*heavy sigh*

Last year, May was a very warm month. More like the height of summer, than spring.

This year?

Snow? Really?

Yeah, I know. It’s not really that unusual. It’s just that all those warm days that were being forecast keep turning into colder days. Predicting 2-4 cm (under 2 inches) as well feels a bit like getting kicked when you’re down.

The Re-Farmer

Not much progress today

It’s been a chilly day today, with off and on rain. Too chilly to try and put the transplants out to harden them off.

While doing my morning rounds, I spent some time fussing with the garden shed to see if I could secure the sheets of metal roofing a bit better. I was trying to figure out why they wouldn’t lie flat, then remembered: a smaller piece of aluminum had been put on the roof, over where there is a hole that water was getting in. A rock was tossed on to keep it from blowing away. You can’t see the rock from the ground, and it was forgotten about. Now, the sheets of metal roofing are on top of it! πŸ˜€ I was able to arrange them in a more centered way, was able to nail down one of them above the door, and found a way to clamp down the other. Between that and the strap the girls put back on, it should stay. It’s just a matter of time before we get rid of it completely, so we’re not too worried about it.

I got a phone call from my brother today. Our mother had called him this morning and left a message with him, saying something about not feeling well. She’s mentioned to me, when I last spoke to her, that “everything hurts”, but when my brother called her back, now she says she’s got a headache, too. My brother says it sounds like she has the flu. He convinced her to do the usual things she would do to take care of herself, and get lots of rest, so she stayed home from church. Apparently, she’d planned to walk to the grocery store after church, but also insists she has enough and doesn’t actually need to buy more food, so we’re not sure why she still planned to go shopping.

Since she needs to rest, my brother will be the only one calling her to check up on her, so she’s not constantly getting up to answer the phone. If it becomes necessary, he’ll let me know and I’ll head over.

That gave me extra reason to make sure to get to the hardware store in town today – I wanted to see if the gravel roads had improved enough to drive on with my mother’s little car. The high winds we’ve been having are at least good for that. The rough spots are still very rough, but no longer muddy, and the tires weren’t sinking as much while driving through them. It should be fine to use my mother’s car without damaging it.

Once at the hardware store, I found the roof repair tar and new caulking gun that we needed, then decided to look around. Which is always a dangerous thing for me to do, since I will always find something we can use! πŸ˜€ Today, however, I found the lamp oil I’ve been looking for! I was able to get a large bottle of paraffin based lamp oil at a better price than what I’d found online at Canadian Tire, and without any scent. I got just one bottle for now; enough to fill all 4 of our oil lamps, if we needed to, though we’d probably only use two at a time, at most. Now that I know where to find it, I’ll pick up more for our stash, as we are able.

The main thing is we have what we need to patch up the roof, and should the need arise, we’ve got what we need to use our oil lamps. I feel much better having that option available, now. πŸ™‚

The Re-Farmer

Finally broke it down

Just a bit about some of the clean up we did yesterday, since I didn’t get back to the computer until much later.

The girls were able to get the sheets of metal roofing that blew off the old garden shed out and strap them back on, but weren’t able to screw them into place. We don’t really have a way to reach the top. Too much stuff around the building. Will have to get back to it another time.

They also picked up some of the fallen branches around the yard. When I went out again later, I picked up some more. There are still a few areas that are are so wet, we’re not trying to get into them to do any cleanup yet.

The main thing I’m happy to have finally gotten to, was cleaning up that piece of tree that fell on the canopy tent. With the BBQ moved away, it was easier to get at, and the picnic table made a convenient saw horse. I was able to use the mini-chainsaw to cut most of it to size, then used a buck saw on the rest. I didn’t fill like dragging an extension cord across the wet lawn to use the electric chainsaw.

I cut it to fire pit lengths, and the whole thing fit into the wheel barrow, except for the little branches that went onto one of the branch piles. I kept the bark the fell off, though. The inner bark in particular is good for starting fires.

You can see the hole in the ground from the tent leg that got driven in when the piece of tree fell on it.

This was some nice maple wood, so it went into a pile we’ve got that’s almost all maple and apple wood we’ve been cleaning up, to use in cooking fires.

We’re looking forward to the winds dying down so we get get the fire pit going and finally test out that cast iron Dutch oven. We should get some excellent cooking coals out of this. Can’t let it go to waste! πŸ™‚

As much as I look forward to the winds dying down, they are certainly helping dry things out. Even the water seeping into the old basement is visibly less, for all that we still got rain. Still, I want to get the platform set up again, so we can go back to hardening off our transplants. Theoretically, we can just put them on the ground, or even just on the platform bed frame, but they’d be in reach of the groundhogs if we did that. I’ve been seeing them running around in the yard, and on the garage cam live feed. I imagine there will soon be little ones, and hungry mamas would make short work of our transplants.

