Table of Contents
  1. Well hello, friends!
  2. Let's talk (even more) about seed starting.
  3. Let's talk about Kip.
  4. Let's talk about food.
  5. Let's talk about social media changes.

Well hello, friends!

Kaleb Wyse standing in front of orange background with ball cap.

March is a month that teases spring in Iowa. We’ll have abnormally warm days, and then we’ll have snow. Just when you think you can get outside and start all of the garden work, the weather will change.

In the years I’ve been gardening, there have been times that I’ve planted an early garden. The earliest I can remember was March 13! I always tried to get outside and work in the ground as soon as possible. I thought I needed to be the earliest gardener on the block. I also assumed that the sooner I planted something, the earlier and more significant the harvest would be. Makes sense in theory, right?

The answer is: wrong! Depending on the year and weather, the garden could potentially flourish, growing in leaps and bounds. This was especially true if we had an early warm spring. Most years, though, we had a winter that came roaring back with cold temperatures and not much sun. In this case, the garden stalled.

Sometimes, early radish or lettuce would freeze and burn. I’d often run around with blankets, covering the cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower, and watch them stop growing due to the extreme conditions. No good!

This year, I’m taking heed and learning from my past mistakes. I’m following the calendar with the understanding that I do not need to be the first one in the garden. Instead, I’m working on cleaning my basement and tackling projects that I’ve been putting off. The seeds are beginning to grow indoors, and soon I’ll be outside!

This newsletter is a love letter to being patient. So, grab some coffee or tea, and let’s look at this month!


Let’s talk (even more) about seed starting.

This year, I waited to start any seeds until March. In February and early March, I traveled for presentations at home shows in Des Moines and Jacksonville. And since seed starting is like babysitting, you need to be around as the seeds grow to watch them closely for watering. Once the home shows ended, I was free to get the seeds in the soil and cheer on their growth!

To sprout, seeds need a moist environment. This necessity is why we put plastic domes over the seeds trays. These domes create a miniature greenhouse, trapping in moisture and helping the soil heat up slightly. The dome is removed as soon as the seedlings emerge through the soil. This removal prevents the seedling from being too moist when they’re above the ground.

If you’re looking for even more detail, I have a seed-starting post all about why these things are essential.

This year, I’m doing a better job at looking at my frost dates (I’m in Zone 5b) and working backward. If you didn’t know, seed packets show the “days to germination” and often provide guidelines for when to plant outside.

So instead of jumping ahead, I’m taking the weather in stride, confident in the knowledge that the garden will grow when it wants.


Let’s talk about Kip.

Black French bulldog sitting in front of orange background.

Kip is giving me so much joy! I’m so incredibly grateful and trying not to take for granted that in March 2022, Kip is outdoors, walking and running again. It was just ten months ago, in May of 2021, that I found out he might never walk again. His walk is not perfect, but there is nothing better to me!

The doctors have said that Kip is a special case and one to which they have no comparisons. He’s been slowly regaining function at a time when they didn’t think he would.

Currently, we are closely watching some infections or allergic reactions Kip is having. They’re showing up around his eye and across his legs and body. After an initial biopsy, the doctors first thought it could be a deep infection. But after medications failed to help, they wonder if it could be a reaction to some of the immune suppressant medications he is taking. We’re cutting back on one of the medications and closely watching to ensure he doesn’t relapse. The hope is to see positive changes in the infections and his reactions. Fingers crossed that this will help!

If you didn’t see it recently, check out Kip playing in the snow!


Let’s talk about food.

It’s a common question for me: where do I find my food inspiration? First and foremost, it comes from my formative years, growing up with women that cooked with ease and made good food. I was always in the kitchen, eager to help. And this acquaintance with food at a young age is why I feel comfortable around food today.

Food is not as standardized as it once was. Case in point: instead of every meal requiring meat, potato, and a vegetable, we have meals that tend to be made all in one bowl (say hello to my recent one-pan chicken thighs recipe). For some, including me, this change is refreshing! Thus, my inspiration comes from a desire to use the foods I’ve always known and loved and update them for today’s palate.

Some of my recent favorites:

  • Korean-style chicken lettuce cups. I love this recipe’s use of ground chicken, an easy freezer staple, updated with solid flavors. The buttercrunch lettuce makes a perfect cup to load with the chicken and other toppings and enjoy.
  • A classic staple like baked oatmeal. This is a great recipe because it’s super easy to make and is perfect for quick breakfasts during the week.
  • Harvest squash soup. I’m still using my winter squash, which I harvested in 2021, to make this soup. I love this recipe because it freezes quickly if too much for one meal. What could be better when in a time crunch than to have this soup ready in the freezer for a quick dinner?

Other notable mentions this month:

Soon enough, my food will be switching to what’s harvest-ready in the garden: think radish, lettuce, asparagus, spring onions, and other spring-inspired dishes! I can’t wait!


Let’s talk about social media changes.

I never thought I would say that I have a career based entirely on social media. But here I am with a website and social media channels that I nurture daily and hope to grow. As we all know, Instagram and Facebook are continually changing, which means we have limited control over what we see (those darn algorithms!). My long-form videos, which I’ve filmed and published for 10+ years now, are becoming less of a priority for Facebook and Instagram. I put out just as many but tend to receive messages from followers saying they do not see me anymore.

While I have never been a fan, I’m starting to add Reels (a short-form video format introduced by Facebook and Instagram to combat TikTok). Rather than being pointless videos purely focused on entertainment, I aim to keep these Reels centered around my goal to make everything a “guide.” Yes, some are for fun, but most of them will be instructional and inspirational, benefiting and helping people learn.

My goal is always to have information that provides a resource from which we can all grow!


That’s all for this transitional month of March! But be assured that I’ll be back with another newsletter come April!

Until then, be nice and delight in life!

Handwritten name of Kaleb

If you enjoyed this newsletter and want a way to support me, you can send me a tip here! And thank you to everyone who tipped last month!

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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