After four days of coaxing our little calf to drink from the goat bottle every two hours, this morning I found him not in the entryway but in the kitchen. He had gotten up by himself and walked in there! Yea! Sure, there was a puddle of pee under him but, hey, we have vinyl flooring there — easy to mop up. I dried him off, cleaned up the pee and got a bottle ready. Will picked him up and took him outside into the grass of the front yard. Yesterday we kept him outside all day, and he seemed to like it. When I fed him, he got up by himself and tottered around the yard for nearly 10 minutes. We’re making progress here, although he’s not out of the woods yet. But perseverance usually pays, so we’ll keep at it. At least Surprise, his mom, isn’t kicking Will when he milks her now. If you’d like tips on raising a bottle calf, check out my article in issue #120 of BHM or the Twentieth Year Anthology.)

Our weather’s been wonderful. After the good rain, everything seemed to grow at once; the trees all leafed out, the grass is growing and it’s time to plant garden big time. (Yep, I know we may get that darned spring frost yet, but we’re praying it won’t happen.) We’re not crazy and aren’t putting out frost sensitive plants yet; they’re safer in the house if it threatens to get cold. Right now, I’ve got them on the back deck and they love it. This morning I planted 15 rows of Seneca Sunrise sweet corn, five rows of Glass Gem popcorn, Provider and Strike green beans, Kuroda and Scarlet Nantes carrots. Yesterday I got in two 32-foot trellises of Crawford beans, a 32-foot row of Monachelle di Trevio beans, and some Alderman and Mammoth Melting peas in the House garden. Planting goes much faster, using the Earthway push seeder, especially for those small seeds like carrots and rutabagas.

I’m busy planting in the Main garden — corn, beans, carrots, and more.
The Earthway push planter sure saves time and my back when planting. It even marks the next row neatly.

Will and David took the hay transport and went to get a load of hay from Will’s last stockpile of round bales at a neighbor’s field. I hope they don’t get stuck in the driveway. You see, yesterday Will decided to replace the culvert midway down the drive that had been accidentally destroyed when plowing snow. He dug the ditch out with the Ford tractor’s bucket then a shovel to finish up. He then put in the new culvert and back-filled the ditch. But when he did, some of the dirt still had frost in it, which melted in the sun. That “dirt” turned to soupy cement-like goop and the culvert floated to the top! Oh oh, we were “trapped in” and he had to get hay today. And the big truck from Lowe’s is bringing David’s metal roofing material tomorrow!

So, this morning, Will and David went out and dug out the floating culvert, damaging it in the process. Luckily, we’d bought three culverts so David took the ATV back and got a new one while Will cleaned out the ditch with the shovel. They put the new culvert in place and David brought the tractor home to get a bucket load of sandy gravel to place over the culvert, hopefully holding it down. But when they back-filled the ditch the dirt is still kind of soupy. Will plans on putting in a temporary “bridge” of timbers and 2x6s to make sure the hay transport and lumber yard truck don’t get stuck while the dirt settles and dries out.

The lilacs are just starting to bloom and fill the air with wonderful fragrance.

Our lilacs are just starting to bloom, and they perfume the house and yard. It’s hard to believe they were just “sticks” when I planted them twelve years ago. My how time flies! — Jackie


  1. Just wanted to let you know how very much your column is appreciated in this crazy world we live in nowdays. So nice to read and relax with someone who continues on with the loved everyday tasks of self sufficiency. A calming influence to end my daily reading of the “news”……keep up your loved and much appreciated writing. Some of us depend on it knowing there are sane places in the world.

  2. So glad your little boy is up and fighting for life. Having helped a friend raise 4 bottle goats, l think you and Will are amazing people. While your busy planting your Provider beans and peas, l am already on my second picking of both. I find Will, you, and David all amazing people. Prayers are coming your way for the little guy and you all.

    • Thank you Kathy. Our little guy didn’t make it though. We were pretty sad after we all tried so hard but after years of homesteading, you learn stuff happens you don’t like much and you just need to suck it up and keep on going.

      • I’m so sorry, Jackie, I was wondering how he was doing since you hadn’t posted anything else about him.

  3. Jackie where I live D shaped culvert is called squash pipe and is preferred to round for lots of reasons, and stability is one of them. Do you ever use squash pipe?

    • No. This pipe pushes up out of the ground by winter freezing which is a reason we always point our wooden fence posts, even though we dig holes for them sometimes.

  4. I am glad your little guy seems to be doing better . He is adorable . Good luck getting your gardens planted and avoiding any frosts .

    • We’re seeming to avoid frosts but nearly got a bad hail storm last night. It hailed only 20 miles south of us! Whew!

  5. I can relate to so many things you experience. Thank-you. Okay, I know you grow carrots every year. I try. I never have any come up. I’m located in N. Central TX (just for reference). I have tried planting at all times of the year. Sigh. Any suggestions? Thank-you.

    • Despite the fact that carrots can take cold weather, wait until the soil is warmer in the spring before planting them. Then make absolutely sure the rows are watered enough that they remain moist (not soggy!). In NE New Mexico, this meant watering every single day as it was sure dry in the spring. I hope this helps you grow carrots.

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