppers are about 4 inches tall, I put them in our enclosed porch, next to the greenhouse, where it’s much cooler. Instead of 72 degrees, it’s more like 55-60 degrees. I’ve found that they grow slower and develop stronger roots and stockier stems, and don’t get leggy and bloom too soon. We’ll be putting them into the hoop house in May with night-time heat if frost threatens. I can hardly wait! DIRT! I do use the super-sized Jiffy pellets with biodegradable netting then transplant the pellet and all into large Styrofoam cups when the roots just begin to come through the sides of the pellet. That works great for me and the pepper harvest is terrific. Even here in the North.

Last night I made deep-fried, fresh, homemade tortillas from some of the Maseca (masa harina) that friends from our fall seminar gifted me with. Thanks so much, Teresa and Jose! I’ve got a tortilla press and all you have to do is mix the masa with a bit of salt and water, divide into balls, and press with the tortilla press. I use a piece of waxed paper to prevent the dough from sticking to the press. After pressing, I roll the tortilla thinner with a rolling pin. Then I fry them in about two inches of hot lard. By tilting the pan back and forth, the hot grease rolls over the top of the tortilla making it bubble. This makes a nice crispy tortilla. Served with melted Velveeta cheese mixed with half a pint of my own salsa, these make a meal in themselves!


I just had to share this cute picture with you. As Hondo is really getting too big to sit on my lap (which he still does from time to time), he decided that Spencer would make a good substitute. He’s always sat on him, but lately, more so. He just walks up when Spencer is lying down and backs up and sits down on him. Plop. Spencer doesn’t mind and we think it’s so funny.


One of these days, I’d like to get an English Mastiff puppy. And as Mastiffs grow to weigh 200 pounds or so, I sure hope he doesn’t take Hondo’s lead and plop down on Spencer! — Jackie

17 Responses to “I’m hunting up my pepper seeds and my jiffy pellets”

  1. J R G Says:

    The photo of the dogs with all the dog toys scattered around made me laugh. Our dog will take her toys out of the storage tub and scatter them around too. If I don’t put them back she will then group them around her feeding dish. She will try to take them outside but we don’t let her do that because they will get lost in the snow.

  2. Franci Osborne Says:

    Love the pictures. Homemade tortillas, yum! That was our Sunday breakfast when the kids were small, homemade tortillas wrapped around bacon and fresh orange juice. Hondo is getting big. His sitting remiinds me of my German Shorthair Pointers. Mike was a “sitter”. He’d sit on Mac, a pillow, my feet or lap. Once he backed up and tried to sit on the oven broiler door while the oven was on. I still laugh thinking how fast he moved when his posterior hit that hot door. Thanks for a good memory. I’ll be getting some peat pellets for starting my seeds. Good idea.

  3. Anita, Colorado Says:

    I started my tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and petunias last weekend. I already have broccoli, cabbage and celery up, I can’t wait to get out in the garden either! We’re are supposed to have warm temps this weekend which will just make it hard to bear because I know winter is still not quite over yet here!

  4. kathy v Says:

    Glad you mentioned putting your peppers in a slightly cooler space. That may help me also since I have a room with a south window and unheated. We can plant in the ground the first of May.

    Would this also be advisable for tomatoes?

  5. Laurie Says:

    Our smaller dog sits on our bigger one, too. Silly pups! I made tortillas one time. They were so good, I don’t know why I haven’t done it again. We got your seeds earlier this week. Excited! I need to start some seeds this weekend. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Sarah Says:

    Great picture of the dogs! Mastiffs are so neat! I’ve wanted one ever since I read Sherlock Holmes. I think Spenser wouldn’t put up with being a pillow for a Mastiff. lol

  7. jackie Says:


    Our dogs have their own toy box, a big plastic tote, full of balls, “babies” (stuffed animals), rubber tire on a rope, bones, etc. We toss them all back about once every two days then they get busy and dig them all out again. One day, both Spencer and Hondo sat in front of the box and took out one toy after another. Who needs TV when you’ve got animals in the house???? Ours have been taught to drop their toys at the door when going outside. Otherwise we wouldn’t see them till spring. They run to the door and spit them out with force!

  8. jackie Says:


    I’m still laughing about your pointer sitting on the broiler door! Wow! That must not have been too comfortable. Soft Spencer would be much better.

  9. jackie Says:

    Kathy V,

    Actually we do this with our tomatoes, mainly because by the time they’re six inches tall, I’ve run out of room to put them in the greenhouse and the enclosed porch is warmer because of spring and I keep the door between them open so the porch is heated but not real warm.

  10. jackie Says:


    Yep, I really love Mastiffs too. In fact, one is a character in a novel I’m about to start (in my spare time!) When I was a teenager, I had a horse in the house (well, a bottle raised colt), so a mastiff would be no problem. They aren’t apartment dogs, for sure. But then, neither is Hondo. He needs something to do!

  11. ralph Says:

    We have had three mastiffs over the years. Very sweet ( but very messy too )
    Every single one would sit in your lap if you’d let them!

    The only real negative ( other than the drooling, shedding and digging if those sort of things bother you ) is that they don’t live very long lives. Not one of ours made it to 9 and we lost two of them to cancer. They are such sweet dogs that the pain of the loss is devastating.

  12. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Hurray, it’s time to grow something!!! Love the picture.

  13. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    And by the way, we were SO tickled to get our Jackie and Will seeds!

  14. jackie Says:


    Naw, drooling, hair and digging pretty much are normal around here. I know about short-lived giant dogs and that one thing does bother me. Our animals are like family and we are crushed when we lose one.
    I hope we’ll be able to afford a mastiff pup sometime in the future. For us, the BIG down side is the price of a pup. $1,000 and up is a lot of cash for struggling homesteaders. (But I have found a great breeder, right here in Minnesota, Lisa Armstrong, who has health-tested gorgeous dogs.)

  15. TXCOMT Says:

    THIS post is the reason why I read Jackie after reading Mas and Claire…heck, I need something to pick me up after checking out the topics those two sometimes tackle! Keep up the great work, JC!


  16. jackie Says:


    Awww. Thanks.

  17. Laura Says:

    I love to make homemade tortillas. Here is a tip. Instead of water, use pork or chicken broth. The tortillas come out really tasty!

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