Kibble house and other progress

Today was our day to head into the city for out monthly shop, so my morning rounds were a bit earlier than usual. Which seems to confuse the outside cats! 😀

Yesterday evening, when things started to cool down, my younger daughter was a sweetheart and crawled around inside the upside down kibble house, to complete the first coat of paint. It was dark by the time she was done!

Once the paint is cured, we’ll flip it right side up again and start the second coat.

As I write this, in the early evening, we’re at 29C/84F. In the city, it was 30C/86F with a humidex of 34C/93F. Before doing the shopping, I was able to visit my brother, who lives not far from the city, and got a tour of their grounds and all the things that are growing. Or not growing, in some cases! Sounds familiar. They don’t have groundhogs/woodchucks/marmots (woodchuck is the Canadian name for them) right now, but are having to deal with rabbits. The temperatures were still increasing at the time, but it was just baking out there!

Some things are just loving this heat, though. Like these guys, still in their morning shade.

The two seedlings next to each other on the left are the Tennessee Dancing Gourd. The others are the Ozark Nest Egg gourds. They have had a pretty huge growth spurt in the last few days!

While in the city, I made a point of checking out the gardening section and picked up something I hope will work.

It was the only one that included groundhogs on their list of animals. When I was loading the van, I sent a picture to the girls, who looked up reviews. They are… mixed! Some people wrote that the squirrels were eating the stuff! 😀 I figure it’s worth a try. It’s inexpensive, too, so we’ll be easy to pick up more if it does.

I might even dare plant in those empty spinach beds, now that there’s some hope that any sprouts won’t get immediately eaten.

With the heat wave we’ve got right now, I’ve changed up what I intend to plant. Lettuces are no longer on the list; those will be planted later in the season. I still intend to plant radishes, but don’t expect bulbs in this heat. They will be just for their seed pods. If we get bulbs, too, that’s just bonus. I also picked up some chard. I’ve never successfully grown chard before, but they are one of the few greens that actually like the heat, so they will be a sort of replacement until we can plant lettuce and spinach again.

It’s interesting to see people’s reactions to this heat wave. There is a lot of “this is going to be the new normal” sort of panic out there. Which is curious. I checked the historical data. We’re supposed to hit 34C/93F in a couple of days, then it will drop back down to average temperatures. The record high for June in our municipality is 37C/99F, in 1995. The record low is 0C/32F in 2009. That’s just our area. As hot as it is right now, we’ve been hotter – and much colder – in the recent past, and “normal” just means the average over a span of 30 years, +/- 5 to 10 years. You’d think we’d be used to it by now, but every time things swing to one extreme or the other, we tend to freak out a bit! 😀

While I was in the city, the girls were finding ways to help the outside cats deal with it. The water bottles we put hot water in to protect the tomatoes when there was a chance of frost, are now filled with water and in the freezer. An ice pack was added to the bird bath, and the frozen water bottles will be put into the cats’ water bowls. A plastic coffee can was filled with water and put in the freezer yesterday. Today, it was placed near where Butterscotch’s kittens are, so they can rub against it to cool down, if they wish.

In the past, we’ve tried filling balloons with water and freezing them, then removing the balloon and leaving the ice in the cats’ water bowls and the bird feeder. It worked, but I think using water bottles as ice packs is better. No garbage, and they can be refrozen and used over again.

So far, we’ve only seen Butterscotch drinking from the bird bath with the ice pack. 😀

The ones having the hardest time is the girls. The upstairs gets insanely hot. My older daughter can’t work, because she has to shut off her computer and drawing tablet, because they are over heating. They haven’t been able to sleep from the heat, so they’ve been hanging out in the cooler living room, or my room, as much as possible. We want to put in a window air conditioner upstairs, but the entire second floor has only 4 outlets, and only 2 of them can handle the power needs of an air conditioner – and those are being used to power their computers!

Well, we won’t be able to do anything about it this year. I was able to get them a box fan today, to fit in one of their windows. Once that’s set up and cat proofed, they can use it to bring in some cool night air. The pedestal fan they have right now just moves warm air around!

