Bea Westerberg may be contacted at

Oh me, oh my, oh dear; technically it’s just about half a year gone and half a year to come of 2018! That long winter made it seem like we have a lot more time before that happens.

I know it’s not for everyone, but my plan of having a sample of just about everything on my closet floor is a life saver. The long sleeves got tapped last week when we did a 47-degree evening and it appears that the summer items will be called back into full force by the end of this week.

The highlight of this time period was what we called our “At Home Cruise.” That was the installation of the new blacktop near the house and garage and a tiny bit of the driveway. We could have had a great cruise for two on most regular cruise ships or one of us could have gone on a Regent Seven Seas cruise for what it cost to do the blacktop. (The only problem is that we have no staff for this cruise.)

The old blacktop was probably about 50 years old and had seen better days years ago. Also, picture that we probably live on the second highest spot in Dakota County (the highest is said to Herkenraths Hill, which is just a hop and skip from us). To everyone’s surprise, very wet springy ground was found under the old blacktop. In places it was like jumping on Jell-O and yes it was fun to do! Totally not fun for the site prep guys. They had to work on it, let it dry for several days and come back and keep on working on it. Finally, it was declared OK to put down the blacktop and 10 men and a sea of equipment came and did an outstanding job in less than 4 hours.

Talk about boys and their big toys -- this was a sight to watch them whipping around in the many ton paver and being within less than a quarter inch of the house, garage and steps. Everyone seemed to have their own job and then two of the guys put on their “special” shoes and walked on the hot, fresh blacktop and worked on blending it all together. I was wondering if they were good dancers as that was what it looked like they were doing most the time. Yes, it did smell like fresh, hot blacktop and it was steaming even though it was not a cool day. They brought along two different size roller machines and two of the guys stayed behind and worked on rolling for almost an hour to pack and finish shaping.

We could walk on it the next day but we have time periods of staying off of it for driving and parking so it will be awhile before we regain complete use of it. It was a good feeling to walk on something so smooth and yes, they did an excellent job of sloping so all of the water that used end up in the garage will be going elsewhere. We used to think of the garage as our indoor swimming pool after each rain.

Sitka the Siberian husky and his dog house had to be moved and he ended up going to “Summer Camp,” which is the old summer chicken coop in the woods. He has a lot more shade there and he can dig holes so he should be having a good time. It will be awhile before we can move the big, heavy dog house back on the new blacktop. We also have to rework the steps so we can get up on the porch landing. Old bodies were made not made for the big leap that is now needed.

Farmers market

The Hasting Farm Market is now officially open for the 2018 season. Location is at the Westview Center out lot north of Sterling Drug and South of the Super America Station. Hours are

8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Saturdays. The number of vendors will be increasing as the season goes on. The wet, cold spring did slow down a lot of planting so it will take awhile for some things to catch up.

Right now, the vendors have fresh local strawberries, asparagus, rhubarb and other early spring products. Jim, the onsite market manager, has his wide range of jams, jellies and hot sauces available and his veggies will be coming soon. Great Harvest Bread Company is back again with wonderful baked goods made with fresh daily ground flours. Honey Man and Honey Lady will be there with their goodies and Plant Lady has started to come with beautiful perennials like lilies and lupines.

The market has a Facebook page. Reach it by going to Facebook: Hastings Farm Market, Minn. There is a market in Hastings, N.Y., and also in Hastings, New Zealand. Sometimes they show up, so it’s important you say Hastings, Minn. The Facebook page is a super excellent way to find out what is available at the market on a daily basis. Remember the market is open rain or shine and only closes if really bad weather occurs.

You may recall that I handed the managing of the market over to LuAnn McNamara (The Corn Lady) last fall and she is doing an outstanding job.

Happy gardening if you do it yourself and or do it at the farm market!