Little by little, it’ll get done!

The Re-Farmer

Assessing the damage – and it’s not too bad

We still have high winds this morning, though it’s changed directions and not as severe.

The cats clearly appreciated the shelter the kibble house provided! Aside from when they were eating, almost every time I saw a cat, it was running, full tilt. Potato Beetle had spent the day in the sun room and when I was there last night to set up the second shop light, he asked to go outside. Silly thing. This morning, he wanted back in, and is now curled up on the swing bench, having a warm and cozy nap.

I found our BBQ cover in the maple grove, blown past the grape hyacinth patch. Do you see the bright blue picnic table in the background? The BBQ is just to the left of that. The cover had been pegged to the ground.

I found all the pegs, still in the ground!

I ended up moving the BBQ completely around the fire pit – the long way around, because the ground was too soft to go the short way. It’s now on slightly less muddy ground, though I also found a scrap piece of plywood that was big enough, and put that under the wheels, before putting the cover back and pegging it down again. Hopefully, the wind won’t be able to blow it away again. I’m a bit concerned that a branch might fall on it, but there’s really nowhere where that wouldn’t be a risk.

The sheets of metal roofing material we’d put over the old garden shed were blown off and are now stuck between the shed and a tree. The shed being placed in between trees is probably the only reason the shed itself has never blown over. The metal sheets had been strapped into place, to cover a hole in the roof. When we put it back, we’ll finally get the chance to nail it down.

We lost another spruce tree – this one was still green, too. It also fell over the top of another tree that had fallen.

I was not surprised to discover the trunk had ant damage.

We also had some shingles blown up on the high angle parts of the roof above the sun room’s roof. Must look like they’ve been folded back but at least one looks like it’s gone completely. I’ll need to pick up a new caulking gun and a tube of roofing tar so it can be fixed. We had to throw out what we got a few years back, on discovering the cats hand knocked it down from the shelf it was on, then peed all over it. 😦 By the time we found and dug it out from behind the shelf, there was no salvaging it.

That was the worst of the wind damage – at least at our place. When checking the driveway cam, I noticed some trees had come down on my younger brother’s fence, across the road from us. It looks like a cluster of three spruces that were growing very close together, all came down at once. Their driveway that’s across from ours is not their main one, but is a bit like our own back driveway; there to access the field, but almost never used. I made sure to send an email to let them know about it, since their fence was damaged by the trees. I don’t think it’s something their horse could get through, but it still needs to be fixed.

When checking the driveway cam files, I didn’t see the trees actually falling. There is a slight delay between when the camera is triggers and when it starts recording video, and that split second was all it took to miss it – but I can still say exactly when the trees fell!

Even the “road closed” sign at the intersection got moved by the wind, spinning the whole stand almost 90 degrees.

The ground may still be wet and the winds still pretty high, but we’re going to have to get busy and clear up the fallen branches as best we can. There are just too many to leave lying around! I pick up some where doing my rounds, but we need to break out the wagon and the wheelbarrow to really get it done.

All in all, it’s not too bad for wind damage.

We won’t be setting up the platform for hardening off the transplants again, though. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get that set up again tomorrow, and start hardening things off all over again.

Oh, that reminds me. I got an email from the company we’d ordered potatoes from, with the opportunity to review. It was letting me know the order was packed and that, once shipped, we’ll be getting tracking information from the post office, once they’ve processed it.

There was also an apology for the delay. I completely forgot that this company let us choose what time frame to have the order shipped to us. I’d picked May 4 -10. It got packed on the 13th. They were delayed by weather, and were still catching up. When I responded to confirm I’d reviewed the order, mentioned I was actually glad there was a delay. If it had been shipped on schedule, we would not have been able to pick it up from the post office for a while.

I’m quite looking foreword to the varieties we picked.

The Re-Farmer

It’s crazy windy out there!

After my successful outing yesterday, now that the main road has been repaired, my younger daughter and I headed out today, to do an early birthday shopping trip. Her birthday is actually next month, but we don’t pay too much attention to exact days. πŸ˜‰

It rained most of last night, though the water levels around our yard did not increase too much. There were plenty of fallen branches already. Once again, feeling so thankful we were able to get those trees cut away from the house a few years back. We do still have dead trees we’ll hire someone to take down, as they could potentially fall onto the house, but they are far less of a risk than the ones that were right over the roof and into the power lines!

