We knew it was coming since Michigan and Wisconsin ended up doing that recently as the Covid-19 virus increased in strength. So we sold packages of seeds to a local fellow who wanted to visit about gardening and closed our gate against drop-in visitors. We’ve seen a lot of homes in small towns with notices on their front doors advising they aren’t accepting visitors and are sheltering in place voluntarily. A good move by smart people.

A few seeds might make a big difference come summer. Plant a garden!

Unfortunately, I still have to go to the post office to mail seed packages to folks but our post office is small — no lines and few customers, all of which keep a respectful distance. It is hard when you meet a friend you’d normally give a big hug to! It seems that lots of folks are thinking about a possible lack of available food in the stores come summer as we’ve seen a surge in seed purchases. That, also, is a good move. While we love to sell seeds to people, we really hope everyone who is able will buy and grow seeds this year as we’re afraid for what the economy is going to do, regardless of what the Coronavirus does.

Our local big-box stores’ shelves show big empty holes in lots of areas.

Our local stores are showing huge gaps in the food and supply aisles and to us who don’t experience natural disasters such as hurricanes, this is highly unusual and scary. Of course Will and I have plenty, but worry about those who are less prepared. Even our local clinic has switched to sick folks only — no run-of-the-mill exams or procedures.

The snow is going quickly now that our temperatures are warming up and I can’t wait until I can get into the garden, even if it is only to remove tomato cages and start preparing to grow. My valiant little tomato and pepper seedlings look so hopeful in their trays in the windows! — Jackie


  1. Dear Jackie, it has been a while since I visited your blog and just thought of you today as we’re going through these hard times. I now feel doubly indebted to you and BWH as I’ve learned so much about preparedness from you folks. I live in Israel. We’re on total lockdown and have been for some time. It’s only getting stricter. It’s a criminal offense now to go out of the house for anything but essentials. People are not allowed to visit each other. I thank God for living in a house on a plot of land so at least we’re not deprived of sunshine and exercise. Think of all the poor people cooped up in apartment! Our prime minister has promised there will be plenty of food but we are experiencing massive food shortages too, especially fresh produce, milk, and eggs. You can imagine how grateful I am for my hens and my full pantry. Will try to raise as much vegetables as I can this summer even though I don’t have much land.

    • I’m so glad you have a house on a piece of land. It’s amazing at how much food you can raise on even a small amount of land if you get creative. Stay safe!

  2. I put two sweet potatoes in water a while back and one has filled the container with roots and is sprouting nicely. The other isn’t doing anything so I put another one in water yesterday.

    As I understand it the stay at home is level one, shelter in place level two, lockdown is no one on the street unless food, medical, work and fines can be issues. Martial law is national guard patrolling with rifles over their shoulders to enforce the lockdown. We had that situation in 1979 after a F-4 or F-5 tornado wiped out a large section of the town. A curfew was issued and enforced.

    I need a few items before I can plant. I’m going to call local store to see if they are open and, if they are, ask if they’ll deliver what I need. I also need a dehumidifier and will order from them and pay the higher price (over Menards) if they’ll deliver it.

    Everyday I thank the Lord for my home to “stay home” in, for the food in my pantry and the peace of mind that only comes from my faith. All the crazy fear and panic does nothing but make matters worse and trouble minds and souls.

    • We’re half way between your definition of shelter in place level two and lockdown. The police are pulling over people and checking to see if they have a good reason to be driving on the street. My nephew has a letter from work to law enforcement stating he is “essential”, and he has been stopped twice already. I can understand the concern as this disease is spread, person to person. And when people continue to gather in groups, the faster and more deadly it spreads. Diseases have a tendency to gain strength as they pass from one susceptible host to another. We’re seeing this with Corvid-19. Stay home, do what you can and pray for a break come warmer weather.

