You can guess we’re not doing much besides chores today. But, as spring is coming, I sat down and ordered some more fruit trees from our favorite orchard companies, Fedco Trees and St. Lawrence Nurseries. These two companies are two we trust as they sell trees that are grafted onto very hardy rootstock, as opposed to many other, well-known companies that graft onto less-hardy rootstock, only hardy to Zone 5 or so. Yes, the scion wood (the top part) is hardy to, say, Zone 3. But if the root isn’t, the tree sure won’t live long. Our little orchard, next to the chicken coop is full so we’re going to plant along the east side of the Sand Garden. I’m thinking fruit trees should do well down there, I even got wild and crazy and ordered a Reliance peach tree. Although Fedco rates them at Zone 3/4, I think that’s stretching it a little. But then, I have a black walnut tree I planted from a nut our friend, Tom Richardson, brought back from southern Wisconsin. The tree is now seven years old and growing nicely. They’re rated at Zone 4 for hardiness. So there!

I spent two days, studying the Fedco Trees and St. Lawrence Nurseries catalogs, deciding on what trees to plant this year.

We made sure that all of our fruit trees are protected against voles this fall, putting hardware screens around each one, up 3 feet. We don’t want to see any dead trees, come spring. We’ve put too much love and work into them for that.

We made sure to protect each fruit tree against vole damage early this fall. We don’t want any dead trees, come spring.

I also ordered two Russian pears from St. Lawrence that are very hardy in Zone 3. Yep, even though I’m old (75), I still keep on planting trees. Who knows? Maybe I’ll live on, like Betty White! And we do love our fruit.

We do love our fruit and this pie proves it.

Are you all planning out your gardens? I know I am spending quite a bit of time with my planning notebook, deciding what and where we’ll plant a whole lot of crops. After all, I don’t see the food shortages going away any time soon. I’ve been poor and hungry and will never be hungry again. Maybe poor; who knows? But hungry? Never! — Jackie


  1. I am 78 today and only wish I had a place to garden. I live in an apartment with just a small balcony. I envy you. Did you ever finish that new book?

  2. My Peach trees were blossoming last Sunday, Tuesday it went down to 23 degrees. No peaches again this year.

  3. I’ve grown the Reliance peach for a number of years & then Contender which is listed as a zone 4. I’m a zone 5 but with an altitude of 2000 ft. I’ve gotten good sized peaches with both varieties but I thin the peaches as they get bigger. Even with the drought we had in 2020, my Contender tree produced close to 3 bushels of large peaches. My seeds came incredibly fast – esp. with the holiday weekend. Started planning my 3 gardens -don’t know how you do it with the number you have …

    • It IS a challenge but one we’re happy to take. Glad to hear your Reliance and Contender are doing so good for you. I’m not holding my breath as growing peaches of any kind in Zone 3 is really iffy. But I just look at my black walnut tree (Zone 4) and say, “what the heck….”.
      Glad to hear your seeds made it through so quickly. Wonderful!

  4. I so enjoy all the reports from across the country. Glad y’all are warm. I don’t believe this deep South girl would survive in your weather! Got my seed order sent to you, then learned in the same week that l am having a heart valve replacement! At 83 years young, hope to get at least some of the seed in the ground. You keep me inspired, Jackie!

    • Aw heck, it’s not so bad, living with the cold. You just learn to adjust. I’m praying your surgery goes well and you recover quickly. I’m sure you’ll get your garden planted this spring!!

  5. Jackie, I turn 80 in a couple of weeks and I too am starting over and still planting trees and I started just about 3 yrs ago with a Crabapple and an Arkansas Red. Two yrs ago I planted a peach. I also have raised beds in my front yard, which will see their 3rd year of planting and have plans for more raised beds in the back. As long as the body is willing I will continue with my little vegetable and fruit here on my little half acre homestead in East Tennessee. May God bless us both with the possibility of enjoying the fruit from our plantings.

  6. Hi Miss Jackie! I put in two reliance peaches last year and this year ordered two more but they will be 2 year old pots not bare root. At my age I need all the growth I can get!! I am told they should be ok in zone 3. I am technically in 4b but I order everything for 3. I use Fedco since I am in Maine and didn’t know about St. Lawrence. Will check them out next. One thing I did notice is tree prices have gone way up. Yikes!! And just to add to your last post about temps…when we first moved to Maine in the late 60s we would wait for the school bus sometimes in minus 35. We don’t see that much anymore but we do have some minus weather in the forecast. Yeehaw! Take care and stay warm

    • Keep me posted with your Reliance peaches. Yep, prices of EVERYTHING has really gone up. Chicken and pork at the grocery have doubled and beef? Nearly tripled in price. I’m sure glad we raise beef!!!

