We think only here can you have 92° F one day and two days later have to rush around protecting frost sensitive plants from freezing. Yup, that’s what we did last night. The weather forecast was for night time temperatures in the “upper” thirties. We’ve learned our lesson on that — where we’re at it is usually at least five degrees colder. But as we have been having hot daytime temperatures, we thought maybe the forecast would be closer to right this time. Just to be safe I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. as the coldest temperature usually comes just before dawn. I prayed and went to bed.

Then I suddenly had a dream we were fighting frost! My eyes popped open and I went downstairs to check the temperature. It was 3 a.m. and the temperature was 30 degrees! I called to Will and headed for the garden wearing just my moccasins, pajamas, and a wool shirt with a headlamp to light my way. I felt the car on my way and it had heavy dew but no frost — yet. So I started tossing the plastic shoe boxes over tomato plants which were not protected by Wall O’ Waters. When I ran out of the shoe boxes, there were still three 50 foot rows of plants unprotected. Luckily, Will had hauled several bales of reed canary grass to the garden, getting ready for mulching. So I started covering the plants with that, gently bending them over to lay on the warm soil. Pretty soon Will joined me — he’d taken time to dress. We got all the plants covered then covered the ones with the plastic box covers too, as those plants were so large the leaves touched the tops of the plastic and might freeze even under the boxes.

We covered everything exposed to the frost with hay.
Here’s one of my old Wall O’ Waters, still working. It is at least 35 years old!

Dawn was peeping as lighter sky to the east. We worked faster! We still had melons, squash, and some pumpkins to cover in various gardens. When we came up out of the main garden, headed for the others, I touched the back window on David’s car. Oh oh, ice! We tore to the berry patch, side garden, and sand gardens, covering as we went. So far, no frost-stiff leaves. Then I roared off to the north garden where I just had some Atlantic Giant pumpkin plants. I covered those just as dawn broke pink in the east.

This morning I checked (after sleeping in!) and everything seems fine. But they’re calling for a frost advisory Wednesday night so the coverings will stay in place until then as the daytime temperatures are due to be cooler with possible rain, which we need.

This morning, everything looked fine and I was able to enjoy looking at our hanging baskets which had survived 30° F.

I went to my grandson’s graduation on Sunday and it was great to see some family members I only get to see on occasion as they live in Southeast Wisconsin. Luckily, I only had to drive to Bill’s house and caught a ride with them to the graduation. But as we were still in crazy garden planting mode, I drove straight home afterward. When I got in the yard, I noticed the pickup sitting there with a huge rear tire from our tractor in the back. Not good! It turns out it blew out the sidewall so we have to buy a new one. That’ll be a cool $600, plus $100 for changing the tires. But stuff happens when you homestead — some wonderful, some not so much.

Here’s what I saw when I came home from my grandson’s graduation.

— Jackie


    • Yes, you can. The recipe is in my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food, available through BHM. If you don’t have it, let me know and I’ll give you the recipe.

  1. WOW!! What a crazy spring season you’re having! You are an inspiration Jackie and Will!

  2. You guys are busy bees, you make me tired just reading about homesteading. Your front porch is pretty and so inviting. Hope the weather corporates for you.

  3. I love your porch! It’s so homey looking and the hanging baskets just brings everything together!

    • We LOVE our porch! So much happens there from prepping food for canning to visiting with friends.

  4. Looking at that pretty porch makes me think of the little camper with the lean to for David and the propane heater. WOW you’ve come so far!

  5. Cool in the south with rain and 50s tonight. However, getting squash, peppers and cucumbers daily, provider beans and bill bean tomatoes setting big fruit. Punta bundas are just about ripe to pick. Haven’t had frost in 2 months thank the good Lord. Oh jackie, hope it’s warm nights for you soon.

    • Thank you, Mimi. I think after the freeze last night, we’re about done. I hope. I hope.

  6. Just wondering where to buy Reed Canary Grass.. We live in NH and I cant seem to find it at all.. Thanks, love your blog..

  7. Here in Copper Basin, Alaska we only get 90’s once in a blue moon but if the point forecast for our area on National weather service says 40 for the night we check the electronic themometer every time we wake up. Other weather stuff can get you, a couple weeks ago a friend had just transplanted a hundred large broccoly plants andnd inches of hail pretty well destroyed them. We only got a little ten miles away. Hope the squash and mellons made it. We can only grow that kind of plant in the hoop house.

    • We covered everything with hay and it survived 27. Whew! We, too, live by the weather radio and thermometer. Yep, every time it rains we pray “No hail, ho hail…please…”

  8. Yikes! It’s a good thing you had that dream! I’m glad that you were able to head off a disaster.

  9. Ugh weather! We are still waiting for SPRING here in Northern New Mexico! Having to wear a coat in June! UGH!!!

    Your porch looks beautiful!


    • Yep. When I was out in my pj’s covering crops, I got so cold, despite a wool shirt that it was morning before I warmed up!

  10. We have had crazy temps like really warm then low 40s to mid 30s. Hard to know how things ate going to grow. So glad you were able to save all the hard work that you and your helpers have done.

    • We are always so grateful when we uncover crops that are happily unfrozen! Hopefully, that’s the last, last night at 27.

  11. 90s one day, 30s the next is what I call welcome to spring in the Midwest. Has happened here too. I usually don’t have much sympathy for those in my area who go into overdrive the first nice days we have. Except for cabbage and potatoes, I don’t plant anything earlier than May 15. At that point, I check the long range forecast and plan accordingly. Glad you were able to get your plants protected – not easy when one is in his/her 20s/30s/40s – definitely more of a challenge as you get older. Upside is not much more to do to mulch the tomatoes.

    Tires for our skid steer aren’t *quite* that expensive but still not cheap. Thankfully we can handle changing them ourselves. So far, thankfully, all our tire changes have been when the equipment is close to the house. I just remind myself of how much time and energy the skid steer saves us. Makes the cash outlay a bit less painful.

    • Yep, a skid steer is on my list of “must haves” someday soon. We, too, live by the weather radio and wait to plant until nearly June and that’s potatoes. Now we’re crazy busy planting.

      • You’ll be able to make much shorter work of trees and path clearing once you have one. We don’t regret the initial cash outlay for ours (used). Twenty years later, still going strong. Hauling wood back to the storage/splitting area using the bucket is an added bonus. I’d encourage anyone using chains in the woods to paint the hooks a bright, fluorescent color – makes finding a chain in the woods a heck of lot easier.

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