Yep, we have plenty! With the rain, combined with the heat, the pigweed and lamb’s quarter is going nuts in all six of our gardens. Will’s busy tilling between the rows, getting ready to mulch them, as we’ve done with the tomatoes, while I’m still planting, believe it or not. After all, there’s only so much two people can do, especially with the intense heat we’ve recently experienced. Thank God it’s getting cooler now!

Will, busy tilling in abundant weeds in the Central Garden.

This morning, I woke up and looked out on the beaver pond. And there were three White Pelicans, swimming peacefully around. For some reason, you really don’t connect pelicans with northern Minnesota, but we do have them. There’s even Pelican Lake, north of us. I sure enjoyed watching them gliding around.

I woke up to pelicans on our pond this morning.

Yesterday I drove down to our old church, Oak Lake Lutheran, next to our son, Bill’s house. It’s that little white church, way out in the country, where everyone knows everyone else. Our grandchildren, Mason and Ava, along with Mom, Kelly Jo, were baptized and Mason was confirmed. Grandma had to come. And it’s been so long since I saw many of our old neighbors from when we lived near Sturgeon Lake. It was a wonderful, but way too short day! (As a week ago, Will had been in the emergency room, I didn’t feel comfortable being away all day.) Not that he would over-do or anything… Um hum…

Our goats enjoy watching us work, whatever we’re doing. I think they’re bored!

Our flowers are really beautiful this spring. The peonies are coming into full bloom. And they are huge and so gorgeous! Even though I have previously had poor luck with fuchsias in my hanging baskets, this year, they’re awesome. The great thing about the flowers in the hanging baskets is no weeds!

Our peonies sure cheer us up.

— Jackie


  1. Just said to my husband the other day that I swear I have pulled more weeds this year than I have the last 5 combined. It’s crazy here in east central Wisconsin.

  2. Just think of those “weeds” as nature’s garden. Pigweed and lamb’s quarter are edible and I love pulling off a few leaves of the young lamb’s quarters and munching on them. I also like sauteeing them or throwing them in to soups. You can make a yummy soup with some potatoes, nettles, lamb’s quarters and a little buttermilk.

  3. Hi, Jackie: Here in far north, dry California, I start attacking the weeds after winter rains start in January. It takes many hours of spraying and weedeating several acres of orchard, trails, and road. About 60 hours for spraying. With each rain more weeds of different type decide to emerge. Finally I’m going out a day per week to conquer weeds and altogether it takes working January-May. Then the real heat sets in and the occasional rain has stopped for the summer and everything is brown and dead, except for the orchard trees and the vegetable garden plants. I don’t mind the lack of rain and the “brown” look, because that means no more spraying and weedeating. In my row garden, for a while I have to hoe brand-new weeds every morning, keeping the paths clear. The rows are heavily mulched with rice straw. Heavily. So no weeds in the rows. And finally the weeds in the row garden paths are fewer and fewer because of the drought. I always enjoy your blog and comments.

  4. Weeds?? I thought that was ground cover!! It’s been so dry here that the weeds are starting to wilt. I’ve got a good portion of the gardens mulched but still need to get rid of the red root & lamb’s quarter before mulching the tomatoes. And I still have 20 tomato plants with no place to put them. I guess I overplanted the tomatoes (again). Jackie, are you milking your goats now? Both of my does weaned their kids just as it was time to start planting. I’m getting 2 gallons of milk a day & am making cheese every 2 – 3 days. That’s my excuse for not having the planting finished & the weeding done, but the cheese cave is filling up. Your peony is so beautiful, the fragrance must be wonderful.

    • It is! No, I’m not milking now. We’re way too busy for that, even though I LOVE making cheeses, yogurt and having milkshakes for mid-afternoon breaks. The kids love it, though. Goat kids, that is.

  5. So glad I’m not the only one still planting! It makes me feel better knowing I’m not the only one.

    I was walking in the woods around my house today and found a sweet mock orange tree! It’s huge. It’s in the middle of an area that was full of big silver maples that my husband trimmed down last winter, and it is gorgeous. I am gonna pick some flowers to bring in the house. But I’m wondering if you know anything of them? It was a fun find. The virgins creeper has laid a nice thick blanket Al across the ground where the trees used to bee, so it’s fun to try and get through. Some of the creeper leaves are taller than my kids.

    I’m thankful for the cooler weather here too, so I can get in the last of my plants.

    • I don’t know what part of the country in which you live BUT beware that poison ivy can be found among Virginia Creeper. Three leaves not five and the color of green is slightly different. My creeper usually doesn’t get that tall but I have poison ivy that is (some is low to the ground, some is bush like, and some vine up trees/poles). I don’t have poison oak or sumac in my area. I believe poison oak has 3 leaves but sumac has more than 3.

      • I am south east of Jackie about two hours. Often the rain she gets I get. But I haven’t seen any poison ivy here in these trees. The Virginia creeper is huge in the woods by the mock orange. I might have my husband trim around it this fall to give it more light.

    • I love mock oranges! I have a nice one but mine has NO fragrance! Boo hoo! (And I have never heard of a mock orange without fragrance.) It does have very lovely white flowers though. I love the cool weather! Now I’m getting things done.

  6. White pelicans also are up here along the Chain Lakes on the Idaho panhandle during the summer. So much rain has created swollen rivers and lakes in the northwest. My Peonies have loved it so far, as have the lettuces and brassica. My garden is very small but is more than enough for two people. I have had to scale it back over the years as I would end up with too much! So now I have a better picture of what we will consume within two years time, about how long I like food on the shelf. I enjoy it because I know how fresh it is and exactly how it was grown. Ya gets outta life what ya puts into it, but everything grown seems to me like a little miracle.

