I’ve been pretty darned busy lately, running every morning to see Mom in the hospital, then hurrying home to get in the garden because I’m getting late again this year.  I didn’t even have time to get my squash and melon seeds started inside.  Oh well, maybe we’ll have a good long growing season?

The onions are up three inches high and the asparagus I planted two years ago is growing so fast you can just about see it grow!  And nice fat stalks, too!  Mmmmm.  I’m glad I planted so much.  Now I have 90 plants and in another year I’ll be canning asparagus for the winter so we can enjoy our favorite vegetable year around.

Tomorrow I drive to Duluth to pick up my boyfriend, Will, from the airport, so today I’ve been getting ready for “company”.  Of course I haven’t cleaned house since Mom went to the hospital, so guess what I did today?  Sigh.  Well, it certainly needed it!

Tonight, I took a break and enjoyed my new deck.  The hummingbirds are back in force, and are so tame they fly right in front of my face.  I have three feeders up for the seed eating birds and we have goldfinches, purple finches, grosbeaks, song sparrows and others.  I’m hoping for an oriole, but none, so far.  My friend Jeri has several at her hummingbird feeders, but we live a few miles apart.  I’ve seen them here, but am still watching and waiting.  They are so pretty and have a beautiful song.

All those birds also help me by eating weed seeds and not so nice insects.  By flying buddies!

Readers’ questions:

Wall O Waters

Question about using Wall O Waters: Do you have to harden the plants off before you plant them out, since you’d be planting them out earlier than normal? Do the WOWs just protect them from needing to be hardened off? And do you notice that they get set back later in the season when it’s time to remove the WOWs? My tomatoes always seem so floppy when I finally take the WOWs off and they almost seem to get transplant shock then and need some time to recover.

Carmen Griggs
Bovey, Minnesota

No, I don’t feel that you need to harden the plants off when you use WOWs, as they are protected from wind, direct sun and cold rains.  I’ve never had them show the slightest bit of shock when I’ve just planted them straight from the greenhouse.

Yes, my plants also are a little floppy when I take the WOWs off.  I just stake them up and wait a week.  Although they are floppy, they have grown terrific roots and they quickly stock up.  I’m sure yours do, too.  Great product! — Jackie

“Best” canner

I want to start canning foods, but am not sure which is the best canner to buy.  My stove is electric (came with the house) and the cooktop is a flat surface, with the heating elements covered by the glass top.  What do you recommend?

Lois Lichtenberg
Grahamsville, New York

There is no “best” canner.  Get a fairly large capacity canner or you will always wish you had later on.  All modern pressure canners are safe and easy to use, needing little or no maintenance or repair throughout years of hard use.

Glass top kitchen ranges aren’t a good bet to can on.  In fact, most stoves advise against it; the glass can break with the weight of a canner on it.  You could pick up an inexpensive propane or even electric range to replace your glass top.  The switch shouldn’t be expensive and will allow you to can. — Jackie

Storing homemade salsa

I make my own salsa and the recipe is as follows:

2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
2 or 3 jalapenos or about a handful of jalapenos
3 or 4 gloves garlic
1/2 onion
and a small bunch of cilantro
Dash of salt
JUuice of 1 lime

I heat it for about 10 minutes on the stove and then put it in jars.  I have been freezing or keeping in refrigerator but I would love to know if this is safe to do a 20 minutes water bath and store it on the shelf like most canned products?  I find so much conflicting info on this.  I don’t want to get sick or injur anyone with poisoning.

Dyanne  Lerew
North Richland Hills, Texas

I would add 2 Tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to your recipe and heat the salsa just to boiling, ladle into hot sterilized jars and process it for 30 minutes (pints) in a boiling water bath canner.  Good eating! Now if you grow your own tomatoes, peppers and other ingredients….. — Jackie

How do I get Issue No. 87?

Please help.  My goat is milk and I’ve lost my issue #87 — with all those great goat milk recipe’s.  I checked for it in the “Previous Issues” section but it’s not available.  Any suggestions on how/where else I can get the information?  I’m especially in need of the yogurt in a jar, put it in a pan of water, and let it set in the pilot-lit oven till done, and the cheese recipes.  I’ve been using this issue and it’s recipes for years — but these days, my grey matter just isn’t what is used to be.  I need words on paper.

Laura Cutter
Cocolalla, Idaho

I checked with Dave and the crew at BHM to see if they have an issue, but they are out of No. 87. Issue No. 87 is also not yet in any of the anthologies. It’s scheduled for the 15th Year Anthology which is a year away from being printed. I know you can call the BHM office at 1-800-835-2418 and have the articles xeroxed by the staff for a fee. — Jackie