  7. Two summers ago we planted a peach and a cherry tree and was delighted to harvest some fruit from each last summer… not a lot of fruit, but they are only babies. It felt so good to just go out back and pick fresh fruit! The golden plum we planted four years ago is now very prolific and we get hundreds of plums. With the grape vines producing so much fruit and these three trees, I am hoping to stay ahead of the cost of produce in the markets. I also have six blueberry bushes that seem happy but are not very productive yet. Everything is under snow at the moment so I get to anticipate…

    • Blueberries take about 4-5 years to get productive, regardless of what the catalogs say. We have both tame and wild blueberries, grapes, plums, apples, bush cherries, honeyberries and Siberian apricots that only fruit (small apricots!) about once in four years due to the blooms meeting late spring frost. But we’re so thrilled to have so much wonderful fruit.

    • Your catalog should arrive shortly. If it doesn’t, email me at and I’ll send one. You can check out our website, to see all we have and order directly from there by printing out the order form or just jotting down what you want. We don’t take cards or PayPal so you’d have to send a check. We just put on more clothes and spend less time outside.

  8. Got your catalog 2 days ago in Fergus Falls…very difficult to choose only one of a type of seed..the end results all sound so good! For example, I don’t have room for multiple tomato varieties…it’s amazing you can get them all in!

  9. We are nowhere near as cold, but we live in a “frost pocket” here in Central Texas. Our morning low was 8 – five miles from here it was 14. We can be 20 degrees lower than most places nearby, but only in the winter. 20 degrees cooler in August would be fabulous. Ha! But having lived in Montana and Alaska, I prepare for cold weather whether we have it or not. We have warm coats, clothing, hats, gloves and boots. And a reasonably big wood pile, it’s never been used up by spring. Got your catalog not too long ago, now I need to order!

  10. Thank You for the new Seed Catalog ! What fun to decide what to plant this year . 75 this year and a plant a new tree every year . Part of all of us will live on just like Scott and Helen Nearing ! Sharon

    • Glad they’re getting around. The mail has been so slow lately, then there’s all that nasty weather, country wide.

  11. Got my seeds….flooding here in the PNW. Can’t WAIT for the weather to get better. God bless every fruit tree you plant Jackie!

    • Yeah, Will’s friend in Seattle called today and gave us an update on all the flooding and wind. Wow! Cold weather seems so much easier to deal with.

    • We had a high of -35 and a low of -40! Several -50 readings in the area the last few days including one where the local fire department had to fight a chimney/roof fire at -50! They saved the house. Still haven’t gotten your catalog yet. We don’t get much solar heat even at noon yet because it doesn’t get over the mountains until well after dawn and shows between gaps in the trees at noon. Keep warm! Dolly, just a comment, not a reply!

  12. Got your seed catalogue can’t wait to start ordering. I was just telling my daughters that I have to put an order into Fedco for some more fruit trees. I also get my potatoes from them, have been for years. I love the Reliance peach tree first got turned onto the peaches when we took one of our trips to Amish country in PA. We got some snow here in CT today and cooking on the old cookstove with farm raised veg and meat. I agree food shortages are gonna be lingering Praise God He blesses us with ways around it.

    • That He does. (But I also think He expects us to do our part.) I know we sure try to. Our wood cookstove is fired up and so pleasant to stand next to!

      • Your comment reminded me of something I read awhile back. God is in control but he doesn’t expect us to lean on a shovel and pray for a hole. Your seed catalog came two days ago. I always look forward to it.

  13. I got your seed catalog in today’s mail clear over here in Oregon. We are very happy to spend more for your seed packets and delivery. Your packets always have more seeds and are reliable in quality. I want you to make enough from to help pay for all the hard work you both do all year long. I am also 75 and nearly every time I read on of your articles, I learn something new. Linna

    • Aww, thanks Linna. That’s so nice. I know, for me, planning a garden seems to make spring come so much faster. We’ve already noticed how much longer the days are getting.

    • No problem. For us in cold country, to save broccoli seeds, we must start the plants very early, then transplant into gallon or even two gallon pots, making sure they get plenty of light. By spring and no more hard freezes, we transplant those big plants out into garden rows. By doing this, the seed pods that form get mature before the fall freezes. Otherwise, with just transplanting month old seedlings, the seed pods do form but never mature.

