After weeks of planting, mostly by hand or using the push-type Earthway seeder, I’m about finished. All I’ve got left to plant are some onions and flowers I started inside. I’ll bet I’ve walked 500 miles in the last week alone. Yep, I get my exercise!

Our old Honda Big Bear four wheeler’s engine died several years back and Will figured it would be too much to repair. So it’s been sitting behind the storage barn all this time. David decided he wanted an ATV to get around with, so he rolled it out a few weeks back and started tearing it apart. He got a used motor from an ATV salvage yard and put that in, painted the various parts while they were off and worked at getting it running. It was so exciting when he took the first spin around the orchard, backfiring and smoking. Since then, he’s got it running well and even built a rear box to carry stuff, complete with bright LED lights. Yea, David! For $500 he’s got a good ATV with plenty of family history. After all, it was the first ATV he’d driven and we sure used it a lot, especially during our first years on the homestead.) You’ll see plenty of this ATV in my book Starting Over, available through Backwoods Home Magazine.

David’s “new” four wheeler. He brought our old beast back to life.

Yesterday some Jackie Clay/BHM fans from Michigan, Judy and Carl stopped in. Judy emailed me awhile back asking if they could visit as a surprise birthday/Father’s Day present for her husband. Of course I had to say yes to that. And yes, he was surprised and didn’t realize they were coming until they actually got here and he told Judy “That looks like Jackie Clay!” We had a great visit and were sorry to see them go after they finished their tour of our place and David’s cabin.

Today I planted the very last beans and our canna roots while Will was busy taking apart a big pallet over at David’s campsite. The pallet was made of 16-foot 2×6 lumber, which will be the rafters of the new run-in shed Will is building for the cows’ winter shelter. David gave Will several left-over 16-foot 2x8s that Will is going to use as the support beams for the rafters. It’s amazing that “throw-away” items like those pallets and parts boxes can be turned into very useful homestead buildings.

Will hauling home the pallet lumber from David’s campsite.
These 2x6s will be the rafters on the new run-in shed for the cows.

Will is also putting in treated cedar posts on the east side of the big cattle corral. Once tamped in, he’ll add 2×6 planks on the inside as well as 16-foot welded cattle panels over those, and then that corral will be totally secure for winter containment. It worked real well, keeping the cows in until the grass was well started this spring. They just got turned out last week and have tons to eat without trampling the wet ground.

We had a nice shower on Wednesday and boy did that pop the beans and corn up! Everything is looking great and we’re looking forward to a good growing season. — Jackie


  1. Hi Jackie! I love keeping up with your family and your doings by following your blog! Wished we were neighbors! My honey, Loren, is like your Will and my son, Cody, is like your David! They can do just about anything. Been watching for you at L & M in Cloquet but haven’t caught you there. We are putting in double block high raised beds – my garden spot is so low. We’re sand here, lots of aged horse manure to put in the beds. Next year I can plant at better times without getting my rubber boots sucked off my feet!!! Well, actually the boots will still get sucked off but the plants won’t drown. God bless! Keep writing and good luck on the garden.

    • I hardly ever get to L &M at Cloquet; just when we sometimes go down to my son, Bill’s, at Kerrick. Your garden sounds like our North garden; lots of mud when it’s rained. Eeek!

  2. Hi Jackie, maybe it’s a truck of the photo light, but I don’t see furrows or rows in your planting pictures—how do you water? We use rows next to our plants and seeds here in the northern Arizona high desert, near the New Mexico line. I’m curious if you use a better way.

    • Luckily, we seldom have to water. If we do, we use our irrigation pump located in our spring basin. It brings water all the way to our berry patch and orchard and we can run 12 overhead Rainbird-type sprinklers at once. For our North and Central gardens, we have a 300 gallon poly water tank we carry in our pickup with a Homelite water pump to spray water onto those crops. Our Sand garden is so close to our barn well we can use that to water with overhead sprinklers. It puts out 20 gallons per minute and is endless. But, thank God, we very seldom have to water.

  3. Your family are inspirational Jackie! Hard work and ingenuity. Old fashioned traits that never go out of fashion in my books! Things look good on your homestead- of course due to all the amazing work you all do. Hope this season proves super productive for you!

    • Thank you Robyn. We’re doing all we can, every day, to make things better for us all.

  4. So sad that we are a throwaway society today. But maybe good for those who “can do” and benefit from what others deem as discards. Too bad there aren’t enough of us.
    David’s rebuild of the ATV brings back memories of my Grandpa (gone 7 years and I still miss him). Despite only an 8th grade education, there wasn’t much he couldn’t fix. And not much he couldn’t grow – except asparagus lol. The farming genes from his line still run strong (line came to the US before the Revolutionary War). Not only did David revive the ATV, he keeps family memories alive. That is important in my book.

    • We think so too, Selena. Some of our farming genes were on the shore, welcoming those big ships holding folks from the “old” world. Whoops, little did we know, huh? Ha ha. Dad used to say, some fool put this thing together, I should be able to figure out how to take it apart. And he fixed it. My kids used to call him Magic Grandpa!

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