  3. 29 March …Farmington, Maine, USA
    We are not in lock down but many businesses are closed down as are the beaches. I put a sign on my door almost 3 weeks ago explaining I was “in”…knock on the door and I will come to the window. Friends thought I was kooky. Maybe. We did only just get our first confirmed case just a couple of days ago but you just never know how long it has been floating around without confirmation. I don’t know most of you on here but please stay safe every one and hopefully we will see each other on the other side. Sheryl

    • You’re so right; who knows how much Corvid-19 is out there when testing is so spotty. We act like everyone has it and just keep our distance. We want everyone to be safe and healthy! It’s not like we don’t like people but that we love them too much.

  4. Looking at the beautiful open area you have for a garden raises a question. About 8′ x 20′ of the south side of my garden is shaded by a building. Is there anything I could hope to grow in this shaded area other than shade loving Impatiens. I love flowers but hate to sacrifice a potential food growing area if there is anything which might be forgiving of the lack of direct sun for part of the day.

    • You might try the cabbage family; broccoli, cauliflower, as well as other greens. Lettuce and kale have done pretty well for me in shaded areas. It’s sure worth it to give it a try.

  5. We have been staying at home since mid February. As we are 90 minutes from NYC, (PA/NY border) it seemed the safest thing to do. I have shopped twice, mostly for milk- 7 yr old in the house!
    I made my own hand sanitizers and as I can, we are quite ok. We’ve shared with others (left at our gate) and are happy to do so.
    Our state is now mandated with a stay at home order. It does seem to disrupt the world but I feel safer!
    On a lighter note, my 7 yr old was upset ,that even though schools here have been closed for a long time, the closings haven’t disrupted his education. We homeschool ?
    Stay safe everyone!

    • You know, we really don’t mind staying home. It’s always been our sanctuary. When we lived in Montana’s remote mountains, we were snowed in for six months and I loved it. I baked, cooked, cleaned and helped with the firewood besides chores and having fun with my husband and son. Plenty of puzzles, Uno games and made up games. We never experienced “cabin fever” because there was no place we’d rather have been in the first place. It’s all in your mind set.

  6. We don’t carry any roots, plants or bulbs due to Dept. of Ag hoops to jump through. Glenn Drowns at Sand Hill Preservation Center always has wonderful sweet potatoes in seemingly trillions of varieties at a good price. Try them!

  7. Hi Jackie.

    Maybe now the sheeple will stop making fun of those of us that do prepare.
    I did have to go to town for some med refills & some vert basics groceries. More for comfort than actual need as I have a drive that is very steep and was impossible to safely come back up it only once this entire winter so I used up some things that would normally be replaced once or twice. If I had known about the virus in November my usual preps would have been increased.

    Again, maybe now the nay sayers will stop their sarcasm & finally join those of us that try to prepare.

    • Maybe some of them will but I don’t see a huge shift in that mindset. People have been taken care of way too long…..

  8. Look forward to receiving your email and to know how you are preparing and all you have prepared for your homestead so far. Husband planting garden now and we love to eat fresh veggies. I do can and freeze and love when I can just get from freezer or my own canned veggie to eat. The satisfaction of know God had a hand in all this is a wonderful feeling. Love to see and read all the things you are doing.

    • Thank you Gerri. Aren’t we so lucky to be able to have a garden and put up such good food? I even love LOOKING at the garden, let alone eating from it.

  9. Jackie and Will, We pray that you and the family remains well through this. We are soon into week 3 of shelter in place here in Michigan. I unfortunately am still out and about for fire dept. duties (Fire Chief) but we are doing our best to remain healthy. Have our tomato seeds planted indoors and the weather has improved to get our pea seeds planted. Thanks to our self-reliant lifestyle, we’re in good shape. Take care, and keep those updates coming. And loved today’s picture of your garden.

    • We’re doing all we can to stay healthy. We have stopped having visitors at the house, even close friends. So that is strange to us. But we’re used to staying home. The only travelling I do is to take seed packages to the post office three days a week, Monday, Wed, and Fri. We still have snow on the ground but it’s melting pretty fast so I’m getting antsy to get in the garden.

  10. Reading these comments and glad so many plan ahead. My biggest challenge so far was to not be smug! Seriously, I work in a hospital and I know the front-line providers and staff appreciate everyone doing their part by isolating, sanitizing, and not taking supplies that health care workers need. Stay well. Side note – anger isn’t good for human immune systems!

