Here’s the new boy with his proud mama.

Our heifer, Salsa, finally had her calf. Will went down at 7:30 A.M. to check her and nothing was going on. Ashley went down at 11:00 and the calf was not only born but standing up nursing! We’d been hoping for a bull calf, so we were thrilled at the outcome. His grandmother’s name is Mamba and his mom’s name is Salsa, so we decided to stick with the dance theme and name him Tango. Salsa used to be a little shy; you couldn’t touch her. But with both Ashley and Will taking extra pains to feed her treats, scratch her, and rub her, she’s become more friendly. So much so that when Will needed to squirt a little milk from each of her teats to relieve the pressure and check for plugs, she stood nicely and let him do it.

Will milking Salsa to relieve pressure and check for plugs which could make it hard for the baby to get milk.

On Saturday, we got our new-to-us solar panels. Will went over and hauled them home on our equipment trailer. We got 8 and our friends, Mike and Dara, got 4. We’re all super happy. Now when we get all of our panels up, we’ll more than quadruple our current power.

Aren’t these panels nice? Just like brand new!
Will, David, and Mike loading Mike’s share of the solar panels.

Yesterday, I began transplanting peppers. They’re getting so big now. So far, I’ve done two flats and will get more done today. Ashley’s busy transplanting her petunias which are so big now that they look like lettuce. The tomatoes are popping up like crazy so I won’t have much of a break between transplanting peppers and tomatoes.

Unfortunately, it’s snowing today. Wet, spring snow. There was supposed to be 2 to 4 inches, but we’re already up to 4 inches and it’s still snowing heavily. But it’s going to warm up soon, so we know the snow won’t last. And we do need the moisture in the ground. — Jackie


  1. why does everyone start plants in small containers, and then put them in larger containers—can’t you just start them in the larger? makes no sense to me, but I’ll bet you have an answer that makes sense to me!!!!

  2. Congrats on the boy and glad to here things went well. I might have wanted to soon. Freezing temp for Easter. I will just tell the tomatoes and peppers to duck and cover under buckets for 2 days. Fingers crossed.

    • Eeek! I wish your tomatoes and peppers the best of luck. Any chance you could find some Wall’O Waters to put over them? They’ve protected my tomatoes from a foot of snow and 18 degrees where a bucket or plastic only protects to about 31….

  3. A fine baby boy, congratulations. Love to read your posts. Thank you for bringing us along on your adventures.

  4. Love the solar panels. Glad you found and could capitalize on a great deal. Look forward to seeing your progress on them.

    Great to see your growth in homesteading. Keep up the sharing.

    • We were thrilled to get those panels! Of course we’d have liked a few more but the pockets were empty and we’re so happy to have been able to get what we did.

  5. My hubby couldn’t stand it any longer and took some of his basement garden outside and planted in our raised beds. Now I see another snowflake in our Iowa weather for next week,boo hoo! Nothing like a cute new baby to fawn over! Congrats!

    • I hope your husband’s outside plants survive the snowflakes (under cover, I’m sure!). Maybe it’ll be 40 degrees and snow. Hey, it happens….. Ashley is new to farming and was simply thrilled when Tango sucked on her thumb.

  6. Congrats on the new baby! Glad you got what you were wishing for. The panels look fantastic. Finally got our tomato plants planted; it was good to get into the dirt again! Hope that snow goes away quickly. We should see 50 degrees here in Michigan today. Hurray!

    • We were happy Tango was a bull calf as we want to keep the best of our bull calves this spring to use as our own bull. And because Salsa is 7/8 beef (1/8 Holstein)and the bull is a registered Black Angus, Tango should make a great bull.
      I know what you mean about getting in the dirt. It even smells great! We saw 43 degrees this afternoon. Yea, the snow is melting fast.

  7. What do you have for a battery bank? Can it handle all that extra power. We’ve had five very sunny days and haven’t had to run the generator to charge our small bank now that the sun is getting higher in the sky. Unfortunately it has been minus five the last two mornings. Finally planted peppers, cellery, herbs, and petunias yesterday. The hoop houses still completely covered with snow.

    • Right now we have 8 6 volt golf cart batteries but we were getting ready to replace them as they are getting some age on them although they still hold a charge well. We plan on expanding our battery bank to 12-14 batteries before we hook up the new panels. We do have a good charge controller to prevent any over-charging on really sunny, windy days. We just got 8 inches of wet, yucky snow and today it’s melting. Our hoop house snow has slid off but you still can’t walk in the garden for the foot and half of snow.

  8. Miss Jackie, Tango! that name is way cool! In years past Miss Sharon and I used to love to go dancing occasionally on a Friday evening with friends at a 50’s hop. We never did any of the Latin dances, just danced as we did before high school graduation.
    We had a pretty heavy snowfall last week. The local weather forecast was for a trace to 3 inches. When it got up to 12 inches it was still snowing hard here! Daytime temps are now above freezing by day, so it is melting but about 20F or less at night; I can’t wait to dig in some garden soil again. I have couple of compost piles to spread too. Rick

    • Yep, my poor dancing skills never included Latin dancing but I sure appreciate it! Beautiful! One can wish though…. We just got eight to twelve inches of new, heavy wet snow. But today it’s melting and the sun is out. Slop, slop, slop!

  9. It’s been 40 years since I’ve had any cattle and I still miss them. Folks think I’m silly when I talk about the delightful scent of a day-old calf, but if they’d ever carried one to the barn, they’d know what I mean.

  10. When the crazy events that I hear or read about in the news begin to get me down, I come to your site and feel that some things are still sane and good. Thankyou Jackie, for providing this glimpse into life as it should be lived!
    Lovely new calf! Solar panels look like new.

    • Yeah, I know what you mean about the news. It seems like it’s all bad news. And I often wonder how people can be that mean to other people. It seems like everyone hates everyone these days! What the heck is wrong, anyway?
      Me, I love our life and appreciate all those little things that make it great, from new tulips to baby calves.

  11. Congratulations on your new little boy!! How cute! I really like the looks of those solar panels!! Great deal!!

    Sometime can you show pictures of your growing plants? I would love to see them. Due to family situation I am finally getting my plants started. I’m finishing peppers right now.

    Do you start broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi and cabbage ahead?

    • I’d be happy to show pictures of our growing plants.

      Yes, I start all the cabbage family but kohlrabi inside, four weeks before setting it out in the garden. (If you plant it earlier, it often gets root-bound and never amounts to anything.) You want to set out smaller plants that go ahead and take right off.

      • I have had great luck transplanting kohlrabi . The usual four week prestart and i transplant some in the hoop house six inches apart and the rest as succession planting in raised beds. Saves on seed cost and thinning and we get kohlrabi about a month earlier which are a favorite for visiting grand children. We peal and slice and serve them raw. The kids call them green cookies!

  12. Our daughter and son in law just bought two bull calves within the last ten days our grandsons ages eight and four have named then beefy and jerky. They have a little hobby farm located not far from us outside of Gilman Mn. The calves will keep the ducks,chickens, and rabbits company until fall.

  13. Congratulations on the little bull!! We just had two largest snow falls (10″ and 6″ ) and so looking for warmer weather on a more regular basis. Want to get my hands in the dirt!!

    • Me too, Rita! I’m already drawing sketches for planting the new garden that’s not even cleared off or fenced yet! But when warm weather hits, it’s all go, go, go.

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