When it snows a lot, it isn’t always a bad thing. First off, it usually means we’re getting warmer weather, which we are — 20’s above zero! We also spend more time indoors and we always have plenty to do there. Yesterday, we sent out more than 110 seed catalogs. And that, with the 800 sent out by our printer directly, makes a record number of catalogs sent out at one time. I hope that’s a good thing…

The snow’s getting deep now; it’s snowshoe weather for sure.

I’ve been sorting through my pepper seeds as I’ll be starting them next week. I know it sounds early, but this year we’ll be setting them out earlier in our hoop houses. We want to be able to set out really sturdy plants that will get to producing earlier as some of our hot peppers have a long season to maturity. We’ll be planting some of them outside the hoop house as we really have too many to house inside now. In northern Minnesota, you need stocky peppers to help them make it outdoors. If you’d like more information on growing peppers, check out my article Growing and using peppers in issue #163, (January/February 2017) of Backwoods Home Magazine or The Twenty-Eighth Year Anthology. So far, I’ve got 26 different pepper varieties to plant. Some are old faithfuls and others are brand new to us. Growing heirlooms is so much fun!

Good news! Our Pileated Woodpecker is coming around regularly now. I felt bad on Sunday when our friend Maggie, who attended one of our seminars, stopped by for a visit on her way to the Sax-Zim Bog for a birding trip. The woodpecker left only 15 minutes before she showed up. We did have a great visit though, and hope she saw the Great Gray Owl she was hoping to see.

Our Pileated Woodpecker is now a frequent visitor!

Will is busy putting up the log accent pieces in our vaulted living room ceiling. As it’s like a giant jigsaw puzzle, it’s taking some figuring. He numbered them but doesn’t remember the sequence! But it’s coming along and sure looks great.

Will is busy screwing our log accent pieces up in the living room.

We have three cows who are due to calve soon and we’re keeping them in the training ring where they can go into the bedded barn to (hopefully) have their calves. We really wish they’d “pop” before the weather turns sub-zero again! — Jackie


  1. Miss Jackie, Such a nice photo of the pileated woodpecker! I really don’t know what parts of the country they are commonly seen, but wherever there are big woods in my area in winter if one is quiet they will often hear their cries. Sit still in the woods and you will likely see one fly through and sometimes see him light on the side of a dying tree and start hammering away. My dad and uncles called them Indian Hens, I never asked why, but they seemed like the biggest woodpecker I could imagine as a child, and thought they were the model for the Woody the Woodpecker cartoon. I never saw one come very near houses. The great grey owl you spoke of is unknown to me, but the great horned owls nest on the ridge across from us,and a few times at night I have seen them in the carlights on the roadside with a rabbit they had taken. When I was a child their great huge hoots frightened me. Now when I hear their deep notes on a snowy night I rejoice as I think winter will soon come to an end and they are likely nesting over in the big oaks. The great photos you show of the wildlife on your homestead should go into a book. Loved Spring of the Vultures, I hope Jess has a few more adventures in store for us!!! Blessings Rick

    • He actually does. In fact, when I’m in bed I’m formatting the next adventure. Writing my Westerns is my ME time, sort of like when folks golf, sail or play tennis. I love the wildlife we have around us although because a pack of coyotes got into my poultry, killing most of the turkeys and all but 3 chickens, they’re NOT my favorites right now!!! No, the wild turkey hen and her daughter didn’t get killed; they roost high in the Jack Pines next to the storage barn. I’ve seen both Great Horned Owls and Barred Owls take prey on our driveway at night too. That’s pretty awesome! I love hearing them at night too. I can’t wait for the first peeps of the frogs!!! Come on spring!

  2. Hi Jackie! I mentioned a few weeks back that our winter has been foggy and mild. Well the wonky wobbly jet stream took care of that! We’ve had snow and lots of it over a two day period-up to 30″ in some areas. Most schools closed and roads closed as well.These days you just never know what to expect!
    Your trim looks great!

    • That’s for sure, Robyn! It seems there IS no “normal” weather anymore so we’ve just got to be ready as we can for anything. I think that trim looks great too.

    • Glad to hear the first wave of catalogs is getting to folks. We’ve also been sending lots from home, as well.

    • Yeah, I know about peppers; I’m nearly ready to start mine too although I must warn others that in most climates, it’s still too early to begin starting them.

    • They kind of remind me of dinosaurs! When one flies overhead, you can hear the whoosh-whoosh of their wings. Neat!

  3. I got your catalog yesterday and was so excited that it finally came! We have three Pileated woodpeckers and I love to watch them go to work on stumps. They sound like jackhammers!

    • Glad you got your catalog! Around here the Pileateds go for the carpenter ants which infest the bottoms of the balsams. They can excavate a huge hole in an hour or less. Jackhammers for sure!

  4. I recieved my seeds a few weeks ago, and will be glad to get some started. plenty of snow here too. I’ll be getting another seed order out.

    • Yeah, the sun finally came out after we got dumped on by another 6″ of snow. Whew! I’ll be glad to see spring this year.

  5. I saw some were talking about a catalog was this a catalog of your seeds and if so how much is this catalog or is it free

    • Yes, this is our catalog for our Seed Treasures little homestead seed business. (You can click on the seedy Seed Treasures bar in this blog to see what we’re about and photos of our varieties.) No. There’s no charge for a catalog. Just e-mail me at jackieclay2007@yahoo.com and give me your address and I’ll pop a catalog right off in the mail.

    • Thank you Apollo! I’m glad to hear you like the articles and blog. All of you become like family to me.

  6. I received your catalogue a few days ago and looked through it and highlighted what I want to order. Can’t wait to start some of the new seeds I ordered.
    Your ceiling looks fantastic and Will is certainly figuring out logs. We also are getting more snow.

    • Aren’t you ready for spring, Kathy? I know I sure am. And looking at seeds makes it seem much closer for us!

  7. Gor my catalog in the mail yesterday – I am soooo excited! We will start peppers and tomatoes in a couple weeks as well. The ceiling looks fantastic – Will is doing a fine job figuring out his numbering system :)
    Sandy in New Mexico

    • Yep he is! Just like a puzzle, the more pieces you put into place, the easier it gets! Lookin’ good Will!

  8. Got your catalog!! Fantastic!! Can’t wait to seriously sit down with a pen and start seriously studying it! Sidetracked by all the snow right now. Today it’s 12 inches and still snowing!

    Chickens said see you in about a month lady! Just bring food and water!

    Your ceiling looks great! Wouldn’t it be fun to go outside again with no boots and heavy coats??

    • I’m about ready for some more spring-like weather too! We got another 6″ following the 6″ the day before. But today the SUN is shining. Sigh. So nice!!

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