Our birthday gift to my younger daughter was going to be a clothes shopping trip at a particular local Thai clothing store. My daughter mentioned she really needed some jeans, so we decided to hit a Walmart, first.

The first surprise of the day was the first mile of gravel road. When I drove it yesterday, there was one really bad patch at the intersection nearest us, where the gravel trucks sunk keep into the saturated road. Even with the grader going by, it was still pretty bad.

After a night of rain, that entire first mile of road was filled with saturated patches; none as bad as the one nearest us, but still enough that we had to carefully skirt around the worst parts – and I could still feel the van trying to sink into the road as we did! In fact, right now, the best part of the entire stretch to the highway is the spot that had been washed out and repaired!

Once on the highway, all was good, though. Since we were heading to a Walmart first, we make our usual stop at the town my mother lives in, to fill the tank and pick up some fried chicken for “breakfast”.

That was my other surprise of the day.

Gas prices went up 8 cents a litre, overnight.

My fuel gauge was just above 3/4 of a tank.

Apparently, my gas gauge isn’t accurate. The tank on our van hold 95L (25 US gallons, 20.8 Imperial gallons). That makes a quarter tank 23.75L According to my gas gauge, I needed less than a quarter tank. I have noticed, however, that the gauge stays at the full line for quite a long time, and that the needle seems to drop faster, the lower it goes. Especially if it dips below half a tank. I remember commenting about it with a mechanic at some point, because I was never quite sure how much fuel was actually in the tank. His answer? Just keep the tank full! πŸ˜€ Good thing that’s what we normally try to do.

While I was paying at the gas station, I remember to ask about the road we needed to cross to get to the next highway. The cashiers weren’t sure but, thankfully, the next customer in line was able to tell me that all was well. I’d heard the road had washed out at a new bridge, but all was fine, though plenty of fields were still full of water.

Once at the Walmart, I left my daughter to hunt down the clothes she needed, while I picked up a few things. More cat kibble, of course; that’s one thing we have the hardest time stocking up on. I also made sure to check out the garden centre, and made an unplanned purchase.

I picked up some strawberry plants. It’s something we were intending to do, eventually. These will be planted in the asparagus bed. I only got 4 plants, but strawberries are easy to propagate. At this size, they cost just under $4 each, though there were much larger plants in hanging baskets, with strawberries already ripening! Those were completely out of my budget, and we have nowhere to hang baskets, anyhow.

One thing I looked for but couldn’t find was lamp oil. The closest I found was citronella oil for those outdoor torches. I’m wanting oil for glass lamps we have; there are two we brought with us when we moved, and two others we found here at the farm while cleaning out my parents’ stuff. One of those actually looks like it had kerosene in it, though. It appears to have dried out, but the glass is stained dark. I haven’t tried to take the lamp down from the top of the shelf it’s on to find out; it’s safe from the cats up there! πŸ˜€

Anyhow, I used to be able to buy lamp oil at Walmart, but now I can’t find any. We considered trying Canadian Tire, but decided not to go there today. I’ve just looked online, and apparently they do carry scented lamp oil that can be used in indoor lamps. I had to read comments and reviews to find that out, since it wasn’t information included in the product description. Something to remember, the next time I’m there. It’s something to include in our stash.

My daughter was able to find a couple of pairs of pants that she needed, suitable for working outdoors, and was very happy. Once we were done there, we headed to the Thai place I originally wanted to take her to. She ended up getting two more pairs of pants that will be perfect for summer weather. While there, I found something for myself, too. I spotted what looked like swoopy folding bamboo and cloth fans. They turned out to be hats! Then, of all the things to find in a clothing store, I was very excited to find steak spice. This place has both a storefront and a restaurant. The building used to be a grocery store and butcher shop. The owner was a good friend of my in-laws. He had his own recipe for steak spice that is the best we’ve ever had. My FIL would mail us about 10 bags of it, once a year, so we could have fresh to use in our tourtierre filling. When the owner retired, I’d seen signs that the spice mix was still available, but I’d never actually seen it on the shelf before. As I was paying for my stuff, I commented on it and found out that when the Thai family bought the building, they also bought the spice mix recipe!

My husband was so thrilled when he saw the bag of spice mix. When we get a chance, we should pick some up for my FIL. He’ll love it!

That done, we headed home. During this entire trip, we were fighting the winds the entire way. We certainly weren’t going to be putting the transplants out for hardening off today, that’s for sure.

Then we got home and saw it wasn’t an option at all.

Pegging it down wasn’t enough for these winds!