We’ll deal. I’m more concerned about making sure our gardens are doing okay!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: more firsts – and more damage!

I will start with the good stuff, first!

Like these teeny, tiny first fruits!

These are the miniscule Spoon tomatoes! Several plants are now showing baby tomatoes, and they are so tiny and green, the only reason we could see them was because we were wrapping twine around stalks to the chain link fence to support them. Only now have enough of them gotten big enough to do that.

While watering the Montana Morado corn this evening, my daughter called me over to see some new growth.

Most of these handled their transplanting well, and the larger ones almost all now show these developing spikes. I somehow didn’t expect them to show up until the corn was taller, but we’ll see.

Now for the unhappy stuff.

While watering the corn and sunflower beds, I made a point of checking more closely where I saw the deer in the trail cam. Sure enough, a couple of corn had been nibbled on. I also found some Mongolian Giant sunflowers had been nibbled on. None of the larger, transplanted ones.

Then I saw this, while watering the Dorinny corn. The surviving plants are much larger – almost as large as the transplanted Montano Morado corn. Now, we’re down even more!

Three of the largest corn plants were chomped right down. 😦

While I was watering, my daughter came over from watering the old kitchen garden to ask me if I’d harvested the lettuces.

No. No I hadn’t.

Almost every single block with lettuce in it was eaten.

It was the groundhog.

I had hoped we’d driven it away, as it doesn’t seem to be using the den we’d found, anymore. We’re still spraying water in it, and this evening I left the hose running into it long enough to flood it. Wherever it’s gone to make a new den, it didn’t go far. This afternoon, while I was putting the DSLR on its tripod back at the living room window after vacuuming, I happened to see it just outside, with what looked like a dandelion leaf in its mouth. I called the girls over and it heard me, running off behind the house. The girls went outside to chase it off, but either it was already too late, or it came back.

Interestingly, it didn’t touch the beet greens.

I am not happy.

In watching the deer on the trail cam, they seem to be just nibbling as they go by. So after I finished watering, I took some bamboo stakes and set them up around the corn and sunflower beds, then used twine to join them, and the stakes that were already there, at two heights, around three sides. I ran out of twine just as I was finishing, so only a small section has one string instead of two. It won’t stop the deer, but if they’re just passing through, it’ll sort of guide them away.

After running out of twine, I used the last of our yellow rope and strung it from one of the support posts of the squash tunnel, through the pea trellis supports, and joining it to one of the new stakes I put in around the Peaches ‘n Cream collection corn blocks. I then stole another bamboo stake and used it to put a second, higher line at the Dorinny corn.

This leaves the beds in that corner with either twine or rope along the north sides of the Dorinny corn, the pea beds and the northernmost Peaches ‘n Cream corn block, all along the east side of the corn and sunflower beds, and the south side of the southernmost corn block.

Later, we will be stringing the aluminum tart tins I picked up to flash and spin in the wind.

Once we get more twine and/or rope, we’ll put up more to guide the deer away from the garden beds.

I also want to put a barrier and distractions around the Montana Morado corn. So far, they have been untouched, but I would rather lose any of the other corn completely, then this variety.

I also moved the garden cam and hopefully it will cover more of the garden beds.

There are lots of things we can do about the deer, even though we can’t put up anything permanent, like fencing, right now. The groundhog, on the other hand, is a different issue. It can get through or under most things, and now that it’s eaten all the lettuce, there is nothing to stop it from going after the beets. Unless it just doesn’t like beets.

This critter has got to go!!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 Garden: first fruits!

With the heat we’ve been having, and a heat wave hitting us starting today, it’s been hard on a lot of the garden. Not everything, though. The squash and gourds are just loving it! As long as we can keep up with the watering, of course.

It was while watering the summer squash last night that I spotted the first bebby.


I got this next photo this morning.

