Spring is a season of firsts. A week ago, our pair of Canadian geese arrived on the partially melted beaver pond. Two days ago, a pair of Trumpeter swans stopped by for the day, amazing us with their presence. And, today, I saw three Robins and a male Red-Winged blackbird. Then, today, our Purple Finches showed up and we saw our first Red-Tailed hawk. (For some reason, probably our mild winter, all of our hawks did not migrate. All winter, we saw occasional Sharp-Shined and Broad-Winged hawks sailing over the marshes.) Now the ice is totally gone from the beaver ponds and the snow is pretty much history. It’s raining today and that will help drive the frost out of the ground. I’m getting antsy to pull the wire cages around my peonies and delphiniums so I can clean out the flower beds.

We were excited to see swans on the beaver pond again.

But, for now, I’m busy all day, transplanting a gazillion little tomato plants. I’m putting them into 16 oz, many-times-used Styrofoam coffee cups with a hole punched in the bottom with a sharp pencil. Those go into a 1020 nursery flat with no holes. Then, Will carries them out to our heated greenhouse. I do several packs then lie down to rest my knees. Then, after about 15 minutes, I hit it again. It’s slower than I’d like, but those flats are getting done. I’m growing fewer of each variety this year, to hopefully, save labor. I enjoy giving plants to folks but there’s only so much I can do with sore knees, and I realize that.

Here are our little seedling tomatoes inside.
It won’t be long before the greenhouse looks like this. It’s filling up, day by day!

We’ve been having several folks stop at the farm to get seeds this spring. I’m not the only one who is concerned about the cost and availability of sub-quality food! And I’ve noticed more and more people are starting to ask questions about long-term storage of seeds, which I think is a very good idea. After all, most seed companies at the big box stores are owned by one or two mega-corporations. I don’t like being dependent on greedy companies! I guess I’m just stubborn that way. — Jackie


  1. I have a more than expected amount asparagus read to harvest. Didn’t even have an opportunity burn off the patch so today I carefully (yet snapped off the tops of a couple of very small shoots) removed stalks. Still a few areas covered with leaves so I’ll likely be the “watch where small feet step” harvester. Couple sightings of morels not far from me – I took a token look at where we usually find our first ones. Rain on Tuesday might so a walk on Wednesday is planned. Already need to weed a small section of the garlic but all bulbs are up. Strawberry patch doesn’t look too bad, saw just a few weeds. It will be easier to weed, not matter where, after it rains.

    • Wow, I just can’t wait to harvest our first asparagus. A month or so away, unfortunately. I absolutely love morels. But, so far, I have only found an occasional one here. I keep hoping though.
      We’re getting some rain too and are so very thankful!!

  2. I love seeing all the wild life! The swans are beautiful!
    All those baby seedlings make me sooo happy, but BOY they are a LOT of work!
    I just planted out my baby onions, thought my back was broken. Whew!
    The last two years now I have been germinating some tomato seeds from 1999! They put out a pretty good red tomato with good flavor.
    I’m sure glad there are more people learning how to grow their food.
    You and Will take care of yourselves. I hope you don’t over do it so you both can last a long long time.

    • Yep, my poor back is starting to complain about transplanting kazillions of tomatoes (or so it seems!!). It’s the bend down, raise up, turn and place the cups. Over and over again. Whew!!
      I agree it’s great more people are learning how to grow some of their own food. I can’t believe how fast and how much prices in the stores have risen and are still going up. Wow!! Plus, our own food tastes so much better and has NO chemicals.

      • Oh, dang it! I’m so sorry about your poor back. I know a little bit of that discomfort. It just makes me mad I can’t do what I used to!
        I hope you can take it a bit easy on yourself.

  3. I managed to germinate nearly 15 sunflowers from seeds saved from my garden back in 2011. I just took a big handful out of a Tupperware tub I’ve kept them in and soaked them several days. The shells are extra hard because they naturalized in scorching hot sun over several seasons. Maybe that is why they’re still viable? I’m just guessing.

  4. Your tomatoes are looking great! I have cabbage and broccoli that are almost ready to set out. I need to finish working my garden, but its a bit wet right now. Hopefully this weekend I can get them out. My yard is full of birds, lol. I love hearing them sing. I’m glad your knees are letting you do some of the things you love to do, even if you have to rest at times. I too, have concerns about large seed companies. I strongly dislike being dependent on corporations that control what we do and do not have available. It is best, for me at least to be independent. I’m certainly you and Will do what you do! Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • I agree with you; it’s better being independent in most things and not at the mercy of corporations who only think about profit.
      We have lots of birds now and Will heard the frogs singing last night. I’m so glad spring is finally here.

  5. wow! are you ever in serious Spring Works, tomato seedlings are looking exactly like mine. so we re both on the same growth page. my artichokes are doing great. cant wait to set them out next month. just got the garden cultivated today. so will be busy putting in everything that’s safe here.
    So happy you re taking care of the knees, work-rest-work its so hard not to over reach when the suns out and seeds/seedlings calling. have a great day(glad Will is OFF the roof!)

    • I’m glad he’s off the roof, too. I keep remembering the day we both fell off! I’m getting ready to start pulling the wooden stakes and wire plant supports in the flower beds, then the stakes in the tomato patch. Boy, there are a lot of them!!

  6. I have Cardinals all year around and religiously feed them, too. I have already gotten 3 generations that I recognize. But today, we had a bright male cardinal and a bright Tennessee bluebird on the same feeder. So beautiful to look at. I had a flock of robins last week grubbing in the back yard and the Canadian geese are back, too. We just had Dogwood winter (cold snap) so just a few more and we good. I think Blackberry winter is the last and it is usually around the end of May. This is for southern middle Tennessee.
    Try not to overdo your knees. I think it is easier to go slow than to try to recoup when you have overdone.

    • Wow, Cardinals all year long!! We’ve, so far, seen one female Cardinal here, last year, out of the 20 years we’ve been here. I love them so much, too.

  7. Calling them greedy companies is being polite IMHO. Temps in the 70s starting Saturday – pushing 80 on Sunday!-thru the next Thursday. Still too-warm-too-early in my book. Some rain on Thursday which *should* assist in some weeding I plan to do this weekend. I see some straggler weeds in perennial beds and the seems-2-be-never-ending garlic mustard looking healthier than any plant should this time of year. A nice red tulip made its appearance however. Better half has seen the wood ducks though not sure if using our nesting boxes or cavities in trees. Suspect the wild turkeys are close to laying their eggs – plenty of visitors to our feeder boxes.
    Our robins showed up almost a month ago – as I said previously, way too early. But we have shelter and water. They aren’t seed eaters (from what I remember) but we don’t lack for bugs.

    • Nope, Robins aren’t seed eaters. In the early spring, they’ll eat clinging fruit on trees like crab apples or some wild berries, along with whatever worms and bugs they can pull up.
      Wow, my tulips are just starting to poke up in the flower beds. I sure hope we can get the fence up soon as the deer sure like to eat them, and my lilies too! (Not to mention the hostas, their favorite snack, I think.)

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