Visiting Time

The kittens have finally “discovered” the east side of the house today, the junk pile in the spruce grove and…

… Junk Pile kitten.

Here, we see Keith playing with his brother and visiting his mom, Guildenstern!

Junk Pile kitten wasn’t sure what to make of the sudden invasion of other kittens; he doesn’t come around the other side of the house, and the other kittens tend not to go beyond the area where the lilacs are. The girls had gone out to watch them play, and he was growling at them (the other kittens; not my daughters *L*) at first. By the time I came out, he seemed to be okay with them, crawling all over his home!

It’s really amazing to see how much bigger he is than his brothers. Especially Dave. It shows, I think, how sick Dave and Keith must have been, before we found them. Remarkable, that he didn’t get sick, too. I makes me wonder about the 4th kitten Guildenstern had, when I first found her litter.

I hope that this little guy and the other kittens will play together more often, and that we will get the chance to socialize him at least more successfully than his mom and aunt!

The Re-Farmer

Transplants finally indoors… mostly

So most of the indoor plants that I transplanted have been sitting outside all this time. The only ones that came inside where ones that I could hang up.

The ivy went back to the living room, but is now in the middle, with the two types of ivy strung out onto hooks on either side. One container of little succulents went to hang at the kitchen window, where I hope they will get better light. Another bowl of succulents that the cats just loved to try and eat is now hanging in the dining room.

All of these are on hooks that were already up when we moved in, which has worked out rather well.

Inside the house was one big jade tree that did not need to be transplanted, but also an odd collection of succulents in a large planter that used to have our avocado tree. Half of that got broken off during the move, then the last of it just up and died. I think it was simply too cold in the house for it. So what I ended up doing was sticking succulent leaves that the cats kept knocking off into the dirt, and most of them took. Meanwhile, I started two more avocado seeds, and they have been ready to transplant for a while now.

Yard work has been put on hold again. Yesterday, I didn’t get back to it because we had hours of wonderful, glorious rain. It came down hard enough to take out our internet at one point, but none of us complained!

Today, we were back to the heat. So I focused on getting the indoor plants taken care of.

I started by removing the succulents from the pot I needed for the avocado pits. I realized I needed potting soil for them, though. It seems weird to be buying soil when we have so much of it outside, so I checked the compost pile.

No go. It’s got too many sticks and crud in the older stuff for it to be useful, and the areas we’ve been adding to aren’t composted well enough, yet.

So I ended up digging out an old plastic colander that was hanging behind the wood stove in the old kitchen (it used to be ours, from when we last moved out of province) and ended up using it to sift garden soil into a bucket. The garden soil is not only very rocky, but filled with all sorts of grass, clover, and weeds, so I wanted get that out. I was being eaten alive by mosquitoes as I did it, though.

While working on transplanting the avocados, I ended up going out for more soil, this time from a planter my mom made out of an old cream separator basin. I’ve left it where it was, so the stump it was sitting on would be more visible.

This was in the full sun, so while I wasn’t being eaten by mosquitoes, I was instead dripping sweat into my glasses!

Later, I decided to get more, this time digging out a huge stainless steel colander we no longer use in the kitchen, that fits nicely over a 5 gallon bucket. I used bug repellent and tried getting soil from the garden again. This time, however, I found the tiniest of red ants in the bucket, so I went back to the old planter.

I only needed a relatively small amount of soil, so it didn’t take long. I brought the whole bucket inside and transplanted a jade tree, then started bringing plants in from outside.

As I walked past the bucket, arms full of aloe vera, I found the bucket staring at me.

Fenrir had jumped in and was just sitting in the dirt, looking at me!

All the cats were really interested in what I was doing!

In the end, I got most of the plants outside, in. It did mean changing things up quite a bit.

I tried putting the big aloe back where it was in the dining room, but it’s just too big. Not only were the branches getting hung up in my daughter’s orchids and taking up space needed for other pots, it’s tall enough that it even gets in the way of the plant hanging above!

The big planter with the avocados in it had been where the huge jade tree is in the above photo, but I moved it to the other table, thinking I’d be able to get more around it.

This works a bit better, but my goodness, that aloe is difficult to move. It’s not just the size or weight of the pot; its leaves are very stabby!!! And they have teeth!

The bigger pot with the avocado was heavier, but much easier to move! Even with water sloshing around.

The flags around the edges are to keep the cats out.

This pot is self watering, with an inner pot that absorbs water from the bottom, and the outer pot gets filled when the float shows it’s getting low.

As you can see, it was pretty full of water when I moved it.

The plant hanging above it is the one the cats like to try and eat. It is doing very well, now that it’s hung up!!

I don’t know that the avocado are going to make it, though. While the root systems were very strong, when the pits split, they took up more space. The little glass jars I was using to sprout them are slightly narrower at the top. I ended up having to split the pits apart to pull them out, one half at a time, place them back together, then stick them in the soil.

It looks so weird to have this huge pot and just a couple of sprouting stems in the dirt! LOL

If they do survive, this should be a better location for them. There is a heat vent in between the shelves, and it’s right at the end of one shelf. It should get more heat in the winter than in the previous location.

This jade tree is doing so very well! Can you believe, this was started from broken leaves from the original tree?

This group of succulents used to be part of a tiny succulent “garden” my daughter got, years ago. After the move, they weren’t getting enough light where we had it, so they were getting very long and leggy. These are from our attempts to save them, by rooting leaves.

They don’t seem to have liked being outside.