Once everything was inside the sun room, my daughter and I straightened the platform out a bit, but didn’t try to put it back up. While my daughters finished taking things inside and putting them away, while I put the strawberry pots into a small bin to join the other plants in the sun room, I headed back outside and fussed with the tarp, pegging some corners down again to keep it from blowing away.

Then I switched to rubber boots and went to see what else needed to be dealt with.

The diverter on the rain barrel had been blown off. I tried to secure it, only to come back and find it blown off again; just not as far. Even the cover on the rain barrel, which is weighted down with the board and bricks that hold the diverter in place, was blowing off, and that thing is made of mesh! One of the containers with our winter sowing (which have not sprouted, yet) was blown right off the step it was on. Thankfully, the soil inside was undisturbed. I moved all 4 containers to a more sheltered (I hope!) spot.

The huge tarp covering my late father’s car gets blown around a lot, but it was really bad today, billowing like a parachute with a car inside. I ended up dragging out three old tires from behind the pump shack to weigh it down; one on the trunk, one on the hood and one on the roof.

While working on that, I noticed that the side door of the storage house was open! Thankfully, it’s quite high off the ground with no stairs, so no cats would be getting up into it. It made me think to check the back door of the barn. When the snow finally melted enough that I could get in there for the first time since fall, I found the top half of the split door in the back was open. I checked, and it had not been blown open again. So I went into the storage house – I don’t think we went into there even once, last year! – and got the door closed. The side door is next to the kitchen, which has exterior blinds in the windows. They tend to rattle in the wind a lot, so I wanted to see if there was anything I could do to reduce that. There wasn’t, but I found another surprise.

Among the things we found lots of while cleaning this place out, are old canning jars that use glass lids. We went through them, and I’ve got shelves full of them that have no nicks or chips in them at all. We also found lots of the glass lids. What we didn’t find were the metal rings. A couple of jars had them still on, and they are so corroded, they’re stuck to the glass. These rings are deeper, to accommodate the width of glass lids and rubber sealing rings. The rubber rings are still available, but no one makes these rings anymore. I wouldn’t want to use the jars for actual canning anymore, but they could still be used for dry storage – if I could find more of these rings. I’ve looked online and could find some on ebay and the like, but they were quite expensive, and looked to be in poor condition.

Well, wouldn’t you know it, there in the storage house was a bucket of canning rings, and was that a deeper ring that I was seeing? After rifling through the bucket, I found about 8 or 10 of these rings, mixed in with some more modern ones, and almost all of them looked nearly pristine! I made sure to take them all out and set them aside. Now that I know we have some, I’ll pick up some of the rubber rings, and we’ll match jars, rings and lids, clean them up and have them available for dry storage.

I was very happy to find these!

Once done in the storage house, I came out and found that the tarp on my late father’s car was billowing again.

The wind had actually blown a tire, right off the roof!

So I fought with that some more. The car happens to be next to a pile of rocks that were cleared up from around the yard. Most of the smaller ones were taken out and used for various thing, but there were some bigger ones that were not so big I couldn’t lift them. After wrestling the tire back onto the roof of the car, I used rocks to weight down the edges of the tarp on the sides. It still billows, but no longer turns into a parachute. Unfortunately, several years of winds has been tearing the tarp to shreds. We need to pick up an actual car cover one of these days. There are covers for the make and model of this car, but they are not something our budget has room for.

It’s been interesting watching out my window as I’ve been working on this post. At the moment, the winds have died down, and the branches on the maples are just wiggling a bit. Other times, the entire tree is swaying, including branches that are as thick as many tree trunks. This particular maple I see from my window needs to have some of those big branches removed, to take weight off the trunk, before they break off completely. With winds like today, I am often amazed that they haven’t broken already. Especially since there is ant damage visible in the trunk, where the biggest branches split off.

Once the winds die down – hopefully, tomorrow – we’re going to have to spend some time cleaning up. Aside from the broken branches, things have been blowing out of the junk pile, and even out by the barn, we’ve been hearing the sound of metal being blown around; there are leftover pieces of metal roofing material among a pile of stuff near the barn. They’re weighed down with things like car tires, cinder blocks and metal grates, but they’re still being lifted by these winds!

Hopefully, we’ll just lose branches, and not any more trees. Or pieces of trees. We still haven’t cut up the piece of tree that landed on the canopy tent. πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Recommended: RED Gardens

Welcome to my second β€œRecommended” series. Here, you’ll find various sites and channels that I’ve been enjoying and wanted to share with you. With so many people currently looking to find ways to be more self sufficient or prepared for emergencies, that will be the focus for most of these, but I’ll also be adding a few that are just plain fun. Please feel free to leave a comment or make your own recommendation. I hope you enjoy these!

