The dogs love it. They get to ride in the snowplow truck with Will. They can’t wait. Spencer got disgusted because Bill’s dog, Buddy, who we are dogsitting, got to ride, taking up all of his seat. So he turned around and came back into the house and got up in Will’s chair. Humph! You could just see him grouch. (I’m sure we’ll have more snow so he WILL get his turn in the truck.) Luckily, we haven’t had bad snow storms (yet) like you guys on the East Coast. I hope you’re all warm, prepared and safe.


I’m starting to sort out my seed-starting trays and peat pellets as well as bags of Pro-Mix seed-starting medium. It won’t be long before I start petunias. (Sure, I’m getting the itch!) We’ve received several varieties of folks’ heirloom seeds in the mail and sure do get excited about trying all of them. (We’re especially interested in Native American heirlooms so if any of you have one or two, we’d really like to try them. Just click on the Seed Treasures website and you’ll find our address. Thanks in advance!)

We’ve been enjoying feeding the birds this winter as always, although we’ve only seen woodpeckers, chickadees, and nuthatches so far. We do all we can to encourage birds and insect pollinators by planting for them. We can’t raise bees because Will is allergic to bee stings so we try to get all the wild pollinators we can by planting clovers in the nearby pastures, nectar-producing flowers in the flower beds, and even some flowers that bees love in the garden. For the birds, we feed year-around, keep water available in the yard in a birdbath and our little fish pond, provide birdhouses and nesting material, and plant seed-producing flowers they love such as purple coneflowers, sunflowers, poppies, etc. We also keep oriole and hummingbird feeders going all season.

Besides helping to pollinate flowers, even the orioles and hummingbirds eat some insects; we’ve seen them.

We don’t have many nesting bluebirds yet but we do have some swallows and it’s sure cool to watch them swoop down through the garden and snatch cabbage moths right out of the air!

Our bird-and-insect friendly homestead is another demonstration of the full circle way we try to live. We feed and plant for the birds and pollinators (and beneficial insects such as ladybugs), provide good habitat for them year around. They make our lives more cheerful while eating weed seeds, “bad” bugs, and pollinating our crops. We grow stronger and more crops with their help, then we feed them in the winter. This makes a complete circle which we strive for in all things. — Jackie


  1. L Bryant,

    Thanks for the info. We’re in the “wait and see” mode. The last five times Will got stung (once by a bald faced hornet, twice by yellow jackets and twice by bees), all he got was the red swellings at the sting site where he used to have to use the epi pen. His doctor says he’s probably getting desensitized and we sure hope so!

  2. Anita,

    We have two pairs of phoebes that nest under the eaves of the house and sure do bring the babies home lots of insects! We try to keep Mittens in the house until the “kiddos” have flown the nest. She hasn’t figured a way to get to them yet, but we do worry. I have visions of her crawling upside down on the rafters to get to the nests……

  3. Rick Riley,

    Wow, two feet is a lot no matter how you cut it. Three feet? Eeeek. I remember one time long ago when we lived south of here about 100 miles, we had five feet over the weekend with a bad wind. The drifts were so high the TV was warning snowmobilers NOT to ride under the powerlines as some were getting electrocuted! They had to bring in front end loaders to remove snow on the roads as snow plows couldn’t get through.
    I LOVE bees! I used to have hives but as Will was very allergic, we haven’t any now. But maybe some day???? (He is getting less and less reactive to stings as years pass.)

  4. We have a pair of Says Phoebes that nest above our front door every year, we love watching them hunt for insects all summer and raise their babies!

  5. Jackie I have been enjoying your blog for some time!!

    I keep honeybees and I have a husband and son who needed epi-pens for stings.
    I want to let you know that there is now venom therapy shots for stinging insects. (NO FOOD ALLERIES). This is only available through an allergist. After testing I was told that honeybee stings are the most unlikely source of all stinging insects for a severe reaction.
    The process requires you to come in and be tested for all the stinging insects. it takes about 4 hours and is a skin test. Once it is determined what you are allergic to then you start once a week for 9 weeks with shot(s). My son needed them for everything and it was only 2 shots per week. After the 9 weeks you go every other week for 2 months then once a month for a year. They will then reassess you reaction(s). In general it takes about 2 years to complete the process. The result is that if you are stung then your reaction is the normal redness and swelling and not the immediate need for an epi-pen (these cost us $175 each).
    Due to our very high medical deductible we paid out of pocket. The testing was about $450. The shots were about $60 dollars each. In consideration of the ambulance ride and ER visit for a severe reaction the treatment is cost effective and very well could save your life.

  6. Jackie, I just love that photo of Will and the dogs in the snow plow truck. It gave me a good laugh at how important the dogs look. Bet they were making sure Will was doing it right!

    Thank you for sharing the information on the full circle of you supporting the birds and insects and them supporting you in return. So beautifully expressed and such a true statement of our connection to each other. Nature is indeed our sustenance and support.

  7. Miss Jackie, we had a 24 inch snowfall last Friday and Saturday…..that is a lot but by no means a record…. 50 miles east of us they had 3 feet at the orchard I most favor. I was there yesterday; our snow has begun to melt but there was little evidence of melt there.
    I had wondered if you have honey bees; I am so sorry Will or anyone is allergic to their stings. The bees are so interesting to watch and to me great fun to work with. The order and unity of the hive is an education! Rick

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