Last night, we got six inches of new, fluffy white. We were getting so spoiled with the nicer weather! I was planning on taking off the bean trellises in the House garden that got left up over winter after we got back from my doctor’s appointment in Duluth. The dermatologist wants to take a little more skin area away from the spot my squamous cell bump was. Just to be sure. I really don’t think it’s necessary as the area is very smooth and healing well. But I’m not a doctor and won’t argue the point with him.

I planted some of my hot pepper seeds in containers full of dampened Pro-Mix seed starting medium.
Others went in peat pellets, soaked in hot water.

I’ve got all of our hot pepper seeds started. Because I’m starting many more peppers (and everything!) this year, I have to wait until they’ve germinated before I plant my sweet pepper varieties as I only have the shelves behind the living room stove on which to put them, so they are nice and warm but not too hot. Some, I planted in peat pellets and others, in single containers or in packs in trays, depending on just how many of each variety I was going to plant. Planting in packs saves labor as they can stay in the extra-large packs until they get transplanted into the garden. But the flats do take up more room on my limited shelves.

After planting, each of the containers goes into a plastic bag which is not tightly closed to hold in adequate moisture but not restrict air flow.

About this time each year, I keep an eye out for the two spots where early pussy willows start to pop out. Last week, they showed up, nice and fat! Our very first sign of coming spring. Then on the way back from going with Will to work on his new bulldozer, I spotted several more bushes in full “bloom.” How cheerful!

We were so tickled to see the first pussy willows of this spring pop out into the sunshine!

Spring is coming before too long. I’ve already started scanning the fields for the first Robins and the beaver pond for the pair of “scout” Canadian geese, which arrive before the big flocks are heading north. Already, they’re in Minneapolis and St. Paul so I’m hopeful they’ll show up fairly soon. Come on spring! — Jackie


  1. You mentioned the pro-mix for starting seeds. Do you have a source for that? I ordered some on Amazon and then waited and waited…. and waited. Then I got a message that none was available so the order was cancelled. I’m glad your doctor is vigilant. A little sore is better than cancer any day! I’ve been out birding here in Iowa and the ducks are starting to move through (although I’m not sure what today’s blizzard will do to them) and I counted 19 Sandhill Cranes foraging in the corn fields. Migrants are on their way to you! It is so energizing when the days start to lengthen and spring is in the air. Thanks for your wonderful inspiring blog.

    • I get ProMix from our local nursery and our local Menards. Yep, I agree with you although I think his “margins” were a little exuberant. The initial cancer was about 1/2″ in diameter and the new incision is four inches long and includes both skin and muscle. But I’d to it again. Just to be safe.
      Will heard our first pair of Canada geese fly up the creek two days ago. They’re the scouts and the first flock usually follows in about a week and a half. Spring feels SO VERY good!!!

  2. Hope that you’re not sore too long and glad that you have a doctor who is so diligent about making sure that he got it all. Glad to see you’re planting those peppers. We too have been enjoying the warm temps and sunshine but this weekend we’re back to the cold. Brrrr. Ended our sap collecting and canned a bunch of half-pints. Tastes so good! Love those pussy willows! Haven’t checked mine yet… hope that I haven’t missed them. Happy spring Jackie and Will!

    • Naw, you haven’t missed them. Most of mine aren’t even thinking of coming out. Warm weather is headed your way. It’s 50 out today with the sun shining!!

  3. The other day I saw a fairly large flock of geese flying north (I am in N. Central TX). Our sand plums (wild plums) are blooming. Yipee! Spring is around the corner. March 15 is our “average” last frost. The freeze (polar vortex with -6 and 48 hours of no power) killed off many of the seeds that I planted (had them in an unheated mobile home with a heat mat….). So, we are behind. Last year we had a killing freeze on April 15 (a whole month late!).

    • SWEET!!! Aw, I’m so sorry about your seeds. That’s horrible but you just have classify it as “stuff happens” and move forward. The weather lately has been really strange. Climate change?

  4. Got peas and potatoes in on Wednesday during warm spell. If it turns off cold they are protected with a warm blanket of rich soil.
    Onion seeds planted and trimmed already. Grow faster when warm.
    Cabbage down. Peppers next. My problem is grow light area about all used up.
    Bought a few more wal o water from wal Mart for peppers. Don’t want to lose them like last year’s very late hard freeze. Bought some for tomatoes late last fall.