We are back on a gardening theme this time, but with a major difference. RED Gardens: Research Education and Development Gardens.

And WOW what a set up they have! I’ll just quote a portion from their About page (where you will also find links to their other social media and Patreon pages).

Based on the explorations and discoveries of a series of food growing spaces, located in the Cloughjordan Ecovillage, Tipperary, Ireland. This RED Gardens Project (Research, Education and Development) consists of 6 family scale gardens each one 100m2 (1000sqf) and following a different methodology, or approach, to growing vegetables. There is also a larger Black Plot, of about 1000m2 (1/4 acre) which is exploring issues and possibilities of an intermediate scale growing space.

The YouTube channel has been around since 2016. As you can imagine, there is a wealth of information available!

This early video explains the different types of gardens they are testing on, plus there is a Black Plot.

There are a number of videos about specific crops, comparing how they did in the different growing environments. One of their most extreme years was growing 54 tomatoes varieties.

No, that’s not a typo. Fifty four.

No, they don’t grow that many varieties of tomatoes anymore!

Other videos comparing things like climbing beans, pole beans, cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, eggplant and more. They even tried wheat.

Interestingly, this was a mix of wheat, not just one type. This plot produced enough to bake a surprising amount of bread. I like how he breaks down the math and calculated how much grain would need to be grown to produce enough flour to make X number of loves per week for a year. One thing I’ve never seen before is burying old, stale bread for trench composting.

And yes, bread was made with flour from this wheat.

How the bread was baked is really something to see! A multi-day process.

Their composting system has evolved quite a bit, over the years, which he explains in this video. I appreciate how he goes into dealing with their rat issues, too.

I think I’ll stick to my “just throw it on a heap” method. We end up burying our compostables in garden beds, anyhow.

Pests are another topic they cover, as well as things like different ways to water, making biochar, saving seeds, temporary microclimates, and so much more.

I like the yearly update videos.

It’s really impressive to see how things have worked out over the years, what was changed and why.

The goal at RED Gardens is to try different things, test and compare, collect and analyze the data, then make that information available to anyone who wants to grow their own food, as best they can, for their own circumstances, with the aide of the data provided. Most of us aren’t in a position to try so many varieties, or use so many different techniques. Having this data, even if growing in a different climate zone, can still be very useful.

And I admit – I kinda geek out every time I watch one of their videos.

Whether you’re a new gardener or an experienced on, I think you’ll find loads of great information at RED Gardens!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: hardening off and first sowing

You know that surreal feeling, when you feel like it’s one time of the day, but then you look at a clock and realize it’s a completely different time of day?

I just finished my “morning rounds”, so it should be morning, right?

Never mind that I spent several hours working on things that aren’t part of my usual morning routine. πŸ˜€

While heading around to put bird feed out, I spotted our new “tenant” under the stairs.

It backed into the space under the stairs, but still hung around to watch me!

Knowing that the main road was fixed, as soon as I finished my usual morning routine, I headed to town, passing a grader on the way. Very happy to see it. There’s only so much a grader an do with the current road conditions, but at least it helps. The area that was washed out was beautifully fixed up. Not even the grader could fix that torn up part closer to our intersection, though.

I picked up just a few of the fresh things we were running low on at the grocery store, then hit the post office on the way home to pick up the mail and a new bag of bird seed. Once everything was put away, I decided to take advantage of the weather, while I could. We’re supposed to get rain later, but for now it’s overcast and decently warm. What we needed to do was start hardening off our transplants.

The girls and I had spent some time trying to figure out what to use to hold the transplants when hardening them off, that will keep the outside cats and other critters away, while also being big enough to hold all the bins and trays. What we used last year is just too small for all the plants we have this year. Then we remembered that we still have the home made, twin sized bed frame that was here when we moved in, sitting in the basement. So I got that out this morning. We also found a pair of folding table legs when we cleaned out the basement, so I figured we could add those to the underside of the frame. It has 8 short legs on the support frame and is topped with plywood. The frame supporting the plywood was too narrow for the plates on the table legs, so I was going to attach it directly to the underside of the plywood, until I realized the shortest screws I have are 3/4″, and it’s 1/2″ plywood.

Ah, well. It would have been a good idea.

