Yes, we need it to perk up the pastures and hayfields, but it sure is hard to do outside work when it’s raining off and on all day … all week. But just before this rainy period struck, Will got busy and spread manure on our north garden and the old pig pen garden, which we now call the “central garden” just because it sounds nicer. Luckily, he only had two breakdowns with the old spreader. All those parts he put on last year sure helped. (Last year it broke down nearly every time he spread manure!) And that wasn’t fun as he had to unload what was left by hand.

He had just finished all of that when the rain began. Luckily, he’d also spread some manure on the small garden next to the house and tilled it in. So I began planting. First in were some of the fancy daylilies I’d bought on Daylily Auction during the winter months. They’ll make a border for that garden, facing the house. Then I drove in some steel T-posts and zip-tied 1½ stock panels to them as a trellis for the peas. I planted Alderman (or Tall Telephone) peas, an old variety I always used to plant, which climbs easily to 6 feet. They don’t blow over in rain and windstorms so they last nicely into summer. I also planted some Mammoth Melting sugar peas on an end trellis and will be planting some morning glories on some end trellises. Just because they’re pretty.

We keep our bird feeders full, year around and, boy, are we getting some pretty visitors. We’ve got lots of Rose-breasted Grosbeaks, Goldfinches, Purple finches, several song sparrows, as well as Orioles and many more common birds. The Grosbeaks are eating some of the grape jelly I put out for the Orioles. But because they’re so pretty, I don’t mind at all.

We got the big hoop house (which Will split in two halves) all fixed up and will be planting peppers in them by Wednesday. (We’re in for a hard frost Tuesday night so we are waiting … just to be safe.) It looks like we’ll be planting our first tomatoes today; when I got home from mailing seeds, Will had rows marked out and was busy digging holes for them. Of course we’ll use Wall O’ Waters to protect them from that darned frost.

Well, gotta run! Talk to you soon, folks. — Jackie


  1. Thanks for the suggestion, Jackie. I will give the suet a try. Magpies are pretty to look at but are definitely aggressive. We get a number of robins each year and the magpies tend to attack the young ones in the nests. I’m trying to find a way to discourage the magpies from hanging around.

  2. DonnaB

    Yes, we have a very few magpies here. Until a few years ago they were extremely rare. Although pretty, they are aggressive. We did have them in Montana but they didn’t bother the songbirds much. You could try putting chunks of suet away from the home site to lure them off. They usually prefer that to other foods (except roadkill deer!)

  3. Jackie,

    That soil in the garden photo looks lovely — so rich and black. You and Will have done a wonderful job giving a helping hand to nature to build that up. The rhubarb looks great too.

    I too love having song birds around — both their sight and sound is so appealing. I would love to put out seed regularly but we have a big problem with magpies. The squirrels I don’t worry about but the magpies tend to attack and run off the songbirds. Do you folks have magpies out in your area? (Or did you have in Montana?) Any thoughts on how to discourage them but not drive away the other birds?

  4. Thank you Jackie for the update on the spring happenings at your place, especially when things are so busy! Love seeing those rich fields you have. That row of daylilies is going to be so pretty!

  5. This brings back old memories. I grew up on a dairy farm and my dad always spread manure on the fields in the spring. It didn’t smell very good for a couple of days. My dad is gone now but my brothers farm the farm and they use modern equipment and fertilizers.
    Your garden sure looks nice. I love to work outside in the garden – vegetable and flowers. I also love day lilies. Hope you have an abundant harvest this year and stay healthy.

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