With a few open spots in the Wolf garden, I’ve planted a few snap beans like Strike and Dragon Tongue. Not for seed saving as it’s too late to harvest dry seed beans, but for us to eat and can up. Of course, I always give away a lot of extra produce. That’s why I planted all the extra tomato plants instead of throwing them on the compost pile. They aren’t pretty but they will make some nice tomatoes, even if left to sprawl on the ground. In a small community, there are always folks who had a garden fail or are physically unable to garden so I feel good giving them boxes of produce.

I sure enjoy our first summer flowers like this beautiful peony.

After that half an inch of rain, it’s heading for another dry spell. It wouldn’t be so bad if everything had come up, then get dry. But the dryness sure inhibits germination, and we have the two big gardens where we can’t easily water. We’ll have to see how this plays out, I guess. I was checking out some of our flower beds, looking at the early flowers like peonies and phlox and saw a big, fat toad cuddled in a dip under a phlox plant. We love our toads, frogs, and salamanders as they eat a whole lot of insects that damage our gardens. And, no, you don’t get warts from handling a toad!

And underneath the flowers, I found this nice, fat toad. I love him too!

We’re still busy mulching the various gardens, especially to conserve moisture, seeing how dry it’s been. Will and Ashley did a bunch in the Central garden yesterday while I washed clothes and hovered around the house to keep my sunburn from the doxycycline antibiotic from getting worse. Yes, I wear long sleeves and a hat, plus gloves. But my hands got it before I put on the hated gloves and my poor nose and lips are all ugly. However, I’m feeling fine, and the course of doxycycline is done!

We are still busy mulching. Thank God we got enough reed canary grass hay last year!

I got my Shingrex shingles vaccination while at the doctor’s for a follow-up appointment. Dad got shingles and it was simply horrible. So I’m all on board for a vaccination. I did get the first shingles vaccine but as they say that one was only about 60% effective, I opted for a much better percentage. I did feel a little sick yesterday with stomach upsets and a headache, which is normal. But today I’m fine and ready to get out and do!

I just got this photo of Ava and Whinny I thought folks might like to see how they are doing.

— Jackie


  1. Enjoy your column a lot you do so much gardening!! I have a garden and always have but this year it seems to have taken a hold for the better, I had peas for the freezer, spinach, all we wanted to eat and some in freezer, asparagus was great, cabbage is good, but workiing on it this morning, heads spliting since we have been having rain, soon have green beans, love all that garden stuff,and helps with the grocery bill too. Only my son and I but seems we eat quite a lo t and also give to daughter and her girls when they come. seem to always appreciate it. Thanks for all the advise you give.

    • You’re welcome Ann. I’m so glad your garden is doing so well. We have high hopes too although we are far from harvest in June. We love all the vegetables we get to eat out of the garden and can’t wait to start in!

  2. We live in SW corner of southern Michigan. Our soil was very dry until we had a rain several days ago and its been raining ever since. Today is Sunday and its supposed to rain tonight again. We really needed the rain for the farmers crops of which I have 2 brothers and a nephew that farm. My small garden looks good and I’m eating greens out of it for salads. Saving on buying Romain lettuce to. Made 19 pints of freezer strawberry jam. Your grand daughter is so cute and really smiling holding her pony. It was so kind of you to get it for her.

    • While we did check out and pick up the pony, Ava’s dad forked over the cash. I’m sure he remembers all the great times he had on his pony, Sprite!

  3. It was so hot and dry when my peonies were blooming that they basically dehydrated and died within a day. Same with Siberian iris and regular iris. We’ve been getting some rains this past week so the garden is looking better. We are still in severe drought though as it will take a lot more than our 1½ inches to fix that. Still I’m very thankful for what we got.

    Your granddaughter is an absolute doll and her joy in her pony is shining all over her face.

    • Yep, I’m with you. We were in drought and did get a little rain, which we were hugely grateful for receiving. But we can sure use a lot more.

  4. Nice photos! It looks like Ava and Whinney are going to be just fine together. She won’t forget your gift and will cherish this moment, week, years forever .

  5. Love the pic of your granddaughter and her pony; nothing better growing up. We were also in a drought for past year, farm pond was drying up and we were watering garden each week. Suddenly this week end; northern Indiana; rain, rain, and more rain started. We have had 9 inches since Thursday night and it is Sunday morning; more on the way. We don’t need it all at once, but will take what we can get.

