Our fruit trees are just starting to bloom. Here’s one of our Adirondack Gold Apricots opening its blooms.

We went from freezing to 80° F in less than a week! We northern folk sure are slowed down at 80 degrees! And boy are we busy right now, getting gardens ready to plant (all 3 acres of them), along with other spring tasks such as repairing fencing, cleaning barns, and watering indoor plants. It seems like everything is taking longer. I planned on having our peas and onions planted earlier, but I’ll do it this afternoon instead. Same with the tomatoes. I don’t want to set them out when it’s going to be hot; they are stressed too much right after planting. So that’s waiting till hopefully tomorrow when the temp drops to 60° with possibility of rain. I sure want to get them outside. Some are getting pretty leggy and require watering nearly every day. I want to get the peppers in the hoop house but simply can’t work in there during the day (temps 90° and humid) and by night, I’m pooped. Soon, though…

These Atlantic Giant pumpkin seedlings are huge in their 5-inch peat pots!

The melons and especially the Atlantic Giant pumpkins are growing very well. Those pumpkin plants are huge. I planted them in 5-inch pots and they now dwarf them. The fruit trees are just starting to bloom. The wild plums along our driveway are so pretty — pink and white with a wonderful fragrance. Will’s got nearly all the stumps and brush out of the new garden, but boy-oh-boy are there rocks! I’d nearly forgotten all the rocks David and I picked and hauled out of our main garden until I reread some of Starting Over. Now there are very few down there. Will had the new garden looking clean until he ran the chisel plow over it again. That piece of equipment sure pops up big rocks with ease. Now there’s a new batch he’s hard at work picking up. Unfortunately, in between, there’s tractor repair; the hydraulic pump on the Ford 660 came out, a hydraulic pipe on the big International broke. Then yesterday, the brackets which hold the International’s front axle broke. So today, Will’s not only picking abundant rocks but also welding the brackets. With homesteading, there’s never an end. But harvest time makes it all worthwhile!

We have just a FEW rocks in our new garden; we’ve now dubbed it The Rock Garden.
Will’s building muscle the old-fashioned way. (Who needs a gym or weight set?)

Just a note to those of you who have been asking when my newest Western, Spring of the Vultures, will be released. Here’s the info I got from my publisher: The Kindle edition is available for pre-order on Amazon. If you pre-order, it will be delivered to your device on June 1.

Here is the link: https://amzn.to/2KcWYE4

You can preorder the print edition, save 10%, and get FREE shipping on the Mason Marshall website here: https://masonmarshall.com/westerns/spring-of-the-vultures/ or you can wait until June 1 to get it from Amazon. — Jackie


  1. Yep and darn, our mower’s throttle cable broke so grass is growing and I can’t mow until the new one comes.

  2. Aw gee, thanks, Erin.
    I went to mow last week and found the throttle cable on my mower had broken. Will ordered another cable so we’re waiting to get a call that it’s in. I love mowing with my Cub Cadet but sure wish a two year old mower would mow longer without breakdowns. And we keep it in the barn all winter too!
    Probably if you just order a copy from me it would save you postage mailing back and forth multiple times. Then I can autograph it for you and get it back to you quickly.

  3. good morning
    I still live in town and will be moving to nc once the house closes. it sure will be interesting gardening there. I, too, get tired just hearing all that you and you hubby do.

    • We get tired too. Lol! Good luck on your new homestead. What a great adventure you’ll have.

  4. Regarding working in the heat, its hot 9 months of the year here. I use a product called Icy Cools Ice Bandana that I bought from Amazon. If I didn’t have several in my freezer, I don’t think I could work outside anymore.
    Your homestead is pretty amazing.

    • Good idea, Brenda. We’ve found we do best working early in the morning and later in the afternoon/evening while it’s hot.

      • Oh yes, I am done by 10 am in the morning! Then I run out and do quick chores in the evening.

  5. I’ve been looking forward to your newest book…just pre-ordered it on Amazon, thanks for info!

    • Thank you, KT! Every thing all my great reader family does like that supports our homestead.

  6. I know how it goes with rocks. I spent twelve years working farms in the Catskills of New York. When they started clearing fields in the early 1800’s the made a lot of of two or three acre fields with stone walls on all sides. Later when mechanized equipment came on they took out walls and ran them through rock crushers to make drivable town roads or made huge stone piles in ravines. If you.plow a field now you still pick stones 200 years later.
    Here in Copper Basin Alaska we have been having some 50’s but even the raised beds are too wet work still. My tomatoes are getting leggy too! I’m going to start potting tomatoes in the green house this weekend and hope we don’t have too.many freezing nights.

    • I sure wish our rocks were of the stack-able variety. Unfortunately, they’re all round. I would like to use some as walls but they won’t stack. Boo.
      Yep, our tomatoes were getting leggy but I just dig a short trench and lay them down, curving them gently up so only the top few inches sticks out of the soil when I plant.
      Here’s to warmer weather and drier for you.

  7. Oh man, and I thought I was swamped with yards and garden work! You guys always impress me, and make me tired just reading what you do, whew. Love seeing the progress you’ve made since being up there last Fall…the house, the new garden, and ever-improving of the homestead. I’m proud to know you!
    We are mowing twice a week here in Iowa, looks nice but it is relentless. Nice to have the bagged clippings on the garden paths.
    Question: shall I wait to order an autographed copy of your book from you, or order it and mail it up for your signature? What would you prefer?
    Take good care of your backs, dear friends,

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