Now, we’re back to work. But yesterday was an awesome day. My sons, Bill and David, and their families plus my sister, Sue, joined us at our annual Mother’s Day foray to Byrns Greenhouse in Zim, Minnesota. For many years now, our family has made the trip to enjoy each other and buy lots of flowers for a good price, for our homes and gardens. As we’ve enlarged our front yard by more than double, I wanted to pick up a bunch of shade-loving plants to get a head start on growing out there. I’d already scattered wildflower seeds out there, which are starting to come up. I got some awesome hostas, bleeding heart, and impatiens for planting after frost danger is gone. My other sister, Deb, had sent along some potted seedling Lenten Roses she’d dug from her beds and Bill brought three big pots of Trillium from the edge of his woods where he had trillions of them. He’d brought up three plants a few years ago and all are doing well. Two are starting to bloom right now! After filling our vehicles with flowers, we had lunch at a local restaurant and came home to visit. A very nice day!

Here we are, lined up in front of the plants we bought on Mother’s Day. We sure had fun!

Last Thursday, we had our onion planting party. Our friends, Dara and Sherri came and helped Will plant our trillion onion plants. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day and all went well and very fast! By lunch, we were done. I couldn’t do much more than run stakes and boxes back and forth. But I did manage to spread organic fertilizer and corn gluten meal to suppress weeds in the rows before they were planted. Now we’ll all have lots and lots of onions to eat fresh, store over winter, and dehydrate, plus use in lots of canning recipes. We went out on Saturday, after a nice rain, to check on them. They’re all standing up and nice and green. I’m so glad!

We had our first asparagus meal on Saturday too. I was mowing the dried corn stalks in the Main Garden with the riding lawnmower and went to drive over the asparagus beds. The asparagus was already a foot tall! I zigged out of the bed really fast then went out to pick it for dinner. I got a nice basket full, and we ate every bite. It was so sweet we about drooled. (Well, maybe I did — just a bit…)

More good news. Will got the Oliver tractor, The Hulk, running again after having to pull the engine and lots more to get at the clutch. We were both so glad to see that diesel smoke come out of the pipe! Now, he’s on to the International with the broken off power takeoff shaft. That shouldn’t be such a bad job. We’re also busy tilling gardens, getting ready to plant in a few weeks. We can usually start planting about the first week in June. Hopefully we can get at it even sooner with the weather warming up earlier than usual. But we always are on the careful lookout for that sneaky spring frost!

We were tickled when the “Hulk” fired right up. Yea! One more tractor in service.

Did any of you see the Northern Lights recently? We have been watching them as they put on quite a show the last few days. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get any photos, as I haven’t got a modern smartphone and haven’t learned to use my digital camera well enough. But I got a few photos from Bill so you can take a peek.

Bill took this awesome shot of the Northern Lights at his place. Bill’s photos make me wish I had a better iPhone or had learned to use my digital camera more productively.

— Jackie


  1. I am always too late for asparagus picking. By the time I get out there they are two foot tall and taste like wood.

  2. What a fun way to celebrate Mothers Day. Spending time with family and buying plants is my idea of a perfect day. We have been getting lots of rain recently. I have been unable to get anymore garden planted because it is a muddy mess. I am so thankful for the rain because we were so very dry last year. It will all come together eventually. Glad to see Will has the tractors running. It is a real relief to get equipment going, isn’t it. Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • It was a perfect day! I’ve planted all the plants that are frost hardy and have the others safe on the porch. We’re thankful for the rains we’ve been getting too. I was so scared we’d be in drought this summer as we were this past winter. Thank you for your prayers!!

  3. Spring came to Wisconsin Dells area all in a rush! This has been the best blooming year for our cherry, apple, redbud trees in years. Our asparagus has been producing for about a month now. We are planting bean seeds and tomato transplants this week – about two weeks earlier than previous years. The early cabbage is coming along without any problems but the bok chop leaves planted right next to it are like colanders due to the thousands of tiny insect bites taken out of them (flea beetles?). Our strawberries are in full bloom and seem to be setting fruit well. Time to cover the beds with netting to keep the robins from taking a bite out of them as they ripen. We’ll see if it deters the chipmunks. Our biggest problem is the ongoing severe drought – I fear our well will go dry once we water everything regularly.

  4. What a very fun family tradition and what a beautiful family!
    Yaaay for Will fixing all the tractors. That is worth gold!
    Planting onion starts just about kills me and I only have a fraction of what you plant!
    An onion side note : I recently discovered how absolutely DELICIOUS chopped onion seed shoots (the stalk that will set flower) are to eat! How did I not try that before!? I put them on my morning egg and in salads. Their crunch and flavor is Devine! Now I will have to force myself to let some of them go to seed :)
    That photo of the light show is breathtaking!

    • We really enjoy our Mother’s Day outing. The kids get to pick their own flowers too. Ava has a Fairy Garden and Mason (even though he’s driving a car now) has a Dragon Garden. I’m so blessed to have a husband that is so handy at everything!!
      Yep, we also eat any onion flowering stalks, just like garlic scapes. Yum!

  5. Had a great pre Mother’s Day This year. Saturday, my daughter and I revived an old tradition of going to an outdoor juried art show. That tradition was interrupted by her move out of state 20 years ago. Now that she lives closer, I’m hoping we will be able to continue it.

    • Isn’t it great your daughter now lives closer? It’s hard when they move far away. I know that from experience.

    • Wow, I’ll bet that was a rare thing for you. They’re incredible. One time we not only watched a huge display but could actually hear it hissing and crackling like static electricity!

  6. Better half went out one night (briefly) but it was already too light out.
    There is nothing better than that first asparagus harvest. Don’t get me wrong, the rest is good too but that first one just can’t be beat. And yeah, I thought we had time to burn off our patch but I ended up hand weeding it. Our garden area hasn’t look this good so early – ever. I spied a few weeds in the strawberry patch which I’ll get out post haste. We have skeeter nets to wear which we *might* need to pick strawberries. Not for skeeters but for cicadas. They’ll be here sooner than later we think.
    We had Mother’s Day a week early as most years, I end up working a night shift so I’m sleeping away a good chunk of Mother’s Day.

    • So, sleeping is a nice way to spend a bunch of Mother’s Day, especially when you’ve been on night shift! Our gardens, too, are looking good, nearly a month early. I get so antsy, wanting to get to planting but I know we still have a few killing frosts lurking out there.


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