My oldest son, Bill, has a 3/4 ton diesel pickup with a gooseneck trailer that can haul the weight of Old Rusty, Will’s new guy-toy (Dresser bulldozer) so we planned on having a family day Sunday. David and Elizabeth would also come, both to introduce Bill and Kelly to their new niece Delilah, and so David could help with the move. (It helps to have three big, strong men who know their way around equipment on a project like this.) I laid out snacks for everyone as they would arrive just before noon and I knew the guys would want to get right at the move — just in case there was trouble. So after introductions to Delilah, the men took off in two trucks; our pickup with tools and Bill’s with the trailer. Of course, Hondo had to go with them to supervise!

While they were gone, everyone got to hold Delilah. Ava and Mason entertained her very well and it was so much fun to watch her smile at them. I was surprised that Mason enjoyed holding her so much. I’ve found boys often would rather not hold a baby. He loved it.

Ava was tickled to be able to hold her cousin Delilah.
Mason surprised us by enthusiastically entertaining his new cousin.

Some folks came to buy seeds so Delilah went into her snuggy pack on Mom’s front and everyone but we seed people went down to visit the horses. Our Friesian mare, Ladyhawk, especially loves Ava. She comes right to the fence and stands to be petted as long as Ava is there to pet her. Ladyhawk also thought Delilah was quite wonderful and surprised her by putting her big, black nose right in Delilah’s face! I’m thinking she’s figuring in a few years there’ll be another little girl who will love to pet her too.

After a couple of hours, the dogs started barking and I was surprised to see Bill’s truck coming into the drive. Will had planned on driving Old Rusty in the drive, as the drive is pretty bumpy and muddy. But Bill decided to just drive it in, instead. We were surprised to see them! Will said they’d blown a tire on the trailer and another was leaking badly, about 10 miles from home. Luckily, Bill had brought two spares as not only is the dozer heavy, but he knew the tires were pretty old and getting weather checked. With three men working, it only took about 20 minutes for them to get the tires changed and head home.

Will getting ready to back Old Rusty off Bill’s trailer. We were so glad they got it loaded and home with little trouble.

Today I’m starting to plant tomatoes. It’s going to take days as I have SO many varieties, all 157 or so. But I’m up to the Bill Beans and I’m planting lots this year as some friends and family are going to get some, along with what we’ll be planting in our own gardens. We ran out of seeds to sell this year, due to the renewed interest in growing food because of COVID. Even though I did save a lot of our favorite tomato’s seeds, this year I’m saving double what I did last year!

One of the first flats of tomatoes, all planted and bagged, now waiting to germinate.

Our sweet peppers are germinating well so I do have some space for the flats of tomatoes. This year I’m starting a lot of tomatoes in deep four packs as it goes faster than with the peat pellets. But the flats are large and take more room to sit in the warmth behind the stove where they germinate. The last flat, I put on the window greenhouse shelf, out of direct sunlight (which can cook seeds) but still warm and also near the wood stove. Necessity is the mother of invention! — Jackie


  1. Geez…and I thought I was doing good at 18 varieties of tomatoes but then I don’t have the same space as you. Everything is in the living room for now but with a new hoophouse out back I can’t wait to transfer them there and get my house back. I bought one of Mia’s to try and can’t wait to see it. Love the baby looks at Mason…so sweet! Pyro

    • Hey, sometimes I wish I was JUST growing a garden, not running a seed business! Right now we have tomato and pepper seedlings coming out of our ears and the greenhouse is on hold as we’ve had another 6″ of wet snow and 11 degrees to freeze it down good. So I juggle and move them often so they don’t get to leaning too much.

  2. What a joy to see the cousins enjoying each other! Glad to hear that Old Rusty is now in her new home.

  3. I’ve been waiting to see Ava and Mason with Delilah, the pictures are adorable. Old rusty came in like a king, I had to chuckle.

  4. Our hoops are made of EMT plastic, which has belled female ends that slip together so two pieces will make one arch. Will cuts one piece in half so the joints are on the sides, not on top where the wind would cause the joint to wear through the plastic. The EMT is 1″. Our plastic is the 6 mm, guaranteed for 4 years; ours has been up 6 and will be replaced this year as there are a couple of splits caused by deer running into the houses when they sneaked in during the winter.

