Now that the rains have finally come and gone, the forecast is for a week of warm, sunny weather. So Will is busy cutting hay. Yesterday he cut for 10 hours straight, doing four fields! Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I put up an electric fence around the cow side of the Central and Sand gardens. Why? Well, while I was having a happy birthday, pulling weeds in the peppers in the Sand garden, I heard a “CRACK” and pretty soon, cows started pouring into the garden! Will was up at the house, getting ready to go cut hay so I first hollered, then punched the “Will button” on my cellphone — no Will. Meanwhile, I was running around, trying to head off a herd of cows, intent on munching anything and everything in sight. I was making no headway so I ran to the four wheeler and tore off to the house to get Will. After much yelling and chasing, we finally got them out of the gardens. Both of us nearly had heart attacks! The gardens look a little worn around the edges but all in all, not as bad as they would have been if the cows had gotten out at night. They’d broken the top plank on the fence, then jumped and broke the bottom planks.

After all that, I didn’t trust them at all! So I went and bought a battery operated electric fencer and spent yesterday putting the fence up. Will also finished the fence plank repair, so with the electric wire on a stand-off set of insulators, that should keep them out. I hope!

On Friday, we went back to David’s work and picked up another trailer load of heavy-duty pallets. We spent all day Thursday taking the boxes apart and now Will has enough 5/4″ decking to do the entire hayloft floor in the new barn — and left-overs for other projects. Will had bought the running gear for a hay wagon at an auction and had it up, getting ready to build a deck on it. But when we got the new load of pallets home, he discovered one was exactly the right size he needed for the whole bed. After taking off the assorted blocking from the top, he dropped it gently down on the running gear. Ta da! Perfect!

We spent a whole day taking apart wood boxes from David’s work.
The next trip gave us a heavy pallet that was just the right size for our hay wagon bed.

The gardens are doing very well. I am really tickled that the first planting of our Crawford beans are starting to bloom. And those blossoms are so pretty too — a gorgeous lavender-pink. So not only are the beans great tasting and productive as heck, but they double as flowers as well. They are the whole package!

The blooms from the Crawford beans are so very pretty!

I have to tell you all something that made me feel good. A week ago, a woman wrote me, wanting to buy the second book in my Western novel series. She was going to the Mayo Clinic for heart valve replacement and she wanted to take it with her to read while recuperating from the surgery. I’m praying the surgery was a huge success and that she enjoyed the book. — Jackie


  1. Happy Birthday! How quickly they fly by.
    The Reed Canary has been a god-sent gift! So grateful to have learned about it. We have to dry it out differently but it is ok. It is dry and crunchy when we put it on the garden.
    It is unbelievably dry here and have resort to well water just to keep the garden alive. Our well has a lot of iron and it concerns me that our food will taste like the iron water.
    Our tomatoes are just starting to turn but many of them are spoiled due to something taking bites out of them. At first I thought it was the tomato horn worm but I got rid of those. My huge Bill Bean tomato rotted and when i looked closely I saw tiny bite marks on a plant that did not have the horn worm. Yesterday i saw a mouse! They were likely attracted to the water, canary grass, and food. How do I get rid of them??
    Thank you Jackie!

    • Our best garden helper in regard to pests is Mittens, our wonderful cat. Although we only let her out during the day as we have plenty of nocturnal predators, she kills several mice every single day, not to mention voles and even weasels (5 so far!). If you don’t have a cat, you can set several traps around and in your garden and keep running your “trap line”. It does help!

  2. Happy belated birthday to the hard working gal that you are!!!! Will send prayers for the lady going to Mayo. You folks are certainly busy!! I enjoy your posts very much – they keep me inspired to do more!!!

    • Thank you Karen. Yep, we DO keep busy. But we really enjoy what we’re doing. Instead of having hobbies like bowling, golfing, sailing or playing bingo, we homestead; Will says it’s like living fifty hobbies every day!

  3. How many cuttings do you typically get? My area typically gets three. A fourth cutting is not uncommon but not a guarantee.
    My tomatoes (not the paste) are ripening – holding off my husband as he can be a bit impatient when it comes to harvesting. But the past three years, my peppers have struggled. I used to have healthy harvests so I think my first “to-do” is checking the soil.

    • We usually only get one cutting as most of our fields are pretty “wild” instead of tilled and planted alfalfa or clover. But a couple of them have been worked up and we’ll (hopefully) get two cuttings. A third isn’t usually possible as the plants need some growth to see them through our rough winters without being killed out.

  4. Happy Birthday Jackie!
    We are enjoying the abundance from the seeds we bought from you. The Providers really do provide.
    All the peas are producing like crazy and the Hopi have set fruit and I see growth every day.
    Thank you!

    • I’m so glad your garden is doing so well. I’m enjoying grazing on peas every time I walk to the garden. They’re SO sweet!

  5. I was always afraid of cows–don’t know why. My brother and I had to go get the cows home when we were little and it didn’t seem so bad–guess I thought brother would protect me. Anyway, during my early teens we had a neighbor who had a rogue cow. Even a yoke could not keep her in and we all had to go help round her up many times. Mama would say, “Go over yonder & head her off if she comes that way.”. I was praying fervently that she would never “Come that way!”. I think I would have run away myself if she had!

    • Cows are big critters but once you’ve bottle raised a few and been with them when they become adults, you develop a working relationship with them and the fear goes away.

  6. Happy Birthday to you Jackie! You always enlighten my day so I pray you have a wonderful 🎂 week and year!!!

  7. Happy Birthday! I’ll be celebrating the same way you did, pulling weeds. Cows are a pain. Prayers for the lady going for surgery.

    • We weren’t so lucky. So much for weather forecasters. They said “sunny” and we got rain right on three fields of hay. Boo hoo. But the sun’s out today and it should dry quickly.

  8. Canning tomatoes like crazy. Nobody told me the Cherokee Purples are heavy producers. They may be a mainstay in my garden. Even without rain here in Oklahoma they are thriving. I water them of course, having to use city water water now as the rain barrels are dry. I am glad that you and Will got the cows out of the garden without to much trouble. Good luck with the garden and l can hardly wait to order my Bill Bean tomatoes seeds for the coming year.

    • Wow Kathy! My tomatoes are still green and hard. But they are doing great. Can’t wait to start canning! (Love those Bill Beans!!)

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