You know how some pieces of equipment are dependable to their bones? Well, our old Ford 660 that we bought years back, from my son, Bill, has always been one of those. It would start immediately and run well. Until Will went to start it a month ago and it wouldn’t start. He checked the spark, and it had spark, but he put another set of plugs in, just in case. Gas? It had gas flow. He checked the compression. All good. But it still wouldn’t start even on ether. Finally, he ordered a carburetor rebuild kit, took the carb off and took it apart. Then he soaked it in carb cleaner. Yesterday, the kit came and today, he put the carburetor back together. Guess what? It started! We’re so glad to have our old friend back working again. Now he’s got three more tractors to fix, one with the clutch out, one with a hole in the block, and the last, needing a power takeoff shaft. At least the weather’s warming so major jobs won’t be so awful. After all, we don’t have a shop — heated or otherwise.

We really need our old Ford 660 a lot, every year.

I’ve sorted out my “regular” pepper seeds and am getting ready to start them this weekend. I want to put out larger plants this spring but that means transplanting into 4-inch pots, then even larger ones, as needed. More work, but hopefully, more peppers, come fall.

I want lots of peppers this year, not only for their seeds, which we sell, but to make lots of various pepper foods to can, like this Vaquero Relish.

Last year was a horrible pepper year for everyone around this neck of the woods. With this crazy weather, we don’t want to take a chance. Yes, we’ll have to move them into the heated greenhouse earlier and have to run heat, costing more. But, hopefully, the peppers will reward us.

I’m excited to be making much more Gaucho Relish, which is made from chopped, seeded Sugar Rush Peach hot peppers with Cowboy Candy syrup. Everyone loves it!

— Jackie


  1. mmmmm! the relish and those peppers! makes mouth water. then in comments. what yummy suggestions. we too in Pacific Northwest are expecting a warming trend this week-too early as its already drying out so fast. though wildflowers are taking no notice and blooming with bees struggling with the load of pollen. have my violas, herbs, hot peppers, onions (this years from You!) all started in the greenhouse. We fortunate ones whose husbands build greenhouses, fix cranky machinery- way to go Will! love the pic of Will cultivating and scenery background. don’t over due that knee trying to get er al done.

    • I won’t. For I know what I’ll pay if I do overdo it!! I’m so tickled that our weather is already spring-like. It is near 60 today!! Holy cow, and this is northern Minnesota! But we are concerned about a possible coming drought due to no snow this winter. Ugh.

  2. I applaud Will. Keeping equipment running and in good shape is challenging. A large acreage like yours can’t be managed without the large equipment. Here in Southern Wisconsin weather to be in the 60’s next week-a month early it seems. The ground is very dry. I may temp fate and plant some started onion plants. It’s great to be outside.

    • Yes, it is! Today it’s nearly 60 and I took a chair outside and just sat in the sun for a while. Yea, Vitamin D!! This past year was tough on tractors. After fixing the Ford, he’s still got three more waiting for him. More expensive fixes though. Ugh.

  3. Way to go Will! One down and three to go. Progress at least and warmer weather should speed things up a bit. That box of sugar rush peppers is just beautiful. Im hoping you have a tremendous crop of peppers this year. I am planting more also as last year did not produce well. My jalapenos did not produce at all and the bell peppers were small and not productive at all. Im praying for a better growing season. It has been so warm that I planted lettuce, radishes and spinich which are peeking up, but we are having below freezing mornings a few days this week so I am covering them up at night as needed. So far, so good. Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thanks Marilyn! I’ve planted all my peppers now. Well, NEARLY all of them. Last year was not a pepper year for many. Usually, I have all I can use for my canning recipes, to pickle, make various relishes, etc. from and still give away five gallon buckets full to friends. I didn’t even get all I needed. I’m hoping for a bang=up pepper year, too!

  4. Jackie,
    Your property looks so beautiful! I always enjoy your pictures. We live on top a mountain with a view of the Sacramento valley and the tall peaks around us: Shasta, Chaos Crags, Lassen, and Shasta Bally (Wintu language for peak). We get more sunshine than Florida, and it’s over 100F for several weeks in summer. We would like to have flat, farm-able, fertile land. We’re looking around. It’s hard to farm on a mountain-side on the benches James made with his excavator, but it’ll do, and I am grateful. Regards from far north California.

    • We love our place here. I, too, have farmed mountain sides and know how tough it can be. But we manage wherever we are at the time. Our place was certainly not farmable when we moved here, all wooded and the garden spots filled with brush and big rocks. But you do what you have to in order to make do.

  5. Those Sugar Rush Peach peppers look delicious. And they would be beautiful in a salad or in a cream cheese veggie spread with other colored peppers for sandwiches. YUM, I am so happy to finally even think about spring plants. BUT it is supposed to rain here in southern middle Tennessee and go from 75 high to 32 low. No wonder most of our shrubs died in the flash freeze last fall. Keep those babies in the green house and I am sure you will be rewarded.

    • Yep, we’re not done with winter, by a long shot!! Right now, our peppers are in the house at 75 degrees F, right behind our wood stove. I haven’t fired up the greenhouse yet to save propane. (Okay, so I’m cheap!)
      A couple of years ago, we got a killing freeze in early June, after the trees had leafed out. Some trees lost all their blackened leaves and then had to set on a whole new batch. But, thankfully, they lived, including my Black Walnut, which is supposed to be a Zone 4 tree and we live in Zone 3.

  6. Hostas, daffodils, tulips are coming up far, far too soon. Every time I walk by them I say “it’s too early” yet they don’t listen. Haven’t taken a good look at the trees (will likely need my binoculars as tall, established hardwoods) and I sure hope they aren’t budding. A few more garlic popped up. Rain tomorrow and hopefully no hail and/or tornado warnings. In my area (with 30 miles) over the last not quite 16 years we’ve had a November, January, and February tornado. This just ain’t right. But the rain is most welcome.
    Our skid steer is a bit persnickety re: starting so new battery when the weather gets a bit nicer. It is due. If it still is persnickety, new tumblers. Even if both, the cost is far, far less expensive than finding a in good condition, new to us one. Ours is almost 25 years old. He won’t win any beauty contests but he gets the job done.
    And after viewing the 30 day forecast, looks like I’ll be planting taters on Good Friday.

    • Yes, isn’t the weather crazy lately??? My peonies, daffodils and tulips aren’t peeking through, thank goodness. But some trees are budding; maples and cottonwoods. My very early pussy willows have catkins on them too! Wow!! But it’s welcome to have NO snow on the ground in early March. THAT’S unheard of!!
      Nearly all of our equipment is over 25 years old, some going back to the late 40’s! But it was well made and does the job. When it’s kept in repair.

      • Actually we’ve had it for 25 years, it is 33 years old! Of course we bought it used. One of the few times, maybe only the second time, we’ve purchased used equipment. Well one was a barter – does that count?

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