Usually at this time of the year, we have feet of snow still on the ground, plus huge snowplow mounds on the edges of the front yard and flower beds next to the driveway. Today, it’s nearly 60 degrees F and sunny. Will’s tackling cleaning up the front yard. Seventeen years ago, my son, David, and I installed raised flower beds around it and put up free fencing made up of pallets, screwed vertically, onto our flower bed’s railroad ties. Over the years, some of the wood rotted and the heavy snow and wind shoved the pallets outward, toward the trees. It still kept the deer out but was starting to be ugly.

In this old photo, David is helping me build our first raised bed flower gardens in the front yard. See how small the trees, beyond, are!

I want to enlarge the front yard to include some of the trees which have, since we built the house, grown up to 30 feet high. We’re going to fence the whole thing discreetly, with six-foot-high welded wire fence with some decorative rustic picket fencing along it, on the outside. I’m planning on cleaning out the wooded area, and making it park-like, planting hostas and shade-loving flowers here and there. It’s hard for me to think of when those tall trees used to be so small I could straddle them!

See how much the trees have grown? Here, Will and Sarge are picking up logs from dead trees Will cut down, which will eventually be firewood.
With the beautiful weather and no snow, we have a head start on cleaning up.

I got all of my peppers planted this weekend and they are sitting up behind our wood stove, waiting to germinate. This works so well for me! It does look a little ugly with the plastic bags enclosing the flats. But it keeps them moist and toasty, so they germinate quickly. All of my habaneros and hot peppers germinated well and quickly. That’s nearly unheard of without fancy pre-treatment!

Our living room is now full of flats of peppers, from germinating seeds under the plastic bags to seedling habaneros in our little plastic greenhouses facing south.

It’ll be a couple of weeks before I start my tomatoes, but I do have a few flowers like petunias and pansies to get started as they grow slowly. That’ll hold my addiction in check. Ha ha! — Jackie


  1. We have been having warm beautiful weather here also. I got my tiller out and worked up a small section of the garden to plant some more lettuce, spinach and radishes. The ground worked up so well I almost tilled the whole garden, but decided that would be tempting fate. It is still so early and the heaviest snows I have ever seen here come in April. I have been doing some clean up, picking up sticks and getting ready for mowing season. My Irisis are coming up and I noticed the peony’s beginning to peek up. In the garden I see rhubarb beginning to come up. Hopefully they won’t get froze off. I love seeing your pictures. You have such good ideas for planting and building and I like seeing how they turn out. Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thanks Marilyn. Our ground is still frozen so I sure can’t till. (My knee isn’t up to that, yet.) But, yesterday, Will brought up our golf cart/homesteadmobile and riding lawn mower. I’m thinking I should be able to use the mower to cut down the corn stalks and other plants in the gardens and some dead stuff in some of my flower beds. Nothing is coming up here, yet. But with the warmer temperatures, it won’t be long.

  2. Great weather I’m cutting dead and down trees. I uncovered by winter mini hoops have have lots of fresh spinach. Definitely the warmest spring I’ve experienced .The ground is very dry. We need rain and all will flourish. Lack of snow lessens our spring ground water. There is so much to get down. I may get a tan before summer.

  3. Hi Jackie this is Diane in Gladwin, Michigan. Sometime last summer you mentioned having bush cherries. Can you tell me what variety you have and where you got them. I have found them in a few catalogs. Any advice you can give me on them would be appreciated.
    Thanks, Diane

    • I am not Jackie, but I have 3 bush cherry shrubs and the oldest one (5 Years) produced a LOT of regular sized tart cherries.
      They only grow 6 – 10 feet tall at most. They get about 6 – 10 feet wide, as well. They are EXTREMELY hardy. They seem to get no pests and diseases. You only have to thin them every 3 -5 years, not prune them.
      Very pretty when in bloom. I live in Canada so I bought the ones from the U of Saskatchewan. I have Romeo, Valentine and Crimson Passion. I highly recommend bush cherries.
      They didn’t produce fruit till the third year. One of the best buys I made.

      • Thank you for the variety names and all the information. Now I just have to decide where to plant them.

    • We have Evan’s Bali, which is more of a small tree rather than a bush, Hansen’s, Crimson Jewel, Romeo and Juliet bush cherries. We LOVE them!!!

  4. We were having absolutely gorgeous weather for the past week or two: warm, sunny, the snow had melted so the chickens were willing to come outside. It seemed that the groundhog had been right about an early spring.

    It was not to last. Saturday morning was sunny and beautiful, by Saturday evening the snow was falling thick and fast, the wind was a steady 22mph, gusting much higher. By Sunday it was in the 20ºs and we had about 8 inches of heavy wet snow to clean up. So much for an early spring.

    • Yep, we’ve been having roller coaster weather, too. One day it was 60 and then it went down into the teens at night. Wow! No snow, but we could sure use some moisture. Big fire danger around us now as the swamp and woods grass is so tall because it didn’t get mashed down by typical heavy winter snow. And, it’s so dry!

  5. Isnt it nice to have a warm few days to get head of projects. as for ‘ugly plastic bags’ well you should see mine! thank The Lord for violas, pansies flowers that we can curb our urge to get out and dig n sow( knowing full well, its still too early! outside)
    Have a great day in the sunshine. we got a much needed rain here in the pacific northwest.

    • Yea, rain!! I sure wish we’d get some. It is so very dry here, it scares us. We’re enjoying working outside, although my knee won’t let me do much. Yet.

  6. Isn’t it satisfying to clean up an area – regardless of size? We’ve cleaned up our five acres (woods were a mess with invasive plants UGH) and have been rewarded with wildflowers/native plants, mushrooms, and ramps. Our other property, well, we have hired cleanup. Five acres left neglected for over 50 years. Impossible to rent the equipment the company used. We are “tweaking” and as I said previously, even more glorious black walnut trees.
    I’m thinking about what I am going to plant. However, I do see some garlic mustard popping up which I’ll get while it is small. And the ever persistent weeds popping up here and there in the perennial beds.
    I will have to thin the strawberry bed this year – time got away from me last year. I have a neighbor who has space for “babies”. I’ll find all the dead crowns when I do the first weeding.

    • Yes, it is satisfying to clean up, no matter if it’s a large or small area. Right now, Will’s out using the brush hog to mow down as much of the brush and weeds he can on the 20 acre piece he bought two years ago. (Talk about isolation gardens, that 20 is a mile and a half from us!!) I wasn’t enthused about the purchase, but it was cheap.
      I call it his alligator farm as it does have some swamp on the north end.

      • LOL.. we got another inch of rain today but our other five acres is not hospitable for gators. As a lawyer we once used said, they can’t make any more land. Which is so true. Yeah 1.5 miles away isn’t “close” per se but isn’t that far away that you can’t keep a good eye on it.

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