    • That’s the truth. Neither is fear. We’re so thankful we live this lifestyle. Not out of fear but confidence. I worry about those who blew off preparedness as something for nut cases.

  11. In rural Alaska our local stores stock out of the big box stores in anchorage. Our main source locally ran a truck yesterday and they were pretty well stocked this morning. I picked a bag of dog food and one of chicken feed plus milk and a few healthy snacks. We do our main shopping in Anchorage every few months so we are well stocked plus home canned. Have two of our brand children for now. College closed for the semester on line study. Our grand daughter from Valdez has on line study and they are taking attendance daily so even though they are currently only closed until May we expect them to extend that till fall. We are mostly staying home. I will plant seeds tomorow. Spring is in no hurry. Two different forecasts call for below zero lies for three nights running starting tomorrow. Hang in there

    • Brrr. We had -14 a couple nights ago but it was real nice today; sunny ad 49 above! Still snow on the ground, but we’re hopeful. And very comfortable.

  12. You are such a good example to all of us, we expect to go into lockdown here in Utah any day now. I am staying home, I already has well stocked up and my kids can go to the store if we need anything. I have been spring house cleaning, a little crocheting and knitting and will make some masks to cover the ones medical personnel have.Have my seeds planted and planning a little larger garden this year. Going to sneak some vegetables in among the flower beds !…Stay saf e and well.

    • Yep, we are staying home. Will’s a hermit anyway and “makes” me do all the shopping but some of his tractor mechanic repair stuff. I only go to the post office three days a week. I looked forward to down time to clean house. Ha ha. Because of the virus, everyone is thinking food and gardens. So our seed business is booming. But that’s great as we are paying off on our land loans! See, even out of something bad, there are rewards.

  13. Found out from a friend that the case of covid up in your neck of the woods is in Virginia. It is reliable because my friend knows the person. Don’t want any one to get out their pitchforks and torches, just a heads-up. Stay safe everyone.

    • Woops! The news doesn’t tell us anything but what counties Covid-19 is in. I feel that is wrong but I suppose they don’t want to panic anyone. We act like everyone out there has it and really stay away. Just in case…. Folks travel a lot and sure do ignore safe practices. I was a veterinary technician and married to a veterinarian with a degree in bacteriology so do understand sanitary procedures! I never had hands washed so often as I do now!!!

  14. Jackie: I’m sharing a sitting garden photo and poem each day on an email list. The idea is to stretch a little hope across the lines of social distancing. Would you like to receive this each day? You just need to let me know by email if you’d like it. I think you can see my email come up. Jeanne

  15. In Texas the governor left it up to the counties. My small county has less than 1,000 people. It has not yet called “martial law”. However, I was in San Antonio for a doctor’s appt, that got canceled with less than two hours before my appointment. I was going to stay until Wednesday and visit my parents, but the city and county called martial law/shelter in place starting at midnight on Tuesday. I left.

    I don’t know why people are surprised at the food shortages in the stores. Last year, cannerys and can manufacturers were shutting down due to no food. Remember the crops that froze, flooded, droughts, etc. that hit every country around the world last year. Many places did not get any food in the ground. According to the Texas Ag. centeral Texas up around Waco only got half its crops in the ground this year due to the rain. This is not going to get better.

    • Shelter in place is not martial law. Please do not quote inaccurate information in these already trying times.

      • If I am not allowed to go to the park, visit friends, etc. then it is martial law. If I am to be fined for not being at home then it is martial law. If I am to be given 6 months in jail for being outside my home then it is martial law.

        You can put lip stick on that pig, but it is still martial law. If I am not free of my liberty, but confined by a governmental agency then it is martial law. Shelter in place would not be martial law if I was ask to stay home at my discretion, but this is government taking away my freedom. I am with those two preachers who refused to cancel their church services. I should have the choice to go to out and attend church. I should make the choice to whether of not I want to stay home as long as I am not sick. This is martial law, but called something else to make the sheeple feel safe.