    • I can tell you live south of us! I wouldn’t even dream of planting potatoes until late May. It’s so fun to see what gardeners all over the world are doing!!! I’m waiting for more warm space to plant more pepper seeds. No hot peppers up yet, but soon.

  5. I planted the rhubarb seeds I got from you.
    Snows all but gone here in pine city. Knock on wood.
    We’re currently boiling sap and I’ll be starting my peppers soon.
    Love reading your posts.
    Good luck with the dr.

    • Thanks! He cut out a big chunk of my forearm so today I’m pretty sore. But I figure in a few days it’ll be much better. Pain is better than cancer! Our snow was gone until the last one. Oh well, it IS Minnesota. May your syrup making last for a long time this season.

  6. When I first looked at your pictures I thought you were making and baking brownies. But after reading your post I realized my mistake. I got a good laugh on myself. I haven’t started any seeds but am thinking about it. That’s the first step.

    • So where do you live? I’ve heard folks are spotting north-bound geese and robins in Minneapolis but I haven’t seen any yet. Soon!

  7. Glad your going with your dermatologist advice! Day before yesterday I had an area lazered out. Took 4 tries running each downstairs to pathology but they did end up getting it all. Basal Cell. All of the Robins have left here in Florida over a month ago so expect the home soon!

  8. Saw some trees budding out on my daily walk but we have more weather coming in this weekend-boo hoo!!

    • Yep, a lot of our poplars are sporting swelling buds and tomorrow we’re supposed to be in the 50’s. Yea!!!

  9. Saw my first robin today- a plump one. We canned our maple syrup today-25 pints. Sweet stuff. My peppers have sprouted. Our cranes-Sand Hill are back. It’s taking less wood to heat and spring is coming. Yea!

    • Wow! Cool! You’re so lucky to have maples. Yum!!! I love hearing Sand Hill cranes and will be so glad when our pair shows up along the creek bottoms. We’re noticing how much less wood we’re burning too. We’ve got lots but still it’s a sign of the coming spring.

  10. I love pussy willows!!
    It is staying warmer during the days here but dropping to 20’s at night. My poor chickens are very confused.

  11. Saw geese and some type of white crane-looking bird heading north last weekend. Snow in the forecast for me on Monday. No matter how much comes down, it won’t last too long. Better half has been raking/cleaning up parts the yard that are dry enough. Plenty-of-sticks to pick up this weekend.
    Probably a wise move not to argue with the dermatologist – better half gets checked annually. So far only a few areas that were “burned” off.
    Will be starting a few plants soon and thanks to you, we’re watching our local seed tater source like a hawk.

    • Good for you! Once they’re gone, they’re gone! And we DO love our ‘taters. You’re right about the dermatologist. He went ahead and cut a nice chunk out of my arm and it hurts like crazy but I’d rather be safe than sorry when it’s too late.

      • For years I begged the better half to plant some potatoes. While I’m not looking a gift horse in the mouth, last year he decided yes, we should plant potatoes. Not near as many as I’d like but better than none. We shared what seed potatoes we didn’t plant and will do so again this year. We have what I call our circle – people (not necessarily family) that help each other. You can’t put a price on good people/good friends.

  12. I splurged on myself this year and got a grow system for my seed starts for my garden. It has a tray, dome, heating pad, & grow light. I can only start abut 50 seed starts in it but it works for me. I have always wanted one but they were too big and expensive. This year I saw one that was smaller and cheaper. So I used some of my tax return for it. Hope that my seed starts will be stronger and not leggy.

    • If you keep light close down to the plants, they’ll do fine. I’d take the dome off once they’re germinated. Too much humidity and dampness can cause diseases like damping off. And that’s awful frustrating!

  13. I’m in Northern Iowa and heard geese on Monday. Didn’t see them but heard them. Haven’t seen a robin yet but know I will soon. It got up to 70º yesterday with high winds so now all snow is gone. Back to lower 50’s today and sunny.

    I’m going to start my peppers next week and tomatoes two weeks after. Last year my tomatoes got too leggy. I have only one window for light. I’d rather have them a bit shorter than so leggy they’re falling over.

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