This year has been crazy so far. First off, we had a winter without snow. Then, spring came early so we started in early. But we got rain. And rain. And more rain. So, the gardens got soaked and mushy. Very hard to plant, till, haul manure, or even walk. But finally, we’re getting caught up. Kind of… The greenhouse is getting emptier by the day as I’m getting peppers planted both in the hoop house and out in the gardens. It really helped when our friends, Dara and Sherri, came to help last Thursday, in between rainy days. They not only helped Will get the tomato cages on the staked tomatoes but also weeded some of my worst flower beds for me. Thank you, guys, so much! I am still fighting knee pain in both knees and bending to weed is very hard for me, especially after planting so many plants plus walking behind the Earthway seeder for how many miles, planting beans, corn, carrots, and beets.

Will, hauling bales of Reed Canary grass hay to mulch the tomato patch with while Dara sets cages over stakes.
Sherri, carrying more tomato cages from the side of the garden to the tomato patch.

Our flowers are awesome this year, I think mostly due to the fertilizer they’ve received (thanks cows!) and a combination of rain and warm days. The iris are blooming now and the peonies are just starting. We really enjoy them a whole lot! Now if I just can get the lawn mowed, it’ll seem like we’re civilized folks.

Our German Iris are starting to amaze us with their blooms.

This morning, Will and I were watching our Canada geese family swim around the beaver pond when a pair of Trumpeter swans flew in and landed. Boy are they so beautiful! I sure wish they’d nest on one of our ponds. Just when we were about done watching them, another pair sailed in and landed.

Once again, we were blessed to see a beautiful pair of Trumpeter swans swimming on our pond.

I sure love watching out the front window, to the pond. We see so much wildlife here. Like the doe who always has her fawns down below the house. She’s staked out her territory there and never goes far from it. We still haven’t seen the babies yet but know we will, soon. Sarge loves lying in front of the window and watching her. It’s like his own doggy TV. Luckily, he does not chase deer. Hondo taught him better than that. — Jackie


  1. Jackie and folks, things have been wild here for the past couple of months. I had planted bunches of seeds for a garden. Then got hit with a para flu. Nasty bug. We had for two months. Never had a flu that lasted so long. Then my husband developed kidney stones that had to be blasted apart. We thought he was on the mend from that but he developed sepsis. That morning he fell three times. I managed to get him up and finally in his electric wheelchair. Called for an ambulance to take him to the next town and nearest hospital. Got there and they called for Life Flight to take him to Pocatello. We live about an hour from Pokey. When I got there he was on oxygen, heavy antibiotics, multiple IV fluids, and electronic monitors. He didn’t make much sense for hours. I had checked him for fever with a thermometer several times and found none. Sepsis doesn’t cause a fever many times. He was admitted to the hospital in the evening. He didn’t start making sense until that night. I finally went home about 1030. I made a daily drive and hour away twice a day for 5 days with road construction reducing the highway to one lane. Oh he scared me badly! He’s home now and still oxygen. We’ve got two nurses stopping by during the week and home assistants now. I’ve never dealt with people having sepsis. I feel guilty I didn’t realize what was going on. I was out mowing the yard and coming in frequently to check on him while he slept. Oh he scared me badly! Our garden is way behind because of all of this still need to break ground. The snow didn’t leave until late this year and it snowed in May and just two days ago with freezes at night. Nothing is in the ground yet and I lost plants I started in pots inside because I didn’t water them while my husband was in the hospital. Very disheartening. Our first freeze is September 15. I’m still going to try to put in a garden. But it won’t be as big as planned. I’m putting up a greenhouse tunnel for my warm weather crops. Improvised thing hope it works. A funny thing in all of this I planted up some old onion, shallot and leek seeds. Stuff that was two and three years old to see if they would germinate at all. They did! Am told that is very odd. I’m running myself ragged trying to get things done. My disabilities are rearing their ugly heads. My husband keeps saying take it easy but I just can’t, nothing will get done if I “take it easy.” Life never goes as you planned sometimes.

  2. Those Iris are gorgeous!
    I love that pond so much! I don’t think I would get anything done for watching the pond. Our beaver pond is down the hill and camouflaged in big trees.
    What a good teacher Hondo is. I’m so glad Sarge doesn’t chase the deer. We are trying to start our German shepherd puppy off right. The older dogs aren’t the teachers that Hondo is. We are working on it.

  3. I love your beautiful pictures. My Iris and peony’s have bloomed and been done for about a month now. I’m always amazed at how vast this country is and how the growing seasons differ in each region. My tomatoes are blooming and are setting on fruit now. The green beans are growing and if we get rain should be blooming in a week or so. We had a terrific hail storm last week and I had some soft ball sized hail. It shredded some melon plants and I have some roof damage, but overall I fared very well. Some neighbors had broken windows and more roof damage than I did. I am so thankful it was no worse. The storm had very little rain with it which is sad. I’m glad to hear your knees are letting you do your planting. Your friends who come and help are a treasure! Sending prayers for a blessed week.