That meant using the frame from my daughters canopy tent that she got for when she used to do the art markets. Part of the frame broke in high winds, but we’re still finding ways to use it. Two long pieces of the frame that had been attached to each other with a pivot had snapped. The metal pieces are hollow, so I found a way to rejoin them using a long nail wrapped with enough duct tape to make a snug fit, tucked inside the pieces, then taping them together on the outside. They still wiggle and it certainly won’t hold much, but at least we no longer have pieces flopping around when we move the frame.

The bed platform went on top of the tent frame, with the frame opened wide enough to fit against the inside of the bed’s support pieces snuggly. The ground isn’t level, though, but nothing a couple of bricks under 2 legs couldn’t solve. Then, because the wood is unfinished, I opened the 3 pack of sturdy tarps I picked up at Costco a few months back, and covered the whole set up. Using the cords salvaged from the canopy tent I’d recently disassembled, I was able to peg the corners to the ground, then use the excess cord to lace up the ends. The long sides were still flapping in the wind a bit, so those were tied together, under the platform.

Once everything was secure, it was time to bring the plants out!

It turned out to be the exact size needed for all the bins and trays!

Not quite all the plants fit, though.

The Wonderberry and a couple of trays of onions fit onto the shelf outside the sunroom.

Look at all those Wonderberry flowers!

Since this is the first day the transplants were being hardened off, I set a time for an hour, then started working in the old kitchen garden. We had beds that were ready for planting, but I decided to use the stirrup hoe to run through the bed framed with logs and get rid of any weeds.

I’m glad I did. After a while, I gave up on the hoe and brought out the new garden fork. There were a LOT more roots than I thought.

There were SO many big, healthy worms in the soil!

When we planted here last year, we had a couple of mystery plants show up in the middle of the bed, where we’d planted kohlrabi. Once we were sure they weren’t kohlrabi, we had no idea what they were – but I found their root clusters! That’s the pile you can see at the middle, left. I hope I got all the roots out. Those things got quite large, and I wouldn’t want them choking out whatever we plant here this year.

Broken pieces from the disassembled canopy tent frame are now set up to support any row cover we use. The holes are all facing the same way, so they can be threaded with cord to keep the netting from sagging in between.

We’re still not 100% decided on what to plant here, but we do know what’s going next to it.

The poppies we planted last year really struggled in the drought and heat waves, but we were still able to harvest some dried pods for their seeds. I’d just put them into a Solo cup and left them in the sun room all winter. This morning, I broke open the pods, and these are all the seeds that were in them. Not a lot, but enough to sow. Watching the seeds as they came out of the different pods, I’ve no doubt that some of the seeds were immature and are probably not going to germinate, but there are some that look good. It should be interesting to see how they do!

This is where we’d sowed the poppies last year. Seeds had fallen and scattered there last year, but I couldn’t tell if anything was germinating. Just in case, I didn’t try to dig up the crab grass or do any weeding. I loosened the surface soil up with a rake, scattered all the seeds evenly, then used the rake again to cover them. I didn’t bother watering them, since we’re expecting rain. We did buy a different variety of bread poppy seeds for this year, which will be planted well away from this area, to avoid cross pollination.

Our very first direct sown seeds of the year! Not what I’d intended, but I’ll take it!

The timing was perfect for finishing this and putting things away, as that’s when my timer went off. All the transplants went back inside. Taking them out gave me a chance to re-arrange things, too. The seed trays that are just starting to germinate are now closest to the west window. The bins with the shortest plants all went into the plant shelf in the south window, and the mini-greenhouse frame by the other west window. As bins were being returned to the platform with the seed trays, they were arranged with the shortest plants by the seed trays, working up to the tallest at the opposite end. This way, the bin that has supports for the Canteen gourds to climb is now no longer behind the shop light!

There was one down side to all this outdoor work, though.

As I was putting the bins and trays back into the sun room, I saw Junk Pile cat going through the old kitchen garden, carrying a kitten. She was taking them away from the cats’ house, heading somewhere to the north side of the house.

When I went out for the next trays, I saw… Junk Pile cat… coming from the south. Which meant the cat I thought was Junk Pile was actually the other mamma using the cats’ house. Not long after, I saw Junk Pile carrying a kitten and taking it to the big branch pile in the outer yard. I was afraid of this. With all the traffic and commotion so close to the cats’ house, the kittens got moved to someplace quieter. *sigh* That’s going to make it much harder to socialize them! It’s too bad the mamas are separate now. They were always snuggled together with their babies in there. Ah, well. It is what it is.

Now that we’ve got the set up done, the transplants will go outside every day – weather willing – for about an hour longer, each time. By the time we pass our last frost date on June 2, they will be good and ready to be outside permanently.

Until then, we can keep working on getting the cool climate seeds direct sown.

