Evening visitors, and growth progress

Yesterday evening, I happened to glance out my window facing the garden and saw a deer making its way into the yard. Something startled it and it ran off, but I figured that would be a good time to do my evening rounds – and check the sunflowers!

I headed out through the sun room and found another visitor.

The cheeky little bugger completely ignored me and the noise I was making as I came out the sun room doors.

He seems to have some odd matting in his fur. Or maybe something it caught in it?

It wasn’t until I started moving further from the doorway that he started paying attention to me.

(Yes, I was zooming in to take photos, and then I cropped the photos. I was staying well away from Stinky!)

He was not a happy Stinky! I just kept moving away, and he eventually ran off through the old kitchen garden.

So I made sure to go around the other side of the house, to check the garden! 😀

After checking the sunflowers and making my way back to the house, I saw Stinky again – with a friend! – running through the back yard towards the old garden shed. Of course, that was the direction I needed to go! I was able to skirt around them, then use the garden hose to discourage them from coming closer.

Alas, we did lose one of the smaller sunflowers.

I took this picture this morning. This is one of the third variety of giant sunflowers that we planted much later, to replace the ones we lost in the original planting.

The survivors of our first planting are doing pretty good, I think!

Most of them are approaching 5 feet in height, now. Once they got higher than a couple of feet, the deer seemed to ignore them. One of the last ones that got its top chomped off is surviving quite well, and is growing a new “head” from the side of the main stalk. I have high hopes that the most recently decapitated sunflower will do fine and grow a new head, though being one of the variety planted the latest, chances are it won’t have long enough of a growing season to fully mature. We shall see.

I’m just really impressed with how big the pattypan squash plants are getting! They are also filled with buds and blossoms, and little baby squashes. None of the others are even close. There’s a good possibility these will be the only squash that actually produce this year. Which is okay. This year is our experimental year. Anything we get is bonus, and we’re learning a lot.

I keep forgetting to take pictures of the potatoes. They actually look rather sparse, as far as foliage goes, but some have started to bloom, so we can definitely look forward to having our own potatoes this year. Whether or not we use the same method to grow them will be decided when we harvest them.

I also found a rather dramatic surprise this morning, when checking on the carrot and beet beds.

This is a chokecherry tree growing among the sour cherries that are doing so poorly. When I went past it last night, the berries were all still green!

This one is mostly by the cherry trees and a lot of other stuff that we will be taking out (the cherry tree by the house has ripening berries on it, but none of the ones in this other location). I want to make sure to keep the chokecherry tree, since it seems to be doing so well, now. Our first two summers here, this tree didn’t even bloom, so we didn’t realize what it was!

There is another chokecherry tree, in behind where the sad little Saskatoon bushes are, that also decided to bloom and produce this year. It is in an area still filled with spirea that we need to clear out.

Another surprise this year is that we have more, stronger and healthier Saskatoon bushes, hiding behind the stack of boards and junk that have Junk Pile kitten her name. (No kittens in there, this year!) They are still producing big, juicy berries. There is another chokecherry tree growing with them. It’s berries are still very green. In this location, this tree is in shade most of the time, whereas the other two get a lot of sun.

Which had me curious about the other trees we’d gathered chokecherries from, over the past two summers.

It was pretty windy when I tried to take this photo, so it’s not very clear, but you can see there are no red berries on here, yet. A few of the berries are starting to show just a bit of a blush on them. This tree has more shade, being planted so close to the maple grove and rows of spruce trees my parents added on the North side over the years. The berries on this tree ripened later than the other two I checked next, but the berries it produced were larger and juicier.

This chokecherry tree is being choked – by lilacs! It is tipped way over and hanging down. My daughters and I have been talking about what to do with this one. I’ve been thinking of cutting away the lilacs surrounding it, then adding some sort of support I can use to train the tree to start growing upright.

My daughter suggested we leave the lilacs, and get rid of this chokecherry! The lilac hedge serves as both a privacy and dust screen from the main road that goes by on this side of the property. It has quite a lot of traffic, for a gravel road. The reason my mother spent so many years planting and extending this hedge was partly because of just how much dust drifts in, every time a vehicle drove by. Plus, every now and then, vehicles going by would slow down to peer into our yard and garden. And not just the year we grew “konopie” from seeds my mother got from Poland, after regaling us with stories from her childhood. It turned out that konopie is Polish for hemp, but someone thought it was marijuana and stole a row and a half of it.

Anyone who tried to smoke that would probably have gotten rather ill rather than high!

Anyhow. The lilacs serve a purpose, and in that location, privacy and dust screening is more important than having chokecherries. Especially since it turns out we have so many more, elsewhere.

This chokecherry tree is also among the lilacs.

Unlike the other one, this one is growing from the inside of the hedge, instead of out from the middle of it somewhere. So it is growing straight and tall, rather than falling over. In the last couple of summers, I found that of the two among the lilacs, this one also produced better berries, and ripened sooner, than the one that’s falling over.

There is also a small chokecherry tree growing in the middle of the area I move, near where the falling over chokecherry is. It likely sowed itself, but over the years, it has been allowed to grow, rather than getting mowed over. We will likely leave that one be. In the open as it it, it will have lots of light and space to grow straight and tall, and eventually produce lots of berries.

It’s a good thing we like chokecherries. I like to eat them straight off the tree, even though they are very … astringent, I believe the word used is. Given how many trees we’ll have producing berries this year, we can expect to have lots to make things with!

The Re-Farmer

2 thoughts on “Evening visitors, and growth progress

  1. Shame those sunflowers keep getting eaten. I’m not sure what you could do to protect them though. Most deer can even jump a 6 foot fence if they REALLY want to.

    Stinky… Well, at least overall he’s fairly mellow. Funny you mentioned him with the friend also. It reminded me of that rabbit I took a picture for my blog (months back). It’s been seen a couple of times since then running around with two other young rabbits.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My daughters were thinking chicken wire around each one, but the sheer amount we’d need – especially in the future, when we intend to plant more – would be seriously cost prohibitive.

      When we get to planting our nut orchard, we will have to find ways to protect the individual transplants. If we get the discounted package deal, that’s 100 trees, so we’ll have to get creative.

      Depending on the specific areas, we’re looking at everything from the chicken wire to raised beds with trellis “walls” to companion planting with things that deer hate, to various things that move or make noise to scare them away. It’s something we’re going to have to figure out with each plot as we go.

      Rabbits are one thing I have not seen! I know they’re around only because I see tracks in the snow in winter.

      Liked by 1 person

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