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Ask Jackie headline

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

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Jackie Clay

Spring, glorious Spring

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

Although our weather’s sunny and bright with the birds singing, it’s a bit cool this morning — down to the mid-forties. But we’re sure okay with that. Will decided it was time he started repairing equipment, beginning with our Oliver tractor, “The Hulk.” It has a bent rod and needs the valves ground, among other things. This morning, Will pulled the head and started taking things apart. He was happy to discover the cylinder walls are pristine. So at least that much is good. A friend with equipment and experience volunteered to grind the valves.

I’ve been busy transplanting tomatoes. Whew! There are a lot of tomatoes. But while I was working, I spotted the pair of geese who nest on our little beaver pond, below the house. While the female goose was busy exploring the shore for a nesting site, the gander was walking on the ice, watching out for trespassers, honking loudly all the time. We love to watch them hatch a brood and swim about with little, fluffy, yellow babies.

While I was feeding the goats this morning, I spotted a male robin hopping about on our front yard. He even pulled up a worm — I didn’t think they were thawed out yet!

Our peppers are getting big and stocky. I bought another little four-shelf plastic greenhouse, which brings us up to three total. We stack flats of seedlings in them in our south-facing floor to ceiling living room windows. When planting season is over, we take them down and store them in the basement. Our oldest greenhouse is six years old now and still in perfect shape. (But we never take them outside where the wind could tear them apart.)

Just a reminder; if you have questions for me, please don’t be shy about sending them in to Backwoods Home. If we don’t get questions, the Ask Jackie column might go away! I know many of you don’t ask questions for fear of “bothering” me when we are busy. But it’s never a bother. Ask away. — Jackie

4 Responses to “Spring, glorious Spring”

  1. Julia Says:

    How big do my new chicks need to be before being put outside? About 3 weeks ago I bought 5 “big” chicks who were getting their pin feathers. The same day, I also bought 7 little ones with 2-3 feathers on their wingtips. Assorted breeds-White Rock, Barred Rock, Plymouth & 3 Rhode Island Reds. Compared to the others, the Rhodies are very petite & delicate. The White Rock, aka Chubby, is getting pin feathers now. My bigger chicks have taken care of the younger ones & they sleep in a huddle. They are presently living in a large rabbit hutch in the garage until they go outside.

  2. jackie clay Says:


    Even week old chicks can go outside on warm, sunny days. But they shouldn’t be permanently outside, even with shelter, until they have feathered completely out. By then they have protection against the cool wind and are smarter about seeking shelter if bad weather threatens.

  3. wally Mattson Says:

    Please don’t ever stop the”Ask Jackie”. This is always fun to read and an easy way for us to keep track of what is going on up there. I hope the tractor repair goes well.

  4. jackie clay Says:


    I wouldn’t want to, but, unfortunately, I’m not “in charge” of such things; it’s above my pay grade. Lol

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