It feels so good to finally be getting seeds in the ground!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: potting up, moving things – and good news!

First, I’ll start with the good news.

While I was working on the transplants, we got a call from the pharmacy delivery driver. I headed out to meet him at the washed out road, opening the gate before starting the van and heading out.

I was backing out of the garage, when a car pulled into our driveway!

He not only got through, he had no issues at all. The washed out road has been repaired! That means we can now reach the highway and go wherever we need.

I was very happy to hear this. Tomorrow, I’m going to go get the mail! LOL

Oh, the things that are exciting when you’re old and boring. πŸ˜‰

My main goal for today was to pot up the newest tomatoes, and move things to the sun room.

I started with the Yellow Pear tomatoes, which are in the image on the left. Of those, there was one seedling that I pulled out, as it was not suitable for transplanting. The Chocolate Cherry (on the right) got all seedlings potted up.

By the time it was done, we had 13 Yellow Pear tomatoes, and 12 Chocolate Cherry, ready to go to the sun room.

Before that could be done, though, the rest of the pots in the mini-greenhouse had to be taken out, and the mini-greenhouse prepped to be moved. The vinyl cover finally got removed, as did the aluminum foil lining it on three sides, to reflect as much light as possible. The foil has been saved for some other future use.

One of the sawhorses supporting the platform holding plants had to be carefully shifted over to make room for the mini-greenhouse frame.

Things got shifted around in the sun room, too. The older tomatoes were getting too tall for the plant shelf, so they got moved to the platform, as did the large bin with the kulli corn. The tomatoes were so tall, I had to adjust the shop light higher, to fit.

Once the newly transplanted tomatoes and seedlings that were in the mini-greenhouse in the living room got oved over, I filled another bin with the seedlings from the large aquarium greenhouse and brought those over, too. Everything fit, with room to spare!

I did change a couple of things after this photo was taken. That terracotta pot was put by the lamp on the bottom shelf, just to get it out of the way. It got moved out, as did the lamp, and the bin at the bottom of the mini-greenhouse was moved to where the lamp had been, so it could get more light.

The seed trays on the bottom right of the above picture are starting to explode. More cucumbers are coming up, and all four of the King Tut Purple Pea seeds that we managed to save are germinating. There is even a Red Kuri/Little Gem squash making an appearance.

These are now the only things left in the big aquarium greenhouse.

There’s still no sign of any Yakteen gourds. As for the Kakai pumpkin that looks like there is a seedling popping up, that’s actually a stem. I was watching it for a few days before I finally took a closer look. It seems it started to germinate – but then the leaves broke off the stem. The stem end is what you’re seeing in that pot! There were more planted in the pot, so I’m hoping that a bit more time on the warming mat will result in germination.

The LED shop light that was used at the mini-greenhouse is now available to be moved to the sun room, but I haven’t figure out how I want it set up yet.

Funny. The living room suddenly feels much bigger, without the mini-greenhouse tied to a chair in front of the couch, anymore. πŸ˜€

The Re-Farmer

Road conditions

While doing my morning rounds, I saw a gravel truck going by several times. We’ve been seeing them regularly for quite some time, now. There must be some major road damage to the west of us, for so many loads to be going by.

When switching out the memory card in the sign cam, I noticed we had a new sign on the road, too.

The “flood waters” sign is gone, and our road is now officially closed.

The “local traffic” is basically us, and maybe someone needed to get into a field. All other homes are on the other side of where the road is washed out.

It was road conditions much closer that had me going through the fence, though.

This is the main road, just before our intersection. This area typically gets soft when there’s a lot of moisture, but with everything so saturated, the weight of the gravel trucks going through is just tearing the road apart!

Smaller vehicles can still drive around it, though. Which is important. My husband phoned in his insulin refills to be delivered today. I was a bit surprised he did that. It seems he didn’t quite get that we really are cut off. Larger trucks may be able to get through the washed out area by the bison ranch, but small cars like the one the pharmacy delivery driver has, isn’t going to make it. He does always phone us ahead of time, before entering our cell phone dead zone, so when he does, I’ll tell him I’ll meet him at the washout. I’ll have to make sure I’m wearing my rubber boots, so I can cross the washout and get the prescription. Thankfully, my husband doesn’t have to sign anything for his insulin, like he does for his bubble packs. Otherwise, he’d have to come with me!

With the big gravel trucks driving through the washout, though, I’m very curious as to it’s like there.

I wasn’t about to walk the distance to find out, nor waste the gas to drive the distance, but I did walk over to check the washout to the south of us. This time, I was able to walk across it.