    • I know what you mean. We’ve had years like that too and it about makes you pull your hair. Let’s hope all of our weather evens out soon.

  6. My area of Maine is now considered in Severe drought that started last year. So far they are letting us water and no talk of restrictions, thank goodness, but there are some people with wells running dry. I worry about John and Mia

    • Wow, that’s unusual for Maine!! I’m praying for rain for all of who need it and letting up that huge rain for those who are drenched.

  7. My husband was recently on the same antibiotic for a UTI. Being a general contractor and in direct sunlight, over a hundred degrees for several days, building a house, it certainly took a toll on his arms. He wore a white long-sleeve t-shirt for a few days. He quit the antibiotic because of the sunburn. It recovered quickly. Do you know how hard it is to find a white, long-sleeve t-shirt in summer? Thanks for a great blog!

    • I got my long sleeved shirt at the local thrift store for .25 but oh my hands sure got fried. I was a bad girl, who hates wearing gloves. Bad mistake I won’t repeat!

  8. Great that Ava and Whinny are getting along so well. Having taught horsemanship, PLEASE teach Ava to NEVER put her hand inside the loop as she has it in the picture. So easy to get caught up. Safety is important. We are expecting rain here this next week in N. Central TX as well as a cool down (highs in the 90’s). I am still planting, and will continue planting all through the summer and fall (we can do winter gardening here and I had cold hardy plants make it down to MINUS 4 this past winter).

    • Yes, we did teach her that mistake. I, also, taught both English and western horsemanship for years and that is one of the first things we do teach. Yes, safety IS hugely important! As you know, a beginner can’t remember everything at once and that’s why both her dad and I were down there coaching her.

  9. Great to see your Granddaughter and
    Her new friend. That will be a lifetime
    Of her having joy. Seems to me, Ava
    Favors her Grandma and that big
    Sunshine Smile. 😁

  10. My Peonies here were a gift from my mom’s garden and they remind me of her beautiful spirit. Here in Spokane they have just finished blooming and we are hunkering down for record breaking UNprecedented heat, over 108 for at least five consecutive days! I have found a white garden shade cloth to cover my cabbage and lettuces from the harsh sun. I hope it works OK!
    Is Ava’s pony an Appaloosa? That coloring was originally from the Palloose hills here in the Spokane area. You have great taste :)

    • Wow, and I thought the nineties were hot!! I hope you cool off soon. You’re close in your guess. Whinny is a POA or Pony of the Americas, which originated from a cross between Appaloosas and Shetlands to get a child-sized Appy. I hope, if Whinny has a foal, it will be Appaloosa colored.

  11. Sure is a sweet little girl and sooo happy. The best days of my life were spent with Granny, Grandpa and different aunts and uncles on their farms! They taught me so much. And you would be so surprised to know how many people have never even stood next to a horse, much less own or ride one! Wish everyone could live on a working farm at least one summer in their life.

  12. Ava looks so much like you, Jackie. I bet photos of you from around Ava’s age are very similar to what she looks like! The seeds we got from you are doing so well in the garden and the plants look great! Hope you guys get rain soon.

  13. I can see the love and happiness in both Ava and Whinny. Great times ahead for both to love and cherish.

    • That’s my greatest wish for them. Her dad, Bill, rode his pony, Sprite from the time he was in diapers up into his pre-teens, often beating adult riders on very expensive horses. They were the team to beat at our local saddle club shows. He moved up to an older Arabian we called Birdie because he flew over the jumps in “big boy” shows, again whipping the adults. We had Sprite until she died at 42 years old!

  14. An idea for those that have extra produce
    In town there is HUD housing and many of the older people who live there are getting by in as little as 600 per month For years now we have been taking in all our extra and leaving it on a table of what is called the commons room
    Just a idea

    • That’s a great idea Reg! I hope lots of gardeners will do as you do and help out those who can’t garden.

  15. Wish I could send you some of our rain! We’ve had 25 inches over the last 2 weeks. Fighting to save the gardens.

    • Holy cow, Rebecca!!! Where do you live? Nearly everyone who’s been commenting says they are in drought. I sure wish the weather would even out.

  16. I couldn’t tell who was smiling the most, Ava or Whinny. Beautiful girl and her pony. Lots of fun for years. Thank you Jackie for your blogs and all you do for other people. You’re the best!

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