We’ve been hitting the gardens hard every single day now that the weather’s changed into warm and dry. We are planting about 76 tomatoes every day, plus doing some corn, squash, and assorted other stuff on the side. I planted some new-to-us Jose’s Sweet Puerto Rican squash a customer sent us as started plants. When I looked at them the next day, the big plants were gone! The darned ground squirrels had eaten off every single one! Luckily, I’d also planted lots of seeds. We immediately set a live trap and so far we have caught two squirrels. Hondo loves catching them as we release them. Luckily, the Navajo Robin’s Egg corn Dara planted has survived the squirrels and is growing nicely, as is the Glass Gem popcorn we planted in the Wolf Garden.

The live trap set for our pesky ground squirrels, which are eating crops as fast as they’re planted in some gardens. Even with Hondo and Mittens catching them frequently.
Here’s the Sand Garden tomato patch; about 200 in, so far!

Will’s been busy too, putting new seals on the track tensioner of the crawler/loader. It had gotten so it was throwing a track about every other day. And that was taking way too much time to put back on. Now it’s back, with the track nice and tight. Likewise, he had a big win with Old Trusty, the big bulldozer, with the hydraulic pressure relief valve. It’s now put back with the valve cleaned of yucky stuff. So, he’s now working on the apron chain of the manure spreader, which has broken again. (That’s what you often get when you buy cheap equipment … like we can afford!) One more link to fix and he’ll again be spreading manure on the Wolf Garden so we can get it tilled and planted. Whew! Where do the days go?

The Case crawler/loader, is now back to its job of loading rotted manure from our compost piles.

My son, Bill, sent us some pictures of granddaughter, Ava, at her riding lessons. She’s stepped up to a more active horse as her ability and confidence has increased. And she still loves it!

Granddaughter, Ava, having a riding lesson on a new lesson horse with more zip than Gideon.

— Jackie


  1. Jackie, you have ground squirrels, I have voles in my garden and they are eating my nice tomato plants which I grew from your seeds. I’ve tried everything to get rid of them, I never had this problem in the last 10 years I’ve planted!! Any ideas?

    • Peanut butter on mouse traps works pretty good for voles; use about 10 in your garden. Also you might put hardware cloth corrals around your tomato plants, shoving it down into the soil. They don’t usually climb very high so they don’t need to be awful tall. I HATE VOLES!!!

  2. Strawberries are ripening fast. Picked 9 quarts today. Going to be hot the next three days so we’ll see how that affects the patch. Hoping since only two of the three days are predicted to be in the 90s, the patch won’t take a beating. One year we had a heat wave for like a week and production really dropped. No severe thunderstorms over the next three days so that is good. That is another weather event that can do a number on the patch.
    I was quite happy to see the recent roaming neighborhood cat run off with a mouth full of ground squirrel (or chipmunks as we call them – ours are quite large).

    • I hope the hot weather doesn’t affect your strawberry harvest! Our ground squirrels are Franklin’s ground squirrels. They’re gray with a long furry but not bushy tail. And they stuff their cheek pouches full of grain, corn seed and anything they like in our garden.

  3. I had my daughter riding and eventually cleaning stalls in exchange for riding lessons. Believe it or not, she still enjoys riding and I enjoy going to show with her and my granddaughter.

    • Yep, sometimes that sticks with them! My oldest step-daughter now has a boarding stable on Cape Cod and has a Friesian, which she’s training. I think Ava will be sticking with it too.

  4. Lots of work getting done! Ava sure looks great on the horse. Glad she is still liking it. Your gardens are really taking shape and looking good. Hope the weather holds for you. Have a blessed week.

    • Thank you, Marilyn. I’m thinking Ava will always be a horse gal. She’s loved animals since she was tiny. We’re keeping plugging away on our gardens but sometimes I wonder what just having ONE garden would be like.

  5. Sounds like you’re super busy! Yesterday, got to go see 2 of my granddaughters, one is 2 months and her half sister is 8.

  6. Yes the days are flying by! Finally have all our planting done here and now the weed battle begins. Lol. Been picking strawberries every day. What a great! Glad to hear that things are rolling along for you too!

    • I’m so glad you’re harvesting strawberries! Isn’t that tasty? I’ll be so glad when we get done planting. We try to do everything (6 BIG gardens) in 3 weeks. I wish Will and I were triplets!

    • Looks to be a Havahart which we’ve had good luck with over the years. They come in varying sizes. We’ve had good luck using that brand.

    • We open both ends of the greenhouse and let the wind blow in every day. This toughens up the stems and usually we don’t have trouble. We do try to plant on non-windy days as we have had some stems snapped off by the wind.

      We also leave the greenhouse open at night, so they get used to more varying temperatures.

  7. Fixing things is the story of life on our farm. Been busy making things work. Hopefully I can get all my plants in over the next few days. My ~70 tomatoes need to get in the dirt! I think I will plant them like your Sand Garden. It looks good!

    Started listening to a book called ‘You Are Beloved’ by Bobby Schuller. It is a very good read, or listen. Been making me feel a little more at ease with not having things the way I wanted. We just spread dirt on the big garden yesterday, after two weeks of delay.

    My husband is the master mechanic, as we can fix just about anything that needs to be done. It makes life more affordable not having to hire mechanics or pay shop prices!

    • It’s such a blessing, having a husband who can figure out broken equipment and fix it. We sure couldn’t afford to send it out!!
      I learned years ago that I seldom got everything the way I wanted it! Hey, our house still isn’t finished on the south side, after 17 years! But I also learned that putting one foot in front of the other gets the job done, sooner or later so I don’t sweat the small stuff anymore. God handles the big stuff.

  8. Seems there’s always something to fix. The other day, I discovered water is leaking somewhere., probably under our slab foundation. Cutting up the concrete isn’t a big deal, it’s what might be on top of it that matters. Like a short wall, or a bathtub, or cabinet. I can do demo and reconstruct some of that, but not all. At least I’m prepared to live without water for a few days. Lots of paper plates, stored water, etc. Enough to continue cooking from scratch, and drinking enough to satisfy medical needs. And, it’s rainy season, so don’t have to worry about the garden.

    • I wish you luck on finding the source. Water leaks can be a challenge as water takes the path of least resistance. I’ve known a couple of people who have the gift of quickly finding the source – almost a sixth sense when it come so water leaks. May you also be blessed with that ability.

    • We had that, years ago, on our farm in Sturgeon Lake, MN. Luckily, getting a backhoe in and digging next to the new basement/addition wall, we found that frost had caused a small, sharp rock to puncture the black poly plastic water line during the winter. A quick, cheap, easy fix. But not after a lot of worrying! I hope your fix is as easy.

      • It was easy, quick, and relatively “cheap”. Right in the middle of my hallway. Jackhammer was a bit noisy, but only took 3 hours. My blackeyed were happy to finally get watered as the heat index that day was 105 without the expected rain.

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