Several plants have little green bebby squashes growing. We have two types of green zucchini, and it looks like we have both starting. So far, no yellow zucchini and no pattypans. When my daughter transplanted these, she forgot to keep track of the different types, so they are all mixed up. It’ll be a surprise, every time we see new ones!

I noticed that some of the summer squash had gotten to the point where they could use support, so I gently tied a few of them to their stakes this morning.

When it got dark enough last night, I did make sure to head back into the garden to test the new motion sensor light. It has an on/off switch, but without being charged yet, and too much light, there was no way to know if it was actually going to work. It did at least get enough time in the sun to charge before dark.

It was indeed on, and working!

But was it doing its job?

I don’t know. I just checked the garden cam and saw a single deer go by in a couple of files. The first one stopped and snuffled at the edge of the corn block, but did not nibble anything. Then it kept going, walking right through a bean bed! The second deer didn’t stop to snuffle anything, but also walked right through the bean bed.


If either of them triggered the light, it was after the camera stopped its 15 second recording.

Unless we happen to be looking out a window when something triggers the camera, we just won’t know.

I might shift the garden cam’s stand a bit, to cover that area.


Check out those potatoes!!!

They are just loving these grow bags.

When we did these bags, the idea was to keep filling the bags as the potatoes grew, to have more potatoes in the bag. However, it turns out that potatoes, like tomatoes, come in “determinate” and “indeterminate” types.

Determinate types grow their tubers all in one layer. They need to be hilled to protect the tubers from the sun, but there is no benefit to keep hilling them higher and higher in a tower or grow bag.

Indeterminate types, on the other hand, will keep producing tubers up their stems if they get buried. So adding more soil or mulch and increasing the height will increase the yield.

Which meant I needed to figure out which we had. Seeing how tall the Norland potatoes are, I thought they might be indeterminate, but nope.

All of these types are determinate. Adding more to the bags will not mean more potatoes, and will not help the plants themselves. Hilling them as we already have is enough.

Well, that saves us a bit of work.


They are starting to develop flower buds!

Both types of fingerling potatoes have plenty of buds on them. One plant of the Norland potatoes has buds. So far, nothing on the Yukon Gem. Which is good. The fingerlings were chosen for their shorter growing season, and short term storage and eating, while the Norland and Yukon Gem are both types that mature later and can be stored longer. Not that I expect we’ll have enough to last us the winter, but we’ll at least be able to have them for a while after harvesting.

This year’s garden seems to be one of extremes: things are either doing really, really well, or not at all! 😀

The Re-Farmer

Squash tunnel mods, and what is that? Oh!

I had to make another trip into town today, because I forgot something yesterday. I’ve been making more errand trips in the last few days than I do in most months! But that’s okay, because it gave me a chance to find and pick up other things.

Like these modifications to the squash tunnel.

The first is a solar powered, motion sensor spot light. Hopefully, it will get triggered by deer or other critters going after the garden and startle them away. Putting it at the beet or carrot beds would probably have been more useful, but we don’t have anything south facing that we could mount it to. If this works, we can get more (and better quality ones) and install posts to mount them on.

We’ll test it out tonight when, hopefully, it will have enough charge to light up, and we can make sure it is in the on position.

I also finally picked up a thermometer.


According to my desktop app, we’re at 23C/73F right now, but out in the corner garden, in full sun, we’re at 32C/90F.

Where the squash tunnel is, there is no shade, even in the early morning hours. It is full sun from sunrise to sunset, so this thermometer will likely always read on the high side. I still wasn’t expecting a 9C difference, though!

Once these were up, I went to change the batteries on the garden cam. In the process, I noticed something very odd in the ground. A strange line of holes.

You can sort of make it out in this photo below.

It’s in between the red dashed lines I added. My foot is at where the line ends.

The meandering line made me think it was following a root or something, but why where there holes in the ground here at all?

When I tipped the camera stand down so I could access the battery case, I found myself right over this line, and quickly saw what made it.

Red ants.

And the line lead back to this.

The camera focused in the wrong place, though. It’s that blurry, reddish area in the background.