  14. Thats a beautiful pie! Its cold in Ohio (not as bad as Minn) so staying in and savoring Seed Treasures catalogue that came yesterday. You put a wealth of info in there. We grew a lot of storage crops last year and doing it again this year, just figuring out where to put it all. We’ve been seeing prices rising and quality dropping (salmonella recalls!) so want as much of our own organic produce as possible. Making some potato soup out of the stored ones getting softer, and canning up more tonight. Love to fall asleep hearing those jar lids ping as they seal!

  15. Minus 11 in my neck of the woods. I also continue to plant trees at age 74. I’m thinking my grandkids will enjoy the harvest. I also plant non fruit trees and ordered 40 Maples. I have the Reliance peach and it survives zone 5. I’m planning next years garden and ordered seeds. Nice catalog you sent Would do you do to save broccoli for seed. This cold is consuming the wood pile but we’re warm.

  16. I also enjoyed your post about canning ham. I recently took a ham bone and made it into soup. I am hoping that it will taste good?

  17. It is always a joy to hear from you. I lost several of my fruit trees this fall more then likely due to deer. I am hoping to reorder/replant.

    • Yep, those critters can sure wreck fruit trees! Just keep planting. And make a fence around them so you don’t lose the new ones. We’ve had to do just that. My oldest son, Bill, had fences around his but the fences were up off the ground a foot or so. The deer got down, under the fence and ate on the trees. Luckily, they weren’t killed. He now has a taller fence. Right to the ground.

  18. I’m with you, sister! 17 below here currently. If you can’t get plane tickets to Florida or Arizona, the next best thing is garden planning!

    • Amen Jody!! Planning even seems to make the room colder. We had -37 last night. Brrr. But a warm-up is coming tomorrow.

  19. Yes! My Seed Treasures catalogue arrived this week, I just love that you detail how to harvest and save the seeds. I’m going to pour over it this weekend, plan my gardens and get my order out to you this week! I’m tired of -30 morning temps, ready for spring to come.

    • Yes. There are even a couple of different ones. Check out the St. Lawrence Nurseries website. You’re warmer than we are so they should do great.

  20. I have raised Northern Reliance Peach trees here in Central Maine, very successfully. The peaches are very small but so juicy. Our trees groaned with the weight of the fruit and we had plenty to eat and can……peach jam was divine. Our trees lasted about 5 years before needing replacement but so worth it.

    • Thanks for the information. I know the peaches tend to be small, but here, where we can grow no other ones….and maybe not even Reliance, ANY peaches would be a Godsend!!

  21. Beautiful pie….I’m sure it is as good as it looks. It always makes the winter better by thinking about spring and planting ! Stay warm! :)

    • It was!!! We have so much fun planning out our gardens this time of the year. It makes winter pass so much faster.

  22. 75 years young! I get so down about starting over (again!!) in my 50’s. You inspire me to keep going, Jackie <3

    • Oh heck, I sure wish I was in my 50’s again!!! You can do about anything, girl. And have fun doing it!

  23. You might consider making a chicken, beef, or ham pot pie. We had a made from scratch by someone else the other day. Quite tasty, filling, and warming on a cold day. Really hit the spot.
    When you clean out your wood stove ashes, have a spray bottle of water. As the one person shovel, the other person spritzes water as it goes into the bucket. Really helps keep the dust down (I hate to dust). And also handy for spritzing a rogue ember if need be.
    Guess I need to get my garden order done soon also. Though I wonder how many people that started ordering seeds/plants actually ended up with a harvest. Gardening is a lot of work – planting is the easy part (and easy to over do!).

    • I do often make meat pies. They’re so easy when you’ve got all that canned up stuff in your pantry too.
      That spray bottle sounds like a good idea. We run the vacuum, holding the nozzle above the door, which does help reduce the dust quite a bit.
      From what folks have written me, many did have a very good harvest, despite the terrible growing year last summer. That made me real happy!

      • Oh I don’t doubt those that ordered from you had a decent harvest. But plenty of never/barely before gardeners got on the bandwagon when Covid-19 hit and ordered seeds/plants.
        When the Great Recession of 2008 hit, many discovered frugality (and it was rather sad truth be told). I often wonder how many continued being frugal once one/both found new jobs/jobs recovered. Sad to say too many people have short term memories and/or are two/two+ time learners.

  24. I’m glad you mentioned St. Lawrence Nursery – they are located just a couple miles down the road from us. Every time I drive by there I think of you and all the success you’ve had with them.
    We purchased blueberry plants and red current plants from them many years ago. Those plants are still thriving and producing every summer. You are good advertisers for them.

  25. I am planning my garden. And guess what I got in the mail today!!! Seed Treasures!! Finish the planning and let the ordering commence!

  26. I wrapped my peach tree 3′ up like you’ve done but lost it anyway because the snow drifted 4′ and the rabbits ate the top off.

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