    • I have two hoop houses made of chain link top rail and anchored on both ends in half of a six foot chain link post. Two lengths make a twelve foot hoop. Bender came from Johnny’s Select Seed. Our plastic has lasted seven years but probably should be replaced this year.

  5. Hi Jackie and Will,
    I’ve been a happy seed customer and am wondering if you’d be interested in a tomato variety that I have here in TN. One of my neighbors shared it with me, telling me that his mother had used the same variety as well (maybe about 70 years’ use in this area). He calls it “Wins All”. It is a a tasty, large red tomato that seems very blight resistant – apparently perfect for this region of middle Tennessee. I saved seeds from his gifted tomatoes last summer and have about 75 starts from those saved seeds growing in my new high hoop house.

    • Wow, Janet, SURE I’d love to try “Wins All”. I’m planting tomatoes alphabetically this year so I still have time as I’m only up to the I varieties. I can’t wait! Thank you so much!!!

  6. Hi!-Are you out of all seeds? We got ours, but recommended you to a friend and I don’t think he’s ordered yet. I looked on your seed site but didn’t see anything saying you are out (but perhaps I’m not looking at the right place). Anyways-we are thankful we’ve gotten them already and thankful for you all!

    • NO, NO, NO, we are NOT out of seeds for most all of our varieties. We just ran out of Bill Bean, our favorite tomato’s seeds. And as we are the sole distributor of these old heirloom Italian seeds, we sure can’t buy more from a wholesaler!

    • We have LOTS and LOTS of seeds!!! We only ran out of our Bill Bean tomatoes and a very few beans. We DO have plenty of seeds to sell and will all summer. We’re just planning ahead, as we do about everything, and planting more than we did last year. Just in case.

  7. Oh how special for you all to spend time together!

    Just planted some Seed Treasures tomato and pepper seeds so hopefully not too late.

    What is the best way to storing seeds for next year? What about storing onion seeds for next year?

    Thanks so much!

    • We plant our peppers about 10 weeks before setting them out and tomatoes about 8 weeks ahead of planting outside.
      Seeds are easily stored for a year or two by just keeping them in their envelopes and putting them in a canning jar with a top to keep out insects and moisture. For long term storage, as in decades, put that jar in the freezer. Although the experts say onion seeds are only good for one year, I’ve germination tested four year old seeds to have 100% germination. It doesn’t get better than that. And those seeds were not frozen but just left on the shelf.

  8. Looks like Mason and Delilah are already sharing a special bond ;-). Two questions, what do you do with your wood ashes, I’m sure some? goes in the garden. Also have you or anyone out there tried the Harvest Right freeze dryer? I’ve read about it but that is about it-there would be some foods that could be preserved,, that you might not be able to otherwise.
    Thanks- and yum-nothing like homegrown tomatoes.

    • They instantly bonded. So cute! We use our wood ashes to help with our acidic soil in all 9 gardens. We stockpile them when the snow gets deep, then shovel them onto a manure spreader load of manure and head for a garden where they get mixed in very well with the manure.
      We can’t afford a Harvest Right freeze dryer but some folks who do have them say they’re really neat but do require quite a bit of cleaning and maintaining.

  9. Oh what a weekend you had!! How wonderful!! And you could all be together.

    We are waiting on some rain right now. It is a drought area for now! We can’t have that. I will be starting my seeds this week too. I am behind since my mom was sick and died and we are helping out dad now. Then I want to catch up around here.

    So will this covid stuff ever end? I think I need to spend time with the plants and nature and heal my wounds that way!!!

    Thank you for all you share!!

    • We did have a full weekend. And enjoyed it very much. It was the first time we got together indoors without masks as we’re almost all vaccinated or (David) is tested every week.
      Sure COVID will end. And it’ll sure end much faster if everyone who CAN get vaccinated chooses to do so. We got rid of smallpox and polio that way, didn’t we???
      You’re right; nature does heal many wounds, both physical and emotional. Get out there and DIG!!!

  10. A busy day for sure! Delilah is adorable!
    In the latest issue of Backwoods Home you mentioned your hoop houses. I went on the Grower Supply website. What a huge catalog!
    Would you share what the frame of your hoop houses are made out of and what thickness the plastic is? Thanks so much!

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