    • It does seem like a minor miracle, doesn’t it? I love walking in the gardens in the morning and seeing the changes that have taken place, seemingly, overnight. We had white pelicans in Montana, too. We saw them often in the Missouri River when we went to town.

  7. I tilled between potato rows a couple days ago. Our big weed problem is chick weed which tends to reroot easily. Heat in the 80’s is really hammering us, especially since the hoop houses and green house is hitting 100+ even with both doors open. We are having some trouble keeping things watered since we have to haul it from the public well and put it on with drip irrigation. I water the green house with buckets since everything is in pots!

    • I totally understand how hard it is, watering, especially with hauled-in water! I hope you cool off soon. We did and it was sure a huge blessing. I feel human again.

  8. I think I’d rather fight weeds, and have extra weeding and mulching, than to switch to plastic. Black plastic is huge here in the ever growing Mennonite farm community. From small gardens to a hundred acres+, there’s miles of plastic covering the rows.
    I suspect that there is less spraying necessary, which is good, but that plastic will end up somewhere.
    A balanced life is good. Time for gardens, time for family, and time to stop and smell the roses or admire nature. Thank you, Jackie, for blessing us with a window to your world

    • I agree with you on black plastic. And I also wonder what leeches out of it and into the crops before it eventually ends up in the land fill. Or if you’re unfortunate to have a “neighbor” like I do, it gets burned. LE is biased as to whom they ticket for burning banned items and/or not during burn season.

      • Selena, I agree with you. I often wonder what gets leached out and the plastic does breakdown in sunlight releasing who knows what into the soil. I would much rather use Jackie’s way — natural mulch and mix it in to the soil when done.

    • I really hate seeing black plastic used as mulch. You’re right; it has to go somewhere, and “recycled” plastic often does not get recycled but ends up burned or in the ocean. Yuck! They say it cuts down work but when you factor in the taking it up in the fall, I’d just as soon till in our mulch, which we put down by hand, not machine.

  9. What kind of rototiller is that? Is it easy to use? Maybe some day you can write about homesteading at an older age and having things wrong with your body. You get creative at finding ways to adapt and go on! I don’t know how many people have said to just give up and go to an apartment. I don’t think we would be happy that way.

    Just a thought as to an article. Love, love, love your flowers. So pretty!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • As I recall, several years ago Jackie did such an article in either Backwoods Home or Self Reliance magazines.
      Very helpful and inspiring to us oldsters!

      What helps me is scaling down my ambitions. Not necessarily giving them up, but prioritizing them, and doing what I can, as I can.

      I use more planters now, which are easier on my back, I mulch everything, which cuts down on weeding and watering, I use soaker hoses which I turn on in the morning so I avoid standing out in the heat holding a heavy hose, and I use a battery operated Mantis tiller for the things I still plant directly into the soil, like corn. It’s very lightweight, but still very powerful, and doesn’t require wrangling heavy gas cans. I love mine. I have used mine to dig up what used to be grassy lawn. It was so easy!

      I still have chickens, but I use a big, top fill feeder and a large nipple type waterer, so I only have to fill these once a week or so. They stay very clean and cut down on waste and spillage. I also use the deep bedding method in the winter, with pine shavings.

      I do more dehydrating, too, rather than canning. And I also use vertical growing, too, like trellises for cucumbers, so I don’t have to bend over so much.

      It is doable, but requires a willingness to adapt. Homesteading and gardening should be joyful, not painful. You can do it!

      • Thank you for this Val. I’m 68, spent a few hours in the garden today and had to sit down to finish watering the garden. I was surprised, never had to do that before. (I like to water by hand and it takes 2 hours + to do thoroughly-lots of bending). We have a large garden which I love but I’m finding I have to “scale down my ambitions” a bit and take it slower. This aging stuff is all new to me but I’m grateful.

    • That’s a Cub Cadet. During COVID we tried to get a TroyBilt Bronco but there was none, anywhere. So, desperate, we located the Cub Cadet tiller, which was kind of hidden in the lawn mowers at our local farm and ranch store. We like it as it’s lightweight and easy to handle between rows.
      Yes, I did do an article about that, then I wrote a book, Homesteading Simplified, going into it in length. (See the above ad for it.) I’m 76 this summer and constantly am finding ways to do things I used to do, in a different way.

  10. Yes, ‘weed’ is a four-letter word around here, too. (Would your goats enjoy a few hay bales stacked in the middle of the field for climbing fun?) Blessings to all.

    • I’m sure they would. Right now, they have to settle for some blown-down tree trunks as I’m too busy to haul bales out there. Puff, pant, pant!

  11. My peonies bloomed but the heat plus lack of rain dried them up very quickly. The same happened with Siberian iris. They are never very long lasting, but this year it was blink your eyes and they’re done. The guy that does my mowing weed whipped off my only Oriental lily which made me very sad.

    We’re in year 6 (or 7?) of drought and I cannot do much watering. I only fill water cans and water individual plants no sprinklers or soaker hoses. Town wells are old and iffy so we’ve been requested not to do outside watering. At the cost of water I couldn’t afford it anyway!

    Glad Will has recovered. I’ve had kidney stones twice and they made me wish I could die quickly and end the pain. I’m fortunate that the last hospitalization they captured a stone, analyzed it and now I have a list of foods to avoid.

    • I’m sorry for your drought. That makes life so very hard. I’m hoping you get some rains soon.

    • Now you know. Big smile!! We also had them in northern Montana, on the rivers, too.

      • Never saw them in the Bitterroot when I lived there. Glad to know they also love my favorite state.

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