That is a red ant hill.

I don’t know their proper names, but we mostly have two types of ants here. Red ants and black ants. The black ants burrow into the ground, creating low hills in the grass with the soil they displace. They are not aggressive, but their burrowing can be destructive, killing off any plants at the roots.

Red ants build their hills with spruce needles, which they will drag over surprising distances. They will build hills on or in logs, under rocks, in the cracks of sidewalks or paving stones, or they’ll just make a hill on the ground, like this one. These hills can become quite large. The one in the photo is about mid-size. Red ants are more aggressive and will bite if disturbed.

We have quite a few red ant hills. A couple of the maple logs behind the house, from the trees cut away from the roof, now have red ant hills in them, their hollow middles stuffed with spruce needles. The metal ring used to contain the fires made to burn out diseased apple tree stumps is still out near the garden, with pieces of metal covering it. I’d moved them to put some invasive vines in the ring for future burning, only to discover it was half filled with spruce needles, and crawling with red ants! And now I’m seeing this new hill, near the garden cam.

As long as they don’t start building hills in the garden beds, we’ll leave them be.

The Re-Farmer

Painting the kibble house: first coat

Oh, I am so glad I got that gazebo tent!

Today, I finally started painting the kibble house. The temperatures were pretty warm. It is “only” 22C/70F as I write this, but after today, we’re supposed to get hit with another heat wave over the next week, peaking at 34C/93F, so I’m glad to get it started today. And glad we aren’t expected to see the 40-45C/104-113F temperatures that some provinces are getting hit with right now!

Under the tent, it was much more pleasant. If fact, I could forget the heat, until I stepped out into the sun for a few moments!

The first coat, I’m happy to say, is done.


We won’t be able to do the rest until the paint has cured enough to flip it, and the floor pieces, upside down.

The roof may or may not get a second coat. We will likely shingle it, but until we do, the paint will be enough to protect it from the elements for now.

Even with just one coat, it’s looking so much better already. My daughter chose a lovely colour. 🙂 This is REALLY going to brighten up the yard!

If we end up not putting on shingles, I’m thinking we should paint garish designs all over the roof. 😀

I tried to get the more reachable parts underneath, but not under the overlap of the roof itself. And not just because I didn’t want to disturb this beauty!

What a gorgeous moth!

As far as I know, it’s still there, too. 🙂

I’m not sure if we’ll bother painting the underside of the roof. Maybe just around the overlap, if at all. I do want to get the inside walls, though. That will make it easier to clean up after dirty kitties! The gaps under the roof are there partly so the cats and get in and out through them, if needed. They did use those gaps over the winter, which meant muddy paw prints, all the way up the walls. 😀

I’m rather happy with out it’s turning out.

The Re-Farmer

A rough start to the day, and the groundhog battle begins

I am not a morning person.

I never have been.

It is not unusual for me to be up at 2 or 3 am. If it were feasible, I would sleep all day and be up all night. When I had a job working the night shift at a gas station convenience store, it was fantastic. I was awake and alert all night, and had some of the best sleep during the day, ever. At least I did when I wasn’t getting phone calls from people who knew I was working nights, but figured that since I was home during the day, that was a great time for them to call and chat. 😀

My daughters are much the same as I am. Usually, that works out. Our general routine is just shifted over. When others are having lunch, we’re having breakfast. That sort of thing.

Since I do the morning routine and the girls do the evening routine, I do try to get up earlier to make sure the outside cats have food, etc., but it’s still later than average, shall we say.

Then there are mornings like this.

I was awakened by the distinctive sounds of a cat in the basement, climbing the screen barrier between the basements. I’d found and blocked where they had been getting through, so I tried to ignore it.

Until I could hear Beep Beep in the old basement, making her distinctive beeping meow, and starting to claw at the screen at the top of the old basement steps. The screen we use to keep the cats out of the basement, while we have the door open to keep the house cool.