  16. Thank you for braving it to go to the Post Office to send out orders. One of my daughters sent an order after I told her I got seeds from you this year. I am so excited to try some of the different varieties you have. Be safe!

    • Thank you Robin! You can bet I’m really careful going to the post office. If there’s even one customer in there, I wait outside in my car. Then it’s business and back out to the car and hand sanitizer. When I get home, I wash my hands up to the elbows! Just in case.
      I hope you’ll love all the varieties you ordered. Happy growing!

  17. We have a similar situation here with cases of corona reported in our county. Today my wife and I canned up our maple syrup and we’re busy doing all the things around home. Like you we’ve been advised to isolate in place and we miss our surrounding family/grandchildren. Our risk factors-age (who’s counting) history of cancer etc we’re avoiding all contacts. We have plenty of food in storage and provide for family/friends by placing at end of driveway/porch. This change will give me a chance to clean up all my “messes” and projects-hah. It does give time for reflection and thankfulness. You can never be over prepared. I just started my tomatoes/cabbage/brussel sprouts today. Stay well– stay isolated. This too will pass (when ? I don’t know).

    • Yeah, I thought it’d give me a chance to clean house. Ha ha! With the seed business hopping (a wonderful thing!), we barely have time to pee. Will and I were up until midnight last night filling orders, then a lady called on the phone and came (to the end of our driveway) to pick up a HUGE order. We are so very grateful to live the life we do!! We do miss our friends and family but I’d rather miss them for awhile instead of the possible alternative……

  18. The stores down here in St Cloud are about in the same shape,fortunately we still have a lot of our fall canning supplies on hand and we bought a half a beef from our daughter so our freezers are full home grown is always better than store bought.

    • Will hadn’t been to town for a month and went to pick up a new tractor tire. We stopped in WalMart and he was kind of shocked at the empty spots in the shelves. A man was unloading a pallet of toilet paper and folks were fighting over the packages on the pallet. In minutes, there were only two packs left!!

      I’m happy we’re in much better shape; the freezer is full, the pantry, overflowing. And we’re as content as a cream filled cat.

  19. You certainly are an inspiration for how you conduct your ever-ready, in any situation, lifestyle. I have always gardened and canned but not to the level this pandemic has taught me I should. Being ever-ready even in good times is a difficult concept but oh so worth it given that this occurred literally from one week to the next. My garden will be larger this year and more canning will occur now and forever. We are under a no travel advisory in our state as well (Indiana) and our county just saw the first case. Please keep safe and enjoy the backwoods for a few weeks.

    • Oh we do enjoy our backwoods. So much. Every single day. The reason we try to be prepared is emergencies seldom announce themselves in advance. At least with this one, we DID have some advance notice….if we took the care to listen and watch. Stay safe!

  20. Hi Jackie, here in Georgia it’s really bad. We have been sheltering in place for over two weeks. Schools are out to the end of April, maybe the entire year. We have food, but worry about those who don’t. Stay safe and keep the faith.

    • Yes, we, too, worry about those who haven’t taken steps to prepare. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. Hang in there!

      • Not sure about where you live but a local grocery store is working on letting me send money so the local mission can have food delivered by the grocery store. The mission has been preparing to-go meals for people to pick up. It’s sure not taking in home-made cookies or breads but better than nothing.

  21. Dear Jackie, while I have always had my sweet potatoes sprout by now in the past, I am woefully without a single eye! I don’t see any sweet potatoes in your catalog and am sweating my sweet potato crop this year. I usually have all I need and plenty extra for sale at our annual plant sale. I cannot any where that will ship slips before May. Do you know of any leads or anything I can do to get my saved sweet potatoes to sprout?
    Thank you always for your insight and advice,
    Jessica Koerner

    • I am in Arkansas and my sweet potatoes are not wanting to sprout either. Wonder what is going on?

    • As Jackie said above, go to Glenn Drowns web site Sand Hill Preservation Center http://www.sandhillpreservation.com and go through his catalog to the sweet potato section. He has over 200 sweet potato varieties so there’s a sweet potato for every growing condition. There are excellent growing instructions in the catalog.

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