    • Thanks again, Marilyn! I’m so sorry you got hail. And that’s BIG hail!! I’ve never seen hail that big (thank goodness). I’m glad you didn’t have terrible damage from it. I think it’s cool to hear from folks all over the country (and world too!) about what’s growing and harvested. I have two early peonies blooming and am anxious to see the rest.
      You’re right, friends are a huge, very loved treasure!!

  4. Hi Jackie,
    Your German Iris is just beautiful. Here in the Gulf Coast Region of Texas, my spring garden is basically done. I’m through canning tomatoes, carrots, green & wax beans. We’re enjoying lima beans, squash, and eggplant right now and waiting on the okra and the cow peas to start producing. Last summer the 110 degrees and no rain all summer nearly did us in, so this year let the rain come even if it’s every day. We’re waiting on a storm right now.

    In the spring, we started raising a new batch of baby chicks. They were suppose to be all female. After a while, we noticed one looked a little different and then he started crowing. He’s still practicing on his crowing. I was excited to see him, where as my husband, not so much. I wanted a rooster so I could get some baby chicks next spring. The girls should start laying in Sept.

    • Actually, it’s kind of fun to find a rooster in all pullets. It shows nobody is perfect. I’m tickled you’ve been able to get so much canning done. All I’ve done is asparagus and rhubarb, but I’m happy to have that put up to start the season with.
      We just had over 7 inches of rain in 24 hours so I’m NOT a rain fan right now.

  5. Everything you take pictures of is so beautiful. I am trying this year to go back to gardening after hubby being sick and dying. I know I am only one person but I sure miss the fresh veggies.

    Where do you get your Iris from? They are very pretty. I am trying to reestablish flower gardens too and am adding to them. But the spring chicken isn’t as fast as she used to be!!!

    Thank you so much for your pictures!

    • I totally understand how you feel after losing my husband, Bob, in 2005. I hope you can put in at least a little vegetable garden. It makes you feel so good when you harvest those tasty veggies!
      I got my first Iris from Brecks but ordered a bunch more from American Meadows because they’re half the price and a very good selection of varieties. I love Iris as they’re so easy, hardy and pretty too.
      I’m no spring chicken either, turning 78 next month. But I still keep a cluckin’ away!

  6. Jackie, I too am having a hard time getting in the garden as it seems to rain almost everyday. I still have my peppers to get into the ground and a few cuke plants. Hoping that the seeds I have planted will not rot in the ground with all the rain. Being a gardener one definitely needs one’s knees for bending. I can still get down but it is the getting up that sometimes is more difficult the older I become.
    Take care of yourself and don’t overdue it.

    • I’ve only got about half of my peppers in and still have to get sweet corn for eating and canning in the ground. I’ve got all the sweet corn (and other) varieties we sell in our seed business planted and coming up but I always plant some hybrid sweet corn to eat and can, so I’m not tempted to let it mature for saving seed! I guess I’m not so good at self-control. Ha ha!

  7. Saw the first turkey chicks this past weekend and hope to see more. Some cretin dumped a kitten when we were out of town and my one opportunity to rescue it failed. Bad enough when adult dogs/cats are dumped but puppies/kittens made me vow vengeance. *Maybe* the small cat I saw at a farm down the road was the kitten – that helps a little (but doesn’t quash the vengeance urge).
    We’re in the heat dome though being in the country with lots-o-shade but air flow helps a lot. Need to get the cooling bed out there for the feral – he’s been around over two years which is a record. He’s not looking too bad truth be told. I’ll start the fatten-him-up-4-winter come August.
    First yellow squash was tasty. Might get some showers during the “heat dome”. Did some weeding this past weekend (before it got h-o-t). Its not too bad yet in the perennial beds but want to jump on it as soon as I can. Thankfully we can water if said showers don’t happen.
    Better half insisted on digging up a tater plant when we got back in town – I said too early. Sad to say I was right as only one medium (being generous) sized tater.
    No sign of scapes so far – never had any last growing season either. Cicadas are starting to decrease. Happy to say our almost 10 acres will ensure another hatching in 17 years.

    • Selena, I cut scapes about 10 days ago and harvested garlic yesterday, just in the nick of time. Maybe check your garlic now, in case it’s ready too? I’m in the Des Moines area.

      • Thanks Erin – I’m watching it daily – we’re about 300 miles due east of you. Still no sign of scapes and only one plant has a small dying “curl”. But I agree – climate change is messing with the growing season – no matter where you live. I will continue to keep an eye on it. I’m thinking no scapes again this year and I’m on the look-out for green-2-brown.

    • Sorry to hear someone dumped a kitten off on you and it sounds like it didn’t survive? That’s horrible. Many years ago, my mom and dad had an orchard in Michigan and seemed to be a dumping ground for unwanted pets. In two years, they ended up with three dogs and four cats! And that’s beside the ones they found homes for…. So sad people are like that.
      Our potatoes are just breaking ground so it’ll be a while before we can sneak a few new potatoes to have with dinner.


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