The road has eroded all the way across now. Walking through, I could feel myself sinking in the gravel and clay. As you can see, some people are still driving through it, though I don’t know how old these tracks are. I wasn’t able to get to this side when I checked the area last night.

The water levels have continued to drop, and today the speed of the water flowing across has also reduced since I looked at it yesterday.

Do you see that line of debris in between the two washed out areas?

It was looking rather different than before, so I made sure to take a closer look. This is what it’s made up of.

I’m not sure what these are, but it’s amazing that something with such deep roots got washed out and deposited here. The field next to the road has been planted with grain, nothing like this, so wherever it came from, it traveled quite a distance before being dropped off here!

The other washed out area has also eroded all the way across. Until now, the shallower water that I would walk across had been on the west side of the road (on the right of the above photo), but now that it’s washed out all the way, the shallower water is now on the east side, along the edge of the ditche, where the gravel is being deposited. It’s all pretty soft, though, and even walking where the grass has managed to hold on, I could feel myself sinking.

It will likely still be a while before they can start fixing this area. I suppose it’s possible they’ve fixed the washed out area on the main road; that road gets so much traffic, it would be a high priority. With now fast the water is still flowing here, however, I suspect they still can’t do much on the main road, yet, either. I’ll find out today, when I meet the pharmacy delivery driver.

Meanwhile, the weather forecast has changed again. The rain that wasn’t supposed to start until tomorrow, is now expected to start today, albeit as scattered showers. We’re now supposed to get rain for the next three days, too, with 2-3cm (under 1 1/2 inches) expected tomorrow. Looking at the 14 day forecast, after 3 days with rain, we’ll have 4 days without, then another 3 days of rain, a couple days without, then a couple more days of rain again. Hopefully, those days without will be enough for the ground to be able to absorb the moisture. Even now, as I went around the property, I could see standing water in only the lowest areas, like the area behind the garage, and even those are much, much better than they were yesterday.

We continue to have overland flooding alerts. The south of the province continues to be the most at risk, but the alerts extend north of our area, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes, and deal with what we get.

The Re-Farmer

Morning kitties, and critter damage

I headed out a bit late this morning, and this time, I had lots of kitties waiting for their kibble!

Potato Beetle and Rosencrantz were chill, but Toesencrantz did not like me being so close!

So he joined the party at the kibble house. πŸ™‚

Altogether, I think I counted 10 cats, and saw more running towards the house as I continued my rounds.

While putting the bird seed out, I had a surprise.

It looks like a groundhog tried to dig under the steps again! That plastic had been wrapped around the mock orange to hold the branches back last year, when trying to make it so they wouldn’t dig here again. It did work – until now!

All these rocks and broken pieces of bricks had been used to fill the hole, with pieces of insulation slid between the steps and the basement wall.

Much to my surprise, when I cleared the pieces out of the hole, with the intention of putting all the smaller rocks in, I actually saw movement! I think the grog may actually have been stuck there, with the heavier pieces falling over the opening after it dug through.

In trying to fix this last year, it was a relief to find the digging did not go far. The concrete steps are hollow. In the past, cats have had their kittens under there. I am less concerned now, knowing they’re not digging deep against the basement wall. Unfortunately, they’re also digging up the roots of the mock orange. Mind you, I do want to transplant it to a better location. It’s too close to the house, and gets really dried out.

So I think this time, we will leave the grog to it’s hidey hole under the steps.

I saw another one, later, going under the old garden shed, which makes three spots with dens under them.

I did find another burrow, of a sort.

The wheelbarrow leaning on the bale had start all around it, with just a small opening leading under the barrow. This morning, it was very open, with the straw knocked down and flattened. Taking a closer look, I could see something had burrowed under the loose, fallen straw, around the rest of the bale. I don’t see any dirt, so whatever made this may have a nest deeper in the straw.

I was much more dismayed by this damage.

A bunch of tulips have been eaten!

Not all of them; mostly around one edge. Still, quite a few seem to be just gone; eaten all the way to ground level. They’re not dug up at all, which makes me think it was a deer, rather than a skunk or a racoon.

I don’t think groundhogs eat tulips.

Do they?

Anyhow, I grabbed one of the rolls of chicken wire we’d used to try and protect the Crespo squash last year and set it up as far as it could go.

There’s a second, smaller piece that I hope is long enough to cover the rest of the space. It won’t stop any digging creatures, but hopefully it will be enough of a deterrent that critters in general won’t bother, and go for easier food elsewhere.

Along with the usual morning routine, I also checked out the road conditions, which will be in my next post.

The Re-Farmer