On Friday, I took our apprentice, Ashley, over to the Vince Shute Bear Sanctuary near Orr, Minnesota She’d never seen black bears in the wild and we got to see many of them interact over a few hours’ visit. We saw big and little bears, including triplet cubs that Mom sent up a tree while she walked around, checking out feed piles in the nearby area. It’s such a nice place to get to know these often-misunderstood critters that are also our neighbors.

Triplet cubs were fun to watch.

Will’s Fathers Day gift was over half an inch of rain. And no gift could be more appreciated, both by him and me too. As our various crops are just starting to come up, this rain will send them shooting upward happily. Ashley got nearly all of our extra peppers planted in the North garden by Saturday and I’d just set in a 150 foot row of extra tomatoes in the Wolf garden. So this rain will send them jumping. The potatoes are all up and will need hilling soon. And, again, with rain, they’ll grow like mad now.

As it was Fathers Day Sunday, sons Bill and David and their families came for dinner. And, as granddaughter, Ava, still didn’t know she had a new pony, we sure had fun taking her down to see Whinny, even if it was raining a little. I told everyone I had a pet woodchuck for them to see. (Hondo had excavated a hole by the pasture gate, trying to get a ground squirrel that was three feet deep and sure looked like a woodchuck had dug it.) I told her his name was Whinny so while I called “Whinny,” Will kept her busy looking for the ‘chuck’s other burrow in the edge of the trees while the real Whinny came walking up from the pasture. Imagine the surprise when Ava saw the pony! And then I told her that her mom and dad had bought it just for her.

Ava meeting the “real” Whinny, not the woodchuck.

She spent a long time petting Whinny, then learned to walk her on a lead. Meanwhile, Dad was telling her the “don’ts” like don’t tickle her flanks (she might think it’s flies and kick), don’t surprise her by walking up behind her unexpectedly, hold the lead at arm’s length so she doesn’t step on little girl feet and so on. Whinny did have a halter but it wasn’t adjustable so I’d bought her one that was. So Ava spent a lot of time inside, learning how to put a halter on right. And, of course, she had Dad go with her several times while they were here, to practice leading her again. They’re bonding. I think they’ll go a long way together.

Dad, teaching Ava about handling ponies.

As I’d been so busy lately, I took the easy way out for dinner; I went to town and bought a couple boxes of fried chicken from the local market, along with sides to go with it. But I did bake some rolls to go with it that turned out very nice. Hey, I’m not a purist! We mostly eat what we grow but sometimes I take the easy way out and let Zups Market do the cooking. Then I can enjoy everyone even more.

Delilah wants to be in the conversation! No wallflower here.

I can’t get over how much granddaughter, Delilah, has grown! At six months, she’s rolling over, trying to talk and will soon be crawling all over the place. She sure wants to sit up and partake in the conversation around her. How cute! — Jackie


  1. As my husband (the cook) says – the cook needs a day off.
    Delilah reminds me of my kids (when they were little that is) – no wrists or ankles and full face.

  2. I never though I would say this, but I envy your rain lol. Here in the PNW we are in a very unusual (for us) drought conditions and no relief in sight. Saturday and Sunday are supposed to be in the 105 to 109 range. I am watering my pots twice a day. Jackie, will hit conditions keep tomatoes from setting? Lots of blossoms just no tomatoes.

    I’m glad the pony finally got to meet Ava. I don’t think there is a better match than a little girl and her pony 😊 Except maybe a little boy and his dog buddy lol.

    • Yes, hot temperatures will keep tomatoes from setting. The blooms just fall off. When it cools down some, they will go ahead and set. The good thing is that the tomato plants keep getting stronger and bigger so when they do set, they set a good crop.
      We are so tickled Ava got to meet Whinny! It was so cute.

      • Thanks for confirming thT about the tomatoes. We have had such weird weather here in the PNW this year. I actually planted all of my pot garden in May fir the most part. We kept having hot days and cool nights. But the plants are very sturdy as you said. Hope your garden(s) do well for you guys this year.

  3. What a lovely day for you and your family. Glad to hear you had some rain. This has been a much drier and hotter year here in western Canada too.

    How is Javid doing? We haven’t heard about him for a while and I don’t know if you were able to visit during this pandemic.

    • Javid is doing quite well although we both were lonesome as there were no visitors allowed until just a week ago. THAT was very hard!!! Now COVID restrictions have lifted we’re hoping for a much happier summer.

  4. Glad you got rain. Nice pictures of family time. We enjoy the food of the available outlets so we too can all visit and no one is strapped to the kitchen. I’ve harvested all my peas today, re-tilled the area and planted strike beans. The ground is extremely dry. Hopefully we will get some rain this week. Your Alderman peas are still climbing and growing to be harvested later. Whinny looks like a great addition.

    • We think she is too. Although we did get rain, again it’s getting real dry. It looks like the beavers were sure right when they forecasted a droughty summer. We’re picking honeyberries and I hope to make jam soon. It’s our favorite!

  5. Wonderful update from you Jackie. Glad you’ve enjoyed spending time with family, and getting that much needed rain.

    • I don’t think so. David was blond when he was a baby and his hair turned dark brown and his mom’s hair is also brown. So probably not.

  6. I agree with both Dianne and Kathy!
    The restaurant we went to had a waiting line, more like a Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. But, You Bet us gals enjoy not cooking, so bring on any holiday!
    Question for you…now that its a work day again…the Seneca Sunrise is pushing up tassels and is only knee high. I doubt its normal; I’ve seen your corn before. Drought related? Very hot weather of 90’s in Iowa? We did just get blessed with 1.5″ rain and the corn looks healthy, albeit only slightly taller than that dang grass growing in its rows! Its the only vegetable I haven’t hand-weeded yet; the rest of garden looked like a lawn this year. Shocking, and a lot of work, but nearly conquered now.
    Another question…are the wild turkeys raising chicks yet? We see a hen walking around eating sometimes, so wonder if her nest has hatched.

    • Your short Seneca Sunrise may surprise you yet. Probably, because of the drought it is tasseling a little short but it usually will then shoot up to higher than your head when the tassels shed their pollen. If you get rid of the grass, it’ll do better, of course. Hang in there.
      Our wild turkeys have hatched babies. I haven’t seen them as the moms go where they were hatched to make their nests. But our neighbor saw one of them with her poults cross the road.

  7. That is one lucky little girl to have her very own pony! And a grandma who knows how to pick ’em!

    • Although I love to cook, this time of the year it sometimes feels overwhelming with all the planting, etc. I don’t feel too guilty about picking up a nice picnic lunch instead of spending hours in the kitchen.

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