We were hugely busy getting ready for me to take a two day (or more) jaunt to Mayo Clinic with our carpenter friend, Tom, who was due for his once-every-three-year checkups. It’s a six hour drive and he really needs some company and a driver, should some tests require a procedure of some sort. So I go with him.

It was a decent weekend and Monday so we were busy planting, and doing other gardening chores. I wanted to fix up the area in front of the new solar panels and we needed even more isolation gardens for various crops due to the seed business (don’t want crosses!), so I asked Will to haul a few loads of rotted manure up to dump there and the next-door vacant spot where the bulk chicken watering tank used to sit. He did, then he tilled up both spots with the tractor mounted tiller. Yep, it was full of rocks, as we expected, but not that bad. We picked up all the ones on the surface and put them in the basket on the front of the ATV. Then Alisha and I drove down our driveway to a really bad rut where we carefully placed them to help form a base for a load or three of gravel. That worked nicely and we were happy to be using some material which would otherwise be tossed over the hill somewhere.

Alisha picking rocks out of one of the new vegetable beds.
I wanted to dress up the new solar array so I made a flower bed in front of it.

When Alisha and I came back, she pointed out something in the small pasture below the goat pasture. A sandhill crane was strutting around, probably hunting frogs and mice. He was one of the pair we have which return every spring to raise chicks on the flat next to our beaver ponds. I got a few photos, then he and his mate flew off over our house, toward the ponds. That was neat!

Our pair of sandhill cranes are here for the summer.

Tom and I left Tuesday morning and we had an uneventful trip. He had a good doctor’s report and we were really happy about that as he has a lot of projects he wants to get done on his own homestead this year, including putting log siding on the house he built. Now he’s cleared to go! Yea, Tom!

We did have some of that asparagus with dinner. Ashley fried it with bacon and boy, was that great. I’m sure we’ll do that again real soon! I’d never done that and am always happy to find new ways to use old homestead crops. — Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie, it’s been a long time since I commented on anything. I still love to read everything you post to help us and you sharing your family with us. I wanted to say that I am buying a 3/4 acre piece of property. I’m going to build a small, 600 sq. ft. cabin style home. I can’t wait to get that started. Living in tornado alley, it will be built with 10″ concrete/rebar walls. The property has cedar fences in odd places, that I am going to tear down and use the wood for raised bed gardens. I’m also going to plant about a dozen dwarf sized fruit trees, I’m getting too old to use ladders to pick fruit from the full sized trees. I will have a lake behind my property, and a river less than a half mile from my new place. It comes with a well, for which I am supremely happy to have. I intend to have some chickens, but will have to build them a critter proof area, as I know we have coyotes, raccoons, opposums, etc. in the area. I also will have to protect my plants from the deer, armadillos and gophers. Can you believe this property is within the city limits of a very large town. I have been canning and dehydrating, using many of your recipes, thank you – thank you – thank you for the books you have written, I go over them all the time. Blessings on you and yours!

    • Thank you so much. I’m happy for you, starting your new homestead! What a thrill that is.

  2. A week without Jackie is a long week,but hey, this is the time of year we’re all BUSY! Read you might have had frost last night, that would be a real bummer. I can’t imagine, as we had mid 90s HOT here today. My tomatoes are pinking and we had squash, zucchini and peppers from the garden for supper tonight. Cucumbers too. Bet I’d be a really bad gardener in your zone!

    • We didn’t have a frost but it FROZE. Luckily, we had everything protected but what a scare. You’d probably be a great gardener here but always wishing for ripe squash, tomatoes and peppers so early!

    • Sorry but no. With farming, homesteading, our seed business and writing, I barely have time to sleep. Maybe things will slow down in the future???

  3. Am constantly in awe of all u get done! At 65, I have started working again, and sure was amazed my ol brain could go thru a training class with 20 somethings and learn as much as them( let’s face it- I had to write down LOTS!) lol! Isn’t it amazing what we can when we put our minds to it!

    • It sure is. We can always accomplish more than we think we can. One step at a time!

  4. My dear Jackie,
    Just wanting you to know that the Provider beans, Hopi, amish paste, crooked neck etc have sprouted and and doing great. All of the seeds we purchased from you are 100% up and looking fabulous. And this is in upstate NY where changeable weather and rain prevails. Can’t hardly wait to start harvesting. Count on another expanding order from me this year. Thank you so much. Kate

  5. Asparagus, bacon, and morels – toss in a few ramp leaves if you have them.

    BTW – years ago, I asked you if asparagus could be transplanted as this was the downside of moving. While we only transplanted small plants, it all worked well. Until we sold the prior house, we’d harvest from the beds plus from our new homestead. While it has not been the best this year, we can’t complain. Weather was not our friend – snow got the first shoots. Planted more roots in a “bare” area of the bed. Last year I didn’t fertilize, this year I will be sure to do so.

    • Yum, that sounds great! I just got some ramps from a friend and planted them down below the house as we don’t have any growing around us.
      It’s amazing at how much fatter our asparagus spears are since Will spread rotted manure on our beds last fall. They’re HUGE! And that’s more for us to eat.

  6. Hi there if you like a little bit of an Asian flavour to the asparagus we mix equal parts sesame oil and soya sauce – toss the asparagus in it and then sprinkle sesame seeds roasted or plain

    We then either roast in oven or barbecue

    By the way did you get the little envelope from Ottawa yet?

    Monica B
    Ottawa ON

    • Ooohh I’ve got to try that! Yes, I did. Thank you so much! I’ll treasure your gift.

  7. Help! Sowbugs are eating our strawberries ! Any help will be greatly appreciated ! Thank you !

    • Try putting boards down around the bed. Then, first thing in the morning, turn them over, pick the bugs and drown them in a can of soapy water. If that doesn’t work, use Spinosad, a non-lethal, organic insecticide. I buy Captain Jack’s Dead Bug Brew. It works great.

    • I agree. Your time needs to be spent on what is important – be it homestead chores or helping others.

  8. Please give some instructions on frying the asparagus with bacon! We’re blessed to have wild asparagus growing along a seasonal creek that borders our place. While there’s none showing yet because of the cooler than normal Spring it should be showing up soon — about the same time a half of a pig, cut and wrapped is scheduled to be picked up. Looking forward to a new way to prepare both asparagus and good cured bacon. Vala Johnson, Harlem MT

    • What I did was cut the raw bacon into small chunks then fry it until it was mostly done, then added asparagus, cut into about inch long pieces. I placed a lid on the frying pan and let it fry and steam, stirring occasionally until it was done. I’ve also just used bacon grease without the bacon to fry it in. Wow, that was great as well.

  9. We had a pair of sand hill cranes in our east pasture yesterday AM and we are on the western border of the Everglades near Corkscrew Sanctuary in southern Florida. They do get around. Hope to see them pass through again next year.

    Love to follow your adventures. Your gardens are starting as ours are winding down. You and yours seem like family. Be well.
    Peg in Florida

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