As our weather continues hot and mostly dry (despite a few rains we’ve been hugely thankful for) we are working daily at cultivating, now in the huge North and Wolf gardens, then mulching afterward. Luckily, we laid out those big gardens so Will could use the tractor tiller to cultivate between rows of vine crops, before they got to running, as well as the outside rim of each garden and the center aisle. But those smaller rows of beans and corn must be cultivated between using a hand tiller — our new TroyBilt Bronco. It’s much lighter than our old, bigger, TroyBilt Horse so it’s easier to handle. Yesterday Will used it to cultivate many bean rows, as did I, along with starting in on the Seneca Nation corn which germinated poorly due to the drought and our inability to water out there. We will be using the old Simplicity my son, Bill, fixed up for us, but right now the corn is so short — some being only an inch or so high due to the drought, and other plants six inches high. So it’s hard to follow the rows without tilling up plants. And, of course, it is hot so we can’t work too long at a time without a big break. Mornings and evenings work much better!

After cultivating between rows of beans and corn, we are quickly mulching to get ahead of the weeds.

I’ve got to share a story with you. When Will was living in an apartment in Spokane, before we got together, he had picked up five acorns on the sidewalk which were starting to sprout. He felt sorry for them as they didn’t have a chance on the concrete. He brought them home and planted them in Dixie cups. When he came for a visit, he brought those little trees with him on the plane, tucked carefully in his luggage. We planted them and now all but one are alive and growing like mad. The one in our backyard is 10 feet tall and very nice. I think about its start every time I mow the lawn!

This is one of the white oak seedlings, now a tree, Will saved from a sprouting acorn on the sidewalk.

Our apprentice, Ashley, loves our honeyberries. Fortunately, we do have a good crop this year and the birds haven’t eaten them all. She picked a big batch and, hopefully, tomorrow, we’ll be making honeyberry jam. It’s one of our favorite jams and she would love to learn to make it herself.

Our honeyberries are one fruit that escaped our late spring freeze; they’d already set berries!
Our Hopi Pale Grey squash vines are doing great and are starting to run.

I’m amazed at how fast some of our crops are growing. The Hopi Pale Grey squash is leaping up and running like mad, so we hope to have a great crop this year. Likewise, the patch of Glass Gem popcorn I started indoors is knee high and the 4th of July is still a few days away. Speaking of the 4th, I hope you and yours have a great fourth but if it’s going to be hot where you live, be sure to take precautions and drink plenty … of water! — Jackie


  1. All I can say is awesome!!! I love hearing about your life’s trials you give me hope and you are so busy all of the time. When I get tired from whatever canning or gardening or even cooking I say what would Jackie do ? I always know and get up and going Thankyou!!!!

  2. I’ve never heard of a honeyberry. Also, could you remind me where you purchased your device to remove popcorn from the cob? I like every one of your posts. They are delightful.

    • Thank you Elizabeth. We love honeyberries as they are one of our earliest, dependable fruits, fruiting before or just about when our first strawberries arrive. We bought the popcorn stripper from Jung’s Seeds and really love it for nearly all of our corn seed shelling. Best yet, it was cheap!

  3. Three years ago I was moving & leaving my home & favorite fig tree. Moving day I snatched a big leaf and stem and stuck it in a quart of water. The leaf dried, fell off, and the stick remained for days. My child even asked me why I had a stick in a quart of water sitting in her living room window. Long story short, my “stick” is now a 3 1/2 foot fig tree with 3 tiny figs on it. Always have hope! I’m with Will. If an acorn will sprout on concrete, it has got to be a tough nut!!

    • Exactly! That’s a lesson for us all; sometimes things look hopeless but if we just wait and pray about it, the sun does come out for us. Congratulations on your hope and patience. Your fig tree will reward you!

  4. You have a great man if he puts such compassion into horticulture. Shows he’s a gem with people and animals.

    • We actually got together through Backwoods Home! I’d been talking about Hopi Pale Grey squash and he got to writing me from Washington. We visited a few times, flying here and there. The rest is history!

  5. I really really like your story about the acorns Will saved and brought them out to your beautiful wild homestead. He has a good heart.


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