It was just before 6am when I dragged myself out of bed. When I got into the old basement (navigating those stairs is never a good thing!), I discovered Turmeric was in there, too! I managed to get them both out of the old basement without killing myself on the stairs, without either of them scratching the heck out of me, and without letting any of the other cats, waiting at the basement door, down, so that was a win. :-/

The next while was spent fussing about in both the old and new basements, to figure out where they were getting through. They’d managed to create an opening through my last blocking attempt, so I scrounged up something else to put across the gap.

Then, after going to the bathroom, I was going to go back to bed when I started hearing a noise. Flushing the toilet had triggered one of the pumps in the basement, which is not unusual, but this sound was something else entirely. It was a strange, high pitched, pulsing, vibrating noise.

So I unlatched the screen and hobbled back into the old basement.

It was the septic pump that had turned on, but as I walked towards it, I passed the noise.

It wasn’t coming from the pump.

It was coming from a space above the basement wall.

The old basement is very low, and even short little me can see the top of the basement walls, where the floor beams rest. On the other side of the wood is the crawl space under the old kitchen. The old kitchen is where the breaker box is. When my brother set up the laundry in the entry, he had to run new wires through this spot, and he even ran an extra set of wires, in case we ever need to install something else. It was such a pain to run the wires through, he wanted to save future hassles.

So all I’m seeing in this spot is the new wire, neatly bundled up on one side of a floor beam, and another older wire running through holes in the floor beams, and is one of the wires that powers the pumps and tanks. It doesn’t even enter the basement at this location.

Which means there is nothing in this spot that is mechanical that might be making the vibrational noise. At least, not in the basement side. But what could possibly be in the crawl space, on the other side of the wall, that could make that noise?

Whatever it was, it stopped when the septic pump turned itself off.

This is a mystery on its own, but it’s not the only one. A while back, the well pump would make grinding noises as it lost pressure. It is old and needs to be replaced, but no plumber dares work on it, because we might have a leaky foot valve, which is in the well. Replacing the pump might cause the valve to fail, and we’d lose water. The well itself is so old, if something like that did happen, we would have difficulty finding replacement parts the right size, or might have to get a new well dug. So we’re on pins and needles when it comes to this pump. Oddly, since we’ve made the effort to never open the taps in the bath tub to full pressure, which was emptying the pressure tank faster than the pump could refill it, the grinding noise has stopped. Even with using the hoses so much to water the garden beds, and the pump running so much more than usual, it’s been fine.

However, when we were still figuring out what was going on with the pump, one of the distinctive things was that, before the well pump turned on and started making the grinding noise, I would first hear a sproinging noise. It was loud enough I could hear it from my office/bedroom, but by the time I got into the basement, the pump would be running and the noise was gone. Then, I happened to be in the basement before the well pump turned on one time. I heard the sproinging noise, and it was not coming from the pump. It was coming from the same place I heard the vibrational noise, this morning.

There is something behind the basement all at this spot, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what it is. When the old kitchen was added on to the house, it had neither electricity nor running water. The only thing that should be there is electrical wires, and there is no reason for wires to make sproinging or pulsating vibrational noises!

I have emailed my brother to ask him. He’s the only living person who would have any idea what’s under there.

By the time all that was done, there was no point in my trying to go back to bed, so I went out to do my morning rounds early.

I am somewhat encouraged.

The beet bed that was decimated yesterday actually looks better. A few beets still have their leaves and, after the evening watering, they have perked up again. There was no new damage.

I also have some hope for the carrots, too. The tallest fronds may have all been eaten, but they still had a lot of growing to do, so there are still new fronds coming up. We may end up with more spindly carrots, but I think we might still have a chance with them. The next few days will tell us, one way or the other.

We are still left with the groundhog to deal with.

This is how things got left, last night. About half the pile was pulled to one side, and once water started running into the den, the groundhog came out and hid in the remaining branches. I never saw it this morning, but as I approached the den, I heard it scramble away from the opening.

Those branches had to go!

I’ll have go come back with the weed trimmer to clean this up more.