I think I’m going to have to put stakes around this pot, too – I’ve already had to chase DahBoy out of it! The cats had gotten spoiled by having access to the tops of these shelves after the plants got moved outside.

Unfortunately, we still have 3 pots with aloe vera outside, and I have no idea where to put them. Other windows are either too dark for plants, or have other things around them, with no space for plant pots.

I’m thinking we need to put more hangers up.

And maybe, I should stop propagating the succulents. I still have a bunch that need to be potted!

The Re-Farmer

Critter(s) of the Day: Denizens of the Beach

I was able to visit the beach yesterday morning and was walking along on the sidewalk, when I realized I was seeing a whole lot of birds that weren’t seagulls!

So I headed over for a closer look (my broken toe is healing nicely, so walking on the sand wasn’t too much of an issue).

If you look at the opposite shore, on the left, you can see smoke. It had been heavier, earlier, but was gone by the time I returned to my vehicle, which is good.

This is just one group of the different birds, along with our usual seagulls, that were along the beach.

Digital zoom sucks.

I did some research to find out what these birds were. In appearance, it came down to either Laughing Gulls or Franklin’s Gulls. They have to be Franklin’s Gulls, though. Laughing Gulls have a range in the southeastern and southwestern North American coast, while the Franklin’s Gull is a more northerly, prairie bird.

Beautiful birds. 🙂

Clean Up: spruce grove perimeter, starting on the old wood pile

This morning, thanks to cooler temperatures that I was able to take advantage of, I was able to finally get back to cleaning up around the east perimeter of the spruce grove. It was only about an hour and a half before I had to get out of the heat, but I think some good progress was done!

Here’s where I started.

(photo heavy post ahead! 🙂 )

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Ripening Cherries

The cherries by the house are getting beautifully red!

We’re already seeing sparrows eating them. They’re not quite ripe yet, though some are very close. I tasted one that seemed the most ripe that I could reach, and WOW are they sour right now! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Clean Up: spruce grove, west perimeter



I got some clean up started today!

The area I planned to work on stays shaded for a while, which allowed me to work later into the day than otherwise. Dragging the bigger trees I cleared to one of the wood piles outside the yard really showed me what a difference that made! Walking into the sun, the heat hit like a hammer.

After a while, I stopped dragging them out and started a pile in the yard, instead. We’ll drag them out when it’s cooler!

I took before and after pictures from two different views. Here are the before pictures.

The area around the old dog house is where the wood pile was, when there was still a wood burning furnace. It has a pallet fence, and pallets on the ground, all of which are falling over or rotting. My ultimate goal for this year is to get this area cleared.

In the process, I also wanted to clear things a bit further back into the trees towards the outhouse, to access a fallen tree I want to clear out.

There turned out to actually be two of them. After taking pictures, I went to pull out what I thought was a fallen branch, only to find it was actually another dead tree – just a long and skinny one, with about 8-10 feet buried in the tall grass that I didn’t see!

I also cleared some poplars that were growing too close to the outhouse.

The dead tree I wanted access to was also longer than I expected. It extends quite a bit further into the trees, and in the third picture, you can see how its top has landed on other trees, causing them to grow bent.

I’m debating with myself whether I want to cut it into more manageable pieces and haul it out, bit by bit, or just drag the whole thing out in one go.

The lazy part of me says, drag it out in one go. 😀

While working my way towards the elm tree with the tire around its base, I made a discovery.

I’d been able to somewhat see the log someone leaned against the tree trunk through the dying cherry trees, but what is that metal thing under it, and the fallen branch?

It’s a metal chair frame.

Because… of course.

I’m keeping this.

I’ll turn it into an art installation. To go with all the toilets I’m finding! 😀

Clearing around that elm meant I also finally reached one side of the pallet fence.

There’s a poplar growing through it.

I also uncovered a dead tree and some fallen branches.

There are some branches that I put in the area (you can’t see it in the picture) that I saved from the pile in the big garden area that my sister and her husband had pruned before we moved here. Some of it is apple wood. I also kept some of the dead and dying cherry trees I cleared today. I plan to cut them into discs, or other shapes, to make things with them.

It’s hard to see, but as I was trying to clear away the cherry and poplars, I found some of them were growing through the remains of pallets.

There’s going to be a lot of that, as I work my way into the area.

By this point, it was getting simply too hot to keep working outside, and I had to stop for the day. Checking the temperatures before I started this post, I found it was 30C, with a “feels like” of 33C. Hopefully, I’ll be able to continue tomorrow. They’re predicting thunderstorms, but we shall see!

Here are the after pictures of my progress so far.

That reciprocating saw made the job so much easier! The only other tools I had to use were pruning sheers for stuff too small to use the saw on, and a rake, to try and find the bases of the trees I was taking down.

Of the self-sown cherry trees in the area I cleared, I did actually keep one. It even has some cherries ripening on it! I’m hoping it’s far enough away from the elm tree to get adequate sunlight.

Clearing and thinning the trees is the easy part. The hard part is going to be dragging the dog house out (it’s on a pallet, which is rotting and collapsing under it), then digging all the old pallets, pieces of carpet, and who knows what else is buried in there!

The Re-Farmer

Critter of the Day: flying shrimp

Some photos my daughter got, of a hummingbird moth in our lilacs, taken in the middle of June.

I just love those amazing shrimp-like bodies they have!

They are fast moving buggers, and hard to get photos of!

I can see why they are called hummingbird moths, though. They are almost big as hummingbirds!

Got three in this photo. 😀 They really love the lilacs! I don’t think I’ve ever seen them anywhere else.