Some of the dirt from digging the den had partially buried some branches, so moving them knocked some dirt and rocks into the opening.

I don’t know if the groundhog ran off while I was hauling branches away. I saw and heard nothing, though.

Once the branches were cleared away, I brought the hose over and started to spray into the opening, pausing every now and then to give the groundhog a chance to run out. It never did, so perhaps it had already left.

In looking up how to get rid of a groundhog, flooding the den was one of the recommended methods. It was also suggested to do it in July or August, in case the groundhog was pregnant or had a litter. That was something that had occurred to me. We’re only seeing the one groundhog at this den, but it’s entirely possible it’s a mama with some babies down there.

With that in mind, we will be taking our time in driving it away from this den, so that it can find another location for a den and, if there are any, move its babies out.

Once we are sure it’s been driven out, we will block the opening and level out the pile of soil it made.

Hopefully, the critter will move on, and we will not have to take more drastic measure. :_/

As for me, this broken and battered body of mine is giving out. Time to lie down and, hopefully, get some sleep!

The Re-Farmer

Chive Blossom Vinegar is done

Well, we had at least one good thing happen today.

I was able to finish the chive blossom vinegar.

The bottle has had two weeks in the cupboard to infuse. Any time we went into the cupboard for something, we’d turn the bottle upside down a few times, to get the blossoms out of the bottle neck and mix with the vinegar.

I was curious how the colour would turn out. The site I’d found instructions on had a final product that was bright pink. I used white wine vinegar, though, which is pale yellow.

The final colour is quite dramatic, isn’t it?

After straining the vinegar, the bottle got cleaned and scaled, the vinegar added back, and we replaced the little plastic thing in the top, that controls the flow of vinegar when pouring.

We haven’t tried it in anything yet, but the smell of it is absolutely fabulous!! I can’t wait to try it!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: NOOOOoooo!!!!!

I am so very, very unhappy right now.

I went out to do the evening watering, and also add some shredded Irish Spring soap to the decimated beet bed, in hopes the deer will leave it alone and it can recover.

While weeding in the carrot bed in the main garden area, I noticed some greens had been nibbled on. It was only at one corner, so I figured it might have been a deer, though I didn’t think deer liked carrot greens. With discovering the groundhog had made a den in the nearby pruned branch pile, I looked it up, and it turns out they will eat carrot greens. So I figured I would add some of the soap shavings to the carrot bed, too.

I was too late.

The entire bed was decimated this afternoon!

All of it.

The bed was split between two types of carrots. They were pelleted seeds, so we were able to space them as we planted them, and they were doing really well. No thinning needed. Now, they’re all gone.

I am pretty sure that, if we can deep the deer away, the beets will be able to at least somewhat recover, but will carrots? I have no idea. We do have left over seed for both types, and I considered using one of the empty spinach beds to plant more, but we’re at the end of June. We don’t have enough of a growing season left to start over.

We do have two other types of carrots in the old kitchen garden, but these were specialty carrots, and had a lot less seed in the packets. They were also planted later, so they were not as far along as these ones.

I added the soap shavings to the bed anyhow, and the girls have covered it with one of the covers we used on the spinach beds. Not that these can stop a ground hog, but still.

Meanwhile, we’ve been trying to encourage the groundhog to move on. We don’t have a live trap, and even if we did, where would we release it? We are surrounded by farms. I don’t want to pass the problem on to someone else!


One of my daughters came out while I was watering and went to the branch pile to see the den, only to see the groundhog looking back at her! She started to tear apart the pile, and then I passed the hose to her so she could start spraying water into the den. The groundhog came out and hid the branches. They never saw it go away, though.

While they were doing that, I continued watering from the water barrel by the peas and corn. I was afraid of what I would find when I got there, but these far flung beds were unharmed.

Moving that branch pile is going to be a priority, and we’ll continue to convince the groundhog to move on, on its own. Depending on how things go, and if we can figure out where we can release it, I might be able to borrow a live trap from my brother. When I told him about the groundhogs I saw in the outer yard, he told me about catching and releasing one from their own property, so I know he’s gone one large enough. The groundhog in the garden is bigger than the two in the outer yard.


I am not a happy camper right now!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2021 garden: decimated!

When doing my rounds this morning, I gathered more garlic scapes and did some weeding in the beet bed next to the garlic. They were doing very well, and I was planning on gathering some beet greens later in the day, to include in a salad or something.

This afternoon, I made a quick trip into town, then drove into the yard to unload the van. As I was unloading, something about the beet bed across the yard looked… off. So I made a point of checking it after putting the van away.

No wonder it looked off, even from a distance!

It’s been decimated.

And yes, those are deep hoof prints in the soil.

Planting the onions around the beets wasn’t enough to keep a deer out.

The crazy thing is that this happened during the day. We were indoors, but we were still moving about and near windows. The girls can see this bed from their windows upstairs, and they saw nothing. In the summer months, we never see deer in the yard. At most we see them on the trail cam going through the gate, and I haven’t even been seeing them on the garden cam at all, and even then, we only see them at night, or very early in the morning.

The beets might recover, though I’ll have to find a way to cover it again. The mosquito netting on the hoops kept blowing off. I’ll see if I can make a cover for it using the chicken wire we got for the squash tunnel. It’s a 50′ roll, so there will be more than enough to spare.

I’m not sure when I’ll be able to do it. We’ve been hearing thunder for a while now, and my desktop weather app just popped up with a severe thunderstorm warning. Because of the thunder I was hearing, I had checked it before starting this post, and it was still saying only 60% chance of rain, so something changed in just the past few minutes! From the looks of the trees outside, I might be shutting down my computer soon!

Well, at least the weather will keep animals sheltering themselves, instead of eating our garden! It’s a good thing we planted so many beets in the old kitchen garden, too. Even if this bed doesn’t recover, we will still have lots of beets.

The Re-Farmer

Morning critters, and… this could be a problem!

I had a pleasant surprise when I first went outside to do my morning rounds. Rosencrantz and her kittens were playing at the bottom of the little shrine, on the INSIDE of the chain link fence!

So I found a couple of containers and put food and water out for them. Not longer after, I saw this.

The grey and white kitten ran off when it saw me, but the orange one stayed. This would be their first time eating kibble and the orange baby seems to really like it!

It was also brave enough – or hungry enough! – to stay eating after Mom left.

After finishing my rounds outside, I was just about to settle at the computer to go over the trail cam files when I saw movement out in the garden.

It was a groundhog, making its way towards the beds.

When I saw it stop and start going after some onions, I dashed out to chase it away. (Checking later, it did not eat any of the onions, but when I was weeding the carrots in the next bed earlier, I’d noticed some of the greens had been nibbled on. Deer, I thought, but maybe not? What do groundhogs eat, anyway?)

As I was making noise to chase the groundhog away from the beds, I saw it go under the pile of branched I’d pruned from the nearby trees. A pile we should have moved long ago. :-/

So I went over to the pile and shook the branches to chase it out.


Moved around to get at some other branches.


Mover around and…

What on earth is that?

Well, that explains why it wasn’t running out from under the branch pile. It has a den under there!

Those larger branches on the left? I’d put those there not very long ago. They had been set aside for potential use, but when I needed to mow around the pile, I moved them on top. That hole was not there when I did it, which means it was dug some time within the last week or so.

I was able to stick my phone through the branches to try and get a better picture.

That is a pretty big hole! But then, so was the groundhog.

I knew there had to be dens around somewhere, and suspect there is at least one under the big branch pile in the outer yard, but this is the first one we’ve actually seen.

I find myself looking at all that sand and gravel piled up outside the opening. I know the top soil isn’t very deep, but this really shows what our ground is like under it.

Well, I guess this is a good incentive to finally move that branch pile! Then to see what we can do to persuade the groundhog to find somewhere else to live. Preferably not in the yard at all!

The Re-Farmer